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Feb 03 2010

Global Warming Denial and God Belief

I’ve often wondered why the religious nuts are most often the most vocal against global warming. On the surface, it seems incongruous. When the topic is God, they prop up the flimsiest evidence and put their fingers in their ears, yelling “la la la” when there is solid evidence against supernatural belief. When the topic is global warming, however, these same people ignore the evidence and claim to be highly educated skeptics.

Rush Limbaugh has explained the connection. After identifying himself as a creationist he said, “I simply cannot accept the fact that we would be created to do things that would destroy our environment…” Sadly, such a person would never ponder the possibility that they might be wrong. Or that their own denial is part of the problem.

On both topics of God and global warming, their minds are made up.

63 comments

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  1. 1
    Brian

    One great irony is that those who are skeptical of global warming often write articles framing those who accept the science as religious believers, laughing at those who worship at the feet of Al Gore, or the "gospel" of global warming. That those who accept science are not skeptical, they are hollow-minded sheep who allow others to think for them. They make it sound like faith is ridiculous, and that they are the ones who are the skeptical bastions of reason, unmoved by the baseless, unproven assumptions of others.Then many will scamper into church on Sundays, to worship with their friends, and extol on the virtues of faith in another book, worshiping at the feet of a statue of their savior. I am always curious what it is like to have such cognitive dissonance. Unless they are just really good at compartmentalization, or irony.

  2. 2
    Jennifer Juniper

    OK, that makes zero sense because by the SAME logic, why would he create us to do things that would DESTROY EACH OTHER?!?!They go on and on about "free will" but it only applies to being immoral or hurting each other? It stops at hurting the environment?!?!?!ARRRRRGGGGHH!!!!

  3. 3
    Sunil R

    I don't see any relation between global warming and atheism!!It's just another point of view in science..

  4. 4
    March Hare

    Many people who are not keen on the prophecies of the AGW scientists are shut out the debate because of the idiots.Science shows that climate is changing, at a seemingly unprecedented rate, and there is a very good argument that humans have caused at least part of the change.However, the science is pathetic. It makes ridiculous predictions with a margin of error of over 100% (e.g. there was a study that decided that AGW caused 300,000 deaths per year but there was literally no evidence for it, it was a judgement call in a study that later said the figures should not be taken as gospel but were quoted by the Green Party in the UK as fact.AGW fearmongers have made a mess of the real science that shows we could very well be in trouble in future generations, the exaggeration of the 'science' means the unscientific majority are pushed towards the 'deniers'. There is a real danger, we should approach it based on the real evidence and ignore those that exaggerate.

  5. 5
    DC

    How arrogant you both are (Don & Brian) to think that your opinions on global warming are the only one it is possible to hold as an atheist and rationalist.I think nearly everyone accepts that it is reasonable to assume that human greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental factors resulting from land use change, extraction of natural resources, and pressure on natural habitat will have some effect on the climate. But from this does not follow that- historic global temperatures are accurately known at the moment- that changes in solar activity or cloud formation are accurately modelled- that computer modelling at an extreme macro scale can accurately reflect climate behaviour decades or centuries in advance, nor convincingly show there is a threshold beyond which global warming will accelerate to 10-100x the rate measured in the last 30 years (even ignoring question marks over global temperature record adjustments and record selection)- that rising temperatures will cause ecological harm vastly greater than the benefitsAnd moving away from the realm of natural sciences- does it follow that rising is going to be catastrophic in nature- that the only way forward is to restrict CO2 emissions drastically, right now, rather than relying on economic growth and spreading prosperity and technological progress to enable a much wealthier world to take effective action when/if it becomes incontrovertible through actual measurements that significant AGW is happening and is beginning to cause serious damage.- that it is right to embark on immediate mitigation, through lowering CO2 emissions, even at the cost of making the world poorer, thus causing an immediate increase in hardship primarily to the developing world as a result, and endangering the economic growth that has taken billions of people out of extreme poverty in the last 50 years.- that tackling the threat requires a global agreement which mandates a single set of rules and solutions, and due to the tendencies of any large bureaucracy will quickly become impossible to change.I think it should be obvious that regardless of what combination of atheist, agnostic, christian, muslim, hindu, jew, buddhist, gay, straight, poor, rich, black, white, asian, skeptic, new-age, liberal, socialist, conservative, libertarian, it is possible for each individual to form a different view on whether global warming is happening, what the effects are likely to be, and what the appropriate way of dealing with it is at the present time.

  6. 6
    Pawel

    What I can never understand is this: these purported "skeptics" see a conspiracy among scientists to push the "fraudulent" global warming "agenda." What possible motivations could this secret cabal have?On the flip side, we have oil companies, car manufacturers, power plants, and other polluting industries lining up to deny the reality of global warming. They have an obvious stake in making sure that no one clamps down on them in any way, even if it's in the best interests of humanity.Granted, potential biases in and of themselves don't mean that one or the other side is right or wrong, but we should examine biases when analyzing the science.In the past, tobacco companies paid doctors to tell people smoking was harmless. Now we have some of the biggest industries with some of the deepest pockets trying to convince people that nothing is wrong.Who has something to gain here: climate scientists or CEO's?

  7. 7
    Ing

    Ugh, I hate this subject since DC and March have latched on to some facts (correct or incorrect) and frankly whatever. It's like ID, there's no way to convince someone of it using the science and people get MAD when you try to show it. For the record my in with the climatology circles say that the experts have as much debate as us biologists do about evolution. The only debate is on the outside of the science.

  8. 8
    Ing

    I'm only intrested in the science as I said before, but with my statements and others let me just sayGENTLEMEN START YOUR FLAME WAR!

  9. 9
    hellboundsmoker

    I guess it dovetails onto what Brian said, but it's always hilarious when the religious right make claims of anybody else 'worshipping' or being religious towards Global Warming, Evolution or what have you.They'll wax poetic about how important faith is, then say something as utterly inane as "I don't have enough faith to be an Atheist". Then again, Theists are strange creatures. Go figure.I guess the relationship between Atheism and Global Warming is like that between Atheism and Evolution. One isn't required for the other, but if you're an Atheist of the skeptical bent (I'm assuming most of us are), you go with the evidence and what can me shown as demonstrably true.p.s. Jennifer, those people who got hurt were either witches, unruly children or people who picked up sticks on the Sabbath… they obviously had it coming!

