Letters to the Editor

Climate debate

January 9, 2010


To the editor:

Mr. Gore has said the debate is over. “We are destroying the planet.” About 30 years ago an ice age was predicted. No one knows the future. We know since the beginnings of time there have been periods of global warming and cooling not caused by man. Predictions of what will happen in the future are based on models (manmade models). We now know some of these models used nonfactual data or excluded some of their own data, depending on whether or not it helped their argument (debate). With our present weather, I wish Mr. Gore would fly his large carbon footprint jet over Lawrence.

Polls have indicated that the general public is becoming more skeptical about manmade global warming, with good cause. The time for debate is not over! With the billions of dollars that it will cost America if the cap and tax is approved, it makes honest debate even more critical. Jefferson said that “truth is not afraid of debate.” People who say the debate is over usually have money or power to gain. Gore says scientists all agree the planet will be destroyed if we do not eliminate pollutants in the near future. Check Google. There are thousands of scientists who do not agree. Is Mr. Gore an authority because he took one course on climate science? Could it be that he has positioned himself to make a lot of money if the debate is over? Reference companies Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers or Generation Investment Management. Let the debate continue!!


mr_right_wing 8 years, 4 months ago

Almost anyone (besides the most environmentally brainwashed) who spent the last week in Lawrence Kansas has to have at least some question about 'global warming'.

Those who claim the debate is over...with any subject, are the ones who have no defense, who have no valid argument or valid points, so they close the door. We still debate Creation, we still debate the holocaust, we still debate 9/11. how the dinasours died. There are those who will still debate the moon landing and a flat earth.

So as you continue hypocritically flying all over the globe in your private jet (which is 'helping' the environment how?) making far more money than the average American by dictating how we all should live, keep in mind there are those of us who do not believe and will not accept that there is no debate. You, sir, are a liar, a fear-monger and an opportunist. I, for one am not buying your snake oil.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

Gore may not be the worlds foremost authority for he is not a scientist. So why keep bringing him up. People were claiming Gore invented the internet which he never claimed... as a senator he helped with legislation/funding on the issue. Yes Gore is making plenty of dough but then again so is the Bush family:

If some do want to believe Gore why believe any politician no matter which side. They are not scientists.

Why not give Union of Concerned Scientists the benefit of the doubt?

"Reducing oil dependence. Strengthening energy security. Creating jobs. Tackling global warming. Addressing air pollution. Improving our health.

The United States has many reasons to make the transition to a clean energy economy. What we need is a comprehensive set of smart policies to jump-start this transition without delay and maximize the benefits to our environment and economy.

Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. To protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations, we must reduce our emissions of heat-trapping gases by using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal." http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/ http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/ (scientific integrity)

anon1958 8 years, 4 months ago

Neither climate science nor any other legitimate science is settled by debate. The political decisions about how to form policy that is based on science is a legitimate topic for debate.

"Polls have indicated that the general public is becoming more skeptical about manmade global warming, with good cause."

I do not hate to tell you this Mr. Hinton but no real scientist really gives a good gd what the public at large thinks or what a poll determines is the viewpoint of the public about any scientific issue. The USA has a horrible rate of scientific illiteracy, so even more the reason for scientists to scoff at the results of a poll.

Many Americans would like to think they are qualified to comment or judge the validity of evolutionary theory or climate change but they are not. They may be very intelligent and well read in their own profession but on the topic of evolution and climate change most Americans just constantly display their ignorance and then get a serious case of butt hurt when they are shown to be wrong.

I am sure that Mr. Hinton does not appreciate the irony or huge error of quoting Jefferson (truth is not afraid of debate) as support for his argument that science is up for debate. Jefferson was a polymath and had a very keen scientific mind. He proclaimed himself as an amateur scientist but that really is a huge understatement of his scientific knowledge and contribution to several fields. He certainly would not have endorsed the idea that science is settled by debate among the lay public, that is just a preposterous notion.

It really is a pity that no one working on the editorial page is smart enough to keep their loyal readers from making fools of themselves.

leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago

Tumbilweed....looks like you saw "Avatar". Am I right?

We are presently in the coldest winter in the last 20 years and we haven't been through the cold months yet. We just passed through two of the coldest summers we have seen. Really hard to make the arguement for global warming.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 4 months ago

leedavid (Anonymous) says…"We are presently in the coldest winter...."

Maybe for you, but not for the people in Greenland. Or Canada.

From a newsletter yesterday from the University of Colorado National Center for Atmospheric Research:


leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago

Boston.....did you read the whole article?

"In the meantime, winter weather galore is unfolding throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Great Britain is now grinding its way through frequent snows and a prolonged freeze that’s tangled transportation and brought supplies of heating oil and road treatments to worrisome lows. Temperatures below 20°F (–6.7°C) could dive as far south as Spain this weekend, with more snow on tap for London.

Across eastern Asia, Seoul scored its heaviest snow of record (10.2 inches or 25.8 centimeters) on 4 January, while parts of the Beijing area saw roughly a foot of snow (33 cm), apparently the region’s heaviest dump since modern records began in China in 1951. Typically, the city gets dustings, so it reportedly only took 0.4 inch (1 cm) to break a one-day record there."

"According to the Global Snow Lab of Rutgers University, more of North America was covered by snow than in any other December on record (going back to 1966). Conditions were quite wintry across Europe as well—as evidenced by the repeated cold-related closure of the Eurostar train between Britain and France—and China embarked on what may be its coldest winter in modern records."

