Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Liberal blogger Ed Darrell thinks very highly of the late Professor Stephen Schneider, especially of this appearance the Prof. made shortly before his demise before a big roomful of skeptics.
As usual: When I make the most charitable assumptions possible about Darrell’s thinking processes, I’m puzzled as to why he thinks highly of something. I have little idea why he would find Schneider’s comments to be convincing, either to skeptics or to the agreeable. And then when I form the most derogatory expectations I possibly can, all of a sudden everything is crystal clear.
Schneider actually does very little by way of presentation of factual evidence that would persuade a rationally-minded skeptic toward a change of mind. He was annoyingly fond of discussing statistics with approximations, “ten percent” or so, emphasizing on the concepts he was trying to get across. I’m seeing lots of such conceptual explanation here, a lot of made-up numbers to help bolster analogies involving bathtubs and such, and some subtle, cheery condescension. But his arguments are non-arguments: “Oh, then you’re totally wrong.” Yes, I can see why Ed Darrell likes this; Schneider argued things the Darrell way. Don’t read that, read this instead!
Another thing I’m seeing in these four installments is a wonderful overview of the data sets that have come under Schneider’s watchful eye that persuade him. But this says very little when he’s been part of the global warming cult for about as long as it’s been around, and it doesn’t help that he’s indulging in the kind of bureaucratic double-speak that would make a rattlesnake jealous. “I am actually very pleased that you are skeptics. There’s no such thing as a good scientist who’s not a skeptic.” — now, knock it off right now, because I’m here to pound away on this tired trope like it’s a drum, that skepticism on this particular topic is a sign of intellectual weakness.
You think I’m being too cynical? Imagine an astronomer explaining the concept of dark matter. We should see this but instead, what we’re seeing is this.
The cattle rancher lady is doing a much better job, from what I’ve seen, of relying on actual hard, definable numbers. The climate cultists so simplify the arguments of their opposition, that we have a real problem now with them using one-size-fits-all arguments while not an awful lot of additional learning is going on. Like hamsters in little wheels. They run into the dissent, and their first reaction as well as their last one is to just repeat the explanation over again, from the top, about how it’s all supposed to work.
Schneider does very little to improve the situation, frankly. He’s facing fifty or so people who’ve heard it all before. What does he do? He explains how (sing along if you want!) carbon from human activity is trapped in the atmosphere, it acts as a greenhouse gas and this causes global warming, which is going to…do something soon.
If I were a cultist and I really wanted to change some minds, first thing I’d do is what the narrator lady did in the very first installment: Define all these various strands of skepticism. This guy over here doesn’t think there’s warming. That guy over there agrees there is warming, but human activity doesn’t contribute much to it and there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it. Some other guy buys into all of it, but is opposed to the policy changes that have been proposed so far to deal with the problem.
Simply put, global warming scare mongers just don’t have that much respect for their opposition. They can’t follow through on this first simple step, of coming to an understanding of what the opposition has to say. If they were really all about science, rather than taking pains to act scienc-ey, they’d be doing that; you could say something to one of them like “I agree carbon is an insulator and that it tends to accumulate in the atmosphere, but humans don’t contribute much to it” or “I am doubtful of the nightmare scenarios that are supposed to take place if the saturation reaches, say, 550ppm, I think it could get much higher and we wouldn’t be impacted much.” And you’d get back non-preachy, non-sneering, non-chortling answers with non-made-up numbers, rather than a retread of the argument that was already stated. The religious dogma would be left out of it. They wouldn’t be explaining over and over again how it’s supposed to work, when they know you already know. They’d address your specific area of doubt.
Anybody have today’s mean-Earth-temperature handy?
As for myself, I think the concepts are scientifically sound. It’s the doomsday prophecies that are in real trouble here. Where science has made itself robust, from all I’ve read about it, is where the data are gathered from the temperature stations and then plotted. But that is such a huge yawning distance from being able to predict any kind of climate calamity. The correlation between carbon saturation and mean temperature increase, all the desperate post-Climategate-email rhetoric notwithstanding, is fraught with problems. The very phrase “peer review” has been subjected to repeated attempts at institutional re-definition, and that by itself has a very damaging effect on the credibility of the institutions, as it should.
