Michigan’s Unseasonably Cold Spring Disproves Global Warming

That is, if we use this Middlebury College environmental studies’ prof’s standard of evidence. Hmm, I’m pretty sure I remember being told that it was only the media and other non-scholarly folks who went overboard in making such pronouncements.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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39 Responses to Michigan’s Unseasonably Cold Spring Disproves Global Warming

  1. Matty says:

    I’ve always considered Environmental Science itself an overbroad category. An understanding of the ecology of some European amphibians does not equip me to talk about ocean acidification or climate as anything more than an amateur. It makes as much sense as expecting you to moonlight as a psychiatrist because both deal with human behaviour. So my first question would be what does the Professor actually study that is relevant to the issue?

  2. Jennifer says:

    In Connecticut we’ve been getting more extreme: the winters are colder and the summers are hotter. But I’ve lived here for 15 years and still don’t really know what is considered “normal” weather for any time of year, because no matter what there’s always someone to say “It’s not usually this hot/cold/dry/humid/insouciant/whatever.”

  3. Lance says:

    Yes, there are dimwits on both sides of the global warming debate that will use the local weather to “prove” their view.

    I will say that it is more often the purview of AGW believers to use a heat wave or an especially violent storm (Katrina ring any bells?) to “prove” that global warming is “happening” and “it’s worse than we thought”.

  4. Lance says:

    Holy crap!

    Wait one minute there professor Hanley. Apparently you only read the headline. It was meant to be sarcastic.

    Bill McKibben is a dyed in the wool climate catastrophist. I can’t listen to him for more than about three minutes with out wanting to put my fist through my TV. He is one of the most strident and obnoxious “we’re all gonna die unless we overthrow western democracy and you people do just what I say” dipshits in the AGW camp.

    If you read the article, and I would do so only if you’ve had an inoculation to self righteousness and condescension, you’ll find McKibben attributing everything from the recent outbreak of tornadoes to Justin Beber’s change of hairstyle to anthropogenic emissions of CO2.

    I personally find Mc Kibben’s “emissions” far more noxious than anything caused by burning fossil fuels.

    He is the founder of the idiotically unscientific 350.org “global movement” that is dedicated to the irrational, not to mention unachievable, goal of holding the earth’s atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 350 parts per million “by any means necessary”.

    I have to stop typing now or I might smash my keyboard through a wall.

  5. ppnl says:

    Lance,

    I think James Hanley is also being sarcastic. Spelling it out James Hanley is in Michigan. They appear to be having a cool spring. Therefore global warming isn’t happening. His point is that this is the same logic that Bill McKibben is using.

    Well he is mostly correct but there are a few issues.

    First Bill McKibben is talking about a pattern while James has only one local incident. Yet it must be said that there really isn’t any good evidence that storms are becoming worse. I don’t even think it matters much if they are.

    Second global warming is happening. Even if Michigan freezes solid in June it will not change that result. What happens in Michigan is irreducibly local and cannot in principle prove anything about a global effect. If Bill McKibben shows a statistical growth in the power of storms then that can in principle be good evidence that global warming is causing it. The problem is that he has done no such thing. So James has good but irrelevant data while Bill McKibben has very poor data that would be relevant if it were not so poor. It is just scaremongering at this point.

  6. Lance says:

    ppnl,

    “If Bill McKibben shows a statistical growth in the power of storms then that can in principle be good evidence that global warming is causing it.”

    Repeat after me, “Correlation is not causation.”

    Even if there were a concurrent growth in storm intensity and average global temperature (which at present there is not) it would not be evidence that the increase in temperatures caused the increase in storm intensity.

    Also saying global warming is “happening” is a “so what” statement. Over the geological history of the earth it has always been either cooling or warming. We are currently in a slight warming trend (0.8 degrees Celsius over the last 130 years) before that there was an extended cooling period (the little ice age) that lasted several hundred years.

    “It is just scaremongering at this point.”

    Yeah, and Mc Kibben is one of the most shamelessly brazen of the scaremongers.

  7. rachwinn says:

    Repeat after me, “Correlation is not causation.”

    No, but they are positively correlated. :)

  8. Lance says:

    Hi rachwinn

    “No, but they are positively correlated. :)”

    No, actually they’re not. There is no statistical trend in storm intensity over the last century.

    You did end you comment with a smiley so maybe you were just joshing.

