Re: [asa] Re: The ASA and Climate Literacy

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Tue Aug 25 2009 - 10:47:19 EDT

I add my 2c to Rich. Not all ASA members have looked at the AGW issues
in any depth. Several, in fact, seem to think that there are still
"two sides" to the primary IPCC findings. They need to be heard --
respectfully. I think they are dead wrong, but I am, personally, ready
to listen and learn new data.

Some of that data includes the results of a Pew survey earlier this
year in which the IPCC concensus was 97% among those who are actually
climate scientists and are publishing in the sciens journals. Of
course, a consensus may be wrong! In this case while I would wish it
were so I don't give that option much credibility.

Some of that data includes misinformation, easily verified as such,
from certain interest groups. The very fact that they do this argues
against their main thesis. The fact that they do so ineptly is,
perhaps, the real puzzle. The comments of rage radio add to this heat
but no light situation.

The comments by Freeman Dyson are one reasonable argument the
denialists can offer. The book PREDICTION (2000) by Sarewitz, Pielke
Jr, and Byerly, Jr. is another.

I recently began reading NATURE. SO far (3 months) ihave found NO
articles questioning the IPCC reports. It does seem to me that, if
there were "two sides," that might be evident in the scientific
literature. I have challenged several skeptics to locate one; so far
no takers.

I wrote the article this summer (see
which summarized my own study, begun last February, of the issues. I
have asked several people to look at it and tell me where I migh be
incorrect. So far, no takers, although my site statistics show a
reasonable number of accesses.

One of the better books I've read which touches on these issues is
Richard Muller's PHYSICS FOR FUTURE PRESIDENTS. He says he understands
the AGW issues an clasifies himesel as a "skeptic," in that he judges
there is about a 5% chance the IPCC reports are off base. I guess I'm
in that category also. What the denialists don't usually recognize,
however, is that the IPCC reports themselves cite almost the same

ANyway -- I do think this is an issue the ASA might reasonably take a
position on. But not until there has been a vigorous debate, hearing
from all members who think they have something to offer.

Such a debate would be hard to manage! I know that. But it is doable.


On 8/25/09, Rich Blinne <> wrote:
> On Aug 25, 2009, at 7:50 AM, Rich Blinne wrote:
>> Here's a sample:
>> The Peer Review Process
>> Science is an on-going process of making observations and using
>> evidence to test hypotheses. As new ideas are developed and new data
>> are obtained, oftentimes enabled by new technologies, our
>> understanding evolves. The scientific community uses a highly
>> formalized version of peer review to validate research results and
>> our understanding of their significance. Researchers describe their
>> experiments, results, and interpretations in scientific manuscripts
>> and submit them to a scientific journal that specializes in their
>> field of science. Scientists who are experts in that field serve as
>> “referees” for the journal: they read the manuscript carefully to
>> judge the reliability of the research design and check that the
>> interpretations are supported by the data. Based on the reviews,
>> journal editors may accept or reject manuscripts or ask the authors
>> to make revisions if the study has insufficient data or unsound
>> interpretations. Through this process, only those concepts that have
>> been described through well-documented research and subjected to the
>> scrutiny of other experts in the field become published papers in
>> science journals and accepted as current science knowledge. Although
>> peer review does not guarantee that any particular published result
>> is valid, it does provide a high assurance that the work has been
>> carefully vetted for accuracy by informed experts prior to
>> publication. The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed papers about
>> global climate change acknowledge that human acontributing factors.
> My cut and paste mangled the last sentence:
> The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed papers about global climate
> change acknowledge that human activities are substantially
> contributing factors.
> Rich Blinne
> Member ASA

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Received on Tue Aug 25 10:47:51 2009

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