Friday, 2 November 2007

Naughty trees

From Tim Blair comes a report of Nature's Cruellest Joke:

The claim: global warming caused the California wildfires.

The reality: California wildfires cause global warming:

In one week, Southern California’s wildfires spewed the same amount of carbon dioxide — the primary global warming gas — as the state’s power plants and vehicles did, scientists figure.


  1. Another straw man from PC: No credible climate scientist or environmentalist is saying that climate change caused the California wildfires. Anderson Cooper doesn't count.

    Serious greenies are instead saying that global warming is a thumb on the scale:

    "The weather we've seen this fall may or may not be due to the global warming trend, but it's certainly a clear picture of what the future is going to look like if we don't act quickly to cut emissions of the greenhouse gases" (Princeton Prof Michael Oppenheimer).

    Also, from Joseph Romm:

    First, Southern California is experiencing the "driest year in 130 years of recordkeeping," precisely the kind of extreme weather event we expect from climate change. We are seeing record droughts around the country -- and around the world. Some scientists fear we are at risk of shifting the climate to "a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest."

    Second, we aren't just seeing bad wildfires, we are seeing record-shattering wildfires. The 2005 wildfire season, which ravaged 8.7 million acres, was record-breaking, and the record it broke was from 2000, when wildfires consumed 8.4 million acres. The 2006 wildfire season easily surpassed 2005, with a stunning 9.9 million acres burned. The 2007 wildfire season is also on a pace to beat 2005.

    The full links are here:

    Sadly, this doesn't fit PC's demonise-the-greens agenda.

  2. Eddie

    Yes, yes. Heard your silly excuses and hyperbole before. It's not new. Here's how it plays out.

    Your heros imply that Man causes global warming and that there are "record-breaking" (whatever that BS term means this morning) bad events occurring (for example, fires). The clear implication is made that the two are directly and causally related.

    When their proclamations are more closely analysed and your heros start to receive some probing questions, they dissemble and rationalise. They back away from discussing "cause", but craft their statements to keep intact their implication that there is a relationship between today's bad news and their Man made global warming creed. They evade logic and abuse reason to keep the lie alive. Dishonest indeed.

    It's called BS and these guys (your quoted heros) are known as BS artists. Rather than joining them as an acolyte you should learn to think and analyse for yourself. Start by repairing your inferior wee mind by understanding that quoting YOUR heros over and over does not make them correct. It does not make you correct either. What you need to do is consider the substantive. Start by avoiding your naughty habit of argument by appeal to authority. Learn to think for yourself.


  3. EDDIE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (mentioned in the linked article) unfortunately does count, and your cherry-picking bull-headed blindness in 'overlooking' does you no favours.

    Unfortunately he only does matter because global warming is less about science than it is about politics, as your evasions on the subject show you're all too acutely aware.

  4. What part of Harry Reid's statement ("One reason we have the fires in California is global warming") don't you understand?

    There are many factors to blame for the wildfires -- changing settlement patterns is surely an important part of the mix. However, settling on one narrative, whether it is that global warming is completely to blame (which Harry Reid did not say), or that global warming had no part to play (which apparently is what you are saying), is overly simplistic.

    Human-caused climate disruption is a thumb on the scale, pushing everything further to extreme situations. It's not just wildfires, but long-lived drought in many parts of the US, the rapidly shrinking Arctic sea ice, and many others.

  5. To elaborate on my last comment: Those who are pointing to global warming as a factor in the Calif wildfires are not pinning all the blame on AGW; they're simply saying it's one factor, and certainly a factor that's going to be important in the future. That's called being even-handed and realistic.

    Those who deny AGW had any part to play have to deny the reality of human-caused climate change altogether. This is a far less flexible position since it involves ideologically driven denial and delusion.

  6. LGM says: ..."record-breaking" (whatever that BS term means this morning)...

    That's right. Just ignore the pesky facts.

  7. Here's some nonsense from former tobacco shill Steven Milloy (from the IBD editorial linked by Tim Blair linked by PC):

    "But 11 of those drought years occurred from 1941 to 1975, when temperatures were dropping so fast that major news magazines like Newsweek were actually warning of a new ice age.

    From 1976 to 1990, when global temperatures rose back to their 1940 levels, there were 8 drought years."

