1 of 5
1
Parallels Between Creationists and Global Warming Proponents
Posted: 20 June 2007 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1071
Joined  2007-06-20

From reading various articles and listening to various podcasts, I realize I may very well be labeled a heretic and Infidel among skeptics(!) for my heinous thought crime of daring to still be somewhat skeptical on this topic, but what he heck, here goes…


When it comes to the near-religious conviction that many highly intelligent people have regarding their belief in Anthropogenic Catastrophic Global Warming (ACGW), I would respectively submit that, as Michael Shermer put it, “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”  And the religious label is not hyperbole.  The most vocal proponent of ACGW, Al Gore, has called global warming a “spiritual crisis.” 
The religious parallel goes beyond the general and into the specific to the point of parallels between the ACGW Crowd and the Creationist/Intelligent Design Crowd.  And this parallel is not limited to the fact that ACGW proponents have built a “replica” of “Noah’s Ark” to draw attention to their cause.  The parallels are numerous:

  * Each group ignores millions of years of Earth’s history when humans were not on the Earth.
  * Each group denies any major natural causation of the phenomenon or event that they are discussing. 

  * Each group places human beings at the center of whatever phenomenon is being discussed.  All else in nature is incidental.

  * Each group has massive floods (either in the past or the soon-to-be future) as a large basis of their beliefs.

  * ACGW proponents and Creationists each claim that mankind faces dire consequences relatively soon.

  * ACGW and Creationists each claim it is humans’ wicked ways for the cause of our soon-to-be troubles.

  * Early Christians (the religious roots of Creationism) bought “indulgences” as a means of lessening the punishment for their sins.  The ACGW crowd purchases “carbon credits” to make up for their “sin” of using carbon.

  * Those who accept ACGW fear carbon.  Creationists fear carbon dating.

  * After several public defeats, Creationists changed the term “Creationism” to “Intelligent Design.”  After several cold snaps, ACGW proponents changed the term “Global Warming” to “Global Climate Change.”

  * Creationists claim if a person doesn’t believe in Creationism, then that person can’t be moral.  ACGW proponents claim (or perhaps just imply) if a person doesn’t fully accept that humans are solely responsible for Earth’s recent warming trend (and that it will almost certainly lead to catastrophe), then that person can’t care about the environment.

  * Creationists places the planet Earth at the center of importance in the Universe.  The ACGW focuses solely on the planet Earth while ignoring other cosmic factors that help shape Earth’s climate while also ignoring Mars’ recent warming trend.

  * The ranks of Creationists have had more than their share of doomsday prophets making all sorts of date-specific claims of the pending end of the world that never panned out.  Likewise, the environmental doomsayers, from whom the current crop of ACGW proponents have sprung, also made all sorts of date-specific predictions of doom and gloom that failed just as miserably as those of any fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist.  Just check out any of the failed (and rather laughable) dire predictions from the first Earth Day in 1971.

  * A difference (which really isn’t a difference in the big picture) is that Creationists tend to generally be supported by Republicans, while ACGW tend to generally be supported by Democrats.  But both are politicians.   


When Republican President George W. Bush makes statements about so-called “Intelligent Design” then Americans should be skeptical.  But shouldn’t the same hold true when former Democratic Vice-President Al Gore makes statements about Anthropogenic Catastrophic Global Warming?  Politicians, by definition, do things for political reasons.  The letter “D” or “R” that happens to come after a politician’s name should not change the fact that we need to be skeptical of all politicians’ claims.

As for those who question the ACGW hypothesis, Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R–Maine) have written an open letter demanding companies cease their funding of what the Senators believe to be causing ACGW.  In the letter the Senators called people who questions ACGW “deniers,” a clear reference to the reprehensible Holocaust deniers.  Weasel words (to borrow a term from Carl Sagan’s “Baloney Detection Kit”) don’t come much more loaded than that.  And when politicians start making what can only be described as veiled threats against private citizens for being skeptical, a chill should go down the spine of all freedom-loving people.  And that chill portends something more dangerous than any global warming, anthropogenic or otherwise.

