Re: [asa] Re: Confirmation bias among GW dissenters, but ...

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Wed Apr 29 2009 - 17:51:46 EDT

There are other possible reasons why petroleum geologists might be less willing to support AGW. Among Earth scientists, they are as a group more likely to have a better understanding of historical geology than most others, especially climatologists ( ? ). Many of them work with the facts and concepts on a daily basis. Historical geology teaches that drastic climate changes have occurred in the distant and not-so-distant past, important ones of which have not been explained. Those changes certainly weren't anthropogenic. Judging from the (little) interaction I've had with petroleum geologists in recent years, I believe this is their number one reason for being skeptical. They think what's going on is like other changes that have gone on in the pre-human past.

Petroleum scientists may be suspicious of climatologists' models partly because they have more experience with testing model predictions in detail than any other group of Earth scientists, and they know how easy it is to match the past but how hard it is to predict the future.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: John Burgeson (ASA member)<>
  To: Rich Blinne<>
  Cc: William Hamilton<> ;<> ;<>
  Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:13 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Re: Confirmation bias among GW dissenters, but ...

  "Since petroleum geologists have a vested interest because moving away
  from fossil fuels affects their livelihood this appears to support the
  idea of confirmation bias."

  Rich -- I totally reject that particular argument. Integrity in
  science and avoidance of bias was a foundational principle drilled
  into me as an undergrad at Carnegie Tech. I suggest that a person who
  violates that principle will, sooner or later, find his life work as
  flipping burgers.

  I have had an ongoing argument with Glenn and others on this; I call
  it a "silly" argument regardless of what side proposes it. It is
  "silly" because it gains one no agreement except by those already
  convinced of the "rightness" of your cause.


  On 4/29/09, Rich Blinne <<>> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 9:22 AM, William Hamilton <
><>> wrote:
>> It's not an argument I'm making. I'm only summarizing what Glenn
>> Morton has told me. And yes, I agree that a 2 meter increase in sea
>> level would wipe out a lot of places. And I wouldn't want to live in
>> Phoenix now.
> And Glenn is misrepresenting the consensus in the geological community. A
> poll was take of earth scientists and among *all earth scientists, 90%
> support the view that the earth has warmed significantly* since 1800. And *
> 82%* support the idea that *humans have caused this increase*.
> *Among climatologists* specifically -- that is those that publish peer
> review articles in that field -- *an astounding 97% support the idea that
> humans are causing global warming*. Presumably an even higher number
> support
> global warming in general.
> The most skeptical group were petroleum geologists where only 47%
> supported anthropogenic global warming. The findings appeared January 19
> in
> the publication *Eos Transactions*, an online publication of the American
> Geophysical Union.
> Since petroleum geologists have a vested interest because moving away from
> fossil fuels affects their livelihood this appears to support the idea of
> confirmation bias. I guess you say the same of the climatologists but that
> point is weaker since the relatively unbiased middle sides with the
> climatologists and not the petroleum geologists. Regardless, it shows a
> personal confirmation bias on the part of Glenn since he imputed his
> personal experience amongst his petroleum geologist peers not realizing the
> wider geological community disagreed. Perhaps Keith Miller could comment on
> whether he believes this particular poll accurately describes the wider
> geological community.
> Rich Blinne
> Member ASA


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Received on Wed Apr 29 16:52:12 2009

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