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Censorship Science

BBC Wants Evidence of Climate Science Bias 678

Posted by Hemos
from the give-me-an-example dept.
Amtiskaw writes "Discussion of climate change is rife with claims and counter-claims of partisanship and bias. Some of the most serious of which being that the scientific community is smothering more skeptical research in the field. Now the BBC is asking for evidence of this self-censorship. From the article: 'Journals are meant to publish the best research irrespective of whether it accepts that the sky is blue, or finds it could really be green ... So the accusations that all is not well at the heart of climate science, and that censorship is rife in organisations which award research grants, the editorial boards of journals and the committees of the IPCC, should be examined seriously. Readers are asked to submit evidence of bias, which the the BBC will then investigate.'" Actually, the phrase "rife with claims and counter-claims" is making more of the counter-claims then they are; the vast body of the evidence indicates climate change is real; Lomborg is the only serious counter-claimaint that I am aware of.
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BBC Wants Evidence of Climate Science Bias

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  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:20PM (#17100930) Homepage
    He never really did, just that the evidence was inconclusive. Now he believe global warming to be real (the evidence has become stronger), Lomborg just claim that adapting to a changing climate makes more economic sense than trying to control the climate.

    Comparing the cost of trying to adapt to a changing climate with the cost of trying to prevent climate change is certainly a worthwhile, especially as global warming based on past actions is already inevitable.

  • Myth or reality? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:22PM (#17100954)
    Lots of climate change myths or confusions still crop up in the media and in conversation. As a result, it is sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction and attitudes can prove difficult to change.

    Climate is an always-changing parameter, and it's difficult to say if the actual climate is abnormal or if it just is between the normal parameters, seeing it in a long period of thousands of years. This is because we have so little *rigurous* information about how the exact temperatures, etc were 400 years ago in some point of the map.

    That said, it's imposible for us to know if the earth experimented the same changes than today many years ago. On the other hand, there is no doubd about the destructive action of the human hand in the climate, so where is the truth? Of course, the media will always prefer the apocalyptical view, because it sells best.

  • by schnikies79 (788746) on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:35PM (#17101168)
    So it's impossible to be a conservative and believe in global warming? I'm a conservative, a scientist (chemist) and I fully believe that global warming is real and that it because of humans.

    I guess I should elaborate. I'm fiscally conservative, not this so called conservative BS that is going on today.
  • by The Monster (227884) on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:35PM (#17101176) Homepage
    Now we need to see if we can figure out what's causing global warming on Mars. Maybe it's got the same cycle, which in turn might be based on, oh, I don't know,... What do the Earth and Mars have in common that might affect temperatures... the SUN?
  • Turf war (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:36PM (#17101188) Homepage
    Part of that was a turf war going on, with an economist moving in on the area covered by scientists. It is no surprise that Scientific American and The Economist took opposing sides in that discussion, each defending their own trade.
  • Denial Machine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Target Drone (546651) on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:44PM (#17101342)
    The CBC had a good program on this called The Denial Machine [www.cbc.ca]. You can watch it online.

    What I found shocking is that some of the same scientists who had funding ties to big tobacco and were saying that there was no evidence that smoking caused cancer are now the same scientists with funding ties to big oil and are claiming there is no proof of global warming.

  • Re:The key problem (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:54PM (#17101464)

    * If it is real (whether or not it is caused by us), can anything be done to reverse it? (If not, then while it's common sense to try to reduce the impact, it makes a lot of sense to either invest in technologies to either live with it or leave earth).
    Well said. An issue I think many people ignore is that if runaway global warming occurs and we can't do anything about it, then there really is no reason to worry about extreme conservation. It will only make a 2 degree temperature change occur in 50 years instead of 55 years. If the threshold for runaway global warming has already been passed the only solution is planetary engineering. Either we have to put lots of sulfur in the upper atmosphere for a temporary fix, we extract the CO2 in enormous calcite production plants, or we do it the Futurama way [youtube.com].
  • Re:Journalism? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sargeant Slaughter (678631) on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:55PM (#17101476) Homepage
    Pointing out that the overwhelming majority of such articles in the popular press have zero scientific credibility is merely a public service, and it has NOTHING to do with what the BBC is looking for.

