Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is the Opposition to Climate Change Ecological or Technological?

by Thomas Cothran

Let's set aside the empirical question concerning climate change (i.e., is human activity causing dangerous weather patterns) for a moment and ask about what sort of politics under-girds the climate change movement.

I propose that the concealed political agenda behind much of climate change advocacy is, at bottom, anti-environmental. The reason behind the regulations issued in response to climate change warnings is precisely the desire to avoid real change; environmental regulations seek to preserve technological society. If we could find a new source of energy in nature, a cleaner fuel, and so on, we could maintain our environmental ideology--that nature exists primarily to be exploited by a form of industrial capitalism set free from the natural limits of human needs.

Climate change advocacy warns of an apocalypse that will end life as we know it, precisely because it seeks to protect life as we live it. As the global economy increasingly becomes driven not by the satisfactions of basic human desires but by profits abstracted from fundamental human needs, the natural limitations on industrial activity are increasingly abandoned; for profit, unlike human needs, has no upper limit.

The fundamentally violent relation of human beings to nature that regards nature primarily as a resource to be appropriated rather than as a creation that is good in itself, a thing to be safeguarded rather than assaulted, is not called into question by the climate change movement but rather sublated, concealed, made more sustainable.

Climate change advocacy therefore does not seek to end the assault on the earth, but to extend it, to make it more complete, to make it more cunning.

39 comments:

Singring said...

'Let's set aside the empirical question concerning climate change (i.e., is human activity causing dangerous weather patterns) for a moment and ask about what sort of politics under-girds the climate change movement.'

Yeah, let's!

I mean, who cares about empirical data? Who cares about what is actually happening? Why not ruminate about nonsense conspiracy theories instead?

'is not called into question by the climate change movement but rather sublated, concealed, made more sustainable.'

This must amount to the most ridiculous statement made on this blog yet. And that's saying a lot.

Thomas, would you say that it is an undesirable goal to maintain the standard of living we enjoy in the West today and maybe make it available to nations less well off while at the same time reducing our ecological impact to a level where it does not affect ecosystem functioning?

'Climate change advocacy therefore does not seek to end the assault on the earth, but to extend it, to make it more complete, to make it more cunning.'

Oh?

So what is your alternative? Ban cars tomorrow? I'll go far that! What else? Tax oil at 1000% the current rate? I'm all for that too! Close coal power plants 10:00 am on New Year? Great plan!

Is that the approach you would like to take?

What are your suggestions how we approach ecological issues today, as a society?

It seems to me that you would like us to go back to the middle ages or even the stone age, so we can end our 'assault' on planet earth. Is this so?

One Brow said...

Thomas,

I agree with many of the sentiments of your article, although I am reluct to assign such specific motives to any sizable groups. Surely there are Luddite climate change advocates as well as capitalistic advocates, as well as those who see an opportunity to balance these concerns by maintaining the environment while exploiting it in non-harmful ways.

However, I don't know an answer to this situation. Every being seeks to fit it's environment to suit itself, to the ability of that being to do so. Even the Luddites do that. We can't expect changes in our basic nature to become widespread.

Thomas said...

Onebrow,

I'm less interested in the subjective motives of climate change advocates and more interested in their rhetorical strategies; or put another way, I think the most important thing to consider is the actual function of climate change advocacy within our political and economic system.

It's hard to see another way because our way of life, the way human communities have inhabited the world, is so thoroughly determined by our violence toward the earth. As Singring points out above, any true reform of this relation would be catastrophic to the American way of life.

Any true form of environmentalism, therefore, would have to call into question our whole way of life, to threaten the status quo. Perhaps this is why truly radical environmentalism seems to come from religious leaders (the "green Pope", for example).

Lee said...

Like most of your posts, Thomas, you manage to say things that are simultaneously at odds with the left and the right.

> Climate change advocacy warns of an apocalypse that will end life as we know it, precisely because it seeks to protect life as we live it.

I'm not sure I agree entirely with this statement. *Does* it seek to protect life as we live it? I have my doubts. It seems more likely designed to extend and preserve political power, and thus the flow of money into politically-favored causes. Demands from, say, Prince Charles, Al Gore, and President Obama himself that we adjust our lifestyles to deal with this looming threat don't seem designed to preserve technological society, but to prepare us for its curtailment.