  10. 10
    Alex SL

    Well said, Pawel!And no, DC, you cannot. I mean, obviously you can, just like you can take the position that the world is 6000 years old because nobody was there to see the evolution of life with their own eyes a few billion years ago, but if you take an unbiased look at the actual scientific evidence, you will see that the inference there is not worse that the one we use for other historical or paleontological sciences. Apart from that, AGW will not only happen with some kind of confidence level, we do observe it already, in temperature curves, in the glaciers, in the (ant)arctic ice shields, in extreme weather phenomena, in raising of sea level (currently only in mm, but with a very obvious linear trend upwards), in the range expansion of warmth-loving plants and animals into once colder regions, etc., etc., etc.Anyway, you have already mentioned the obvious point that should go through even the thickest skull if properly visualized: CO2 is a known greenhouse gas + we blow huge amounts of CO2 into the system = something will surely happen. If you are under the delusion that a few degrees more might not be catastrophic for densely settled coastal areas or our agriculture in general, or that we can start doing something against it when all the oil and coal is already floating around in the air, then I really do not know how to properly respond to such wishful thinking.

  11. 11
    Watoosh

    What Rush means is(I presume) that God has a plan for the entire universe let alone earth and he'd have to be pretty fucking stupid to let puny humans mess with his plans. Of course that can't be the case, hence denial/rationalization. I can think of at least two fundie ways of coming to terms with the GW brouhaha:1. It ain't happening at all, and the evidence is either manufactured by a conspiracy of satanic scientists or the facts are misunderstood by fallible mortal men "who weren't there"(courtesy of Ken Ham).2. It's happening(and is either anthropogenic or not), but it's only a precursor to the apocalypse and Jesus' comeback. Thus it's either futile or even immoral to try to change anything.

  12. 12
    March Hare

    Ing, the science of climate modelling is not perfect, but it is agreed upon by enough people who are considered experts that a mere layman such as myself cannot debate it.The 'science' of the effects of climate change is pure guesswork. It is in its infancy and no matter how many 'experts' agree it should not be taken as fact. It certainly should not be used as a moral imperative to retool the world economy and pay off nations to not have a fossil fuel industrial revolution.Pawel, you ask who is to gain from an AGW conspiracy (not that there is one): Banks create carbon trading markets and would generate billions in profits; Industrialised nations keep other nations poor and make them reliant upon aid/compensation such that they are politically weak and will not go against decisions made; Climate scientists have power (and jobs) because climate change is perceived as a threat, if that threat went away then fewer would be required, they would not have as much funding and they certainly would not have the ear of government.None of these are necessarily having an impact on the science, I am just pointin out that there is a potential for bias on both sides.

  13. 13
    BeamStalk

    DC,Show me in Don's article or Brian's post where they said you had to accept their idea on AGW to be an atheist and rational.Don's article is about the correlation of global warning deniers and religiosity. He never mentions atheists in the article. Brian only said "those that accept science."You might want to read a little more critically before jumping to conclusions.

  14. 14
    Alex SL

    The 'science' of the effects of climate change is pure guesswork.No, it is certainly not. We already observe effects now, and we can model effects in the future based on what we plainly know about the world by now.It is in its infancy and no matter how many 'experts' agree it should not be taken as fact.This sounds soooo much like a creationist. Sorry to be so harsh, but that is simply true.It certainly should not be used as a moral imperative to retool the world economy and pay off nations to not have a fossil fuel industrial revolution.Even if it is not fact, but "only" prognosis with a certain likelihood (which is all you ever get in science, only the likelihood may be 99.9999%), the problem is: can you afford to have your complacency and wishful thinking to be proven wrong? And what about the other way round?If you are right, then we retool the world economy towards sustainability "for nothing", which means getting out of the use of limited fossil resources earlier than strictly necessary. Oh wait, that is actually not for nothing, but eminently sensible, I forgot. On the other hand, if you are wrong and the people who actually spend their life studying the issue are right, then not having done anything will lead to a catastrophe of singular scale in the history of humanity, with many of those people you want to shelter from some sacrifices now (or rather, their children and grandchildren) starving and being dislocated. We are talking about the Sahara moving to Italy and Spain here, you know, and similar effects all over the world. Once that has happened, there is no way to undo it.Climate scientists have powerBwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha….No, seriously, you should talk to a few scientists for once and try to fathom what makes them tick, and what influence they wield. I'm not a climate scientist, only a biologist, but those of us who stay in university are generally motivated either by the honest search for the best explanation or sometimes, unfortunately, by stubbornly defending the first idea that got stuck in their head. If you are motivated to sell out for power, safe jobs and wealth, you do better outside of universities, be guaranteed.Oh, and a pro tip: take a look at the business volume of Exxon and Shell and compare it to the gross national product of most nations of the world, and you will probably learn something about the flip side, as Pawel called it.

  15. 15
    Thomas

    @pawelAfter the CRU emails, I heard a lot of people arguing that the scientists are only after money. How hilarious. You have the oil industry making record profits, hiring scientists to crap out as much AstroTurf skepticism as they can find, but it is the scientist, who, in many cases, is educated enough so that he could have decided to go into medicine or law (or just get an MBA). That guy has wracked the entire planet with fear, for decades, because he's making $50,000 per year and wants to keep that gravy train a comin'.

  16. 16
    tracieh

    What Don said:>I've often wondered why the religious nuts are most often the most vocal against global warming.What I found in the comments:>How arrogant you both are (Don & Brian) to think that your opinions on global warming are the only one it is possible to hold as an atheist and rationalist.I went back and read this post twice. And I found nowhere where Don asserted that any atheist had to accept his conclusions regarding Global Warming. In fact, he never mentioned anything about what atheists must believe. I think it's clear what Don's view is, certainly. But where does he assert no atheist may disagree or have another view?