[ Edited: 20 June 2007 07:53 PM by Rocinante ]
 Signature 

There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2007 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1071
Joined  2007-06-20

Let the fireworks begin!  smile

 Signature 

There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2007 08:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  459
Joined  2007-06-19

Well, I dont have democrats nor republicans near me, so I guess I am free for their influence. grin

What I would say is that that we have elements to think that the current climate change (or global warming, if you prefer) could (note: could) be human generated. It is not a matter of truth, it’s a matter of certainty. We have many clues which make us to think in this direction. In such issues, I think the best way to go is prudence: we don’t have another world to change to, if we end being wrong in our forecast about this. So, I think the best way is to try to protect this only world we have. I can see many reason to try to moderate the importance of fosile fuel in our economy, even if they don’t take part in global warming. If they contribute to GW, well, there is just another reason.

[ Edited: 20 June 2007 09:53 PM by Barto ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2007 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2007-06-06
Rocinante - 20 June 2007 07:48 PM

From reading various articles and listening to various podcasts, I realize I may very well be labeled a heretic and Infidel among skeptics(!) for my heinous thought crime of daring to still be somewhat skeptical on this topic, but what he heck, here goes…

This could equate to the oppression an atheist would suffer at the hands of believers, no?

Here’s food for thought, a website called Impact, which has a whole web page on GW.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2007 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4080
Joined  2006-11-28

As in all scientific endeavors, the same thought errors that anyone else falls prey to we scientists are guilty of. Still, since it is impossible to be an expert in all fields, one has to give at least some weight to the preponderance of opinion among specialists in a given subject area. Sure, sometimes the majority is wrong, and with time science usually uncovers that. But often the consensus is arrived at rationally through analysis of available evidence.

I think many of the parallels you draw to Creationism are spurious. Creationists start with the assumption that their God exists and is responsible for everything and then try to massage science to agree. I doubt most climate scientists and the domestic and international commissions they constitute have quite so strong an a priori agenda. I don’t claim to be sufficiently familiar with the evidence to have the final answer on global warming and its causes, and I don’t deny there is some hysteria in the media. We’ve already discussed Gore’s excesses and their possible pragmatic justificantions elsewhere. But I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the specialists and their consensus unless something egregiously inconsistent with the theory emerges. So far I would characterize much of the opposition as ideologically driven, which doesn’t invalidate their arguments but does raise legitimate questions about their objectivity.

I welcome skepticism, so don’t expect any vilification from me, and I’d be interested in any specific comments you have on the available evidence, but I’m not so far convinced the list of correspondences yhou site is meaningful.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet
The SkeptVet Blog
Militant Agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2007 08:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1071
Joined  2007-06-20
mckenzievmd - 20 June 2007 08:29 PM

I think many of the parallels you draw to Creationism are spurious.

Actually, they were mostly tongue-in-cheek…

 Signature 

There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2007 09:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4080
Joined  2006-11-28

Actually, they were mostly tongue-in-cheek…

Sorry, sometimes hard to tell in text.  grin

 Signature 

The SkeptVet
The SkeptVet Blog
Militant Agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2007 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1071
Joined  2007-06-20
mckenzievmd - 20 June 2007 08:29 PM

But I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the specialists and their consensus unless something egregiously inconsistent with the theory emerges.

But is there a consensus?  Or is that claim just a Big Lie?  http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=c47c1209-233b-412c-b6d1-5c755457a8af 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consists of just over 3,800 scientists.  However, 17,100 scientists have publicly signed the so-called Oregon Petition stating,  “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

When it comes time to interview a scientist, is the media going to revert to its time-honored tradition of, “If it bleeds, it leads,” and interview the guy who breathlessly warns, “The sky is falling,” or the one who says, “Well, things probably aren’t that bad”?  Remember in 2001 when the media assured us that shark attacks on swimmers was at an all time high, when—in reality—they weren’t? 

mckenzievmd - 20 June 2007 08:29 PM

So far I would characterize much of the opposition as ideologically driven, which doesn’t invalidate their arguments but does raise legitimate questions about their objectivity.

Agreed.  And at the risk of committing a Tu Quoque fallacy, the ACGW crowd are just as ideologically driven and, as such, just as likely to toss any objectivity they may have to further their political causes.

 Signature 

There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2007 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4080
Joined  2006-11-28

But is there a consensus?

