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“A Scientist Replies to Christopher Monckton: Abraham v. Monckton”
Posted: 09 June 2010 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]
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6-18-10 notes (916 words)


Over the past couple years I have been carrying on a virtual conversation with various scientifically informed folks who are vocal “skeptics” regarding man-made global warming. This past winter that conversation flared with a spat of emails offering up “Climategate” tidbits along with a lot of overblown, even slanderous, charges toward the scientists whose personal emails had been stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. Having read the full texts of the emails being singled out, I was able to carry on a spirited defense of the scientists integrity.

Since then, the thousands of stolen UEA-CRU emails have been scoured, yet “skeptics” have been unable to dredge up a single instance of real malfeasance. As for the original half dozen hollow accusations, in February a Penn State academic board of inquiry cleared Michael Mann of scientific misconduct. In March, the British House of Commons issued a report exonerating Professor Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit. In April, another international panel of inquire set up at UEA also found no wrongdoing. Predictably, now the diehard “skeptics” are claiming everyone is in on the “fraud.” All the while these contrarians continue to ignore what Earth observation satellites and monitoring instruments are telling us.

I’m disappointed that my email pals never acknowledged any of their mistaken pronouncements and that the conversation becomes quiet as a black hole unless they have something to toss at me. What should we think of the AGW “Skeptical” Community when they refuse to look at anything that disagrees with their mindset? After all, isn’t intellectual integrity about a genuine desire to learn and being able to admit one was wrong and that new information justifies reorienting ones thinking?

One of the most outspoken proselytizers of such obstinate denial is one Lord Christopher Monckton who has been spending the past years flying the globe, demeaning every aspect of AGW science. Recently, he gave a guest lecture at Bethel University - where University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) professor, PhD. John Abraham was listen. What the scientist heard so disturbed him that he spent the next few months doing a detailed examination of Monckton’s talk along with the data slides used. The result is an 83 minute presentation titled “A Scientist Replies to Christopher Monckton: Abraham v. Monckton.” The report can be found at http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/.

Having watched a number of Lord Monckton’s presentations I was struck by the contrast in styles. Whereas Monckton is bombastic, self-certain and loves tossing out catchy insults, Abraham is soft spoken, polite and rigorously sticks to examining the issues. He acknowledges Monckton’s skills and admits: “After listening to his comments, and viewing his presentation, any reasonable audience might feel that climate risks are not as serious as we’ve been led to believe… If you believe him you’d have to conclude that: The world is not warming; Sea levels are not rising; Ice is not melting; Polar bears not threatened; Oceans not heating; No ocean acidification; Scientists are lying, (and) there is a conspiracy.”

Abraham begins by giving his scientific qualifications, which are impressive. Then, in stark contrast to Monckton who explicitly proclaims he possesses the “truth,” Abraham makes the following disclosure: “Just because I’ve published all of these papers doesn’t mean I’m right. All this says is that I have a background in energy, heat, and fluids which is germane to the topic of climate change.” He then goes on to list Monckton’s credentials which when you get to climate science are quite frankly zero. Abraham goes on to ask: “Now does that mean he’s wrong?... Does that mean non-experts are not allowed to have an opinion on this? Absolutely not. We welcome everyone with an opinion on this topic, you can be knowledgeable about things outside your formal area of expertise. But, nevertheless we want to think about the background that people have when we ascribe credibility to the comments they make.”

With that introduction PhD. Abraham proceeds down the list of Monckton’s claims. While examining these claims and graphs two trends become obvious, one is that Monckton disagrees with all major scientific organizations who have official positions on climate change - portraying himself as the lone valiant warrior of truth battling against everyone else’s conspiracy of lies. The other being that Monckton consistently misrepresents the scientific work (along with graphs) of other scientists. Example after example is given where scientists clearly reject what Monckton claims regarding their work. Yet, Monckton shamelessly continues broadcasting proven lies, somehow feeling justified in using graphs that are falsifications and misrepresenting the real science others have worked hard to gather. What’s most troubling is how typical he is of the operating style of the multi-million dollar Global Warming Denial propaganda campaign in general.

Given Professor Abraham’s thorough smack down of myths presented as scientific truth, I’m reminded of my virtual AGW conversation mates, with their obstinate refusal to acknowledge a single error of judgment, or take into consideration any of the ominous data being gathered these days. What’s going on? Have “global warming skeptics” become so blinded by immediate self interest, or perhaps frozen by fear at this self-created brave new world we are entering, that they believe hiding is a better strategy? 

