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It's always fascinating how folks can often have strong opinions about things they know very little about. Like me never having played organized football beyond grade school but knowing with certainty that Belichek had a bad game plan for the Super Bowl.

I don't know much about meteorology, climate science, etc. but I have colleagues who do and they tell me there is a very good likelihood that human influenced global warming is real and potentially alarming. That alone tells me that it is not "hysteria".

I do know something about biology. There is no doubt that coral reefs throughout the world are dying because of diseases brought on by warmer waters. This is occurring in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and south Pacific. This will have enormous impact on island ecosystems and fish populations.

There is also no doubt that plants and insects normally limited to the tropics are moving northward. We are seeing migrations moving earlier and farther north every year. Ecosystems are changing in a manner consistent with a warming trend.

Research is already going on to identify and develop crop plants optimized for higher carbon dioxide levels. Hopefully science will once again save humanity from the selfish and short-sighted view that consumption is more important than ecology.
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I don't know much about meteorology, climate science, etc. but I have colleagues who do and they tell me there is a very good likelihood that human influenced global warming is real and potentially alarming. That alone tells me that it is not "hysteria".

I do know something about biology. There is no doubt that coral reefs throughout the world are dying because of diseases brought on by warmer waters. This is occurring in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and south Pacific. This will have enormous impact on island ecosystems and fish populations.

There is also no doubt that plants and insects normally limited to the tropics are moving northward. We are seeing migrations moving earlier and farther north every year. Ecosystems are changing in a manner consistent with a warming trend.


Centromere,

It appears that there is consistent evidence that the globe is warming.

CO2 is certainly a greenhouse gas (albeit weak compared to others).

Humans have increased the quantity of CO2.

However, this does not preclude other natural causes for global warming. Several other viable hypotheses exist for the observed warming (Earth's orbit variations, solar sunspot activity, etc). There are also a lot of unexplained holes in anthropogenic global warming. It's very likely that there's more than one single cause (e.g. one such is that human CO2 emissions do contribute but are not the primary factor).

I think the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming is very far from the standards set by the theory of evolution.

Using someone's skepticism of global warming as an indictment of their scientific objectivity regarding Evolution does not do Evolution any favors.
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Using someone's skepticism of global warming as an indictment of their scientific objectivity regarding Evolution does not do Evolution any favors.

I don't recall even mentioning evolution in this thread.

What I am criticizing is describing concern about global warming as "hysteria". Apparently my putting "hysteria" in the title with quotation marks and including the sentence in the OP: "That alone tells me that it is not "hysteria"" were too subtle.

In any case, consider the following points for which I think there is general agreement.

1. There is consistent evidence that global warming is occurring with potentially severe consequences.

2. There is a reasonable possibility that human activity is contributing significantly to global warming.

3. It is likely that we will never be able to determine with certainty the human contribution before it is too late to do anything about it, even if by then.

Given these points, and assuming we care about the world we give to our children, what is our most rational course of action?

It seems pretty obvious to me that we should do what we can to mitigate our contribution to the problem and hope it has some benefits.
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What I am criticizing is describing concern about global warming as "hysteria".

I don't consider "concern" to be hysteria. I do consider some proposed solutions to global warming, whose concern is based on faulty models with therefore erroneous outcomes predicted, to be hysterical reactions.

Does this make you at least wonder about the accuracy of the dire predictions?

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.SenateReport#report
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It seems pretty obvious to me that we should do what we can to mitigate our contribution to the problem and hope it has some benefits.

I think the contention of skeptics is in the highlighted portion.

How much is "what we can". Reasonable people can conclude that this means completely different orders of magnitude of effort.

The worrisome aspect is that some hypothesis (e.g. that solar sunspot cycles are the dominant factor) indicate that current global warming is a short-term effect and that global temperatures will soon drop. If proven true, human civilization may wish to increase CO2 emissions even as we restrict other pollutants.

OTOH, if shown to be inaccurate, increasing global CO2 emissions will be the exact opposite of what we need to do.

On general principal it makes sense to reduce the amount of pollutants humans release into our environment. However, some specific hypotheses would recommend we do just this.

At this point I think it's essential that each of the contending hypotheses "pony up" their predictions and that we immediately begin comparing the predictive powers of each. Interestingly the sunspot one may be presented with an unexpected opportunity to prove itself. Solar cycle 24 is begining late and is much less active than predicted. With such an abnormally weak solar cycle, this hypothesis predicts wetter & cooler climate than normal. How global climates are affected over the next 11 year cycle may be enough to discard or reinforce this hypothesis.

