Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Science: Anthropogenic Global Warming. It's Real. Climate Change is NOT A CONSPIRACY.


I am going to blog about something that has been on my mind for quite some time and something I have consequently been itching to get down on 'paper.' I'm excited but a bit apprehensive, as this is going to be one of my most difficult blogs ever attempted.

The Topic and Thesis of the Blog


Anthropogenic Global Warming (Global Warming caused by, at least in part, if not in full, by human activity).

Note: I believe that most of what I am about to say is going to be fairly accurate; however, I will almost certainly make an error or six, as I am not a climatologist, nor am I an expert on climatology. Quite the contrary in fact. I'm a layman with a slight understanding of climatology. I understand less of climatology than I do biology, and even my understanding of biology leaves much to be desired. That being said, like with the biological theory of evolution, I have a bit of knowledge about a specific theory within a specific scientific discipline; namely, the climatological phenomenon of global warming as explained, fully or in large part, by anthropogenic activities.

Please take what I say as a general guideline and nothing more, and those of you who are more knowledgeable than I on this subject, please feel free to correct any errors I may make.

Note#2: I refer to global warming a gazillion times in this blog, as it's the term I am most familiar with; however, the phrase global climate change is the one that seems now to be more preferable (and more accurate). The reason for the phrase switch (or re branding, if you like) is that:

''climate change will have different affects on temperatures in different parts of the world.While the first term is still correct, since the planet is on average seeing warmer and warmer temps, some regions may see wetter, and sometimes, colder weather. The basic explanation for this is that as heat increases, more water evaporates around the world, putting more vapor into the atmosphere--which can cause heavier rainfalls and worse storms, and create cooler weather patterns.''

This is also relevant to this blog, as global warming (sorry, global climate change hehe) deniers will often employ, as an argument, the very real idea that not all places are seeing the expected warming. The reason for this is NOT that GW is not realy, however, but merely what was stated above (in addition to the idea that people will conflate weather with climate, which is an idea I will expand upon later).

So, the THESIS of this blog is as follows:

Global Warming is a real phenomenon. Global Warming is a fact, as demonstrated by climatologists worldwide. Anthropogenic Global Warming is the the theory that explains that fact. The idea this theory puts forth (an idea that, as is standard for the naturalistic methodology employed by science, injects no supernatural or metaphysical ideas, and, more importantly, is testable) is that this demonstrable warming can be explained, fully or at least in part, by human activity. This human activity is such that releases carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere and causes, through the greenhouse effect, a slow, gradual warming of the overall global climate, a warming which, if left unchecked, can and will, over a period of decades and centuries, cause negative effects ranging from undesirable to absolutely catastrophic.

This is analogous to The Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection. Evolution is, like global warming, the observed phenomena (the fact) and Natural Selection is, like the Anthropogenic nature of the warming, the theory that explains that fact.

Btw, as an (important) aside, in science, a theory is not the same as the colloquial understanding of a theory. In colloquial terms, a theory is a hypothesis. Saying ''it's just a theory'' is very, very wrong, as in science, a theory is NOT a hypothesis, or a proposed, untested idea. A scientific theory is an explanation that best fits the evidence. A theory is testable, malleable, and based upon evidence. A theory can be updated, or even scrapped, due to new evidence, and theories are confirmed and subsequently made stronger, by new evidence that conforms to exactly what you'd expect based on the theory (scientific theories allow one to make predictions and new evidence that is found fits these predictions, if the theory is sound).

However, a theory is never ''upgraded'' to a law or something else. The theory of evolution, the germ theory of disease, the general theory of relativity, kinetic theory, etc etc etc these are all theories that have been theories for centuries and will continue to be theories for centuries. Theories are the explanations of the evidence we see. Not someone's guess, or attempt to explain the evidence. If anyone ever tries to disabuse someone of a scientific idea and they use the ''it's just a theory'' argument, correct and enlighten them, please.

Some of the BASIC SCIENCE behind Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW):

We have seen a very, very slow, but absolutely steady rise in overall global temperatures since the late 1800's. The rate of warming has picked up speed in the last 30 years or so, and we are now on track to see an increase in temperature of about 1 degree F every 40 years or so. That is, if nothing changes in either direction, of course.