    I concur. The article is not talking about anti-global warming articles in the popular press. The BBC is trying to find scientists, yes true scientists with credibility, who see global warming as less of a threat than it is made out to be. These scientitsts would be few and far between because it is not within their interests to downplay global warming. The article is about money, politics, and the tyranny of the majority in the scientific community. Something that I think whould be looked at very carefully and with an unbiased eye. This is a very difficult thing to do when people like the original poster of this article throw around assumptions. You want to hear politics, imagine this:

    I'm a researcher who has discovered that my entire field of study is based more on politics than good science. When I applied my own critical thinking skills, I find that the majority opinion of the research community did not completely agree with my findings. I published my results which downplayed the importance of my field on the global scene, with references to all supporting documentation. This report is a threat to anyone recieving funding in the field. In response I am condemned by the scientific community at large, I lose my tenur, and I have to bag groceries at Vons. All the while the pigs who did it to me sit fat and happy sucking up grants that should go to something useful like solving world hunger.
  • Re:Journalism? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Martin Blank (154261) on Monday December 04, 2006 @01:56PM (#17101488) Journal
    Dr. William Gray, hurricane researcher out of Colorado State University, has suggested that his funding may have been cut due to his unwillingness to accept the common view of anthropogenic global warming, which he calls "grossly exaggerated." He suggests in the same interview that many of his colleagues who have been around for a long time have similar feelings and experiences.

    http://www.discover.com/issues/sep-05/departments/ discover-dialogue/ [discover.com]

    Just another contrarian viewpoint because he's too stuck to see it? Or someone whose experience provides the nuances required to see that global warming is a house of cards?
  • Re:Journalism? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by BigBuckHunter (722855) on Monday December 04, 2006 @02:04PM (#17101608)
    Hemos, the entire point of an investigation like this is to uncover if such counter-claims actually exist. If they are being stifled, then you probably wouldn't know about them. Why? Because they're being stifled.

    I only really have one claim. I'll try to summarize and make it as clear as possible.

    In the US, when we first heard of the depleted ozone and climate change and greenhouse gass, it turned out that most of the data was fabricated. Basically, we were lied to. It was at that point that we were told by the feds that we were running out of space for landfills and that our current land fills would be full by 1995. We were lied to. Then we received a bunch of charts and graph from the environmentalists during the Bush 1 administration. We looked at the archival data. It didn't match the graphs. We were lied to. The, the Clinton administration pulled the same thing as the environmentalists. They showed us graphs that were incomplete and a computer model that didn't work nor match reality. We were lied to. Then Al Gore forced us to buy low flow toilettes to save fresh water, but opened a Damn so he could take a canoe trip. The man's credibility immediately went down the crapper (in a high-flow kinda way)

    Since then, some decent "science" has come out. Most of us don't trust it after having been lied to for the last 20 years. The same people are pushing the agenda that were pushing it 20 years ago. We simply don't trust them any more. They lied to us, on numerous occasions.

    BBH
  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Monday December 04, 2006 @02:07PM (#17101658)
    First of all, I"m a fan of Lomborg's work: I think a lot of resources are misspent in poor attempts to improve the environment, when those resources could be much better spent in if they carefully targeted the most critical environmental problems. But Lomborg's not a climate scientist. He doesn't do research on global warming. The BBC is asking about suppressing global warming research, which is an issue irrelevant to Lomborg. Calling Lomborg a "counter-claimant" in this context makes it look like he does research showing that there isn't global warming, which might be being suppressed. That isn't the case at all. He doesn't do climate research. He evaluates the state of the environment and makes economic arguments about where and how we should direct resources to acheive the biggest envionmental improvements for our efforts.