Well, that is the question. THIS suggests there is, your link suggests there isn’t. We can probably play deuling links all day, and I’m not sure we’d agree. I’m personally comfortable that a significant majority of climate scientists agree that the evidence for human influences on climate change is sufficient to warrant changing our behavior. Not an ironclad case, but adequate given potential costs of inaction and of action, to lead in my opinion to the conclusion change in our behavior is warranted. Again, I may be wrong, but this is how I read the evidence.

the ACGW crowd are just as ideologically driven and, as such, just as likely to toss any objectivity they may have to further their political causes.

What do you believe is their ideological motivation? I would suspect the opposition largely motivated by a belief that economic costs should be weighed more heavily than environmental ones and that technology can ultimate solve almost all problems. What I often hear raised as the potential bias of scientists who support the notion that human activities are changing the climate is that it gains attention, prestige, and funding for their work. I’m not convinced by this putative motive. Any evidence I’m wrong?

Anyone else care to weigh in who might know more on the subject than I do?

 Signature 

The SkeptVet
The SkeptVet Blog
Militant Agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2007 01:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

As a retired chemist, I’ve seen many “scientists” cave in and adopt the views that their company administration wanted.  So, I’m not sanguine about using numbers of scientists as a yardstick of veracity. 

Certainly there are many different processes and factors which contribute to the earth’s climate.  I think the composition of the upper atmosphere is pretty well established as a factor.  Humans have been responsible for introducing large quantities of fluorocarbon gasses into the upper atmosphere since it not even slightly naturally occuring.  They also have produced large amounts of carbon dioxide, however, this may be a very small fraction of the amount produced by non-human sources. 

What’s important is that all the indications are that the earth is warming (no matter whether it’s from human activities or is natural).  As such, we can expect the oceans to rise, and rainfall patterns to change significantly.  Any major changes such as inundation of coastal cities and villages, and shifts of land from arable to barren and barren to arable is going to cause catastrophic distruption of population distribution. 

However, I don’t give a damn, because all these changes won’t make a huge difference for about forty years, and by then I’ll be 116 years old.  So, I’ll probably do my small part toward contributing to global warming by adding the carbon in my body to the atmospheric CO2 load by incineration.  LOL

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2007 01:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2007-06-06

About this consensus thing.  There are numbers out that people use to justify the consensus.  Those numbers come from a woman called Naomi Oreskes, who published an article in Science magazine about the ‘consensus’. The article was aptly titled, ” The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”

This isn’t scientific research into global warming, this is research into the consensus about global warming. You can still find the article online, in which she explains that she does a search of abstracts on some sort of database and then lays out in different categories what the papers that belong to the abstracts suggest.  She found close to one thousand papers, and I’m no expert, but that doesn’t sound like enough to base a conclusion of consensus on.  What I found interesting was that after googling ‘Oreskes’, you could follow links all day long that show there was some controversy over her article and the findings. 

All that aside, can there ever be a ‘scientific consensus’?  Science is based on deductive reasoning supported by fact finding research. In other words, hypothesize, test, analyze, hypothesize. There is never really is a consensus among scientists, only questions and testing.  I guess you could say there is a consensus that our home in the universe is truly a globe, but the environment that surrounds that globe is just a little more complicated.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2007 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  459
Joined  2007-06-19

All that aside, can there ever be a ‘scientific consensus’?

I think the answer is ‘yes’, at least, if we can consider that there are more science than physics. The consensus, as I see it, arises in these areas where is hard to find the link between two facts, because is very hard or impossible to isolate them, so all we have are statistical studies with greater or less isolation in the variables. I think one area where this happens is pharmacology, when the research produces statistical measures of drugs effects, but the better thing that you could have a is correlation between doses and effects.

With reference to GW, I think we have a couple of facts: first, the concentration of CO2 have been raising since industrial revoution, so we can link the human activity with CO2 levels. Second, the earth is warming. We can suspects this too fact (CO2 levels and GW) are related: based on our knowledge on how the CO2 raises the radiative forcing (the net flux of radiation that reach/leaves the earth) this two facts could be linked. It is impossible to reproduce the atmosfere in an experiment to prove this, so our only source of information is the observation of the real atmosfere, and human developed models, so we have to make a choice based in this.