Seems pretty cold to me.

leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago

tumbilweed (Anonymous) says…

"No. Where do you see “global warming” in my post?"

I wasn't saying you did. I must have worded that wrong. You said:

We are destroying the planet. We have to, because this is how our economy is sustained. Think about it.

That is the best, and shortest, theme statement I have seen for the movie "Avatar". Which led me to think you saw the movie and were making that point. I apologize.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 4 months ago

leedavid (Anonymous) says…"Boston…..did you read the whole article?"

Yup. And obviously you missed its point. By choice.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"About 30 years ago an ice age was predicted."

This is a gross distortion of the speculation by some that an ice age may return-- gross to the level of being an outright lie.

"With the billions of dollars that it will cost America if the cap and tax is approved, it makes honest debate even more critical."

You've already demonstrated that you have no desire for anything like an "honest debate."

"There are thousands of scientists who do not agree. Is Mr. Gore an authority because he took one course on climate science?"

But these "thousands of scientists," most of whom are not climate scientists, are vastly outnumbered, and all you can do is single out Al Gore.

What's your agenda, Mr. Hinton? It certainly isn't "honest debate."

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

Merrill: "Why not give Union of Concerned Scientists the benefit of the doubt?"

No Merrill, they are not scientists. In the capacity of "Concerned Scientists" they are humans driven by emotion. By definition they are not scientists when they ply their trade in public and include heavy doses of motivation.

Do not believe them on the basis of science. They might be right, or wrong. Their feelings might be shared by you.

They are not scientists.

And that is the problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure glad you can come here and be our Mr. Spock on all things science, Devo. (heavy sarcasm.)

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago


Last time I checked ALL scientists were human beings, and all had their fair share of emotional motivations, just like all other humans.

That would include you, of course, unless you're not human.

leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago


I know .... It has already started. However, when I look at the track record....first they said we were going through global cooling, then global warming, now it's called Climate Change that way they have it covered no matter what it is. LOL!

Boston writes it's is warmer in Greenland and gives us an article that says the entire Northern Hemisphere is going through one of the coldest winters in recorded history.

Tumbilweed: You are not a greenie weenie (or any other name) and I think that many of the efforts to protect the enviornment are correct, recycling and new forms of energy are great. The notion of global warming as the reason for such....well I don't believe it. Much of the data that has been provided has fraud in it on an international level and is being investigated. So I will see what comes of that.

Steve Clark 8 years, 4 months ago

feelings - rational thought = devo's scientific opinion

jaywalker 8 years, 4 months ago

"Almost anyone (besides the most environmentally brainwashed) who spent the last week in Lawrence Kansas has to have at least some question about 'global warming'"

Allow me to preface: I am not a believer in "man-made" global warming. I do feel there is some sort of climate shift underway and warming at the poles can't be debated.

However, and to all that want to point to the frigid temps and snow and ice as proof there is no 'global warming':

This kind of weather seems more like proof FOR global warming rather than against. Think of it this way: a glass of ice placed outside on a hot day will start to melt and you can see the mist rising above and away as it sweats. Same thing is happening at the poles. When it melts, that cold water has to disperse and is spreading through our oceanic gyres. Come winter, that cold water is effecting the standard global air masses and generating this wicked weather.

Global warming would never warm up the winter season to a substantial degree or for a prolonged period. It's cold in the winter because of the drop in insolation due to the significantly lower angle of the sun that hits this hemisphere at this time of year.

texburgh 8 years, 4 months ago

There is only a debate because those responsible for the worst degradation want there to be a debate. For example, as long as there is a debate, the Koch brothers will go on destroying the environment. Look at their AFP-funded "hot air balloon tour" to see how they work to fuel the debate. Those who think we need to continue to debate and postpone working to change things have been fed so much BS by Fox and the handlers of Fox that they are complicit in the march toward planetary destruction. But don't worry, it won't happen in our lifetimes. Watching over your grandchildren or great grandchildren from wherever you may be will be your wake-up call. I love the right-wingers who get their history from Wikipedia and their science from Fox. May God help us all.

verity 8 years, 4 months ago

Opinion polls don't matter to facts.

Opinion polls don't matter to facts.

Opinion polls don't matter to facts.

Or let me put this another way.

Your opinion does not matter to or change a fact.

And your ideology does not change facts.

Unfortunately, too many people's ideology clouds their ability to look at facts.

jaywalker 8 years, 4 months ago

"I love the right-wingers who get their history from Wikipedia and their science from Fox."

And I love people who get their vitriol from conspiracy theories and their "supporting data" from thin air.

Phil Minkin 8 years, 4 months ago

Part of the problem is that years ago the imprecise phrase global warming was picked up by the media instead of the more accurate global climate change. This gives the deniers the chance to scream and rant when it's cold, and overlook the world wide situation.

Centerville 8 years, 4 months ago

Here's how the kiddies will cling to ManMadeGlobalWarming: the past few weeks will become the new baseline. Thus, any weather will be warmer than this and, thus, the self-indulgent hysteria can continue.

kneejerkreaction 8 years, 4 months ago

Actually it only takes common sense to figure out that global warming is contrived. Check out George Carlin's take on "Saving the Planet". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7idMtrWfRVw&feature=player_embedded

anon1958 8 years, 4 months ago

leedavid (Anonymous) says…

Tumbilweed….looks like you saw “Avatar”. Am I right?

