Sorry Newsbusters, who's alarmist?

Thu, 2007-07-26 10:33Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Sorry Newsbusters, who's alarmist?

From the Brent Bozell oil-backed echo chamber comes a lovely screed today that clearly defines global warming “alarmism.” Or at least how it is defined by an organization devoted to outing the great Liberal conspiracy in the US media.

It also seems they're now resorting to sci-fi writers to “debunk” global warming.

And apparently, “debunk” in the mind of Newsbuster writer Noel Sheppard, has nothing to do with actual science, but the rantings of a sci fi writer named Orson Scott Card.

And Card's scientific conclusions “debunking” human-induced global warming? To quote:

What matters right here and now is that it is time for the world's scientists to apostatize from the Church of Global Warming. It is a false religion. It is based on lies, and its leading prophets know that it is because they're the ones faking the data…”

It is time for us to laugh at the ideologues who try to pretend that any criticism of Global Warming alarmism is idiotic and unscientific. They are the ones who ignore the data…”

The Global Warming alarmists are the anti-science religion that is trying to forcibly indoctrinate and convert everyone while suppressing dissent. And the news media are their patsies, their stooges, their puppets.”

So if Sheppard believes the statements he so enthusiastically embraced above are a “debunking,” what would he consider to be “alarmist” language?

In an earlier post today Shepard cries “alarmist” over the following statement about a new global warming film reviewed in the New York Times:

“Gripping moments like this abound in 'Arctic Tale,' a new film exploring challenges facing polar bears and walruses, two familiar denizens of the icy, but warming, seas at the top of the world.”

I'm sorry who's alarmist?

Previous Comments

Orson Scott “Mormons In Space” Card? He used to write lousy sci fi, way back. Actually, this is just another example.

 ”Orson Scott Card is an award-winning science fiction author.”

Would be great to get a jpg. of “Mormons in Space”

Here's his blog: http://www.ornery.org/index.html – maybe he is fashioning himself along the lines a Micheal Chrichton.
Interesting discussion you may want to see. Deals with some of the kookiness. http://climateprogress.org/2007/07/20/the-work-to-read-after-seeing-an-inconvenient-truth/

Umm, instead of vilifying Orson Scott Card as a mere scifi writer, and instead of saying that what Card wrote was a “rant,” why don’t you check Card’s story? He lays out a lot of claims that can be checked.

So why don’t you check those claims and get back to us? Also, why don’t you check the evidence on solar variation? It’s not a cockamamie theory. It’s a factor. It’s just that models differ on how big a factor solar variation is. These models are exactly what Card is questioning.

Solar variation has long been refuted as a significant cause and here is yet another study confirming this: http://www.desmogblog.com/the-sun-sets-finally-on-the-solar-radiation-myth.

The lastest IPCC report also rules out that it plays a significant role.

If Card uses rhetoric, he deserves rhetoric in response - if he wants a scientific refutation, he is more than welcome to publish in a peer reviewed journal, where his hypothesis can be challenged. That is science, this blog is not.

Solar variation has not long been refuted. It has long been disputed. “Consensus” does not equal refutation.

Card used rhetoric – something about which he knows a great deal. I do not call your response rhetoric. I call it facile ad hominem vilification of a very intelligent and well informed person whose arguments you are afraid to engage. Card is trying to draw attention to claims that “consensus” holds unworthy of even checking. Surely you can see the groupthink, orthodoxy, and quickness to vilify in much of the global warming, um, movement.

I don’t agree with Card’s political or religious views, but I don’t substitute vilification and ad hominem attack for my disagreement.

I think you are being intellectually dishonest. You claim the high ground, but you refuse the engage evidence.

As a scientist I get tired of the childish games people like you play. You always claim that such and such a paper has been “disproven” but usually fail to provide any evidence to back up your claims. When you do occasionally bring up a “paper” it is usually cherry picked data or is complete fiction. So please don’t go on about “intellectual dishonesty”. Provide your evidence or keep quiet.

Ian Forrester

Ian, I can’t tell who you are replying to or which side of the conversation you are on. I’m assuming you are replying to me because I mentioned intellectual dishonesty and you put “intellectual dishonesty” in quotes.

