It was coincidental yesterday that not long after a lunch conversation with our friend Nan, the monthly 'Port of Call' (Intertel's Region 7 NL) arrived in the mail. Why coincidental?
At lunch, Nan bemoaned her fundamentalist sister who accused her of being "anti-Christian" because she accepted Darwinian Evolution as a fact. Nan was asked : "Do you really understand evolution?" Nan simply replied "No'" Whereupon her sis "Rita" challenged her good sense: "Then why do you believe it?" Nan simply replied: "Because actual scientists have unearthed the evidence for it, including for natural selection, mutation."
But at the end the two remained at contretemps. Such is also the case with climate change deniers, or what I call pseudo-sophisticated climate change denier enablers. These people often have attained high education credentials - say in psychology or economics. However, they are convinced they can opine on issues outside their specialty fields like global warming - or the alleged absence for it- without doing any hard work or proper research. . They believe they can simply bloviate from their armchairs or keyboards. They also invoke the comeback that "well, because the proponents -scientists can't put it into simple words" then it must be wrong or at least not compelling.
Such is the case with Dr. Steven B. Mason:
Mason begins his missive by quaintly asking: "How can I believe anything when what I believe changes?" This is actually a misrepresentation of his stance when what he really means is "How can I believe anything when the science behind it changes?" And seen in this light, one wonders if Mason was ever a genuine scientist at all, because the very nature of the scientific enterprise is to mount new discoveries, via new findings obtained from ever more refined instruments and techniques. Hence the change from the old epicycles-based Ptolemaic solar system to the heliocentric one. Or, the change from Bohr's simple 'planetary' model atom to the wave model of Schrodinger, Born et al. Or the change from Newtonian gravitation to general relativity (though the former is still used for space trajectories, missions).
The point is that a real scientist - even a psychiatrist or psychologist- would know and understand science HAS to change for our understanding of the cosmos, nature to evolve. It is unscientific and naive to expect findings to remain static.
He then compares the Moon landings ("99 % sure") to extraterrestrial visitors ("1% sure") though interestingly he cites no "changes" in scientific evidence pertaining to either. He claims from this he "prefers to hover around 50%" in terms of his belief, but seems to forget or doesn't care that actual scientific acceptance of a hypothesis comes from testable evidence or confirmed data from a prior experiment (e.g. the LIGO finding for gravitational waves) not "belief". This is astonishing given Mason has not only been a scientist - well, at least a psychologist, but also a college prof.
Then he drags climate science into his muddled mix along with Moon landings, "angels and devils" and "extraterrestrials". He writes:
"I remember when experts were predicting another Ice Age and I figured why not? The ice was once a mile thick over Central Park....But now the experts are predicting it will get hot and I figure why not? Is global warming a fact? If so is it man-made, ...can it be reversed? Clearly I don't know but then who does?"
Actually, a lot of hard working actual climate scientists trained in a field a hell of a lot more complex than psychology or modern psychiatry.. A field (atmospheric science) wherein they have to actually produce testable data, such as from analysis of ice cores, changing cloud albedo etc. and can't beg off on the basis of there being no confirmations or "ambiguity". One such professional climate scientist, Gunter Weller - I met while at the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks, AK in 1985-86.
By late 1986 Weller had shown the abnormal heating of the Arctic - some 5 - 7F greater than the continental U.S.
The ice cores available at Dr. Weller's Atmospheric Physics lab (part of the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks) were extracted from Arctic ice at depths corresponding with geological time frames dating back over 80,000 years. His results showed that the greatest ambient temperatures corresponded to the highest CO2 concentrations recorded in the ice cores. Also the largest increases in ambient temperatures have occurred over the past 50-60 years, during which the CO2 increases have been largest (now approaching 400 ppm). Since then this relationship has only been further corroborated. Does Steve Mason know this, or has he made any effort to learn about it? Obviously not. It's easier to make glib comments to be on the "50 percent" line regarding global warming than extend one's mind outside an academic comfort zone.
