Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens' Sick Souled Neurosis

Thu, 2008-07-03 16:42Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens' Sick Souled Neurosis

“Global warming is a sick-souled religion.”


Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens thinks so in his article, Global Warming as Mass Neurosis.

Unfortunately for Stephens' and the rest of the planet, his evidence for such an inflammatory claim doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

As evidence of this 'sick religion' Stephens points to US temperature records:

NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954.”

True enough, NASA did correct their temperature records for the United States. But what scientists are talking about and concerned about is global warming and not United States warming. And global temperature records since 1850 have shown a rapid upswing that you can see in this global temperature record data.

Not to beat a point to death, but when the NASA temperature mistake was discovered, it was considered an insignificant adjustment by Bret Stephens himself [not Steve Milloy as I mistakenly attributed the following quote] who stated at the time that “I [he] am [is] prepared to acknowledge that Mr. McIntyre's discovery amounts to what a New York Times reporter calls a 'statistically meaningless' rearrangement of data.”

Okay, now I am beating the point to death, but when you compare NASA temperature records to the temperature records kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the official US Government US temperature tracking agency, the hottest year in the United States remains to be 1998. NOAA recently reported that the 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was the 2nd warmest on record.

On Arctic Sea Ice Stephens writes:

“The Arctic ice cap may be thinning, but the extent of Antarctic sea ice has been expanding for years.”

Yes the Arctic ice cap is thinning and the old, thick ice that can withstand significant thawing under summer temperatures is being replaced by thin, seasonal ice that melts away much quicker in the spring. And this is something that has scientists very concerned, because as the old ice continues to be replaced by seasonal thin ice, the extent of the summer polar ice cap melting is increasing year-after-year. On the decreasing Arctic sea ice, National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) released a statement yesterday that:

“Arctic sea ice extent for June 2008 is close to that for 2007, which went on to reach the lowest minimum since at least 1979. More notably, however, satellite data indicate that melt began significantly earlier than last year over most of the Arctic Ocean. The large area of the Arctic Ocean covered by first-year ice (described in our June analysis) coupled with the early onset of melting may mean more rapid and more severe summer ice retreat than last year.”

Losing Arctic sea ice earlier and earlier every year is a concern to scientists because the earth's sea ice acts as a massive white reflector, bouncing the sun's heat back out into space - the less sea ice, the less of the Sun's heat is reflected back into space, the more heat that is absorbed by the earth, the hotter it gets, the faster the melting. You can read the more scientific explanation of this under the heading Why earlier melt matters, on the NSIDC website.

On Ocean Temperature Stephens writes:

“Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that '80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters,' according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.”
Fair enough, this was the initial finding by NASA's gang of ocean-roaming robots. But the initial finding was quickly followed by this statement from NASA:
“Update as of 5/30/07: Recent analyses have revealed that results from some of the ocean float and shipboard sensor data used in this study were incorrect. As a result, the study's conclusion that the oceans cooled between 2003 and 2005 can not be substantiated at this time. The study authors are currently working to correct these data errors and recompute ocean temperature changes.” (that's NASA's bold for emphasis, not mine)

Stephens uses all of this evidence above to conclude that “Global warming is sick-souled religion.” To make such an inflammatory statement, one that implicates Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the newspaper he works for, you would think Stephens would have taken the time to at least ensure he had his facts straightened away.

And considering how flimsy Stephens apparent facts on the 'hysteria of global warming' appear to be, it is fair to say that the only one acting on faith and false-belief is Stephens himself.


The author claims global warming is infallible. This isn’t true. If some new discovery were to overturn the 19th century finding (a reborn PNAC 19th century worldview doesn’t count) that CO2 wasn’t more transparent to incoming light than outgoing infrared radiant energy, that would count as fallibility. Same if some new CO2 sink is magically found (to my knowledge there aren’t any outstanding sink possibilities), perhaps materialized by B.Stephens himself?

You know the American model of capitalism is a sick-souled religion when the WSJ is actively promoting policies that will flood their own headquarters sometime during the 2nd half of this century. A nation whose political leadership reads newspapers that claim Global Warming won’t happen, can’t prepare an Army Corp engineering dyke to preserve Manhattan real-estate, right? This is hilarious. This article functiona to tell the world to short NYC real estate, because they are too stupid to protect themselves from their self-inflicted problem.
I expect the Fraser Valley to prepare a plan to save as much territory as possible because I know G.Campbell doesn’t read the WSJ (he is scientifically literate).

“Not to beat a point to death, but when the NASA temperature mistake was discovered, it was considered an insignificant adjustment by even some of the most vehement climate deniers, like the Junk Man Steve Milloy who stated at the time that “I [he] am [is] prepared to acknowledge that Mr. McIntyre’s discovery amounts to what a New York Times reporter calls a ‘statistically meaningless’ rearrangement of data.”

Please refer us to where Steven Milloy ever makes that statement.

Your URL only points to Milloy’s website. A search of his site turns up no such arrangement of words.

That, plus your liberal parenthetic insertion of words, would suggest you just made this up.

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

The quote is real, I do believe its not attributed to the right name though. So yes you are wrong the quote is not fabricated, nice to see you wrong about something again other than the usual…cheers

Sorry, Carl. I’m not sure I’ve deciphered your typical illucid word-salad.

Are you actually trying to say that in spite of the fact that Steven Milloy never made the statement, you still consider the quote completely accurate?

You are utterly insane.

Actually no, you asked if you were wrong, and you are. The quote is not a fabrication (that is what you said), if you google it you can find the quote, its just attributed to the wrong person in error.

