Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hey, Global Warming Deniers! We Need to Have a Little Chat!

For you Global Warming 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!!).


-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 (I'm not, sorry MS.....Actually, FUCK MS, since they are Raising the price of Various Gold XBL Subscriptions).

And, lastly, I must point 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.

So, which is it, deniers?

Door number 1 (insanity) or door number 2 (insanity and amazing arrogance)?


  1. Okay I know this has nothing to do with this particular blog, but then again this blog isn't aimed at me. It's just this is my only way of contacting you and my mom's boyfriend just said something I KNOW would get you going. He was talking about someone dying and implied the person died because the doctor he was seeing wasn't a christian. You know I'd pay to see you and him stuck in a room together.

    Ooh! Reality show idea! Make people with you and him live together. Just say if they last so long they win x amount of money and just stir the pot. That's all you'd need really.

  2. Okay now he just implied I'm not going to the doctor for my cough because I don't believe in god.

    I just hope a make it through UFC on FOX without demonstrating some techniques being used.

  3. Yeah it is. Just doing what I can to stay in touch. Hope you're doing well.

  4. Hey man, I'm doing okay. I take possession of my new home tomorrow, so the next chapter of my life is about to begin :) How are you doing?


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