    Even as an economist, he's not a "global warming counter-claimant," as he believes in global warming. As he says right up front in this Telegraph opinion piece [telegraph.co.uk], "Global warming is real and caused by CO2."

    Lomborg's arguments don't attempt to be, and are not, relevant to the scientific debate about global warming. (The debate being exactly how much there is and what all is contributing to it in what ways, not whether there is any, which is pretty well settled.) He just argues about the costs and benefits of various scenarios for attempting to counter global warming. For example, his argument in the linked article is:

    1. Climate scientists think that even worldwide adherence to Kyoto would make a tiny difference in the speed of global warming.
    2. Kyoto adherence would be fabulously expensive.
    3. For less than the costs of adhering to Kyoto, we could provide clean water, sanitation, and basic health care to every poor person in the world.

    If those three statements are provably true, I think they would make a lot of people rethink what actions should be taken regarding global warming.
  • by mschuyler (197441) on Monday December 04, 2006 @02:21PM (#17101916) Homepage Journal
    "Actually, the phrase "rife with claims and counter-claims" is making more of the counter-claims then they are; the vast body of the evidence indicates climate change is real; Lomborg is the only serious counter-claimaint that I am aware of."

    Thus providing a perfect example of what the BBC is talking about. Even if you never take your eyeballs off slashdot itself, there is ample evidence to the contrary, including the very detailed analysis by Moncton: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/ne ws/2006/11/05/nosplit/nwarm05.xml [telegraph.co.uk]. Don't just glance at the head; download the PDF and see what he's saying. Are there dissenters to this point of view? Sure there are. Did the United Nations cook the books on the evidence here? Yes, they did, and THAT ought to be a serious warning bell to anyone. Don't ignore this. WHY did the UN CHANGE the data to make global warming look worse than it is? This is a smoking gun. Even if you push it under the rug it's going to make an ugly lump.

    The issue here is not so much whether global warming is true. After all, we're coming off an ice age. At some level of course it's true. The issue is, Why does there seem to be a concerted push to make this a 'done deal' by people whose political interests would suggest they very nuch want it to be for their own agenda. The backlash to Moncton is interesting. It's similar to the Christian church demonizing Pan into Satan simply to gain control of he largely ignorant populace. A lot of the counter claims amount to argumentum ad hominem, an argument against the person, not the evidence. For all you folks who bristle every time someone calls Stallman a big fat smelly boy, well, this is the same thing.

    If there are no alarm bells going off in your head over at least some of the issues raised by the dissenters, then you are already converted. If you believe the world was created on October 29, 4004 BC at 10:00 in the morning, there is nothing anyone can do to convince you otherwise. For the rest, you owe it to yourselves to take a dispassionate and serious look at what the dissenters are saying without letting your SUV-loathing get in the way. Let us all see what the issues are here without jumping on either extremist side.
  • Re:Journalism? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Monday December 04, 2006 @02:41PM (#17102188)

    Except you missed out the important bit: the thorough debunking [realclimate.org] of Monckton's article on realclimate.org.

    Even a non-expert can see that there are real problems with Monckton's article. The `smoking gun' Battle of the Graphs compares global average temperatures versus with temperatures in Europe alone, for example. It is known that the European `little ice age' was caused by slowing of the Gulf Stream current [nzherald.co.nz] (although why the current slowed down is still a mystery), which makes this effect very specific to Europe and certainly does not contractict other studies that measure global climate at the same period that don't show a similar cooling.

    For another example, his claim that a Chinese naval squadron sailed around the north pole in 1421 and found no ice, has been debunked by historians for a long time. Did you notice, even the timing of this event (1421) falls within the European Little Ice Age cooling period he shows in the graph just above it? It seems he didn't even notice his own contradiction!

