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"We are, by and large, laymen who trust in a white-coated priesthood"

Mark Shea is someone The Anchoress turned me on to sometime back.  To say the dude is intriguing is a little like saying Obama is narcissistic... words just don't convey the gist.

Mr. Shea makes me think and think hard about my core beliefs, especially when we disagree.  And that I think is most healthy.  But on this issue, we agree and wholeheartedly:

Global warming is one of those things fraught with pseudoknowledge: Knowledge that people "know" not because they actually know it, but because a lot of people in the media have repeated it a lot and lots of other people you know look at you with disdain if you say, "But all you really know is what a lot of people in the media are repeating as fact."  Very few people are actual scientists with competence in the field.  We are, by and large, laymen who trust in a white-coated priesthood to mediate reality to us.

The problem is, I don't trust the priesthood and still less do I trust the media.  The reason I don't is that the media has lied to me in the past, not about global warming, but about global cooling.  In 1975, the nearly unanimous consensus of scientists was that we were on the verge of a new Ice Age, Newsweek darkly warned.  Now the unanimous consensus is that we are undergoing... something whose name keeps changing (always a sinister sign that a scam is being pulled). 


Climate change science I don't claim to know.  But I know hype.  I work in the media.  And this stuff looks for all the world like it is founded on the fact that the seven basic elements of the modern scientific establishment are time, space, matter, energy, power, prestige, and funding.  Of these seven, there abide these three: power, prestige, and funding.  But the greatest of these is funding. The fact that guys like Lewis get smeared by AGW believers as corporate shills (without a jot of evidence) while the documented complaints they lodge against the shady hijinx of the American Physical Society go completely ignored tells me we are looking at two contending systems of faith, not at the scientific method.  I prefer to get my Faith from the Holy Spirit at work in the Church, not from the sciences.

Global Warming, or whatever the hell it's called today, is most definitely a religion, one led by snake oil hucksters interested in either making money or making others lose it.  Shea has nailed the movement for what it is. 

A false religion led by wolves in environmental clothing.


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Comments (18)

When asked at a Congression... (Below threshold)

When asked at a Congressional hearing, what he stood to make off 'global warming' via the sale of carbon credits, The Goracle played the "indignation card".

He didn't answer the question.

Follow the money.

It's OK to be skeptical, bu... (Below threshold)

It's OK to be skeptical, but it seems to be more of a religion to believe that burning hundreds of millions of tons of hydrocarbons every day will not have some effect on the atmosphere.

I'll give the scientific method more credit than bare denialism based on economic interest, funded by the oil and coal industries.

Show me some credible studies saying that dumping CO/CO2 in the atmosphere is not a bad thing.

In the end, we're fighting wars and spending billions on maintaining military hegemony over Middle East oil regions, and the world will run out of oil over the next century anyways, so anything that forces alternatives like fission nuke, fusion nuke, solar and wind is a good thing.

Mark Shea is someone The Anchoress turned me on to sometime back. To say the dude is intriguing is a little like saying Obama is narcissistic... words just don't convey the gist.

Mark Shea regards Rick as a "cafeteria Catholic."

Catholic social teaching is what is right. And the great majority of alleged Catholic conservatives I run into on the web regard it with suspicion and contempt, preferring to get their gospel of democratic capitalism, laissez faire, and disregard for the weak from Talk Radio and not bother with learning the true gospel teaching from the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching. As long as this remains the case, the Church on the Right will continue to be as much a cafeteria as on the Left. Indeed, it will be more immune to correction because it will have sealed itself off from any sense of a bad conscience by saying that, so long as it opposes abortion, all other forms of contempt for Church teaching are okay. At least the Left doesn't kid itself that it is faithful. It openly and cheerfully treats Church teaching with scorn, without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

Americanism, democratic capitalism, militarism: these things can no more save us than the preferred Lefty heresies of hedonism and Pelvic Adventurism. The devil always sends lies into the world in pairs so that, fleeing one, we might embrace the other.


When your leaders are Al Go... (Below threshold)

When your leaders are Al Gore, James Cameron and others like them your cause is suspect. James Cameron owns a freakin helicopter and 5 or 6 house the size of small office buildings, Al Gore runs around in a convoy of suvs. If there is a real crisis then you better find better spokes people to state the case cause these guys ruin any credibility you might have. Also your science professionals shouldn't cook the books and should open up their methods to the skeptics.