This, as I alluded to earlier, is attributed to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is the process by which gaseous molecules in a planet's atmosphere trap outbound energy, which means that rather than exiting the planet's atmosphere, the energy is trapped within. The type of energy relevant to this topic that is trapped is sunlight. So, rather than being reflected off of the surface of the planet and exiting the atmosphere, sunlight is trapped and barred from leaving, so to speak.

An illustration of the greenhouse effect:

Here's a much better and more specific explanation, taken from Wikipedia:

The greenhouse effect is a process by which radiative energy leaving a planetary surface is absorbed by some atmospheric gases, called greenhouse gases. Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are known as greenhouse gases. They transfer this energy to other components of the atmosphere, and it is re-radiated in all directions, including back down towards the surface. This transfers energy to the surface and lower atmosphere, so the temperature there is higher than it would be if direct heating by solar radiation were the only warming mechanism.

This mechanism is fundamentally different from that of an actual greenhouse, which works by isolating warm air inside the structure so that heat is not lost by convection.

The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824, first reliably experimented on by John Tyndall in 1858, and first reported quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.

If an ideal thermally conductive blackbody was the same distance from the Sun as the Earth, it would have an expected blackbody temperature of 5.3 °C. However, since the Earth reflects about 30% (or 28%) of the incoming sunlight, the planet's actual blackbody temperature is about -18 or -19 °C, about 33°C below the actual surface temperature of about 14 °C or 15 °C. The mechanism that produces this difference between the actual temperature and the blackbody temperature is due to the atmosphere and is known as the greenhouse effect.

Human activities contribute to global warming by enhancing Earth's natural greenhouse effect. This is accomplished by releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, as CO2 is a heat trapping gas, which, when released into the atmosphere, becomes a part of the process detailed above, making it a greenhouse gas.

The main activities of ours that contribute to global warming are the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and the clearing of land. Most of the burning of fossil fuels occurs in automobiles, factories, and in electric power plants.

Now, as many of the global warming deniers point out, trees and other plants remove CO2 from the air during photosynthesis, the process by which CO2 is converted into organic compounds (mostly, but not limited to sugar) using, amazingly, the energy from sunlight. This process has always astounded me, as plants are basically creating their own energy, and food, naturally, using some crazy process enabled by the power of sunlight! That's freaking nuts! And, as we all learned in elementary school, the byproduct of this process is oxygen, which we all need to breathe. Isn't nature so, well....utilitarian?

You go, girl (nature)!

The issue is, as I understand it, really quite simple: The rate of CO2 emissions is eclipsing the rate of CO2 recycling via plant photosynthesis (and oceanic recycling as well, as I believe the oceans recycle CO2 through a process I am not familiar with).

Another factor aiding this unfortunate fact is the clearing of land, which I implicated in this a paragraph or two ago. Land clearing contributes to the buildup of CO2 because, well, duh(!) we're removing vegetation (huge issue when it comes to the rainforests) which serves to reduce the rate at which the gas is removed from the atmosphere. This, however, is somewhat mitigated by the fact that, from what I gather, we have started planting two for every one tree cleared (can anyone confirm this?). Of course, this only makes up for the trees, and not any other vegetation, which strikes me as being.....well, rather insufficient, and of course, it takes a long ass time for trees to grow, which leaves us with quite the gap.

Still, if we are planting, especially if it's a 2 to 1 ratio, that's something. What remains to be seen, however, is how the rates of will look in the future, especially if the population is going to continue to rise (which in itself is going to naturally lead to greater CO2 emissions).

A small number of scientists, and many non scientific GW deniers, argue that natural processes, including increases in the energy emitted by the sun, could have caused global warming. But the vast majority of climatologists believe that increases in the sun's energy have contributed only slightly to recent warming. The evidence is in favour of this proposition:

As you can see in the above diagram, the levels of solar energy output have remained stable in the last 3 decades. There is no trend upwards, nor was there anything abnormal with any of the three natural 11 year sunspot cycles (another possible cause pointed to by deniers). The solar energy output has remained stagnant while the temperature here has risen steadily. The sun theory does not have any explanatory power in this instance.

In 2008, the climatologists who met at an annual conference in Boston discussed the research into this specific area, and they concluded that''there is no observed trend in solar radiation. The 11-year sunspot cycle has not been significantly abnormal.''

