Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bob’s War on Science: Global Warming Edition

Today, Bobbo spent time “refuting” global warming.

Bob doesn’t believe in global warming because it doesn’t fit into Bob’s eschatological vision of the world. For him, God is in control. And since God is in control, there is only one way that the world is going to end: With the second coming of Jesus. So any theory that posits the idea that man can wreck the planet is a theory can’t fit into Bob’s tiny little mind.

Bob’s main argument to refute global warming is point out the hysteria over global cooling from the 1970’s. In Bob's mind, claims about global warming are equivalent to the thirty year old claims about the approaching ice age. The problem is that there no scientific predictions of global cooling in the disco era. The notion that there were scientists running about and warning about the next ice age is a myth. And as with most myths, it started with actual empirical facts:
Firstly, there was a trend of cooling from the 40's to the 70's (although that needs to be qualified, as hemispheric or global temperature datasets were only just beginning to be assembled then). But people were well aware that extrapolating such a short trend was a mistake...[s]econdly, it was becoming clear that ice ages followed a regular pattern and that interglacials (such as we are now in) were much shorter that the full glacial periods in between. Somehow this seems to have morphed (perhaps more in the popular mind than elsewhere) into the idea that the next ice age was predicatable and imminent.
In fact, the scientists who noticed the cooling trends were blunt about their ability to predict climate from the data they collected: “It does not seem possible…”

So where did the clucking about the new ice age come from? Newsweek magazine.

But Bob hasn’t bothered to report this fact. I doubt that he’s bothered to look deeply enough to learn any of this. But in typical Dutko fashion, he would rather perform a cursory examination of the data and make wild-eyed predictions. And at the end, he makes a massive guess about the future. Bob asserts that in the future there will be record cold temperatures.

But who would you rather believe? Bob, or climatologists and scientists whom actually study the issue?

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Darnit! Irl stole my post! Well, at least he stole one of my posts. Bob is a virtual wealth of misinformation.

However, I do want to hit on a few points. First, Bob made some wild accusations during his anti-global warming rant. First of all, he stated that "everyone" (his word) was talking about global cooling in the 70s. Obviously, a few cranks is not "everyone".

Second, Bob said that most scientists don't believe in the global warming "hype". That's simply not true. Of the 120 lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2001 Assessment Report (which says that global warming is real), only 2 did not agree with the report.

Finally, Bob's most outrageous statement was that scientists are just saying this so they can demand billions of dollars in government grant money. I can't even imagine what would place this statement in Bob's mind. Does Bob really think scientists are just greedy SOBs who want nothing better than to screw the taxpayers so they can live some sort of life of luxury? Bob sure seems to have a low opinion of mankind.

But hypothetically, if this "conspiracy" of scientists who are demanding billions of dollars could actually deliver a reversal on climate change and an impending global catastrophe, wouldn't it be worth the cost? After all, the cost of the Iraq war is now estimated to be $1 trillion. That's trillion with a "T". Also known as a thousand billion or a million million. When compared to the war, fixing global warming using Dutko's estimate looks downright affordable...