  17. 17
    March Hare

    Okay Mintman, where's the study of this:Which will lead to more death and suffering: expected effects of a 4C increase in global temperature over the next century; the effect on poverty of the decrease in trade, decrease in economic growth and reduction in food production caused by massively limiting the use of fossil fuels before there is a viable replacement?We already observe effects now, and we can model effects in the future based on what we plainly know about the world by now.So how many people are killed each year by AGW – not climate change, but the anthropogenic portion of it? No-one knows, and even the deaths that are attributed to climate change have a margin of error of over 100% (which is quite hard to do).If you are right, then we retool the world economy towards sustainability "for nothing", which means getting out of the use of limited fossil resources earlier than strictly necessary.I never said it was for nothing. But you have to realise that it comes at a massive cost in lost economic growth. It is the ignoring of this argument, and the millions of deaths caused by it that annoys me.And don't tell me that the Sahara will reach Italy or Spain, that is the kind of unsubstantiated scaremongering that gave climate science a bad name in the first place.Once that has happened, there is no way to undo it.Yes there is! Do some research. We are currently looking at ways of stopping desert creep that may actually make the desert retreat, and it's relatively cheap too. Relatively…You may laugh, but how often do scientists ever have the ear of government? Making apocalyptic predictions gives you some attention and certain people like that. Scientists are human too, the climategate emails prove this.Speaking of apocalyptic predictions – the risk of climate change does not justify the amounts being talked about. If it did then why don't we already have in place a way to stop a planet-killing asteroid? That might cost a few trillion, but we could do it with enough collective will, and we are overdue for another big asteroid hit.

  18. 18
    David Cognito

    It's evident from the comments here that denial is alive and well amongst those who self-identify as 'rational'!Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet, representing thousands of scientists, confirms that human activity is heating the planet. For some reason, some people think they know better.The irony that people who mock creationists so eagerly then produce the same anti-science behaviour is *delicious*!

  19. 19
    ksil

    what I never understood was why religious people do not rely on Pascal's Wager when it comes to global warming when, as many have stated, they use that piece of logic for their religious observance.weird.

  20. 20
    Alex SL

    The irony that people who mock creationists so eagerly then produce the same anti-science behaviour is *delicious*!Well said. I found the scare quotes around the term experts especially telling.Which will lead to more death and suffering: expected effects of a 4C increase in global temperature over the next century; the effect on poverty of [...]The temperature increase, of course. We could lower our CO2 output with remarkably little money, and if we change to more regenerative energies now, the total bill including externalized costs from loss of ecosystem services, pollution, illnesses, etc. will be lower than if we do it when it is too late. In fact, investing heavily in an energy revolution now might even be the job machine of this generation. And as I said, it will have to be done eventually anyway, so why not do it before gas prices get so high that there are riots in the third world?So how many people are killed each year by AGW – not climate change, but the anthropogenic portion of it?Do you not grasp that the effects we see now, while demonstrating that something happens, are nothing compared to what will happen? And of course people do not fall over dead because the summer is 1°C above average – but what if hundreds of millions have to migrate because their cities get flooded and/or their crops fail?I never said it was for nothing.No, you only used that exact phrase.But you have to realise that it comes at a massive cost in lost economic growth.Doubtful, see above.And don't tell me that the Sahara will reach Italy or Spain, that is the kind of unsubstantiated scaremongering that gave climate science a bad name in the first place.This is not unsubstantiated, it is what our currently best models of the world climate in 2100 predict. Look at the IPCC reports, they have quite nice graphs showing the estimated change in precipitation patterns and temperature.Once that has happened, there is no way to undo it. – Yes there is! Do some research. We are currently looking at ways of stopping desert creep that may actually make the desert retreat, and it's relatively cheap too.I do not doubt that you can do something to fight desertification, especially in areas where the main reason for desertification is deforestation. If the main reason is lack of precipitation, then you are fucked.You may laugh, but how often do scientists ever have the ear of government? Making apocalyptic predictions gives you some attention and certain people like that.And that is your explanation, your supposed motivation for a supposed world-wide conspiracy including thousands of researchers from hundreds of institutions, all agreeing on the fundamental evidence? Not as crazy as some I heard, but still weak.Scientists are human too, the climategate emails prove this.That's right, they are, but what exactly did Climategate consist of? One mail calling a way of presenting data in the most convincing way a "trick"; another mail discussing the inadequacy of measurement methods on the sea containing a sentence which, if taken completely out of context, sounds as if there were no temperature increase in one particular area; and a discussion of researchers about how they consider two publications to be so bad that they should be kept out of the IPCC report, which they then, however, actually were not. That. Is. It.Speaking of apocalyptic predictions – the risk of climate change does not justify the amounts being talked about. If it did then why don't we already have in place a way to stop a planet-killing asteroid? That might cost a few trillion, but we could do it with enough collective will, and we are overdue for another big asteroid hit.The asteriod happens so rarely that it might well be ten million years till the next one, while AGW happens now, and definitely.

  21. 21
    magx01

    The unfortunate thing here, is, religious or non, most people seem to come to decisions regarding these sorts of issues based not on the actual science, but what they hear in the media and read on the internet/hear from friends. A few convincing soundbytes and it's over, which is really sad, and must be inordinately frustrating for those hard at work on these issues. Sadly, I was one of these people for a while there…

  22. 22
    Admin

    So wait a minute….would Rush also deny that we've polluted our lakes and rivers? Does he not consider that harm? How about all the species we've driven to extinction or to the brink? And if you're a creationist, then you believe all of those fossil species were around during our time and we drove them to extinction, too! Are these things not harm? Would he consider the air quality in China to not be harm? Or the dynamiting of coral reefs in Thailand? What the hell stupid side of the bed do you have to wake up on to say something like that?Two more points:1. Like how he used creationism and ID as interchangeable? I guess now that Dover is over, it doesn't matter.2. He said that increased carbon dioxide would help plants, which would also create more oxygen for us….. how could you increase both? One of the other, Rush, not both. He probably also doesn't know that oxygen is toxic to us at higher concentrations. I guess he's too fat to scuba dive and learn that fact.

  23. 23
    Admin

    To correct my previous post, I don't think oxygen could get to a high enough concentration in our atmosphere to be toxic for us, even at 100%. It takes more pressure for that.The rest of the comment stands.

  24. 24
    Ing

    "Speaking of apocalyptic predictions – the risk of climate change does not justify the amounts being talked about. If it did then why don't we already have in place a way to stop a planet-killing asteroid? That might cost a few trillion, but we could do it with enough collective will, and we are overdue for another big asteroid hit."This seems like a bold assertion…can you back it up with a cost benefit numbers?