Of course, the demands placed on us don't seem to apply to the demand-placers. Al Gore still gets to live in his 30,000 sq. ft. mansion and ride around in limousines. President Obama has taken how many vacation trips using Air Force One? And probably the best piece of prose I have read in a long time was something Mark Steyn wrote describing a speech given by Prince Charles on the subject: "And then he got into his limousine and was driven to his second palace."

If I have to sacrifice my 2300 sq ft house for something smaller, can I at least wait until Gore downsized into a 10,000 sq ft mansion?

Thomas said...

Lee,

You raise several good questions. When I say that climate change advocacy seeks to preserve the status quo, I mean that it preserves the basic relation of human beings, the global economy, and the state to nature. Thus, while there might be fairly superficial changes (cap and trade, emissions control, etc.), the basic relation is preserved.

I don't pretend to know a way forward; I don't believe technology is unqualifiedly evil (though I believe we should not be uncritical about it), and simply getting rid of cars or other pieces of machinery doesn't necessarily address the problem.

However, perhaps identifying the real problem points to the solution. I suspect the real problem is that we've lost the Christian idea of nature as a creation over which we are stewards (and for which we will have to answer). Once that idea is lost from the popular consciousness, it seems that secularism doesn't really have the intellectual resources to defend nature as intrinsically valuable. In other words, this may be a very real case where the loss of a belief in the transcendent moral law leaves a void that cannot be filled by any secular theory.

Art said...

Thomas, your imagination has gotten much the better of you.

I happen to know lots of scientists whose work relates directly or indirectly to climate change, and nary a one of them - none - has a "concealed political agenda" that "is, at bottom, anti-environmental". They work with a small set of undeniable facts - CO2 is a greenhouse gas, anthropogenic CO2 has increased dramatically since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and the earth has warmed considerably and measurably in the past century - and are committed to answering the central questions (is the established global warming and the likely future trend anthropogenic, what is the possible or probable scope of the changes that are coming??) and coming up with contingencies and solutions for the outcome, regardless of the answers.

Who has the "concealed political agenda"? As far as I can tell, it is conservatives who don't want to pay for anything - not schools, not roads, not firefighters nor police, and certainly not energy and for the consequences of their narrow self-interest.

Your opening statement is most revealing - "Let's set aside the empirical question concerning climate change". This is the acme of conservative intellectual achievement. "Let's ignore those inconvenient facts and set off on a paranoid rant....". Thanks for the illustration.

Singring said...

Thomas, you have made some valid points in your responses, but I still cannot find a single word on how you would like to change our relationship towards nature.

What are your ideas for the future? What should our approach look like? What role should technology play?

Its very easy to come up with some conspiracy theory as to what the 'left' seem to think (presented without a shred of evidence of course) and criticize this strawman without for a moment making any argument as to how things should be done differently to improve matters.

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

How much corporate grant money is given every year to universities like yours for environmental research?

Thomas said...

Art,

My views on the existence climate change aren't relevant to the argument, since I'm not arguing against the proposed environmental regulatory reform. Because I don't have the expertise to judge the science involved, I have no problem with public officials relying on the scientific consensus. But even if I were a skeptic, the argument would be the same.

Nor, to repeat myself, are the motives of the scientists particularly relevant. I am talking about the way in which climate change advocacy functions concretely in our political and economic society in particular, and the global system in general. Generally climate change legislation is passed to preserve our industrialized economy and our way of life. Or put another way, if the reason that climate change reform needs to happen is simply that our current way of living may produce catastrophic effects or fail to sustain our standard of living, then presumably a system which lacks these ills but still operates as though nature were a resource simply to be exploited would be acceptable.

Singring said...

'if the reason that climate change reform needs to happen is simply that our current way of living may produce catastrophic effects or fail to sustain our standard of living, then presumably a system which lacks these ills but still operates as though nature were a resource simply to be exploited would be acceptable.'

This is the major problem with your entire argument, Thomas.

You claim that polical advocates motivated by GW are not true environmentalists because they don't really have the environment as their main interest but instead simply want to maintain our 'way of life'.