David H. Hathaway, a sunspot specialist from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstville, Alabama, speaking on the issue of the sun as a factor in global warming, stated that ''we do know that that our sun is a variable star. It varies by about one-tenth of one percent in energy output, but that doesn't seem enough to explain observed climate change.''

Scientists say that, as the temperatures rise, we will experience a range of negative associated effects, and these effects will increase in seriousness as the temperatures rise. The rising temperature can have effects in a multitude of areas. Some of these effects are as follows:

-Increase in heat waves, meaning more deaths and illnesses in both human and non human animal populations. This would mean greater sales for hat, umbrella, loose, breezy and ''breathing'' clothing and sunscreen companies though ;)

-Damage to sea dwelling plants and animals due to warmer temperatures which causes things like coral bleaching, easier spreading of disease, and problems for life that requires specific temperature ranges.

-Land based animals and plants may be forced to relocate due to natural habitat changes/destruction. This problem would be exacerbated by the fact that we humans have taken up so much of the earth, thereby limiting the space available for these other creatures. Doing them a double disservice :(

-Tropical diseases could more easily spread to larger regions, bringing greater numbers of human illnesses and deaths.

-Weather patterns could change, resulting in more natural disasters and also droughts.

-Changes in crop yields. Some places would benefit (including us here in Canada, a fact from which I derive no joy, trust me) but these increases would occur alongside major decreases in many areas. The tropics would be the worst hit as the plant life there is already exposed to temperatures about as high as they can thrive in. A few extra degrees means that they just could not survive. We're talking catastrophic decreases in food growth.

-Global warming could melt enough polar ice to raise the sea level, meaning flooding in coastal areas, a loss of wetlands, the encroachment of seawater into freshwater areas (devastating), and extra erosion. Some coastal cities and small island nations would be completely submerged underwater. The Lost City of Atlantis Fable may get some real life parallels.

In the last few years, scientists have noticed some startling things:

-2000-2009 represented the warmest decade in the last 150 years.

-Precipitation changes have been at the upper limits of what climate models predicted, characterized by decreases in precipitation in the subtropics and increases in precipitation in the higher latitudes.

-In 2007 and 2008, Arctic summer sea ice cover declined suddenly, melting 40% more than the average prediction. The quantity of extra ice melted is equivalent to the size of Alaska.

In a small aside, this brings to mind one of the counterpoints brought up by the AGW deniers. They have claimed that while this (the decrease in Arctic summer sea ice) is true, Antarctica has seen a slight increase in sea ice........well, actually, no, what we have seen is a slight increase in sea ice, but what they have said is things like ''The Antarctic is refreezing!'' I have seen clips of this sentiment expressed on Fox News, for example. This is incredibly disingenuous, and goes to show you, as I will get to momentarily, that the deniers have an agenda, and it's not healthy skepticism. (The real reason, btw, is not that GW is false. It's actually due to cooling effect of the Ozone hole).

Related to this, before I get back on point, I have also seen and heard some commentators, including Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck state that heavy snowfall in Washington DC this past winter disproves global warming. It's amazing to me that people in such positions of influence are stupid and careless enough to say such bullshit. I mean, to conflate overall climate with weather patterns is erroneous, but to do it, either out of ignorance, or malice (not sure which) in public, in front of an enraptured audience who will eat up whatever you say, is irresponsible, and well, downright.....evil, for lack of a better term. (Note that, the heavy and unexpected snowfall, if anything, is actually evidence in favour of GW, as warm air traps more condensation, and so, when that air cools, there is more water within, leading to greater precipitation levels.)

See, I wouldn't condemn anyone for not knowing that of course, (and the amount of stuff I do not know is freaking astronomical) but I will condemn these jackasses for not taking the twenty five seconds required to look up this issue before they went on air and spouted their damaging bullshit to millions of credulous viewers/listeners. That's why I condemn them so. They are spreading pseudoscientific nonsense, and it's easily fucking rectifiable with two minutes of ''work.'' Denial of the fact of global warming, and denial of our role in it, leads to the attitude that, well, if it's not happening, there's nothing to fix. I think we can all see the grave situation this sort of thinking can lead to.

