Thursday, April 03, 2008

Quick Notes -- Global Warming

It has been some time since I wrote a new installment of "Quick Notes". I am on vacation with my family, but thought I would share a few quick notes with my readers. The vacation is one of the reasons you see the odd times for my responses. Thanks to everyone for your comments. On my recent posts, and on to the new quick notes:

Ted Turner: I normally wouldn't take Ted Turner very seriously. However, in a recent interview, he voiced an opinion that many believers of Global Warming have, but don't share except in private circles. The opinion is what the real solution to Global Warming is: Population control. If we could limit the world's population, then we could solve global warming. This is interesting because most of the discussion around Global Warming is reminiscent of the eugenics discussion during the early part of the 1900's. This theory in a nutshell (the emphasis being on "nut") was to control who could and couldn't have children. This was a serious discussion with an assortment of laws passed to try to combat the "problem" (see the parallels?). For more information see here.

Enter Turner's quotes. According to Atlanta Journal and Constitution writer, "One way to combat global warming, Turner said, is to stabilize the population." Turner goes on to say later in the article that families should be restricted to one or two children. What about Turner's own lifestyle? I have heard he has three homes and five children. But I am sure the cure to Global Warming doesn't apply to him.

Data doesn't fit the theory? Data must be wrong: One of the more recent actual scientific developments on the Global Warming front revolves around scientific buoys reporting sea temperatures throughout the world. According to Global Warming, the sea should be rising in temperature and it should be rising in temperature more dramatically than the land. However, there are around 3,000 buoys that measure deeper ocean temperatures and periodically report this data back. What do these buoys show? Sea temperatures have remain relatively constant over the last four to five years. Scientist are perplexed because this isn't what they were expecting. Under the Scientific Method (a little known, and rarely used technique for doing scientific research), scientist should now re-evaluate their theories. If the data doesn't match, the theory could be wrong, or at least have aspects that are incorrect. However, scientist are instead trying to figure out why the buoys aren't reporting back the data they expect.

One other note. One of the articles I found for this piece mentioned clouds. I have often ranted that climatologists don't understand how clouds work, but they know that clouds are important in the Earth's climate. If they don't understand clouds, shouldn't every model they build be suspect? From the article:

Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says [heat from the ocean is] probably going back out into space. The Earth has a number of natural thermostats, including clouds, which can either trap heat and turn up the temperature, or reflect sunlight and help cool the planet.

That can't be directly measured at the moment, however.

"Unfortunately, we don't have adequate tracking of clouds to determine exactly what role they've been playing during this period," Trenberth says.

Very Interesting...


Anonymous said...

OMG Andy you lose your mind when you talk about global warming.

Somebody talked about having fewer kids, so they are cozying up to Nazi eugenics ideas? Sheesh, so when I use a birth control, having already had a couple of kids, I'm flirting with Nazism? The main reason I don't have more kids is the same as Turner: we've got enough people on the planet. That makes me something like a Nazi?

Second, how can anyone have a discussion about science with you? You discount every scientific study that shows serious global warming, but then you get one study that shows a few years of steady temperature in oceans, and you act like you've disproved thousands of other studies. Are you suggesting that global warming is not occurring?

Andy D said...

Ted Turner wasn't proposing Eugenics specifically, and I wasn't accusing him of such. However, based on his quotes, he would probably support legislation limiting the number of children a family can have. If Ted Turner wouldn't, there are some very very rabid supporters of Global Warming that would. This isn't really eugenics as much as population control.

If you choose to not have kids because you are afraid of damaging the world, that is your business. If I decide to follow in Turners footsteps and have five kids, that should be my business.

I welcome any serious discussion of global warming here. I don't discount scientific studies, I do discount propaganda movies. There have been legitimate questions raised about global warming.

My position in answer to your final question is that I do not believe man made global warming is occurring. I do believe the Earth is going through routine temperature changes as it always has. However, I also don't believe enough science has been performed to prove one way or another man made global warming is happening. There are some very good scientist who don't agree with the IPCC or Al Gore.

Anonymous said...

A little logic tutorial:

1) "Ted Turner hopes people only have one or two kids. Eugenics theorists had opinions about having kids. Therefore Turner's ideas are 'reminiscent' of Eugenics theories."

That's an example of Guilt by Association. That Girl Scouts wear uniforms "reminiscent" of the Hitler Youth does not make Girl Scouts similar to the Hitler Youth.

2) Ted Turner has a large family and a high consumption lifestyle. Therefore Ted Turner's ideas about lower consumption and family planning are wrong.

This is Argumentum Ad Hominem Tu Quoque. 2+2=4 is true, regardless of who says it: criminals, mental patients, Republicans or even Ted Turner. Turner may be wrong or right, but his personal habits have no relevance to that question.

3) There are some things scientists don't fully understand about climate. Therefore the entire theory of climate change is suspect.

That's Inflation of Conflict. That ocean temperatures have largely held steady according to one study (at temperatures that are above the long-term average) for a few years hardly means that the thousands of other measurements of global warming are now called into question.

4) Clouds impact global temperature. Some aspects of cloud ecology are not fully understood. Therefore clouds may mitigate global climate change.

This is an Argument to the Future (one that can only proved in the future), based on nothing more than a vague hope.

Finally, Andy, like most climate change deniers consistently practices Moving the Goalposts. The deniers camp used to deny that the earth was warming, but now, given the overwhelming evidence, they argue that humans aren't causing it. Yet they refuse to lay down precise terms that would prove or disprove their position. They move the goalposts of proof so as always to remain on the side of those who benefit from climate inaction.

Andy D said...

1) I wasn't trying to associate Ted Turner with Eugenics. I was trying to associate the entire Global Warming Debate with Eugenics. And before you jump the gun, I am not saying those who believe in global warming believe in eugenics. My point was simply that eugenics became the standard for a while based on very suspect science. Global warming is also becoming the standard based on very suspect science. The debates around eugenics are eerily similar to the ones we here today regarding global warming.

2) I think it is a little disingenuous for Ted Turner to argue people should have two or less children when he has five. I also find it disingenuous when politicians with giant estates argue for lower energy consumption. I find it odd that you defend this however. You say true is true regardless of who says it. Does that hold true for scientific experiments paid for by oil companies? If the science is good science, it shouldn't matter where the funding came from.

3) and 4) There are many things about our climate scientist don't understand. One of them is clouds. Scientists aren't sure how they from, why the from, or what exactly they do. However, climatologists will also admit that clouds play a big part in our climate. Therefore, any computer model that predicts weather has a "guess" put in for clouds. That is one of the reasons these models don't work for present or past weather. And because of that, these models have to be taken with a grain of salt.

I am not moving the goal post. I am simply trying to hold the theory of man made global warming to the same standard every other field of science is held to.

Anonymous said...

Andy wrote: I was trying to associate the entire Global Warming Debate with Eugenics... The debates around eugenics are eerily similar to the ones we here [sic] today regarding global warming.

Yes, and the debates my kids have about chocolate or vanilla ice cream are eerily similar to the race riots of the early 20th century.

Andy D said...

I am glad you are able to have an intellegent and informed discussion about Global Warming.