  25. 25
    Alex SL

    magx01:Yes, that is sad for those who spend their life working on an issue and are really enthusiastic about it. But then, we cannot all be experts on evolution, climate science, vaccinations, international politics, so what can we do? I am enthusiastic about biology, but I cannot expect every trucker, journalist or law student to study the theory of evolution. Likewise, I am not going to conduct my own astrophysical research to verify if the universe really started with a big bang.Luckily there are some shortcuts that, if used correctly and weighed against each other, can help us get the most probable answer without immersing ourselves into thousands of peer-reviewed papers. The first is to have some fundamental trust in the experts – that is what scientists are paid for, after all, to be the experts in finding things out about an issue that the rest of us do not have the time to study. Mostly, today, what the majority of them says will be quite reliable. Unfortunately, many people think otherwise. This is a pretty neat blog post arguing the same, and why that is so:http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2008/12/lonely-grave-of-galileo-galilei.htmlWhat I would add is that it has to be weighed against the good old question "cui prodit?". In all cases where financial interests are at stake, I would take the position of the experts arguing in favor of the deeper pockets with a grain of salt – they may still be right, of course, but I would have to take a closer look at their opponents' arguments, and not just dismiss them because the majority of experts has already decided for me.Unfortunately again, some people who call themselves skeptics take only the rely-on-experts shortcut, arguing from authority even in those cases where pretty obvious conflicts of interest dominate, as in economic policy. And others who also think of themselves as skeptics take only the cui-prodit shortcut, sometimes constructing the weirdest and most unconvincing cases of presumed corruption, as seen in this thread. Would that the world were really so simple that one scheme of explanation were sufficient…

  26. 26
    March Hare

    Admin, oxygen is toxic to us regardless of pressure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_toxicity#Signs_and_symptomsHe said that increased carbon dioxide would help plants, which would also create more oxygen for us….. how could you increase both? One of the other, Rush, not both.Surely it is fairly obvious that you could raise both?We release extra CO2 from trapped carbon and plants use only part of this to increase O2, thus the levels of both have increased…

  27. 27
    March Hare

    Mintman:I never said it was for nothing.No, you only used that exact phraseHaving searched through all posts I think you'll find I did not use that phrase. The move to cheap alternative energy will be a welcome one. Tragically the closest we have to that at the moment is nuclear. Nothing else fills anything like the energy gap moving off fossil fuels leaves.But you have to realise that it comes at a massive cost in lost economic growth.Doubtful, see above.This is just high school economics of the worst kind.If the west convinces everyone to switch from fossil fuels and becomes the leader in alternative energy then the effects on the third world will be severe. Not to mention the lost economic growth which is compounded the longer it takes which leades to less trade, less food production, more starvation, more poverty, less education, higher populations and more war in already poor regions.Look at the IPCC reports, they have quite nice graphs showing the estimated change in precipitation patterns and temperature.Assuming we are still trusting the IPCC and their models then the desertification of southern Europe is a worst case scenario and precludes any attempts at walling, crop changes anmd irrigation.In fact, why not spend a few billion perfecting desalination technology and a few extra billion irrigating the edges of the desert? Along with a few hardy crops we could push the desert back and possibly make more regions viable for people to live in.As for why the religious are so vehemently anti-AGW it is possible that they see it as a competing religion. Several people approach it (from both sides) with a certain religious zeal.

  28. 28
    Neutron

    Just the flames from the debate about global warming are likely to increase the temperature of the planet …My own opinion isn't really scientific — I am just, by nature, automatically suspicious of any concept the left leaps at and grabs onto so firmly. And maybe that's not really a good indicator; it's just that the tree-hugger eco-nut types seem to be so overwhelmingly leftist. I rather suspect that THEY would be blaming human activity even if there was incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.I don't go around arguing one way or another on that issue, precisely because I don't have a well-formed scientific opinion. I'd like to raise another question here.Quite apart from the issue of to what extent the current global temperature increase is caused by human activity, does everyone here realize that the Earth naturally goes through 100,000-year temperature swings of 10 to 12 degrees C (over at least the last half-million years or so, anyway)? And that superimposed on this general trend are frequent swings of 2 to 4 degrees C on a much shorter timescale?So, in the long run, despite all of the super-expensive cap-and-trade, carbon sequestration, et. al., stuff we are likely to get forced into in the near term, the Earth's temperature is going to change anyway, both up *and* down.Would a few degrees C of temperature increase necessarily be a bad thing in the long run? Sure, the sea level will rise, flooding coastal areas, and the deserts will expand somewhat; those are problems that will have to be dealt with. But the compensation for that will be increased plant activity, northward expansion of agriculturally-conducive climate, efficient arctic shipping lanes, and doubtless other things I can't think of right now.On balance, I don't see it as necessarily detrimental.

  29. 29
    Johnboy

    Neutron wrote:"does everyone here realize that the Earth naturally goes through 100,000-year temperature swings of 10 to 12 degrees C (over at least the last half-million years or so, anyway)? And that superimposed on this general trend are frequent swings of 2 to 4 degrees C on a much shorter timescale?"Oh shit! I guess climate scientists all around the world never thought about that! Im going to email this to some of them, so they get a clue.Now that i think about it, i should also email them that sun activity varies over time and may be solely responsible for the current warming. They probably never thought about this and never included those effects in their models…silly scientists.

  30. 30
    Reynold

    Brian said:One great irony is that those who are skeptical of global warming often write articles framing those who accept the science as religious believers, laughing at those who worship at the feet of Al Gore, or the "gospel" of global warming. Quite right.For instance, pn Micheal Coren's blog, a Canadian Catholic religious right type, he says:Even though he is supremely qualified and experienced to speak on these issues, people with no expertise at all have questioned his background and, of course, his motives. It says a great deal about the desperation of the climate change zealots that they would do this.To see just how "supremely qualified" this Ball guy is, just look at comments 2 & 3.