  • Re:Journalism? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Monday December 04, 2006 @02:45PM (#17102242)
    Well, unless the comment was a total fake, the weblink is for a different person. He claims in the post to have lost his tenure, which would imply he once had a rather senior position as a university professor. But Ryan Bray says "I am 24 years old. I go to school at Mesa Junior College in San Diego, CA. I am majoring in History."
  • Re:The Media (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jimmichie (993747) on Monday December 04, 2006 @02:47PM (#17102268)
    Sometimes information doesn't have to be presented with a neat and comprehensive list of counter arguments.
    Why was that modded Funny? There is a tendency by the media to counter any viewpoint with one diametrically opposed to it - no matter how far-out and looney. And it doesn't bring balance, it creates Springer-like slanging matches.

    See this Slashdot article from 2004 for more:
    How Journalists Distort Science with Balance [slashdot.org]

    However, the BBC is right to investigate the other side of the Global Warming argument, but it has to be careful how it presents its findings. I just dread they'll produce a special like "The REAL Truth Behind Global Warming - The Facts The So-Called-Scientists Didn't Want You To Hear."
  • Re:Journalism? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bugnuts (94678) on Monday December 04, 2006 @02:49PM (#17102328) Journal
    That's a fabulous picture of a beautiful slippery slope. And if that did happen to someone, the BBC wants to know.

    But the problem with painting a slippery slope picture is that it's not true. Certainly in law, precedents make a big difference. But in science, popular opinion and politics don't determine true or false, any more than you can make a law that Pi = 3.0.

    The opinion that climate scientists are in it for the money to justify their jobs and get grants has very little basis in reality. This was put forth by an author who was trying to sell books... making money off popular opinion just like O'reilly or Jon Stewart. And the politicians who bought into it aren't scientists either, and are the real pigs you reference, above.

    If your slippery slope story were true, the BBC would want to know. That's the whole purpose of this exercise. But buying into the claim that "All the world-reknown experts in climate science are cultivating an elaborate lie to keep their jobs" is rubbish. Anyone who actually believes that merely wants to believe it, despite lack of any credibility. When you consider that it's essentially believing an urban myth (yes, there is a kid dying of cancer that wants you to forward this Neiman-marcus cookie recipe), it's not surprising how stupid people can be. But stupid people can still vote and produce stupid kids.
  • Re:Journalism? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Monday December 04, 2006 @03:06PM (#17102600)

    Well done, that post is a masterpiece of exactly the kind of disinformation that is causing all the problems in this debate!

    You overplayed you hand slightly though, in the last paragraph. Until that point, it was the perfect troll: biased, but factually correct and completely plausible. But then you blew it with a statement that is simply wrong! The opposite is true: there is an overwhelming concensus among climatologists that global warming is real, and humans are contributing to it. There is some debate as to whether there are other factors that are contributing (solar output etc), but that is just window dressing on the main result.

  • Re:Journalism? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CorSci81 (1007499) on Monday December 04, 2006 @03:10PM (#17102654) Journal
    One thing all climatologists do agree on is that global warming is FAR from proven and any clue as to cause and consequence is mere conjecture, the reliability of which is anybody's guess.

    As someone who went to grad school in climatology, I have to say, in a word: No. Most of us have personally read the actual scientific studies and not the media "report", and our findings are that climate change really is happening. We also don't disagree with the finding that this is due to humans more than doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in the past 150 years. This work has been supported by studies in climate science and geology, so it's not just one field of science. These are settled matters within the climate science community, and any efforts to stir up that there's a "debate" is sensationalist media misrepresenting science. What is up for debate is the outcome of climate change and what should (and can) be done. Clearly things are changing, but the picture of how things will change is just beginning to become clear, and so most scientists choose to voice caution: we don't know for certain what is going to happen, but we might want to think about what we're doing because rapid change is likely to be bad (and expensive).

    Didn't I hear This Skeptical Piece on BBC Radio? (The piece points out that only the most sensationalist theories from the papers are actually reported by the media, and that the real data is almost never reported. Furthermore, there is a push by global warming scientists to publish irresponsibly the most outlandish theories in their 'abstracts' (which is all the media ever reads) so they can get publicity and therefore grants.).

