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When did the folks at 'Skeptic' flip on AGW?

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eskeptic posted this article on 2-8-12 about AGW:

How We Know Global Warming is Real

and Human Caused

A few excerpts:

How do we know that global warming is real and primarily human caused? There are numerous lines of evidence that converge to this conclusion.

...................

Carbon Dioxide Increase. Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has increased at an unprecedented rate in the past 200 years. Not one data set collected over a long enough span of time shows otherwise. Mann et al. (1999) compiled the past 900 years’ worth of temperature data from tree rings, ice cores, corals, and direct measurements of the past few centuries, and the sudden increase of temperature of the past century stands out like a sore thumb.

...................

Melting Polar Ice Caps. The polar icecaps are thinning and breaking up at an alarming rate. In 2000, my former graduate advisor Malcolm McKenna was one of the first humans to fly over the North Pole in summer time and see no ice, just open water. The Arctic ice cap has been frozen solid for at least the past 3 million years and maybe longer, but now the entire ice sheet is breaking up so fast that by 2030 (and possibly sooner) less than half of the Arctic will be ice covered in the summer.

.....................

Melting Glaciers. Glaciers are all retreating at the highest rates ever documented. Many of those glaciers, especially in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, and Sierras, provide most of the freshwater that the populations below the mountains depend upon—yet this fresh water supply is vanishing.

......................

Sea Level Rise. All that melted ice eventually ends up in the ocean, causing sea level to rise, as it has many times in the geologic past. At present, sea level is rising about 3–4 mm per year, more than ten times the rate of 0.1–0.2 mm/year that has occurred over the past 3000 years.

Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society and editor and chief of Skeptic, appears to have flipped in 2006. According to this Scientific American article titled The Flipping Point, Mr. Shermer was persuaded to change his mind by what he read in 4 books:

The Long Summer (Basic, 2004)

Collapse (Penguin Group, 2005)

Field Notes from a Catastrophe (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006)

The Weather Makers (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006)

I cannot draw any conclusions from any of this other than to say that It looks like Shermer, of all people, has been hoodwinked. He isn't one of those politically motivated individuals as far as I can see. What happened?

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I have been disappointed by the skeptics on this issue. As Ryan said, these are issues honest people can disagree on, but the skeptics society has quite explicitly come out to say that basically "expert scientists say this, we are not experts, therefore we can't be skeptical" - ignoring the fact that anyone who thinks can point out inconsistencies in public pronouncement and demand answers.

The biggest flaw in the whole AGW case is that it is all based on computer programs which all impose an arbitrary multiplier on the base effect of extra carbon dioxide: and all of these computer programs have failed to predict the future and even the past when they've been applied to that. The secondary flaw is the evidence (apparently countered in just one case) that past rises in temperature have routinely followed CO2 rises and then, while CO2 was still rising, fallen again, upon which CO2 falls have followed.

These are not questions that require a PhD in bad computer modelling to ask, and I have yet to see them answered by the global warming "establishment". For the skeptics to just shrug and say "who are we to question?" is in my view a dereliction of their own purpose.

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I'd suggest starting the Video at 22:00 if you just want Shermer's take on AGW. It's a fairly sensible stance. He thinks that theres warming and it's likely that the warming is human-caused (although there are natural forces at work). More importantly he thinks that the range of possible warming (and by extention, the consequences) are uncertain. It could be a little warming with relatively benign consequences, or it could be more warming. He also said that the farther ahead you try to predict, the less accurate your predictions are, which means that the question, "what do we do about this?" is difficult to answer. He wants to let market forces run their course.

Within this explaination by Shermer lies what I believe to be the key to sensible discussion about climate change. You need to establish that yes, there is a scientific consensus that more CO2 leads to higher temperatures, and then establish that there is no consensus on the following: The proportion of warming driven by CO2, the proportion left to natural forces, which forces matter, how bad are the consequences, etc.

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I'd suggest starting the Video at 22:00 if you just want Shermer's take on AGW. It's a fairly sensible stance. He thinks that theres warming and it's likely that the warming is human-caused (although there are natural forces at work). More importantly he thinks that the range of possible warming (and by extention, the consequences) are uncertain. It could be a little warming with relatively benign consequences, or it could be more warming. He also said that the farther ahead you try to predict, the less accurate your predictions are, which means that the question, "what do we do about this?" is difficult to answer. He wants to let market forces run their course.

Within this explaination by Shermer lies what I believe to be the key to sensible discussion about climate change. You need to establish that yes, there is a scientific consensus that more CO2 leads to higher temperatures, and then establish that there is no consensus on the following: The proportion of warming driven by CO2, the proportion left to natural forces, which forces matter, how bad are the consequences, etc.

After listening to the audio, I will conclude that his position is that of a "moderate" who rejects the need for a political solution. The eskeptic article, on the other hand, is written by Donald R. Prothero and his views may be different. He seems more alarmist although he offers no solution so I cannot say what he recommends as a course of action.

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Personally, I don't think it even MATTERS if there is AGW or not, the only proper solution is to wait for the market to sort it out. Or, sort it out yourself and make gobs of money out of it.

Oh, and not buy beachfront property.