"I'll give the scientific m... (Below threshold)

"I'll give the scientific method more credit than bare denialism based on economic interest, funded by the oil and coal industries."

So just WHEN are we going to get around to the "scientific method"?

WHEN are the proponents of 'global warming' going to SHARE their data and methods?


Global Warming, or whate... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Global Warming, or whatever the hell it's called today, is most definitely a religion I

It is actually called anthropic (human caused) climate change. But then its effects are inconsequential, because the GOP/tea party position as echoed by Sarah Palin and Rep John Shimkus is that "God's word is infallible and the earth will end only when God declares it's time."

Great, end of argument or study?! If only they "could take our country back" when life was so much simpler, and global warming wasn't a false religion?

My bad, the technical name ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

My bad, the technical name is anthropogenic climate change.

"The most potent of the greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20). Alarmingly, these are a result of anthropogenic climate change, and the gases are at the highest levels for over 650,000 years".

Crickmore, there's a fallac... (Below threshold)

Crickmore, there's a fallacy with your beliefs. The fallacy exists because there is no scientific proof that the recent global warming trend (which has plateau'ed, giving the rise to renaming Global Warming to Climate Change) was caused by man.

There has been exactly zero correlation between the levels of greenhouse gasses and the rise of temperatures globally. To people who understand and value the scientific method, the lack of correlation signifies a lack of causation and thus a lack of any actual scientific proof that man has any significant impact on climate.

This is scepticism based on data, as opposed to your quasi-religious "feelings" that mankind has to have caused climate change.

We also recognize the fact that the increased temperatures since the little ice age have amazingly corresponded quite closely with the observed solar activity. That's what is know as scientific proof.

Also, nobody has said that throwing pollution into the atmosphere is good or that it has zero impact. What we're saying is that none of you true believers has proven any causal link based on data or evidence that it has contributed, even slightly, to the global climate change.

So Stevie, please explain t... (Below threshold)

So Stevie, please explain the "medieval warming period". You know, when factories weren't around and the human population as compared to today was next to nothing.

"It is actually called anthropic (human caused) climate change." - yeah that's what it's called now.

Just like Democrats are not "liberals" - they're "progressives".

News flash Stevie - shit is still shit.

But then its effects are... (Below threshold)

But then its effects are inconsequential, because the GOP/tea party position as echoed by Sarah Palin and Rep John Shimkus is that "God's word is infallible and the earth will end only when God declares it's time."

Steve, where are Sarah Palin, the entire GOP, and the entire Tea Party crew in that video? To tar millions of people with the bloviation of Shimkus is absurd.

In a recent poll, one-third of surveyed Democrats believed that George Bush definitely knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance, and another 26 percent said that they "weren't sure" whether he did or not. Yet nobody here is trying to paint all Democrats -- or even just the Democrats in Congress -- as "9/11 Truthers."

Steve, I can't decide whether you're really as deranged as your comments indicate, or whether it's just trollery. Either way, you might want to sit down and re-evaluate your life.

After about ten minutes goo... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

After about ten minutes googling this. I'm not an expert and my time is limited today. We are not going to do anything about global warming, in any case for another two years- so its going to be academic debate, not theological at least so that is encouraging.

My 'perusal' suggests the "medieval warm period" was mainly concentrated in the northern hemisphere and lasted about three hundered years 1000-1300 ADprobably because of a shifting EL Nino. The more recent global warming has had a sharper spike for 20 years and is 'global'.

Sarah Palin has talked abou... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Sarah Palin has talked about the arrogance of man that thinks he can change nature's ways, in regards to the Copenhagan treaty, and her Wasilla church is a dominionist church that believes in the coming of the apocalypse with trumpets etc.

Murggatroydm, from the sam... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Murggatroydm, from the same Rasmussen survey, 14% of Republicans (presumably that voted for him) believe that Bush knew in advance of 9/11. That is not very encouraging-one wonders what they must think of Obama, if thats what they thought of Buah? and tea partiers want to make large cuts in education.

Sure I'm pointing out a more extreme House member but Palin uses the same language 'snake oil science' addressing climate change, and she is now, probably the moat publicly identified spokesperson for the GOP, yes?

There has been exactly z... (Below threshold)

There has been exactly zero correlation between the levels of greenhouse gasses and the rise of temperatures globally. To people who understand and value the scientific method, the lack of correlation signifies a lack of causation and thus a lack of any actual scientific proof that man has any significant impact on climate.