We are presently in the coldest winter in the last 20 years and we haven't been through the cold months yet. We just passed through two of the coldest summers we have seen. Really hard to make the arguement for global warming.

This is a perfect example of a layperson commenting on climate change and making a stupid and ignorant deduction from limited knowledge.

Regardless of whether or not there is climate change, one cold winter season (which has not concluded) in a specific area is not even remotely enough evidence to overturn the kind and volume of evidence that scientists use to discriminate between expected variation of the climate and a trend that is expected to go beyond normal variation.

kneejerkreaction 8 years, 4 months ago

I wonder how big the SUVs were that caused the glacier to melt when North America was covered with ice? And it's equally as preposterous that grown men & women actually met (Copenhagen) to decide if they wanted to control the world's temperature by 1.5 or 2 degrees celsius. Seriously??? It sounds like a bad SciFi movie from the 50s with the death ray circling the earth and the Evil Doer holding the world at ransom for.......One Million dollars......

mr_right_wing 8 years, 4 months ago

Two words for ya.....

"climategate e-mails"

oops...where did that rug go that you were just standing on?

Thank Darwin for whistle-blowers!

Joe Hyde 8 years, 4 months ago

The publication of satellite surveillance photos shows anyone who's been paying attention that the massive ice sheets at the earth's north and south poles are melting and breaking off into the sea at an extremely fast rate. This melting and breakup includes the ice sheet that covers Greenland. Also, high altitude mountain range glaciers worldwide are melting away.

Melting of polar ice caps and glacier ice does not happen under the influence of global cooling. Warming is what does this. A rise in average temperatures worldwide is the only explanation for the simultaneous melting of so much ice mass in so many widely separated areas.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

very good letter Jack!

and AlGore is already a millionaire made frm this fraud. when confronted about the CRU (Mann/Jones/et al) e-mails, he simply lied saying they were over ten years old--false!

when his scandal of a movie is shown to schools in britin there is a court order that about a dozen points have to be "corrected."

Note that AlGore won't debate anybody. Declaring that the debate is over is actually confessing that their scandal won't hold up to scrutiny.

Jack, may your tribe increase! and don't forget to "hide the decline" because it is a "travesty" that their data can't account for the lack of warming in the past ten or so years. And you know the Obamao EPA declared you a polluter because you, Jack, emit CO2, but then AlGore does too unless he is, as we suspect, an anaerobic lifeform and doesn't breathe out CO2. Anybody checked AlGore's breath?

jaywalker 8 years, 4 months ago

"How can you have an honest debate between scientists (armed with data) and non-scientists (armed with no data)."

Right. 'Cuz that's exactly how the sides break down: scientists vs. non-scientists.

Yes, porch. That is sarcasm. (I have to specify or he'd cut and paste the above countless times and claim I agreed with him.)

camper 8 years, 4 months ago

I hope this cold spell really means global warming is not occuring. But to argue so would be just like making a rash statement or theory. But these frigid temperatures could mean that this is merely a shift in Jet Stream, the result of colder ocean temperatures receiving colder water from melting polar sheets. Who really knows?

According to Darwin, dominant species (nowadays man) are doomed by their own success. They dominate the fish bowl they inhabit, use up their food sources, and wither into extinction.

Darwin is right wing to be sure, but I think we are smart enough to believe him and therefore practice conservationism, limit pollution. This can surely be a good thing if we are smart enough to realize this. Just because the cosmos, mother nature, or god may have other plans (depending on your belief) is no reason to think humans cannot improve or diminish environmental impacts that we may cause.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

porch: "In science, the guy with the data wins. Everytime."

So now science is a competition? And data wins? Where is the quality of data? Where is the test?

Bayesian probability in a paradigm changing world of ill-defined agents and the "winner" is the one with the most data.


And the losers are the guys who might have the knowledge, but not as much data.

Or maybe its the "scientists" who manipulate the data and give the talks, and enlist the support of Johnny Depp and Al Gore and the Swedish committee who gave the award for peace to Yasser Arafat and the IPCC.

Politics anybody?

Sloppy, manipulated, massaged, corrected, justified, and homogenized data is not just data, porch. Its real data, baby. It is the data that is used in an ongoing algorithm using PR-OWL. Probabilistic, nuanced, and erudite.

It's crap.

You are wrong.

My opinion.

For all of you non-science types out there: You are being jobbed by a highly manipulated statistical inference called science. It is not the science that brings you heat in your home right now. It is not the science that brings you your computer, or your cell phone, or any other really useful thing in your life. It is the science of "we don't know, but here's a guess that is better than yours".

verity 8 years, 4 months ago

"For all of you non-science types out there: . . ."

That sounds pretty condescending. And why should I believe you over someone else?

Just because I don't have a degree in "science" doesn't mean I can't read, educate myself and figure things out for myself.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago


I have much experience in "big" science, being a NASA contractor for about 25 years. I have told you what I have figured out.

It is what I perceive and is my opinion.

What is yours and how did you arrive at that opinion?

Compare and contrast Bayesian and frequencian probabilities. How has the history of these philosophical views of probability changed over the 20th and 21st centuries? What are the manifestations, and changes in science that have resulted from the loosening of the definition of data and statistical inference that result from Bayesian philosophies?

Here's a start: http://www.bayesian.org/bayesexp/bayesexp.html

Now, go back to Karl Popper. I find his book "Conjectures and Refutations" to be the most accessible of his works.