    I'll give you the sensationalism on the part of the media, as far as the rest I'm going to kindly ask you to stop talking out of your ass. Calling the character of climate scientists into question is the most common hack for people who can't produce any valid scientific counter-arguments. A great deal of scientific "reporting" in this area does little justice to the actual science they're reporting on. I'm going to call FUD on the "push by global warming scientists". We go through the same peer review process as any other branch of science, we don't publish our most "outlandish" theories, we publish what we find. Actually, a great deal of restraint is exercised by most scientists due to the political nature of the field. There are of course a couple of people who will do something sensational (i.e. the man who claimed a link between hurricanes and global warming), but this happens in other fields too. When it does, the community usually self-polices: i.e. this man took a lot of flak for inside the community precisely because his work was a little too speculative and did some hard to his credibility with the rest of the community.

  • by benhocking (724439) <<benjaminhocking> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Monday December 04, 2006 @03:35PM (#17103024) Homepage Journal
    OTOH, Einstein's Nobel Prize was for his work on quanta, ironically enough (specically, the photoelectric effect). In fact, the Nobel Prize committee is rumored to have been initially against giving him the prize on the basis that it might provide support to that crazy relativity theory of his.
  • by mbkennel (97636) on Monday December 04, 2006 @04:31PM (#17103860)
    Planck of course, like Einstein, fully accepted quantum mechanics as the theory and especially convincing experimental progress evolved.

    Planck was involved in modern physics of the time throughout his life.

    (Also Einstein didn't reject quantum mechanics in itself---he rejected the Copenhagen Interpretation
    as inconsistent mumbo-jumbo. Modern physics actually says the same {"decoherence" is currently the preferred option}, even though Copenhagen makes the right predictions in most experimentally relevant cases. The specific proposals Einstein made in QM turned out to not be true, but the experimental evidence was not available until after Einstein's death. Had Einstein lived, he surely would have changed his theories.)

    I know he didn't even believe in quantum mechanics and tried for the remainder of his life to somehow reconcile his discoveries with classical mechanics, which turned out to be impossible.

    Except for that wee little thing called the Bohr correspondence principle?

    The reality of the physics was that quantum mechanics and classical mechanics were successfully reconciled; large quantum number limits go to known classical mechanics.

    Maxwell's equations remain fully valid in their regimes and the eventual successful unification of electromagnetic fields as a quantum-mechanical phenomenon as quantum optics and later quantum electrodynamics was successfully accomplished. So, contrary to Planck's initial fear, Maxwell was not thrown out at all.

    Notice that in 1905 this theory was not fully available. By the 1930's most of it was. There were both photons (excitation of the creation operator on vacuum E&M fields) and Maxwell's equations in it in their own way.
  • Re:A little context (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mbkennel (97636) on Monday December 04, 2006 @04:39PM (#17103986)
    There's a reason for this.

    Pollution has "economic externalities" --- meaning that general people end up paying for the cost for something that benefits a few, and this cost is not included in the financial explicit cost.

    To be blunt, having to do something about global warming gets in the way of a few people making lots of money at the expense of many others and future generations of them.

    This is known as "selfishness".

    How can this obvious self-serving ideology be ignored when pointing out the "watermelon environmentalist" ideology?

    Economic externalities cannot be resolved without some collective decision to do so, because otherwise there is a tremendous "free-rider" problem.

    The right may dislike this, but it is the truth.

    When the right looks at what the environmentalist movement advocates, it looks an awful lot like centralized control of the economy.

    When it comes to alleviating environmental externalities, some is inevitable and impossible otherwise. The environmentalists were right about other forms of pollution---human health in cities is significantly improved as a consequence of their actions, which were bitterly opposed by the right at the time, using identical arguments.

    Why not cut off the catalytic converters and put lead back into the gasoline?

    How is it different from centralized control of law and order? The task then is to monitor the collective decisions to ensure they are the best available mechanisms to solve the relevant problems.