Honestly the whole thing is pretty scary. If anthropogenic GW is correct, not reducing atmospheric CO2 could eventually result in a run away greenhouse.

If the orbital dynamics or solar sunspot activity hypotheses are correct we could be on the cusp of slipping into mini or full ice age.
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I don't consider "concern" to be hysteria. I do consider some proposed solutions to global warming, whose concern is based on faulty models with therefore erroneous outcomes predicted, to be hysterical reactions.

Does this make you at least wonder about the accuracy of the dire predictions?


Just because a meteorite could randomly crush me like an ant doesn't mean I shouldn't take precautions and duck when a rock is thrown at me.

Man's impact is real regardless of what happened before we arrived.
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Does this make you at least wonder about the accuracy of the dire predictions?

Sure. It's what we call a scientific disagreement. Happens all the time.

The question is, what do we do given inconclusive information? Nothing, and hope that things turn out okay? Or be proactive?

I favor the latter, particularly since we know that human activity is causing strains on the environment independent of global warming.

I do consider some proposed solutions to global warming, whose concern is based on faulty models with therefore erroneous outcomes predicted, to be hysterical reactions.

How do you know the models that give conclusions you don't like are faulty but the ones that agree with your position are accurate? How do you know that the experts who disagree with you are hysterical while those you agree with are objective and rational?
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I don't consider "concern" to be hysteria. I do consider some proposed solutions to global warming, whose concern is based on faulty models with therefore erroneous outcomes predicted, to be hysterical reactions.

Brian,

I wouldn't go this far.

I worked extensively with fluid dynamic models for 7 years (although not in climate modeling code). The base models are not "faulty". However, in such models it's necessary to simplify various aspects of the model (cloud formation, the effects of cloud formation, turbulence, etc.).

It's traditional in this science to make predictions, run tests, compare the predictions to the test results, and update those simplifications.

Small variations in the simplification of cloud formation could drastically alter the models predictions if the simplification isn't correct. I'm also aware that some of the major predictions of the models have not matched actual observations.

OTOH, global climate models have also made correct predictions in other areas.

Certainly anthropogenic GW is supported in political circles with far less criticism than I think it deserves. OTOH, if anthropogenic GW is indeed correct (which I admit it very well could be) then acting ASAP is very important.

For me it's a tough call.
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Man's impact is real regardless of what happened before we arrived.

You consistently take a global warming discussion off on another tangent, that of "human impact" in general.

I totally agree with you on the broader issues of humans trashing the planet. I'm just focusing on one aspect, where the impact is not so clear cut.
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For me it's a tough call.


For me its not. We need to better understand what is going on before we "ACT NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!", and end up doing more harm than not acting.
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You consistently take a global warming discussion off on another tangent, that of "human impact" in general.

I totally agree with you on the broader issues of humans trashing the planet. I'm just focusing on one aspect, where the impact is not so clear cut.


Global warming, pollution, reduction in biomass are all symptoms of the human disease. This is not another tangent.

Look, as it was pointed out by someone else to me, the planet could care less what does or does not live on it. My daughter just finished writing an article on the human factor, and I had to caution her to rewrite the section on the impact on the Earth if humans died off, and tackle it from our perspective if we were to become extinct in the next several hundreds of years. She was making it sound like the earth would be worse off if humans vanished.

I've brought up the stresses that overpopulation of any species in any limited geographic area have. These stresses are multiple, not single. To say that humans are responsible for pollution, but not so much global warming is an ostrich tactic. We can finagle the data all we want, interpret the data all we want, but one thing I've never, ever, never seen, is any data that suggests we don't add a frigging boatload of carbons to the atmosphere each year. It's the impact of those emissions that is being debated.

It's all about the tipping point. If nature drives us to it, maybe we can, and maybe we can't do something about it. But as a parent, I'd prefer my kids don't rue my life because they found out after I passed that I and all of us had a hand in accelerating and contributing to a climatic debacle.

Now, I have some yurts for sale, and I suggest you learn about substance farming.
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Now, I have some yurts for sale, and I suggest you learn about substance farming.


I don't see how getting high will solve anything
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We need to better understand what is going on before we "ACT NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!", and end up doing more harm than not acting.

What harm are you afraid of? 176 countries have signed the Kyoto accord, including Europe and Japan. How are their economies doing compared to ours? The Euro just hit an all-time high against the dollar.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and several other states have pledged to cut their carbon signature to levels compatible with the Kyoto accord. A growing number of cities are doing the same. Haven't seen any major exodus of people from those places to higher polluting states.