  9. ppnl says:

    Repeat after me, “Correlation is not causation.”

    No but finding a correlation after having predicted that correlation from a specific physical model is the only evidence of causation that you can ever have.

    Of course McKibben has done no such thing. All I said is that in principle he could.

    We are having a freaky tornado season this year. Just a dozen miles down the interstate eight people died just a few weeks ago from a tornado. It was one of like 15 that hit the state. We were lucky compared to Tennessee and Alabama with like 34 and 184 deaths. And now we have the tornado in Missouri with a death toll of 122. And we have storms headed our way for the week end. This makes it an easy subject for fear mongering. It is unsurprising that there are those who sink to the occasion.

    As for me I was out in the storms last time watching the lightning display and will almost certainly be out watching this week end. My dog will be in the house under the bed.

  10. ppnl says:

    “No, but they are positively correlated. :)”

    No, actually they’re not. There is no statistical trend in storm intensity over the last century.

    I fear you have again missed the joke. The joke is correlation does not prove causation but correlation is correlated with causation. A self referential joke.

  11. Lance says:

    ppnl,

    I did say that the smiley might mean she was joking. I guess years of shrill alarmism by the AGW faithful have conditioned me to overreact to subtle humor.

    “No but finding a correlation after having predicted that correlation from a specific physical model is the only evidence of causation that you can ever have.”

    Well that is certainly true of phenomenon of the scale of the earth’s climate system. But the components of the physical model must stand up to experimental verification and even then, when dealing with a system as complex and chaotic as the earth’s climate system, you must have a very long period of empirical data to positively assert causation.

    I know you are not asserting that AGW is causing stronger storms. You are just being rational in your approach.

  12. ppnl says:

    I guess years of shrill alarmism by the AGW faithful have conditioned me to overreact to subtle humor.

    Yeah, I’m guessing that McKibben doesn’t have much of a sense of humor about AGW either. You may want to stop and think about that.

  13. Lance says:

    ppnl,

    “Yeah, I’m guessing that McKibben doesn’t have much of a sense of humor about AGW either. You may want to stop and think about that.”

    Fair enough, but I don’t go around telling other people (all the other people on the planet in fact) that they have to change the way they live.

  14. lukas says:

    Fair enough, but I don’t go around telling other people (all the other people on the planet in fact) that they have to change the way they live.

    Well, climate change, if and when it happens, will make people change the way they live. I’m not sure that is a valid distinction.

  15. ppnl says:

    Fair enough, but I don’t go around telling other people (all the other people on the planet in fact) that they have to change the way they live.

    If you are wrong about the bad effects of global warming then your position may be more damaging to peoples ability to live as they choose than his.

    Fear mongering is an ugly thing even if dangerous global warming happens. But then obtuse denialism is also ugly even if there is no dangerous warming. You should worry less about his shit and make sure you are taking care of your own.

    Remember, he honestly feels justified in his position. If nothing else this proves that the easiest person in the world to fool is yourself. This is a principle best applied to yourself before others.

  16. Lance says:

    Lukas,

    “Well, climate change, if and when it happens, will make people change the way they live. I’m not sure that is a valid distinction.”

    First of all I haven’t asked you or anyone else to do anything. I have merely stated my opinion on the issue of storm intensity and anthropogenic Co2 emissions, which is the same one expressed by NOAA and most other scientists in the field. You are free to believe as you wish but if you try to impose restrictions on my life by democratic means I will oppose them by those same means.

    Which part of that is a problem for you?

    ppnl,

    “If you are wrong about the bad effects of global warming then your position may be more damaging to peoples ability to live as they choose than his.”

    And if my “born again” parents are right then I’m leading people to hell by stating my objections to that catastrophic nonsense. Am I a Christianity “denier” as well? Both climate change fear mongers and hell fire evangelists rely on emotional and dishonest techniques to try to influence people’s beliefs.

    My “position” is one of analyzing the facts and then making a rational assessment of the risks. I occasionally express my opinion in person or on line. I didn’t start a “movement” so equating my expressing my opinion to individuals to McKibben’s mass actions is a bit silly don’t you think?

    Also Bill McKibben is an outright liar. He purposely distorts the facts to fit his political goals. The facts are that heat waves, droughts, tornadoes Hurricanes etc. have not been increasing but that doesn’t stop McKibben from claiming that they are. And then he uses this lie to push his claims about anthropogenic CO2 and his preferred political “solutions”.

