Roy Spencer Congressional Testimony

I am a bit late on this, but Roy Spencer raises a number of good issues here in his testimony to Congress.  In particular, he focuses on just how much climate alarmists’ assumption of strong positive feedback drive catastrophic forecasts.  Put in more realistic, better justified feedback assumptions, and the catastrophe goes away.

Testimony of Roy W. Spencer before the
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on 22 July 2008

A printable PDF of this testimony can be found here

I would like to thank Senator Boxer and members of the Committee for allowing me to discuss my experiences as a NASA employee engaged in global warming research, as well as to provide my current views on the state of the science of global warming and climate change.

I have a PhD in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and have been involved in global warming research for close to twenty years. I have numerous peer reviewed scientific articles dealing with the measurement and interpretation of climate variability and climate change. I am also the U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

1. White House Involvement in the Reporting of Agency Employees’ Work

On the subject of the Administration’s involvement in policy-relevant scientific work performed by government employees in the EPA, NASA, and other agencies, I can provide some perspective based upon my previous experiences as a NASA employee. For example, during the Clinton-Gore Administration I was told what I could and could not say during congressional testimony. Since it was well known that I am skeptical of the view that mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions are mostly responsible for global warming, I assumed that this advice was to help protect Vice President Gore’s agenda on the subject.

This did not particularly bother me, though, since I knew that as an employee of an Executive Branch agency my ultimate boss resided in the White House. To the extent that my work had policy relevance, it seemed entirely appropriate to me that the privilege of working for NASA included a responsibility to abide by direction given by my superiors.

But I eventually tired of the restrictions I had to abide by as a government employee, and in the fall of 2001 I resigned from NASA and accepted my current position as a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Despite my resignation from NASA, I continue to serve as Team Leader on the AMSR-E instrument flying on the NASA Aqua satellite, and maintain a good working relationship with other government researchers.

2. Global Warming Science: The Latest Research
Regarding the currently popular theory that mankind is responsible for global warming, I am very pleased to deliver good news from the front lines of climate change research. Our latest research results, which I am about to describe, could have an enormous impact on policy decisions regarding greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite decades of persistent uncertainty over how sensitive the climate system is to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, we now have new satellite evidence which strongly suggests that the climate system is much less sensitive than is claimed by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Another way of saying this is that the real climate system appears to be dominated by “negative feedbacks” — instead of the “positive feedbacks” which are displayed by all twenty computerized climate models utilized by the IPCC. (Feedback parameters larger than 3.3 Watts per square meter per degree Kelvin (Wm-2K-1) indicate negative feedback, while feedback parameters smaller than 3.3 indicate positive feedback.)

If true, an insensitive climate system would mean that we have little to worry about in the way of manmade global warming and associated climate change. And, as we will see, it would also mean that the warming we have experienced in the last 100 years is mostly natural. Of course, if climate change is mostly natural then it is largely out of our control, and is likely to end — if it has not ended already, since satellite-measured global temperatures have not warmed for at least seven years now.

2.1 Theoretical evidence that climate sensitivity has been overestimated
The support for my claim of low climate sensitivity (net negative feedback) for our climate system is two-fold. First, we have a new research article1 in-press in the Journal of Climate which uses a simple climate model to show that previous estimates of the sensitivity of the climate system from satellite data were biased toward the high side by the neglect of natural cloud variability. It turns out that the failure to account for natural, chaotic cloud variability generated internal to the climate system will always lead to the illusion of a climate system which appears more sensitive than it really is.

Significantly, prior to its acceptance for publication, this paper was reviewed by two leading IPCC climate model experts – Piers Forster and Isaac Held– both of whom agreed that we have raised a legitimate issue. Piers Forster, an IPCC report lead author and a leading expert on the estimation of climate sensitivity, even admitted in his review of our paper that other climate modelers need to be made aware of this important issue.

To be fair, in a follow-up communication Piers Forster stated to me his belief that the net effect of the new understanding on climate sensitivity estimates would likely be small. But as we shall see, the latest evidence now suggests otherwise.

2.2 Observational evidence that climate sensitivity has been overestimated
The second line of evidence in support of an insensitive climate system comes from the satellite data themselves. While our work in-press established the existence of an observational bias in estimates of climate sensitivity, it did not address just how large that bias might be.

But in the last several weeks, we have stumbled upon clear and convincing observational evidence of particularly strong negative feedback (low climate sensitivity) from our latest and best satellite instruments. That evidence includes our development of two new methods for extracting the feedback signal from either observational or climate model data, a goal which has been called the “holy grail” of climate research.
The first method separates the true signature of feedback, wherein radiative flux variations are highly correlated to the temperature changes which cause them, from internally-generated radiative forcings, which are uncorrelated to the temperature variations which result from them. It is the latter signal which has been ignored in all previous studies, the neglect of which biases feedback diagnoses in the direction of positive feedback (high climate sensitivity).
Based upon global oceanic climate variations measured by a variety of NASA and NOAA satellites during the period 2000 through 2005 we have found a signature of climate sensitivity so low that it would reduce future global warming projections to below 1 deg. C by the year 2100. As can be seen in Fig. 1, that estimate from satellite data is much less sensitive (a larger diagnosed feedback) than even the least sensitive of the 20 climate models which the IPCC summarizes in its report. It is also consistent with our previously published analysis of feedbacks associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations3.

Fig. 1. Frequency distributions of feedback parameters (regression slopes) computed from three-month low-pass filtered time series of temperature (from channel 5 of the AMSU instrument flying on the NOAA-15 satellite) and top-of-atmosphere radiative flux variations for 6 years of global oceanic satellite data measured by the CERES instrument flying on NASA’s Terra satellite; and from a 60 year integration of the NCAR-CCSM3.0 climate model forced by 1% per year CO2 increase. Peaks in the frequency distributions indicate the dominant feedback operating. This NCAR model is the least sensitive (greatest feedback parameter value) of all 20 IPCC models.
A second method for extracting the true feedback signal takes advantage of the fact that during natural climate variability, there are varying levels of internally-generated radiative forcings (which are uncorrelated to temperature), versus non-radiative forcings (which are highly correlated to temperature). If the feedbacks estimated for different periods of time involve different levels of correlation, then the “true” feedback can be estimated by extrapolating those results to 100% correlation. This can be seen in Fig. 2, which shows that even previously published4 estimates of positive feedback are, in reality, supportive of negative feedback (feedback parameters greater than 3.3 Wm-2K-1).

Fig. 2. Re-analysis of the satellite-based feedback parameter estimates of Forster and Gregory (2006) showing that they are consistent with negative feedback rather than positive feedback (low climate sensitivity rather than high climate sensitivity).

2.3 Why do climate models produce so much global warming?
The results just presented beg the following question: If the satellite data indicate an insensitive climate system, why do the climate models suggest just the opposite? I believe the answer is due to a misinterpretation of cloud behavior by climate modelers.

The cloud behaviors programmed into climate models (cloud “parameterizations”) are based upon researchers’ interpretation of cause and effect in the real climate system5. When cloud variations in the real climate system have been measured, it has been assumed that the cloud changes were the result of certain processes, which are ultimately tied to surface temperature changes. But since other, chaotic, internally generated mechanisms can also be the cause of cloud changes, the neglect of those processes leads to cloud parameterizations which are inherently biased toward high climate sensitivity.

The reason why the bias occurs only in the direction of high climate sensitivity is this: While surface warming could conceivably cause cloud changes which lead to either positive or negative cloud feedback, causation in the opposite direction (cloud changes causing surface warming) can only work in one direction, which then “looks like” positive feedback. For example, decreasing low cloud cover can only produce warming, not cooling, and when that process is observed in the real climate system and assumed to be a feedback, it will always suggest a positive feedback.
2.4 So, what has caused global warming over the last century?
One necessary result of low climate sensitivity is that the radiative forcing from greenhouse gas emissions in the last century is not nearly enough to explain the upward trend of 0.7 deg. C in the last 100 years. This raises the question of whether there are natural processes at work which have caused most of that warming.
On this issue, it can be shown with a simple climate model that small cloud fluctuations assumed to occur with two modes of natural climate variability — the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon (Southern Oscillation), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — can explain 70% of the warming trend since 1900, as well as the nature of that trend: warming until the 1940s, no warming until the 1970s, and resumed warming since then. These results are shown in Fig. 3.

Fig. 3. A simple climate model forced with cloud cover variations assumed to be proportional to a linear combination of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index. The heat flux anomalies in (a), which then result in the modeled temperature response in (b), are assumed to be distributed over the top 27% of the global ocean (1,000 meters), and weak negative feedback has been assumed (4 W m-2 K-1).

