Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Okay, so it's not neuroscience,

But I have had several people asking me to share my view on the whole "Climategate" SNAFU.  I'm sure you can probably guess, but to be blunt, I think it is a complete load of crap.  If I had to sum up my feelings as succinctly and eloquently as possible, I would simply quote the great Harvard naturalist Stephen Jay Gould who said:
"When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown."
Since I am nowhere near as succinct or eloquent as Dr. Gould, here is my response to anyone who would claim that global warming is not real, but rather the product of some vast conspiracy within the science community:
If you don’t accept the mountain of evidence that conclusively shows that the earth is warming AND that this climate change is impacted by human activities, then you are either (1) IGNORANT (that is, unaware of the aforementioned mountain of evidence) or (2) PUROPOSEFULLY OBTUSE AND DECEITFUL (likely for some political or monetary gain), or (3) both (1) and (2). It is an unfortunate fact that the majority of Americans have a poor understanding of science and the nature of scientific evidence, which leaves them susceptible to being deceived by those who have financial or political interests in discrediting the evidence. It seems that history does repeat itself, and the current campaign of the “climate deniers” is remarkably reminiscent of how the tobacco industry successfully parried claims and undermined research for decades, somehow casting doubt on the overwhelming evidence that showed that smoking causes cancer (which was first shown as early as the 1700s, unequivocally confirmed in the 1950s, and yet not really accepted until the late 1980s or 90s). All of the political pundits making so much hoopla out of these “Climategate” emails seem only to be able to point to THREE lines taken from a COUPLE of emails that have been cherry picked and taken out of context from over 10 years of emails, and then, they claim that these THREE LINES somehow topple the DECADES of research carried out by HUNDREDS of scientists and published in THOUSANDS of scientific journal articles. And what is this “trick” everyone is so upset about? Well, rather than use tree ring data (which becomes unreliable as a measure for seasonal temperature when CO2 in the atmosphere increases beyond a certain point) the scientist in question used the ACTUAL TEMPERATURES recorded over the past 30 years. So he was “hiding” what looked like “the decline” in tree ring data, by SHOWING THE ACTUAL INCREASE IN AVERAGE TEMPERATURES! This is not some massive conspiracy/cover-up, it is actually STRONGER evidence that the earth is warming. I’m not going to spend the time to fully disabuse this nonsense here, but if you want to see where else this “ClimateGate” BS falls flat on its face you can go here:

or here if you actually want to see photographs of glaciers and ice caps melting away…

If you really want to know what’s going on, look up the evidence for yourself, don’t just believe fat mouths like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who are, of their own self-proclamation “entertainers” rather than experts. And don’t take me at my word either if you don’t want to, but don’t claim “flawed science” if you haven’t even looked at the science, or the reports of the hundreds of hard-working people whose decades’ worth of work have been casually and carelessly cast aside because one or two comments in some emails have been horribly misconstrued and taken out of context and then plastered on your tv.

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