[Coral-List] Global Warming Theory (Douglas Fenner)

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[23] 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 
climatological community.

Wikipedia says,

"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."[4] 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".[5] This differs from both scientific usage and 
dictionary definitions, in which "global warming" is an increase in the 
global mean atmospheric temperature[6][7] 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:
> http://www.petitionproject.org/index.html
> -- 
> 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---------------------------------- 
> -----------------------------------
> _______________________________________________

More information about the Coral-List mailing list