  31. 31
    Alex SL

    March Hare:Yes, sorry, you actually did not use that phrase. Do not know why I seemed to remember it that way.In fact, why not spend a few billion perfecting desalination technology and a few extra billion irrigating the edges of the desert? Along with a few hardy crops we could push the desert back and possibly make more regions viable for people to live in.You have no idea of the costs and efforts required, apparently. And no, if some region at the same time goes from, say, 600 mm of precipitation to 200 mm, then there is nothing your puny efforts can do on such a large scale. Why do you think we are not growing wheat in the middle of the Sahara now? Just too lazy to desalinate the Atlantic ocean and throw it onto the sand?As for trusting the IPCC, kindly read again my summary of "Climategate" above. It would be like not trusting the entire biological community on evolution because Haeckel invented his embryo drawings.Neutron:I am just, by nature, automatically suspicious of any concept the left leaps at and grabs onto so firmly.Hey, a succinct summary of the best way not to understand what is right and what is wrong. But hey, blind ideology and tribalism, worked out so well before, eh?Would a few degrees C of temperature increase necessarily be a bad thing in the long run?Well, the planet as such can of course live with it. It can also live with only 5% of the biological diversity surviving, or with a few billion humans less. But that is rather like saying, why be careful with the buzz saw? I mean, do I really need all those fingers? Sure, some Siberian or Canadian farmers will be happy, but our currently most densely populated areas will suffer immensely.

  32. 32
    Neutron

    @Johnboy: Climate scientists are well aware of this data; I asked whether everyone *here* was aware of it, as a rhetorical device to introduce the topic.The effects that cause these swings are too long-term to make much difference in a climate model that only attempts to project the next 100 years or so, It wouldn't surprise me if those effects were ignored in the short-term models; they really wouldn't be noticeable — the models are crude enough anyway that any result of those effects would be down in the noise.The long-cycle large temperature swing is almost certainly due to slight periodic changes in Earth's orbit. The reasons for the shorter-term small swings are less well understood, and so would be difficult to model in any case.The point of my post was that a warmer Earth wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Yes, we'd lose the current coasts, and that'd hurt. But there are compensations, too — so overall, in the long run, we might be better off.Secondarily, my point was that, over the long term, we're going to get warmer (and colder) average global temperatures whether we want them or not.I'll further argue here that learning to deal with them is a better strategy than trying to *prevent* them.

  33. 33
    Ing

    "My own opinion isn't really scientific — I am just, by nature, automatically suspicious of any concept the left leaps at and grabs onto so firmly. And maybe that's not really a good indicator; it's just that the tree-hugger eco-nut types seem to be so overwhelmingly leftist. I rather suspect that THEY would be blaming human activity even if there was incontrovertible evidence to the contrary."Can you try for an instance NOT to strawman someone? Also, you know…Hitler ate sugar, you really should stop eating sugar.Leftists also are against murder…they jumped on that quite firmly, you should go out and ice a hooker.

  34. 34
    Ing

    Ok one thing I'm notingGlobal warming "skeptics" are not taking a skeptical look they are taking active disbelief. There is a difference. For example if someone says "I have found the cure to many cancers in this new drug I have made" Well, that's a tough pill to swallow…however he's using science and doing studies. You could:A) believe himB) Disbelieve him because of the lack of a smoking gunC) Reserve judgement and say "i do not have all the data to make a knowledge claim" Therefore I'm waiting and seeing…With C you might be inclined to take some moderate prudent steps due to some evidence in favor fo the claim (ie taking the pill in addition to traditional treatments because there's not too much at risk and much to gain) but it doesn't make sense that you would activly KEEP people from working towards the cancer-cure hypothesis or doing studies or even clinical testing.Put this in Global warming statistics, what pisses me off is people start out with "I'm no scientist" or "I don't have a scientific view, i just distrust those lefties because I prefer to make decisiosn based on what people I don't like believe rather than my own evidence" and THEN go on to list their 'scientific' rational for doubting it. You can't have plane toast that is buttered! I think March Hare's assessment is fairly rational, though I think he's made a few mistakes/things I disagree with, Neutron's "Im no scientist but i know more about those damn commie pinko poindexters" is irrational to the Nth degree. @) Hare: I think one of the biggest reasons we disagree is because I think you're making what our economy class called a "binary instead of gradient" error. To explain, you have a valuable resource that is limited. You can either make fuel out of it OR you can make it into manufacture goods that can be used in medical, entertainment, industrial, electronic, and agricultural products. Which is the best decision? Burning it for fuel or using it to make vital products?The answer is neither, there is in fact by the math a way to do both to varying degrees, rationing out the resource, to maximize the returns. This is a problem EVERYONE falls into and I think is very useful to recognize ( I myself did a papper on economic uses of Oil and what is the greatest utility for the resource and had the prof rightfully correct me on this error) In Global warming terms we cana) do nothingb) go full force into GW preventionc) take conservative moderate stepsWith C, which is where I fall the 1st world, which has caused the greatest impact on the issue should in the prospect of fairness, cut back their oil use the most and help produce tech first that will become cheaper and cheaper so the developing world can benefit from it without having to use as much oil as the early birds did.

  35. 35
    Neutron

    @Ing: Can you try for an instance NOT to strawman someone?" But I wasn't making an argument; just stating the reason that I don't fervently embrace anthropogenic global warming the way so many seem to.

  36. 36
    Neutron

    @Mintman: "Hey, a succinct summary of the best way not to understand what is right and what is wrong."And that's precisely why I specifically labelled it as unscientific. I often find that a good prelude to distinguishing right from wrong is to distinguish right from *left*. That's not to say that right is always right, if you catch my meaning, but it does provide some basis for sorting out the biases of what you're reading.

  37. 37
    Neutron

    @Mintman: Sure, some Siberian or Canadian farmers will be happy …" That's not the point; the point is the ability to feed an ever-expanding human population.You can relocate the people to almost anywhere, if you *really* have to, in the face of coastal flooding, but when you have to feed them, you need climate and land.

  38. 38
    Ing

    "The long-cycle large temperature swing is almost certainly due to slight periodic changes in Earth's orbit. The reasons for the shorter-term small swings are less well understood, and so would be difficult to model in any case.The point of my post was that a warmer Earth wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Yes, we'd lose the current coasts, and that'd hurt. But there are compensations, too — so overall, in the long run, we might be better off.Secondarily, my point was that, over the long term, we're going to get warmer (and colder) average global temperatures whether we want them or not."You know when you get your science from Limbaugh it's not going to be accurate.

