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Blessed if You Do, Blessed if You Don't

[Author's Note: I've been had. Me (of all people) failed to get the satire in the piece I linked. Really, it does not matter to the point. The reason that it is good satire is that it has a ring of truth. (It's more parady than satire.) I'm sure a quick trip thru google news would find me somebody claming that this snow storm was proof of global warming. That was sorta the original author's point. - And mine.]

I've never been overtly religious. And there is a reason I have near zero respect for -some- religious people. I grew up next to a family of fundamentalist Christians. They were good people, they'd give you the shirt of their back. But they just had an odd way at looking at things.

No matter what happened -good, bad or indifferent- it was a sign of God's existence and involvement in their life. There was always something funny about their beliefs but I ever could put my finger on it until the neighbor kid said something that made it gel in my head. He wanted to go to a local mall with his friends but he couldn't because he didn't have any money. Explaining the situation he said:

"I had 5 dollars but I lost it in the grocery store parking lot. I guess that just shows God wanted somebody else that needed the money more to find it. Oh well, I'll just have to pray to God and tell him I need the money too. Maybe I'll find 5 dollars."

Then it hit me. When you've defined everything as a sign from God, you're sure to get lots of them. If finding 5 bucks in the street is a sign from God and losing five bucks is also a sign from God, you have yourself a good self-fulfilling belief system there.

And that, of course, is what make a religion a religion. Faith. Now I have nothing against people of faith. As long as they don't pretend to be scientists.

The problem is that all too often people who claim to be scientists have the same belief system as my neighbors. One area we see this repeatedly is in the environmental sciences. The global warming crowd gave me a perfect example this morning in comments about record snowfalls on the first day of spring.

Spring Snowstorm Blamed on Global Warming

(Washington, D.C.) The first day of spring arrived today with widespread cold and snow, an event that some say is just one more sign of global warming.

"This is exactly in line with what we have been predicting for years," explained James Fearmonger, chief climate scientist at the newly formed Global Warming Prediction Center. "With global warming we have predicted that some areas will see more precipitation, some less precipitation, some will experience warmer weather, some colder. So this event can be fully explained by global warming".

Another sign from God.

To the global warming theorists, all anecdotal evidence supports global warming. If it is hot during the summer, that's global warming. Cold during the winter is global warming too. Blizzards during winter? Blame global warming. Record snowfalls on the first day of spring... (say it with me) Global warming.

It must be nice to have your beliefs so easily confirmed.

Even the name of their organization shows the nature of their belief system; "at the newly formed Global Warming Prediction Center." Now, when the name of your organization spells out what you are going to predict, just call yourself a religion and get it over with.

I don't know about you but when I hear something from the "Global Warming Prediction Center" I expect them to predict global warming. To do otherwise would be against their religion.


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Comments (23)

I find it interesting that ... (Below threshold)

I find it interesting that your former neighbors believed that everything that happened to them was God's will. Perhaps they should go back and re-read the Bible.

God only wills the good things. The rest is the result of human stupidity and/or evil in general.

I live in a state (Michigan... (Below threshold)
lakestate:

I live in a state (Michigan) that was formed by glaciers. I never remember learning that man existed back then, let alone be responsible for those glaciers to melt. Wasn't that global warming? NASA has discovered global warming on Mars too - I wonder how many SUVs the martians drive? It should be called EVOLUTION - not global warming.

This guys name is James ... (Below threshold)
Great White Rat:

This guys name is James Fearmonger??

Couldn't get much more appropriate than that.

I think you've missed the o... (Below threshold)
anonymous:

I think you've missed the obvious parody here. The quoted scientist's name is "Fearmonger." Elsewhere on the ecoEnquirer site, there's an article about levitating islands, and one about talking penguins complaining about all the attention they're getting from eco-scientists in Antarctica.

Hey, anonymous, glad somebo... (Below threshold)

Hey, anonymous, glad somebody out there doesn't believe everything he/she reads!

This has to be a joke site.... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

This has to be a joke site. No freakin way is the director of a GWE center named "fearmonger"

Fearmonger? Fearmonger? I... (Below threshold)

Fearmonger? Fearmonger? I suppose the media relations guy for the organization is Fred Spokesman. Is the CEO named Darren Leaderman?