Or maybe you just buy that Al Gore knows something about science. Or that when you read articles from http://www.livescience.com/ or watch Nova on TV, or read AP science articles that you can evaluate the science.....on the basis of what?

Who says it? How important they are? How many "scientists" agree?"

Or perhaps you are well schooled in philosophy of random data and can give me a good reason that the test can be abandoned in favor of the computer run.

Did you get that last one, verity? The test has been abandoned. Experiments are conducted using computer models today. Science has become diluted to the point that any dam answer is valid if you have a Nobel and Bono behind you......

Talk to me. Your are being jobbed, verity.

verity 8 years, 4 months ago

So are you trying to tell me that everything I have read and studied about "science" over the last fifty years is wrong and you are the only person who is right? I should trust you, an anonymous poster, because you tell me that I should?

And just think what I could have done with all that time I spent trying to teach myself about physics, astronomy, geology, etc.

And, no, I did not get all my information from AP and NOVA.

Oh, well, I'm going back to reading that book about the evolution of humans. Damn interesting, even if a lot of it is conjecture.

Good night.

gphawk89 8 years, 4 months ago

Can't blame Gore for trying. If by lying through my teeth and convincing everyone the sky was falling I could make hundreds of millions of dollars, I'd probably do the same thing.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

Nothing wrong with conjecture, verity. But, if all it yields is a story, then you are engaged in the same thing that religion does.

I'm glad you're interested.

I didn't tell you to trust me. I tell you to question the direction science has gone in the last 50 years.

The stuff you use in your everyday life is based upon the science of the time up 'till about 1960. All the technology that surrounds you is of that science.

Quantum Electrodynamics, Information theory, Thermodynamics, and such are used as the starting point for HVAC, communications, strength of materials, and so on.

And global warming programs in computers are used to.............scare people so that they will bend to the will of politicians.

The difference between modern science and old style science is that the old style can be used to build things and do stuff. The new style is useful only in a political and behavior modifications game.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. We are destroying the planet.
Modern definition of biology: humans are destroying life. We should all feel guilty.

We have computer models that say so. Vote for me. I have data, I win.

So, if you have been reading science for 50 years, then you remember the hippies. They are now "the man".

Just like their fathers, they don't want to be questioned. The old hippies of the 60s are now in their 60s. They are reinventing truth and knowledge in their image just as the old fat men in black horned-rimmed glasses did in 1962. Instead of the church, they appeal to the secular...the science. And if the science doesn't yield the correct results...redefine science. Call it progress. Deride the old ways of Popper.

They produce nothing. The economy falters. No new applied science yields any new technology. And nobody asks why.

That's all I'm doing here, verity. I'm not proscribing a truth. I'm questioning the sorry state of science and why it produces so little for me to use as an engineer.

leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago


"This is a perfect example of a layperson commenting on climate change and making a stupid and ignorant deduction from limited knowledge.

Regardless of whether or not there is climate change, one cold winter season (which has not concluded) in a specific area is not even remotely enough evidence to overturn the kind and volume of evidence that scientists use to discriminate between expected variation of the climate and a trend that is expected to go beyond normal variation."

The article was about the entire Northern Hemisphere...not a specific area....this winter is not a fluke the last two summers and winters were also setting record cool temperatures.

The coveted volumes of data you refer to are under investigation for fraud....so....who is it that is making stupid and ignorant comments from limited data again. I love it when you try to express what you think and someone comes along calls you a liar, stupid, and/or ignorant. What makes you an expert, living here in Lawrence and all.

mr_right_wing 8 years, 4 months ago

If nothing else, remember this about Al Gore...this is the man who let his wife (Tipper) convince him to take on the music industry in the 1980s. I can still recall seeing John Denver, Frank Zappa and Dee Snider having to answer Congressmens questions at a hearing. The Gores & friends lost that fight by the way. What does Al have against having fun? Why does he feel the need to dictate how we live (besides the simple fact he's a democrat)? "Global Warming" & "PMRC" two huge wastes of time and resources.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago


"first they said we were going through global cooling, then global warming,"

Could you please identify "they" for us, citing specific references?

verity 8 years, 4 months ago

Devobrun, I appreciate your change of tone in your 10:50 post. It was your "For all of you non-science types out there" that really got in my face.

Remember the hippies? I was one, well, evenings and weekends. In those days I could, well, you know what, and then get up the next day and go to work. More of a faux hippie with a real job. Had to pay the rent and eat.

However, I did not become my mother. I wouldn't be talking to you or trying to educate myself if I didn't want to be questioned. If I have reinvented truth, it is in coming to realize that what we know will never be perfect. The more I read, the more I realize that everything I read must be questioned and that there are many things which we will never know.

You're the engineer, but I find it very hard to believe that there has been no new technology in the last fifty years. ???

I thought it was the Kansas Board of Education that was trying to redefine science. Would you please tell me how scientists are redefining science. (I'm not being snarky---I am interested in an answer.) And you say that the test has been abandoned?