But you completely ignore what GW policy advocates are actually saying. Maybe the fact that the US lacks any kind of political environmentalism is to blame for your complete misapprehension in this point. Look to Europe for examples in which way GW has driven political debate:

In Germany, the Green Party has been advocating for renewable energy sources for decades and is pushing for increases in taxation of fossil fuels, particularly gasoline (some argued that gas should be as expensive as 3 Euros per litre at a time when it cost 1 Euro per litre!). The main target is to reduce CO2 emissions below the levels agreed upon in Kyoto. They are also fierce advocates of public transport. If the Greens were in charge, this would of course lead to quite drastic changes to our 'way of life'. Wouldn't you agree? Yet somehow you claim that GW is no inspiration for these kinds of policy developments. It is bizarre to say the least. Particularly if you compare it to the attitude portrayed on the right - including the Christian right - that in most cases simply denies that GW is evern happening - let alone is being caused by humans!

And I still haven't read a single word on how you would like to go about adressing the effects of GW (you appear to believe that it is real and anthropogenic). What are some of your ideas? Any ideas are welcome, especially from the Christian corner that seems to be so dominated by denial (Martin being a good example).

Art said...

Martin, I have no idea.

Thomas, you said: Generally climate change legislation is passed to preserve our industrialized economy and our way of life.

I don't believe this over-simplification. (Think about it - do you really believe that the plight of developing countries is completely ignored by politicians who would act to reduce carbon emissions?)

Honestly, your attempt to cast all of climate science in terms of pop economic theory smacks mightily of something one would expect in, say, the USSR in the '20's.

Lee said...

> Honestly, your attempt to cast all of climate science in terms of pop economic theory smacks mightily of something one would expect in, say, the USSR in the '20's.

If that's what Thomas is doing, he had some help from the Climategate scientists, judging by the emails leaked.

Singring said...

'he had some help from the Climategate scientists, judging by the emails leaked.'

Which of the eMails? Can you cite any eMail in which someone reports falsification of data or a 'conspiracy of science'?

I know that denialists love to imagine that just saying 'climategate' will count as an argument-but let's hear what you have. What did 'climategate' prove exactly?

Let's hear it.

Lee said...

> Can you cite any eMail in which someone reports falsification of data or a 'conspiracy of science'?

I'll avoid the temptation and decline the invitation to head down the rabbit trail with you just yet. Back to what Art said, and my response...

Art said, "Honestly, your attempt to cast all of climate science in terms of pop economic theory smacks mightily of something one would expect in, say, the USSR in the '20's."

I read that as follows, and Art is invited to correct me if I read him wrong: There was a certain lock-step political correctness with a Bolshevik flavor in the USSR that tended to discourage real science and encourage bogus science that was more palatable to the communist leadership. For some reason, the name "Lysenko" comes to mind. And Art is, here, imputing some of that methodology to Martin.

In my response to Art was that, I am implying that there is at least a certain degree of that in evidence in the East Anglia emails. From memory, the facts that stood out in my mind were interference with the peer review process and intimidation of critics.

The global warmists rely on the argument from authority to make their case -- I don't know a way around that, since we're talking about science that is well over the heads of most of those who are nonetheless going to be sent the bill when their policies become law. What the emails did was to damage that authority. If they'll threaten editors of scientific journals and, er, help select favored peer reviewers, what else will they do? How much can we trust what they tell us?

Art said...

I read that as follows, and Art is invited to correct me if I read him wrong: There was a certain lock-step political correctness with a Bolshevik flavor in the USSR that tended to discourage real science and encourage bogus science that was more palatable to the communist leadership.

Um, no. I refer to the primacy of the social construct - the state, the economy, or whatever - and the accompanying insistence to frame all endeavours in such contexts.

Marxists did not fear what they considered to be real science because, for them, real science was science that was defined, in toto, by social constructs (as opposed to simply inquiry into nature).

This is what Thomas is doing - ignoring fact-based inquiry and speculating that the climate change controversy is grounded solely in economic considerations.

Singring said...

'From memory, the facts that stood out in my mind were interference with the peer review process and intimidation of critics.'

A couple of things:

1.) No evidence of messing with peer review was found and all authors of those eMails were exonerated of those accusations by the House of Commons report in the UK.