Oh, one last quick little quip before I get back on track (hmmm, deja vu One of the comments I have read that Rush Limbaugh made, with respect to this issue is as follows (it's deliciously fucking idiotic, you'll love it). Please note that he made this comment after identifying himself as a creationist, which is relevant, and funny, because this means he also denies the theory of evolution. (Isn't it fucking amazing how, in America, stupid and ignorant people who spread hatred, intolerance, vitriol, and basically, just nasty, ugly, conspiratorial, ideological rhetoric as opposed to real ideas, critical analysis and free thought can command huge audiences, get book deals, be famous, and make millions of dollars? I mean really, what the FUCK, America? What the fuck!

Anyways......*sigh*'s the comment:

''I simply cannot accept the fact that we would be created to do things that would destroy our environment...''

And that's it. This is a person who millions of people look up to, and take as an authority. This is grade five level logic, people. He puts forth an argument from incredulity as an argument against an incredibly well supported scientific theory. I cannot accept......All that is is incredulity. No actual fucking argument. And his incredulity is based on his presupposed idea that he was created by a god, who would not create us with the ability to '' do things that would destroy our environment.'' Huh. Am I the only one who sees the second problem with this idiotic statement? Um, Rush, dumbass......the atom fucking bomb? Hole in the ozone layer? Pollution? Oil spills? CO2 emissions? Strip mining? The endangerment and extinction of immeasurable amounts of species? War? Need I go on?

Man I fucking hate the state of the world right now. How this shit doesn't immediately get shut down by every single person who hears adults can accept this as a valid argument......what the fuck! What happened to the damn education system? I'm half this guy's age and I can destroy his logical (well, lack thereof) argumentation with nary a flex of any figurative grey matter musculature, and I'm of like...average intelligence....yet he's the rich and famous one!!! What the tits!!!

Ugh, anyways, sorry for the tangent there. I just get pissed off at stuff like that. Also, allow me to state that, contrary to how I just acted, I do NOT want to politicize this issue, as I believe that the politicization of the science (yes, AGW is a SCIENTIFIC issue, NOT a POLITICAL one!) is half, or, really, most, of the damn problem to begin with, but I'll get to that momentarily. Along the lines of what I was saying, with respect to refraining from politicizing the issue, I can say that, while it does seem that the political right encompasses much more of the denial, the political left, while they may have a higher proclivity for the acceptance of the science, has also been caught espousing incorrect information and misleading, whether it be accidental, due to ignorance, or on purpose, people, with sentiments such as record or just high daily temperatures and observed heatwaves prove Global Warming.

They, too, are conflating climate with weather. Weather is transient. Climate is long term, and all encompassing. You can have all sorts of climate shifts and anomalies, but they do NOT represent a changing climate. A really hot summer day does not count as evidence for AGW; nor does a brutally cold day punctuated with heavy snowfall count as evidence to the contrary. Getting drunk to the point of puking does not make one an alcoholic, and not drinking on a Wednesday does not mean that Randy the raging Alkie is cured.

Anyways, back on track:

-Oceans are growing more acidic as the CO2 in the air is being absorbed into the water. This is an entirely new issue, directly related to global warming, and in fact, the name for it, 'acidification,' did not even exist until just a few years ago.

-More than 37 million acres of American and Canadian (eh?) pine forests have been damaged by beetles that do not die in warmer winters. Ironically, rather than something dying due to AGW, something is living due to it, and causing all sorts of problems.....*sigh*.....we just cannot win!

-According to UK scientists at the Met Office, Royal Society, and Natural Environment Research Council, based on the current data, we're on track for double the amount of projected (projections made in 2)007 sea level rise by the year 2100. This represents more than a meter of sea level increase! And of course, if no changes are seen, we can expect continued rises seen in subsequent centuries.

-CO2 concentrations continue to rise and after a decade of stability, methane concentrations (more potent, though shorter lived than CO2) have begun increasing again.

-Since 2000, Greenland has lost more than 1.5 trillion tonnes of ice. These ice sheets are melting twice as quickly as they were in 2002, leading to accelerated increases in sea levels, as the melting of gigantic land based ice sheets (and glaciers) that drain into seas raise sea levels. This is occurring at both the North and South Poles.

-Worldwide, glaciers are shrinking 3 times faster than they were in the 1970's.