That is just not the case, you're just repeating a oil-funded right wing talking point. A little research on Google Scholar finds things pretty quickly.

Here is a correlation based on "360,000-year record of global temperature and levels of carbon dioxide and methane," a study supported by the American Geophysical Union of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory of the Department of Energy:

Antarctic ice record warns of greater warming than today's climate models predict

WASHINGTON - If Earth's past cycles of warming and cooling are any indication, temperatures by the end of the century will be even hotter than current climate models predict, according to a report by researchers in Berkeley, California.

The scientists studied Antarctic ice cores containing a 360,000-year record of global temperature and levels of carbon dioxide and methane--two of the major greenhouse gases implicated in global warming. They found that during periods of warming, greenhouse gas levels rose and created significantly higher temperatures than would be expected solely from the increased intensity of sunlight that triggered these warm periods.

Though the ice core data do not point to specific processes that amplify the warming, the researchers suspect that it is due to warmer soils and oceans giving off more carbon dioxide and methane, which add to the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning and other human activities.

Thus, while current models predict temperature increases of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius [2.7 to 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit] from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, the natural processes injecting additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will lead to temperature increases of 1.6 to 6 degrees Celsius [2.9 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit], with the higher temperatures more likely, the researchers say. The report is scheduled for publication on 26 May in Geophysical Research Letters.

"The warming caused by our release of carbon dioxide triggers changes in the Earth system that lead to release of more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere," says lead author Margaret Torn, head of the Climate Change and Carbon Management program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "If that is the case, then every bit of carbon dioxide released now is actually committing us to a larger carbon dioxide change in the atmosphere."


Ya, but all those science nerds with physics and chemistry Ph.D are wrong, it's people like "nincompoop" (in Peggy Noonan's words) Sarah Palin who are right.

Know-nothingism is taking over America and will lead to its downfall.

The problem is that smart and educated people are in a minority and can be outvoted by the dumbasses. The only hope is that the dumbasses are divided between the right-wing Tea Party bible bubbas and the welfare sucking left wing morons.

"...current models predict.... (Below threshold)

"...current models predict...."

GIGO - Garbage in, Garbage out.

Berkeley has such a stellar reputation, doesn't it gallob?

You still avoid 'the scientific method' discussion and why the Climate Gods in East Anglia REFUSE to share their data/methodology with anyone outside their little group.

Why is that galoob?

galoob here's the deal when... (Below threshold)

galoob here's the deal when the "smart people" start acting like there is a problem I'll start listening to them. When they start living in 2000 square foot houses and driving POS hybrids then I'll give their words some cedibility. When they stop getting rich off of this crap then I'll listen to your "funded by oil companies" BS. When the data and methods are provided for true peer review I'll start listening. I have a carbon foot print that is 1/1000th that of those that tell me I have to reduce my life style to save the planet. I'm not much for do as I say not as I do.

One of the things about the... (Below threshold)

One of the things about the scientific method - the results that are gathered up and disseminated are usually unambiguious. If there is global warming, it'd be CLEAR from the evidence that it's occuring. And, from the evidence, there WAS some warming going on.

(I'm a believer, btw, Ruddiman's paper on how methane added to the atmosphere by agriculture starting close to 8000 years back smoothing out the ice-age/warming cycle convinced me. However... we'd be nuts-deep in the middle of an ice age at this point if the normal curve HADN'T been continued. So if you ask me, AGW's a pretty good thing.)

Anyway... you've got three things that need to be done to make sure the evidence and arguments are bulletproof. First, the evidence gathered HAS to be to the same standard all the way through.

Which it hasn't been. A temperature monitor set up by a blacktop parking lot isn't going to have the same record as one set in the middle of a grassy field 100 feet away. (And there's been a LOT of stations of dubious quality identified.) Go by one, and there's little to no change. Go by the other, and there's been a definite warming trend. Which to trust? The answer shouldn't be "The one that fits the narrative better."

Second - your data MUST be from widespread, regularly spaced and world-wide locations. Which, obviously, is a bit difficult... so interpolation between stations is done which (again) can lead to dubious results if one or more of the stations are compromised. (Kind of like long distance surveying - if you know the altitude at point A and point B, you can interpolate that the altitude between the two points is an average of point A and B - but if you've got the Himalayas or Death Valley between the two points, you're going to be a trifle off.)