So what precisely is the harm you anticipate from conserving energy?

It's time for you to get specific.
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More angles to consider:

"CATASTROPHIC predictions of global warming usually conjure with the notion of a tipping point, a point of no return.

Last Monday - on ABC Radio National, of all places - there was a tipping point of a different kind in the debate on climate change. It was a remarkable interview involving the co-host of Counterpoint, Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. Anyone in public life who takes a position on the greenhouse gas hypothesis will ignore it at their peril.
Duffy asked Marohasy: "Is the Earth stillwarming?"

She replied: "No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."


http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23411799-7583,00.html

So what precisely is the harm you anticipate from conserving energy?


Don't change the subject. I'm all for conserving energy. It makes economic sense. Its better for the environment. But don't tell me that its proven that human-produced CO2 is going to cause catastrophe, and that by everyone donning rollerblades and leaving our cars home, we can eliminate the "threat".
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Another angle:

"IPCC reports have predicted average world temperatures will increase dramatically, leading to the spread of tropical diseases, severe drought, the rapid melting of the world's glaciers and ice caps, and rising sea levels. However, several assessments of the IPCC's work have shown the techniques and methods used to derive its climate predictions are fundamentally flawed."

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080314/COMMENTARY/702895001/home.html
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Last one:

Concerns about either the potential impacts of climate change or the economic impact of ill-conceived policies result in some scientists entering the policy debate. Others, unfortunately, have entered the debate to advance political or economic agendas, gain funding for research, or enhance their personal reputations. To the extent that the debate is carried out in the public policy arena or media, the rigors of the scientific process are short-circuited.

This state of affairs creates misunderstandings and confusion over what we know about the climate system, past climate changes and their causes, human impacts on the climate system and how human activities may affect future climate. Policy needs are better served by clarity and accuracy.

http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/577.pdf
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Now, I have some yurts for sale, and I suggest you learn about substance farming.


I don't see how getting high will solve anything


Freudian slip. If we're all stoned; one, no one will care, and two, no one will be doing all that much. We'll have the same footprint as bears.

As a side note, spell check is an evil invention giving me enough comfort to be complacent, but not so much help as to make me seem literate.
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Okay. So Ice shelves will start solidifying and regrow, and all is good.

Odd though, when I look at graphs, particularly over longer time periods, I expect variation from the norm. So, I generally focus on longer term up or down trends. I sense a trend in all of these graphs:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/
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What harm are you afraid of? 176 countries have signed the Kyoto accord, including Europe and Japan. How are their economies doing compared to ours? The Euro just hit an all-time high against the dollar.

FWIW, this is my critique of the current political movement to limit greenhouse gases:

In my mind the "harm" of Kyoto is that it was designed more to look like something was being done than to actually accomplish anything. Furthermore, compare the results of the US (who did not sign) to other nations that did sign the accord.

The US's results are about average for the signatories to the treaty!

IIRC there are two primary contributors to human CO2 emissions: coal burning powerplants and internal combustion engines.

The only real short-term solution to reducing powerplant emissions is to build nuclear plants on a massive scale (* renewables are nice but not suitable for maintaing base loads). Energy conservation is also always a good idea but will never, in and of itself, be sufficient.

A good strategy for replacing internal combustion engines is much harder to develop. The introduction of electric vehicles is a good start but won't be enough. Once again, energy conservation is also always a good idea but will never, in and of itself, be sufficient. One negative note here is that it now appears that biofuels help very little (if at all) and cause food prices to skyrocket. IMO a very bad trade.

Although not likely to help for quite some time, nuclear fusion might help a lot in the long-run (though not as a mobile power source). Fusion power researchers have acheived a theoretical breakeven with a tokamak type reactor and it seems that we could probably create a plant that surpassed the engineering break-even point. However we're still very far from acheiving an economic breakeven with this technology.

One other point is that the Kyoto accord omits the world's largest producer of CO2 - China. The omission of both China & India will result in a "tragedy of the commons" problem in the long-run. Since atmospheric CO2 is the world's problem, any successful long-term approach must include the whole world (or at least all of the major contributors).

Anyway, I think it was foolish of the US to not sign Kyoto. We incurred a unfavorable world image and if the results of other signatories are any guide, we would have done better to sign the accord and subsequently ignored it.

