Friday, December 11, 2015

The Farce of the Cruz Hearing

Ted Cruz's "hearing" on climate science, "Data or Dogma," was, of course, nothing but a farce.

Each of the "witnesses" who "testified" there knew that going in, and each of them is now partly responsible for perpetuating that farce.

Judith Curry wrote:
Senator Cruz seems very much into the Data, and generally knowledgable about the scientific process.  One of his staffers is an avid reader of CE, WUWT and apparently Steve Goddard’s blog.  
Again, a farce. How can people with scientific training pretend they didn't know what Cruz was up to, let alone aid him in that hustle?

The biggest farce was, of course, Mark Steyn, the male-gendered Ann Coulter, who is an expert on nothing and had absolutely no business "testifying" before that committee. Michael Crichton was a saint compared to Steyn, though equally as wrong.

Steyn presented nothing but the idiocy of Rush Limbaugh, which clearly he aspires to be -- a man who is as responsible for the ongoing decline of America as anyone. Steyn seems happy to be a Limbaugh copycat, because it gets him attention with the American underbelly who buys his Islamophobic books.

Steyn's hatred of Muslims quickly dropped him into the darkest chasm available, when he inhumanely dismissed the fate of southern Pacific islands who will be swallowed by the rising seas of global warming. It wasn't dismissal based on his expert understanding of sea level rise, but -- not surprisingly -- just another vehicle for his marketed hatred:
“The entire population of the Maldives are Sunni Muslim, so they will fit in perfectly fine if they all move to this Brussels suburb that produced the shooters in Paris.”
That isn't your ordinary every-day prickiness -- this is a whole new level of how to be a prick.

But hey, it sells books and attracts (a few) listerers, even if they are nutters. What could be more important?

General Steyn --  hardened soldier and noted military expert -- also gave his learned opinion on the national security repercussions of climate change, just two months after 48 national security and foreign policy leaders, diplomats, and former members of Congress from both parties ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal calling for climate change action. Think Progress quoted Steyn from Tuesday:
“I can’t tell you how absurd it is to be talking about the security threat [of climate change],” Steyn said. He then went on to talk about how the growing population of West Africa was a greater threat to international stability. “All those people are just going to get on a boat and walk into Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and the idea that climate change is [impacting] that is absolutely trivial to the remorselessness of those [population] numbers.”
Steyn shamelessly has the audacity to write
In this case, the Democrats asked no questions of anyone other than their guy - Rear Admiral Titley.
as if the other three "witnesses" weren't explicitedly chosen for their extreme right-wing views.

Did Steyn perhaps think he was invited on merit??


Edward Markey of Massachusetts said on Tuesday
“The only thing that requires a serious scientific investigation is why we are holding today’s hearing in the first place.”
which is about as good a summation as you'll find. Cruz's hearing only shows how far he'll go to distort and dismiss science, and how eagerly some scientists will enable his neo-fascism. Hey, if Cruz is elected, maybe Judith Curry can get an appointment from him high up in NSF or the Department of Energy, and then spite all those who have done her so terribly wrong. Perhaps she has a list of names already started.

Stoat gets the last word:
Data or Dogma? (full title “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate”) is the hearings promoted by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness.

Happily, this is one of those questions we can answer easily: when you’ve got so few scientists you’re willing to listen to that you’re obliged to invite Mark Steyn to speak, then you’re the one pushing Dogma.

There, that was easy, anything else?


Tom Dayton said...

Even Roy Spencer now admits that satellite "measurements" of tropospheric temperature cannot and must not be used as proxies for surface temperature measurements, due to major unresolved issues in the assumptions used in the complex conversions of the microwave measurements into estimates of temperatures. (Spencer is one of the two main people responsible for the "UAH" satellite-based troposphere temperature estimations.)

David in Cal said...

David -- Of course you are right that Cruz selected witnesses who are climate skeptics. He pretty much knew in advance what his witnesses would say. But, many Congressional hearings are like that.

I thought Markey sounded ignorant. However, I think he was right to question the need for this hearing. Regardless of whether the hearing produced useful facts or not, I think it won't have much impact. The Senators were obviously not swayed by any of the testimony, and the hearing got little attention from the media.


David in Cal said...

Tom Dayton -- I went to your link, but it didn't seem to support your comment. It said nothing about major unresolved issues in the assumptions used in the complex conversions of the microwave measurements into estimates of temperatures. Also, in that link, Spencer implied that the satellite temperatures were more reliable than surface temperatures.

Do you have a better source?

David in Cal

David Appell said...

David in Cal: At Tom's link, Spencer wrote

" tropospheric temperature doesn’t have to warm as fast as the surface all depends upon changes in precipitation microphysics, which are not well understood."

I don't know exactly what he means by "free" in this context.

JoeT said...

I'd very much be interested in understanding this better. I'm not even sure I understand the relationship between total precipitable water and microwave emission from an oxygen atom.

If someone can give us a brief tutorial --- a nice link would also help --- I'd appreciate it.

David in Cal said...

Thanks, David. I had read only Spencer's post, and failed to look at his comments. The comment you cite kind-of justifies Tom's point about satellite temperature not necessarily being a good proxy for surface temperature. I wish we knew by how much, in Spencer's opinion, the ground temperature trend could vary from the satellite temperarture trend. I still would like to see the cite where Spencer faults the satellite temperature measurements as Tom says he did.

David in Cal said...

when you’ve got so few scientists you’re willing to listen to that you’re obliged to invite Mark Steyn...

Silly comment. Cruz wanted Steyn. Steyn showed his value to the skeptic side when he forced the Commmittee to let Dr. Curry respond to certain comments. He then put Sen. Markey on the defensive by questioning Markey. See

Also, there are lots of other skeptics Cruz could have called. See for a list.

Furthermore, there was no obligation to have some minimum number of witnesses.

David Appell said...

David in Cal: The purpose of a Congressional hearing is to assess issues of national importance, not to be of "value to the skeptic side." Hearings aren't high school debates with scoring kept for each side. It's telling you see it otherwise.

Steyn had no business whatsoever at that meeting. He has no training in science, clearly knows very little about it, and knows nothing about national security either, though none of his ignorance ever stops him from opening his big mouth. His invitation was purely political, and was an insult to climate scientists and to the entire nation.

David in Cal said...

Mark Steyn made a couple of points that support the idea that this hearing was a farce. Almost all of the Republicans elegible didn't attend the hearing. And, some of the Dems were present only when it was their turn to ask a question. Some even walked out while their question was being answered. Given the lack of attention from the Senators, I really don't see what purpose this hearing served.