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

Michael Risk riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca
Tue Mar 3 11:28:19 EST 2009

Hi Doug.

I have followed this thread with some interest, and have nothing useful
to contribute. Except some factoids:

Few years ago, guy (Rick Mercer, for some of you out there) went around
Toronto with a petition, asking people to sign in support of banning a
chemical which was widespread in the environment, toxic at certain
levels. Dihydrogen oxide. He got TONS of signatures.

Four million Americans believe they have been abducted by aliens. 70%
of them do not believe in evolution. What does a petition mean?

What we need to always bear in mind is that the IPCC is not a wide-eyed
bunch of tree-huggers, but a conservative group of government
scientists whose deliberations have already been filtered through
policy wonks and national agendas.

Follow the money. It should be to the everlasting shame of the oil
companies that they fund much of the denial industry.


ps-I know what dihydrogen oxide is. I didn't sign.

On Mon, 2 Mar 2009 22:37:27 -1100
 "Douglas Fenner" <dfenner at blueskynet.as> wrote:
> Eugene,
>     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 
> eye-opener.
>     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---------------------------------- 
> > -----------------------------------
> > _______________________________________________
> > 
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Mike Risk
Marine Ecologist
PO Box 1195
Durham Ontario
N0G 1R0

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