Aliens Caused Global Warming - Scientific Consensus

#1

n_huffhines

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#1
This is one of the best things I've ever read, and I don't know how it didn't get on my radar until today. Crichton is so on point. In summary, he doesn't really dispute the legitimacy of the threat of global warming, he talks about is proper science and how science has been politicized, and it's amazing.

One of his best points is that "skeptic" has become a pejorative term within the scientific community when skepticism should be a virtue. The greatest scientific breakthroughs in history have been brought about by skeptics.

Some of my favorite quotes:

Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2.
Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we’re asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?

Look: If I was selling stock in a company that I told you would be profitable in 2100, would you buy it? Or would you think the idea was so crazy that it must be a scam?

...in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900...[we] didn’t know what an atom was.

You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it’s even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future. They’re bound to be wrong. Everybody who gives a moment’s thought knows it.
http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/Crichton2003.pdf
 
#2

DC_Vol

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#2
This is one of the best things I've ever read, and I don't know how it didn't get on my radar until today. Crichton is so on point. In summary, he doesn't really dispute the legitimacy of the threat of global warming, he talks about is proper science and how science has been politicized, and it's amazing.

One of his best points is that "skeptic" has become a pejorative term within the scientific community when skepticism should be a virtue. The greatest scientific breakthroughs in history have been brought about by skeptics.

Some of my favorite quotes:





http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/Crichton2003.pdf

This is one of the most objective, thoughtful articles I've read in 2014.

Thank you for posting. Amazing this is 11 years old and it's the first time I've read it.
 
#4

BartW

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#4
You guys know there’s already a global warming thread, right? :p

I’m a big fan and own several Crichton books (though I haven’t read State of Fear). That said he’s a science fiction writer, and he’s gotten his fair share of criticism for scientific inaccuracies.

Skepticism is an absolute necessity for every scientist. But the market fundamentalists that categorically deny inconvenient environmental science (tobacco, ozone, acid rain, global warming, DDT, asbestos, agent orange, …) do so only under the disguise of skepticism.

‘Scepticism is not believing what someone tells you, investigating all the information before coming to a conclusion. Scepticism is a good thing. Global warming scepticism is not that. It’s the complete opposite of that. It’s coming to a preconceived conclusion and cherry-picking the information that backs up your opinion. Global Warming scepticism isn’t scepticism at all.’

-John Cook
And I see Mr. Crichton doesn’t understand the difference between weather and climate. He’s not alone there.

I’ll also add that, while individuals do occasionally make a discovery that overturns the consensus, it’s a once-in-a-generation kind of thing. The Galileo comparison is also made by those claiming vaccines cause autism, HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, moon landing is a hoax, etc. It’s a common defense mechanism when confronted with overwhelming evidence. Denialists are so humble...

The Galileo fallacy and denigration of scientific consensus

 
#5

BigOrangeTrain

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#5
This is one of the best things I've ever read, and I don't know how it didn't get on my radar until today. Crichton is so on point. In summary, he doesn't really dispute the legitimacy of the threat of global warming, he talks about is proper science and how science has been politicized, and it's amazing.

One of his best points is that "skeptic" has become a pejorative term within the scientific community when skepticism should be a virtue. The greatest scientific breakthroughs in history have been brought about by skeptics.

Some of my favorite quotes:





http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/Crichton2003.pdf



But according to Bart, global warming skeptics are scientific denialists and conspiracy theorists. If you're one who is a global warming skeptic then you believe the moon landing was a hoax and that type of thing. So you actually CAN be a skeptic of global warming???
 
#9

Grand Vol

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#9
This sums up our state of affairs nicely:

The deterioration of the American media is dire loss for our country. When distinguished institutions like the New York Times can no longer differentiate between factual content and editorial opinion, but rather mix both freely on their front page, then who will hold anyone to a higher standard?
 
#10

lawgator1

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#10
This is one of the best things I've ever read, and I don't know how it didn't get on my radar until today. Crichton is so on point. In summary, he doesn't really dispute the legitimacy of the threat of global warming, he talks about is proper science and how science has been politicized, and it's amazing.

One of his best points is that "skeptic" has become a pejorative term within the scientific community when skepticism should be a virtue. The greatest scientific breakthroughs in history have been brought about by skeptics.

Some of my favorite quotes:





http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/Crichton2003.pdf

I particularly like the quote that it's not worth thinking about ...

Now THAT'S scientific!
 
#13

n_huffhines

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#13
I particularly like the quote that it's not worth thinking about ...

Now THAT'S scientific!
You believe that looking at 2100 with 2000 eyeglasses on is valid in any way? You should read the whole article. The world will be a completely different place in 2100. For all we know human behavior in 20 years will be causing global cooling. That's how fast the world changes.
 
#14
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#14
If you don't think science is politicized then you haven't applied for grants to fund your science.

I'm not a GW denier. I'm skeptical about the dire predictions AND the proposed solutions.
 
#15

Grand Vol

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#15
You believe that looking at 2100 with 2000 eyeglasses on is valid in any way? You should read the whole article. The world will be a completely different place in 2100. For all we know human behavior in 20 years will be causing global cooling. That's how fast the world changes.
Seems like the more we try to predict the future, the more we get it wrong.