  39. 39
    Ing

    "And that's precisely why I specifically labelled it as unscientific. I often find that a good prelude to distinguishing right from wrong is to distinguish right from *left*. That's not to say that right is always right, if you catch my meaning, but it does provide some basis for sorting out the biases of what you're reading."Skepticism: You're doing it wrongYou know if you keep politicizing everything, even things that aren't political you shouldn't be surprised when people insult you, because that is mind numbingly stupid.

  40. 40
    Alex SL

    Neutron:I often find that a good prelude to distinguishing right from wrong is to distinguish right from *left*. That's not to say that right is always right, if you catch my meaning, but it does provide some basis for sorting out the biases of what you're reading.Well, the funny thing is that I find it very hard to grasp the motivation conservatives see behind their leftist opponents. Now I, as a leftist, can assume that the right will contort facts out of an interest in defending material interests, i.e. they want to keep privileges over minorities, or (with relevance to AGW here) keep driving gas-guzzling status symbols even though it is inconsiderate to do so. In some cases, I can deduce ideological blindness, especially knowing from historical experience how powerful religion is.Now both of these points I will grant for my side of the political spectrum. The first in the case of unions defending unrealistically high wages for a select group, the second for some commie who believes that a command economy would work but it was never really tried.But what you are claiming is that leftist would take certain political positions out of pure masochism, or maybe a desire to hurt their own country. Ask yourself: Is that really a sensible assumption? Is that, realistically, how large numbers of human beings can be assumed to function?That's not the point; the point is the ability to feed an ever-expanding human population. You can relocate the people to almost anywhere, if you *really* have to, in the face of coastal flooding, but when you have to feed them, you need climate and land.Well, as long as you grant that AGW does happen and are only pondering whether we ought to do something about it we are already one step out of Gagaland. That being said, it pains me that you are apparently unaware of the inanity of what you just wrote. "Hey, shifting to sunpower and public transport and saving energy is such an annoyance, can't we just relocate a few hundred million people and have them lose their livelihood for my convenience?"

  41. 41
    Neutron

    @Mintman: "But what you are claiming is that leftist would take certain political positions out of pure masochism, or maybe a desire to hurt their own country. Ask yourself: Is that really a sensible assumption?"Actually, I don't see that I've claimed that anywhere. But since you brought it up, I do have to say that, from my perspective as a conservative, that's EXACTLY THE WAY IT LOOKS at least some of the time. And it wouldn't surprise me if conservatives look that way to you, as well.But the purpose of my participation here is not to debate liberal vs. conservative; I've tried doing that in the past, and despite my best efforts to keep the discussion reasoned and logical, it too frequently devolves into harsh invective and name-calling from the liberal side; so I seldom do it any more. I only state my own proclivity so that you will be aware of my biases."… as long as you grant that AGW does happen …"I am not yet willing to concede that. As I said, I have not formed a scientifically-motivated opinion of my own on this topic. What I *do* know for a scientific fact is that the Earth goes through large temperature swings even absent human activity. I'm simply suggesting that the best strategy may be to learn to live with temperature swings.You are free to label that "inanity" if you desire, but like it or not, the Earth will someday be warmer than it is now, even without AGW, and folks in the future are then going to have to decide what to do about the coastal cities.One thing I *am* pretty well convinced of from my reading is that spending trillions on carbon sequestration and other such schemes is unlikely to have anywhere near the necessary effect.

  42. 42
    Alex SL

    Neutron:Actually, I don't see that I've claimed that anywhere.What I was referring to is obviously this: I rather suspect that THEY would be blaming human activity even if there was incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. Have you considered that leftists might not be blaming humans for something because they are masochist, but because humans are actually to blame for it?But since you brought it up, I do have to say that, from my perspective as a conservative, that's EXACTLY THE WAY IT LOOKS at least some of the time. And it wouldn't surprise me if conservatives look that way to you, as well.Read this:http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Psychological_projectionSorry, you are the crazy one here, not me.But the purpose of my participation here is not to debate liberal vs. conservative; I've tried doing that in the past, and despite my best efforts to keep the discussion reasoned and logical, it too frequently devolves into harsh invective and name-calling from the liberal side;If your behaviour here is any indication, so-called invectives thrown at you are probably retaliation in kind. But maybe you do not even notice your own offensiveness, starting with your very first post.As I said, I have not formed a scientifically-motivated opinion of my own on this topic."I am too lazy to research myself, so I will just assume that what people I do not like are saying is wrong."What I *do* know for a scientific fact is that the Earth goes through large temperature swings even absent human activity. I'm simply suggesting that the best strategy may be to learn to live with temperature swings. You are free to label that "inanity" if you desire, but like it or not, the Earth will someday be warmer than it is now, even without AGW, and folks in the future are then going to have to decide what to do about the coastal cities."Hey, you will get a cold in a few months at the latest anyway, so I'll just sneeze in your face now. And while I'm at it, you are going to die in a few decades no matter what I do, so why should I not bash your skull in now and be done with it?"Maybe you are right, in a way: inanity is too weak a word for what you consider the best strategy.

  43. 43
    Ing

    "One thing I *am* pretty well convinced of from my reading is that spending trillions on carbon sequestration and other such schemes is unlikely to have anywhere near the necessary effect."I HAVEN'T DONE THE RESEARCH BUT I AM AN EXPERT.You base that on what if not science? Magic 8 ball? Since I'm going to be accused of name calling anyway I'm just going to come out and say that is unbelievably stupid.

  44. 44
    Neutron

    @Ing: You must have missed the "from my reading" part of the paragraph you quoted. I also fail to understand how the relatively mild assertion from my paragraph amounts to claiming to be an expert.And, once again, a liberal just can't get through even a short response without name-calling. There's such a great propensity toward the assumption that your own opinion is the only one that can possibly be sensible, and that anyone who disagrees with you is simply deserving of scorn, that you just can't help yourself.I am accused of "whopping over-generalization" (in another thread) when I state that it is nearly impossible to argue with a liberal without becoming the target of vileness and name-calling, yet you demonstrate it over and over again with virtually every post.And the truly *fascinating* thing about your reply, in particular, is that you don't even state that my opinion is wrong, much less attempt to refute it. The only point of your entire post was the name-calling bit.