-Permafrost, which is frozen (Northern) ground on which oil pipelines are built, and which traps the other greenhouse gas mentioned a couple of paragraphs back, methane, is thawing at an 'alarming' rate. Recall that, as I stated just a minute ago when I mentioned methane for the first time, methane is shorter lived than carbon dioxide, but it's more potent in terms of its ability to trap heat. There's a whole bunch of methane fixin' (to borrow a Southern American term) to suddenly be free from its traditional 'home' of sorts.

-The Colorado River reservoirs, which supply water to many Western United States, were half emptied by 2007 after a multiple year long drought, which was the worst drought in the 100 or so years that records have been kept (I am a bit skeptical of this particular claim, as I would like to know more data regarding droughts in this area before I would feel 100% secure attributing this to GW, but I have been at this blog entry for hours now, and my brain is starting to get fried from all of the reading and typing, so I will let this one go without reading further.....for now).

-If we don't act, and act SOON, 1/3 of all species on Earth will be condemned to extinction. According to Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, "something like 15 to 37 percent of all species become committed to extinction around [temperature rise of 2°C]."

-If we don't act, Greenland will see a total melting over the next century, leading to six meters of sea level rise.


This blog is turning out way longer than I had anticipated it being, and it's taking me forever. I'm not complaining, per se, as I am enjoying writing it and I think it's important, but I am getting a bit tired at this point, and really, I am wondering how much you, the reader (assuming anyone is even reading this) can take. Also, this so called ''climategate'' thing has been beaten to death already, although I am sure that the split between coverage of when it was assumed to be a big ah ha!! gotcha moment and when it was discovered (even though reasonable people already knew it) that there was actually nothing there, at least nothing in terms of GW evidence being faked, GW being a conspiracy, etc, was not even remotely close to 50/50.

So, in the interest of brevity, let's just say that the whole thing was blown way, way out of proportion, as these things always are, and when the dust settled, there was no evidence of wrongdoing, and absolutely NO data ever even came close to being manipulated or faked. ''Climategate'' was a bust, and yet another example of how the media, and everyday people, are so easily misled and don't actually do their homework or even bother to stop and think for a bit. Myself included. We all fall prey to this from time to time. I'm just trying hard to minimize that, and be cognizant of it when it threatens to occur.

If you want to read up on this yourself, here's information straight from the horses' mouth(s):

Closing Thoughts

First, in terms of AGW/AGCC:

So what do we do about all this? First of all we need to take action to limit global average temperature rise to no more than 2°C . In order to limit the temperature rise to this level, we need to see emissions peak by about 2015 and then we have to reduce them. Emission reductions in developed nations need to hit about 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Yes, we're emitting a hell of a lot more than we should be.

We can do this; it's just a matter of will, intelligence, cunning, honesty, introspection, and ingenuity.However, in order to do this, we all sort have have to, you know....GET ON THE SAME FUCKING PAGE AND AGREE TO ACTUALLY ACCEPT THE SCIENCE AND STOP BEING GREEDY, BIASED, SELFISH WHORES WHO DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO SACRIFICE AT ALL TO ENSURE THE SURVIVAL OF LIFE ON THIS LITTLE PLANET OF OURS!!!

And that means even the people who think this is all for naught, as the world is coming to an end soon when the time of Rapture is upon need to set aside your, ahem, belief, and act as though you know, in reality, ahem that's not actually true and we're here for as long as we're here, something which we actually have control over, to a limited degree. Fortunately for us, this is one of those thing over which we can actually exert some control.

So can we please do this?

So, for you deniers out there, I have a few things to say to you:

-Be wary of any research coming out against GW/GCC/AGW/AGCC. Check where it's coming from. Is it peer reviewed, and published in an accredited scientific journal? Or is it not (careful too, as now people in the denier communities for both global warming and evolution are starting to catch on to this and are forming their own journals, and claiming to be accredited and peer reviewed, so always, always look the journal up if it's not instantly recognizable). There's a huge difference between a study published in Nature and one published in some no name journal with author publishing and no peer review. Or ones coming from a think tank. A think tank that, if you do a bit of digging, you will find out is funded by Exxon Mobil and Sean Hannity.

