Friday, August 13, 2010

It's a Law of Debate and Argument in General

The weaker the facts of an argument, the more strident the tone.  Example #1, Rep Ed. Markey (D-Ass) who said,
“An iceberg four times the size of Manhattan has broken off Greenland, creating plenty of room for global warming deniers to start their own country," Markey said in a statement. “So far, 2010 has been the hottest year on record, and scientists agree arctic ice is a canary in a coal mine that provides clear warnings on climate." 
Uh, that would be false, false, and false for $300, Alex.

2010 has not been the hottest year on record.  That was 1934.  The second hottest year was 1998, and it has been cooling since then.  If the CRU "Climategate" scandal taught us anything, however, it's just how crappy that temperature record is.  You shouldn't trust it.

Second, arctic ice is not a "canary in a coal mine".  In the first place, arctic ice is more cause than effect in northern climate.  But the implication that something is "bad" about the arctic ice is just plain wrong.  This year has had both higher coverage than the ensemble average of the last 10 years, and it has had times with less ice coverage: it is now pretty much in the thick of the typical pattern, tracking hear 2005.  Nothing shocking going on here.

And third, this is not a disastrous iceberg.  The scientist who reported it is quoted as saying,
What the press is not widely reporting is that Professor Muenchow also said :
years of data on the glacier itself show that after this month’s event, the mass of ice is still, on average, discharging about the same amount of water it usually does – some 600 million cubic meters a year, or about 220,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. “Even a big piece like this over 50 years is not that significant.  It’s just the normal rate,” he said. Muenchow warns people not to jump to conclusions. “An event like this, this specific event, all flags go immediately up, ‘Oh, let’s explain this by global warming.’ I cannot support that,” he said. "  (emphasis added - GB)
So the large chunk of ice falling off Greenland is just one of those statistical flukes.  They're not going to all be the same size: some bigger, some smaller, and one of them is probably going to be really big.  (In my experience, people who aren't comfortable with statistics don't think of this obvious fact).  This is how glaciers work: the snow falls in the winter and the glacier grows downslope, where they break off or melt. Greenland has been pretty cold this summer, and that probably held this one together long enough for a big piece to break off.  

I can guess that Rep. Markey hasn't heard/doesn't care that Argentina is having their coldest winter in the last 50 years ("Colder than Antarctica!"), but Markey and the warmists won't talk about it.  If it's cold, it's just weather.  If it's anything else, it's climate change.  

Example #2 is that overstuffed "sex poodle" with the clogged "second Chakra" - Al Gore.  Gore was enraged (dare I say, engorged?) at the failure to pass the Crap and Tax bill.
Al Gore told a conference call of supporters tonight that, “this battle has not been successful and is pretty much over for this year.” Gore bitterly denounced the Senate and federal government stating several times, “The U.S. Senate has failed us” and “The federal government has failed us.” Gore even seemed to blame President Obama by emphasizing that “the government as a whole has failed us… although the House did its job. [emphasis added]”
 Just warming up, Gore went on to say,
... “the government was not working “as our founders intended it to” and laid more blame at the feet of fossil fuel interests who conducted a “cynical coordinated campaign” with “unprecedented funding” and “who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars just on lobbying.” He criticized “polluters” for “dumping global warming pollution into the atmosphere like it was an open sewer.”
"cynical coordinated campaign"?  "Open sewer?  No inflammatory rhetoric there!

Look, in Gore's case, I get it.  He's in it for the money.  He has made almost a billion dollars off this gig, and the gravy train is derailing.   It's hard to believe he takes it seriously and believes the tripe he's selling, since he certainly doesn't live what he preaches.  It's hard to imagine a divinity school dropout has the intellectual engine to understand the science, so he just parrots what he hears from the real criminals, guys like Hansen at NASA - who never met a temperature curve he couldn't adjust upward - and Mann at Penn State (the guy who invented a way to make any random data look like a Hockey Stick). 

In Markey's case, well, you just can't buy that kind of stupid.  No, wait.  We can.  We are paying him, after all.

Edited right after first post: some issues with the links fixed

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