While this is not necessarily being presented as the only explanation for most of the warming in the last century, it does illustrate that there are potential explanations for recent warming other that just manmade greenhouse gas emissions. Significantly, this is an issue on which the IPCC has remained almost entirely silent. There has been virtually no published work on the possible role of internal climate variations in the warming of the last century.

3. Policy Implications
Obviously, what I am claiming today is of great importance to the global warming debate and related policy decisions, and it will surely be controversial. These results are not totally unprecedented, though, as other recently published research6 has also led to the conclusion that the real climate system does not exhibit net positive feedback.

While it will take some time for the research community to digest this new information, it must be mentioned that new research contradicting the latest IPCC report is entirely consistent with the normal course of scientific progress. I predict that in the coming years, there will be a growing realization among the global warming research community that most of the climate change we have observed is natural, and that mankind’s role is relatively minor.

While other researchers need to further explore and validate my claims, I am heartened by the fact that my recent presentation of these results to an audience of approximately 40 weather and climate researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder last week (on July 17, 2008 ) led to no substantial objections to either the data I presented, nor to my interpretation of those data.

And, curiously, despite its importance to climate modeling activities, no one from Dr. Kevin Trenberth’s facility, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), bothered to drive four miles down the road to attend my seminar, even though it was advertised at NCAR.

I hope that the Committee realizes that, if true, these new results mean that humanity will be largely spared the negative consequences of human-induced climate change. This would be good news that should be celebrated — not attacked and maligned.

And given that virtually no research into possible natural explanations for global warming has been performed, it is time for scientific objectivity and integrity to be restored to the field of global warming research. This Committee could, at a minimum, make a statement that encourages that goal.

REFERENCES
1. Spencer, R.W., and W.D. Braswell, 2008: Potential biases in cloud feedback diagnosis:
A simple model demonstration. J. Climate, in press.
2. Allen, M.R., and D.J. Frame, 2007: Call off the quest. Science, 318, 582.
3. Spencer, R.W., W. D. Braswell, J. R. Christy, and J. Hnilo, 2007: Cloud and radiation
budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations. Geophys. Res.
Lett., 34, L15707, doi:10.1029/2007GL029698.
4. Forster, P. M., and J. M. Gregory, 2006: The climate sensitivity and its components
diagnosed from Earth Radiation Budget data. J. Climate, 19, 39-52.
5. Stephens, G. L., 2005: Clouds feedbacks in the climate system: A critical review. J.
Climate, 18, 237-273.
6. Schwartz, S. E., 2007: Heat capacity, time constant, and sensitivity of the Earth’s
climate system. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S05, doi:10.1029/2007JD008746.

48 thoughts on “Roy Spencer Congressional Testimony

  1. alerk323

    I have been interested in this controversy ever since my high school brought everyone into the auditorium to show our senior class “an inconvenient truth”. Anyways, I don’t really know which side to fall on simply because there is so much conflicting information out there and my knowledge of the hard science is very incomplete.

    Anyways one thing that bothers me about Roy W. Spencer is that it seems he has…rather unconventional views on evolution. While I understand that these are two completely different topics and it is much more appropriate to agree or disagree with him based on his evidence, it does raise red flags when a climate skeptic holds views on another issue that is TRULY against the scientific consensus.

  2. alerk323

    My problem is that I don’t fully understand the scientific concepts behind the empirical evidence. I would love to be able to read the research reports from both sides and come up with my own conclusions. Unfortunately, I, like so many other laymen out there, have to take the word of the experts on many issues. In the future, I plan to research the hard science behind it and hopefully gain a better understanding, but right now I am forced to decide based on a limited scientific background.
    There are a couple things on both sides that bother me and I have trouble reconciling them. On the pro AGW side, I have a huge problem with the ridiculous assertions of world doom. I have also read many articles claiming that researchers of AGW are funded more for coming up with information supporting AGW. Claims that large organizations such as the IPCC have less then satisfactory peer review standards are also a bit disconcerting.

    However on the skeptical side, when I see skeptics champion the “list of 400 scientists who have problems with AGW” I am forced to remember the “list of 500 scientists who have problems with the theory of evolution”. Also, my general impression about science is that it rewards skepticism and scientists who can successfully debunk modern theories are celebrated rather then looked down upon. I don’t know why this issue is somehow different.

    In an ideal world I would understand the science behind all of this, but there is just so much conflicting information out there I have a hard time sorting it all.

  3. Red

    alerk232,

    I don’t think Spencer’s views on global warming vs evolution should raise any red flags and it seems to be a symptom of our need to label people in what we view as a black-and-white world. The world is actually very gray but I guess we are either too busy or don’t think critically enough. I am pro-choice and I support drilling in the ANWR. Does that make me a democrat or republican? Who cares?! The two issues are separate and my stance on one is not right or wrong because of my stance on the other. So find merit or no merit with Spencer’s position based on the science he presents and nothing else.

  4. Kriek Jooste

    Though I’m pro the evolution theory, if you actually read the wording of Roy Spencer’s statement on evolution you would see he’s taking quite a good, calculated, reserved approach to his stance on it. He’s basically saying that we don’t have enough data in fossil records showing transitional phases when species change so clearly to make us as confident as we are about the evolution theory, some faith is required to make that assumption. Even though, considering all our other evidence about natural selection, the evolution theory is very strong and makes the most sense, we are still a bit light on evidence, according to him.

    To me it seems that if a creationist theory was popular in the realm of science, Roy would also have been skeptical about it. Actually no proper scientist would claim that we know everything, the main difference between the religious and the empirical scientist is that the scientist will be clear about what is theory and what has been confirmed, while the religious would believe in a made up theory. A consensus doesn’t make a theory true, to believe that requires some faith.

  5. BillBodell

    alerk323,

    Also, my general impression about science is that it rewards skepticism and scientists who can successfully debunk modern theories are celebrated rather then looked down upon. I don’t know why this issue is somehow different.

    This is the situation AFTER a debunker has been proved correct. Until that point, the debunker will be quite the outcast.

  6. alerk323

    While I may not be very knowledgeable of climate science, I can claim to have studied quite intensely the “evolution debate”. Spencer does not have a “good, calculated, reserved” stance on the subject. It is anything but. He makes such elementary mistakes that one might think he never took a basic, college level biology course. For example, he says that “A population of moths that changes from light to dark based upon environmental pressures is not evolution”. That is simply wrong, it is evolution as evolution is defined by scientists. That is, ” a change of allele frequencies over time”. The allele frequencies changed in that moth population. Therefore it is evolution, plain and simple.

    Another thing he says is an argument refuted more times then i can count. He says “An Audi and a Ford each have four wheels, a transmission, an engine, a gas tank, fuel injection systems … but no one would claim that they both naturally evolved from a common ancestor”. Ignoring the fact that he tries to relate mechanical objects that can not replicate themselves with biological entities, his explanation would lead us to believe that bats and birds, two organisms that fly, should have very similar ways of flying. Wouldn’t it make sense to for them to have a common design? Why don’t they? Why, in fact, do they have limbs that are phenotypically and genotypically similar to mammals? How come when comparing there genes, morphology, endogenous retrovirus insertion and the fossil record they just all happen to demonstrate a relationship between birds and reptiles, and bats and mammals.

    Spencer makes countless more ignorant “observations” to the point where it is embarrassing. I could go on forever, and would be glad too. I don’t mean to side track this discussion though.

    Anyways, my point is that if someone told you that he believes in a controversial theory that you don’t fully understand, and then goes on tot ell you he believes the moon landing was a hoax, you would be a little skeptical too.

  7. Raven

    Roy Spenser’s climate science should be judged on its merits.

    That said, Roy Spenser’s views on intelligent design are quite nuanced and what I would expect from any scientist who also happened to be religious. He is not a ‘the earth is 6000 years old’ creationist as some alarmist’s claim. He wrote an article in TCS daily which he closed with:

    “Whether intelligent design is ever taught in school is probably not as important as the freedom that we have in a free society to discuss, and study, such issues. And for that, I am thankful.”

    A viewpoint which I can respect even if I don’t agree with his views on evolution.

  8. Alex Cull

    Isaac Newton was fascinated by alchemy and was allegedly trying to find the Philosopher’s Stone. Johannes Kepler was obsessed by his idea of fitting the orbits of the known planets into shapes that represented the five Pythagorean “perfect” solids. Yet we still find Newtons’s law of universal gravitation and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion useful and valid. In a similar way to business ideas, perhaps, some areas of enquiry pan out immediately, others much later or not at all. We associate Newton with gravity and not alchemy (just as we associate Edison with the light bulb and not concrete furniture.) If Roy Spencer’s views on climate science are vindicated, I think his views on intelligent design may well end up being a kind of footnote, as it were, and not a liability.