    In other words, Milloy seems to be insinuating that the likelihood of drought tailed off from 1941 to 1990. After all, 11 is bigger than 8. What he doesn't want you to do is look at the numbers more closely.

    From 1941-1975, the chance of a drought year was 31%. From 1976-1990, the chance of a drought year was 53%.

    It's this kind of dishonest writing that should warn anyone reading Milloy that he is always spinning, all the time. Unsurprisingly, he probably gets LGM's and PC's seal of approval.

  8. Poor wee Eddie

    During your outbursts of exitability you forgot to notice how you've wet your pants again. Time to calm down and get some dry nappies. Ask your mummy to wipe you dry.

    1/. Your method of argument is invalid. That's been pointed out to you on several occasions. Put your fingers on the words as you sound them out. Try very hard to understand. A-P-P-E-A-L-S T-O A-U-T-H-O-R-I-T-Y D-O N-O-T V-A-L-I-D-A-T-E Y-O-U-R P-O-S-I-T-I-O-N. Did you get that? Try real hard now.

    2/. Facts are what you have consistently ignored since you started posting.

    Either you are intellectually dishonest or you are delusional. Either way, you are wrong.

    3/. It has been noted you have failed to present a logical defense of your position- just a few half-witted smears and sneers. The conculsion is obvious. You do not have a rational position to defend- just a mixture of odd beliefs and feelings.

    4/. Among other things what you have demonstrated is a rather immature form of hero worship.

    5/. You need to do better before comeing here and addressing your betters.


  9. LGM: You don't appear to realise that appeals to authority are not always logical fallacies.

    When we seek medical advice from doctors, we're appealing to their authority in the field. This is completely valid. Indeed, it's how policy makers craft legislation: by seeking expert advice.

    Seeking medical advice from an aromatherapist, on the other hand, is a fallacious appeal to authority.

    I have not made any fallacious appeals to authority. If you think I have, then you should point them out and explain why they are fallacious. Merely saying my argument is "invalid" without reference to actual examples (as you have done repeatedly) is just sloppy debate.

  10. Eddie

    I've pointed out your habits on previous posts. You are want to throwing in a few quotes (from your latest hero) and relying on them to support your position. I also especially enjoy moronic statements like, "No credible climate scientist..." Credible according to whom exactly? Interesting how you pick your authorities...

    Anyway, what I'm pointing out to you is that this strategy does not validate your position by any means. Sure, you can go ask an expert or authority something but his reponse is not necessarily correct. It is an opinion that you need to check and validate. That's where you come up short sorry to say.

    For example, you can ask a doctor about your incontinence issues and he may diagnose you with strictures. It turns out that you actually have prostate cancer. That doctor was wrong. This sort of thing occurs frequently. So much for relying on an authority. He can make mistakes. The answer is to find out as much as you can for yourself. As stated, that's where your approach fails.

    What you realy need to start doing is asking the right questions.


  11. Eddie

    Ask the right questions.

    Check the answers you receive or discover.

    Check again.


  12. LGM - You don't seem to see the huge hole in your argument. If your medical problem is misdiagnosed, how did you find that out, except by consulting another doctor?

    "What you really need to start doing to asking the right questions."

    Sure, but who do you ask, except other experts?

  13. Eddie

    How do you find out if you have cancer and not strictures? You certainly could ask another doctor and another after that. Or, as happened to an acquaintance, you might find out when you were in a lot of pain, your doctor continued misdiagnosing and prescribing the wrong treatments and you collapsed. Then you'd know, just as he did. He was experiencing it directly. It was at that point he went to A&E and told them what he had. It was then an ultra sound and then a biopsy were undertaken. That confirmed it. Direct evidence and experience clinched it. Unfortunately this sort of occurance is far more common than you might like to admit.

    The diagnoisis of the doctor (an authority) was not correct. One could have argued loud and long with my friend that he did not have cancer and one could have cited the authority of the doctor as validaing one's position. Guess what, it'd still be an invalid position. Beware.

    Now we have moved well away from the topic and have started to argue the analogy rather than the actual issue. You should carefully consider this. Analogy is "similar to" and not "same as." The contexts are different.