    That is blatantly dishonest.

    I have done nothing of the kind so please don’t compare me to McKibben.

    “Fear mongering is an ugly thing even if dangerous global warming happens. But then obtuse denialism is also ugly even if there is no dangerous warming. You should worry less about his shit and make sure you are taking care of your own.”

    Those are some strong words there slick, got any facts to back them up or are you just running me down to satisfy your own self righteous streak? Unless you can show me an example of my “obtuse denialism” you are just demonstrating your own petty biases.

    Also I am a scientist and an educator so I don’t take slurs like “denialist” lightly. If you want to bring up a scientific issue and discuss it then please do, but keep your asinine insults to yourself if you expect anything productive to come from our interactions.

    “Remember, he honestly feels justified in his position. If nothing else this proves that the easiest person in the world to fool is yourself. This is a principle best applied to yourself before others.”

    A look in the mirror might do you some good as well.

  17. Matty says:

    OT but this seems worth mentioning. It seems James K has put on a bowler hat.

  18. ppnl says:

    “Fear mongering is an ugly thing even if dangerous global warming happens. But then obtuse denialism is also ugly even if there is no dangerous warming. You should worry less about his shit and make sure you are taking care of your own.”

    Those are some strong words there slick, got any facts to back them up or are you just running me down to satisfy your own self righteous streak? Unless you can show me an example of my “obtuse denialism” you are just demonstrating your own petty biases.

  19. ppnl says:

    “Fear mongering is an ugly thing even if dangerous global warming happens. But then obtuse denialism is also ugly even if there is no dangerous warming. You should worry less about his shit and make sure you are taking care of your own.”

    Those are some strong words there slick, got any facts to back them up or are you just running me down to satisfy your own self righteous streak? Unless you can show me an example of my “obtuse denialism” you are just demonstrating your own petty biases.

    Facts about what exactly? Fear mongering is ugly? I think we agree that it is. Obtuse denialism is ugly? I think we can agree that it is and there are those out there that are guilty of it. You are reacting as if I called you an obtuse denialist. I have not and in fact we have not disagreed on any substantitive fact in this thread. I only offer a caution. You have demonstrated a marked lack of humor that has distorted your understanding of other people and by your own admission were in danger of slamming your keyboard through the wall. Those are the same kinds of passions that cause McKibben to tell “lies” and they are the reason that he will not see them as lies. I’m just saying that passions warp reality and you display an enormous amount of passion. Be careful and worry more about your own grasp on reality more than his.

    My “position” is one of analyzing the facts and then making a rational assessment of the risks.

    Thats fine. But McKibben honestly thinks of himself as doing the same. Which of you come closer? I dunno but the number of keyboards slammed through walls may be a good proxy for failure.

    BTW down below in the other AGW thread you may not have seen my last reply as it was delayed. Go read it and tell me if you think Cato is publishing lies.

  20. Lance says:

    ppnl,

    You are reacting as if I called you an obtuse denialist. I have not and in fact we have not disagreed on any substantitive fact in this thread. I only offer a caution.

    Talk about passive aggressive back peddling. Here is what you said.

    But then obtuse denialism is also ugly even if there is no dangerous warming. You should worry less about his shit and make sure you are taking care of your own.

    And…

    If nothing else this proves that the easiest person in the world to fool is yourself. This is a principle best applied to yourself before others.

    Were those just supposed to be general remarks? I don’t think any reasonable contextual reading would imply that they were. The words “you” “yourself” and “your own” certainly made the remarks look like they were meant for me.

    I am not “fooling myself” thank you, and of course you meant no offense by the term “my own shit”.

    Puh-leeze.

    Also, I read your “Cato” remarks in the other thread and I say “So what?” I haven’t defended Cato and just because they mis-attributed one of the emails doesn’t somehow make the whole climategate fiasco an irrelevant “Rorschach test”.

    You seem to be all too quick to sweep them under the rug. Why is that?

  21. ppnl says:

    Were those just supposed to be general remarks?

    Well yes they were. The first one:

    But then obtuse denialism is also ugly even if there is no dangerous warming. You should worry less about his shit and make sure you are taking care of your own.