I know that climate science is not exact and never can be. There are too many variables. To quote the book I referred to (pub. 1996, I'm rereading it) "[the principle of] catastrophe tells us that forces acting smoothly may produce sudden changes. A slowly cooling world may suddenly freeze. . . Chaos tells us . . . that a combination of apparently simple forces can produce a horrendously complicated outcome. But the theory of chaos adds a rider . . . the outcome is literally unpredictable: there is nothing in the system at any one time that can tell us precisely how things will be in some future time. Perhaps the most chilling lesson of all to emerge from the ideas of chaos is that little things really can have huge consequences, because of the ways in which one thing leads to another," referring to CO2 and CCFCs. The author goes on to talk about how the predictions of climatologists ". . . can in theory and practice approach greater and greater degrees of certainty," so that we at least have something to go on.

My argument is---it seems obvious that our dependence on fossil fuel is not a good thing, politically, economically, environmentally or for our personal health and that it is not a good thing to be polluting our environment and using up nonrenewable resources. A few degrees warmer and Kansas might well turn into a desert. If we have a choice, do we want that to happen?

Instead of throwing out all these red herrings (Al Gore is a nerd, etc.) and flinging stuff at each other, why not rebuild our economy on a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable way of living? Won't this bring new jobs, etc.?

Ken Lassman 8 years, 4 months ago

Folks, just in case you forgot, climate science does not depend on Al Gore anymore than the Iraq war depends on the evening anchorman on the national news. He's just reporting the body count. The soldiers are doing the real work, just like scientists are doing the real work, not Al or, I daresay anyone on this discussion.

And in case you haven't noticed, we live on a planet where different things are happening on different parts of the planet. Yes, it's colder than...here, but ask the Australians or folks in the Middle East, who are in unprecedented droughts, or anyone close to the northern boreal forests/tundra what's happening and you'll get a very different story. Global means global, not local, and one cold snap or even one season in one place, while it is definitely part of the whole, doesn't represent the whole.

Once again, there's no real controversy or real discussion going on, just lots of sniping.


melott 8 years, 4 months ago

I would like to observe that when I first saw the Gore movie, I was elated. Someone had done a pop culture presentation which was slick, entertaining, AND got the science right. It's really rare, even TV specials usually have mistakes. Someone went to a lot of work not to have errors. Hooray!

I did not forsee that this would make the climate a political football. Before the movie, people of all political persuasions were willing to listen to the evidence. After, it became identified (in America) as a Democrat vs Republican thing. This is really bad, because most people believe what they want to believe and rationalize it later.

So I now think that Gore may have done a big disfavor for the climate concern. It became a much more polarizing issue.

Scientifically, there isn't much debate. First of all, because we don't use debates. We publish evidence, and eventually it gets settled. But mostly, because the weight of conclusion on climate change among those who follow the science is about 99-1.

But there should be a debate. A debate about what to do about it. That is a properly political thing, and belongs in the public political arena. Unfortunately, many people who don't want us to make the changes that seem to be necessary are trying to argue their side by denying the problem exists.

Climate is the long-range average behavior of weather.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

porch: "Devobrun, if you've missed the technological revolutions that have occurred in the past 50 years which have enabled us to do “better” science, then it's been a long time since you've done science." Technology is technology. Science is science. I was directly involved with the technological innovations of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. It was all a result of science of the 1950s and before. Since that time, technology has continued to use the innovations of Watson, Shannon, Einstein, Maxwell, Carnot, Faraday, and many other mathematicians who have added to the fundamental understanding of nature. But since about 1965 or so, science has transmogrified into the non-fundamentalist approach. Bayesian probabilities, paradigm shifts, truth-is-beauty, beauty-is-truth, and other fuzzy-headed thoughts. Science has been replaced by feelings. I think, maybe, you are a prime example of this. Seriously, porch, do you have an observation of the change in scientific fundamentals from 1960 vis a vie 2010? -- verity: First and most important, your response is thoughtful, intellectual and respectful. Thank you. Second, you make a mistake in the conflation of science and technology. They are two different things that often intersect, but are not of the same substance. The Wright brothers were engineers. They knew of Newton and others, but they conducted engineering experiments based upon their knowledge of science (Newton). They built and greatly improved the airplane. They were successful. Without Newton and others who followed, they would not have succeeded. They built an airplane on Newtonian mechanics... Their technology is derivative of Newton. This is what I mean by no new science. As an engineer, there is nothing that I can use from new science that I can use to build new technology. It is stark and troubling. It is why I now teach. I hope that some new attitudes and philosophies change the present philosophy of science. The current view is caustic and demeaning. It is the philosophy that mimics racial bigotry of 1955. But in this case it is the bigotry of the new millennium. The conflation of science and purpose. Science is to discover. Engineering has purpose. They are not the same. -- Way back in the 1960s the Who said, " Meet the new boss, same as the old boss". Don't confuse me with a bible-thumpin' religious type. Indeed, I am warning the readers that they are subject to the same influences that their grandparents endured...only this time it is in the guise of science. You are being jobbed. Science has gone over to the traditional, power politics side. Nothing new. Same ole, same ole. Don't buy it for the same reason that Einstein didn't buy Newton. Don't buy it for the reason that the radicals of the 1960s didn't buy it. Don't be porch_porch and defend because it hurts. Poor porch, he was born with a silver science in his mouth. Porch is the new "man". Deny him for the same reason you deny religion.

jaywalker 8 years, 4 months ago

"Could you please identify “they” for us, citing specific references?"

Think they're the source of the voices, bozo?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

What voices? The ones imploring you to pump yourself up?

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

Melott: "I would like to observe that when I first saw the Gore movie, I was elated. Someone had done a pop culture presentation which was slick, entertaining, AND got the science right"

One of the most important parts of the movie is based upon Michael Mann's tree ring research which produced the so-called hockey-stick curve.