  • Re:Journalism? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zorro6 (836387) on Monday December 04, 2006 @04:41PM (#17104008)
    And I think you have an extremely naive view of how science works. I have spent my entire career working with scientists, including a couple of Nobel prize winners. Bias, ego and simple ass covering do play a huge part in science. I am simply amazed that so many so-called scientists aren't aware of this. Every major scientific endeavor I have been involved with has been full of such stuff and it has a major affect on what gets explored and what gets reported and communicated. Every academic department I have been in that was involved in anything even close to controversial or in question was full of ego battles and just really, really nasty politics. Maybe my experience is unusual but I don't think so. And in fact it is much, much worse in fields, like global climatology, where you can't do experiments to physically prove your point. So if you think that some scientist who has made a career of a certain position or even just published a few papers with a certain stance is going to stand up and say "sorry I was wrong" you are way off base. That would be a career killer and very few have the courage to do that. Especially if the evidence that they were "wrong" is unclear, impossible to prove or based on a computer model. My basic tenant is if they can't predict the weather next week (which they still can't do very accurately) why should I believe they can predict the weather 20 years from now?
  • by coyote-san (38515) on Monday December 04, 2006 @04:48PM (#17104096)
    We may be talking about different things with polar bears. It's not just that populations are declining or underweight, it's -how- they're dying. Drowning, esp., is uncharacteristic in a species that can easily swim tens of miles in arctic water. Something profound is going on.

    An analogy that came to mind is lung cancer. In the 19th Century lung cancer was so rare that a doctor may only see it a few times in his career, and always the topic of discussion in the local community when it occurred.

    A century later lifespans were significantly longer, overall health is significantly higher... and lung disease has remained the #1 or #2 killer for decades. It's worthwhile to look at what's changed in the environment, even if it appears to be unrelated.

    The answer (we believe now) was the commercialization and social acceptance of cigarette smoking and industrial/vehicular air pollution. The latter was effectively handled by the "clean air act" (which the republicans have been trying to repeal, btw), but the tobacco industry managed to create an illusion of controversy over the impact of cigarette smoke for decades.

    Even though lung cancer rates were clearly linked to cummulative usage... and there was a significant drop-off once people kicked the habit.

    That's why it's not important whether it's one bear or three, it's the overall nature of the bears. It's a problem when all of the bears are underweight, when infant mortality skyrockets (from lack of nutritional resources), when bears are drowning because they're too weak or the ice pack has gotten too thin. Something's going on.
  • by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Monday December 04, 2006 @05:17PM (#17104518)

    Planck of course, like Einstein, fully accepted quantum mechanics as the theory and especially convincing experimental progress evolved.

    Of course. Not believing that a theory is ultimately correct is a quite different thing to denying overwhelming experimental evidence.

    Except for that wee little thing called the Bohr correspondence principle?

    But that has very little meaning. It just says what is observationally obvious: that at macroscopic scales the laws of physics become indistinguishable from classical physics. It gives no clues as to the microscopic mechanism of how this correspondence arises. Schroedinger's cat was an example originally used specifically to point out this dichotomy.

    The reality of the physics was that quantum mechanics and classical mechanics were successfully reconciled; large quantum number limits go to known classical mechanics.

    Not really, there are still a large gap between the well-understood parts of quantum mechanics and classical mechanics. Measurement theory, for example. Is it an actual physical event (requiring modifications to the Schroedinger equation - Roger Penrose among others subscribe to this view) or is it, as you suggest, explainable as decoherence (which is essentially equivalent to Everett's "many-worlds" interpretation). For another example: exactly how does chaos manifest itself in quantum systems? There is a clearly recognisable phenomena of quantum chaos, but it doesn't have much relationship to the classical counterpart. In particular, the Schroedinger equation is linear; phenomena such as exponential divergence of nearby trajectories are formally impossible.

    Also, your statement that large quantum number limits go to known classical mechanics is problematic. For the spin, for example, this simply isn't true. There is a good article from Penrose about this somewere, if I can find it I'll post a link.