    Remember the subject was that your lack of humor was probably similar to McKibben’s probable lack of humor leading you to misunderstand people. That justifies the use of the word “you” here. Otherwise I would have used “we”. You are very passionate on this subject justifying a caution. That passion does not make you a denialist but it makes denialism a failure mode for you.

    And the second:

    If nothing else this proves that the easiest person in the world to fool is yourself. This is a principle best applied to yourself before others.

    This was a direct criticism of McKibben. It is simply paraphrasing a Richard Feynman quote. When Feynman said “yourself” he was talking about himself. It is a principle that we should all apply to ourselves.

    I am not “fooling myself” thank you, and of course you meant no offense by the term “my own shit”.

    No dude I didn’t. I also mean no disrespect by calling you “dude”. And we are all fooling ourselves much of the time.

    Also, I read your “Cato” remarks in the other thread and I say “So what?” I haven’t defended Cato and just because they mis-attributed one of the emails doesn’t somehow make the whole climategate fiasco an irrelevant “Rorschach test”.

    I never said that you had defended Cato and I never said the miss-attribution made anything go away. I asked you if Cato was lying. Will this cause McKibben to smash his keyboard through the wall? Is this what he uses to fuel his outrage machine? Is the anger and passion this generates blinding him to his own excesses?

    And what about you? Are you minimizing this as a simple mistake because it does not fuel your outrage machine? All I’m saying is that this is something you really need to think about. Well we all need to think about it. But then we all aren’t about to smash our keyboard through the wall.

    You seem to be all too quick to sweep them under the rug. Why is that?

    I have not swept anything under the rug. James Hanley mentioned a problem with the emails without being very specific. You would think a college professor could be more specific. Anyway I identified the issue he was referring to as best as I could and I think I addressed it in very good detail. Nothing I said was intended as a defense of any position or policy on AGW. It was simply an analysis of the context of the “redefine peer review” comment in the emails.

    You on the other hand simply said “Its obvious… ” and walked away. There isn’t an argument here for me to answer. You don’t get to say anything is obvious. You have to make an argument. Make an argument and I may even agree with it.

  22. Lance says:

    ppnl,

    I’m going to take you at your word that you were just making general remarks.

    However, your use of the word denialism in connection with AGW is repugnant. The word was chosen for it’s close association to people that claim that the “Holocaust” never happened. I would suggest that if you really want to appear impartial on the subject of AGW you avoid using that word.

    Perhaps you should check your sense of humor as well, since my “throw my keyboard through a wall” remark was a joke. I find McKibben to be so shrill as to be counterproductive to his own misguided cause.

    It’s my sense that the general public has grown rather weary of doomsayers of his ilk. Still, as a scientist I do bristle when I see people claiming the mantle of “science” while spouting politically inspired nonsense.

    As far as Cato is concerned, if they made a mistake they should say so and apologize. I am even more irritated by politically motivated distortions of the science by people and organizations that are closer to my political alignment.

    It’s not acceptable to counter misinformation with more misinformation even if it is for a “good cause”.

  23. ppnl says:

    However, your use of the word denialism in connection with AGW is repugnant. The word was chosen for it’s close association to people that claim that the “Holocaust” never happened. I would suggest that if you really want to appear impartial on the subject of AGW you avoid using that word.

    I invoke Godwin’s law. You have automatically lost this debate and the thread is automatically over. Godwin has spoken.

    Look, “denialism” is a simple descriptive term. It describes a situation where people are driven to deny simple elements of reality. The idea that you cannot use the word to talk about AGW denialism, AIDS denialism, evolution denialism or tobacco/cancer denialism because it was first used to talk about Holocaust denialists is… quite strange. I mean really if in some alternate universe the phrase “fear mongering” had been used to describe some element of Holocaust denial would that phrase be off limits as well?

    I understand that the term can be used as a simple polemical method for slapping anyone you disagree with. But that’s true of any word you choose. It is certainly true of “fear mongering” and you didn’t object to that.

    I do agree that it is a charge that you should make with caution. It usually just shuts down debate.

    Perhaps you should check your sense of humor as well, since my “throw my keyboard through a wall” remark was a joke.

    Actually I was hoping so. But it is no less an indicator of your passions for that.

    I find McKibben to be so shrill as to be counterproductive to his own misguided cause.

    Yeah. Imagine that. Yes I am being snarky. My bad.

    I am even more irritated by politically motivated distortions of the science by people and organizations that are closer to my political alignment.