But even where things are going swimmingly, with gathering the data and analyzing it — the experts are doing a very poor job of explaining the nascent state of this particular branch of the science. It’s still at the state where, when they study the data, they’re studying how well their methods are working just as much as they’re studying what the data are supposed to be measuring. What is the list of these weather stations and how is it controlled? Whenever the list changes for whatever reason, are the data sets properly tossed out and started over? It’s a perfectly legitimate question, if you’re sounding a dire doomsday scenario just because when you take an “average” you’re seeing the average change over time. How is the temperature of the oceans factored in? Another perfectly legitimate question, when you consider how much of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, and how different the heat density of seawater is compared to the heat density of a land mass. After all, the carbon in the atmosphere is not supposed to be trapping temperature, it is supposed to be trapping heat.
I’ve come to feel very uncomfortable watching these climate change cheerleaders speak in their reverent tones about the departed Professor. Not quite so much because they’re accusing skeptics like me of speaking ill of the dead, although I’m sure that’s the intended undertone. Instead, I’m uneasy because their platitudes are mostly empty. You can’t say “Professor Schneider’s contributions were key to developing the first working…” light bulb, nuclear reactor, something in between. He wrote papers, got his Ph.D., earned honors, appeared in the media, and did a lot of other things that have something to do with what somebody else said or thought.
These are the people who end up with the loudest voices, pretty much everywhere. And that is to our detriment, and our discredit. We tend to place the highest soapboxes under the feet of those who have shown, due to loud voice, lofty stature, or both, that they have no need for a soapbox. I actually feel rather sorry for Dr. Schneider when I hear these sympathetic flailing around for something they can say about his actual contributions. It’s like going to a funeral with very few other attendees, and hearing a couple of eulogies that say things like “He was a wonderful guy in ways I can’t really discuss.”
He deserves props for speaking out against this whole name-calling thing, where climate change deniers are called something “akin to a Holocaust denier” and so forth. I wonder if he was ever conscious of how much people like him contributed to that sort of environment. You go around saying people who don’t agree with you need to read up on the science…and that we’re approaching a tipping point, at which something catastrophic will happen…well okay, the pieces are there. Someone else comes along and arranges them into the proper picture.
And from what I’ve been able to read and watch of his conclusions, there’s just no delicate way to put this: I find his science to be shoddy.
We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are. Therefore you never know which ones you’re crossing when. All you know is that as you add warming, you cross more and more of them.
Commenter Cassandra King speaks for me:
Huuh? I have heard some ridiculous statements from the AGW industry over the years but this one takes a prize and a rosette.
The statement crosses over into cult belief justification, What are these tipping points and where are they? Its like saying I know angels exist but I have never seen one but they must be all over the place and I might be standing next to one right now.
The utterly foolish anti scientific nature of filling in huge gaps in actual knowledge by inventing unkown and unproven causes/effects reminds me clearly of the phlogiston saga.
We know we have a rough 10 percent chance that [the effect of global warming] is going to be not much; a rough 10 percent chance of ‘Oh, My God’; and everything else in between. Therefore, what you’re talking about as a scientist is risk: what can happen multiplied times the odds of it happening. That’s an expert judgment. The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.
Now how do you square this, with his comment in Part 4 at 4:40: “It is not a scientist’s job to judge whether or not the risks are sufficient to hedge against any of these possibilities, it is only our job to report risk. And that’s why we have so many reviews.” I do find these statements to be reconcilable, but once you stencil things off that way you’re left with a scientist’s “turf” that is focused like a laser-beam. It is not a complicated area of expertise, nothing that hard to understand, it’s something like an insurance or mortgage underwriter.
Well, you know what? That isn’t where the effort has been directed; not what’s come to my attention, anyway. That isn’t what the IPCC assessments have been working on. Crack one open sometime. They have sections on raw data, they have narratives written by committees of scientists and then they have big fat sections all about proposed rules for “developed” nations and “developing” nations…then they drone on about how their committees are made up, with so many representatives from developed nations and so many representatives from developing nations.
Schneider’s “hundreds of tipping points” remain an ethereal, abstract wispy idea.
I cannot help but wonder what Darrell, or any other good progressive, would think of a conservative “proving” Mumia Abu Jamal shot Officer Daniel Faulkner, using exactly the same arguments Schneider used in this forum, with bathtub analogies and so forth.
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