It seems to me like a kind of fallacy to ask for more evidence that the evidence that could be obtained by the means we have. In my opinion, we have a lot of evidence to support the idea that change fosile fuel will be benefical.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2007 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1071
Joined  2007-06-20
mckenzievmd - 21 June 2007 12:18 AM


What do you believe is their ideological motivation? I would suspect the opposition largely motivated by a belief that economic costs should be weighed more heavily than environmental ones…What I often hear raised as the potential bias of scientists who support the notion that human activities are changing the climate is that it gains attention, prestige, and funding for their work. I’m not convinced by this putative motive.

One the one hand you mention the potential economic (i.e. “money”) reasons on the one side of the issue.  But on the other hand you are not convinced that potential funding (i.e. “money”) reasons on the other side of the issue.  Money has been a motive for even murder.  I’m not equating anyone on any side of this issue to a murderer, but money can, and has, easily influenced people of all political persuasions to go outside their principles. 

mckenzievmd - 21 June 2007 12:18 AM

Any evidence I’m wrong?

‘Scientist’ Group’s Funding Comes with Liberal ‘Strings Attached’

Another point: China is the single largest emitter of CO2 gases.  Yet they are exempt from the Kyoto accords.  If CO2 gases were as deadly to us—and our climate—as some claim, then why would Kyoto allow one nation to continue to emit the largest amount, while punishing another nation who emits less?  If it were really about saving an alleged coming catastrophe (within as short as 5-years according to some), then all nations would have been included.  The reason?  In my opinion: A political agenda that has nothing to do with saving the environment.

[ Edited: 21 June 2007 11:18 AM by Rocinante ]
 Signature 

There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2007 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4080
Joined  2006-11-28

As far as the money isue goes, it may be an influence. But I know and have worked with a lot of research scientists who make a lot less money doing what they do than they could because of their principles, so the venal motive argument seems overplayed to me. And I did not imply that opponents of the hypothesis were motivated by money! I said they were motivated by ideological convictions that led them to be reluctant to change bhevaior if it involved interfereing with economic activity and by a faith in technology as a solution.

As for China, I suspect they’re not included for the same reason the U.S. isn’t, because they don’t want to be and who’s going to force them? Political reality does limit the ability to control the relevant human behavior, but this is not evidence that the people trying to change the behavior are not genuinely trying or motivated by the concerns they claim.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet
The SkeptVet Blog
Militant Agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2007 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  142
Joined  2007-06-17

There cannot be a “scientific” consensus.  There can be consensus among scientists, but that does not make the consensus “scientific”.  The use of the term “scientific consensus” just intends to borrow the authority of the word “scientific”.

Scientists are as fallible as any other bunch of people.  Moreover, just because someone is a “scientist” does not mean that that person has a clue as to climatology.  So a consensus among scientists is not all it’s cracked up to be.  It is, at best, an indication that a bunch of people trained (we hope) to think more rigorously than the general population agree to take a subgroup of themselves at their word.

When it comes to ACGW, I think that it is clear just from records of temperature that the GW part is unassailably true, but uninformative.  The A part is based on a correlation between temperature and CO2 concentrations and a theory that seeks to explain that correlation, along with a correlation of CO2 concentrations and human production of CO2.  It is not observable as a fact, but it is an explanation that appears to fit the available observations, and so until someone comes up with a better explanation or an observation that it cannot explain, the A part seems the most plausible explanation for the GW part.  The C part is almost entirely speculation, and that is where ideology and politics (and no small measure of stupidity) rule, and where a comparison to ID and similar spurious doctrines becomes legitimate because of the ulterior motives involved.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2007 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  459
Joined  2007-06-19

I have to ask (sorry) ‘C’ in ACGW stands for ‘Centric’, ‘caused’ or other?

I never thinked (and I don’t understand who could do) in ‘scientific consensus’ as diferent from ‘consensus reached among scientist’. We based our behaviour an expectations on the consensus between experts in almost every field. For instance, the better treatment for certain diseases are established by consensus between the experts. Obviously, one’s hope is the consensus is reached based in facts and a honest interpretation of the best information available (based on our life expectancy, I am sure it’s true), but no more than that.

Regarding to Kyoto protocol, I think it has a couple of weird thing. It is based on the fact that each country should cut its emisions in a percentage of its emision when the protocol was signed. So, for instance, Spain has lower ‘emision permission’ than Germany, because the big development in Spain happened after the signature. The spanish complains, I guess with some reason. So maybe this could be applied to China, add that China has a strong economy power, and it is needed a good dollar buyer to keep its price.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 5
1