    This is a very important point. I believe that one reason that religion in America has become such a cesspool is because of their failure to criticize their own. As a result it has been taken over by the lowest common denominator hucksters.

    But people underestimate how difficult it is to criticize their own. Remember Feynman’s warning. The easiest person to fool is yourselfourselves.

  24. Lance says:

    ppnl,

    Among my most prized books are The Richard Feynman Lectures on Physics Volumes I, II and III so you needn’t quote him to me. Still, he would be the last person, were he alive, to accept demi-g0d status. In fact I’m sure he would be highly amused at the noteriety he has attained especially among those that really don’t have any real idea of his actual scientific accomplishments which, while considerable, are rarely mentioned by those that toss his name into conversations. (I’m not implying that you are among this sample population.)

    My family was deeply religious (and still is) when I reluctantly but inexorably veered from the faith of my family, which as a child immersed in the Mormon community was all I knew and all I wanted to be part of, for rational thought. I was ostracized, more accurately banished, by everyone I knew including every member of my own family, but I could no longer lie to myself that I believed that an omnipotent being existed let alone controlled all of nature and reality.

    So do you really think I am going to “deny” a certain theory based on the radiative properties of a certain carbon compound to suit my political preferences?

    Puh- leeze.

  25. ppnl says:

    …to accept demi-g0d status.

    Uh, what?

    So do you really think I am going to “deny” a certain theory based on the radiative properties of a certain carbon compound to suit my political preferences?

    We all make mistakes of this type dude. We all do. And we all see bias in others far easier than we see it in our self.

    Anyway I have no idea what your scientific biases may be unless you actually discuss a scientific issue. Even then I’m not particularly qualified to judge you and even if I were I may have my own shit biasing my judgment. Any such discussion should be treated as an opportunity to learn rather than convince. But until you actually make an argument about some aspect of AGW we can’t even do that.

  26. James Hanley says:

    Hey, hey, hey, nobody gets to declare a thread over except me. This thread is still alive, if perhaps not well.

  27. ppnl says:

    Hey, hey, hey, nobody gets to declare a thread over except me. This thread is still alive, if perhaps not well.

    The penalty for ignoring Godwin’s law is Hitler’s zombie comes and eats your brains. If you are willing to risk that then go for it.

    Anyway what did you think about the Cato remarks below in the previous global warming thread?

  28. Lance says:

    ppnl,

    You don’t get to invoke Godwin’s Law when you are the one using words that purposely draw connections to Nazis and neo-Nazis such as “denialism”.

  29. ppnl says:

    Lance,

    The word “Denialism” is much older than the holocaust. I used the Google ngram viewer to check when it has been used. Here are the results…

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/chart?content=denialism&corpus=0&smoothing=3&year_start=1800&year_end=2000

    I don’t know if the img code is turned on. There is no mention of it so I just posted the image location. You should be able to click on it and see the image.

    Anyway as I hope you can see there is a peak at around 1885. I don’t know what it is referring to but clearly it isn’t the WWII holocaust. I’m guessing some kind of religious denial. Maybe referring to antitrinitarians?

    There is another peak at about 1930. Again this cannot be the holocaust and I can only guess some religious theme. The smaller peak at about 1970 could well be the holocaust. But the major peak starts at about 1990. Since I know that a popular book came out at about that time that used the word “denialism” it is clear that holocaust denialism is a good part of this peak. But how much? Well we can check.

    Doing an ngram search on “holocaust denialism” does not give any results. But we can try other forms like “holocaust denial”. That gives this graph…

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/chart?content=holocaust%20denial&corpus=0&smoothing=3&year_start=1800&year_end=2000

    We again see the bump at 1930. Well holocaust just means “burnt offerings” and its original meaning was just a reference to some religious practices involving animal sacrifice. It was first used in reference to the slaughter of Jews in the 1190s but afterward was used to describe any mass disaster man made or natural. Again I can only assume that the occurrence of “denial” and “denialism” with the word “holocaust” is some religious dispute pre-WWII.

    But we again see the peak take off in about 1990 validating our expectation that the rise in the occurrences of the word “denialism” is connected to references to the holocaust. But how much? Well lets do an ngram search with “AIDS denial”…

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/chart?content=AIDS%20denial&corpus=0&smoothing=3&year_start=1800&year_end=2000

    As you can see the occurrences the ngram “AIDS denial” rises sharply at about the same time and actually vastly outnumbers the occurrences of “holocaust denial”. Well this turns out to be mostly an illusion as Holocaust is usually capitalized. If we do the search using that the numbers are more even. Still, the point stands that you cannot connect denial exclusively to WWII events.

