Saturday, April 30, 2011

Skeptics are demons to be exorcised: akin to racists, sexists, and homophobes

Abuse is all that the Green/Left are good at. MSNBC Panel calls Global Warming skeptics conspiracists but cites not one fact in support of its own belief in Warmism. It's part of a long Leftist tradition of "psychologizing" conservatives -- putting up psychological theories which routinely fail any attempt at rigorous testing. See e.g. here

NOTE: Skeptics DON'T believe in conspiracy theories. They would hardly be skeptics if they did. But they do believe in something much more powerful and influential than any conspiracy: Intellectual fashions

President Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate on Wednesday, but not even that could put the birther myth to bed for The Nation magazine's Washington editor Chris Hayes.

Guest hosting the April 28 edition of "Last Word," Hayes seized the moment to equate those who believe the president was not born in America with those who exercise healthy skepticism about anthropogenic global warming.

"The issue of the president's origins is one thing," began Hayes. "The reality is global warming quite another. There seem to be the same dynamics at play in both."

Hayes brought two guests to flesh out his opening salvo: Chris Mooney, described as a "science and political journalist" for Mother Jones magazine, a left-wing publication, and Jonathan Kay, managing editor of Canada's National Post newspaper, who wrote a book about conspiracy theorists.

Responding to Hayes's attempt to compare birthers to global warming skeptics, Kay explained, "Well, ultimately, conspiracy theories are a way to reconcile people's ideology with reality. It's a bridge between the world they want to be and the world that exists."

Throughout the segment, Hayes probed Kay and Mooney about how the minds of conspiracy theorists operate, not-so-subtly suggesting global warming skeptics have some sort of neurological disorder.

"Are conspiracy theories a difference in kind or a difference in degree from regular belief formation?" asked Hayes, who cited the UN's Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change report as an example of such belief formation. "Is there something that delineates conspiracist belief formulations from sort of normal belief formation?"

Kay was eager to give Hayes the answer he was looking for: "It's a pathological way of thinking, which is utterly different from rational thought."

For his part, Mooney turned a discussion about ostensibly fact-driven scientific research into a partisan screed against Republicans that was devoid of fact and research.

"I think there's a reality gap between the parties," asserted Mooney. "Republicans and Democrats believe different things about a lot of issues and it turns out Republicans are more likely to wrong."

Wrapping up the lengthy segment, Hayes pressed Mooney and Kay to explain how to "combat" the "conspiracists" who don't blindly subscribe to global warming theories:

Because that strikes me, in the case of global warming particularly, which is a very, very high-stakes conspiracy theory, that a majority of Republicans out there share – John, what did you learn about how you break – you sort of break this kind of vicious cycle that conspiracists are under?

Kay went a step further than Hayes, not only likening birthers to global warming skeptics, but also conflating global warming skeptics with racists, sexists, and homophobes.

"We have taught ourselves to get around racism, for the most part," argued Kay. "We've taught ourselves to get around homophobia and sexism in some cases. We have to teach people that conspiracism is a way of thinking that is pathological, and you have to exercise your mental self discipline to try to get around it."


Little lady who believes in an "indisputable scientific consensus" thinks conservatives have a psychological problem!

She certainly puts her ignorance of science on display! Indisputable consensuses belong in religion only. Science is about CHANGING the existing understanding of anything. And she shows her faith in clauses like: "As documented by Greenpeace". Getting your information from political extremists is about as far away from science as one can imagine.

And her reference to a study in Sociological Quarterly is amusing. All that the study concerned actually showed is that Leftists tend to accept Global Warming while conservatives reject it -- which is hardly news

More disturbingly, she seems to imply that the Sociological Quarterly article supports her little rant about cognitive dissonance. It does not. The word "dissonance" is not even mentioned in it. So once again we see that the lady is no scholar, to put it politely

Just an excerpt from her little sermon below

On April 6, all but one of the Republican members of the US House of Representatives rejected a Democratic amendment that would have put the chamber on record backing the widely held scientific view that global warming is occurring and humans are a major cause. The following day the GOP-led House voted 255 to 172 to strip the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. It is remarkable that in 2011, a majority of Republicans in Congress reject the indisputable, scientific consensus that human activity is altering the climate.

Thus, the question remains: Why is the reality of climate change such a threat to the right? A new study published in the Spring 2011 issue of Sociological Quarterly delves into this very topic. The study finds that conservatives’ refusal to acknowledge the very real threat of climate change, has more to do with its implications rather than skepticism of scientific facts. It’s a classic case of cognitive dissonance!