  45. 45
    Neutron

    @Mintman: Have you considered that leftists might not be blaming humans for something because they are masochist, but because humans are actually to blame for it?"Yes. That's precisely why I have repeatedly stated that my opinion on this issue is not fully-formed and that the impressions I stated were "unscientific"."Sorry, you are the crazy one here, not me." Ah, good. I fretted that there'd be a liberal post that disagreed with me *without* name-calling."If your behaviour here is any indication, so-called invectives thrown at you are probably retaliation in kind."Indeed? I have made no personal attacks, nor have I disrespected anyone's opinion. So much for "retaliation in kind". I *have* confessed to a non-specific suspicion on a topic which one side of the political spectrum adopts so immediately, wholeheartedly, and fervently. That, I believe, is a simple matter of prudence.I fail to see that my behavior in any of the posts on this thread has been unpleasant. I've clearly stated my biases and stated my position in calm tones."I am too lazy to research myself, so I will just assume that what people I do not like are saying is wrong."Not *wrong*, but suspect. If I cared more about the topic, I'd research it. And you have the logic turned around; I don't dislike someone a priori and therefore assume that what they say is wrong; it's rather the other way around. My general opinion, from previous experience, is that they're wrong, which is the cause of my dislike. That bias informs my initial reaction to their future assertions.

  46. 46
    Neutron

    @Ing: You know when you get your science from Limbaugh it's not going to be accurate."That's undoubtedly true. Are you claiming that my facts on long-term global temperature changes are wrong? They come from ice-core data.

  47. 47
    Darren Cubitt

    Doing a spot of fishing, Don?;)

  48. 48
    Alex SL

    Neutron:There's such a great propensity toward the assumption that your own opinion is the only one that can possibly be sensible, and that anyone who disagrees with you is simply deserving of scorn, that you just can't help yourself.Well, once you understand that your objections to the scientific consensus on AGW are about as reasonable as similar objections to the scientific consensus on the world being round just because you have not traveled to space yourself to look at it from above, you will probably also understand why people who know it better may be ticked off. It is a bit like trying to remain patient with a flat earther who petulantly insists that the earth must be flat because I'm a goddam librul (not that I necessarily am; the word is used in my country for what would probably be called libertarians in yours).…I fail to see that my behavior in any of the posts on this thread has been unpleasant. I've clearly stated my biases and stated my position in calm tones.It would probably have helped if you had made a sensible contribution to start with, such as "AGW does not happen, here is why", or "AGW is no big deal, here is why", but no, you started it with "AGW is accepted by leftists, leftists are morons, therefore AGW is probably bunk" (paraphrased). But as long as you consider the latter to be part of a discussion instead of trolling, you will antagonize people.And the truly *fascinating* thing about your reply, in particular, is that you don't even state that my opinion is wrong, much less attempt to refute it. The only point of your entire post was the name-calling bit.Well, I understand Ing. Consider how much time I have already wasted on troll-feeding here. There comes a point where you do not want to invest any more because it is hopeless. I could ask you again to read the IPCC reports, in particular the easy to digest handouts for policy leaders, but if you think that the assembled human expertise on climate is untrustworthy because of four completely unproblematic phrases artfully taken out of context, then I can really not help you. What would I do with somebody who rejects evolution because all evidence in favor of it must be the work of Satan? Same thing, really."Sorry, you are the crazy one here, not me." Ah, good. I fretted that there'd be a liberal post that disagreed with me *without* name-calling.The sky is blue. Sheep go baa. Your political compass as evident in your posts here is craziness. Just saying what is what, no name calling involved.I *have* confessed to a non-specific suspicion on a topic which one side of the political spectrum adopts so immediately, wholeheartedly, and fervently. That, I believe, is a simple matter of prudence.See above. And no, if that would be a general principle accepted by yourself, then you would show the same suspicion against every talking point of your spectrum, but you specifically said that you considered liberals to be always wrong, and therefore only their positions suspect. But anyway, this is simply no reasonable way to decide truth or untruth, it cannot even enter as a point of evidence. It's crazy.

  49. 49
    Neutron

    @Mintman: We're getting nowhere. You keep putting words in my mouth which either distort what I've said or which are diametrically opposite to what I've said, and then argue against them."AGW is accepted by leftists, leftists are morons, therefore AGW is probably bunk" (paraphrased)Paraphrased, in fact, to the point where it doesn't represent my viewpoint at all. I've never said leftists are morons; I don't, in fact, believe any such thing. They have sincerely-held beliefs that are, in my opinion, often incorrect; that doesn't make them morons, nor would I ever call them such.And I don't conclude from that that "AGW is probably bunk". I conclude from the fact that one end of the political spectrum has seized hold of AGW so fervently that it is cause for suspicion."… if you think that the assembled human expertise on climate is untrustworthy because of four completely unproblematic phrases artfully taken out of context, …"I've already said that I have no scientific opinion on AGW because I have not done the research. I've not done the research because the topic does not particularly interest me. I've no idea, for example, what four phrases you're talking about here. I'll be sure to investigate, however, should I ever get interested enough to do the research."… you specifically said that you considered liberals to be always wrong, …"In point of fact, what I specifically said was "right is not always right".The really odd thing about this discussion is that the point I was making in my original post was not about AGW at all, but rather about whether a slightly-warmer Earth would necessarily be a bad thing, AGW or no. But I wind up instead spending the time correcting gross distortions of what I say on the AGW issue, a topic for which I have no scientific opinion to attack or defend, and so stated up front.I'm all done doing that. Distort away in your next post all you wish.

  50. 50
    March Hare

    @Neutron, people rarely wish to hear that the effects of AGW may be beneficial to certain regions and populations.Canadians should be more open to it than most, it will open up a lot of very productive arable land for much longer growing periods.Most regions that face imminent danger are regions of low wealth and high population growth. Perhaps the opening up of northern Europe and North America for larger populations will be a good thing. I'd rather have more Europeans then Asians or Africans based on the relative merits of their current societies. And yes, I am more than aware of the dangers of this type of thinking and the risks that some people may decide that 2+2=5 and I'm Hitler or a racist, but tough. If an African nation became open, free and democratic I'd be all for their population to increase at the expense of other nations, even western ones that were becoming backwards, insular and anything but free.