    Well but still we are talking about the ngram “denial” as a proxy for “denialism” here since “denialism” did not occur enough connected to “AIDS”, “holocaust” or any other word to show up. But I think this is a very weak objection. I think the best way to see the etymological flow is with another ngram search. Lets do “in denial”…

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/chart?content=in%20denial&corpus=0&smoothing=3&year_start=1800&year_end=2000

    Now this is a phrase with a rich history. It is basically about cognitive dissonance, a psychological protection mechanism that forces you to deny some painful aspect of reality. A religious person may be in denial over evolution for example.

    The etymological flow is from “in denial” to “x denial” where x is some subject like evolution or AGW. An individual with “x denial” then becomes an “x denialist”. To refer to the phenomena of “x denialist” as a whole we have the word “x denialism”. To refer to the entire phenomena of people achieving cognitive dissonance over some subject we have the word “denialism”.

    The fact that there was a book in 1990 does not give Hitler ownership over the word “deny” or any of its obvious derived forms. The word “denialist” like the phrase “dumb as a stump” is a pejorative and like all pejoratives should be used with caution. But the fact that it is a pejorative does not mean that it cannot be true. And the fact that it is mean does not justify a violation of Godwin’s Law. The Hitler zombie will have your brains.

    Anyway I hope you can see the graphs. If not I will try again with a direct link to the engram page itself. I probably should have done that anyway but I was expecting to be able to use the img tag to post the graphs in the message. Then I noticed that the img tag isn’t listed as one of the usable tags.

  30. James Hanley says:

    The penalty for ignoring Godwin’s law is Hitler’s zombie comes and eats your brains. If you are willing to risk that then go for it.

    Why do you think I haven’t written anything lately?

  31. ppnl says:

    Well don’t let your terror of the Hitler zombie stop you from answering my question. What do you think of the articles published by Cato? Is this a good example of biased thinking or even misinformation? I ask because I want to know what others think. Epistemic closure is a bad thing.

    And given the context do you still see the “redefine peer review” as evidence of bias?

    Anyway my point was and remains that looking for bias is the wrong approach because you will find it. Always. There is no substitute for understanding the scientific arguments.

  32. James Hanley says:

    ppnl,

    I haven’t had time to look at the Cato article yet. I honestly don’t pay attention to anything Cato says about global warming. And Cato doesn’t publish peer reviewed articles, so I don’t–prior to reading it–get the connection there.

    I will read it, though, hopefully this weekend.

    I can’t agree that looking for bias is a bad thing, though. Sometimes it really matters.

  33. Lance says:

    ppnl,

    Your point that the word “denier” predates it’s usage in connection to the Holocaust, while interesting, doesn’t change the fact that that the word is closely associated in modern usage by this connection. And it was no doubt the reason that people attempting to limit scientific opinions contrary to their own used the pejorative to smear those that disagree with them.

    Also the idea that someone is a “denialist” simply because they disagree with a “consensus” opinion of any particular scientific field is wholly repugnant. Especially a field as nascent and politically tainted as climate science. I might add that at least one scientist that is prominent in the field, Dr. Richard Lindzen, has embraced the term. He is proud to say that he “denies” the idea that there is sufficient scientific evidence to declare the slight warming of the past one hundred years either largely attributable to human causes or dangerous.

    I think this is overly generous on his part and ignores the malevolent motivation of those that sling the term. Also since many of the definitions of denier include denying the “truth” as part of the definition I find the word to be inappropriate in scientific discussions. “Truth” is a philosophical or religious concept and has no place in science.

    Interestingly neither Merriam Webster’s on-line dictionary nor Microsoft Word recognize the words denialism or denialist.

  34. ppnl says:

    Your point that the word “denier” predates it’s usage in connection to the Holocaust, while interesting, doesn’t change the fact that that the word is closely associated in modern usage by this connection.