Stanford University social psychologist Leon Festinger coined the theory of cognitive dissonance, based on a famous case study from the 1950s. Festinger and his colleagues infiltrated a cult that was awaiting what they believed would be the imminent end of the world on December 21, 1954. When the prediction failed, rather than recognize the error of their beliefs, the cult members’ faith grew stronger, so strong that they began to proselytize. People will go to great lengths to rationalize their deeply held beliefs, even more so when exposed to evidence that challenges their worldview.

Climate change poses a profound threat to many things that right-wing ideologues believe in. Conservatives tend to champion individual freedom, private property rights, small government, free markets, and above all else, unfettered industrial capitalism. Industrial capitalism is an economic system predicated on the accelerating extraction and consumption of fossil fuels for energy, which is driving the climate change we face today. To accept this basic premise, one is compelled to question the wisdom of capitalism itself, which is a terrifying notion for conservatives. And it doesn’t take long to recognize that conservative values are inherently antithetical to the desperately needed actions to tackle global climate change.

When we recognize the role of cognitive dissonance, it becomes clear that conservatives and Republicans are more likely to dispute or deny the scientific consensus and the claims of the environmental community, in order to defend the industrial capitalist system. It is far more simple to deny science, than to accept that one’s worldview is wrong.


Australia: Abuse in lieu of reason again -- from a Watermelon, of course

"Scepticism is bastardry", says head of ACF

THE president of the Australian Conservation Foundation has attacked the "scientific bastardry" of climate change sceptics amid weakening public consensus that humans are to blame.

Ian Lowe, who is also professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University, lamented the narrowing of the carbon tax debate.

He said it was "naive" to believe putting a price on carbon was the solution to the problem, arguing the carbon price would have to rise to "politically unrealistic" levels if it was to drive the transition away from coal-fired power.

He said other complementary measures would be needed to encourage renewable energy.

Addressing a conference in Melbourne organised by the academics' union, the National Tertiary Education Union, Professor Lowe called on scientists to become more active in promoting the scientific evidence of human-induced climate change.

"As a profession who are paid from the public purse, it is a fundamental part of our responsibility to the community to be engaged in the public debate about these issues," he said.

He said the evidence for human-induced climate change was backed by virtually all scientists. He described the views of climate change sceptics as "illegitimate arguments that you could call scientific bastardry".


Hottest Year Ever Brought Below Normal Tornadoes?

Hansen says that 2010 was the hottest year ever. The tornado count was just below the mean.

Black line is 2010; Green line is the average (mean)

Temperatures have plummeted since last spring, and we are having a very active tornado season.

Romm adds 2+2 and comes up with zero.


Germany between a rock and a hard place

The climate-policy goals of the German government are no longer attainable after the decision last month to phase out nuclear power plants, according to Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the Ifo Institute for Economic research at the University of Munich.

We wrote last week that fresh from a victory in forcing the German government to abandon its nuclear policy, NIMBYs (people afflicted with the Not In My Back Yard syndrome) are bracing to battle against the massive new power lines and wind turbines that are being built across the country as part of the green energy program.

Dealing with objections to the inconveniences of green energy is one big challenge and according to Prof. Sinn electrical power from the sun and wind can indeed replace the electricity that comes from nuclear power plants in Germany - - on paper at least - - since atomic energy only provides 4.6% of Germany’s final electricity supply, whereas electricity from wind and solar power amounts to 1.8%. He says the phase-out option is indeed in the realm of possibility, if one disregards the irregularity of the supply but the original hope that nuclear power would displace fossil fuels in order to curb global warming cannot be fulfilled with wind and solar power. Energy from fossil sources accounts for 84.7% of German final energy consumption.

Prof. Sinn says replacing nuclear electricity will be hard enough; replacing the electricity generated by fossil fuels on top of that is well nigh impossible. If the electricity supply in Germany, which amounts to 20.3% of final energy consumption, were to come from wind power, using present technology, a surface area the size of North-Rhine Westphalia would be needed, with turbines packed as closely together as technically feasible.

He says it is downright utopian to think that considerable portions of transportation, which consumes 26.1% of final energy, could also be driven by electrical motors fed with energy from the wind and sun. Should Germany yield to French pressure to increasingly electrify European transportation, the German strategy based on wind and solar power would not stand a chance against French nuclear power.

With bioenergy, which accounts for a good two-thirds of renewable energy, the energy calculation is more favourable. Here, however, there is the basic problem of competing with food crops. If bioenergy is restricted to biowaste, its potential would be correspondingly limited.

Since Germany is in the process of relinquishing the nuclear option for a gradual substitution of fossil energy sources, it will not be able to prevent persistently high CO2 emissions. The climate-policy goals of Chancellor Merkel will not be attainable.

Prof. Sinn says Germany can hope that its continued reliance on fossil energy sources will force the other European countries, via increasing prices in the European emissions trading system, to achieve the planned reductions in CO2 emissions themselves. But Germany cannot prevent other countries from attaining these savings by way of a further expansion of atomic energy.