Ultimately the question is: Are “global warming skeptics” even capable of responding to data and factual arguments or is it a hopeless “faith-based” position they cling to… rather than an exercise in genuine skepticism about the data?
~~~~~~~~~

I picked it up again, did another polish, and sent it to The Humanist.  Anyone got any pull over there?  i have had two other climate articles in there 5 and 15 years ago

[ Edited: 18 June 2010 09:12 AM by citizenschallenge ]
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Posted: 09 June 2010 06:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Massimo Pigliucci made a good point during a recent interview about his new book on pseudoscience. (to paraphrase) If your car breaks down, you don’t take it to the dentist down the street for repair-unless he is also a skilled mechanic. You know that your best bet to get your car fixed properly is to take it to a mechanic. You may have to go to several mechanics to find the problem, but nevertheless, you wouldn’t consider the dentist, no matter how brilliant he is at dentistry, who knows nothing more about a car than how to drive it and where the gas goes. Lord Monckton, is the dentist…

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Posted: 09 June 2010 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I heard that one.

But you are wrong
The Lord is the bartender - 

the dentist needs to take his learning and his trade way too seriously - the Lord is a jester pure and simple

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Posted: 09 June 2010 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Edits in red

citizenschallenge - 09 June 2010 05:29 PM

Well Pals,
  I’ve gotten off my lazy duff today and have been working on an article for the Four Corners Free Press.
  If anyone is curious or interested I would love to hear some comments, corrections, etc regarding this essay:
hmmm, no one got no hard ball stuff long face

6-8-10 notes (880 words)

Over the past couple years I have been carrying on a virtual conversation with various scientifically informed folks who are vocal “skeptics” regarding man-made global warming (AGW). This past winter that conversation flared with a spat of emails offering up ClimateGate tidbits along with a lot of overblown, even slanderous, charges toward the scientists whose personal emails had been stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. Having read the full texts of the emails being singled out, I was able to carry on a spirited defense of the scientists integrity.

During the winter thousands of stolen UEA-CRU emails have been scoured, yet skeptics have been unable to dredge up a single instance of real malfeasance. As for the original half dozen hollow accusations, in February a Penn State academic board of inquiry cleared Michael Mann of scientific misconduct. In March the British House of Commons issued a report exonerating Professor Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit. Interestingly, now the diehard “skeptics” are claiming everyone is in on the “fraud.” All the while ignoring what Earth observation satellites and monitoring instruments are telling us.

I’m disappointed that my email pals never acknowledged any of their mistaken pronouncements and that the conversation becomes quiet as a black hole unless they have something to toss at me. What should we think of the AGW Skeptical Community when they refuse to look at anything that disagrees with their mindset? After all, intellectual integrity is about a desire to learn and being able to admit one was wrong and that new information justifies reorienting ones thinking.

One of the most outspoken proselytizers of such obstinate denial is Lord Christopher Monckton who has been spending the past years flying the globe, demeaning every aspect of AGW science. What’s troubling is Monckton’s graphs are falsifications, he repeatedly misinterprets the work of others, yet even when the authors of the very papers he misuses object and call foul, he ignores them and shamelessly continues broadcasting proven lies.

Recently, a University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Professor, PhD. John Abraham listen to a Lord Monckton guest lecture at Bethel University. What he heard so disturbed him that he spent the next few months doing a detailed examination of Monckton’s talk along with the slides he used. The result is an 80 minute presentation titled “A Scientist Replies to Christopher Monckton: Abraham v. Monckton.” The report can be found at stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/.

Having watched a number of Lord Monckton’s presentations I was struck by the contrast in styles. Whereas Monckton is bombastic, self-certain and loves tossing out catchy insults, Abraham is soft spoken, polite and rigorously sticks to examining the issues. He acknowledges Monckton’s skills and admits: “After listening to his comments, and viewing his presentation, any reasonable audience might feel that climate risks are not as serious as we’ve been led to believe… If you believe him you’d have to conclude that: The world is not warming; Sea levels are not rising; Ice is not melting; Polar bears not threatened; Oceans is not heating; No ocean acidification; Scientists are lying, (and) there is a conspiracy.”

Abraham begins by giving his qualifications, which are impressive. Then, in stark contrast to Monckton who explicitly proclaims he possesses the “truth” Abraham makes the following disclosure: “Just because I’ve published all of these papers doesn’t mean I’m right. All this says is that I have a background in energy, heat, and fluids which is germane to the topic of climate change.” He then goes on to list Monckton’s climate science credentials which quite frankly are zero. Abraham goes on to ask: “Now does that mean he’s wrong?... Does that mean (non-experts) are not allowed to have an opinion on this? Absolutely not. We welcome everyone with an opinion on this topic, you can be knowledgeable about things outside your formal area of expertise. But, [color=red]nevertheless we want to think about the background that people have when we ascribe credibility to the comments they make.”