I find the whole topic very frustrating. It seems everyone is more interested in the political ramifications than any sort of true understanding of the issues.
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Okay. So Ice shelves will start solidifying and regrow, and all is good.

Although the surface are of ice in Antarctica has decline, the volume of ice in Antarctica has increased. I have no real idea what that implies re: global warming.
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Now, I have some yurts for sale, and I suggest you learn about substance farming.

Hehe,

I have taken up gardening and have read-up on subsistance farming methods. Turns out I don't have quite enough land to support my family, but I am close!

FWIW, I took it up as a hobby not any sort of catestrophe insurance :)
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...acheived a theoretical breakeven with a tokamak type reactor and it seems that we could probably create a plant that surpassed the engineering break-even point. However we're still very far from acheiving an economic breakeven with this technology.

Look into focus fusion. Much less expensive to develop (and deploy, if it proves to be a feasible technology). Largely being ignored for some odd reason. From what I've seen it is more promising than the other approaches.

1poorguy
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From the little that I've read (mostly from wiki articles) "focused fusion" and a couple of other approaches are mostly unproven at the large scale. The fact that they look "more feasible" stems from not having performed the scaling experiments (this has long been a problem with tokamak, nothing ever scaled up as predicted).

Several of these alternatives claim that they'll scale much better than tokamak but I find that hard to believe given the results fusion research has had up until now.

OTOH, It seems wise to me that at least some minimal spending should be maintained any any of the moderately viable approaches. Some of the alternatives are having trouble scraping together $3 million for testing, meanwhile we sink Billions into tokamak.

Ultimately I have no doubt that given enough time, we will crack the fusion power nut. However, the real question is: "will we have enough time?"
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But don't tell me that its proven that human-produced CO2 is going to cause catastrophe, and that by everyone donning rollerblades and leaving our cars home, we can eliminate the "threat".

No one said it is proven. But most agree that it is a real possibility. No one suggests replacing cars with rollerblades, though I don't see why that would be harmful and it would probably do a lot of people some good.

But you brought up the hysteria accusation. So back it up. You said something about hysterical reactions from faulty models. So what specific reactions from specific scientists based on specific models are you talking about?

You can make it more general if you want. What specific thing did some specific scientist say that you think is a hysterical reaction?
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Anyway, I think it was foolish of the US to not sign Kyoto. We incurred a unfavorable world image and if the results of other signatories are any guide, we would have done better to sign the accord and subsequently ignored it.

Yup, I agree. China and India aren't going to sign unless they are completely isolated. The U.S. gave them political cover.

BTW, France get 80% of its electricity from nuclear so it has a relatively small carbon footprint.
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But you brought up the hysteria accusation.

Not for this thread

You said something about hysterical reactions from faulty models. So what specific reactions from specific scientists based on specific models are you talking about?


Ok, now I see why you're so hot about this. When I said "hysterical", you assume I'm talking about scientists. But I never said who. Its the politicians as far as I'm concerned who are guilty of this.

And "hysterical" is only hyperbole.
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Its the politicians as far as I'm concerned who are guilty of this.

And "hysterical" is only hyperbole.


So what specific policy proposed by a specific politician do you consider to be an hysterical reaction?
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I'll make my point and stop harassing poor Bryan.

I've long wondered why it is that conservatives, and particularly Christian fundamentalists, have this aversion to even the possibility that global warming might both be real and influenced by human activity.

bdhinton's response is consistent with others I've experience. There is a distrust of the scientific establishment. There is a belief that supporters of global warming are extremists or alarmists, bdhinton used the term hysterical.

But when pressed to give a specific example of an extreme position, I never get one, just like with this thread. No specifics, no details. Just broad allegations like: "I do consider some proposed solutions to global warming, whose concern is based on faulty models with therefore erroneous outcomes predicted, to be hysterical reactions" without being able to specify what was proposed that was so hysterical, or the faulty model in question. One would like to give folks the benefit of the doubt, but there doesn't seem to be much substance behind the allegations.

It is all very curious and, as others have noted, the parallels with evolution are unmistakeable. There must be a global warming chapter in Genesis that I've missed.
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I've long wondered why it is that conservatives, and particularly Christian fundamentalists, have this aversion to even the possibility that global warming might both be real and influenced by human activity.

At least among Christian fundamentalists, this is just a result of the subculture. They get most of their information from each other, so there's a feedback loop that reinforces ideas about global warming, evolution, the effect of higher taxes on government revenues, etc. In some cases (global warming), everyone but them has been taken in by the leftists or liberal media; in others (evolution) it's a bit more complicated.