Both of these articles in the Economist (hardly pro GW) and the Daily Mail show that the university was fairly criticized for its secrecy and policies regarding data accessability, but that there was NO evidence of ANY manipualtion of data or interference with the peer-review process.

http://www.economist.com/node/15826384?story_id=15826384
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1262403/Climategate-university-condemned-unacceptable-culture-secrecy.html

Of course Watts et al. will not tell you that. It just doesn't fit with the 'climategate proves its all a hoax!' line they want you to swallow.

2.) Intimidation of critics? This is ridiculous. No scientist worth his salt will let himself be 'intimidated'! He might have a tough time getting his views accepted, but use of this kind of language makes it appear as if climate science was a cabal of quasi-thugs who go around intimidating people into shutting up. It is an absurd allegation.

Lee said...

From Phil Jones:

> "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

This isn't evidence?

From Patrick Michaels at Cato:

> One series of these e-mails called out the journal Climate Research, which had the audacity to publish a paper surveying a voluminous scientific literature that didn't support Mann's claim that the last 50 years are the warmest in the past millennium. Along with the CRU head Phil Jones and other climate luminaries, they then cooked up the idea of boycotting any scientific journal that dared publish anything by a few notorious "skeptics," myself included.

> Their pressure worked. Editors resigned or were fired. Many colleagues began to complain to me that their good papers were either being rejected outright or subject to outrageous reviews — papers that would have been published with little revision just a few years ago.

This isn't intimidation?

Singring said...

'I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is'

1.) This eMail actually disprove your point. If they were interfereing with the peer-review process then they hardly would have had to prevent these papers from being in the report - they could have just blocked them at the peer-review stage. Reading is hard.

2.) If you read the full context of the eMail here:

http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=419

you will see that he is referring to two papers he deem 'garbage'. Whether or not that is so is up for climate scientists to decide, but it is a perfectly valid opinion and one he is perfectly entitled to hold and express when putting together any report.

I have read many a rotten peer-reviewed publication in biology. Just because it went through peer-review doesn't mean its sound. Of course these facts are ignored when you quote that little soundbite of yours as if one guy's eMail at one university proves a vast conspiracy. That's what's called paranoia.

'From Patrick Michaels at Cato:'

Cato is a libertarian think tank that I take ab out as seriously as a Daffy Duck cartoon.

'Their pressure worked. Editors resigned or were fired. Many colleagues began to complain to me that their good papers were either being rejected outright or subject to outrageous reviews — papers that would have been published with little revision just a few years ago.'

That is what you call an 'anecdote'. The House of Commons looked at all the evidence in summary and cocncluded there was no wrongdoing at all in this regard. But you just keep on riding that conspiracy train.

Lee said...

> Intimidation of critics? This is ridiculous. No scientist worth his salt will let himself be 'intimidated'!... It is an absurd allegation.

Do scientists not work for a paycheck? Do they not have professional reputations upon which their livelihoods depend? Do they not have bills to pay, children to feed? If so, then scientists are as vulnerable to pressure as anyone else.

Lee said...

So you deny that...

> "Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is'"

...means that he and Kevin will keep them out somehow even if they have to redefine what the peer-review literature is?

Singring said...

'If so, then scientists are as vulnerable to pressure as anyone else.'

Pressure from whom?

The Bogeyman?

So you deny that...

'> "Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is'"

...means that he and Kevin will keep them out somehow even if they have to redefine what the peer-review literature is?'

No. I'm just wondering how an eMail in which someone says they will have to redefine what peer-reviewed literture is is an indication of interfering with peer-review. If they had interfered, there would be no need to keep those papers out because they wouldn't have been published in the first place!

You might want to get your story straight, Lee.

P.S.:

It's one eMail by one guy who was exonerated by the HoC in the UK. That's a pretty weak conspiracy you've got yourself there.

Lee said...

Whoa. I never set out here to prove a conspiracy. I have learned that, in any discussion with Singring, one must keep the points very simple and basic, and then stick to them -- otherwise you open yourself to vast quantities of handwaving, not to mention gratuitous ad hominem.

You said there is there was no evidence of interfering with peer review. I presented such evidence. It is by no means exhaustive, but I didn't need much to raise the amount of evidence to be greater than zero.

Lee said...
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Singring said...

'You said there is there was no evidence of interfering with peer review. I presented such evidence.'