    Continuing to say that while ignoring the evidence before you does not make it true. I just did a Google search on denialism. I got one million five hundred thousand hits. I looked at the first 25 pages of hits. I saw debt-spending denialism, Flu-shot denialism, AIDS denialism, science denialism, denialism denialism, AGW denialism, climate change denialism, germ theory denialism, HBD denialism (apparently about the heritability of intelligence), collateral damage denialism, Egypt’s denialism, Fiscal crisis denialism, Serbian denialism, Obama denialism, Subduction denialism (Apparently a creationist subject.), Labour’s denialism, environmental denialism, sunscreen denialism (apparently about skin cancer), vaccine denialism, regulatory capture denialism, stock traders denialism, banking deregulation denialism, Interest rates denialism, New Deal denialism, Institutional denialism (apparently about over worked medical personnel.), Greenpeace denialism (apparently someone slapping greenpeace up side the head for claiming they never opposed the use of DDT.), epidemic denialism, rape denialism, Toy Story denialism (don’t ask I didn’t even look.), creationist denialism, obesity denialism, American denialism, oil spill denialism, civil war denialism and moon landing denialism.

    In 25 pages not once did the word Holocaust appear in the link text. The word appeared once in the excerpt text that Google uses to show you the context of the hit. Some of the actual articles mentioned the holocaust in passing as they were talking about something else. A few were about the controversy over the connection between the word “denialism” and the holocaust.

    But a page on holocaust denialism? Not a single one.

    I did a google search on “holocaust denialism” and got 444000 hits. But even on the first page some of the links go back to 2003. Sorry dude but holocaust denial never had the defining dominance that you claim and currently it accounts for a truly miniscule part of the usage of “denialism”.

    Also the idea that someone is a “denialist” simply because they disagree with a “consensus” opinion of any particular scientific field is wholly repugnant.

    That can be a valid objection.

  35. ppnl says:

    Erp!! Posted prematurely!

    Also the idea that someone is a “denialist” simply because they disagree with a “consensus” opinion of any particular scientific field is wholly repugnant.

    That can be a valid objection. But that’s true of any pejorative. For example the fact that someone is “dumb as a stump” simply because they disagree with a “consensus” opinion of any particular field is wholly repugnant. Agreed. Totally.

    But first that has nothing to do with Hitler. Hitler’s zombie will have your brains.

    And second…

    Anyone who claims – human produced co2 cannot have a significant effect since a single volcanic eruption produces thousands of times as much co2 as humans do – is either dumb as a stump, a denialist or both.

    Anyone who claims – additional co2 cannot cause additional greenhouse effect because there is already enough to reach saturation of absorption – is either dumb as a stump, a denialist or both.

    Anyone who claims that – additional co2 cannot cause significant warming because water vapor is is more abundant and a more powerful greenhouse gas – is either dumb as a stump, a denialist or both.

    Now calling someone a denialist may be every bit as rude as calling them dumb as a stump. But lets criticize it on those grounds rather than trying to find some connection to Hitler. And however rude it is it can be true.

    I think this is overly generous on his part and ignores the malevolent motivation of those that sling the term.

    Well then as I demonstrated in part one many people are being malevolent on many subjects. I will even agree that many of them are being malevolent. But not because of any connection to Hitler or the holocaust. It is just the nature of a pejorative. But no matter how rude, pejoratives can be true.

  36. Lance says:

    OK, I happily cede the point that at this time the word “denialism” and denier have taken on many connotations even though I had never heard the words used in connection to topics other than the holocaust before about ten years ago.

    Anyone who claims – human produced co2 cannot have a significant effect since a single volcanic eruption produces thousands of times as much co2 as humans do – is either dumb as a stump, a denialist or both.

    How about just wrong on the facts?

    Anyone who claims – additional co2 cannot cause additional greenhouse effect because there is already enough to reach saturation of absorption – is either dumb as a stump, a denialist or both.

    Again just wrong, but it is true that since the radiative effect of atmospheric CO2 is logarithmic that each additional CO2 molecule contributes less to the effect than the one before it.

    Anyone who claims that – additional co2 cannot cause significant warming because water vapor is is more abundant and a more powerful greenhouse gas – is either dumb as a stump, a denialist or both.

    This of course depends on the subjective word “significant”. Water vapor is indeed a more abundant and more “powerful” (although I find this word subjective as well) greenhouse gas than CO2.

    I don’t see how the purposefully insulting word “denialist”, or “dumb as a stump” for that matter, contributes anything of value to discussions of atmospheric CO2. If you feel the person making the argument is incorrect call them on the facts. If you think they are “dumb” what exactly is calling them names going to accomplish?