ICE Core CO2 Records - Ancient Atmospheres Or Geophysical Artifacts?

It has always seemed quite mad to me to claim that air bubbles trapped in glaciers remain unchanged for tens of thousands of years. The article below lists many influences that could change their composition. Air bubble science is just as much a work of faith as is Warmism generally

Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica are sacred pillars of evidence, establishing benchmarks of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s prehistoric atmospheres. But can ice actually preserve atmospheric air (free of contamination or chemical alteration) for thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of years?

A fossil is a remnant or impression of something that existed in past geological ages – an ancient form preserved in its original appearance. An artifact is a product with an artificial character due to extraneous agency – an object that is left over from a sequence of creative events.

The question is: Do ice cores contain the fossils of Earth’s prehistoric atmospheres, or do ice cores contain artifacts of geophysical processes that continuously remix gases in glacial ice?

Jaworowski’s Objections

In 1992, a group of three otherwise respectable scientists answered this question with a 57-page article that went against the mainstream view [1]. These three dissenters (led by Zbigniew Jaworowski) subsequently endured professional contempt [2], career endangerment [3], and harsh criticism [4]. Between 1992 and 2007, Jaworowski produced three more notorious articles condemning ice core science [5], [6], [7].

Mainstream scientists argue convincingly against Jaworowski, and they continue to reject him today. A notable exception is Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry, Joel M. Kauffman, who uses Jaworowski’s case to help reexamine the highly controversial issue of human-caused climate change [8].

Jaworowski and his followers insist that ice cores are invalid media for determining CO2 concentrations in Earth’s prehistoric atmospheres, because:

* Ice sheets are NOT closed systems that trap gases mechanically and preserve them indefinitely. Instead, liquid saline water can exist in ice at temperatures below –70° C, within a permeable ice sheet where a capillary liquid network acts as a sieve to redistribute elements, isotopes and micro-particles.

* Air recovered from old ice is contaminated during field and laboratory operations.

* The widely accepted pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 level of 290 ppm rests on biased rejections of high CO2 readings in ice cores. Early studies on ice cores consistently showed a range of CO2 readings that were higher than later studies – in one case, a study by the same researcher on the same ice core showed different numbers in different years.

Raynaud’s Response

D. Raynaud and coauthors [9] admit that “several processes could cause the gas record measured in ice samples to be different from the original atmospheric composition.” They list the following processes:

* absorption of gases on the surface of snow and ice crystals,

* separation by gravity and molecular diffusion of the gases in the ice column,

* alteration of gas composition by formation of air hydrates at great depths in the ice sheet or by presence of drilling-induced fractures or thermal cracks in ice samples,

* alteration by chemical interaction between gases and ice on long time scales.

Raynaud assures us that researchers can test and calculate the effects of these interfering physical processes, citing papers by Ethridge and Neftel – two of the authors whom Jaworowski contests.

Critique Of Raynaud

In key sentences, Raynaud’s language is obscure and lacking in convincing detail – he appears to elevate strong statements of confidence above decisive descriptions of procedures that eliminate uncertainties in ice-core gas measurements. Raynaud easily dismisses ice-core CO2 testing methods before the 1980’s, claiming that these methods were inappropriate and that reliable results came only later. This argument (if true) overcomes Jaworoski’s objection of suspiciously higher CO2 measurements in ice cores prior to the 1980’s. A similar argument (used by Harro A. J. Meijer against Ernst-Georg Beck rules out much of the 19th century air measurements of CO2. Lack of knowledge, lack of skill, and lack of proper methodology all are mainstream arguments that reject CO2 measurements higher than 290 ppm before the year 1958.

Regarding the soundness of ice core science, Raynaud and coauthors conclude: “It is now firmly established that after selecting appropriate sampling sites, the ice core record of greenhouse gases provides the most direct evidence for past atmospheric change.”

Expanding on Raynaud’s confidence, Christopher Readinger [10] writes: “All of the modern analytical techniques used to extract these proxy records have been developed and honed over time, and with the assistance of better technology and new ideas, more accurate methods of ice core analyses are being developed.”

Looking at Readinger’s end list of limitations, however, a person could easily embrace the doubt that Jaworowski advises.

Digging through the literature, I stumbled upon a paper from year 2000 by Bernhard Stauffer and Jurg Tschumi [11] laying out problems that can vex ice core analysis. These authors acknowledge the reality of artifacts, even though they do not state outright that these artifacts disable reliable ice core analysis. Their presentation is terse and non-opinionated, yet their sentences speak clearly.

For example, in one sentence, they report, “Despite the relatively good agreement between the GRIP, the Dye 3 and the Camp Century record for the glacial part, it became obvious that the results do not represent a reliable record of the atmospheric CO2 concentrations.”