I'm simplifying things a bit, but these are my views after spending 80% of my life in a fundamentalist Christian culture.

~w
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Jim,

Check this out. It's about an hour long:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1518007279479871760&q=Google+%22Google+Tech+Talks%22+duration%3Along&hl=en

Quick summary: it works, but they need some money to try a larger scale.

They need a measly $2M to build a big one and test it. That's nothing compared to tokamak (among others), and is one of the reasons it's so exciting. If it scales up (and it looks like it should) then it's cheap to make these things. We should at least spend the few bucks it will take to verify it, IMO.

1poorguy
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I'm simplifying things a bit, but these are my views after spending 80% of my life in a fundamentalist Christian culture.

~w


Finally moved from Texas, did you? <insert implied smiley face emoticon here>
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Its the politicians as far as I'm concerned who are guilty of this.

And "hysterical" is only hyperbole.

So what specific policy proposed by a specific politician do you consider to be an hysterical reaction?


There's no policy I'm aware of, why do you ask?

Politicians (present and former) are using global warming as a political tool to whip up emotions such as "we gotta do something! Now, before it's too late!"

Start with Al Gore, and most recently, John Kerry:

Sen. Kerry Blames Tornadoes on Global Warming
Former Democratic presidential nominee blames 'intense storms' that have killed more than 50 on climate change.

By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
2/13/2008 3:07:55 PM

Politicians using tragedy to advance an agenda has been a tried-and-true strategy. Paint the idea green and a natural catastrophe became political fodder for former Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.).

http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2008/20080206170159.aspx
-----------------------

You yourself have suggested we need to do something before its too late. Based on the information I've posted today from scientists studying climate, why do you even think there's a problem?

Sounds a little hysterical to me.
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bdhinton's response is consistent with others I've experience. There is a distrust of the scientific establishment.

Here's my last post on this thread. I think I've learned that its impossible to use evidence to change a fanatic's mind about anything. You wonder why people distrust scientists? Gary Larson was right . . . you're only human.
-------------------

Year of global cooling
By David Deming
December 19, 2007

Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards. . .

If you think any of the preceding facts can falsify global warming, you're hopelessly naive. Nothing creates cognitive dissonance in the mind of a true believer. In 2005, a Canadian Greenpeace representative explained “global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter.” In other words, all weather variations are evidence for global warming. I can't make this stuff up.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071219/COMMENTARY/10575140
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Does this make you at least wonder about the accuracy of the dire predictions?

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.SenateReport#report


U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

Yes, but the real question is: How many of them are named "Steve"? :)
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There's no policy I'm aware of, why do you ask?

Okay so scientists are not being hysterical and politicians are not proposing policies that are hysterical. This leads to the question of where is the alleged hysterical reaction?

You yourself have suggested we need to do something before its too late. Based on the information I've posted today from scientists studying climate, why do you even think there's a problem?

Sounds a little hysterical to me.


Well, this clarifies things quite a bit. "Hysterical" is applied to anyone who believes that the current evidence justifies taking political action to reduce greenhouse emissions. This is true even though none of the actions proposed is seen as hysterical (see above).

Certainly many scientists are skeptical about global warming, some are even certain that humans play no significant role. But the majority of the scientific community believes the current evidence does indicate that humans make a difference and that the window of opportunity to effect a positive difference is small.

So this leads to the question of why do creationists choose the minority scientific view over the majority? It's not like Christian fundamentalists are the leading researchers in climatogy, so clearly a mostly layperson's choice is being made as to which scientific expert is considered most credible. Given the potential severe consequences, why not give the benefit of the doubt to the majority and attempt to be proactive, as most of the countries in the world has decided?

There is an interesting psychology going on here.

Evolution represents the frontline of the battleground between what is perceived as godless, materialist science versus Christianity. Perhaps global warming is seen as an opportunity to discredit science. Maybe that's the link between creationism and greenhouse gases. Its all part of the war between Christianity and science. But then why limit the conflict to just these issues?

Or maybe its simply that creationists really like their SUVs and coal-fired power plants.
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Perhaps global warming is seen as an opportunity to discredit science.

That's probably it. The "see, even scientists can't agree and they always change their mind, so come to the Bible that hasn't changed since God gave it to us" attitude. That's probably exactly where climate change fits in.

