“Anti-Scientific”

From Joe Romm, via Tom Nelson

The finalist list is out for the 2008 Weblog awards “Best Science Blog,” and two of the ten finalists are anti-scientific websites primarily devoted to spreading disinformation (and noninformation) on global warming– just like 2007.

The 2007 “competition” ended up being yet another classic exercise in the right wing perverting an otherwise reasonable web idea — online voting for the best science blog. As Desmogblog explained in a post titled, The “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” beating “Vast Left Wing” Voting for Best Science Weblog, the right wing voted en masse for Climate Audit and the rational people all voted for Discover magazine’s excellent Bad Astronomy Blog. In the end, the process was so controverisal that the Awards folk simply called it a tie — saying each blog ended up with exactly 20,000 votes.

The Weblog Awards should not be legitimizing anti-scientific denialism.

As a student of history, I try really hard to never use the word “unprecedented.”  For example, those who think the partisan bickering we have today is somehow at a peak should go back to any American paper in 1855 and take a gander at the vitriol that flew back and forth.

But I must say I do find it difficult to find a good historical analog for this whole “anti-scientific” knock on climate skeptics.  I can understand accusing others of being wrong on a topic in science.   For example, it took decades for plate tectonics theory to catch on outside of small fringes of the geologic community, but I don’t remember folks accusing others of being anti-scientific.

This is particularly true in the case of the two blogs Mr. Romm mentions.   Here are a couple of quick thoughts:

  • Steve McIntyre, at Climate Audit, spends most of his time trying (in great, statistical depth) trying to replicate work by scientists such as Michael Mann and James Hansen, and critiques their work when he thinks he finds flaws.  Mann and Hansen spend much of their time trying to stonewall Mr. McIntyre and prevent him from having access to their data (most of which was collected and analyzed at taxpayer expense, either directly or through government grants).  Which of these parties seems closer to the spirit of science.
  • Anthony Watt argued for years with the government operators of the surface temperature measurement network that their system had location biases that were not being taken into account, and that were much large than being acknowledged.  When the operators of these systems were uninterested in pursuing the matter, Watt started a volunteer effort to survey and photograph these stations to the location biases, where they may exist, would be visible and available for anyone who wished to see.
  • Only one side in this debate ever argues that the other should be banned from even speaking or being heard.  I think you know which one that is.  So which side is the one that is “anti-science” — the one that is happy to mix it up in open debate or the one that is trying to get its opposition silenced?

Again, Watt and McIntyre could be wrong, but their sites are often scientific.  I could easily name 10 climate skeptic sites that, while I wouldn’t call them anti-science, are certainly a-scientific, focusing more on polemic than data.  But I could do the exact same on the alarmist side.  Certainly Watt and McIntyre’s sites are not in this category.

Here is the best analogy I can come up with (one which, not being religious myself, hopefully I can portray with a bit of detachment).   During the reformation, the Catholic Church accused critics of the Church of being anti-Christian.  But the religious skeptics were not anti-Christian per se, they merely contested the Church’s (and the Pope’s) ability to speak with absolute authority on religious matters.  In this case, the priests of the Church were upset that their monopoly to speak for Church doctrine was being challenged. They challenged their opposition as being anti-religious, but what they were was actually against the established Church, doctrine, and priesthood.

And by the way, is any actual adult human being with more than a year experience blogging really surprised that voting on the Internet

  • Hal

    Are we voting on how to finish this sentence?

    And by the way, is any actual adult human being with more than a year experience blogging really surprised that voting on the Internet

    ….is anti-democratic.

    I fully agree with you.

    Hal

  • cfdman

    …produces manipulated results.

  • …is an exercise in futility?

  • Mike M.

    Postus interruptus. Used to happen to Marcus Aurelius, like, all the time.

  • Perhaps this is a trial run for the term “Anti-Scientific” – to see how it fares in the pejoratives competition where the reigning queen is “Climate Denier.”

  • Neo

    Everytime I read something like this, I think of Robin Warren and Barry Marshall.

    In the 80’s they were viewed as crackpots and lunatics, in 2005 they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine (yes Virginia, every so often the Nobel folks get something right).

  • TLC Los Alamos

    Watt and McIntyre are correct, along with the more than 15,000 Scientists who signed the petition challenging the IPCC dogma on anthropogenic global warming. They are all challenging dogma in the same way as Galileo when he challenged official Government dogma about the Earth being the center of the universe.

    REAL scientists NEVER stop challenging “Dogmatic Settled Science”. Albert Einstein was correct.

  • Ted Saunders

    Surely the most unscientific statement must be: “the science is settled, there is no need for debate.”

  • hunter

    AGW is to climate science what eugenics was to Evolutionary science: a pseudo-scientific veneer to rationalize pre-existing conclusions and desires.

  • hunter

    And, just to be clear about eugenics:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics
    The similarities are chilling.