It has subsequently been shown to be false.

You were elated. Now what are your feelings?

I challenge the science of Al Gore's movie.

You are elated.

Want some evidence to contrary of Mann, Pachauri, Gore, Jones, etc?


After you have read the analysis, I direct you to the 5th from the bottom comment by Eschenbach.

It relates an exchange between him and Dr. Tom Peterson of GHCN. There are 3 depositories of temperature data in the world. Hadley centre (CRU), Goddard Info system (GISS), and GHCN.

Now one of the 3 is being investigated by British authorities for malfeasance regarding the maintenance and dispersal of data (CRU). And GHCN, according to Dr. Peterson, is rethinking their algorithm for correcting and homogenizing the station data.

The science is in play, Melott. Not the politics. Not the discussion. The data.

Still elated? Now, if you are a scientist, you will not be elated or depressed.....data is data.

Unless you are not a scientist.

Ken Lassman 8 years, 4 months ago

The funny thing, devo, is that climatologists have been looking at the data much like engineers, and--guess what? They've been warning us since the 1950s or even earlier about this connection between increasing CO2 emissions and global climate disruption!

You're right: they didn't need any super fancy, non-fundamentalist, Bayesian, fuzzy neo-pseudo-science to come up with those conclusions.

Meet the old boss--same as the new boss!

Sometimes it pays to pay attention to a little history, too.

leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago

Is the global community on board with this global climate change? Nope....is the record cold that we are having just the US. Nope, the entire Northern Hemisphere is seeing record cold temp. Is this a fluke? We just had two of the coolest summers on record and this winter broke records from last year for coolest temperature.

How did the experts react? They changed from "Global Warming" to "Climate Change". What of the data sets that were presented to prove temperature changes? It is being investigated for fraud.

So if it is alright with you climate change folks we can wait for better data to find out exactly what is going on.

Chris Golledge 8 years, 4 months ago

My kid mentioned that his teacher had tried to encourage a debate on climate change, but he just thought, "What is the point of debating the science if everyone in the class is a layman (and doesn't understand the science)?"

Really, if you don't understand at least the concepts of black body radiation, the composition of the atmosphere, and a few other things, what's the point of pretending you have an informed opinion of your own?

Let's see, prominent in this thread are arguments #2, #3, #5, #8, and especially, #14, from this list:


Any skeptic got anything new to add? Oh, and if you are going to bring up "climate-gate" again, please be specific on what published results you think are erroneous. For instance, the "trick" about "hide the decline", is that the same decline that was discussed at some length in the published paper? Because, pointing it out to the reader doesn't seem like a very good way to hide it.

If you want to run your own analysis on the data, feel free, NASA's data is available online. Let us know if they got it all wrong.

leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago

cg22165 great article really.

Here is http://www.businessandmedia.org/specialreports/2006/fireandice/fireandice.asp

It shows how over the years sciencetists have used the exact same data and came up with totally different analysis. It shows the constant predictions of gloom and doom from global warming to global cooling using the exact same data. It also talks about how the planet used to be covered with ice and has been warming ever since, at a normal pattern.

CC you asked "Oh, and if you are going to bring up “climate-gate” again, please be specific on what published results you think are erroneous."

Does this help?

On November 17, 2009 reports of an information leak from CRU computers began to surface. Over 60 megabytes of emails and data files were anonymously posted on a Russian file server. It’s not currently known who is responsible for the leak. CRU blames computer hackers, but many have suggested an internal whistleblower may be responsible. Dr. Phil Jones, director of the CRU has confirmed that the emails and data are genuine. The emails and documents appear to reveal that some of the world’s foremost climate researchers have engaged in a pattern of data manipulation, suppression of dissenting views, undermining of the peer review process, destruction of documents requested under Freedom of Information laws and outright fraud. If true, this may represent the most compelling evidence to date of conspiracy to defraud the public and advance an agenda driven by politics, not necessarily science."


You won't read any of it but if you did you would see the emails word for word and they are very clear on the fraud that has been used.

Chris Golledge 8 years, 4 months ago

Lee, What I see is that you haven't pointed out any flawed, published results as I requested.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago


Perhaps the science "of your time" is sufficient to solve our engineering problems? Are there specific things you'd like to build or invent that you can't because of inadequate science?

We certainly seem able to create remarkable technological products which improve and get more impressive from moment to moment.

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago

And, it seems to me that the current controversy about climate change is an interesting, but possibly dangerous diversion.

As living creatures who depend on clean air, water, and unpolluted earth for our survival, it seems to me that we should be more careful about our treatment of the above.

Even if you don't care about the other living creatures that we share the planet with, it is in our own best interests to find cleaner ways to live.

jaywalker 8 years, 4 months ago

"The ones imploring you to pump yourself up?"

Ha ha he..eh...er...cough. So sad, bozo, you're just so sad.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

DougCounty, I'm unfamiliar with climate predictions of the 1950s. Got some resources?


From your link #2. Ice core data has shown that CO2 rises after temperatures go up. This might be attributed to partial pressure changes with ocean temperatures.

3, yes there is a consensus. And the Jayhawk men's basketball team was a consensus #1 team in the land up until yesterday. So what? Neither is science.