Regarding Mason's dilemma on once being told about "global cooling" and Ice ages, this is a common misstep of those semi-educated on climate change or the trajectory of research which has now unimpeachably led to accepting anthropogenic global warming. It reminds me of the appearance of the WSJ's resident denier Brett Stephens on the Real Time show a year and a half ago.
WSJ denier Brett Stephens much likc Steve Mason "once read about global cooling"
Stephens spouted out to host Bill Maher: "What I'm saying is if you look at a Newsweek from 1975 you will see it" Whereupon Maher moaned, 'Oh no, not the cooling thing!'
To which Stephens responded: "Yes, the cooling thing!"
For those who may not know, including Mason, global cooling was once all the rage-- briefly! Some popular 'zines picked it up in the mid to late 70s but it was soon left in the scientific dustbin. (Much like the Ptolemaic solar system based on "epicycles") This was after it was discovered a decade or so later, that it had been incepted by particulates and aerosols in the atmosphere. After the Clean Air Act and similar bills were passed overseas (e.g. in the UK), those particulates largely disappeared and the cooling was no longer evident. Aerosols remained and gave way to the global dimming phenomenon which also concealed the worst of global warming - but when aerosols were also controlled - after similar legislation, global dimming receded and warming assumed dominance. Rising temperatures ever since have confirmed the effects.
Mason then reveals his almost complete failure to grasp the nature of physical science with this idiotic remark (p. 4):
"If you look up Herd Animal you might as well find a guy in a lab coat and a bow tie...The reason is simple...scientists are even more protective of their reputations than teen girls of a generation ago. And they have to be. Make one false step and no one will get on an elevator with you at conferences".
Seriously? The utter arrogance here of a prime member of a herd discipline (psychology) to write off physical scientists this way is beyond belief. It also shows me that he has about as much comprehension of the actual scientific process as a kindergartner has of quantum measurements and the role of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The second line is also choice and makes me wonder if Dr. Steve has even attended any conferences other than parent-teacher for his kids.
Having attended many conferences (solar physics, astrometry, celestial mechanics, space physics) I have seen colleagues make the occasional "false step" (as in a paper presentation) but no one held it against them because each realized it's entirely possible to be wrong on occasion. Who wants to make a snark critique in the question period when his turn might be next? Only in religious realms, or maybe in Mason's psychology, do we have something approaching a "priest hood" with its dogmas and "beliefs" - as embedded in psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistics Manual. (For an excellent expose all the psychobabble within it, check out 'The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry'.)
Like many before him, Mason is stuck in neutral believing that all or most of modern climate science is based on "appeal to authority". Thus "many scientists agreeing as though it were proof of a concept". Errr no, Dr. Steve. They don't agree "because others agree." They do so because actual analyses - like of Gunter Weller's ice cores- point to actual changes of CO2 concentrations in different layers of ice extending back thousands of years. This connection was most powerfully explicated by Gale Christianson in his book, 'Greenhouse' noting that there has never ever (from the ice core data) been an ice age when the CO2 concentration was over 200 ppm.
Observing increasing concentrations of CO2 with a warming climate, it is then possible to craft the hypothesis that rising CO2 levels and a warming climate are inextricably linked. And since the most profound rise has been from the Industrial Revolution there is a direct connection to human activity in generating CO2 from burning fossil fuels This stuff isn't "rocket science" but appears to be for Mason who also referenced asking a physical scientist friend if he could explain a complex theory in simple words and his pal answered 'no'. But then this is the same Mason who in one Integra article admitted he understood nothing of quantum mechanics either, such as the wave-particle duality. He then extrapolated from that to assert that he "didn't think others understood it either"- using his own limited grasp of a subject as a standard for all.
Mason's take here seems to be that if it can't be reduced to simple language then there's not much reason to accept it. But if that is so there is a hell of a lot of modern science most people would not accept, i.e. general relativity, quantum mechanics, stellar evolution, gene splicing...to name a few.. But are the objectors truly in a position to express skepticism? I doubt it! To do so one needs to at least possess the relative backgrounds and/or some exposure to the material approximating that of those who've done the work!