  • MikeC

    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    Let me offer Romm some Kleenex to wipe the baby tears from his weepy little eyes

  • Jennifer

    All established medical science tells us that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus. There is unassailable evidence to demonstrate cause and effect. You can still find people who dispute the link, but you’ll have a very hard time finding anyone from the medical profession who is prepared to debate them. So which side is the one that is “anti-science” — the one that is happy to mix it up in open debate or the one that is trying to get its opposition silenced?

    MikeC – you really typify the level of maturity that this blog aspires to.

  • Raven

    Jennifer (or Scientist or whatever your real name is).

    There really would be no doubt about the effect of CO2 if we had millions of independent subjects which were “exposed” to CO2 and we observed out of control warming. In that situtation the statistical evidence for the CO2 would be quite compelling. However, we don’t have millions of independent earths – we have one.

    The climate models which you are so fond of are really no better than medical tests on rats – i.e. they may provide some useful insight but no credible scientist would claim that tests on lab rats are accurate predictors of the effects on humans.

    I curious whether you would be willing to take a drug that has never been tested on human subjects? If not then how could you possibly support a massive economic and social experiment based on the outputs of climate models?

  • stan

    Hmmmm. Is Jennifer trying to imply that we’ll “have a very hard time finding anyone from [science] who is prepared to debate” AGW? Surely not. The list of prize-winning, published scientists who dispute AGW is incredibly long. Even the list of such scientists who describe AGW as a “scam” or “joke”, etc. is getting long.

  • Rick S

    In this case, the priests of the Church (Gore,Hansen et al) were upset that their monopoly to speak for Church doctrine (AGW) was being challenged. They challenged their opposition as being anti(AGW)religious, but what they were was actually against the established (AGW) Church, doctrine, and priesthood. You hit the nail on the head with the religious analogy.

  • jawmo

    I don’t pretend to know whether the globe is warming, cooling or staying more or less in a state or stasis. But any scientist who declares the issue is closed, and no further research warranted, should have his credentials stripped and along with his garments.

  • Listened to a podcast a few days ago and one of the scientists involved with the discovery of a possible new species of human – “Homo floresiensis” declared that his critics were “deniers” and therefore by implication “anti-scientific”. Of course, the criticism of homo floresiensis may or may not be good, but it seems a new trend is starting: If someone is critical of your scientific research, whatever it now is, declare they are anti-science. Interesting times.

  • joshv

    There is no “unassailable” evidence in science. “Unassailable” is a fundamentally anti-scientific term – its a term of politics.

    All scientific hypothesis should always be open to question and falsification. Even in the realm of Relativity, a much less fuzzy discipline than virology, scientists are still testing Einstein’s equations. And you know what? Finding that these equations don’t hold in certain situations would be an infinitely more auspicious career event for the researchers than merely adding yet another confirmation report to the literature.

  • Romm is sadly turning into a caricature. At the current rate, by the end of 2010 he will denounce as anti-science even his own blog.

  • tarpon

    Surely the most unscientific statement must be: “the science is settled, there is no need for debate.”

    dittos … Romm great posting.

    And isn’t that the problem the alarmists have had from the beginning? ‘no need for debate’ … They say — We have to pass all those crippling taxes before it’s too late, now that it’s getting really cold, really late is here already.

    Another good one ‘the North Pole will be ice free in 2008’ — And what happened in 2008, only the Arctic sea ice grew at an unprecedented rate never seen before. If Al Gore starts a crusade to change the tilt of the earth’s axis then he may be able to cause the Arctic to become ice free, but it sure isn’t going to happen because of excess atmospheric CO2 — The very stuff of life for carbon lifeforms. You wonder if people know what photosynthesis and cellular respiration is anymore.

    And one thing that is clear, the next ice age will be here long before the Earth heats up from CO2 warming. Any good Paleoclimatologist can set you straight on that. Has anybody checked what might be going on with the sun that might be causing it to get cold on Earth?

    It’s even funnier to go back in time and dig out the original global warming pronouncements of the UN IPCC — It’s good for endless laughs. If you wanted to test the computer models, this should be all the test you need.

  • joe nahhas

    scientists are at least 51% fraud
    Einstein’s Nemesis: DI Her Eclipsing Binary Stars Solution
    The problem that the 100,000 PHD Physicists could not solve

    This is the solution to the “Quarter of a century” Smithsonian-NASA Posted motion puzzle that Einstein and the 100,000 space-time physicists including 109 years of Nobel prize winner physics and physicists and 400 years of astronomy and Astrophysicists could not solve and solved here and dedicated to Drs Edward Guinan and Frank Maloney
    Of Villanova University Pennsylvania who posted this motion puzzle and started the search collections of stars with motion that can not be explained by any published physics
    For 350 years Physicists Astrophysicists and Mathematicians and all others including Newton and Kepler themselves missed the time-dependent Newton’s equation and time dependent Kepler’s equation that accounts for Quantum – relativistic effects and it explains these effects as visual effects. Here it is

    Universal- Mechanics

    All there is in the Universe is objects of mass m moving in space (x, y, z) at a location
    r = r (x, y, z). The state of any object in the Universe can be expressed as the product

