Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Origins, Climate, Science and Ignorance

Today marks 150 years since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. The model of evolution through the process of natural selection was laid down so definitively within that book that the core principles are as firm now as they were then. The quality of that work set standards for scientific rigour and principle. Continuing research builds upon a huge body of knowledge.

However, since then those who have felt threatened by Darwin's work have desperately tried to discredit Darwin and his theory by cherry picking writings in letters and books which seemed to confirm their own evolution denial bias, a bias usually informed by dogma. Evolution deniers have ranged from claiming Darwin admitted God did it to Darwin was responsible for the holocaust. Even a story about a death bed recantation did the rounds.

So it's with some sense of ironic timing that the CRU email leak has the climate change deniers drooling. I haven't by any means read all the emails (frankly some of it was boring, some of it way above my head), but to me it seems like a storm in a teacup.

Admittedly there's no doubt that the leak is damaging to the perception of climate science, as the Cult of Denial has already started cherry picking quotes out of context as evidence of either a dastardly conspiracy to falsify the evidence to satisfy evil lefty political masters in their machinations to tax us all to penury, or of money grubbing Ferrari driving playboy scientists chasing after the next research grant to fund their lavish lifestyles.

Oddly though, most of blogland's Cult of Denial acolytes haven't actually referred to scientific evidence or even challenged it, instead the right wing blog hive mind seems to have decided to cross link to each other's rehashing of emails in a kind of free market fundamentalist mutual masturbation.

As with Darwin's theory, the deniers are cherry picking emails and phrases out of context to confirm their own wacky theories. Free thought and objectivity don't get a look in.

Let's face it, if any of the data produced by the CRU had been falsified, then a keen-eyed denial cultist would have spotted it long before now.

Sure, there's some personal score settling in some of the emails which is less than professional, but not particularly out of the ordinary, or as bad as some the current commentary on the right wing denial blogs. Most seriously though are the apparent attempts to silence sceptic research, which on the face of it is troubling. However, we haven't heard from the scientists themselves yet so any judgement on this issue is premature. That doesn't seem to stop some bloggers triumphantly cracking one off though.

It would have been great news if the emails contained definitive evidence that climate change science had been debunked, but the leaked emails are not the killer blow to climate science the deniers are wetting themselves about. Not even so much as a lightly smoking gun. Other than the damage from the media frenzy fed by the right wing deniers (and partially by a panicky and obtuse George Monbiot), the reputations of some scientists will have been soiled, their methodology will get a kick up the backside and their material re-examined.

So on the face of it, the Cult of Denial's inquisitors, despite their self righteous whooping, are so far burning only straw men. Unfortunately many will not see this and the emails will be permanently carved into their mythology of climate denial, and like their mindless hockey stick criticisms will continue to be a pain in the backside of those with respect for objective free thought.

The science is still strong but it doesn't stand still. Like all science, the current knowledge about our climate and our impact on it will continue to change as new research becomes available and new and better conclusions are sought. Like evolution, climate science moves on with advances in our understanding of the world.

The Cult of Denial can't accept that, instead loudly shouting down change, trying to drown out the rational voices of the science heretics who threaten their cosy dogma.

It's been 150 years since Darwin published his landmark work, and it's still an achievement to be celebrated. But 150 years later we are still facing the closed minds of anti scientific ignorance.

7 comments:

Bryan said...

Bastard!
I was going to use that mutual masturbation line. Now I’ve had to go and change it to wankfest.

David said...

Charming.

Anyway, check out this article:

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/tech-mainmenu-30/environment/2337-scientists-say-whoa-on-climate-legislation

Not saying I agree with it, but it does offer a perspective.

Fuckmohammed said...

global warming scientists contradict themselves, scientists say...[Ozone (O3) high in the atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun, thereby protecting living organisms below from this dangerous radiation. The term ‘ozone hole’ refers to recent depletion of this protective layer over Earth's polar regions. People, plants, and animals living under the ozone hole are harmed by the solar radiation now reaching the Earth's surface—where it causes health problems from eye damage to skin cancer.

The ozone hole, however, is not the mechanism of global warming. Ultraviolet radiation represents less than one percent of the energy from the sun—not enough to be the cause of the excess heat from human activities. Global warming is caused primarily from putting too much carbon into the atmosphere when coal, gas, and oil are burned to generate electricity or to run our cars. These gases spread around the planet like a blanket, capturing the solar heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space.

ok, now get this........

[over 90% of greenhouse gas is water vapour and falls back to earth, this happens on a daily basis]

first they say that greenhouse gasses are depleting the ozone layer, and the ozone layer absorbs ultra violet radiation, but..

IF these greenhouse gasses "spread around the planet like a blanket, capturing the solar heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space."...

then it stands to reason that these dangerous greenhouse gasses have already passed through the ozone layer in order to trap the ultraviolet radiation, because if it didn't pass through the ozone layer, then the dangerous radiation would have already been deflected which means that the greenhouse gasses never got a chance to trap the radiation..

and if the so-called greenhouse gasses have already passed upward through the ozone layer, what is suppose to be stopping the greenhouse gasses from continueing up further into the atmosphere and dissipating into space the same way it has for billions of years ?

Fuckmohammed said...

the answer to that is "nothing", nothing is stopping the gasses from escaping further up into the atmosphere.

and if in the case of greenhouse gasses being trapped in the atmosphere, then how come our planet didn't burn up billions of years ago, surely millions of years of volcanic activity would have built up enough c02 and dangerous greenhouse gasses to destroy the ozone layer and the earth.....

another thing is that the ozone is always replenishing itself, ozone is being recreated ALL the time, thats why cfc's are not a problem either, cfc gasses pass through the ozone and breaks down to its basic components when bombarded by ultraviolet radiation, scientists say that one base component "chlorine" drops back down through the ozone layer, one chlorine atom can destroy hundreds of thousands of ozone atoms, im sure they can prove that point in a laborotry, but they cant prove that the chlorine actually falls back through the ozone layer, and its a moot point anyway, because the oceans and the earth itself releases chlorine into the atmosphere anyway, and it has done for billions of years, so if chlorine was a problem, then why hasn't the earth already become a burnt up ball bereft of life eons ago ?

and if greenhouse gasses are such a "global" problem, then why is there only "ozone thinning" (as opposed to an actual hole) found at the poles ? (which even global alarmists admit is a seasonal event) why isn't there ozone holes/thinnings found all around the globe ?

ozone can be found anywhere between 10 and 50 thousand feet up, so i find it ludicrous that scientists can claim that there is less ozone than in previous decades, measuring accurately would be impossible, these global warming scientists are either very inept at there job, or they are liars, many of them are possibly both, and as for the real cause of global warming, look up solar flares.

and i cant believe just how fucking stupid and gullible that you supposedly "learned" people really are, you are being fooled by liars and idiots.

rossinisbird said...

David, I've read the article. As well as being shamelessly biased, it's little more than an appeal to authority. No scientific evidence seems to have been presented to support these '160 scientists' assertions.

If you could describe to me what perspective you see it would be enlightening.

David said...

I just wanted to provide some balance. As I said, the article doesn't necessarily reflect my views.

curly15 said...

Sorry mate when I checked yesterday morning Blogger's Google's servers only offered me the Geek post as your latest offering. We might all be able to restore trust in peer review just as soon as some action is taken at the CRU. Whilst this dark cloud hangs over their head they will serve as a pertinent example of how to apply a nasty stain to a clean shirt.

How is it possible to support, with a clear conscience, peer review in this particular branch of science when there is so much evidence of collusion in the emails?