Parody, yes - but quite clo... (Below threshold)
John Anderson:

Parody, yes - but quite close to objectivity. Record cold snaps of the last couple of years have been blamed on "Global Warming."

And lakestate, I too have been asking since late 2004 for a Congressional inquiry into why the auto industry has not shared its space drive, used to send millions of SUVs to Mars and some moons, with the public.

Global Warming stopped bein... (Below threshold)

Global Warming stopped being science and became a religion a long time ago.

argh- Well done ecoEnquirer... (Below threshold)
Paul:

argh- Well done ecoEnquirer. The name of the organization should have tipped me off.

I have to check your site more often.

P

Paul, you are absolutely ri... (Below threshold)

Paul, you are absolutely right in your "Author's Note"...many people believe the stories I write simply because so much of the stuff being reported as environmental news these days is so outlandish. It's hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Sound like normal weather t... (Below threshold)
Chuck:

Sound like normal weather to me.

Sounds like normal weather ... (Below threshold)
Chuck:

Sounds like normal weather to me.

The name of the organizatio... (Below threshold)
Retread:

The name of the organization didn't ring the parody bells, but Fearmonger did. Look out, Scrappleface.

(the) environmental new... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

(the) environmental news these days is so outlandish. It's hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction. because the effects of global warming or global melting
is so outlandish should be the cause for serious concern not ridicule. Conservatives are prepared to launch a posible trillion dollar preemptive war against the improbable WMD threat of a rogue dictator because oftthe potential for mischief he posed, to our way of life but when the planet and is close to a gathering environmental 'tipping point', laughter and business as usual is the response.. Democrat complacency wasn't good enough for Saddam but Conservative complacency seems to be a perfectly valid response to a much larger threat than a has-been dictator posed...

Steve,Is that the ... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

Steve,

Is that the real you or the CrickmoreEnquirer?

I like how a satirical piec... (Below threshold)
echibby:

I like how a satirical piece is being used to discredit an entire scientific field. How logical. Let's not do experiments or studies or analyze data. Nope, just write satire... that'll prove the point that these scientific hypotheses are nonsense.

Echibby - Maybe those satir... (Below threshold)
JD:

Echibby - Maybe those satirical pieces will demonstrate that those scientific hypotheses are just that - hypotheses.

There were people who used to hypothesize that the reason the Red Sox would never win the World Series was because of a trade made back in 1919. That hypothesis was proven wrong two years ago, but had 85 prior years of solid data to back it up.

And since the prevailing media filter will not let divergent anti-global warming hypotheses to come to the fore, it is left to satire and to folks like Bjorn Lomborg and Michael Crichton to write books and go on the speech circuit to let people know that there may just be another set of hypotheses running around out there.

Satire is just another good way to point out that one man's hypothesis is another man's bullshit.

JD-Actually there'... (Below threshold)
echibby:

JD-

Actually there's a much better way of disproving hypotheses- it's called peer review literature. These are backed up by data and evidence. The entire scientific community is welcome to comment on, critique and disprove. I'm not sure I understand your statement about satire demonstrating that scientific hypotheses are hypotheses. What else would they be? Science generates hypotheses. Research is used to disprove a hypothesis. Nothing- absolutely nothing- is ever proven in science. Things are only disproven- that's the way the scientific method works. Scientists conduct experiments to add credence to a hypothesis, or to invalidate it.

I'm not aware of any scientific hypotheses regarding the Red Sox which were disproven by their win in 2004. Please provide an example from the scientific literature. If you can find it, then provide a mechanism by which this invalidated scientific hypothesis thus disproves global warming.

Seriously though, what I think you mean is that a hypothesis can be disproven, thus the science behind global warming is bunk. You're trying to make a specific case from a rather poor generalization. I can think of dozens of reasonable scientific hypotheses which were later invalidated by new evidence or experiments. This doesn't mean that science itself is meaningless or "bullshit." It means it's self correcting.

Also, you claim the media filter doesn't let countervailing global warming hypotheses "come to the fore." What does this have to do with science? I'm sure you realize that scientific publishing is not dictated by the "media filter." The media and the scientific community are two different things. The former can (and regularly does) misrepresent the latter, but this does nothing to detract from the validity of scientific research.

I live in minnesota and be... (Below threshold)
virgo:

I live in minnesota and believe me there is no global warming..its colder than a w'''s t''''t all the time. accept for about 2 months of bearable summer " Global Warming " phooey maybe i should move huh.

Echibby - a hypothesis is t... (Below threshold)
JD:

Echibby - a hypothesis is typically defined as a "suggested explanation of a phenomenon." My RedSox reference was just that - a suggested explanation of a phenomenon. One could take the same and apply it to the Chicago Cubs and the curse of Sianis' Goat.

The first step in the Scientific Method is to ask a question. When applied to the question of global warming (is "global warming" the result of the influence of homo sapiens or the result of natural variations? If so, to what degree?), one very important thing to find out is exactly who is asking the question, and why. More often than not, preconceived notions can get in the way of the true answer - especially if the data observed does not track with the data that the questioner is expecting, or has been conditioned to expect. Because make no mistake - global warming is every bit as much a religion in academia as is humanistic relativism, not to mention in the worldwide polity. Effectively, they have taken the first step of the scientific method, defining the question, and switched it with the third step, formation of hypothesis.

The funny part is that in the mid-1970s, when a lot of these academics were getting their high-school education, the vogue then was global COOLING. From wikipidea, "Global Cooling" - The Washington Post reports that in 1974 the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation, stated: During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade.

The problem for the "global warming" crusaders is twofold: One, the actual collection of ground temperature data only reliably goes back to about 1850 to 1860 - prior to that there was temperature "data" but the imprecision of instruments and scanty collection of data rendered much of that data meaningless. 150 years of temperature data is absolutely meaningless when it comes to climactic phenomena. Second, a factor which no one seems to take into account, is the fact that (especially in the United States) people are moving into areas that are climactically less hospitable without the aid of climate control - Arizona, Nevada, southeastern and central California, eastern Washington and Oregon, New Mexico, Texas. Thus, the arithmetic mean of observed temperatures for various locations is, on average, going to go up because of people moving into places which would have been too damned hot to live in back in 1910 and 1920. Some cities in the above-mentioned states did not even exist prior to the second decade of the 20th century, but their temperatures factor into the arithmetic mean, thus skewing the data.

As an aside, I have to wonder if they specifically selected the 1850 cutoff because temperatures at that time were at the bottom of a natural cooling trend, but I digress...

Too many scientific professionals and politicians, acting with very little if any information except what fills out their preconceived notions, have stated that we have to act NOW! to DO SOMETHING! about the coming crisis, not knowing that people were saying much the same thing in 1975 about the looming crises and famine and encroaching glaciers that would kill 60 million people by the turn of the century because of "the next ice age."

Anybody who's under the mis... (Below threshold)

Anybody who's under the misapprehension that peer review ensures the validity of published science should read this blog.

Hi JD-You still ha... (Below threshold)
echibby:

Hi JD-

You still haven't provided an example of a credible scientific hypothesis regarding Red Sox lack of World Series victories and relevance to global warming. Your examples of global cooling predictions in the 70s are more relevant, but actually serve to illustrate the self-correcting nature of science. I sincerely hope that when you go to the doctor he or she is not using only medical knowledge and techniques from 1970 or earlier. You seem to think that because a hypothesis is overturned in a scientific discipline it invalidates the entire discipline. Just because we now know ulcers are caused by bacteria and not stress doesn't mean that all medical knowledge is bunk!

You're also mention ground temperature data and claim this isn't controlled for in terms of new cities. Here's something that addresses that (and you'll find that not only is it adjusted for in a rigourous statistical fashion but also is only one componenent of temp measurement, the others being atmospheric and oceanic):

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=41

Make sure to actually read the original papers if you have any questions, as this is just a summary written by climate scientists.

As for temperatures before the mid 19th century, it is a subject of rigorous debate amongst climate scientists- check out the literature over the past decade. For a start, read this. It has a good leading reference:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=253




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