Edited by JMeganSnow
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To try stirring the pot a bit, the group that fought the Dover schools case over Intelligent Design added opposing “global warming denial” to their mission not too long ago. Previously they were all about keeping creationism out of the public school classroom, and they’ve done important work. Their opponents have been the people trying to smuggle religion past the separation of church and state. Trouble is, global warming has nothing to do with that, and the suggestion that skepticism about global warming is equivalent to anti-Darwinism/creationism is, to my mind, outrageous. This made Eugenie Scott go from hero to zero in my estimation.

[media=]

How might this connect to Michael Shermer? Well, if I were to ascribe a dishonest motive to his shifting global warming position, it would be that he couldn’t continue to run with that crowd, meaning the “New Atheists” and other left wing secular humanist types, unless he at least somewhat in line with them on AGW. I really don’t think this, but I’m here to stir the pot and I can’t rule it out.

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Surprisingly, FoxNews has published something intelligent, that goes to the motives of most AGW advocates/deniers. It also voids most of the insults directed at skeptics, in the OPs links and in leftists' discourse in general:

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/05/28/global-warming-skeptics-know-more-about-science-new-study-claims/

Are global warming skeptics anti-science? Or just ignorant about science?

Maybe neither. A study published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that people who are not that worried about the effects of global warming tend to have a slightly higher level of scientific knowledge than those who are worried.

...

"As respondents’ science literacy scores increased, their concern with climate change decreased," the paper, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, notes.

...

Kahan said that he thought another finding of the study was more important: That people’s cultural views – how much they value things like individualism and equality -- affect their views on global warming much more than actual knowledge about science. Regardless of how much they know about science, individualists were relatively unconcerned about global warming, whereas those who value equality were very concerned.

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Surprisingly, FoxNews has published something intelligent, that goes to the motives of most AGW advocates/deniers. It also voids most of the insults directed at skeptics, in the OPs links and in leftists' discourse in general:

http://www.foxnews.c...w-study-claims/

I don't feel like it's that useful as they'll usually disregard any general or even close scientific knowledge, as in the case of meteorologists, in favor of the climatologists whose percentages of agreement support their argument from authority approach.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

This story appeared last week:

Climate change study forces sceptical scientists to change minds

The Earth's land has warmed by 1.5C over the past 250 years and "humans are almost entirely the cause", according to a scientific study set up to address climate change sceptics' concerns about whether human-induced global warming is occurring.

Prof Richard Muller, a physicist and climate change sceptic who founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (Best) project, said he was surprised by the findings. "We were not expecting this, but as scientists, it is our duty to let the evidence change our minds." He added that he now considers himself a "converted sceptic" and his views had undergone a "total turnaround" in a short space of time.

Is it fair to give this serious consideration or is this another 'false flag' so to speak?

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Hello!

This story appeared last week:

Climate change study forces sceptical scientists to change minds

Is it fair to give this serious consideration or is this another 'false flag' so to speak?

Of course!

Science is the ultimate method for finding what is true, according to objectivists (and to anyone with common sense) surely?

While some people might be deliberately skewing scientific interpretations towards anthropogenic alarmism, it seems to me that self-described Objectivists are skewing their own interpretations in the opposite direction, in order to avoid any uncomfortable notions of communalism. Does anyone think there could be any objective truth in this?

However, I do find that Fox report interesting. It rings true from my experience. Followers of the Green Religion are unduly alarmist, those with a conflict of interest simply look the other way in an act of hard denialism, whereas the most sober, reasoned folk are genuinely concerned but not alarmist; and confident that human ingenuity can overcome both the problem's causes and effects.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, I've discovered a new theory on AGW skeptics. It goes like this:

Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other

established scientic findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking

causes lung cancer. We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy

theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon

landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientic

findings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets.

This comes from the following paper: MOTIVATED REJECTION OF SCIENCE

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Hello!

Of course!

Science is the ultimate method for finding what is true, according to objectivists (and to anyone with common sense) surely?

While some people might be deliberately skewing scientific interpretations towards anthropogenic alarmism, it seems to me that self-described Objectivists are skewing their own interpretations in the opposite direction, in order to avoid any uncomfortable notions of communalism. Does anyone think there could be any objective truth in this?

Hi! I think you have made a fair comment here. Speaking for myself, I think Objectivists suspect quite

rightly that there is an agenda afoot from some AGW-ists to attack man's mind. This is made explicit by

radical environmentalists - "see what your technology (your mind) has brought upon us!"

Of course, it's ironic and disingenuous of them to now claim science as proof.

Anyhow, this factor is what pushed many O'ists like me to the skeptic side, unreasonably perhaps.

I still contest the degree of AGW, of its alarmist predictions - and I definitely strongly oppose

government force in the issue. I'm no expert though.

But I have confidence in the ingenuity of man's mind to combat it, or adapt to it, whatever the degree.

Edited by whYNOT
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Ok, I've discovered a new theory on AGW skeptics.

So there’s a correlation between people who are skeptical of the moon landing, the Warren Commision, and AGW? In other words, people who don’t buy the “consensus” narrative on one thing are more likely to reject in on others? This is supposed to be an insightful observation?

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So there’s a correlation between people who are skeptical of the moon landing, the Warren Commision, and AGW? In other words, people who don’t buy the “consensus” narrative on one thing are more likely to reject in on others? This is supposed to be an insightful observation?

"Don't bother to examine a folly - ask yourself only what it accomplishes."

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  • 5 months later...

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