    True, quantum electrodynamics, which does reconcile completely Maxwell's electrodynamics and quantum mechanics, was fairly well established during the mid 20's. But Planck retired in 1926, I don't know how much a part in this Planck played personally. As far as I know, it wasn't much.

  • Re:The key problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by E++99 (880734) on Monday December 04, 2006 @06:50PM (#17105880) Homepage
    We know CO levels are too high and growing higher. Its pretty damn likely that we're doing it

    Is this science? 'Cause my CO2 meter doesn't have a "too high" marker on it. Personally I think any realistic Ice Age scenario is far more disasterous for the human race than any warming scenario. So the real question is whether CO2 levels should be higher or lower, and science will not address it. The politicians say it should be lower, and the scientists do studies to show all the posible harmful effects of CO2 and global warming. For example, every scientist knows that increased CO2 levels means increased plant growth, which in turn means greater crop production. How much greater? I don't know. I can't find any studies. I HAVE however, found the study that showed the effect of increased CO2 on poison ivy. It makes it grow more. Who'd have thunk it? No, no bias here.

    I think CO2 levels should be higher, because our top priority should be finding a way to prevent the cyclical Ice Age which should be coming anywhere between now and 3 or 4 thousand years. Compared with that, a complete melting of land ice is a quite managable change for the human race to deal with. The only climate that can support 6 billion people is a warm climate. With our current population, we're already pressing the limits of fresh water supply. That supply only increases if the climate warms. In an Ice Age there would be enough fresh liquid water on the globe to support only a miniscule fraction of our current population.

    BTW, this is also why I am against using (earth-based) solar and wind-derived energy sources on a large scale, as doing so would remove energy from the climate system.
  • Re:Journalism? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Decaff (42676) on Monday December 04, 2006 @07:00PM (#17106030)
    What happens, then, if it's difficult to get a contrarian article into a peer-reviewed journal? That's often the case, as it happens. For someone with results that cut against the grain, it can take years to break through the peer review wall, assuming you're able to keep going that long

    That is not why people don't get into peer reviewed journals. Good peer reviewed journals publish 'against the grain' papers all the time. What prevents publications getting into good journals is if their analyses are questionable or their results aren't repeatable. In most areas of science, journals are hungry for interesting papers. Research that simply repeats existing findings gets boring and of no interest.

    This isn't unique to climatology - I've seen other situations in which a highly charged issue that has many believers on one side can squeeze out any last dissent.

    Again, that is not why people get squeezed out. It is not a matter of 'believers', it is about the quality of research.

    At best, the standard for publishing a contrarian view is much higher

    And that is as things should be. As Carl Sagan said, extraordinary views require extraordinary evidence. Contrary views should require out-of-the-ordinary evidence.

    at worst, reviewers can reject these articles out of hand. This makes it extremely difficult for a budding researcher to get established in a tenure-track position, and then to get tenure.

    In quality journals, editors don't accept such out-of-hand rejections. There are much-used appeal processes, and the opinion of a reviewer who simply rejected an article 'out-of-hand' would not last long. Reviewers have to justify their rejections in the same way as the authors of papers have to justify their findings.

    I know this because I have worked to get controversial papers through review processes, and I have also acted as a peer reviewer.

    Right or wrong, there's a serious problem when no one is even taking a serious Devil's Advocate position on things, and I've not seen that.

    This is just not true. The entire peer review process is a Devil's Advocate process. The phrase 'peer review' explains it - papers aren't being reviewed by friends of the author, but almost always the reviewing panel includes those who are competitors of the author, often competing in the same country for the same funding!

    The peer review process works because it is so much a Devil's Advocate process, and publications have to pass through that.
  • by Ra Zen (924419) on Monday December 04, 2006 @11:05PM (#17108812)
    I say this in another post, but I'll say it here since you cite him: Pat Micheals is a fraud who misrepresents other scientists work. He has lied under oath to the US congress, and he takes payment directly from the coal industry. If you are trying to find people who have legitimate claims against Climate Change look elsewhere.

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