No, sorry. I didn't say that - the Hous of Commons investigation report said that.

You presented a very small amount of evidence for bias in a report that includes peer-reviewed literature, not evidence of biased peer-review in and of itself. The papers in question were peer-reviewed and properly published. It is only after that they were dismissed when compiling the report. Whether or not that dismissal was proper or not is up to climate scientists to debate, I don;t have the expertise to make a judgement on that.

Lee said...

I found an interesting article online at Popular Mechanics by Peter Kelemen, identified as a professor of geochemistry...

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/climate-change/4338343

I knew nothing about Kelemen before reading the article, and little about him now, but I found his observations to be pretty close from what I had gleaned reading conservative articles in Wall Street Journal and Cato, albeit stated in perhaps less volatile language -- even though, unless he's trying to deceive, his perspective seems favorable to G/W and at least somewhat antagonistic toward G/W critics.

That said, Kelemen addressed several points, including the allegations of tampering with the peer review process. Kelemen: "It was even more troubling for me to read messages in which, in at least two instances, scientists discussed how to get associate editors removed from journals that published papers critical of their work... I agree that the paper is scientifically incorrect. Still, incorrect papers make it through peer review all the time, generally because reviewers are not sufficiently vigilant. Despite this, it is very unusual to try to get editors fired as a result."

Kelemen continues: "I am quite familiar with the second journal that was discussed in this context, Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Like other reputable journals, it's an institution where editors and associate editors are chosen for their willingness and ability to strive for an objective review process... Some of the stolen CRU e-mails state that if an associate editor of GRL was "in the greenhouse skeptics camp" he should be "ousted," suggesting that the e-mail authors viewed any critic of their work, no matter how ethical or well-informed, as incompetent. If so, this is a remarkable instance of hubris, and an implicit attack on the basis of the peer-review process, not a normal part of the give-and-take of scientific debate."

Lee said...

Regarding the quote I used earlier in the thread, Kelemen wrote: "Related to this is a comment that one correspondent would not let critics' papers be discussed in an upcoming report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stating that "[we] will keep them out somehow--even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" The RealClimate web site notes that the effort described in this e-mail to exclude specific papers from the IPCC report was unsuccessful or never implemented, but this is beside the point. If scientists attempted to exclude critics' peer-reviewed papers from IPCC reports, this was unethical in my view."

Now regarding some of the earlier points put forth:

1. I don't know, and it was never explained, why Cato is a poor "Daffy Duck" source while the House of Commons' conclusion should be accepted without further debate. Why? Is the House of Commons better scientifically credentialed? Or less political? Of course Cato has a libertarian bias. At least that's on the table.

2. Are you willing to concede yet that scientists, like anyone else who needs to be concerned with earning a living, are subject to intimidation and not by some mystical gift, especially immune to such pressure?

Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee said...

Kelemen continued, regarding the quote I cited earlier: "Related to this is a comment that one correspondent would not let critics' papers be discussed in an upcoming report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stating that "[we] will keep them out somehow--even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" The RealClimate web site notes that the effort described in this e-mail to exclude specific papers from the IPCC report was unsuccessful or never implemented, but this is beside the point. If scientists attempted to exclude critics' peer-reviewed papers from IPCC reports, this was unethical in my view."

Lee said...

A couple of other points, to wrap up:

1. Can't understand why I should dismiss anything Cato says as Daffy Duck-worthy, and accept everything said by the House of Commons without further criticism. Is the House of Commons more scientifically knowledgable? Or less political?

2. Are you willing to admit yet that scientists are, like anyone else who must earn a living, vulnerable to intimidation?

3. "That is what you call an 'anecdote'." Anecdotes are evidence, are they not? You said "no evidence." Some evidence is more than none.

And all that, to say this: he on the G/W side who flings accusations of Soviet-style science should perhaps be a bit more introspective. Let he who is without sin fling the first sack.

Lee said...

My last word on Singringian diversions, in any event. Somehow, Thomas' finer points have been lost in all this discussion.

I think I disagree with this statement:

> Climate change advocacy warns of an apocalypse that will end life as we know it, precisely because it seeks to protect life as we live it.