Incredibly, in his last paragraphs Mason then jumps to the Chicxulub (asteroid impact) event that eliminated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, based on the work of Luis Alvarez. He claims he "asked the younger Alvarez" about a "smoking gun" and was informed "not to worry there is an embarrassment of riches". Translation: there is so much disparate data to choose from that anyone - even his dad- could find just about any explanation desired. Which is total asinine nonsense. The point missed by Mason is that the isotope Iridium 192 is used as a key marker for whether an asteroid (or meteoroid) is of extraterrestrial origin. This is because it occurs with much higher abundance than in Earth's crust. It was this discovery (for Ir 192 in specific layers near Chicxulub) that provided the basis for Luis Alvarez' theory.
Mason goes on to babble::
"I find it hard to disagree with the majority (on climate science). However, I also find it hard to disagree with those like Kort Patterson whose opinion I value"
Really? Then you are allowing your subjective emotions (friendship?) to cloud your objective judgment. It also shows me that you truly do not agree with the majority (the vast climate science research community) if you can also accept Patterson's climate codswallop including his belief in a global conspiracy to promote alarm. One cannot on the one hand accept the bona fide science, and on the other the inflated and erroneous opinions of a climate know nothing who by virtue of his IQ thinks he's entitled to spout off on anything. (Does Mason also accept evolution at the same time as another friend's creationism? No, didn't think so, anymore than he believes one can square the circle!)
The last statement by Mason is truly pathetic and shows he cares not a whit for the welfare of future generations who are likely to experience heat waves and floods that make the current events seem like minor inconveniences
"The only thing about which I'm confident is that the Global Warming issue needn't generate anywhere near the heat it does".
However, as with his tenuous grasp of basic thermal science, Mason fails to appreciate that most of that 'heat' is a result of the obdurate deniers who calumniate and disparage the actual climate scientists while they fancy themselves the exponents of real science and its traditions.
The case in point here is one Brewster Gillett, who is supposedly the "proof reader" for PoC and scribbled the second letter taking me to task, writing that I (along with another writer, Karl Schlotterbeck) evidenced "reduced capacity for appreciation of subtlety in writing". No, I have the appreciation for sure. But NOT when dealing with lame deniers like Kort Patterson whose pseudoscientific claptrap needs to be bluntly exposed, not subtly, e.g.
"Subtle" then doesn't cut it if a guy really believes (and bloviates) that "celestial mechanics" (Milankovitch effect) and solar changes are fully responsible for climate change and that global warming is taking place on Mars. Such a bozo needs to be hit with the metaphorical equivalent of a 2 by 4.
Gillett then bloviates like Patterson before him of the "massive amounts of deception" complaining we (AGW proponents) somehow embrace "global economic justice" as our real reason to educate fellow citizens' on global warming. Thereby employing the common Libbie trope that global warming science is a "Trojan Horse" for overturning market economics and interjecting socialism or some such B.S. This sort of tripe isn't even worth dignifying with a full response - only to say it shows the complainant has his head up his ass. (Apart from which no serious scientist would ever be published in a peer reviewed journal if he submitted a paper conflating economic justice with climate change).
Gillett then claims to "have followed the controversy from the very beginning" but one is left to wonder how much he really grasps (if indeed he has grasped any), given he then writes:
"Not one of the alarmists has yet shown any concrete proof that the Industrial Revolution has been responsible for whatever amount of warming the globe is currently experiencing"
But I have on a number of occasions, and not merely in blog posts but also in Port of Call articles and letter. In particular I cited and discussed at length solar physicist's John Eddy's contributions pertaining to the ratios of C14 to C12 over time.
As Eddy observed concerning this output ('The New Solar Physics'. p. 17):
“The gradual fall from left to right (increasing C14/C12 ratio) is…probably not a solar effect but the result of the known, slow decrease in the strength of the Earth’s magnetic moment. exposing the Earth to ever-increased cosmic ray fluxes and increased radiocarbon production.