There are falacious arguments here on the table already.

1. Though Orson Scott Card’s claims are falsifiable, Grandia launches a nasty ad hominem attack against Card and ignores Card’s claims.

2. When challenged on the above fallacy, Grandia says he used rhetoric because Card used rhetoric, thinking we would not notice that Card used rhetoric to make a falsifiable claim while Grandia used rhetoric to make an ad hominem attack.

3. Ian Forrester sets up a straw man argument quoting words that no one used (“disproven” and “paper”) and attempts to turn the tables by asking his opponent to back up something that is not specifically named, in yet another fallacious attempt to avoid engaging Orson Scott Card’s claims.

Now, will y’all respond by actually engaging Card’s claims, or will you respond with more fallacy?

Here’s what Card wrote:

What matters right here and now is that it is time for the world’s scientists to apostatize from the Church of Global Warming. It is a false religion. It is based on lies, and its leading prophets know that it is because they’re the ones faking the data…”

It is time for us to laugh at the ideologues who try to pretend that any criticism of Global Warming alarmism is idiotic and unscientific. They are the ones who ignore the data…”

The Global Warming alarmists are the anti-science religion that is trying to forcibly indoctrinate and convert everyone while suppressing dissent. And the news media are their patsies, their stooges, their puppets.”

And you’re saying it was me who launched a “nasty ad hominem attack?!”  

Card states: “Global Warming alarmism is idiotic and unscientific.”
 

Those are claims, dear. Card presents evidence for those claims in his article. I am asking you to respond to his claims.

You have much to learn about rhetoric and argument. If I claim that the attorney general is a liar, that is not an ad hominem attack if I bring forth evidence that the attorney general is a liar. Lying is a serious claim and must be judged on the evidence. It is as though you are saying, “The man who has accused the attorney general of lying is a mere science fiction writer! What a fool!” That’s fallacious response.

Now will you respond to Card’s claims or won’t you? I don’t think you will, and I’m going to move on. It has been demonstrated that this is not a blog that engages arguments and evidence. Rather, it’s just another shrill voice.

Fine. One more time. It's just that the poor old hockey stick has been the pariah of the denial industry for so long regardless of what scientists anyone says.

BTW, have I mentioned this study is now almost 10 years old and has been substantiated through other multiple lines of scientific evidence since?

So here we go. One last time:

Form the US National Academy of Science's inquiry into the Mann “hockey stick”

June 22 – There is sufficient evidence from tree rings, retreating glaciers, and other “proxies” to say with confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years, according to a new National Research Council report. There is less confidence in reconstructions of surface temperatures from 1600 back to A.D. 900, and very little confidence in findings on average temperatures before then.

Not to end there of course, the NAS in this statement only substantiate the “hockey stick” graph in and of itself for the past 400 years.

The NAS does state later in their report:

“Surface temperature reconstructions for periods prior to the industrial era are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that climatic warming is occurring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence.”

But, hey, we've said this a hundred times on the blog already, so I am not holding my breath that you will suddenly agree.

If you really think that the verbal diarrhoea put forth by Card is worthy of a serious reply you are herewith added to the roster of the neuronally challenged members of the Putty Brain Club. If you had any background in science you would have seen that what he is writing is absolute rubbish from a science point of view.

Of course you are not interested in the science, are you? You belong to that group of people who are in the pay of the very industries who are doing their utmost to cast doubt on the whole science behind AGW.

If you want to be taken seriously then provide some data to back up your claims, if not keep quiet. I refer to your comments that solar output has not been refuted. This is clearly not true. Those disputing it are not doing so based on scientific evidence.

Ian Forrester

Solar forcing is a fact, and if you are scientist you know it. It’s just that models differ on how big a factor solar forcing is.

Card’s claim is about the validity of a model, and Card’s claim can be checked.

To the growing list of fallacious argument here, I add:

4. Ian’s claiming the mantle of scientific authority (“as a scientist”) while bringing no science to the discussion.

5. Further ad hominem attack (I am a member of the Putty Brain Club)

6. Ian’s false allegations about me (I am not interested in science, I am in the pay of certain industries, etc.) Actually, I work for the mainstream media and have all my life, and I have a journalist’s interest in facts and truth.