I don't see it that way. Quite the opposite. I think the political class wants very much to change life as we live it into something we would find much more constrained. So far the proposed "solutions" include higher taxes and less freedom, less "exploitation" of the environment, guaranteed to continue the current course toward economic decline. For example, Obama used the Gulf spill as a pretext for curtailing oil development offshore, not looking for ways to explore other sources.

My earlier point stands, however, that the political class want the rest of us to consume less, but fortunately (for them) not themselves. I read an article during the last Copenhagen summit where the local car rental companies got ready for the influx of attendees by rounding up a bunch of Priuses and offering special deals on them. Only problem was, most of them didn't want Priuses, they wanted limousines.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6736517/Copenhagen-climate-summit-1200-limos-140-private-planes-and-caviar-wedges.html

We've already talked about Al Gore's mansion, and should mention Thomas Friedman's, perhaps, while we're at it. On the hypocrisy scale, pretty astounding.

The Roman Empire declined economically and politically, and once-free citizens and landowners because serfs under an aristocracy that could purchase tax favors and special legal privileges from the Emperors and the Senate. It seems something like that is going on today. I doubt the aristocrats suffered all that much as economic opportunity diminished for the ordinary folks. It's clear to me that the climate-change types think they'll be in the new aristocracy.

Singring said...

'1. Can't understand why I should dismiss anything Cato says as Daffy Duck-worthy, and accept everything said by the House of Commons without further criticism. Is the House of Commons more scientifically knowledgable? Or less political?'

The house of commons is made up of socialist, liberal and conservative MPs. It is definitely more balanced in is views han a libertarian think tank that does nothing but churn out anti GW opinion. If you can't even accept that much, what's the point of having this discussion? (Never mind you are comparing a full report to a single anecdote).

'2. Are you willing to admit yet that scientists are, like anyone else who must earn a living, vulnerable to intimidation?'

Yes. But that does not mean that climate scientists are doing the intimidating.

'Anecdotes are evidence, are they not?'

If you want to believe hat single anecdote invalidates 30 plus years of climate science, you go ahead.

Lee said...

> The house of commons is made up of socialist, liberal and conservative MPs. It is definitely more balanced in is views han a libertarian think tank that does nothing but churn out anti GW opinion.

So now, the issue is whether the opinion is balanced, not whether it's correct? Excuse me, then, why I recalibrate the machinery. All set? Then here goes: from now on, scientific journals should publish as many anti-G/W articles as pro-G/W articles, as that would create a better balance. Any objections?

>> 2. Are you willing to admit yet that scientists are, like anyone else who must earn a living, vulnerable to intimidation?'

> Yes...

Excellent! So then you will retract the following statement?

> Intimidation of critics? This is ridiculous. No scientist worth his salt will let himself be 'intimidated'!

Since we agree finally that scientists are as vulnerable to intimidation as anyone else who works for a paycheck, we also agree it is not a question of whether a scientist would "let himself be intimidated", but whether someone else is intimidating him.

> But that does not mean that climate scientists are doing the intimidating.

Again, from the Popular Mechanics article I posted:

> "It was even more troubling for me to read messages in which, in at least two instances, scientists discussed how to get associate editors removed from journals that published papers critical of their work."

> "Some of the stolen CRU e-mails state that if an associate editor of GRL was "in the greenhouse skeptics camp" he should be "ousted," suggesting that the e-mail authors viewed any critic of their work, no matter how ethical or well-informed, as incompetent. If so, this is a remarkable instance of hubris, and an implicit attack on the basis of the peer-review process, not a normal part of the give-and-take of scientific debate."

Trying to get someone fired is not intimidation?

Singring said...

'So now, the issue is whether the opinion is balanced, not whether it's correct?'

You asked me why I trust a multi-partisan report over a single anecdote from a slanted think tank. If you want to choose the latter over the former as a basis for evaluating a situation, go right ahead. It makes you look the dogmatist you are.

'Trying to get someone fired is not intimidation?'

There is a big difference between soimeone talking in eMails about trying to gte someone fired and actually doing it. How many times have you said or written 'so and so should be fired' to someone else? Be honest now...

The fact remains that the House of Commons report found NO evidence that peer-review was affected or that anyone was being 'intimidated'.