  51. 51
    Alex SL

    Wow. Must be the first pre-emptive self-Godwin I see.But you are right, of course, except for the mathematical part. You see, what made the Nazis despicable was precisely that they classified entire human populations into those of greater and and those of lesser merit, and thought that the latter should perish while the former should be animated to reproduce at higher rates. Sound familiar? Ah no, you will probably not make the connection, seeing as how conservative Americans are probably convinced by this point that the real problem with the Nazis was their invention of Obamacare or something.This is getting increasingly off-topic as well as ethically repugnant. I'm out.

  52. 52
    Ing

    "And, once again, a liberal just can't get through even a short response without name-calling. There's such a great propensity toward the assumption that your own opinion is the only one that can possibly be sensible, and that anyone who disagrees with you is simply deserving of scorn, that you just can't help yourself."Seriously, learn a new tune. You don't even KNOW my political preference.

  53. 53
    Ing

    Oh and Neutron, you can't claim "it's not scientific" and THEN claim to bring in facts. This translate to "I don't want to be held accountable to the facts but I still want to use them". I'm just go ahead and ignore you know, let me know when you're willing to keep the net up for your serve.

  54. 54
    Luis

    "I simply cannot accept the fact that we would be created to do things that would destroy our environment…"What a dumb-arse. Apparently humans never destroyed forests, never polluted rivers, never depleted the ozone layer, never drove a species to extinction, never drained a marsh, never allowed petroleum to spill into the Gulf, never built cities where the air is so dirty that thousands of people die every year from inhalation of smog.

  55. 55
    magx01

    @ Luis:It's amazing how a grown adult in the public eye can get away with making such ridiculous claims and not have his **** called out for what it is: ****!I mean honestly, how willfully ingorant can one get? His little brain didn't pluck the back of his shirt and whisper into his ear "uh, sir…..pollution?''*sigh*

  56. 56
    Ing

    @ LuisUm actually since Rush is a big opponent and skeptic/denialist of ecology I'd say your take is exaggerated but almost right. He's said things in the past that argue for a wanton rape of the land, just go ahead and throw your garbage out the car window thing. So yeah, he does kind of deny the poisoned waters and polluted cities…kind of

  57. 57
    rockstar

    I would be / am shocked to see such a large number of atheists would actually believe that Global Warming has presented enough evidence, especially in light of the modelling fiasco / source code / deliberate fraud. I'm shocked as well because Global Warming is the New Religion… All the same kinds of FUD.

  58. 58
    rockstar

    OH I should have added as well: First – Many of you posting need to read a LOT more / from varying outlets. Second, to those waxing on about CO2 and how much we blow in – need to understand how LITTLE we blow in comparatively and consider the position that CO2 increases TRAIL warming. Also, to those supposing that we have so much to do with it – you are basing your judgments on manipulated science. I'm not saying there's no impact ABSOLUTELY, but just like Atheism I Can say there has been no burden of proof met – and to those who think scientists are profiting from the superhype of gw, look up how many new jobs have been created, and grants given to those who re-purpose a previously denied study to include 'climate data' and are then given grants.

  59. 59
    rockstar

    Sorry ladies and gents, one last post for those who may have been under a rock. Read this http://www.tgdaily.com/sustainability-features/44892-climate-boss-quits-over-faked-stats#close"The issue is of fundamental concern as the CRU is, or rather, was, the world's foremost repository of climate data on which practically all research into global warming is based. Now the original data has been deliberately deleted, there's no way to check the scientists' claims against the facts, meaning that the rest of the world will simply have to take the anthropogenic global warming industry's word for it, reducing what should be a scientific debate to the level of a religious belief."

  60. 60
    magx01

    Hey, Rockstar, can you next fill us in on how we've been misled regarding evolution, and how creationism is true?Then perhaps you could get into the whole 9/11 thing, maybe tell us how the moon landing was faked, etc.I'm a sponge, you're the water. Fill me up baby.

  61. 61
    March Hare

    @magx01 et al.Few sensible people deny the climate is changing.Fewer deny that human activity can cause global changes, or that they can be reversed by concerted action (the hole in the ozone layer being a perfect example).The difference here is that climate science has always been… not intuitive. The way science works is that when someone suggests something not obvious then the burden is on them to show that it is true using evidence. That evidence is then scrutinised by others and declared valid or not. This hasn't happened here and no amount of screams of peer review (which didn't happen to any standard) will make it so.As the UK's Science Committee questioned Professor Jones of the UEA quite a lot came out:The low spot for Jones came when he was asked why he had replied to one interlocutor that he wasn't going to make his data available, because he only wanted to find something wrong with it. But wasn't that the way science worked?"I have obviously written some very awful emails," he replied glumly."But you wouldn't let him have the data," said Stringer."We had a lot of work and resources tied up in it," said Jones, digging himself in a little deeper.Next to him, holding a metaphorical hand, was Professor Edward Acton, his vice-chancellor, who interrupted at intervals to tell the committee what a splendid fellow Jones was and how his unit was doing magnificent work warning the world.Which made it all the more astonishing that it turns out that the unit has only three full-time members. Given the importance they claim, it's as if the British army consisted of half a dozen men and an officer.Previously Nigel Lawson had said, "Proper scientists, scientists with integrity, wish to reveal their data and all their methods. They do not require freedom of information requests!"

  62. 62
    rockstar

    @magx – I'm not really sure what you are getting at.. I don't see how anything I posted has anything to do with what you have stated. @March Hare stated perfectly the issue with 'Global Warming' as opposed to climate change. All I am saying is that with unreviewed science that was exposed to be heavily manipulated by lying scientists serving as the core foundation of the prophecy, how can we not rethink what we've heard. The science behind Global Warming theory is junk science – it's no more than an argument on religion as previously quoted.Perhaps you can explain to me how bad science and manipulated equations in modeling software, with data sets manufactured to create an outcome with known flaws causes you to believe in this theory?

  63. 63
    Dennis

    I don't "believe" in global warming, I accept global warming as scientific fact. As for the entire idea of god and religion, it is purported to be true because it is true. I have never read a science book that said for example "since e=c, and Gilfrock squared equals Goobin and 2+4 is six, that proves god exists. It has no scientific validity whatsoever. Scientific theories have to stand up to questioning and doubt. Also, I've never read a science book that said "and if you don't accept this book as truth, you'll go to hell."

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