7. Ian’s attempt once again to turn the table and say that I have a claim to defend. I have made no claims. I am only asking someone here to speak to Orson Scott Cards actual claims, which are falsifiable, and which he himself is begging you to check.

The response to my comments here stand as evidence, actually, to some of Card’s claim – that dissent is suppressed by intellectually dishonest means.

David,

Orson Scott’s stuff is just a tired rehash of all the old skeptical talking points. It has all been rebutted a zillion times, and hardly worth doing so here for your benefit.

It also attributes motives to Michael Mann which, contrary to your claims in the above and elsewhere, cannot be checked unless you know how to peer into Mr. Mann’s soul.

“… cannot be checked unless you know how to peer into Mr. Mann’s soul.”

I don’t understand how you can make that claim. The very essence of this conversation is that Scott Card is urging you to look into Mr. Mann’s data, not into his soul.

I’m about to list your post as fallacy by attempting to change the subject to something that is not falsifiable. But maybe I’m not understanding you.

David, Card accuses Mann of falsifying data, covering it up, and having help in the coverup from other scientists, who were all “acting for the cause”. Is this not one of his claims? And if it is, what is the evidence (did he peer into Mr. Mann’s soul)?

As for Mann’s data, that HAS been checked and essentially found to be sound. Even erstwhile allies like Storch don’t take McIntyre very seriously anymore.

David said: “The response to my comments here stand as evidence, actually, to some of Card’s claim – that dissent is suppressed by intellectually dishonest mean”.

If you are up to date on the science, and we scientists are, then I do not need to repeat every fact over and over again. The science becomes accepted and does not need to be regurgitated in every post and paper. If you have a lack of understanding then please ask questions do not bring rubbish to the table. You are being “intellectually dishonest” in your comments and attitude to those who know that what you are supporting is absolute rubbish.

Ian Forrester

You are again being evasive and falling back on the fallacy of the mantle of authority. I have not suggested that you regurgitate anything. I have only suggested that you do what Scott Card says has not been done – verify Mr. Mann’s data.

Until you do that, it is not rubbish merely because you say, claiming authority, that it is rubbish. It will be rubbish only have you have engaged and refuted the claim.

Frankly the people here, as I have attempted to engage you fairly and honestly, are just reinforcing some of Card’s points – you are shrill and respond to critics with fallacy after fallacy, but apparently you can’t see that because you are so sure that you are right and that Card is wrong.

If you were truly interested in understanding what is going on you would be discussing facts not fallacies. You appear to be more interested in playing useless word games (so typical of your lot) rather than discussing scientific facts. Until you start questioning facts rather than issuing meaningless verbal diarrhoea then you are neither educating yourself nor adding to the scientific discussion in any meaningful way.

Ian Forrester

Among your other deficiencies, you don’t know what ad-hominem means.  Per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem, and damn DeSmogBlog for disallowing both links and blockquotes):

ad hominem argument… consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

“Putty-brain” is a conclusion about you drawn from the documented faults in your claims and inability to understand their refutations, not a label slapped on you to discredit your argument in lieu of rebuttal on its merits.

I should also add, Ian, that I know you mean well. But I wish you would not make unwarranted assumptions about me just because I retain some skepticism and because I believe Scott Card’s claims are worth checking. I probably also should disclose that I know Scott Card though I haven’t seen him in years, and I have always found him to be honest and honorable even when I’ve disagreed with him.

As for me, I am passionately for conservation. I have done some anti-suburbanization activism and will do more. My energy consumption and overall consumption are far smaller than the average American, and I’m about to retire into a simple-living situation in which I will grow as much of my food as possible, buy local to the maximum degree, etc. I am passionate about the necessity for that and probably as angry as you are about the absurd habits of American consumers.

However, I like honest argument, and I do not like dogma. I don’t like it when people demonize people who express unpopular opinions. Orson Scott Card may hold some views that are outside the mainstream and some views that are popular. But he is a very intelligent person, I think his claims are serious, and I think his claims are worth checking. That’s all I’m trying to say here.