Now listen:

Is there conflict among scientists? OF COURSE. Is the peer-review process suboptimal and often subjectively tainted? OF COURSE.

Is there any evidence of climate science being a field in which these factors are of any greater importance than in any other fie;ld of science (or any other field of work for that matter)?

NO.

It is simply a story denialists can use to rationalize way the fact that the vast majority of climate scioentists believe GW is real and is caused by humans.

'It's a conspiracy! They are intimidating those who disagree!'

Nonsense. Its the same pathetic tactic creationists use. You should be better than that.

Oh...on a final note: Stay tuned to Martin's 'Top 25 posts of 2010' post tomorrow to see a prime example of how you and other denialists are being misled intentionally.

If you want to see someone messing with data, make sure you check it out.

Lee said...

> If you want to choose the latter over the former as a basis for evaluating a situation, go right ahead. It makes you look the dogmatist you are.

You're projecting, now. I have not been dogmatizing.

> There is a big difference between soimeone talking in eMails about trying to gte someone fired and actually doing it.

Apparently, they communicated their concerns to the journal in question. That turns it into a threat. A threat turns it into intimidation.

Besides, it shows a total absence of the skepticism that should inhabit the halls of science. The whole idea is to hit ideas with everything you've got, right?

> The fact remains that the House of Commons report found NO evidence that peer-review was affected or that anyone was being 'intimidated'.

The House of Commons *says* it found no such evidence. There's a difference.

> It is simply a story denialists can use to rationalize way the fact that the vast majority of climate scioentists believe GW is real and is caused by humans.

If it's real, how come so many G/W proponents live like Rockefeller? In Copenhagen, referencing the article to which I linked earlier, why did they run out of limousines so quickly? Why weren't more people driving Priuses? Why does Al Gore have a huge mansion? Why does Thomas Friedman have a huge mansion? Why does Al Gore's entourage travel in Lincoln Town Car limousines and Chevy Suburbans? When Al Gore is speaking to Congress, why are the chauffeurs outside in their limousines keeping the engines running? (I can answer that one: to keep the a/c going -- wouldn't want Al to break a sweat.) Why doesn't Prince Charles sell his (two) palaces and live in a nice condo? Why does Leornardo DiCaprio attend global warming summits by private jet?

I'll start to get concerned when they do.

> 'It's a conspiracy! They are intimidating those who disagree!'

Again: I never said it was a conspiracy. Whenever I discuss anything with you, I have to spend half my time correcting your mischaracterizations of what I say. That usually happens right before you accuse me of misreading something.

> Nonsense. Its the same pathetic tactic creationists use. You should be better than that.

And when all else fails, you usher in the question-begging epithets. This is usually just before you accuse me of poor use of logic.

Singring said...

'The House of Commons *says* it found no such evidence. There's a difference.'

LOL.

So now the entire British House of Commons is in on this vast conspiracy?

And probably some of them are alien shapechangers who want to invade earth...

'If it's real, how come so many G/W proponents live like Rockefeller?'

Could you please cite any statistics showing that those who accept anthropogenic GW have a larger carbon footprint than those who don't on average? Picking on Gore and your favourite hate-figure celebrities isn't an argument. Hard statistics are.

'Again: I never said it was a conspiracy.'

Lee, you just suggested the House of Commons deliberately lied when they said there was no evidence of wrongdoing. I think when you start claiming that entire governmental bodies are covering up evidence you are deep into conspiracy theory territory.

P.S.: Check out the 'best posts of 2010' to see exacxtly how you and all the other deniers are being duped by fragrant misrepresentation of data.

Lee said...

> Lee, you just suggested the House of Commons deliberately lied when they said there was no evidence of wrongdoing. I think when you start claiming that entire governmental bodies are covering up evidence you are deep into conspiracy theory territory.

There may be such a conspiracy, but I am not positing one, or at least not a vast one -- nor is my argument dependent on one, any more than the vast success and popularity of the Toyota automobile suggests there is a vast conspiracy to suppress Chevrolets.

Sometimes people's world views line up in such a way that they find themselves working naturally toward a certain goal.