So….fabrication it is not, and wrong you are…again no surprise

I take it back, Carl. You are not insane – merely a tedious idiot.

his archives are horribly indexed though, without having to sift through all the junk on junkscience, here’s the search result from his site:
Junkscience.com – Archives, August 2007I confess: I am prepared to acknowledge that Mr. McIntyre’s discovery amounts to what a New York Times reporter calls a “statistically meaningless”
www.junkscience.com/aug07.html - Similar pages  

“Milloy did make that statement his archives are horribly indexed though, without having to sift through all the junk on junkscience, here’s the search result from his site”

Presusmably you “sifted through” the first time you made that nose-stretcher? Why should it only become so bothersome for you now?

By employing your own half-assed “research” techniques, one could just as easily conclude that it was you, not Steven Milloy, who made that statement:



Using your sloppy and lazy method of attributing quotes, we would also conclude that Winston Churchill was fond of uttering the phrase, “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!”:


Gosh, it’s a new development in PR spin technology. You can have just about anyone saying anything you want. That must be a real time-saver for you, Kevin.

Had you actually bothered to read Steven Milloy’s “junk”, as you call it, you would have seen – quite clearly – that what you were reading was an excerpt from an article by Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal, and not the words of Steven Milloy.


What I can’t believe, is that someone is actually handsomely paying you to produce this amateurish garbage, and this is the result. I shudder to think how many other liberties you’ve taken in distorting the facts throughout all of the other mud-slinging articles on this web site.

So much for “clearing the PR pollution” – you’re just adding to it.

I stand corrected - ironically, it is Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal who said: 

“I confess: I am prepared to acknowledge that Mr. McIntyre's discovery amounts to what a New York Times reporter calls a “statistically meaningless” rearrangement of data,” of the NASA temperature data he is now saying bolsters his argument of global warming hysteria.

And thank you Rob for making my argument even stronger. Much appreciated. 

Uh, how is your argument “stronger”?

You’ve just been conclusively shown as someone who fabricates quotes, and apparently goes to a great deal of effort to do so.

Then you lie about it, until you are backed into a corner.

Yeah. Some “strong” argument you’ve got there.

By defending Steve, Rob just burned Bret…

Errors in attribution are nowhere near as serious as errors of fact. Nit-pickers like Rob are the reason I stopped reading most political blogs–endless circle jerks about who said what, with not a single hint of reality in sight.

One thing Kevin seems to miss here is Stephen’s claim about the expansion of the Antarctic ice shelf. My impression was that huge pieces of it were breaking off. Is Stephens blowing smoke here again, or is the ice pack actually thickening? This is possible even under global warming because higher Antarctic temperatures might mean more precipitation and hence more snow accumulation.

The Arctic is in the north, the ANTarctic is in the south.

You rebut the claims about the Arctic ice decreasing but say nothing about how, at the opposite end of the earth the ice is supposedly increasing. Just thought I’d mention…

Changing densities and mixtures of ice and water can make it hard to determine from elevation/satellite readings what is really going on in terms total water amounts.

Also, since ice is less dense than water, any of the sea-ice floating in the ocean that melts will result in the sea-level getting LOWER not higher.

This means that ice melting in the arctic actually makes the sea lower since the arctic is not a land mass. Only ice melting from the continents into the ocean can make the ocean rise.

Dear Mr. Stephens,
Your recent article on this subject was a breath of fresh, cool air. I spent over 50 years in the field of air quality research and engineering, and am appalled at the directions being taken in the environmental area, especially in the topic of Global Warming. Human activity has little if anything to do with this primarily natural effect, and, ironically, anything we do to to make more efficeint use of available fuels and applying carbon-free sources of energy will have little or no effect on Global Warming. I submitted an Op-Ed piece, “Envronmentalism Gone Haywire,” expanding on this topic, to your paper and several others, but there was no response, perhaps because of Al Gore’s silly pronouncement that “The Science Has Been Established,” or words to that effect, and that human activities are primarily reponsible for this effect. Since I can’t attach it,I will mail you a copy of this essay. John E. Yocom, Simsbury, CT 06070

1,000 years ago, when the Vikings sailed to Greenland and Newfoundland, and stayed, Northern Scotland had the same climate as Southern France. The Scots of the time had vineyards and produced wine.

That means, without modern industry, the planet was much warmer than it is today. It means the Arctic ice and glaciers must have been massively more melted back than today, and please note that the polar bears did not go extinct. I also wonder if it did not have something to do with people drawing the conclusion that there had to be a Northwest Passage to the Pacific.

There are dozens and dozens of reasons to think that any global warming that may be occurring is NOT anthropogenic. At least one dozen of those reasons are so fundamental that any one or two negate Environmentalist claims. If only there were more media writers like Bret Stephens, who will argue facts and principles on a regular basis.

Environmentalists, especially the leading ones, are anti-industrial, anti-progress, anti-individual, anti-freedom, collectivist, misanthropic would-be-dictators. They have simply found a new way to dupe the public, now that Hitler’s racism, Stalin’s hate the bourgeoisie, and Mao’s save the Proletariat have been used.


At 9:35 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, Greeley, Colorado was struck by a 3.4 magnitude earthquake. Earthquakes are highly unusual in eastern Colorado, raising speculation that it was a “frackquake” — a man-made earthquake stimulated by the disposal of contaminated drilling water in deep injection wells. This disposal technique forces wastewater generated from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) deep into underground rock formations, lubricating layers of rock that would not ordinarily be subject to movement.

Earthquakes are so rare in eastern Colorado that the U.S....

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