Re: [asa] World sets ocean temperature record

From: Cameron Wybrow <>
Date: Mon Aug 24 2009 - 00:34:34 EDT


First, there is no argument from silence, as you charge. The report did not say that 48% of the papers were "silent" about AGW. It said they were "neutral". It implied that AGW was discussed in those papers but that no side was taken. And if no side was taken, then that 48% of the papers cannot be counted in favour of the "consensus". That leaves the papers in favour of AGW as (at a maximum) 45%. So what happened to your 97% consensus among scientists, at least between 2003 and 2007? And, unless you have a new literature survey covering the last two years, how credible is your claim that it has bounced back to 97% now?

Second, why did only *one* of the 500+ papers mention the possibility of *catastrophic* climate change? Surely, in the heated context of the AGW debate between 2003 and 2007 when these papers were published, the lack of concern among science Ph.D.s about an impending catastrophe is indicative of the low probability of that scenario in their minds. So much for Kyoto and Al Gore.

Again, and for the final time: I have no dog in this fight. I accept that global temperatures were warmer in the 1990s than previously, and that there was a warming trend throughout the 20th century which may be resuming now. I am open to the argument that human activity contributed to this, even contributed significantly. I am open to the argument that sea levels could rise several feet over the next 75 years due in part to human activity, and I recognize the economic and environmental implications of this. I am open to the idea of concerted international activity to reduce human activity that heats the globe to dangerous levels, if such activity is warranted by the facts.

My objection is to the procedures of AGW advocates. They use the same tactics the Darwinists do: arguments from authority and consensus ("The science is settled, so shut up"); imputation of secret motives ("They're deniers, all in the pocket of the oil companies"/"They want to establish a theocracy"); appeal to sensationalist doomsday scenarios ("Hundreds of millions will die and contract horrible diseases because the ocean levels *may* rise up to three feet, and not till 75 years from now"/"Science education in the USA will completely collapse, leading to the subjugation of our economy to the Japanese and Chinese, if we allow teachers to mention intelligent design for five minutes in one 9th-grade biology class"); and of course refusal to look at contrary evidence, or angry dismissal of contrary evidence, or careless reading (as in your reply) of contrary evidence, etc. All of this is contemptible behaviour, and while not all AGW advocates have participated in such behaviour, enough of them have to leave a very bad taste in my mouth. I simply do not trust AGW arguments, because I do not trust in the academic or scientific integrity of the people who make them, just as I do not trust in Darwinist arguments, because I do not trust in the academic and scientific integrity of the people who offer them. In both cases I see strong vested interests tainting the objectivity of the science, coupled with an imperious attitude towards intellectual opposition that I can only regard as totalitarian.

And by the way, I notice you did not answer my question about your Ph.D., your employment in the science field, your alleged experience of peer-reviewing, etc. Am I to take it that you have no credentials of any kind to make specialist judgments in this area? Not that I think that specialists are always necessarily right; but you seem to place great weight on the opinion of those (climatologists, evolutionary biologists) whom you consider to be experts, so it is odd that, when asked about your own area of expertise, you duck the question.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Rich Blinne
  To: Cameron Wybrow
  Cc: asa
  Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2009 9:14 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] World sets ocean temperature record

  On Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 6:37 PM, Cameron Wybrow <> wrote:

    Unless you can point out flaws in the methods employed by the survey, it looks as if you are simply ignoring important evidence that the "consensus" is no longer there. This makes your indignant protest and hard-line position seem much less credible. (Please do not reply to this point unless your reply eschews all polemics and rhetoric and consists entirely of a factual and methodological response to the survey.)

  It has a flaw you can run a Mack truck through. Here's the headline:

  Fewer than half of climate scientists endorse anthropogenic global warming

  Here's the data of the papers surveyed:

  7% explicit endorsement of AGW
  45% implicit endorsement of AGW
  6% reject AGW
  48% silent on AGW

  This commits the logical fallacy of arguing from silence.

  Rich Blinne
  Member ASA

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Received on Mon Aug 24 00:35:58 2009

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