  9. alerk323

    Billbodell

    That is true. I think what confuses me more is why the pro AGW is the agreed upon idea that needs to be debunked. The ones who are claiming that global warming is caused by humans and will result in the end of the world seem to be the ones who need to back up their claim. What do the peer reviewed articles say about all of this? The process is created to remove all bias, so what is not working for this issue?

    Alex Cull

    Yes, I certainly agree that his arguments should be based on the arguments themselves. That is ideal and what I am going to study. But before I can do that, I can’t help my initial impression of someone color my judgment. If he was not a meteorologist, and he was saying this, would you trust him? What if he wasn’t even a scientist? I understand that there are brilliant people who made significant contributions but had some crackpot idea on the side. I am sure, however, that there are many, many more people, who just had a lot of crackpot ideas…

    Anyways, my main concern is why the peer review process is not working in this case.

  10. Raven

    alerk323 says
    “But before I can do that, I can’t help my initial impression of someone color my judgment. If he was not a meteorologist, and he was saying this, would you trust him? What if he wasn’t even a scientist?”

    Roy Spencer is not working in a vacuum. The theory that random processes can produce long term trends was first proposed in the 70s by greats like Edward Lorenz. The idea that clouds could provide a negative feedback mechanism was proposed by Linzden but lacked physical data. More importantly, Spencer is the head of the NASA AQUA satellite program which means he has access to new data which could easily shed a new light on the problem. All of these factors mean that his science deserves to be taken seriously.

  11. kuhnkat

    If we are to ignore every scientist who holds unconventional views, then we will throw out most of the productive ones. Most theories were quite controversial when initially presented, especially the paradigm shifting ones!!

    In addition, many geniuses are, to put it mildly, eccentric.

    As has been stated above, judge the work on its detail, correctness, and repeatability. Especially on how well it explains observations and whether it makes predictions that can be checked. Finally, can the conclusions be falsified.

    alerk323,

    apparently you have no idea how large a contribution to modern science has been made by Christians. A true Christian would have real trouble lying about the observations of Gods handiwork.

  12. kuhnkat

    I won’t try to speak for those of Jewish faith, but, they have probably made as many, if not more, contributions.

  13. alerk323

    kunkcat

    Don’t get me started on “true Christians”. Do you mean those who advocated the claim that the earth was flat because of direct BIBLE evidence? Do you mean those who still now strongly advocate that the entire earth is merely six thousand years old?

    I am not sure if you realize but “intelligent design” directly contradicts the bible in the exact same way that evolution contradicts it, do you really understand what it is even saying? There have been times when men have faith have made miraculous discoveries that did not interfere with their faith. There have also been times when people have put aside their faith and had the courage to discover that reality often contradicts it. Many of these famous discoveries you champion were made in spite of those poeple’s faiths, rather then because of them.

    I was not aware that lying about the evidence so that you could maintain a twisted version of the bible was what a True Christian should do.

  14. Alex Cull

    Another good example, IMO is Michael Faraday. He was a member of a small Christian sect called the Sandemanians, and was ridiculed and despised by many during his lifetime, not only because of his religion but also because of his working-class background and lack of formal education. However, his insights about electromagnetism are fundamental to our understanding of electric currents and fields. And his religious thinking actually seems to have been key to the way he thought about the physical world – he saw a divine presence everywhere, filling with invisible forces what appeared to others as empty space. Faraday wrote: “The book of nature which we have to read is written by the finger of God.”

  15. Alan D. McIntire

    I don’t think that the origin of the scientific method in western Europe was an accident. The Christian outlook was that the world was created by GOD, and that God was not malicious, so the rules he used could be discovered by observation and by applying logic.

  16. Yeti

    AGW is really an old idea from the Christians.
    Already in the middle ages the church had letters of indulgent to forgive sins for those who could afford it.
    Carbon offset are nothing else then the modern form of letters of indulgent.
    Assign a value to something, today its CO2 in the middle ages it was sins and you have power and control over your fellow people and can make lots of money too.

  17. alerk323

    And yet, one of the most important times for scientific advancement was when religion and church outlook was put aside for reason and logic. During the 18th century enlightenment, Church teachings were directly contradicted by people who valued reason over blind faith.

    A quote by Bob Park comes to mind. “All of science is built on territory once occupied by Gods”.
    There is much more evidence that a “Christian outlook on life” directly interferes with scientific advancement. The modern day Intelligent design crusade is an excellent example of what happens when you refuse to put down the bible.

  18. mannning

    Let scientists do science, and let the theologians do theology. When a scientist speaks on religion, he is strictly out of his field no matter whether he is a Christian or an atheist. When a theologist speaks on science, he, too, is out of his field.

    Rather than trying to do battle to suppress those that pursue ideas that seem out of vogue, or outlandish, or even opposed to the conventional scientific opinion on a subject, we should allow them the freedom to prove their point or to give it up themselves in due time.

    It seems highly arrogant and unproductive to me for the scientific establishment to suppress the unconventional simply because they don’t agree with the science. Whitehead was famous for his reflection that when all scientists agree on something, they are almost uniformly wrong.

    When an area of investigation is significantly incomplete, has little solid evidence to work with, and an embedded clan of politically-motivated scientists is championing their own theory to the exclusion of all others, we have what I see as the current situation in both the climate change area and the ID area–and many others, for that matter, even Darwinian evolution itself. In my view, such suppression is a first-class sin for any real scientist.

    Emotional attachment to a particular theory is very human, but it is not very scientific, as almost all scientific endeavors in history can attest. If you are right you will ultimately prevail: if you are wrong, you will ultimately fail, and proper science will be the winner.

  19. alerk323

    Often, it is not suppression. It is science doing what science does best. If someone tries to publish an article that has faulty data and conclusions stemming from assumptions that are not backed up, they will get destroyed in peer review. Is that author allowed to scream “suppression” when that happens?

    I agree that politically motivated scientists are championing their idea over all others in the case of ID and possibly the climate issue. Darwinian evolution and the modern synthesis does not fall under this category however. It bothers me greatly when climate skeptics are also skeptical about evolution. Might as well replace the theory of gravitation with the theory of intelligent pulling.

    For those of you who agree that evolution is not a debate, while climate change may be, I ask again, why is the climate change issue failing the peer review process that so defines science?

  20. mannning

    No, that isn’t suppression, that is review and critique, which is standard procedure. There is something to say about just how a paper is “destroyed”, however.
    The reviewers may well be dead wrong themselves, may be showing their contempt (which is all too often the case), or may deny publication because the paper doen’t adhere to the current ideology. Therein lies suppression. Peers are not above suppression, now are they?

  21. Raven

    alerk323 says:
    “For those of you who agree that evolution is not a debate, while climate change may be, I ask again, why is the climate change issue failing the peer review process that so defines science?”

    It comes down to what people are doing with the science. Evolution is largely a theoretical question that has no impact on government policies or on the economy. On the other hand, climate science is being used to justify trillions in government spending and a radical restructuring of the economy. This means that climate science needs to meet a standard of evidence which is normally not required for theoretical science disciplines. Unfortunately, climate scientists don’t get it and seem to think that the traditional standards of evidence should be acceptable to the non-scientists who are being asked to make significant sacrifices because of the science.

    One example of the low standards of evidence in theoretical science is the argument that we must accept CO2 as the explanation for the 20th century warming despite the lack of conclusive empirical evidence because no one has come up with a better theory. An engineer who used such an argument to explain away inconsistencies with his building design would be considered incompentent.

    In other words, the peer review process is not failing. The problem is the scientists are trying to use the output of the process to do things that it was never intended to do.

  22. John M

    alerk323,

    Actually, those with qualms about AGW as presented by the media are not failing peer review. You can check Roger Pielke Sr.’s site for the reams of publications that are ignored by the press that show that it’s not as simple as eliminating CO2 emissions. It’s not real hard to find this point of view, as long as you don’t let yourself get tied up in yours shorts by wondering whether an inividual agrees with you on every issue.

    And if wacko ideas are enough to discredit a climate scientist, have you read carefully some of James Hansen’s musings?