-Be very skeptical of anyone in the media speaking out against global warming, and listen carefully to their arguments/claims. If they are making any that aren't obviously fallacious upon first hearing/reading/seeing them (like Limbaugh's argument from incredulity) look them up. Also, look the person up. Find out who's funding them. Who they work for.

-If any scientists speak out against global warming, pay attention to what discipline of science they are experts in. When a biologist or a chemist expresses doubt about global warming, appealing to that in an argument is nothing but an appeal to authority. Their expertise is not in climatology. Being as smart as they may be, and knowing what they know about their area of science affords them NO special bonuses when it comes to climatology. They're just a layman like myself, and can easily be wrong.

-Related to the last point, be careful not to fall into the trap of the ''many scientists are coming out against it'' claims. This same thing is said for evolution, and even if you ignore the last point (which is still very relevant, but whatever, let's ignore it) and take the claim as meaning experts in the right area of science are speaking out against it, pay attention to the number. When 9/11 'truthers' say that there are, I dunno, 300 or 3,000 engineers/architects, etc claiming that 9/11 was an inside job, if we ignore the authority/expertise thing again and just go with it at face value, you have to realize that the number of people in the same disciplines for the official story is a shitload of times higher. We're talking like 500,000 against their 300 or 3,000.

A great little study to exemplify this is being conducted by some scientists to assess the claims that many scientists are speaking out against evolution. Entitled 'Project Steve,' the study is quite simple: It's a petition going around that is being signed by scientists, named Steve, who accept the theory of evolution via natural selection. This is being done in response to a few creationist organizations who have compiled petitions signed by scientists who claim to accept the biblical account of creation and doubt or reject outright the theory of evolution. These lists have had, at most, around 700-800 names, and they have suffered from being signed by people mostly outside of the relevant scientific fields, as well as misleading phrasing, and even forgery.

That all aside though, you've got at most, 800 signatures in several years. In 2 years, the 'Project Steve' petition has accumulated 1,138 signatures. Even more telling, in 2005, a word of mouth only petition entitled A Scientific Support For Darwinism And For Public Schools Not To Teach Intelligent Design As Science, open for only 4 days, and open to all scientists (not just those named Steve) was started by an individual named Joe Brandon. In the 4 day period of time the petition was open, Mr. Brandon received 7,733 verifiable scientific signatures, which amounted to signatures received at a rate 697,000% (yes, you read that correctly) higher than the creationist one that had sparked his petition as a response.

That right there shows you that if they are going to try and make a numbers argument, they are going to lose, as they are fighting a losing battle. If you go to the relevant fields, in these cases, biology and climatology, you have an acceptance rate of 95-99%.

-Don't fall into the trap of being opposed to some, or even all of the policies, proposed or enacted (although I find it hard to imagine being against all of the policies in response to global warming) in response to global warming, and then somehow jumping to the conclusion that there's something else going on, people are trying to profit off of it, or use it as an excuse to do such and such, etc etc etc, and then assume that the whole thing must be a hoax. I will gladly acknowledge that the hysteria, misinformation, outright lies, and straight up propaganda I mentioned coming from the hoax camp also originates from the pro camp.

There are agendas, biases, interests, and ulterior motives on each side, although it does seem as though there is a lot more of it on the denial/hoax side, which makes sense, since the pro camp is largely made up of scientists and people following the science, while the hoax camp consists entirely of people who are actively denying the science, either due to a legitimate belief that it's wrong, or due to some less than noble reason. It of course follows that the ''global warming is a hoax'' camp would be the one that contains and presents the most hysteria, misinformation, outright lies, and straight up propaganda.

However, some of the people who accept the science and have taken it and then done things with it such as activism, whether it's political, educational or social, are also guilty of some of these things, as I said. One of these people is Al Gore. Al Gore studied climatology at Harvard, which is a fact I was not aware of until just recently. Like, recent as in a week or two ago, recently. I had seen his AGW documentary entitled 'An Inconvenient Truth,' back when it first released, and I had thought it to be quite good, and very shocking at the time, but without being too preachy or full of red herrings and dire warnings set to menacing or ominous music (then again, it's been a number of years, and I forget much, if not most, of the film, so my memory could be very inaccurate. Actually, if anyone could refresh my memory on this point I'd certainly appreciate it. Anyways, either way, he has since become the frigging king of opportunism.