    The reason I discussed your doctor analogy was to illustrate that your appeal to authority approach is invalid. Citing a few commentators who happen to agree with you does not make your case. All you are showing is that you are able to cite a few commentators who you happen to believe in. So what? It does not validate your position. They can be just as wrong as you are (although the reasons for their errors may be different).

    Rather than assuming your hero/s got it right, you need to go back to first principles and ask some questions of yourself. Then you need to go find the answers. Then you check the answers. Check and Check again.


    Some while ago a contributor posted a series of questions about global warming politics. They went something like this.

    Prove the climate is changing.
    Prove this is not normal for the Earth's climate.
    Prove it is caused by a rise in CO2.
    Prove the CO2 causing the climate change is Man made (that is, that it is caused by Man's industrial and productive activities).
    Prove that this will necessarily result in bad occurances.
    Prove that this is necessarily bad for Man.
    Prove that coercive collectivism is the necessary solution to the problem.

    I think that's pretty much the gist of it. This is from what I recall of it, so I may have missed some of the details. Anyway, try going through those in order. If you are honest you'll find that the global warming arguments are far from proven. IPCC and the rest of that climate porn industry have evaded addressing the issues honestly and completely. Hence they are in the position of not being credible- an example of good reasons not to rely on appeals to authority...


  14. LGM. Good grief, this is getting us nowhere. Let's try a different tactic, and allow me to paraphrase your inestimable logic:

    Citing a few commentators who happen to agree with PC does not make PC's case. All PC is showing is that he is able to cite a few commentators who he happens to believe in. So what? It does not validate his position. They can be just as wrong as he is (although the reasons for their errors may be different).

    If everyone stopped making appeals to authority, as you seem to want them to do, this would shut down debate. Lawmakers would no longer be able to hear the advice of experts, since that would be appealing to experts. It's simply absurd to expert legislators or private citizens to "go back to first principles" about every complex policy area that will have an impact on their lives.

    That's why the question is not whether we make appeals to authority, but whether we make appeals to credible sources of authority.

    In fact, if you lived by your own advice, you wouldn't comment at all on climate science until you yourself had studied it to at least the postgraduate level. So get cracking!

    As for your "challenge", first off, there's no such thing as "proof" in the physical sciences (it's not mathematics), only a range of probabilities. And each of the challenges has been met by the AR4. Try reading it.

  15. Eddie

    You are getting desperate.

    You have yet to make a substantive attempt to validate your position. Attacking PC's opinion is all very well but you are being challenged to make YOUR case and validate YOUR position. It is clear that you are not up to the task.

    First problem for you. How do you know what a credible authority is? Do you appeal to authorites on authority to tell you? And do you appeal to the authorities on authorities on authority about that? Or are you the authority on credible authority?

    Do you have a postgraduate qualification in credible authority studies?

    As is readily appreciated, your approach soon bogs down in its own circular absurdities.

    Second problem, rather than approach those simple questions in an honest manner, you prefer to retreat to..... your very partisan authority heros. Oh dear.

    In the end all anyone ever gets out of you is yet more vomited up quotes from your authorities. Then the "debate" ends up getting subverted into arguing which authority is the right authority. Better to take a closer look at those questions, Eddie.

    The third issue I'll bring up here is the most important one for your consideration. The questions I cited are there for you to answer. Don't try to run away. You need to stop telling lies and start getting serious. Making excuses, such as there are no proofs in the physical sciences, is a dishonest cop-out. That is the admission that you are unable to validate your position at all. Combine that with your fixation on authority and where are you?

    At this point it is clear you have no rational defense for your position. You are all about the denial of certain knowledge and the empty citation of whatever fuhrer has your loyalty of the moment.


  16. LGM: On the required "proofs", let me refer you to IPCC AR4, pp. 137-140, 702,... oh, sorry, I forgot. They're "not valid" are they? My mistake for thinking that referring to what climate scientists say about climate scientific research was the way to conduct an argument about climate science.

    Let me ask you, then:

    1. You obviously have made up your mind that the scientific consensus on climate change is wrong. How did you arrive at that conclusion without "appealing to authority"?

    2. Do you think law makers should craft legislation without "appealing to authority", and if so, how are they supposed to do this?

