Thursday, February 20, 2014

University of Alabama Professors Explain "Advanced Stage Climate Denial" and other Adventures in Wingnutology

According to these (right wing) Professors, Climate Change is real but the ALL the real scientists operate in bad faith [wsj-paywall maybe]:
The two fundamental facts are that carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased due to the burning of fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, trapping heat before it can escape into space.
What is not a known fact is by how much the Earth's atmosphere will warm in response to this added carbon dioxide. The warming numbers most commonly advanced are created by climate computer models built almost entirely by scientists who believe in catastrophic global warming. The rate of warming forecast by these models depends on many assumptions and engineering to replicate a complex world in tractable terms, such as how water vapor and clouds will react to the direct heat added by carbon dioxide or the rate of heat uptake, or absorption, by the oceans.
We might forgive these modelers if their forecasts had not been so consistently and spectacularly wrong. From the beginning of climate modeling in the 1980s, these forecasts have, on average, always overstated the degree to which the Earth is warming compared with what we see in the real climate....
- Messrs. McNider and Christy are professors of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and fellows of the American Meteorological Society.
So that's it. It is not that increases in man-made greenhouse Gases  fuel the greenhouse effect and trap more heat in the  atmosphere, Oceans and into ice sheets. This is real - the theory is valid. More heat is being trapped.

The complaint of these right wing professors seems to be that people are mean (See Kerry, John), computers are imperfect - especially the commodore 64s that were once used (never mind that computing power has increased by a factor of a bazillion) and that the scientists cannot be trusted to produce good science.

This is feature of Advanced Stage Denial. It allows the speaker to pull a bait and switch from Global Warming to "catastrophic global warming."  This is clever.

In doing so, the trickiest of speakers is able to conflate the theory behind Anthropogenic Global Warming with the computer models that demonstrate worst case scenario for warming. If the worst case scenario seems "ridiculous," all computer models are inherently suspect along with the theory itself.

This method allows the speaker to state in good faith his belief that "Catastrophic" Global Warming is false - leaving unsaid that "Really Bad and Dangerous" Global Warming is likely true, however. This second part always-always goes unsaid.

Its how the game is played.

The thing about right wing science professors, or skeptics of the settled consensus, is that they are by training, education and expertise, science professionals who (probably  at least in part have been trained and educated at Government expense), have the ability to clearly and cogently present their counter - theories to the world and add to the public discourse. They should have, by experience, the ability to take complicated subjects and present them in the way that an average teenager should be able to understand.

Accordingly these types of professionals should be ideally placed and having been educated at (least partially) government expense have a DUTY to educate and engage the public in a positive manner on why their views are more persuasive.  But none of these "Skeptics" ever steps up to the challenge.  It is not like such a person wouldn't have a built in audience - an overwhelming majority of Reality Based Folks would be happy to learn that the Scientists made a big mistake about global warming. It won't cause large scale extinction, rising seas, food shortages in some parts of the world, increased international armed conflicts, acidification of the ocean - it was all just a big mistake.  But that is not how they play the game.

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