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Speaking of science vs belief...

poll Global warming?
Definitely caused by man.
It's a natural cycle.
A little of both.
Don't know / Not Sure / No Way To Tell
Politicizing the issue is ruining the debate.
Is caused by flatulence from Pete Best.
  22 Votes - 21 Posts
   Discussion: Speaking of science vs belief...
Starfox · 10 years, 6 months ago
I know this has been probably put up before (and I'm too lazy to do a search), but with all the recent "global warming is a fact" stories, I came across this. So what do you think?

Tawk amongst yerselves.
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 10 years, 6 months ago
Obvious it isn't definite, since nothing is definite. The last report puts the odds at 90% of that global warming is real and caused by men. There is no real scientific debate on the subject. Every climatologist agrees. Not a single peer reviewed paper has been published in the last 5 years saying otherwise. Like the evolution "debate" the debate is political, not scientific.

So I voted for definite since there was no "the evidence is overwhelming for it" option.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 6 months ago
See, but even those "reports" at least the ones that have been released and widely reported on, have had criticisms leveled at them from climatologists.  Stuff like leaving historical periods out of calculations, using the higher predictions of increase in temperature instead of the mean, over estimating the impact of carbon dioxide, methane, and other natural gasses, etc.

Not a single paper that I've read (and I haven't read them all obviously) has even tried to factor in the fact that the Sun is going through a increased period of activity (just two years ago, there was a solar flare that banged off the scale used to classify them). 

My problem is from what I've seen and read is that alot of this is based upon statistical extrapolation and analysis of stuff like ice core samples and tree samples that are based on hypothetical understanding of how these relate to levels of carbon dioxide and temperature.
We only have maybe 300 years of reliable factual observations and records.  And that isn't nearly enough to judge long term overall trends in a system as complex as a global climate.

How does certain other observed facts fit into this theory of global warming anyways?  Like the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland actually getting THICKER?  Highest level of carbon dioxide emissions coming from non-industrialized areas?

I'm not saying that man isn't having an impact.  I just have no way of knowing how bad that impact is.  All these people that are screaming that it's going to be the end of the world just seem like fear mongers, not scientists to me.  The issue seems to be more political on both sides of the issue and that muddles the science.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 6 months ago
I've got to go with Starfox on this one. Global climate change is known to be a natural phenomenon in general, and whether current or recent trends are a part of the natural cycle or caused by man or cows or a combination of factors seems largely to be a matter of conjecture. There just does not exist a long enough period of reliably accurate observation time or hard evidence of cause and effect to say anything for sure. I do think that politicization has entirely ruined the research... I won't even say debate, because it shouldn't be a "debate." It should be studied objectively and all anyone sees on either end is the agenda of the other, and money trails tend to look bad for both sides.

That said, alternative energy research and emissions reduction are important no matter what you believe about climate change or on what point on the political spectral loop you fall. There is no question that air pollution is real and harmful to my asthmatic lungs, and there is no question that we are too reliant on fossil fuels for anyone but the Saudis to be happy.
Josh Woodward · 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm with Gordon. Nothing's "definite", but this one's pretty clear. We're the cause. All recent evidence supports it. The Petition Project is relatively old, and smells bad. Their super-scrutinized list of scientists included a Spice Girl (twice, to boot) and a doctor.. from the TV show "MASH".

There's no motivation for scientists to claim that we're causing global warming, no incentive. To come to such a conclusion only means that we'll need to make adjustments that won't be fun. But they're absolutely necessary.

Starfox Back · 10 years, 6 months ago
Thanks for the link.  Although petitions like these are bound to have bogus entries.

And if it was Hawkeye supporting the petition, then I'd call that valid.  :)

There's no motivation for scientists to claim that we're causing global warming, no incentive.

Ah, but you forget about all those juicy government research grants. 
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 6 months ago
True, but given the scope and target of this petition, at least the identity and credentials of each signer should have been verified. It wasn't targeted at the entire world; you only want qualified (and real) scientists on it. Otherwise, the whole thing is suspect. A petition of 100 credentialed climatologists would carry a lot more weight than a petition of 10,000 unverified names with a bunch of "PhDs" like Dr. Geri Halliwel.

