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Archive for January, 2011

BPSDB After babbling on with a number of factoids about global population, the land surface area of Texas and so on, the ‘Tennessee Conservative Watch (TCW)” asks “Considering that the earth’s atmosphere extends 50 miles up from the surface, how can anyone with half a brain think that humans can do anything to change the atmosphere much less the earth’s climate?”

What the TCW has done is parrot one variation of the popular “common sense” arguments that climate change Deniers like to use. They all include some form of “common sense tells you” coupled with some completely irrelevant, misleading factoids. They are based on an appeal to ‘use your brain’, so let’s try that and see what happens.

Mankind occupies less than 4 tenths of 1 percent of the surface of the earth.TCW

Common sense tells you that:

Here, try this logic with any housemates you may have: ‘I occupy less than 4 tenths of 1 percent of the surface of this house/apartment, how can anyone with half a brain think that I can do anything to change the amount of dirt and mess?’ Think that might work? I doubt it, even if your housemates have only half a brain.

It isn’t just the physical space you physically occupy that matters, it’s how much of the space that you use. Our actual use of the Earths’ land surface is 83%, and we have brought the oceans to the point of collapse even without climate change.

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The Real BP Gulf Tragedy

BPSDB Grist reports that “Gulf oil spill panel urges overhaul of oil industry and safety practices.” Apparently a presidential panel in its final report stated that:

“The central lesson to be drawn from the catastrophe is that no less than an overhauling of both current industry practices and government oversight is now required,” the seven-member panel said in the report released after a six-month probe into the environmental and human disaster in the Gulf.”

That sounds positive, but then Kate Sheppard asks “Did we learn anything from the BP oil spill?” and walks us through some of the political realities of what the recommendations actually boil down to, and the political realities of getting them implemented. She summarizes with:

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Climate Progress has the story: BPSDB

  • According to the Global Historical Climatology Network, 2010 was the wettest year on record, in terms of global average precipitation….
  • These records are especially impressive because we’ve been in “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.”
  • All 12 of the hottest years on record have occurred since 1997.
  • NASA recently reported the “meteorological year” — December to November — was also the hottest on record.
  • the hottest year was accompanied by record-smashing weather extremes
  • “The year 2010 now has the most national extreme heat records for a single year–nineteen.

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BPSDB

A couple of useful resources from QualiaSoup to share with Deniers who cannot seem to grasp what science and critical thinking actually are.

Skewed views of science

Granted most Deniers will never look at them, but at least we can try. They are obviously created for the anti-science vs Evolution crowd, but since they are virtually identical in tactics and ignorance of science to the climate change Deniers these videos are still bang on.

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BPSDB

Argumentum ex bardus

Omnologos cannot logically exist

The lottery fallacy

Standing on their heads

Dark Minds

Potentia ex verum


Getting to the point of this post requires walking through some rather tedious Denier thinking and I apologise for that. I ask you to bear with me because I believe the walk through is rather revelatory and I think of some value. Even so, I will try to keep it short and to the point.

Argumentum Ex Bardus

Through October and November Omnologos created a list of events and circumstances related to climate change and climate science that he considered improbably coincidental, and as such offered it as clear evidence as to Why AGW Is Logically Impossible.

Discarding all of the points that are obviously false, pure conjecture, value laden subjective opinion, completely irrelevant and/or just silly (ie most of them) one is left with a small collection of arguably objective facts about our current moment in history. (I should note that whether you chuck any out or not changes nothing … as will be shown it’s all a load of idiotic rubbish regardless.)

His argument is that since these coincidences are extremely improbable, their existence is proof that anthropogenic climate change is not real. Here are three of his examples:

  1. Relatively widespread availability of computer power is just enough strong to simulate the right climate projections on a multi-decadal scale
  2. Climate science is developed just beyond the minimal level needed to understand how to simulate the right climate projections on a decadal scale
  3. Novel statistical approaches devised just in time, and correct from the get-go, for Mann’s Hockey Stick to emerge from the jumble of dendro- and other proxy data

Omnologos cannot logically exist

The flawed nonthinking of this argument is easily shown by applying the same lack of logic to a perfectly mundane subject, eg the existence of Omnologos.

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The Top Ten BPSDB

Ben of Wott’s Up With That? commented on “Guide for dealing with the “Denier” labelthatthe “skeptic” fig-leaf is what annoys me most about climate change deniers” which led me to respond that “And there is so much to choose from too. I wonder if I could pick which are the “Ten most infuriating climate change Denier scams.”

Which comes with the following caveats of course.

1) Is identifying the scams that most infuriate simply an invitation to even more of the same?

2) Is acknowledging (again) the obvious reality that:

      1. There are Deniers;
      2. They use scams & deceit etc rather than rational debate;
      3. It is infuriating.

simply polarizing?

3) Is this just an invitation to simply list (again) the:

Regardless, both feet into the fire … simply post your nomination as a comment. Should clear winners not emerge we will use the Poll function to hold a runoff to determine the top ten.

Nominations should include a tinyurl link to an example of scam in question (or a hand drawn facsimile thereof) [Offer void where prohibited by law].

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BPSDB If someone refers to you as a “Denier”:

To convince them that you are a “Skeptic”, NOT a “Denier”:

  • Ignore the label and keep the discussion focused on the issue(s) of substance;
  • Point to and discuss the relevant facts and evidence;
  • Use reliable sources, either peer reviewed science or sources that track back to real science;
  • Be sure that your position accepts and accounts for all of the generally known facts that you are not explicitly disputing;
  • Ensure that your position is based on a logical argument;
  • Be flexible, ready to modify your position if it is shown that you erred or misunderstood;
  • Be consistent and rational; stay focused on facts and insist that your opponent do so as well.
  • Follow ‘The Skeptical Manifesto” as best you can.

To convince them that you probably ARE a Denier:

Do:

  • Quibble about the term, complain that it is offensive and an attempt link you with the Holocaust or some other such irrelevant nonsense;
  • Keep insisting that the perfectly correct English word ‘Denier’ not be permitted, do not allow any discussion of whether it was used correctly or not;
  • Insist that you are a “Skeptic” even though you don’t really know what that means;
  • Call them names and accuse them of ad hominem attacks. Don’t worry if you don’t really know what ‘ad hominem’ actually means.;
  • Go off on tangents, talk about anything except the actual issue;

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