5 is completely disingenuous. The models have continually changed in response to new data. On one hand you can say that the models are always right, because they are always updated. On the other hand you could say that they are always wrong because the model of 1988 doesn't predict the rapid rise over the 1988 to 1998 period. And the model of 1998 has not predicted the flat temperature profile of 1998 until present. With enough degrees of freedom, I can model the angle of all the hairs on Rod Blogoyevich's head. Wind blows (or he opens mouth) new model. I'll always be right until I am wrong.

8. Well, since the scientific method has been corrupted to define computer runs as experiments, predictions can occur all over the map and cannot be tested. I can make a prediction that the next 30 years will be warmer. I can also make a prediction that the next 30 years will be the same or cooler. By properly selecting public media and backwater journals, I can choose the one I like best thirty years later. The consensus will back me.

14 Just what time scale is valid to say you are talking weather and what time scale is valid for calling it climate?

There are no scientific definitions of this time scale. It is arbitrary and chosen to enhance the effect that you are interested in. Fuzzy definitions lead to fuzzy science.

cg, here is flawed, published data. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/20/darwin-zero-before-and-after/ Look at the analysis, then go to the bottom of the comment section to read the e-mail from Dr. Tom Patterson. He is the man in charge of the algorithm which "homogenized" the data. He admits that the algorithm for this site is unsatisfactory. Furthermore, GCHN is in the process of reevaluating that algorithm...due out in about February.

jafs: You have it backwards. The technology of the present is pretty much limited to games. Blackberries, I-phones, etc.
I would love to build an energy storage device that is comparable to gasoline. Something that stores energy of a similar density, and similar cost, which doesn't need hydrocarbons.
Do you have a science additional, independent, and fruitful beyond quantum electrodynamics? I'll be all over it. If quantum chromodynamics will yield such a technique, snap baby. So far, not happenin'.

Ken Lassman 8 years, 4 months ago

devo, Glad you asked--a quick starting point for you might be an article in Wikipedia: History of Climate Change Science http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_climate_change_science#Concern_and_increasing_urgency.2C_1950s_and_1960s

In a nutshell, a Guy named Svante Arrhenius in the 1890s took Langley's radiation experiements and Hogbom's carbon cycle studies and synthesized the two, and calculated that a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 would result in a 5-6 degree Celsius rise in global atmospheric temps.

This was largely ignored for quite a while until it was picked up again in the 1950s-- read the references in the article for more info. I remember as a kid reading in the Life Magazine published book in 1955 called the World We Live in, which I still have: "Yet for the last century temperatures have shown an upward trend. This has been particularly true in the past 4 decades, during which glaciers have been in retreat all around the world. The reasons for this gradual warming of the earth cannot be defined with certainty. One suggested explanation is an increase in the carbond dioxide content of the atmosphere. Along with watr vapor and ozone, CO2 helps to trap the earth's heat within the greenhouse of the atmosphere and prevents it from radiating away into space. In the last half century te carbon dioxide ratio in the atmosphere has increased by 10%, a phenomenon which some attrbute to expanding industry, pointing out that 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide pour from factory chimneys every year....."

That particular excerpt is not science, but it reports the science of the time, which predates those nasty computer models you complain so greatly about. The greenhouse effect of atmospheric CO2 is every bit as robust as your gasoline dreams, so I'm not sure why you are so eager to question it.

And please don't drag us all through the critique of evolving models and the truths that they "warp" as they continually evolve. The same is true of any kind of science and you know it--science by definition is never right either by the standard you are adhering to, so give it up. You know good and well that the climate models are applied science that predicts with increasing accuracy what the climate trends will do, nothing more, nothing less.

gphawk89 8 years, 4 months ago

"is the record cold that we are having just the US. Nope, the entire Northern Hemisphere is seeing record cold temp. Is this a fluke? We just had two of the coolest summers on record and this winter broke records from last year for coolest temperature."

Oh, but didn't you know, it ALWAYS gets colder before it gets warmer. The coldness is a sign of impending global warming. Or at least that's what I've seen on a few posts lately. What a load of crap. On the same level as the old idea that hot water freezes faster than cold water. But I'm sure that there are millions of A.G. sheep out there thinking, "Oh... colder before it gets warmer... that makes perfect sense..."

jafs 8 years, 4 months ago


Have you spoken with scientists about that idea?

What do they think? Is it possible to create new science that would make that possible?

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Ken Lassman 8 years, 4 months ago

rdragon, The climatechangefacts strategy: throw as many "facts" as you can at folks, and some of them will begin to actually think that your biased selection is objective. If you want to delve deeply into that site, then you should agree to also sort through the extensive rebuttals of those perspectives from professional climatologists that can be found at www.realclimate.com You can certainly learn a lot by doing this, if you have oodles of time on your hand.

If folks are really serious about getting current global data, why don't you go to the data instead of all of these biased sites with axes to grind?

Try: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=global#introduction

By the way, in case you are really interested in putting the seasonal fluctuations we're getting in perspective, here are the facts:

Global land and ocean annual surface temperatures through October 2009 are the fifth warmest on record, at 0.56 °C (1.01 °F) above the long-term average.

NOAA scientists project 2009 will be one of the 10 warmest years of the global surface temperature record, and likely finish as the fourth, fifth or sixth warmest year on record. The 2000-2009 decade will be the warmest on record, with its average global surface temperature about 0.54 °C (0.96 °F) above the 20th Century average. This will easily surpass the 1990s value of 0.36 °C (0.65 °F).