    Google these: Hansen coal trains, Hansen CEO trial

  23. dreamin

    “On the other hand, climate science is being used to justify trillions in government spending and a radical restructuring of the economy. This means that climate science needs to meet a standard of evidence which is normally not required for theoretical science disciplines”

    I basically agree. In my opinion, there should be 100% disclosure of all data, source code, failed models, everything.

  24. mannning

    The only way I can understand Algore’s deliberate lies to the public on AGW is that the whole effort is a ploy to gain power over not only the US, but the rest of the world as well. Algore is intelligent enough to realize the flaws he has incorporated in his speeches and the movie, and he does not care. He believes that the end justifies the means, and the end is a world government organized around preparations worldwide to meet the challenge of GW. He is aided by a large group of scientists that see their grants, positions, and personal influence riding on their following the leader. There has been a deliberate quashing of opposition in the ranks of scientists to the AGW meme. Why it is “settled science” now, they say. This fits the asperations of the elitist Secular Humanist group very well, all of whom are dedicated internationalists and atheists, and see their way to US and world power through the likes of Algore and leftists–including most of the media. One should google Secular Humanism and the Secular Humanist Manifesto to see what they are on about and who is signed up to their Manifesto. (The hard link between Algore and these SH types is not easy to identify, however–I have not tried very hard as yet.)

    Well, it isn’t settled science. Fortunately, there are enough honest men, or, I should say, scientists with integrity and honesty, around to review, analyze, and debunk the claims of the AGW crowd, and to forge their own data collection, analysis and review. This counter-movement has been gaining strength almost daily, for which we should all be thankful.

  25. alerk323

    manning-

    You have…to be…kidding…wow…just..wow…

    You lost me at “elitist Secular Humanist group very well, all of whom are dedicated internationalists and atheists, and see their way to US and world power through the likes of Algore and leftists–including most of the media” This is the kinda sentiment that drives me away very quickly. You pretty much answered my question of, “why isn’t the peer process working” with “because their is a gigantic conspiracy where the atheists are trying to take over the world”.

    Substitute “atheist” with “Jews”, “African Americans”, “Communists”, or “Muslims” and you have the workings for every conspiracy theory in the last one hundred years.

    So what you are saying is that the atheists, leftest and secular humanists (who i guess all have control of the media somehow) have all gotten together to make up this cool little theory called “AGW” that will somehow lead them to…RULE THE WORLD. wow, talk about alarmism…

    I can get on board with the science, but when I see proponents of anti-agw spout nonsense like this it leads me to question where their motives really lie and what they really have an issue with…

  26. Stephen

    “I just don’t know what to think, I agree with some points, but I’m not sure about X.”

    “You can find out more about X here.”

    “But I just don’t know about Y.”

    “You can find out more about Y here.”

    “But what about the McGuffin.”

    “That’s not really relevant to the argument.”

    “But some of YOU PEOPLE sound really dumb.”

    Rinse, repeat, etc. Troll SOP.

  27. mannning

    Too bad you lost yourself. You did not go to the Google references, now did you? Nor have you had your eyes and ears open for the last decade or so. The MSM has been in the tank for the left for a long, long time, or haven’t you noticed? If not, then that simply says you too are leftist.

    The childish reference to other classes of people merely argues that the form of the argument is repeatable. So what? If you haven’t paid attention to the Humanist Movement and their plans for the world, you have missed the point completely, which is either deliberate, from ignorance, defensiveness, or inability to grasp what you have been told.

    Go read the Humanist Manifesto and then come back and tell me you think what I said is merely a conspiracy theory wrapped up in a robbon. Of course, if you do think SH is harmless, or if you do agree with their positions, you will have made yourself out to be a first-class atheistic fool. Did you also know that over 55 Congressmen have signed up to the Manifesto, and an as yet unknown number of Senators, among the thousands of subscribers to SH? Of course you didn’t, because you have blinders on.

  28. alerk323

    Stephen-

    I apologize if I sound like a troll. I did look at those google references and will look at them further. It will take me a much longer time to understand the science behind all of the issues but I intend to research it. Right now, though, I have other concerns which I feel you guys could answer, namely regarding the peer review process. Raven gave an interesting response which I don’t wholeheartedly agree with but may have some sort of merit.

    Manning-

    I did read the SH manifesto. It seems to be an extension of 18th century enlightenment. Anyways, you seem to know everything about me. Let’s see, I am actually quite liberal. Also, while I am an atheist, I am much closer to the closer to the climate skeptic view then the AGW view. Do I even need to mention that the vast, vast majority of AGW proponents are Christian? Namely their spokesmen, Al Gore.

    I have heard about the “humanist movement and their plans for the world” many times. It is usually synonymous with the “evil atheist movement” that is also trying to rule the world. This kind of argument is usually made by scared Christians who can’t handle that their faith is being questioned by another group.

    I like how you told me to read the manifesto, and if I agreed with it, it meant that “I was simply wrong and a fool”. Not the most convincing argument, but either way, you must provide a connection between the “evil atheist movement” and AGW, a connection I have yet to see especially considering many of the major players of AGW are Christian.

    And yes, it still seems you have a neat conspiracy wrapped in a new ribbon. The manifesto talks about using human reason to discover the world rather then blind faith. This might be scary to one who takes the words of a 2000 + year old book blindly as truth, but to one who has noticed that as religion has loosened its hold on the world, science has allowed things to improve. This is irrelevant, however, as you still need to provide the connection between AGW and atheist conspirators.

    As for the “55 congressmen who signed the manifesto”, could you show me a reference for that? I could not find any information on it. Even if they did, who cares? It is merely a philosophy, quite a rational one i might add. Do you fight against all philosophies that don’t mesh with your faith?

    Anyways, does anyone know of a forum that addresses the climate issue? I feel it would be more appropriate to converse their rather then as comments on this site.

  29. mannning

    I believe you may have missed this reference to the comparison of Christianity and SH, as it was buried about 10 or 12 pages deep.

    http://www.aboundingjoy.com/humanism_chart.htm

    This piece clearly shows the moral relativity of SH, among its other sins. Rational? No.

    To answer your question about fighting against all philosophies that are opposed to my faith, I will remark that it is a question of the perceived importance of the threat. I do not waste my time on trivial radical sects on the right or left. Of great importance to the US is the rise of the SH/Atheist philosophy, as we can clearly see the chaos that it has created in our society. I would class Islam a another major threat, not because of its conversions, but because of its militancy.

    For the 55 congressmen, one reference is Charles Colson’s “How Now Shall We Live”, but the footnote that cites the actual reference I haven’t looked up.

    You do indeed speak as a true atheist, spouting the usual denigrations at the Bible and those who, in your terms, take it literally–as in Creationism, which I do not.

    You are right that I have not shown Algore strongly connected to SH, but it will come sooner or later. I did use the term “closet” for Gore. Interestingly, however, there seems to be something to the fact that Obama has a strong connection to SH through his Mother, who, O said, was the greatest influence on his life.

    What does all this have to do with Climate Change? Scientifically, zero. Politically, everything.

  30. alerk323

    I must have missed that comparison, could you point it out to me?

    That website does not show the “moral relativity” of SH. It shows its relativity to Christianity. All it did was compare the two. What you are pretty much saying is that, if it doesn’t agree with Christianity then it is immoral and wrong and irrational. That, in no way, demonstrates that SH is immoral. The logic of that site is as follows.

    1: Christianity is completely moral and correct and rational
    2: SH disagrees in many ways with christian values (jesus, god, etc etc)
    3: SH is therfore immoral and wrong and irrational.

    You simplly argued that SH is irrational because it doesn’t agree with Christianity. You have to either demonstrate that SH is irrational independent of what christains think, or you have to demonstrate that Christianity is rational and that that therfore SH is irrational because it is not the same. You have done neither.

    Can you point to the “clearly seen chaos in our society” created by the SH/atheist movement? (Hint: just because some things the SH/atheist movement say disagrees with your religion, doesn’t mean they are wrong or are creating “chaos”)

    Unfortunately, I have not read that book and therefore can not answer these questions by myself, perhaps you can help. Are these 55 current congressmen, or has there been a total of 55 congressmen since the manifesto was created that have, at one point or another, signed it?

    A “true atheist” is simply one who does not believe in any God. Obviously, then, I respect the bible in the same way I respect any book of ancient myths. And in no way must one believe in the bible literally in order to cause problems with science and with people’s lives. The ID movement, I think, illustrates this nicely as I think it caters to those who aren’t creationists, but who desire some middle ground between science and their religion.

    Your fact about Obama means nothing if you can not show how secular humanism specifically leads to chaos and dangerous policies. It also means very little because he is a Christian. I guess if he does something bad, he’s a secular humanist, but if he does something good, he’s a Christian, yes? You can’t pick and chose.