It could be this simple: some influential scientists apparently in G/W, so strongly that they lose any sort of perspective when it comes to criticism of their work. Other scientists may be less convinced, but do not want to buck the influence of those who are. The big-government types, including the House of Commons, see opportunity to be had in promoting big-government agenda, such as higher taxes, more regulation, and ultimately more control, not to mention solidifying their base of support among leftie greens. So they tend to subsidize G/W research, which further bolsters their power and influence, and pulls other scientists off the bleachers in search of grant money.

All this can happen, it seems to me, with a big conspiracy, a little conspiracy, or no conspiracy at all, simply by the players responding to their incentive structure.

Not to mention the fact that to tell an untruth, or an uncorroborated truth, does not require someone to tell a lie. Someone can tell an untruth hoping that it is a truth, or just being plain mistaken.

Lee said...

> P.S.: Check out the 'best posts of 2010' to see exacxtly how you and all the other deniers are being duped by fragrant misrepresentation of data.

Singring, I've been observed you in recent debate with Martin, Thomas, and others on philosophical issues, and have concluded that you simply don't know when you're licked. If you were a prizefighter, somebody in a striped shirt would have stopped the fight several rounds ago. But eyes pooled with blood, ears turned into cauliflower, ribs bruised and broken, and wobbly on your feet, you just spit out a couple of teeth, grin, and say, "You should see the other guy!"

I try hard never to get personal in these debates, but here goes: Your method of argument leaves much to be desired. You're not the only frequenter of this blog who can be unpleasant to argue with. I'm sure I cross the line occasionally, maybe frequently. Unpleasantness does not make someone a poor debater. In fact, some of the others here are, or are capable of being, quite unpleasant, but are nonetheless quite good at arguing. Your innovation is that you seem to think unpleasantness constitutes a good argument on its own merits. It isn't a byproduct of your argument; it's your stock in trade. I often see straw men, question-begging epithets, and perhaps a handful of other fallacies adorning your statements, but I *always* see unpleasantness.

Perhaps you think it's helpful as a distraction. One thing for certain is, when you lose a point, it drops off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. For example, you all but stood on Mt. Olympus, hurling thunderbolts while exclaiming that a *TRUE* scientist would *NEVER* be INTIMIDATED! Harumph!!! And all it took to blow a hole in that was to point out that scientists are not Olympian gods but just smart versions of plain old working stiffs, who are as dependent on their paychecks as the rest of us. Even though I prompted you to concede your error, your lost point became lost *and* forgotten, as you decided the best defense is a good offense and invented the part about conspiracy. Well, all I can say is, you sure made a big deal about your dead point when you first uttered it.

I say all this, sincerely, to try to help you. You don't want all this to define who you are, do you?

Singring said...

'The big-government types, including the House of Commons, see opportunity to be had in promoting big-government agenda, such as higher taxes, more regulation, and ultimately more control, not to mention solidifying their base of support among leftie greens.'

I honestly can't believe that an educated person aware of politics could hold this absurd position. In the past 30 years we have seen an unprecedented increase in deregulation and privatization in Europe, especially in Britain, which is precisely why the banking crisis happened. Already forgotten that?

In Germany, we have a conservative government that just recently, overnight, without consulting parliament, signed a binding contract with nuclear power producers to extend their permits for nuclear power plants - something that is so opposed by the general public on ecological grounds that the green party has gone from 10% to 28% in polls within a few months in the ensuing outrage. Even so, the German government is one of the foremost advocates of action against GW.

In the US, we have had a series of governments that have basically sabotaged international climate summits and are composed to a large degree of climate dniers.

And yet...and yet here you are conconcting this bizarre idea that soemhow politics are playing to and guided by the 'green lobby'.

Get real.

Singring said...

'Singring, I've been observed you in recent debate with Martin, Thomas, and others on philosophical issues, and have concluded that you simply don't know when you're licked.'

So you didn't even bother to check it out and then give me a whole laundry list of excuses for why you were too layz to do so.

Precisely what I expected.

Denial 101.

'I say all this, sincerely, to try to help you. You don't want all this to define who you are, do you?'

My heart is breaking. Please, if you want to help me, instead of writing two paragraphs whining and complaining about my tone, why not go over the the thread I meantion, check out what I have to say there and make up ypour own mind about what the people over at climategate.com are up to when they are feeding Martin their 'info' on GW. It's not hard, it'll only take a minute and its definitely an eye opener. I promise.