And if I were a scientist in search of grants from our government, I'd probably be trying to skew the research away from the positive results. ;-)
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 10 years, 6 months ago
Here's a link to a good article on the subject in today's NY Times.

On the Climate Change Beat, Doubt Gives Way to Certainty
Starfox Back · 10 years, 6 months ago
Ugh, the first 1/3 of that article turned me off right away.

Then it made claims like "warmer oceans are spawning strong hurricanes" even though last year's ocean temperature was higher than the year that produced Katrina, but the season was far BELOW even the normal average of hurricane activity. 

And yes, the Greenland ice mass is melting, but no mention of the fact that it's also getting THICKER  further inland. 

It makes baseless assertions like "the most authoritative group of climatologists" without explaining why.  And the IPCC has had alot of criticism leveled at it for fear mongering.

It says that 11/12 of the last years are the warmest on record, when we only have at best 300 years of data on temperature, and maybe barely 130 years of worldwide measurements.  So, saying that a small statistical sample are the warmest out of small statistical sample overall isn't really compelling.  You flip a quarter 100 times, you might get 65 heads, but the probability is not 65% of getting heads. 

lawrence · 10 years, 6 months ago
I think it's pretty clear that the climate does change over long periods of time, without any intervention. However, I think it's also pretty clear that we have played a major role in accelerating that natural warming and cooling process (in this case, in the warming direction) through pollution and deforestation.
stealthlori Back · 10 years, 6 months ago
Agreed.  I voted "a little of both", because natural cycles of warming and cooling  are normative,  but as you say "over long periods of time".  II don't like the phrasing "a little of both" because I think the degree of change is definitely magnified by human activities.  I'd venture that something like 80% of the climatic changes of the past 30 years or so have their roots in the large-scale, heavily industrial human activity  that has progressed geometrically over the last century,  with perhaps 20% due to natural cycles and variance.    
danced with Lazlo · 10 years, 4 months ago
So, watch this please. Responses? Reactions?
Bender Back · 10 years, 4 months ago

It's easy to find select "experts" to support any ridiculous fringe theory.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 4 months ago
Well, that's not really a response, is it?
Bender Back · 10 years, 4 months ago
Yes, it is.

My point was that it's easy to find a bunch of select people to make anything look valid.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 4 months ago
Yes. It's especially easy if the thing actually IS valid.

Can you show something substantially wrong with it, other than it runs counter to the prevailing conventional wisdom?
Bender Back · 10 years, 4 months ago
I don't know enough about the topic to comment. 

However, I'm generally skeptical of points made in a sensationalized documentary format because of the inherent bias.  That's my point.

Give me a good, reliable, relatively unbiased source for something and that'll be more likely to begin convincing me.

Please don't make belittling, condescending insinuations like that.  Have a little more respect for my intelligence and don't leap to conclusions of hostility.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 4 months ago
Bias and sensationalism is almost always excused when the theory backs the agenda of the viewer/ commentor. Calling a theory "fringe" doesn't make it so, an doesn't invalidate it... and is in itself a belittling condescending insinuation.

I'm not trying to pick a fight. If you don't know enough about the issue to respond intelligently, that is fine and I will not think less of you for it. I was just providing a dissenting voice (oh the horror, I know everyone hates dissent) that is rarely heard. I was curious as to what the reaction would be... ie, if it would elicit essentially an "oh please!" response with no substance, or if it might actually cause anyone to question their default assumptions... or if maybe, just maybe, someone had something more to bring to the table than merely what we have all been fed by the media.
Bender Back · 10 years, 4 months ago
Being a dissenting voice is fine.

Being a dissenting voice as an excuse to throw a tantrum is not.

I'm done, Gella.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 4 months ago
you're really reading more into this than there is darling. No tantrum has been thrown, I assure you.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 4 months ago
So....what's wrong with those videos??  :)

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