Later, they clarify: “We performed very detailed measurements along short sections of the GRIP core and observed large variations over distances of a few centimeters in sections which show high CO2 concentrations. … As mentioned above, such short-term variations cannot reflect variations of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, it has to be an artifact. Delmas [1993] suggested that the surplus CO2 is produced by an acid carbonate reaction in the ice. Another possibility to produce CO2 would be the oxidation of organic material in the ice.”

These authors do not convey the same confidence as Raynaud and Readinger, but by their association with the colloquium on ice core science in which their paper appeared, I can only assume that they support ice core science. To give a fuller flavor of their tone, I present Stauffer’s and Ischumi’s conclusions, exactly as written:

* CO2 can be produced and probably also depleted by chemical reactions occurring between impurities in glacier ice. For the production of CO2 oxidation reactions are as important as acid carbonate reactions.

* Antarctic ice core records compared to those from Greenland are generally less affected by such chemical reactions, due to the lower impurity concentrations in Antarctic ice.

* The most reliable results concerning reconstruction of ancient atmospheric CO2 concentrations are obtained with ice samples containing a low concentration of carbonates and H20 2.

* Measurements can be considered reliable only if a detailed high resolution record along a few annual layers shows that the scattering of the results is of the order as the analytical uncertainty.

* Measurements on ice where air is enclosed in clathrates show additional difficulties due to a fractionation of air components. This holds especially for the zone in which both air bubbles and clathrates coexist.

* It is very important to develop dry extraction methods, which allow for the extraction of gases with an efficiency close to 100 %. The sublimation technique is at present the one which IS most promising.”

The Real Picture

From this review so far, a more realistic picture of ice core science begins to emerge – a picture that might be more tolerant of Jaworowski, whose jobs have placed him in the trust of others as a contamination expert.

Jaworowski argues that mainstream researchers are dreaming if they think that they can extract reliable information from the conundrum of possible contamination problems in ice cores.

Mainstream researchers, on the other hand, claim that they know about these problems and have them under control. Brooks Hurd [12], an expert in purity of gases in the semiconductor and other industries, echoes Jaworowski’s doubt, when he writes, “concerns about loss and contamination of atmospheric components from sampling handling prior to analysis should be a major issue in deep ice core CO2 analyses.”

A Young Science

Analyzing ice cores is a relatively young science, compared to other established sciences [13] [14], but even in 1993, a researcher named Robert J. Delmas [15] cautiously discussed the presence of excess CO2 in Greenland ice samples. In a seemingly reluctant tone, he pointed out interactions between acid and alkaline impurities that could lead to this excess CO2. He admitted that the excess CO2 might form either in the ice sheet itself or during ice-core storage. Although he avoided questioning low published CO2 values (180 – 200ppm), he concluded: “The consequence of this carbonate decomposition is that rapid CO2 fluctuations associated with climate change could well NOT be an atmospheric reality, at least not as they are now reconstructed from Greenland ice core measurements.”

He was careful to emphasize, however, that his findings cast little doubt on Antarctic ice cores or on data about ice ages in both Polar Regions.

Gases In Ices

Ices of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, thus, remain the premier records of Earth’s ancient atmospheres. Gases trapped in these gigantic glaciers continue to stand as trust worthy fossils of prehistoric air.

Air fossils are certainly an intriguing idea, but how can air remain undisturbed for millennia, in a medium that melts and refreezes easily, flows and reforms plastically, and appears and disappears cyclically? To help assess this question, let us look briefly, at how gases interact with glacial ices.

In ice sheets, ice transforms through different stages, from snow on the surface to dense ice at great depths. New snow compresses steadily under the accumulating weight of more falling snow. Old snow compresses into granular ice called “firn”. Grains that make up firn squeeze together even tighter to form successively denser layers of ice. This process continues until it produces the densest glacial ice. Throughout the transformation from snow to firn to glacial ice, atmospheric air intermingles with the ice sheet in a progression of its own [16]:

Michael Bender [17] says, “Measured concentrations of gasses in ice cores and firn air need to be corrected for effects of gravitational fractionizaton and thermal fractionization.” He also points out, “there are substantial uncertainties associated with age [of ice and air] limiting our ability to interpret some records.” His discussion makes clear that researchers have to deconvolute air measurements according to ice flow models limited by basic unknowns and basic assumptions whose sanctity few people question.

Werner F. Kuhs [18] admits, “in several respects, a deeper understanding of the chemico-physical behavior of air in contact with ice is not yet obtained.”

Much more here


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1 comment:

slktac said...

Cognitive dissonance--like, in the 70's we were heading for an ice age, then global warming, now climate change?????