With that introduction PhD. Abraham proceeds down a list of Monckton’s claims. While examining these claims and graphs two trends become obvious, one is that Monckton disagrees with all major scientific organizations who have official positions on climate change - portraying himself as valiantly battling for truth against everyone else’s conspiracy of lies. The other being that Monckton consistently misrepresents the scientific work (along with graphs) of other scientists. Example after example is given where scientists clearly reject what Monckton claims regarding their work.

Given Professor Abraham’s thorough smack down of myths presented as scientific truth, I’m reminded of my virtual AGW conversation mates, with their obstinate refusal to acknowledge a single error of judgment, or take into consideration any of the ominous data being gathered these days, (such as the past 12 months global temps being the warmest 12 months in US history). What’s going on? Have “global warming skeptics” become so frozen by fear of this self-created brave new world we are entering that they believe hiding is a better strategy? Ultimately the question is: Are “global warming skeptics” capable of responding to data and factual arguments or is it ultimately only a faith-based position they cling to… rather than an exercise in genuine skepticism about the data?”


(George, notice I’m single spacing  smile  )

[ Edited: 10 June 2010 09:49 AM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 10 June 2010 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Darron,
Thank you for catching those silly mistakes (unfortunately I can’t claim they were just typos)
for instance, must be the German in me, but I like how FaithBased looks, sort of institutionalizes the thing.
But, ok I compromised by inserting quotes: “faith-based”
Boy I miss the CCD writing lab.

In any event, thank you D for taking the time to read through all of this.

Hey Occam, I also put together a 350 word version for the local paper, you interested (since I know you won’t read this long thing)?

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Posted: 10 June 2010 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Daron, nevertheless (6th pp)is one word. It reads great. One wonders why, even if they do not believe in AGW, they would be so against mitigating any contribution me might be making to warming the earth, to prevent a additive effect…to, you know, the solar cycle?!

[ Edited: 10 June 2010 02:12 PM by asanta ]
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Posted: 10 June 2010 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Doh! I saw that and forgot to highlight it. Thanks Asanta.

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Posted: 10 June 2010 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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asanta - 10 June 2010 02:05 PM

nevertheless (6th pp)is one word.

You know I was even looking at that thinking I had it wrong, but was too lazy to look it up.

thanks folks

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Posted: 11 June 2010 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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well folks it ain’t perfect,
nevertheless, she’s submitted
  smile


thanks for the tips, I appreciate it.

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Posted: 11 June 2010 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I would have played with it just to get the stupid red lines from my spell checker to go away.  But I’m surprisingly not lazy about certain fairly random things.

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Posted: 11 June 2010 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Spell check won’t catch “never the less” or “who’s” versus “whose.” There’s lots oh things spell check ain’t good for.

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Posted: 11 June 2010 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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True that, homes.

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Posted: 11 June 2010 06:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Dead Monky - 11 June 2010 05:46 PM

I would have played with it just to get the stupid red lines from my spell checker to go away.

I’da thut you like red lines   smirk

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Posted: 11 June 2010 08:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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DarronS - 11 June 2010 05:48 PM

There’s lots oh things spell check ain’t good for.

The scariest thing must be when one is in a hurry and chooses the wrong recommendation a spell check offers. I once misspelled “audit” and somehow replaced it with “adult.” It got printed like that: an “adult committee.” Fortunately my client never noticed.

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Posted: 11 June 2010 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The grammar check doesn’t work to well either! shut eye

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Posted: 14 June 2010 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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The scariest thing must be when one is in a hurry and chooses the wrong recommendation a spell check offers.

I don’t use the recommendations.  I don’t know why, but I usually either just mess around with the spelling until I get it right or I use something else to spell check it.  Never the program itself.  Odd.

The grammar check doesn’t work to well either!

I just turn that off.

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