The man is using the (real) scientific phenomenon as a launching pad for his cap n trade initiatives, which, regardless of where you stand on cap n trade ( I like it, in theory) is pretty much Al Gore trying to make as much money as possible off of whoring out and distorting something real, right out in the open, with nary a moments' effort at concealment. I mean, really, he's pushing a highly politicized mandate which he's positioned as a solution (of sorts) to the excesses seen in the corporate world.....a mandate/initiative for which he has created his own company to sell the product (of sorts) which he is pushing via his platform. To me, it seems as though Gore has hijacked something real to both make money for himself and to consolidate power, perhaps for another run at the big (presidential) seat?

Either way, he's tainting a legitimate thing with his barely concealed bid for personal gains, and this is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many people, so to speak. And what happens with a percentage of those people on whom a bad impression was made? Well, if they don't have a decent grasp on the science behind AGW, and they don't quite know how to separate the message from the messenger, things get conflated in their minds, they grow cautious and skeptical, and suddenly, they begin to doubt the science behind global warming. They see what they interpret as opportunism happening in their face, carried by a message of doom and gloom, and they start to think bullshit.

Incorrectly or not, they start to think hoax. And Al Gore is partly to blame for this. I mean, his message is certainly positive, and the science is sound. He knows his stuff (I had previously thought he was just parroting information due to his concern for the environment, which would have been just fine, don't get me wrong, but I didn't realize until recently that he actually studied climatology himself, at Harvard, no less) and he probably does actually care. Perhaps this all started out innocently enough. I don't know how it began with/for him, frankly, I and wouldn't be surprised either way. And I mean that.

I could believe he started out as a doe eyed liberal environmentalist, who was astonished at what he was learning and this astonishment grew into fear, and he decided early on that he had to spread the word and help save the world, so to speak (well, perhaps that's actually not too hyperbolic; I guess it just depends on how things progress in the coming decades) OR I could also easily believe that it all began with Al Gore, the capitalist; Al Gore, the sneaky opportunist looking to capitalize off of something that he saw could bring in huge dollars and help him make a name for himself. Perhaps he had fancied himself a political career, even then. Who knows? This is something that I will have to look into at a more opportune time (uh oh, there's that word again.....I hope I'm not taking after Al Gore now!!).

-Speaking of a hoax, it's the point I've been addressing this whole blog, and I haven't even pointed out one simple, fundamental flaw (or at least, barrier to belief) with this conspiracy: To believe that it's not true, you must believe one of two things (if anyone can think of a third, fourth, fifth, etc option, please, let me know, but as far as I can see it, there are only two options here....again, if you see other(s) let me know; I don't want to present a false dichotomy, knowingly or otherwise):

1) That scores of scientists worldwide, and hundreds, if not thousands, of scientific organizations, boards, academies, etc (also seen 'round the world) are all in on some massive conspiracy to scam the population into thinking that the climate is changing, and we are, to some degree, at fault. Does that really sound plausible to you? If so, I'd love to hear why you think so, and how it's pulled off, since people are notoriously and woefully inept when it comes to keeping secrets, even with small groups, let alone humongous, worldwide ones. Oh, and what you think the motive for this worldwide scam is. I'd love to hear that as well.

2) That scores of scientists and hundreds, if not thousands, of scientific organizations, boards, academies, etc (also seen 'round the world) are all wrong. (And of course, by proxy, you are correct). Does that really sound plausible to you? If so, I'd love to hear why/how you think so.

Back to the Tips (from Moi) to the Deniers:

-Go to the science to assess the science. Don't accept anecdotal evidence, don't listen to what your best friend says his co-worker heard from a guy that was watching this special on television the week before, and don't listen to the guy on TV who discloses that he represents big oil, but claims it has no bearing on what he is about to say (not like you don't know, since the caption under his name will invariably, in huge letters, say ''Global Warming is a Lie!,'' or something to that effect, while the climate scientists' name has no caption under it, or it says ''climatologist'' in small letters.