    Again, you have yet to show the direct connection between a conspiracy of secular humanists and climate change. You have merely pointed to a group you dislike and blamed them.

  31. John M

    alerk,

    Anyways, does anyone know of a forum that addresses the climate issue? I feel it would be more appropriate to converse their rather then as comments on this site.

    You give the distinct impression of being like folks who turn up here and elsewhere purporting to have an open mind and pretending to be willing to learn, while simply (either purposely or unintentionally) incessantly grinding some personal axe.

    I would suggest http://www.climateaudit.org for you you, but somehow, I get the feeling you’d be a lot happier at realclimate or deltoid, although even those sites might not let you pick a fight on religion.

  32. Raven

    alerk323 says:
    “Raven gave an interesting response which I don’t wholeheartedly agree with but may have some sort of merit”

    Another point to consider: overturning a consensus in any scientific field via peer review takes a lot of time and may actually require that some of the old guard retire or die off first. This is not an issue in most theoretical disciplines because very little is at stake. However, we are being pushed to adopt costly policies which assume that the current consensus is basically right. This means we, as a society, don’t have the time to wait for self correcting science via the peer review process.

    Fortunately, we do have other processes which are used when lives and/or money are at risk which could be adapted to address these concerns. These processes include things such as audits by independent parties and engineering reviews. Unfortunately, the people in the climate science community reject these ideas which leaves the impression that the science is not good enough to stand up these kinds of scrutinies

  33. alerk323

    I consider myself a very open minded person about the climate issue. Religion, on the other hand, is an issue I have studied for a couple years now and talked about a lot. I am rather opinionated about that subject and when I hear a certain level of ignorance that I have heard time and time again, I have trouble letting it go.

    There’s also the problem that it looks like manning believes there is a strong connection between religion and philosophy, and the climate debate. It is less “picking a fight on religion” then discussing the connection between religion and the climate issue and the politics involved.

    I don’t think most of you understand that I agree most closely with you guys on the issue of climate change. Just because I disagree strongly about some of the other issues discussed doesn’t make me close minded and unwilling to learn.

    anyways, Thank you for the links, i’ll look into it

  34. mannning

    alerk323-

    From the link I provided here are just two of the damaging Humanist positions included, which can be verified by numerous other SH sites, and the Manifestos I, II, III, and 2000. While the entire chart is comparative, the entries under Humanism are drawn from the Manifestos and further writings from the SH crowd:

    “Moral Relativism
    Humanists believe some things are right for some people and some situations that may be “wrong” for other people and other situations. There is no absolute right and wrong. Everything depends on the situation.

    Tolerance
    Believes that values, morals, and ethics are determined by each person for him or herself. Therefore, to tell someone else that their behavior is “wrong” or “sinful” is considered to be intolerant. “Intolerance” (defined this way) is not tolerated!”

    Apparently, you went there and forgot to read the entries, or you had some other motive. That is foolish behavior in my book.
    And, yes, I am intolerant of foolishness.

    From John Dewey on the US education system in general has been in the thrall of Humanistic values and teachings, to the exclusion of teaching properly written and spoken English, American Literature, US history, US government, the Constitution, and Civics, in favor of the going memes from the left, and they fail to teach students how to think for themselves. This shows up clearly when HS grads enter college and have to take one to three or four, or even more, remedial classes in order to proceed. Most do not succeed beyond year two.

    Then, once fully enrolled in classes, they are faced with being brainwashed by the overwhelmingly leftwing professors (about 9 to 1 leftist) that actually enjoy twisting the naive minds of the undergrads in the leftist and atheistic directions. This trend was quite apparent way back when Allan Bloom wrote “The Closing of the American Mind” and has since been confirmed by many studies of American universities. Take a small detour into Noam Chomsky sometime (he, of course, was the idol of Ward Churchill, of “little Eichmans” fame).

    The results have been seen in the rise of the looney left, the rise of atheism, the great decrease in moral behavoir, porn, and the usual other list of what Christians believe is right while the left believes is open to personal choice. Abortion comes to mind, that has resulted in 50 million dead babies since RvW. This is a small part of the chaos we have inherited from the left. The payoff will be felt in the moral decay of the nation in coming years.

    There is no sense in discussing these matters further with an avowed atheist. There is no sense in carrying the debate further in this forum, either. Have a nice time in your “man is the measure of all things” world you inherit, and good luck.

  35. alerk323

    I did read them and I agree with both. They are both logical and rational. Your way is basically that your morals are correct, SH says that there are no inherently correct morals. I could argue this further but a quick google search would explain it too you if you are willing to open your eyes.

    Everything you have said is because you see the world through a pair of shrouded, black and white glasses. It is not christians vs atheists, as both atheists and christians are divdied on many, many issues. Not to say you are necessarily wrong about your beliefs, just that you aren’t right just because you say you are right. There are other opinions and many issues reflect the opinions of many diverse people with diverse backgrounds.

    Anyways,you are right that this is not the correct forum in which to have this type of discussion. Thank you for your responses, they have been as always, enlightening.

  36. Alex Llewelyn

    Being from Britain, maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see how religion or lack thereof has anything to do with climate science, less still politics. However, one would assume that if the skeptical side is right, that is, more rational and logical, then those who are on that side are more likely to be atheists given that they are the ones, unarguably who have the logical and rational high-ground in that respect, in that they disbelieve in a theory based on complete lack of evidence but for a 2000+ yr. old book of old myths that has no more credibility than believing in Zeus or Ra. You are an atheist in that you disbelieve in Allah, Vishnu, Zeus and Ra, I just believe in one fewer.

    If AGW has insufficient evidence, then those who “believe” it are basing it on faith not science; these are similar tendencies as those pertaining to religion: irrational belief based on little or no evidence. AGW clearly has more evidence than that, but the argument still stands.

    However, one’s religious beliefs, in my view, tend to be very seperate to science, so probably has little bearing on their climate beliefs, although it is disturbing to hear that Roy Spencer has such strong views on evolution, which is, scientifically, if not theologically, most definitely settled.

    Also, to argue that because “Humanists believe some things are right for some people and some situations that may be “wrong” for other people and other situations. There is no absolute right and wrong. Everything depends on the situation.” they are therefore evil makes no sense. Think about it: the world is full of shades of grey; things are never, except in a strictly religious perspective, exactly right or wrong. Let’s take killing someone. Is someone who had a mental illness and killed an attacker in sefl-defense equally blameworthy as someone who killed someone out of sheer malice? Of course not. To argue otherwise would be downright foolish.

    To conclude, to argue that because a person is an atheist, their views on climate science must be faulty is to fight a losing battle. If we must make extrapolations from one’s religious views then we must conclude that whatever the atheists believe must be right. I can see no relationship myself between religious views and views on global warming, but can I just say I am an atheist doubter of extreme human-induced global warming with remotely conservative views.

  37. An Inquirer

    Dear “Alerk323″ Here are a couple of points worth considering. 1.)Many times, AGW skeptics are dismissed because they are “just economists.” I would not be too hard on economists. After all, the chair of the IPCC is an economist. (He is also holds a degree in Industrial Engineering, but he typically refers to himself as an economist.) 2.) The chair says he believes in re-incarnation. You can imagine the potential for ad hominen attacks with that set-up. However, my problem with Dr. Pachauri is not his religion or his training. I am much more concerned about his failure to address the key issues and debate the science. (He once did say that the failure of the earth to warm over the last ten years does deserve some investigation, but I have not seen any follow-up. In fact, he has also said that either the models were not producing entirely reliable results or that the data observed in the real world were wrong, and it is more likely that the latter is the case.

  38. Vince

    Ok. I tried to let it go, but I cannot. First I’d like to point out that alerk323 seems to be quite disingenuous in his/representation of himself/herself. Like others on this site have attempted he/she started off intimating that he/she was undecided on AGW and was truly looking for information.

    alerk323
    “Anyways, I don’t really know which side to fall on simply because there is so much conflicting information out there and my knowledge of the hard science is very incomplete.”

    However, he/she immediately started attempting to discredit Dr. Spencer.

    akerk323
    “Anyways one thing that bothers me about Roy W. Spencer is that it seems he has…rather unconventional views on evolution. While I understand that these are two completely different topics and it is much more appropriate to agree or disagree with him based on his evidence, it does raise red flags when a climate skeptic holds views on another issue that is TRULY against the scientific consensus.”

    Alerk323 was quickly exposed as an atheist with an agenda and will most likely be exposed as an AGM Alarmist with an agenda as well.

