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Aggregating Skeptical Thought

Takes one to know one

I recently posted my thoughts on the Epidemiology of Global Climate Change. In that post I detailed 3 arguments global warming skeptics often employ to prove why global warming isn’t real.  I addressed in the previous entry the more important question regarding not only why global warming is real but that man is the cause. I would like to take a moment and quickly dispatch one of the other arguments. It turned out to be relatively easy once I spent a moment to think it through. I will reiterate the position,

1) I’m (the Skeptigator) not a climatologist and therefore unqualified to make any reasonable judgment on my the validity of climate science, which is true.

On its face this seems like a fairly substantial argument. This argument itself is a logical fallacy, actually you could group it into a number of them but the most relevant to this post is the “Unstated Major Premise“. The unstated premise here is that the global warming denier (who is usually not a climatologist themselves) is rejecting out of hand the science of global warming. I am simply supporting the position of the experts, the denier is actually making the implied statement, “I am fully qualified to reject all of the evidence for global warming” however this statement is implied in their accusation against you. Hence the very clever title to this post.

The science behind global warming while admittedly not as concrete as say gravity or evolution there is still a preponderance of evidence in suppport of a anthropogenic (man-made) cause of global warming.

So the next time someone accuses you of not being qualified simply say to them, “I know I am but what are you”

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Filed under: Environment, , ,

5 Responses

  1. Dan Pangburn says:

    For 22 years, from 1976 to 1998, carbon dioxide level and average earth temperature both increased. This resulted in a scary Hollywood movie and world wide global warming hysteria. Group-think developed in the climate science community where peer-review bias led to de facto censorship and a paucity of published studies that objectively investigate the extent to which human-produced carbon dioxide contributes to global warming. It has been over nine years now and atmospheric carbon dioxide level has continued to increase but temperature has gone down. Apparently no one did any real research or they would have discovered that 440 mya the planet plunged into the Andean-Saharan ice age when atmospheric carbon dioxide was over ten times the present level (http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1.shtml ). With a little further real research they would have discovered that, in the current ice age, temperature trends have changed direction at many different temperature levels. This could not occur if there was positive feedback. They might have also noticed that temperatures went up and down hundreds of years before the carbon dioxide level changed. The forced conclusion from all this is that non-condensing greenhouse gas, and therefore human activity, has no significant influence on global temperature. The ‘documentary’, “Six Degrees Could Change the World” is another example of media exploiting a hoodwinked public to sell advertising. They need to show it right away because, as atmospheric carbon dioxide level continues to increase and the planet temperature continues to drop, it will look more and more foolish.

  2. Skeptigator says:

    Yes and for about 25 years between 1946-1970 there was also a net cooling, usually referred to as Global Cooling. What this kind of highly selective data selection reveals one of two things

    1) you either don’t understand what global climate change refers to,

    2) or you do and you are being a bit disingenuous in your selective sampling of the data.

    When you control for all natural phenomenon that can effect the overall global temperature (milankovitch cycles, etc) you will find a very interesting pattern. The greater mankind output of greenhouse gases the higher (and more importantly) and more variable our global mean temperatures became.

    Here’s a nifty graphic that starts after the last “mini” ice age (and therefore eliminating the “artificial” boost global temperatures would receive from having a artificially starting point).

    What’s most critical in understanding regarding Global Warming is not the total net amount of warming (I believe it’s about .6 of a degree) but the growing disparity between temperature extremes.

    I believe what you are referring to with the (almost) non-sequitur that 440 mya the planet was colder with 10x more greenhouse gases so how could global warming be real argument has been most thoroughly addressed here; it’s often referred to “Don’t ice cores show that a cooling earth happens and then CO2 goes up not the other way around?”.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/the-lag-between-temp-and-co2/

  3. Dan Pangburn says:

    mya means million years ago. The temperature graph since LIA shows that there is no correlation with the atmospheric carbon dioxide level which was progressively increasing.

    It is unfortunate that so many people have bought in to the anthropogenic global warming mistake when they could have investigated the issue themselves using credible sources readily available on the web. Some people are concerned about the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The assessment that there is over 50 times as much carbon in the ocean as exists in the atmosphere, http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=17726 , does not appear to be very widely known.