-Understand that if there's no evidence for a conspiracy, there's no good reason to believe in one. Also note that if you do believe in one, you put yourself in a very, very awkward and really, if you're honest and introspective enough, you'll be able to admit, untenable position. Here's why:

Beliefs in conspiracies usually have beliefs that follow from them that put you in the position where you end up with an unfalsifiable belief. Think about it: if you believe that global warming is a gigantic conspiracy, you won't trust anyone claiming it to be true. This is just like the 9/11 truthers, the moon landing hoaxers, the Obama birthers, the proponents of the NWO conspiracy, etc etc etc. Anyone arguing against the conspiracy is either a sheep, misled, or, in on it. You only trust anyone who is on the side of it being a conspiracy, and you trust them because they are saying it's a conspiracy.

And so I would ask of you: If you believe in a conspiracy, and this means you only trust people and evidence on the side of it being a conspiracy (since any evidence or people contrary to the conspiracy position cannot be trusted, as it's/they're probably part of the conspiracy) how could you ever possibly be convinced otherwise? If anyone is claiming that there is no conspiracy, you're going to assume that they're wrong, or that they are in on it. So what could possibly ever disabuse you of your belief in the conspiracy? It seems to me that the the belief is so well insulated that it has been rendered essentially unfalsifiable. And that is a bad thing.

We don't want to have unfalsifiable beliefs. Now, please don't confuse unfalsifiable with well supported. Ditto for unfalsifiable and held with conviction, or unfalsifiable and well insulated, or unfalsifiable and well insulated, well supported, and held with conviction (whew, say that 5 times fast!). The thing is though, even a very deeply held, well supported belief, insulated against all but the most brilliant, most salient of arguments, is falsifiable. It must be, in order to be of any use, at least to a rational, sane person. Falsifiability is one of the main tenets of the naturalistic methodology that is the scientific method, and rightfully so.

Falsifiability is the idea that a claim can be demonstrated to be false by an observation or a physical experiment. Keep in mind that something being ''falsifiable'' does not mean that it is false but rather, that if it is false, then this can be shown by observation or experiment. The idea of falsifiability holds that there is at least one counterclaim, or one piece of evidence, that can disprove your assertion. The idea of falsifiability is very important to science. Once an idea is conceived of, it makes a lot of sense to say, for example, ''okay, if I propose that x=y in every instance, and z is something that, if presented with just one instance of it, could completely disprove the assertion that x=y in every instance, then x=y is falsifiable, and therefore a sound scientific theory.'' Sometimes seemingly subtle but absolutely vital differences in wording make all of the difference in soundness of an idea as a scientific or philosophical theory/concept.

For example, the statement that "no cows are invisible" is unfalsifiable, since no amount of observation could ever demonstrate its falsehood: that one or more cows are invisible. Worded in such a way, it asks one to prove a negative, which is a task that is almost 100% impossible, save for a few rare, and specific examples. "All cows are invisible," by contrast, is falsifiable, by the presentation of just one visible cow, which, last time I checked, is something that could be done before lunchtime, even if the claim was presented to you, and you were tasked with disproving it, at 11:57 am. Google, baby. Or Bing, if you're ahead of the curve.

So, basically, that's my case for Anthropogenic Global Warming/Anthropogenic Global Climate Change.

The End


  1. I've read this from you before, but it was really nice to see you post something again. I know I can talk to you on MSN, but you are literally the only person on there which just makes it odd for me. Don't think of me not being on there as a bad thing it is just my S.A.D. It sucks trust me.

    Have you been feeling worse lately? You are usually such an active blogger.

  2. Hey man, I understand.

    I've actually been feeling better lately, and so I have been busy catching up on work, games (Ninja Gaiden Black, mostly) and time with Amanda.

    I have a bunch of blogs written and ready for posting though, so there's more coming.

    Btw, sometimes I'm on but appearing offline, so if you ever go on MSN and don't see me on I actually may be.

  3. I'm glad to hear that. I may like to look on the brightside, but I still tend to worry about friends.

    I am struggling to get myself to log on to MSN. It is odd. I think it is because you are the only one on there, so I know the only reason I'm logging in is to talk to you. I wish it was different because I do enjoy chatting with you.

  4. You can always chat with me here, I suppose.

    Or shoot me an email.

    Hopefully the SAD symptoms abate as the season completes the change.

  5. Unfortunately it isn't seasonal. Seasons don't affect me at all. Of course the seasonal disorder always pops up when I use the initials which is why I usually write it out.

    I'll try and jump on there on occasion and of course follow you on here. There is no way I'll allow myself to just go away.


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