    If you think they are purposely distorting the facts then say so, but attributing motivation for the distortion is a tricky business.

    It is only after years of hearing, and reading, Bill Mckibben that I have decided that he has an agenda based on his personal philosophical beliefs and goals and is willing to lie to achieve those goals.

    I have not, and will not call him a “denialist” because it adds nothing of value to the discussion.

  37. James Hanley says:

    ppnl,

    OK, I read the Patrick Michaels article you linked. How is it supposed to affect my interpretation of the meaning of “redefine what peer reviewed means”? After reading it, my take on that particular phrase is unchanged–my view of its perniciousness is neither strengthened nor weakened.

  38. ppnl says:

    Lance,

    OK, I happily cede the point that at this time the word “denialism” and denier have taken on many connotations…

    Well no its a better defined phenomena than that. It is a similar phenomena identified in many different contexts.

    …even though I had never heard the words used in connection to topics other than the holocaust before about ten years ago.

    Ok, great. But that was simply because of a very popular book at a specific point in time. Again the etymological roots of “denialism” is from the phrase “in denial”.

    Also being “in denial” isn’t necessarily morally reprehensible. If you are in denial over the Holocaust then yes that reflects badly on you. If you are in denial over the fact that your girlfriend is cheating on you then not so much.

    How about just wrong on the facts?

    Creationists are not just wrong on the facts. Creationists do not become creationists simply because they were absent that day in school when they taught how old the earth was. Most of them are driven to believe it as part of their cultural and political identity. Many of these don’t really analyze evidence anyway and are simply depending on authority figures. Some of those authority figures are smart enough that they should see the truth but psychologically cannot get past their cultural commitments. Others are just taking advantage for the attention and notoriety it brings. For example I don’t believe Donald Trump ever believed that there was any doubt about Obama’s citizenship. He was driven by the need for attention and notoriety. This is a different phenomena from just being wrong on the facts or even simply lying.

    The same phenomena plays out in the global warming debate.

    I don’t see how the purposefully insulting word “denialist”, or “dumb as a stump” for that matter, contributes anything of value to discussions of atmospheric CO2.

    And…

    It is only after years of hearing, and reading, Bill Mckibben that I have decided that he has an agenda based on his personal philosophical beliefs and goals and is willing to lie to achieve those goals.

    So you say Bill Mckibben is a liar but you would not call him a denialist because that is insulting and would add nothing to the debate. Yeah, that will keep the debate going. Anyway I would bet that Bill Mckibben would make the same claims about you that you are making about him.

    I would argue that the word “denialist” is less insulting and more accurate when applied to a large class of subjects than simply calling people liars although liars can also be accurate. Creationists are not usually liars although they can be and some can have conscious political motives. AIDS denialists are usually not liars and are not usually purposely distorting the facts nor are they usually that stupid.

  39. ppnl says:

    James Hanley,

    OK, I read the Patrick Michaels article you linked. How is it supposed to affect my interpretation of the meaning of “redefine what peer reviewed means”? After reading it, my take on that particular phrase is unchanged–my view of its perniciousness is neither strengthened nor weakened.

    Uh, what? No I don’t imagine it did since it was not intended to do any such thing. That link was intended to highlight a possible pernicious behavior by a Cato writer.

    I provided link to a Cato article by Patrick J. Michaels that was correct as linked but then showed that this was a sanitized version of the post where some serious mis-attributions had been fixed without comment. Then I linked to a copy of the original version of the Cato post. Then I linked to a latter Cato post by Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar that repeated and furthered the original error. I asked why there had not been a retraction and apology rather than a sanitization of the error. And why was the error repeated several weeks later? This is about the possible perniciousness of Cato authors.

    As for the “redefine what peer reviewed means” I linked to the email where that sentence occurred in order to give context. I pointed out that the dispute was over the inclusion of two papers where the peer review process seems to have gone horribly wrong. So wrong that half the editorial staff resigned in protest. If your view of the perniciousness of the “change peer review” remark changes then this is would be what change it. All he was saying is that these papers should not be included because the peer review process was subverted.

    Anyway the point I was trying to make is that going out looking for bias is pointless because you can always find it. That does not mean that you should not try to be aware of the bias of an individual whose argument you are trying to understand.

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