    As a reader and a Christian, but rare poster to this site, I appologize to you regulars that I must now stray from the topic of AGM to answer alerk323’s attacks on Dr. Spencer and God.

    In his/her July 25, 2008 at 03:03 PM post alerk323 takes some very brief lines from some of Dr. Spencer’s writings and attempts to discredit his beliefs, going as far as to write the following:

    “Spencer makes countless more ignorant “observations” to the point where it is embarrassing. I could go on forever, and would be glad too. I don’t mean to side track this discussion though.”

    Alerk, please prove the truth of any of your statements claiming Dr. Spencer’s igonorance. Per your statement: “For example, he says that “A population of moths that changes from light to dark based upon environmental pressures is not evolution”. That is simply wrong, it is evolution as evolution is defined by scientists. That is, ” a change of allele frequencies over time”. The allele frequencies changed in that moth population. Therefore it is evolution, plain and simple.”

    I assume you got your info from here: http://www.ridgenet.net/~do_while/sage/v7i9e.htm

    You seemed to have cherry picked your info word for word. Why don’t you read on further: “We are glad to clear up the confusion, which stems from the fact that the term “evolution” is used to mean many different things. If “Evolution is only concerned about the change in allele frequency in a population,” then there would be no confusion, and no disagreement. The problem is that people rarely mean that when they use the term, ‘evolution.’” …….. “The confusion comes when someone then tries to use the term “evolution” to mean the creation of moths from non-moths. That would require brand new, fully functional genes, with previously unknown information, to arise. That is an entirely different process than merely changing the relative percentage of existing things.”

    Not so plain and simple after all. I’m sure you are well aware that most people think of the second definition when they think of evloution. (i.e. the idea that man could evolve from some lower form of life)

    When Dr. Spencer states “A population of moths that changes from light to dark based upon environmental pressures is not evolution”. he cleary means that a new species was not created.

    There is absolutely no evidence anywhere of a new species ever being created through evolution or natural selection. This despite the fact that scientists who believe in the theory have been looking for fossils and trying to create new species in the laboratory for most of the years since the theory was introduced. I’ll let Dr. Spencer speak for himself from here on.

    Here are two urls for articles that contain the statements that alerk criticizes. If any of you would like to take the time to read them in their entirety you will see the very well thought out, scientifically based reasoning that led Dr. Spencer to become a Christian and to develop his current beliefs.

    http://theevolutioncrisis.org.uk/testimony2.php
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/roy-spencer-on-intelligent-design/

    Each of you can be your own judge.

  39. alerk323

    Thank you Vince, I am not sure if you will see this response, but I hope you do. I was going to leave this thread but your response has prompted me to respond, I hope that is ok as I would like to defend myself.

    First I would like to address my aparent contradiction where I said I knew little about science but felt qualified to critique doctor Spencer. Let me apologize for this. When I said that my knowledge of “the science was incomplete”, I meant my knowledge of climate science was incomplete, not all science in general. To the contrary, I feel very confident with my scientific knowledge about evolution and I sincerly apologize for the confusion and seeming like I was contradicting myself.

    Anyways let’s move on.

    “As a reader and a Christian, but rare poster to this site, I appologize to you regulars that I must now stray from the topic of AGM to answer alerk323’s attacks on Dr. Spencer and God.”

    I am rather offended that you consider an attack on an ID proponent as an “attack on God”. I know many people who are christian and completely reject ID, do they not accept God as well?

    Anyways, let me address your specific problems you had with me.

    “I assume you got your info from here: http://www.ridgenet.net/~do_while/sage/v7i9e.htm, You seemed to have cherry picked your info word for word. Why don’t you read on further”

    Unfortunately, your assumption is completely wrong. I got my info from BIO 101, but I could have just as easily gotten it from looking for the scientific definition of evolution. Your allegations about me “cherry picking”, are therefore incorrect.

    I understand that there are multiple laymen definitions of evolution. However, there is only ONE scientific definition. When Dr. Spencer uses the term in a piece that discusses the SCIENCE of evolution, he must abide by the only definition that applies. He can not pick and chose what his words mean, and neither can you.

    “Not so plain and simple after all. I’m sure you are well aware that most people think of the second definition when they think of evolution. (i.e. the idea that man could evolve from some lower form of life)
    When Dr. Spencer states “A population of moths that changes from light to dark based upon environmental pressures is not evolution”. he cleary means that a new species was not created.”

    Wrong, it is plain and simple. I don’t care what “most people” think it means, there is only one scientific definition. I can name plenty of other definition of evolition. Evolution simply means “change”, in some ways. There is planetary evolution, there is even Pokemon evolution. However, when Dr. Spencer talks about the science of evolution, he must use the scientific definition, he can not merely pick and chose.

    If he “clearly meant that a new species was not created”, he should have SAID that “clearly, a new species was not created”. It is wrong to add, “therefore, it did not evolve”. If he truly meant only that a new speices was not created, then he is RIGHT. And guess what, no one ELSE claims that a new species was created. The moth example is simply not an example of a new species arising, and no one claims that it is. However, when Dr. Spencer writes about how “the moth’s didn’t evolve!!”, he does in a way that makes it seem like most people don’t agree. The fact is, if he meant simply that a “new species didn’t arise”, then EVERYONE agrees with him, plain and simple, and he is saying nothing remarkable.

    “There is absolutely no evidence anywhere of a new species ever being created through evolution or natural selection. This despite the fact that scientists who believe in the theory have been looking for fossils and trying to create new species in the laboratory for most of the years since the theory was introduced. I’ll let Dr. Spencer speak for himself from here on.”

    That is incorrect. I will refer to these two links which explain multiple speciation events that have been observed.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

    They include a new mosquito species, various plant speciation and various ring species. As you see, you and Dr Spencer are incorrect to state that no new species have been observed to arise through the process of natural selection.

  40. Vince

    Alerk,

    You obviously don’t understand the concept of writing to your audience. Dr. Spencer wasn’t writing to a group of Biologists, Biology Professors, or even Biology students. He was writing to the average person. Therefore, the average person’s understanding of what is meant by evolution is what is important, not the scientific definition. Even is there was only one scientific definition.

    Apparently, however, your statements about the “only Scientific definition” and Bio 101 are also incorrect. I unfortunately only had easy access to one Biology textbook (Solomon, E. P., L. R. Berg & D. W. Martin. Biology, 5th edition. Saunders College Publishing. 1999)

    It defines evolution as follows:
    Evolution – “the cumulative genetic changes in a population from generation to generation.”

    So you see your definition is far from the only one and is a clear attempt to obfuscate and distract attention from the key point of the subject of Dr. Spencer’s papers.

    Fortunately for me I need only produce one definition to refute your statement: “Wrong, it is plain and simple. I don’t care what “most people” think it means, there is only one scientific definition.”

    A quick google search is all it took to discover the huge controversy around a subject seemingly as straight forward as the definition of evolution. So “plain and simple” doesn’t exist in this topic. Pretending it is “plain and simple” and “there is only one scientific definition” is disingenuous. (By the way, I quite frankly doubt if Dr. Spencer or most of the people reading this blog care what you care. They care about what can be proven.)

    As far as your last attempt at a point. I stand behind my statement “There is absolutely no evidence anywhere of a new species ever being created through evolution or natural selection.”

    Pay specific attention to the word “evidence”. It only took a quick google search to find that all of the studies cited in your link have been refuted, most more than once.

    This gets us back to the link between the theories of AGW and Evolution. Their proponents when asked for evidence continually produce responses that do not meet the standard of evidence and act as if they’ve proven their point.

    In fact, they and you, have PROVEN nothing.

    The most important difference between AGW alarmists and Evolutionist is that at least the Evolutionist aren’t trying to get the people of the World to spend trillions of dollars on their theory.

  41. alerk323

    Vince,

    “You obviously don’t understand the concept of writing to your audience. Dr. Spencer wasn’t writing to a group of Biologists, Biology Professors, or even Biology students. He was writing to the average person. Therefore, the average person’s understanding of what is meant by evolution is what is important, not the scientific definition. Even is there was only one scientific definition”

    Often when I get into debates about this issue with people, they ignore much of what I say. Unfortunately, this is the case now. Let me try to explain why Dr. Spencer needs to use the correct definition in this case, regardless of who he is talking too.

    The moth study is a common study referenced as evidence that evolution takes place. Scientists would point to it, and say, “hey look, there, evolution is taking place”. Roy Spencer is directly disputing this claim. He is saying, “hold on a moment, they are NOT evolving”. Because he is DIRECTLY addressing what the scientists are saying, he must use THEIR definition regardless of who he is talking too otherwise it does not make sense to argue with them. For example, let us say Dr. Spencer is using your definition of evolution. The conversation would go something like this.