Ocean surface temperatures (through October) were the sixth warmest on record, at 0.47 °C (0.85 °F) above the 20th century average.

Land surface temperatures through October were the fifth warmest on record, at 0.80 °C (1.44 °F) above the 20th century average.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

Doug: The entry you refer to is by Brian Schmidt whose only reference is to an historian named: Spencer Weart. Weart's references are somewhat slim, but they lead to the work in the 50s by G.N. Plass. http://www.google.com/search?q=G.N.+Plass&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Plass was clearly directed toward measuring the effect of CO2 on the temperature on the atmosphere. Unfortunately, his work included about 5 or 6 significant papers on the subject, but then stopped. He went to Texas A&M and taught climate science and died in 2004. The best I can tell, his work was not followed upon until quite a bit later. That is, there was clearly indications from Plass that CO2 warms the planet. But the research he started seemed to languish, at least for him.

A good reference to his work is here: http://lightbucket.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/global-warming-blast-from-the-past/

I think that he recognized that aerosols of water (clouds) and soot and dust were important contributors and spent a lot of time researching aerosols after his work in CO2.

Thanks for the tip.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

Doug: "And please don't drag us all through the critique of evolving models and the truths that they “warp” as they continually evolve. The same is true of any kind of science and you know it—science by definition is never right either by the standard you are adhering to, so give it up. You know good and well that the climate models are applied science that predicts with increasing accuracy what the climate trends will do, nothing more, nothing less."

Doug, you couldn't have made a more illustrative statement for my point of view. Evolving models are tested models, Doug. They are models that don't continue to evolve, they reach a stable result with clear boundaries and limitations. They converge, Doug.

How do you claim that the models predict with increasing accuracy? When I measure something, I trace it to standards in Paris. You know, systeme international? You compare your models to temperature measurements that are "homogenized" You have a standard that is terrible, and being modified along with the model that predicts the standard. Which is the standard, Doug? Can I go to Paris and view the tree-ring standard? How 'bout that sediment standard. Do they have a standard ice core complete with secondaries that are shipped to Boulder, Co. at NIST? Don't think so.

Models are supposed to converge to a description which is robust for many experiments. You have no experiments, Doug. You have only two or three places where you predict the weather. Earth, Mars, and Venus. Compared to Earth, the other two are simple. There is so little water vapor. Venus 95% CO2, 20 ppm water Mars: Ditto CO2, 300ppm water

No oceans, no vegetation, very little change in characteristics over the latitudes. You can't test climate.


Look at page 597 of the IPCC report. This is chapter 8 referring to models and their evaluation. They freely admit that they can't test climate. They can only predict weather with the models, or fit past data.

There is no way to tell if the model predictions are better. They cannot be evaluated except in modeling the past, so they redefine the notion of the test to be a model fitting exercise.

You bought it. Are you a model-fitting scientists who cannot do a real experiment, with controls and measurements traced back to standards? Are you sloppy? Is this why you don't like what I say about new science? Do you not want to look in the mirror in the morning and ask if you are a scientist or just a stamp collector? Fitting those stamps into rows and columns, pontificating about triangle shapes versus squares versus stamps whose height to width ration is the Golden Ratio, 1.618............

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"Evolving models are tested models, Doug. They are models that don't continue to evolve, "

That's about as internally contradictory a statement as I could conceive of.

devobrun 8 years, 4 months ago

I should have said: Evolving models converge to models that don't change after they have evolved. At the point where models have settled down, they become useful.

If the model continues to change, it can't be used reliably.

If the model is neither useful, nor evolving, then it is probably entirely wrong.

Examples: Newtonian mechanics evolved and is useful. It is bounded by speed of light and quantum energy, but within a large range, it has evolved to the point of usefulness and is not questioned anymore. The evolution phase was in the 1800s. Energy concepts were developed on the basis of Newton. Electromagnetic forces and radio, light and other great stuff came from the fruitfulness of the settled model.

Even when it was found that Newton didn't explain relativity near the speed of light, or other energy problems with the model, the solutions yielded Newton at lower velocities and higher energies. Newton was a subset of a more robust model. Newton wasn't wrong, he was just bounded to a region.

Climate models are not converging. They are becoming more complex. Instead of fewer terms and broader explanations, GCMs are adding more parts and more feedbacks. They are diverging. Sophisticate sophisticate until obfuscation is complete.

Again, this isn't science, it is model-fitting. The models aren't evolving, they are becoming less scientific and less believable.

Ken Lassman 8 years, 4 months ago

Sure they converge, and they never stop evolving--you know that. Einstein's relativity theory adds to the robustness of Newton's theory in a converging type of way--it doesn't say that things fall up instead of down in the graviational field of a body with mass. Same is true with the evolving climate models: they add to the robustness of the initial calculations Svante Arrhenius made in the 1880s; they add to the robustness of the initial global climate models which initially resolved the United States into only 8 regions and now are breaking the US landmass into thousands of data points now that we have the calculating power that can handle that level of resolution.

And yes, these are convergent, with increasing accuracy, and, as a consequence, they show an increasingly complex dynamic that will continue to evolve. And of course there is increasing value to these increasingly complex, evolving models in terms of their predictive accuracy for longer periods, and more regionally specific predictions. Just like the evolving weather prognostication models that the National Weather Service uses. Applied science, pure and simple.

And I fully expect that they will incorporate more and more factors, including the ones that you complain that they are not including presently.

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