Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Climate change deniers - stupid or just dishonest?

Well, we all know the answer to that question when it comes to Oklahoma Republican James "Global Warming is a hoax and I have no gay relatives" Inhofe - both.

But what about these guys?

Read this little snippet from their paper and see if you can spot the illogic:

Recalculating this amount into the total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission in grams of CO2, one obtains the estimate 1.003×10^18 g, which constitutes less than 0.00022% of the total CO2 amount naturally degassed from the mantle during geologic history. Comparing these figures, one can conclude that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission is negligible (indistinguishable) in any energy-matter transformation processes changing the Earth’s climate.

If you are not well versed in the sciences, a few pointers:

Anthropogenic means "man made." Humans have been producing measurable amounts of CO2 since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, so for about 200 years or so.

Geologic history refers to the entire length of time that the earth has been a planet, more or less. That amount of time is some 4.6 BILLION years.

The authors take the amount of CO2 degassed by the planet over the course of 4.6 billion years and directly compare it to the amount of CO2 produced by humans in the last couple hundred years and conclude that the amount humans produce is no big deal.

That is sort of like taking the record-breaking number of yards that Corey Dillon rushed in a single game (278) and claiming that it is no big deal when one compares it to all the yards rushed by all football players in all games since football was first played.

The rest of Khilyuk and Chilingar's paper is no less bad. A devastating response was written by W. Aeschbach-Hertig a few months later. His response ends with:

It is astonishing that the paper of Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006) (as well as Khilyuk and Chilingar 2004, for that matter) could pass the review process of a seemingly serious journal such as Environmental Geology. Such failures of this process, which is supposed to guarantee the quality of published literature, are likely to damage the
reputation of this journal.

Indeed. Why the journal decided to publish such anti-global warming garbage is anybody's guess - to avoid a perceived bias? to give the naysayers 'equal time'? to avoid a ruckus over denying the paper?
Who knows. But what is certain is that it would appear that the best the climate change naysayers have to offer is biased dreck and truly junk science, as indicated by the legitimate science presented in the rebuttal.

But poor Jimmy Inhofe can't tell the difference.

*Thanks to Deltoid for writing about this fiasco in the first place.


Looney said...

Giggle. You aren't too content to stay in your field of expertise either!

Doppelganger said...

Giggle back at you.

One will notice that unlike you, I am not pontificating in the area, I am merely pointing out an obvious flaw in the reasoning of these people.

A flaw that a non-scienist such as yourself would, doubtless, not have noticed.

Looney said...

I don't much care for the entire global warming debate because it is so detached from the reality based sciences that I am familiar with. The bigger question is what to do about it if it might be a problem:

Solution A) Empower lawyers and bureaucrats to engage in litigation and regulation to try to cut green house gases, mixed with government selection of appropriate technologies. (The gnostic approach.)

Solution B) Carbon Tax. Let the market sort things out because the smartest people will invariably be overlooked by top level decision makers who only look at credentials. (The anti-gnostic approach.)

Needless to say, I prefer Solution B, because I have little regard for intellectuals coming up with the correct solutions. How about you?

Doppelganger said...

You do not appear to be familiar with any reality-based sciences from what I have seen.

Indeed - you actually believe that analogies are evidence.

But sure - keep the intellectuals out of it. Let the uneducated and gullible come up with solutions. I'm sure Fox news will have answers for us all.

Looney said...

"Indeed - you actually believe that analogies are evidence."

Did you determine that from evidence? (i.e. studying my work) Or did you conclude that by analogy? (i.e. Assuming I am like the caricature of Fundamentalists that is popular among intellectuals)

Doppelganger said...

Did you determine that from evidence? (i.e. studying my work) Or did you conclude that by analogy? (i.e. Assuming I am like the caricature of Fundamentalists that is popular among intellectuals)

This may come as a shock - but I got that from your say-so. After I had asked you several times if you truly believed that human intelligent design is evidence for the BIG Intelligent Design as in 'living things are so complex they musta' been Intelligently Designed' you said 'yes'. That is, you believe that analogies are evidence. There really is no other way to interpret it.


As for you being a caricature of Fundamentalists, no, actually, I don't think there is a caricature. You have actually demonstrated a number of the tendencies of Fundamentalists that make them deserving targets of scorn and ridicule - you have engaged in rampant anti-intellectualism, you have accused others of engaging in credentialism and of being indoctrinated, you have declared that science operates by appeals to authority, etc. All very comical and textbook projection.

Again, sorry.