I mean, if we were to believe the predictions, we'd all be flying DeLoreans and have hover boards in the backseat.
 
#16
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#16
A classic example of politicization

NBC Hits Home On Climate Change Special | Blog | Media Matters for America

Just look at the title - Our Year of Extremes: Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?

Aren't we told over and over that weather and climate are two different things yet here is a 1 hour "news" program linking weather events in one year to climate change.

Predictably, the "something must be done now and that something looks like our political agenda" crowd is cheering this special on.
 
#17

Grand Vol

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#17
If you don't think science is politicized then you haven't applied for grants to fund your science.

I'm not a GW denier. I'm skeptical about the dire predictions AND the proposed solutions.
According to Bart, you're a denier if you don't believe everything he says.

Because it's TRUE DAMMIT!
 
#18

lawgator1

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#18
You believe that looking at 2100 with 2000 eyeglasses on is valid in any way? You should read the whole article. The world will be a completely different place in 2100. For all we know human behavior in 20 years will be causing global cooling. That's how fast the world changes.

Of course not.

And obviously things will be markedly different in 2100 than we imagine now. I was just mocking the notion that, because we know that we cannot predict the future problems we will have, we should ignore them.

Sort of like if a big old asteroid has a 10 % chance of smushing us in 2040 but its up to gravitational forces on its path we can't predict this far out, we should just pretend its not there.

I think that is what others are saying itt about the difference between skepticism and denial.
 
#19

BartW

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#19
Alright so I just got around to reading the actual speech. Entertaining, but misleading on several fronts.

Crichton gives several examples of consensuses that have been overturned, but none of them are really good analogues for global warming. Previously held views on fever, diet, and geology were ’t based on a robust, mechanistic understanding of empirical evidence, and often rested upon long-held assumptions that had not, or could not, be formally tested. For example, the dominant paradigm in geology going into the 19th century was largely drawn from Biblical accounts of Noah's Flood. In the mid 19th century, Charles Lyell challenged this with a theoretical framework of more gradual change based upon extensive observations.

In the 20th century Wegner’s idea of continental drift was at first controversial, not because the consensus failed to "acknowledge what any schoolchild sees", but rather because he didn’t have a mechanism to describe how continents could move (or any evidence that they in fact were moving). After accumulating more data and developing a mechanistic theory the consensus on plate tectonics was eventually formed.

Crichton states that "consensus is only invoked in situations where the science is not solid enough." He claims ‘good’ science boils down to clear ‘yes or no’ answers by suggesting that it's obviously unnecessary to invoke consensus around something like E = mc2. According to Crichton, this is apparently real science with a right answer. Well guess what? This fails the analog test again. Einstein developed his theory entirely on theoretical grounds. It was controversial at first, but eventually a consensus grew around it. It wasn’t until several decades later that we got empirical evidence of relativity.

In his simplistic portrayal of consensus, Crichton fails to see that the processes that formed the current paradigms in medicine and geology (and overturned the old ones) are same processes that have formed the current consensus on climate change. The consensus used to be that human activity is too insignificant to alter the climate. Science advances and things change.

His critique of climate models (and confusion of weather and climate) is tiring. Climate models don’t call for a specific temperature in the year 2100: they give a range of temperatures for a range of scenarios (based on energy consumption, emissions reductions, etc.). And they’re only a small part of the puzzle. Without models, we can still tell humans are causing global warming based on the physical science. There are many independent lines of evidence. To hold models up as the keystone of climate science is a strawman argument.

There are a number of flaws in Crichton’s critique of science and I won’t delve into all of them, but if you care enough this post [Michael Crichton: “Aliens Cause Global Warming”] goes into much more detail.

In conclusion Crichton builds an indirect case against climate change science based on guilt by association, although he never convincingly demonstrates association, nor guilt. It is a tremendous logical leap of faith to conclude that the search for extraterrestrial radio signals and one group of scientists' research on the potential impacts of nuclear war somehow invalidate decades of climate research by thousands of individuals. Overall, Crichton's lecture is primarily supported by his rhetorical skills, not his arguments.
 
#21
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#21
BartW - I'm guessing you see the distinction between whether or not GW is AGW and predictive models about the consequences

Likewise, the distinction between is GW actually AGW and the merit and scientific validity of any number of proposals to curb GGases?
 
#24

BartW

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#24
BartW - I'm guessing you see the distinction between whether or not GW is AGW and predictive models about the consequences

Likewise, the distinction between is GW actually AGW and the merit and scientific validity of any number of proposals to curb GGases?
Come again? This is a bit scrambled, I'm really not sure what you're trying to ask.
 
#25
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#25
Come again? This is a bit scrambled, I'm really not sure what you're trying to ask.
Is questioning the predicted severity of GW effects (e.g. questioning the temperature projections that have shown to be poor predictors of the last 15 year) the same as questioning whether or not:

GW is AGW - anthropologic (caused by man's activity)?

Likewise is questioning the scientific validity of plans to combat GW such as those in the Kyoto Protocol or any number of carbon cap/ carbon trading plans the same as questioning whether or not:

GW is AGW.

More simply: Am I a denier if I believe GW is occurring to some extent and man has a role but I question the predictions of the severity of outcomes and the validity of proposed solutions?
 


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