Sunday, December 10, 2006

Most amusing...

I see our favorite woodpecker-doubting Thomas, that self-described Ivory-bill Skeptic from Minnesota, has decided to take on global warming and prove that it too is nothing but money-grubbing unscientific media-driven hysteria. This will nicely complement his earlier (and since deleted) efforts to prove that Iraqi WMDs really did exist (no joking, he really did this).

What I find most interesting in all this is that his fan base rises so quickly to point out the logical flaws, misleading and misrepresented data, and highly selective quoting of experts that he uses to prop up his falacious WMD and global warming arguments. Yet, these same people don't snap to the fact that he uses the same strategies in his anti-IBWO "skeptical" arguments. To me it has become rather evident that his primary motivations are his anti-conservationist (especially government funded conservation), anti-government (except for the military), pro-corporate politics, not a quest for actual scientific truth.

Oh, for the record, before I left Academia I was an ecosystem ecologist, and I was very skeptical of the reality of global warming for many years. I was convinced of this reality however in the 1990s as the temperature trends became harder to ignore, and the data from the 2000s so far are damn near indisputable. I also agree, though, that "global climate change" long ago became one of the buzz-phrases that you plugged into your proposals to try to hook into trendy funding, along with such terms as "biodiversity" and "sustainability," But the fact that these terms became "hot words" in proposal writing doesn't mean they are not also legitimate scientific concerns.

One of the things I started saying in the 1980s was that "We'll know global warming is real when we start getting hurricanes in the South Atlantic." There had never been a hurricane recorded in the Atlantic basin south of the equator. Until, that is, 2004, when a hurricane made landfall in Brazil.


At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Tom Nelson read "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton?

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

I dunno, but someone like Crichton who has made his living off of sensationalistic fiction based on shabbily-researched, fundamentally inaccurate, and misrepresented science is hardly in a position to speak from the philosophical, historical, or ethical high ground on the intersection of media, politics, and science.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter