Saturday, June 24, 2006

Black is White

Some people will, amazingly, continue to insist that black is white, even when you drop a weighty National Academy of Sciences report on their heads. Witness these responses to the other day's report on the work of Mann et al on the hockey stick:
Electricity Daily: The NAS report casts serious doubts on the conventional scientific wisdom of man-made climate warming, particularly as described by political advocates such as former Vice President Al Gore.... Those who argue that solar activity drives global climate, not CO2, will take heart.

Sen. James Dumkoff Inhofe (R-OK):

Today’s NAS report reaffirms what I have been saying all along, that Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ is broken.
(Via Think Progress). Asked about these, Al Gore said (and I swear I headlined this post before I read Gore's remarks) warming skeptics "will seize on anything to say up is down and black is white." Gore explained that science, by nature, thrives on uncertainty and tries to eliminate it; politics, on the other hand, is vulnerable to being paralyzed by uncertainty. When science and politics converge, Gore argued, the chance for "cowardice is high."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Appell,

Back in October 2004, you commented Richard Muller's article as follows:

10/15/2004: "Muller"

Today brings this article by Richard Muller in Technology Review, alledging that the hockey stick is broken. (For those new to this issue, the "hockey stick" is this view of the last millenia's climate, so called because it is essentially flat for most centuries in this millenia until it turns sharply upward in the 20th century.) He bases this on McIntyre and McKitrick's work, which was rejected when peer-reviewed by Nature.

I'm suspicious, because good science comes out of the peer-reviewed wash in some journal or another, and it seems to me one should refrain from calling peer-reviewed science wrong before it's shown to be wrong by another piece of peer-reviewed science. I'm also suspicious because Muller championed the work of Soon and Baliunas last December, also in Technology Review, saying that critics concerns "didn't necessarily mean that the Soon and Baliunas results should be ignored."

But the work of Soon and Baliunas was wrong--it was based on bad logic and was bad science, as I detailed in Scientific American. Either Muller doesn't understand that or choose not to see it. So it makes me skeptical that now again he's championing another attack on the work of Mann et. al., and this by non peer-reviewed science.

Now, a few peer-reviewed articles later, and the NAS report in the front of you, why are you still in denial?