    Scientists: Look, the moth’s are evolving! (in the sense that their genetic makeup is changing from one generation to the next)

    Dr. Spencer: “no they are not! they are still the same species”

    Scientists: “we know…thats not what we mean by evolution…”

    Dr. Spencer: “but under my definition of evolution, they are not evolving!”

    Scientists: “ok…i guess under your definition (which is not the scientific definition) they are not…”

    By using the term “evolving” in this context, he makes it seem like he is disagreeing with the scientists, when in fact, he is just making some random observation that everyone agrees with and using the wrong term.

    “It defines evolution as follows:
    Evolution – “the cumulative genetic changes in a population from generation to generation.””

    Uh…do you even know what “change of allele frequencies from one generation to the next” even means?. Your definition is pretty much the exact same definition that I gave just with easier words… you merely reinforced the point that there is only one scientific definition of evolution…thank you.

    “A quick google search is all it took to discover the huge controversy around a subject seemingly as straight forward as the definition of evolution. So “plain and simple” doesn’t exist in this topic. Pretending it is “plain and simple” and “there is only one scientific definition” is disingenuous. (By the way, I quite frankly doubt if Dr. Spencer or most of the people reading this blog care what you care. They care about what can be proven.)”

    So again, you showed me one other scientific definition, and low and behold, it means the EXACT same thing as my definition. Still only one scientific definition…if you can find others I will be happy to look at them. (and i have no idea what you are talking about with this “proven” business you speak of).

    “As far as your last attempt at a point. I stand behind my statement “There is absolutely no evidence anywhere of a new species ever being created through evolution or natural selection.”

    Pay specific attention to the word “evidence”. It only took a quick google search to find that all of the studies cited in your link have been refuted, most more than once.”

    You can’t just wave your hands and make all of those examples go away. All? Can you show me how even one of them is refuted? two? I couldn’t find any. Would you like me to show you another huge list of speciation events? Their have been practically hundreds. Or will you just look at them and say “nope, none of them are good” without giving a reason?

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

    here is another list of speciation events. Will you hand wave away all of these too? If you would like, I can pick one or two and you can try to show me why they are not speciation events. That link has a list near the middle of the page, the first part explains what speciation is and some mechanisms which you should probably read.

    “The most important difference between AGW alarmists and Evolutionist is that at least the Evolutionist aren’t trying to get the people of the World to spend trillions of dollars on their theory”

    That is funny you say that, because the evolutions arn’t trying to get the people of the world to spend money, they ALREADY have people spending money. The money spent on evolution faaaarr outweighs the money spend on global warming. Evolutionary principles are applied to alomst all aspects of biology including many aspects of other disciplines. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  42. Vince

    Alerk,

    Last time them I am done with you.

    Your arrogance obviously prevents you from ever attempting to understand (or admit you understand) any view point that differs from your own. You attempt to misdirect and obfuscate by digging into details of the most convoluted area of “Science” and then disingenuously proclaiming it to be “plain and simple”. Unless you are hopelessly stupid, which it doesn’t appear that you are, you are being arrogant and disingenuous when you state that anything related to the theory of evolution is either “plain” or “simple”.

    Let’s go back to the start of this shall we. My original post was a response to three specific paragraphs in your July 25, 2008 at 03:03 PM post where you attempted to discredit Dr. Spencer. You stated the following:

    1) “Spencer does not have a “good, calculated, reserved” stance on the subject. It is anything but.”

    and

    2) “He makes such elementary mistakes that one might think he never took a basic, college level biology course. For example, he says that “A population of moths that changes from light to dark based upon environmental pressures is not evolution”. That is simply wrong, it is evolution as evolution is defined by scientists. That is, ” a change of allele frequencies over time”. The allele frequencies changed in that moth population. Therefore it is evolution, plain and simple.”

    and

    3) “Another thing he says is an argument refuted more times then i can count. He says “An Audi and a Ford each have four wheels, a transmission, an engine, a gas tank, fuel injection systems … but no one would claim that they both naturally evolved from a common ancestor”. Ignoring the fact that he tries to relate mechanical objects that can not replicate themselves with biological entities, his explanation would lead us to believe that bats and birds, two organisms that fly, should have very similar ways of flying. Wouldn’t it make sense to for them to have a common design? Why don’t they? Why, in fact, do they have limbs that are phenotypically and genotypically similar to mammals? How come when comparing there genes, morphology, endogenous retrovirus insertion and the fossil record they just all happen to demonstrate a relationship between birds and reptiles, and bats and mammals.”

    and finally the last straw

    4) “Spencer makes countless more ignorant “observations” to the point where it is embarrassing. I could go on forever, and would be glad too. I don’t mean to side track this discussion though.”

    I will respond in order.

    1. Who chose you as the arbiter of what is “good, calculated, reserved”? This statement reveals nothing but your own arrogant opinion.

    2. He makes no mistake here at all. He states that the process is not evolution and many scientists (including some Biologists and even some Evolutionists) would agree with that assessment. I go back here to the concept of writing to your audience, something many other scientists could learn from Dr. Spencer. Your rationale that I quote below is the most telling example of your arrogance and the general arrogance of many “scientists”.

    “Because he is DIRECTLY addressing what the scientists are saying, he must use THEIR definition regardless of who he is talking too otherwise it does not make sense to argue with them”

    Dr. Spencer is addressing the impression that the “scientists” give when they claim an occurrence as “evolution”. The impression that they give the average person is that this “evolution” supports the grander scheme expressed by the theory of life being created from inanimate matter, single celled organisms “evolving” in to multi-celled organisms, right on up to man. He is not arguing with the “scientists”, he is correcting the misperception that they are (most likely intentionally) trying to create among the general population.

    Isn’t science supposed to be about the betterment and enlightenment of mankind. How can the average person be enlightened when arrogant, self centered “scientists” intentionally mislead them to further their own agenda. Yet another parallel between AGW and evolution proponents.

    3) Why would anyone be surprised that you don’t understand the basic concept of an analogy. Your conclusion here of what his explanation “would lead us to believe” is completely erroneous. Another example of your arrogance that you believe you know what anything would lead others to believe.

    4) “Spencer makes countless more ignorant “observations” to the point where it is embarrassing.”

    This is your basic ad hominem attack which is often used by AGW proponents. And then back to disingenuous with “I could go on forever, and would be glad too. I don’t mean to side track this discussion though.”

    Now let’s directly address your latest diatribe.

    A) Uh…do you even know what “change of allele frequencies from one generation to the next” even means?. Your definition is pretty much the exact same definition that I gave just with easier words… you merely reinforced the point that there is only one scientific definition of evolution…thank you.

    Troll playbook: Start with that personal attack on me. Check. Then you use “pretty much the same”. The problem is that you used these little things “ “. They are known as quotation marks. When you place words or phrases inside them they are intended to be taken literally, word-for-word. “Pretty much the same” doesn’t cut it.

    You stated that your quote was the only scientific definition and I, with minimal effort, found another one of the many that are out there just to point out your arrogance.

    B) “So again, you showed me one other scientific definition, and low and behold, it means the EXACT same thing as my definition. Still only one scientific definition…if you can find others I will be happy to look at them. (and i have no idea what you are talking about with this “proven” business you speak of).”

    There you go again, now you’re using the word exact, in all caps none the less. There is nothing about the theory of evolution that is either “exact” or “plain and simple”. Until you admit that basic fact you have no credibility.

    Do a quick google search, I’m not doing any more work for you. Of course your definition of “scientific definition” could impact what you find. Do you mean biologist’s definition, evolutionist’s definition, chemist’s definition? Do we all get to have our own definitions? It seems evolutionists are quite good at making up new definitions whenever the generally accepted ones don’t fit their agenda (more in a minute on this).

    If you don’t understand the concept of proof you are beyond my help.

    C) “You can’t just wave your hands and make all of those examples go away. All? Can you show me how even one of them is refuted? two? I couldn’t find any. Would you like me to show you another huge list of speciation events? Their have been practically hundreds. Or will you just look at them and say “nope, none of them are good” without giving a reason?
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
    here is another list of speciation events. Will you hand wave away all of these too? If you would like, I can pick one or two and you can try to show me why they are not speciation events. That link has a list near the middle of the page, the first part explains what speciation is and some mechanisms which you should probably read.”

    Do a quick google search, type the name of the study and the word refute. Have fun.