If you think his claims are serious, then YOU check them and come back with evidence that either supports or refutes some of the claims he made. Don’t expect other people to do your work for you.

Fascinating discussion. I am new to the science of climate change and although I didn’t like the way he wrote the beginning of the column (too much melodrama) I found the remainder to put forth some interesting ideas.

VJ - I think Grandia is the one that needs to put forth evidence refuting it. He was the one that attacked it in the first place.

Ian - Your response seems to be very emotional, like there is a lot of scar tissue. The message I got from David was check out the claim from Card. I think you are the one that got personal.

David - I understand your response, I had a similar one.

TMR said: “I am new to the science of climate change”.

You say you are new but you seem to instantly “know” what is right and what is wrong. I think that you are just a troll stirring up trouble, and perhaps a sock puppet?

And in case you are wondering why I respond to posts such as yours and David’s it is because I am extremely upset by the anti-science sentiment shown by many in the AGW denial camp.

Ian Forrester

Posted a “debunking” of Card and the Hockey Stick above….

Here’s some more debunking:

Card:” The Global Warming alarmists are the anti-science religion that is trying to forcibly indoctrinate and convert everyone while suppressing dissent. And the news media are their patsies, their stooges, their puppets.”

Me: no they’re not.

Card: It is time for us to laugh at the ideologues who try to pretend that any criticism of Global Warming alarmism is idiotic and unscientific. They are the ones who ignore the data

me: No it isn’t

Card: What matters right here and now is that it is time for the world’s scientists to apostatize from the Church of Global Warming. It is a false religion. It is based on lies, and its leading prophets know that it is because they’re the ones faking the data

me: no it isn’t

Phew.  

Ah, David’s sockpuppet speaks!

Hi David,
I finally made it through Card’s column. It was awful. Yuck. Who did he talk to? He got all his info from one side and made up a bunch of crap (especially regarding motivation) or plagiarized it from someone else. As stated by others in this thread, many of his points have been debunked by others. The folks who think AGW is real agree that solar forcing is important, so most of those points are irrelevant (or at least the claims he makes about alarmists with respect to ignoring solar are invalid). There are so many places where he is demonstrably wrong, it is hard to know where to start. Maybe you should indicate which three of his points are the most powerful to you and see if someone here can falsify them. Or maybe you should check to see how many of his claims have been falsified. I like this place: http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-to-talk-to-global-warming-sceptic.html . There are many others, though.

Here, I’ll try to shoot down three of Card’s claims in a hurry. 1. “Nowadays it’s all climate change instead of global warming” – that’s a misleading load of shit. It was never called the IPGW – the IPCC has been around for a long time. 2. “The computer models are wrong and can’t predict the future or even the past” – another crock, but possibly the result of sticking to his particular sources who have misrepresented the old predictions; read http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/hansens-1988-projections/ . 3. “Even the IPCC, which was so heavily biased in favor of Global Warming alarmism, could not get its pet scientists to agree that Global Warming in recent decades is even probably caused by human activity.” – Geez, all he had to do was look at the most recent AR4 summary.

Another thing to refute, even though it’s been done a million times elsewhere, is the ridiculous notion of a liberal bias in the media. This presumes an objectively defined middle on the crappy left/liberal right/conservative axis (I think that dichotomy is unhelpful). I won’t pretend that media outlets don’t differ along this axis, but I object to the idea of bias. To estimate bias you need to have a reference. For extremists who can only see things from their own frame of reference, everyone else will seem biased. Manufacturing Consent was about, in part, the fact that corporate media will be biased toward monied interests. All these weirdos who accuse others of trying to interfere with the market seem to get most upset when some media outlet is able to make money despite being less extreme than they are. It’s silly. They should follow the money. Thus, there is a logical mechanism that works against their claims, and they have no data in support of their claims (only anecdotal garbage). This reminds me of the AGW denier crowd – hey wait, they’re one and the same.

By the way, someone posted an article of Card’s, without attributing it to Card, in the comments here:

http://www.desmogblog.com/harness-prairie-wetlands-in-climate-change-battle

Edit: The links I had posted there have been lost with the reformatting I guess, but maybe your tech genius can find them. :)


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