Third - the raw data MUST be able to stand on it's own. All thermometers MUST be calibrated to the same standard, or your data's pretty well useless. "Adjusting" the data afterward is pretty much a fool's game - you might as well be making it up at that point.

But let's assume there's been warming. Considering the "Little Ice Age" in the 1800s, we're warmer now than it was then. Man, I can't even recall the last time the Thames froze over...

Considering that the Vikings colonized Iceland at one point, but died out when the weather shifted and their growing season got too short to maintain the crops they depended on, it's clear that there's variability.

The question then becomes what causes the variation. When you add in things like the Medieval Warming Period (where it's pretty unlikely that SUVs caused it) or the Roman warming period, you start to get the feeling that there's some cyclic forcing that isn't being taken into account or actively ignored to make the accepted narrative work.

As others have pointed out, we're in a quiet-sun period, with much less sunspot activity than usual. The global RSS readings (Remote Sensing Systems) have taken a precipitous drop (about .3C to +.293) in October also - and it's worse in the Southern hemisphere than the Northern. (Which is going into its summer season.)

(BTW, the entire supposed 'warming' that's caused the furor over the last decade or so hit about .8c. In 1998. And hasn't reached that peak since, even with all the crap China's been pumping out.)

Then there's the question of what the temperature global-wide is SUPPOSED to be - that we're supposed to bend all our efforts and spend uncounted trillions to control CO2 to either approach or maintain - which I've never seen a rational answer on. Shift the baseline one degree C either way, and you either double the 'warming' or eliminate it altogether.

So - does AGW exist? I'd say yes. Is it bad? I'd say no. Is it something man can affect? Sure is - if we simply stop all our agricultural efforts, I'd say within a hundred, two hundred years we'll have temperatures to where they should be at this point in the usual climactic cycle... and polar bears will be snacking on penguins in Panama.

Are computer models accurate? Possibly, depending on how accurately they forecast the PAST (which is pretty badly) and how well they can forecast the immediate future (which is even less well...). Garbage in, garbage out - it's just as true for AGW models as any other bit of programming... and fudging the programming to get a desired output is blatantly unethical, like an accountant cooking the books.

As John also points out, none of the folks shrieking about AGW are ACTING like AGW's a problem. Except Ed Begley, Jr, and he's not exactly a figure in the AGW movement.

In the end, it looks like its much more about control than it's about the dangers for humanity from AGW.

I wouldn't hold my breath a... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I wouldn't hold my breath about Gore or any of the others who used to be 'limousine liberals' fundamentally changing their lifestyle. I don't think that is a fair argument. Their allegiance is first to their comfortable lifestyle, always has been whatever the merits of global warming. It is the same as the Republican members decrying government healthcare but never opting out of their own expensive government paid for Congressional healthcare. That would be the day.

Anyway, climate change legislation is effectively dead for the remaining two years in the House. Look at the four fossil-fueled Republicans, who are already lining up (including the afore mentioned John Shimkus), to be the Chairman of the Energy Committee. If some religious scribe had written about global warming, two thousand ago, progressives might have a chance, but as it is and with big oil and other energy giant's heavy contributions to their 2010 election campaigns...

Here's some good fodder for... (Below threshold)

Here's some good fodder for thought: the "Global Warming Skeptic's Handbook" from http://joannenova.com.au/global-warming/

The key point is on page 3 (and the evidence to back it up on page 8):

"CO2 is already doing all the warming it can do. Adding twice the CO2 does not make twice the difference."

The biggest problem with the anthropogenic global warming is the dishonesty. For instance, the famous "hockey stick" temperature graph of the last thousand years does not show the Medieval Warm Period (when Greenland got its name). Where did it go? It was inconvenient so it was "corrected" away.

They don't tell you that the CO2 levels have been far higher in the recent past (the last 10,000 years), or that CO2 levels tend to increase over 800 years AFTER an increase in temperature.

Finally, CO2 is FOOD, not a menace! Greenhouses add CO2 to make the plants grow faster! IN fact, increases in global CO2 have helped feed the world. Surprise -- a decarbonized planet is not inhabitable!

Follow the money. Over $79 billion has been spent by governments on studying global warming. Of course people will find that we have global warming! That is over 3000 times the funding that has studied the anti-thesis. A thesis without an anti-thesis is not science. (See "Global Bullies Want Your Money" at the same link above.)






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