[Coral-List] Global Warming Theory (Douglas Fenner)
dfenner at blueskynet.as
Tue Mar 3 04:37:27 EST 2009
If I read your friend correctly, he's saying that Al Gore said 2000
scientists supported his views, but many turned out to be non-scientists.
The 2000 figure I believe are the climatology scientists who are the
government representatives that make up the IPCC. They are real scientists
and experts on the subject. I suspect their credentials are documented in
IPCC documents. They are not just Al Gore's friends. Someone who's an
expert on this please correct me if I'm wrong.
I suggest anyone who thinks this petition is legit should check the
Wikipedia article on it, using the reference in my message. It's an
I'll quote a small part of the Wikipedia article.
"On his website, Chris Colose reviewed 60 names which are listed in the
article, including 54 alleged PhD's. The names included the first 10 in the
"A" column of the petition and the first two PhD's in each subsequent letter
(two for "B," two for "C," and so on). Chris examined the publication
records of each of those names by "typing their name into the `search by
author' box in Google Scholar" and found no one with a specialty or
publication in climate science."
Scientific American took a random sample of 30 of the 1400 signatories
claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. They looked for them
in various databases. Extrapolating from their findings, they estimate it
includes about 200 climate researchers, a rather small fraction of the
"The text of the petition is often misrepresented: for example, until
recently the petition's website stated that the petition's signatories
"declare that global warming is a lie with no scientific basis
whatsoever." The two-paragraph petition used the terms catastrophic
heating and disruption, not "global warming." The original article
associated with the petition (see below) defined "global warming" as "severe
increases in Earth's atmospheric and surface temperatures, with disastrous
environmental consequences". This differs from both scientific usage and
dictionary definitions, in which "global warming" is an increase in the
global mean atmospheric temperature without implying that the increase
is "severe" or will have "disastrous environmental consequences."
(there is nothing in the wording of the petition saying that global warming
is a lie.)
There is a clear pattern here it seems to me, of using statements in the
petition designed to get people to sign it, then to claim that they have
signed on to much more than they actually have.
In my own view, I see science as a type of persuasion. Using evidence
and logic, of a particular type, to convince others of various things about
the physical world. There are many other kinds of persuasion, but this one
is particularly powerful, because of the type of logic and evidence used.
The most persuasive use of it is in peer-reviewed literature. My
understanding is that the peer-reviewed literature is overwhelmingly
supportive of the view that global warming is real, and that humans are the
principle cause. The IPCC report is heavily referenced with peer-reviewed
literature, this petition and the unpublished article supporting it are not.
I find that the most persuasive thing. The deceptive practices the
petitioners have engaged in does not help their case.
I'm not a climate scientist, have never claimed to be, and never will
be. Most people are in the same situation. We can't read the peer-reviewed
literature ourselves and make our own informed expert judgement like climate
scientists can. So we have to rely on secondary sources. That opens an
opportunity for people like the writers of this website to generate stories
that provide what some people want to hear, even if it is not based on fact.
As a result they can be very popular, but they mislead intentionally.
I am sure that we could circulate a petition among the general
citizenry and get as many signatures as we want to a petition saying that
global warming is a lie. Millions of signatures if we want. But if these
people have no knowledge of the science, is the petition persuasive that
global warming is a lie? I think not. It is closer to the polling that
Gallup does of political views. If a Gallup poll finds that 2/3 of the
population think global warming is a lie, does that mean it is a lie? If
you take a poll and 90% of the people say the world is flat, does that make
it flat? (at one time such a poll would have produced such results.) The
poll accurately reports what people believe, but what people believe often
does not accurately reflect reality- lots of people believe in astrology, or
that evolution is a lie, and so on. Doesn't make it true.
It seems to me that a lot of people don't want to think global warming
is real, because they believe that the economic costs of taking care of the
problem will be too expensive. I think that is probably why the Bush
administration and many business people don't want to think it is real. The
problem is that there are two things here, the scientific question of
whether global warming is real and caused by humans, and the economic
question of what the costs are of solving the problem, compared to the costs
of inaction. If we use our fear of the costs to distort our views of the
science, we're distorting the facts and the truth about the physical world.
That's not good. Instead, I suggest for these people the debate needs to
move to the economic arena, and the public policy arena. What are the costs
of action vs inaction?
Perhaps economists can enlighten us on the latter question, I'm
certainly no economist.
But we must fearlessly pursue the facts and the truth, and not let
wishful thinking lead us to deny reality. Doug Fenner
----- Original Message -----
From: "Eugene Shinn" <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
To: <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2009 6:15 AM
Subject: [Coral-List] Global Warming Theory (Douglas Fenner)
> Dear Doug, I was concerned about that group because I have heard so
> much about it. After reading your note I checked with a friend who is
> not an AGW and below is what he sent me. Gene
> This is the Fred Seitz petition, formulated to counter the "2000"
> scientists that Gore claimed to support his stand many years ago.
> When his names were vetted , they turned out not to be very many
> physical scientists among them, rather there were hunters, fishermen,
> lawyers, psychologists,etc. So Seitz set up his petition with
> qualifications, and if anyone wants to check the qualifications
> further, they should go to Who's Who, and list of university
> professors, etc. The claim that some are hoaxes comes only from
> those who may have purposely entered false information - there is no
> protection against that in the Seitz petition. But those same
> naysayers should remember, Seitz was head of the National Academy of
> Sciences. These names are most likely 90% or more valid. the use of
> Oregon Institute was one of convenience at the time. Last time I had
> checked that site there were only about 16,000 signatures. That
> amount has apparently doubled, and the AGW folks must be worried
> about that.Here is the home site:
> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> University of South Florida
> Marine Science Center (room 204)
> 140 Seventh Avenue South
> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
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