The sharp upward spike at the modern end of the curve, representing a marked drop in relative radiocarbon, is generally attributed to anthropogenic causes—the mark of increased population and the Industrial Age. The burning of low radiocarbon fossil fuels- coal and oil- and the systematic burning off of the world’s forests for agriculture can be expected to dilute the natural C14/C12 ratio in the troposphere to produce an effect like the one sho wn,"
In other words, we have the "smoking gun" that the onset of accelerated global warming actually commenced in the Industrial Revolution. Add in the fact that the CO2 molecule has an atmospheric lifetime of up to 100 years, and it is essentially 'case closed' for this hypothesis Indeed, even more information can be extracted from the graph which was originally put forward by P.E. Damon ('The Solar Output and Its Variation', The University of Colorado Press, Boulder, 1977)
Assuming the validity of the arbitrary norm (zero line or abscissa) for 1890, then it is clear that the magnitude of the Middle Ages warming period (relative C14 strength of -18), for example, is less than about ½ the relative effect attributed mainly to anthropogenic sources in the modern era (-40). Even if one fourth the latter magnitude is assigned to solar activity (based on solar variability component detected over 1861-1990 amounting to 0.1- 0.5 W/m^2 vs. 2.0 to 2.8 W/m^2 for heating component arising from greenhouse gas emissions, cf. Martin I. Hoffert et al, in Nature, Vol. 401, p. 764) the anthropogenic effect is at least 3/2 that for the last (exclusively solar) warming period.
These examples disclose a major misunderstanding on the part of these Libertarian climate change deniers: naively expecting deterministic outcomes from disciplines based on stochastic processes. .Thus, a reasonable skeptic must allow for a higher threshold of fuzziness than allowed in celestial mechanics where I can very exactly predict Jupiter's position in 50 years. Further, complaints like Mason's and Gillett's betray an ignorance of the distinction between the predictive standards of different scientific disciplines. A layman with no physics background can be forgiven for overstepping but not members of a high IQ society which ought to be dedicated to objective inquiry as opposed to hiding behind a political ideology (In this case blatant Libertarianism)
Another ignorant remark by Gillett is:
"the loudest proponents of AGW (anthropogenic global warming) have been deliberately lying and destroying data"
This, again, harks back to the email hack of a few global warming scientists back in 2011. The belief expressed by those like Gillett and his buddy Patterson, doubtless originated from a WSJ article from Nov. 28, 2011 by James Delingspole ('Climategate 2.0", p. A13) . Delingspole wrote at the time that a new release of mails showed that top scientists in the field fudging data, conspiring to bully, and silence opponents and displaying far less certainty about the reliabiity of anthropogenic global warming theory than they ever admit in public"
Delingspole, who is as bad at propaganda as the WC hacks trying to pass Lee Harvey Oswald off as JFK's assassin, then names the "usual suspects": Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, and Michael Mann of Penn State University. This, despite the fact that three separate independent investigations found the researchers at East Anglia to be guilty of nothing more aberrant than academic hubris, some mild snark and poor decision making. Certainly nothing to merit expulsion from any professional organizations or dismissal from their university positions as some hysterical deniers demanded.
Another news item missed by this braying ilk? How a once prominent climate change skeptic – Richard Muller- decided to use the emails kerfuffle to investigate matters for himself . (The Denver Post, 'Skeptic No Longer Cool to Warming', 11/28/11, p. 9A). Muller, an atmospheric physicist who was based at the University of California-Berkeley and the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, completed an extensive study - partly funded by the global warming denier Koch Brothers - which showed land temperatures crept to 1.6 F degrees warmer than in the 1950s, even taking into account the "heat island" effects near cities .
Muller in his research proceeded to plumb a range of data, and went all the way back to the era of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson for readings in the 18th century. The accumulated evidence from all his data showed agreement with the mainstream global warming research community, that Earth's land temperatures are increasing and more rapidly than ever. Muller presented his results at a subsequent climate conference asserting (ibid.):
"Greenhouse gases could have a disastrous impact on the world"
That a front and center climate skeptic could utter these words discloses that the claim of "fudging data" is total horse shit. Hence Gillett, and by extension Kort Patterson, are full of total horse shit.
That the likes of this clown Gillett then has the absolute chutzpah to rail about the "abuse of scientific traditions" is the epitome of irony. Because it is HE and his lot of brainwashed minions who are manifestly debasing scientific traditions in the interest of a market economics which ignores real world physics. But we've seen this before and it is the basis of agnotology. This is the term used by Stanford historian of science Robert Proctor to the trend of skeptic science sown deliberately and for political or economic ends.
Sadly, it is a sordid technique employed by the libertarian intelligentsia of the high IQ societies to try to undermine actual science. Those interested can read more details here:
"So the lies go forward and even putatively intelligent people like Stahl and Schlotterbeck apparently accept those lies uncritically as do the masses."
An astounding remark emanating from the keyboard of a person I'd not even regard as "putatively intelligent" given that absurd statement which turns the meaning of actual science on its head. In fact, I do hope that his future proofreading exploits avoid any further genuine scientific contributions.
But maybe he can handle a few from Dr. Steve Mason!
The most amusing sentence in Gillett's wasted space? His final assertion:
"And no, Stahl and Schlotterbeck, I have not now or ever have been in the employ of the petroleum industry."
Missing the point that one doesn't have to be "in the employ" of the fossil fuelers in order to be brainwashed by their propaganda. As Gillett manifestly is, at least to the same extent as his buddy Patterson.
Look, one more thing: I've no objection to those like Gillett, Patterson, Mason or any others arguing from strict economics that they dislike climate research pointing to advancing warming - a result of human activity. Thereby making the case that economic pain will be a result of accepting the data. But do not dare invoke a specious science of your own ignorant fabrication to try to make an opposite case, and especially to besmirch actual climate scientists like Prof. Gunther Weller who've spend decades accumulating their ice cores' data.
The view reinforced in these latest diatribes is that AGW critics from high IQ societies are basically lazy and aren't prepared to exert their brains by doing actual research and plowing through formal climate science papers. They are also myopic in failing to see beyond their own subjective commitment to economic aspects of their Libertarian ideology. These aspects obviously would be adversely affected if climate change is real - which it is.
Suffice it to say I don't plan to submit a response to Patterson's PoC which more and more has become a sounding board for his silly libbie POVs on everything, not just climate change. First, because it would be a waste of time, and Patterson would either cut it short or insert another of his daft "editor's responses", and second, because it would merely elicit more nonsense from the Intertel libbie peanut gallery. It's clear as I said before, that these folks represent perfect examples of what one gets when intelligence runs amuck without guidelines or specialty disciplinary critical thinking to ground it.
Sad, but it discloses that - as my wife Janice put it this morning. - a high IQ isn't any guarantee of having common sense or even a basic operative intelligence for accurately perceiving reality. (I.e. the ability to do genuine critical thinking to filter out propaganda and PR). If any of these Intertel climate change critics were serious they'd spend less time in their Libertarian echo chamber of denial and more perusing the site for actual climate science:
These inveterate climate change naysayers could also do themselves a favor by consulting the "State of the Climate Report" put together by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Note (8/3): The day before our friend Nan arrived we endured a hail storm almost right out of the hail scene in 'Day After Tomorrow' e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYpIeyg8Axs
The insurance assessor came today and inspected our roof then took photos showing it essentially destroyed by impacts estimated to be from hail between tennis and softball size. The inspector acknowledged the massive damage throughout our area including windows blown out, roofs shattered from impacts and decks, fences destroyed. Related to climate change? Of course!
To see the actual policy statement of the American Geophysical Union, the broad organization for most climate research, go to:
"These are the people who think that intelligent design is real and that climate change is not. They do not want to know better. They do not want to be disputed with “facts” and “statistics” .... Bless their paranoid, passive-aggressive, willfully ignorant hearts"-
Mary Elizabeth Williams, on salon.com