    P.S. You call me out for "the empty citation of whatever fuhrer has your loyalty of the moment." Fuhrer? Good lord, is that the best ad hominem you can come up with?

  17. Eddie

    You're just arguing for the sake of arguing. Your argument is lost already as you have been unable to defend your position logically.

    Here are a few points for your consideration.

    IPCC bull does not answer let alone suppy all the proofs requested. Nor do they validate your approach to the issues to hand. Anyway, I asked YOU to try and answer the questions yourself. You do it, not the IPCC.

    That work is not something I expect you to do here and now. It will take a deal of sustained time, effort and study in order to do the job properly. Nevertheless I am serious that you should approoch each of those simple questions for proof in turn and seek what is asked. You'll learn a great deal (same as I did when I considered them). Are you up to the intellectual challenge?

    There are important reasons for doing this work yourself. For instance, you have been accepting certain premise and assumption without thought. These should be identified and validated BEFORE you accept them.

    One assumption is that the IPCC is correct (your Appeal to Authority relies on that). What if they are not right at all? How do YOU know?

    An aside: consensus is not a proof.

    Another aside: there is not a scientific consesnsus over the IPCC pronouncements at all. There is scientific and political controversy.

    Returning to the subject at hand now. Another assumption you are claiming is that it is not possible to make proofs in physical sciences. Can you prove that? Or is it merely something arbitrary that some authority you happen to like once told you?

    You are accepting the idea that politics is a physical science and that therefore physical scientists (or rather the ones you happen to like) should determine political values and determine how people should be allowed to behave and act (or perhaps tell policymakers what people should be allowed to do with their lives and property). This is an important issue to consider.

    Is it true that people should have their lives controlled by others according to the pronouncements of scientific "experts"? Can slavery be justified on "scientific" grounds? Do the physical sciences determine values, ethics and politics?

    Your political approach is a collectivist one. That is addressed by the final question of the set. What you are being challenged with there is to prove collectivism is good and necessary for Man. You won't, because you can't.

    1/. I am happy to consult with experts on a subject. But I check what they report. I also check the evidence. I check the arguments (including premise) every step of the way from evidence of reality right through to conclusion.

    In the case of the climate porn industry it is clear that the claim of scientific consensus is fictitious. It is also clear that the models suffer from too many uncertainties and assumptions to determine what exactly is going on. It is also clear that many "scientists" and politicians have seized on the climate porn as a good issue for reasons related to funding, reputation, career or attainment of power. Attaining real knowledge is forgotten or abandoned as an objective.

    My conclusion is that the evidence shows that the climate might be changing but that it might be that it would do that anyway. Man may be a factor but is not the domonant factor. Man may not be a factor at all.

    It is unlikely that climate change is necessaily bad for Man. People can adapt anyway- assuming they need to do anything about it at all. people are adaptable and innovative and can fend for themselves. they do not require "policy" or "governance" or regulation over how they live their lives.

    Most important. Collectivism is inhuman and wrong. It was wrong for the socialists. It was wrong for the communists. It is wrong for the environmentalists. It is unjustifyable.

    2/. No. They should do nothing of the sort. Leave people alone to live their own lives without interference.


  18. LGM: I enjoy your comments. They're thought-provoking and I like the challenge of having to defend and even reevaluate my position. Who knows? I might even learn something from this exchange, since you have an interesting point of view.

    At the same time, I think we can both do without the snide remarks, insults, and sarcasm. Let's keep it civil, shall we?

    I'd also appreciate it if you didn't impugn motives to me that I don't subscribe to. I am not a socialist, collectivist or environmentalist. No straw men, please. Thank you!

    But let's re-focus, and I'll promise to keep my mind open if you try and do the same.

    So .. you're saying that I should weigh up all the evidence and decide for myself. Correct? (I'm assuming we both agree for the sake of argument that "evidence" means the raw data -- the global temperature time series, the CO time series, etc.)

  19. Edit: CO2 time series.

  20. LGM: By the way, the focus of our dispute on this thread is about the Appeal to Authority fallacy. The "challenge" you keep harping on about was introduced late in the game. Read your first two comments to me -- neither were about the scientific basis for AGW, so I'm ignoring them as bait-and-switch/red herrings. Please try to stay focused.


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