    Apparently no one did any real research before or they would have discovered that 440 mya the planet plunged into the Andean-Saharan ice age, http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm , when atmospheric carbon dioxide was over ten times the present level, http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1.shtml (http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Reference_Docs/Geocarb_III-Berner.pdf if the original paper is preferred).

    With a little further real research they would have discovered that, in the current ice age, temperature trends have changed direction at many different temperature levels. See temperature anomalies from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/temp/vostok/vostok.1999.temp.dat . This could not occur if there was significant positive feedback.

    If they had also looked at the carbon dioxide level from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/vostok.html they would have discovered that the change in atmospheric carbon dioxide level typically lagged average earth temperature change by hundreds of years.

    If they had looked at the temperature data from ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/annual.land_and_ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat . and Law Dome carbon dioxide data from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/lawdome.combined.dat and recent carbon dioxide data from Mauna Loa ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/in-situ/mlo/ or other sources from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/ they might have also noticed that there is no correlation, except possibly for the 22 years from 1976 to 1998 when carbon dioxide level and average global temperature both increased.

    None of the historical global climate data shows any significant influence of carbon dioxide level on temperature. In fact, the average global temperature decreased more from January 2007 through January 2008 than the entire increase from 1901 to 2001.

    The average global temperature anomaly from
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/annual.land_and_ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat in 1901 was -.0974 and in 2001 was .4934 for a total temperature increase of .5908 centigrade degrees.

    The average global temperature anomaly from
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2007/perspectives.html
    for January 2007 was .85

    and the average global temperature anomaly from
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2008/perspectives.html
    for January 2008 was .18 for a total temperature drop of .67 centigrade degrees.

    Peer review biased by group-think is de facto censorship. The result here is a plethora of papers advocating that human activity is causing global warming and a paucity of ‘peer reviewed’ published papers that objectively investigate the extent to which human-produced carbon dioxide is contributing to global warming. Since this is the case, it’s probably going to have to get a lot colder before very much changes in most of the media. It will get colder eventually and a lot of people are going to look pretty foolish. It might even get warmer first like it has other times in the last 11000 years but that’s not likely since we are past due for the coming glacial age. During the coming glaciation, half of the population will starve because rice does not grow on ice.

  4. Skeptigator says:

    1) The main gist of your argument seems to hinge on the fact that there is no correlation between increased CO2 gases and warming. See my comments about warming below but to get to the main point of this argument is the apparent lack of correlation between CO2 atmospheric forcing and global mean temperatures over time. There is in fact a correlation between these two, where you go astray in assuming that if 1992 had 10% more CO2 then 1992/1993 should be 10% warmer or some such linear causation. The realities of greenhouse gas forcing (of which man-made CO2 is the primary cause) is more complicated and has to be studied over longer periods to understand the correlation, in fact you could even make the argument that CO2 buldup lags behind it’s effect on global mean temperatures but then again that phenomenon is explained in the link provided earlier to Real Climate.

    2) Actually the earth’s oceans are a HUGE carbon sink and they do an excellent job of absorbing CO2. I assume you mean not well known among the general public, that’s some hubris of you to “know” about something that climatologists are apparently unaware of.

    3) http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2008/perspectives.html
    Wow, January 2008 was slightly cooler than the average global temperature. Well you have completed destroyed the strawman argument that you have setup. Next you should try working on proving *actual* global climate change isn’t real.

    4) Again, you seem to be hung up on the term Global Warming, which in your straw man argument means, every year the Earth should be getting warmer and warmer and that any cooling is proof that Global Warming isn’t real. I am truly not trying to be mean but you really don’t understand what Global Climate Change really is. The fact that you still believe that global warming isn’t even real, let alone man-made tells me you have some research to do. No serious, credible scientist (or even conservative politician) still doubts that global warming is real. That debate from 1995 has been resolved and now we are trying to understand what man’s contribution (where the current debate is) and what the ultimate effects will be.

    The burden of proof that global climate change is not real and that it is man-made now lies with the deniers. This is how scientific thoughts works. The global warming Hypothesis has moved to a Theory with a considerable body of evidence to back it up.

  5. Skeptigator says:

    Dan,

    I would also suggest you look at the following post at Bad Astronomy that shows very conclusively the very selective use of the January 2008 is cooler than average (and therefore disproves global warming) fact. True but misleading and I would dare say either born of ignorance or intellectual dishonesty.

    http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2008/02/27/here-comes-the-sun-again/

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