    I would like to thank you for the link. It helps with many of my points. Here’s a fun quote from your link that “waves away” all of the studies with no effort from me at all.

    “A discussion of speciation requires a definition of what constitutes a species. This is a topic of considerable debate within the biological community. Three recent reviews in the Journal of Phycology give some idea of the scope of the debate (Castenholz 1992, Manhart and McCourt 1992, Wood and Leatham 1992). There are a variety of different species concept currently in use by biologists. These include folk, biological, morphological, genetic, paleontological, evolutionary, phylogenetic and biosystematic definitions. In the interest of brevity, I’ll only discuss four of these — folk, biological, morphological and phylogenetic. A good review of species definitions is given in Stuessy 1990.”

    If “scientists” can’t even agree on a consistent definition of species, how then can any definition be used to confirm that a change of species has occurred. Show me an example of an ape becoming a man. No? OK, how about a primate becoming a different type of primate. Still no? OK, how about a fruit fly becoming something other than a fruit fly. Still no answer although “scientists” have been trying for many years to accomplish just that.
    As I alluded to above its seems that the definitions used in studying the theory of evolution have evolved over the past 150 years. It appears that when it becomes apparent that they can’t prove some aspect of the theory evolutionists just change a few rules, tweek a definition or two and voila. What do you know, another fine comparison to AGW alarmists.

    D) “That is funny you say that, because the evolutions arn’t trying to get the people of the world to spend money, they ALREADY have people spending money. The money spent on evolution faaaarr outweighs the money spend on global warming. Evolutionary principles are applied to alomst all aspects of biology including many aspects of other disciplines. Sorry to burst your bubble.”

    I have no doubt that some of the studies under your very broad definition of evolution have most likely resulted in some positive impact on humankind. When the definition of evolution is expanded to include cross breeding or mutating plants and animals to make them more able to produce food or more resistant to disease for example. Back to the main point, however, that doesn’t fit into the general population’s understanding of evolution. I’m sure countless other funds have been wasted by those “scientists” who believe in the more basic definition of evolution (man from inanimate material) and are dedicated not to further science or benefit the world, but to prove their “Faith”.

    Sorry, I digress because you did so by taking my comment completely out of context in an attempt to make a point. Imagine that.

    My comment was not directed toward research funding (Although I somehow feel you knew that. Just being disingenuous again?). It was directed toward the trillions of dollars that it would cost the world to implement the Draconian regulations being suggested by many AGW alarmists. I hate to disappoint you, but you burst nothing.

  43. alerk323

    Vince,

    Unfortunately, half of your post merely says that I am arrogant. You fail to actually address my points, instead only repeating what you’ve said before, with the added bonus of calling me names, and then just running away at the end. Why are you so scared to address specifically what I say? Let me go through your post. I will respond in the same order you give.

    “1. Who chose you as the arbiter of what is “good, calculated, reserved”? This statement reveals nothing but your own arrogant opinion.”

    Did you just read my posts, and not the ones that came before? I was quoting a previous post that was defending Dr. Spencer by using those exact words. I was disagreeing with another poster that Dr. Spencer is “good, calculated, and reserved”. It reveals your character quite strongly that you nit picked me for not being a good arbiter and not the poster who originally made the comment.

    “2. He makes no mistake here at all. He states that the process is not evolution and many scientists (including some Biologists and even some Evolutionists) would agree with that assessment. I go back here to the concept of writing to your audience, something many other scientists could learn from Dr. Spencer. Your rationale that I quote below is the most telling example of your arrogance and the general arrogance of many “scientists”.”

    For some reason you quote the very original thing I said and you ignore the two explanations I gave when you challenged me on the issue. I explained this twice, Vince. Let me summarize again but I already responded twice. Dr. Spencer was disagreeing with what scientists said. He must use their definition if he is to disagree with their conclusion. If he was using YOUR definition, then he would not be disagreeing with anyone.

    “Dr. Spencer is addressing the impression that the “scientists” give when they claim an occurrence as “evolution”. The impression that they give the average person is that this “evolution” supports the grander scheme expressed by the theory of life being created from inanimate matter, single celled organisms “evolving” in to multi-celled organisms, right on up to man. He is not arguing with the “scientists”, he is correcting the misperception that they are (most likely intentionally) trying to create among the general population.”

    Here you respond a little to what I have said before, thank you. Anyways, it is not the problem of scientits what the average person thinks they mean by evolution. If the average person is ignorant of what the term means, that is not the scientists problem.

    I have trouble responding to this part because you have made so many errors and strawmen that indicates you just don’t know what the theory of evolution actually says.

    Firstly, the theory of evolution says NOTHING about life coming from non life, that is a straw man. Evolution starts when the first life appeared, whether it appeared by abiogensis, alians, magic, or even God.

    Second, the moth example was never meant to be an example of how life went from single celled to multi-celled to man. That is taking it WAYYY out of its context. The moth example is merely evidence of natural selection. Dr. Spencer takes the study way out of context by trying to paint it as if biologists are trying to show the long term evolution of man.

    “Isn’t science supposed to be about the betterment and enlightenment of mankind. How can the average person be enlightened when arrogant, self centered “scientists” intentionally mislead them to further their own agenda. Yet another parallel between AGW and evolution proponents”

    Just because the public doesn’t understand what the scientists are saying, doesn’t mean that they are being “intentionally mislead”. You are the only one saying that Vince. Most people, like you, don’t understand that evolution has NOTHING to do with the creation of life. Is that because scientists are “misleading the public” or because most people are simply ignorant about the theory of evolution and what it means? (especially considering that a quick google search explains exactly what the theory of evolution says).

    “There you go again, now you’re using the word exact, in all caps none the less. There is nothing about the theory of evolution that is either “exact” or “plain and simple”. Until you admit that basic fact you have no credibility.”

    You still don’t get that your definition and my definition mean the same thing? This is like you asking what the defintion of a car is, and me saying “a vehicle with an engine and four wheels” and you saying “HA, its actually a vehicle with an engine and FOUR RUBBER TIRES look at how many different defintions they’re are!!” As you see, both definitions mean the same. Definitions can obviously be said different ways, that doesn’t mean they mean different things.

    Cumulative genetic changes = change in allele frequency. Please, learn what the terms mean before engaging in a discussion about them.

    You are pretty much saying that “evolution” could mean any definition. If that was Roy Spencer’s problem, he should have tried to clarify what kind of evolution they MEANT in the moth example. Instead, he simply assumes one (and the wrong one at that) and attacks it. They call that a strawman, vince.

    “If “scientists” can’t even agree on a consistent definition of species, how then can any definition be used to confirm that a change of species has occurred.”

    What defintino would you accept, vince? YOU are the one who said that “a species has never been observed to change species”. How can you even say that if there is no definition of species? I will admit that “species” is not a 100% agree’d on term. That is because biology doesn’t follow the order we give to it. However, under ALL of the above mentioned species definitions, we have found organisms to evolve between them.

    “Show me an example of an ape becoming a man.”

    Another ignorant statement. Men ARE apes. What are you even asking? For a modern example of some monkey turning into a man? No evolutionist thinks that would happen. Is this another strawman?

    “OK, how about a fruit fly becoming something other than a fruit fly”

    You get angry that scientists have many defintions of species, and then you use terms that mean nothing at all? What is a fruit fly? What would constitute “not a fruit fly”. What is the earliest point that you would consider a fruit fly, not a fruit fly? If you can’t answer these questions then how can you expect there ever to be an example? You would just shift the goalposts, and say, “oh, that is a fruit fly too you can’t show it turning into an ELEPHANT I BET” Cmon, this is a tactic I see all the time, shifting the goal posts. You ask for species changing, and i give you a million examples. You just say “nope, they aren’t changing enough for me”.

    Remember, all of those definitions of species that you gave have examples where organisms evolve between them. Pick whichever you like. You can’t just close your eyes.

    “Do a quick google search, type the name of the study and the word refute. Have fun.”

    Um, no vince, that is not how these discussion work. I give you my evidence, and then YOU provide the refutation. You can’t just say “oh, all of the refutations are out there GO FIND THEM”. No, that is your job. I have provided a boatload of evidence, and you just say “nope they are all wrong go figure it out for yourself”. Hardly a way to argue, Vince, dont you think?

    I know you will probably not respond to any of this, classic case of “I am right so I am leaving” type deal, but in case there are any lurkers out there following this, enjoy.

  44. Alex Llewelyn

    Quite right, alerk, and I did search that and came up with no refutations of it, just it refuting creationist claims!

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