    S = m r; State = mass x location

    P = d S/d t = m (d r/dt) + (dm/dt) r = Total moment

    = change of location + change of mass

    = m v + m’ r; v = velocity = d r/d t; m’ = mass change rate

    F = d P/d t = d²S/dt² = Force = m (d²r/dt²) +2(dm/d t) (d r/d t) + (d²m/dt²) r

    = m γ + 2m’v +m”r; γ = acceleration; m” = mass acceleration rate

    In polar coordinates system

    r = r r(1) ;v = r’ r(1) + r θ’ θ(1) ; γ = (r” – rθ’²)r(1) + (2r’θ’ + rθ”)θ(1)

    F = m[(r”-rθ’²)r(1) + (2r’θ’ + rθ”)θ(1)] + 2m'[r’r(1) + rθ’θ(1)] + (m”r) r(1)

    F = [d²(m r)/dt² – (m r)θ’²]r(1) + (1/mr)[d(m²r²θ’)/d t]θ(1) = [-GmM/r²]r(1)

    d² (m r)/dt² – (m r) θ’² = -GmM/r²; d (m²r²θ’)/d t = 0

    Let m =constant: M=constant

    d²r/dt² – r θ’²=-GM/r² —— I

    d(r²θ’)/d t = 0 —————–II

    r²θ’=h = constant ————– II
    r = 1/u; r’ = -u’/u² = – r²u’ = – r²θ'(d u/d θ) = -h (d u/d θ)
    d (r²θ’)/d t = 2rr’θ’ + r²θ” = 0 r” = – h d/d t (du/d θ) = – h θ'(d²u/d θ²) = – (h²/r²)(d²u/dθ²)
    [- (h²/r²) (d²u/dθ²)] – r [(h/r²)²] = -GM/r²
    2(r’/r) = – (θ”/θ’) = 2[λ + ỉ ω (t)] – h²u² (d²u/dθ²) – h²u³ = -GMu²
    d²u/dθ² + u = GM/h²
    r(θ, t) = r (θ, 0) Exp [λ + ỉ ω (t)] u(θ,0) = GM/h² + Acosθ; r (θ, 0) = 1/(GM/h² + Acosθ)
    r ( θ, 0) = h²/GM/[1 + (Ah²/Gm)cosθ]
    r(θ,0) = a(1-ε²)/(1+εcosθ) ; h²/GM = a(1-ε²); ε = Ah²/GM

    r(0,t)= Exp[λ(r) + ỉ ω (r)]t; Exp = Exponential

    r = r(θ , t)=r(θ,0)r(0,t)=[a(1-ε²)/(1+εcosθ)]{Exp[λ(r) + ì ω(r)]t} Nahhas’ Solution

    If λ(r) ≈ 0; then:

    r (θ, t) = [(1-ε²)/(1+εcosθ)]{Exp[ỉ ω(r)t]

    θ'(r, t) = θ'[r(θ,0), 0] Exp{-2ỉ[ω(r)t]}

    h = 2π a b/T; b=a√ (1-ε²); a = mean distance value; ε = eccentricity
    h = 2πa²√ (1-ε²); r (0, 0) = a (1-ε)

    θ’ (0,0) = h/r²(0,0) = 2π[√(1-ε²)]/T(1-ε)²
    θ’ (0,t) = θ'(0,0)Exp(-2ỉwt)={2π[√(1-ε²)]/T(1-ε)²} Exp (-2iwt)

    θ'(0,t) = θ'(0,0) [cosine 2(wt) – ỉ sine 2(wt)] = θ'(0,0) [1- 2sine² (wt) – ỉ sin 2(wt)]
    θ'(0,t) = θ'(0,t)(x) + θ'(0,t)(y); θ'(0,t)(x) = θ'(0,0)[ 1- 2sine² (wt)]
    θ'(0,t)(x) – θ'(0,0) = – 2θ'(0,0)sine²(wt) = – 2θ'(0,0)(v/c)² v/c=sine wt; c=light speed

    Δ θ’ = [θ'(0, t) – θ'(0, 0)] = -4π {[√ (1-ε) ²]/T (1-ε) ²} (v/c) ²} radians/second
    {(180/π=degrees) x (36526=century)

    Δ θ’ = [-720×36526/ T (days)] {[√ (1-ε) ²]/ (1-ε) ²}(v/c) = 1.04°/century

    This is the T-Rex equation that is going to demolished Einstein’s space-jail of time

    The circumference of an ellipse: 2πa (1 – ε²/4 + 3/16(ε²)²—) ≈ 2πa (1-ε²/4); R =a (1-ε²/4)
    v (m) = √ [GM²/ (m + M) a (1-ε²/4)] ≈ √ [GM/a (1-ε²/4)]; m<<M; Solar system

    v = v (center of mass); v is the sum of orbital/rotational velocities = v(cm) for DI Her
    Let m = mass of primary; M = mass of secondary

    v (m) = primary speed; v(M) = secondary speed = √[Gm²/(m+M)a(1-ε²/4)]
    v (cm) = [m v(m) + M v(M)]/(m + M) All rights reserved. joenahhas1958@yahoo.com