Based on the data we have now, it is the consensus that anthropogenic warming is occurring. Could it be wrong? Sure. But if it isn't wrong we are risking literally billions of lives. I think we should be proactive about it, and continue the research concurrently. If we're wrong, great. It cost us some inconvenience. If we're not wrong, it could be the difference between surviving and not.

Same reasoning that has a fire extinguisher in my house. "There won't be a fire." But if I'm wrong I have it.

1poorguy
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Perhaps global warming is seen as an opportunity to discredit science.

That's probably it. The "see, even scientists can't agree and they always change their mind, so come to the Bible that hasn't changed since God gave it to us" attitude. That's probably exactly where climate change fits in.


I'll concur with that. In my fundamentalist Christian high school, a teacher read an essay to us during chapel that disparaged science. The main thrust of the essay was that science was always changing. I clearly remember one line: "A ten-year old science textbook is nine years out of date." Of course, no points to anyone who can guess what unchanging book we should focus on instead.

To a fundamentalist science-hater, "change" is never "improvement," since the body of knowledge that is changing is ipso facto a cheap imitation of the already-perfect truth. Scientists can "change" their minds about something all they want, but they'll never measure up to the unchanging perfect gospel. And if that gospel declares that God made man from mud, then no "remarkable new findings about the origins of humans" is going to make a whit of difference to the True Believer.
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And if that gospel declares that God made man from mud, then no "remarkable new findings about the origins of humans" is going to make a whit of difference to the True Believer.

This may be the wrong thread for this, and I have asked variations of this question before, but I guess I'm just too dense...

How does this work? I mean, how does one ignore evidence? I can see believing something, and even holding that belief "dear". But when confronted with evidence, how can one simply turn a blind-eye and/or stick fingers in their ears and say "no no no no no, not listening, la la la la"? I truly don't get it.

I was raised loosely religious. No Catholic schools or anything like that. But I was a theist up until my late teens when I started to learn how the universe really works, and when my mind suddenly became analytical enough to see stories like Noah's Ark as simply impossible (logistically, and probably structurally). Even then I only went so far as to say the organized religions were clearly wrong (took a few years to come to that conclusion), but there may be 'something' out there. When confronted with evidence I had 'no choice' but to alter my views until I am where I am today (agnostic atheist).

How does one simply ignore evidence/data? How does one turn their brains off like that? Some may consider this a stupid question, but I really don't understand it. I keep hoping that if I ask it enough someone will provide an answer that will suddenly click in my head and I'll "get it".

1poorguy (next someone will be telling me that illness is caused by evil spirits that need to be exorcised)
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How does this work? I mean, how does one ignore evidence? I can see believing something, and even holding that belief "dear". But when confronted with evidence, how can one simply turn a blind-eye and/or stick fingers in their ears and say "no no no no no, not listening, la la la la"?


??? you see it on this board every other day ...

there is NO evidence ..what YOU call 'evidence' is produced by a lying cabal of satanistic science-guys.

and any scientist who strays from the cabal is Expelled™ (have you seen the TV ads for the movie? creepy )


and there's no in-your-face evidence ... drop something --it falls --hard to deny Gravity; cut someone --they bleed --hard to deny anatomy

really nothing like that for evolution (or global warmind)


-=
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Perhaps global warming is seen as an opportunity to discredit science.

That's probably it. The "see, even scientists can't agree and they always change their mind, so come to the Bible that hasn't changed since God gave it to us" attitude. That's probably exactly where climate change fits in.


maybe wrong --but seems to me that a lot of it has to do with Christianity aligning itself with Republicans (who're waiting to find some way of making gw profitable)

..... i hear Bush has decided it's a problem -- if true, it will be interesting to see which way the Christians go.



=
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??? you see it on this board every other day ...

I wasn't referring specifically to evolution. That is a very esoteric subject, and suffers (IMO) from the inability of anyone other than a specialist to really understand it due to the amount of study needed to grasp the intricacies. Even more general stuff like the gw charts showing global temperatures going up at approximately the same rate as ghg's are being emitted (with a 20-yr or so lag, as I recall). It's a graph. A picture. The line has positive slope, and seems to correlate to other pictures with similar lines. Could be a red herring, but based on what facts would I say that?

Maybe it's even more of a "which specialist do I listen to" thing. Do I listen to the guy trained in an ancient, unchanging book, or do I listen to the tens of thousands of guys trained in an area of scientific inquiry that do radical things like gather and analyze data?

I really don't think I'm expressing myself well. It would be easy to get bogged-down in minutia of gw or evolution or whatever. My question is more general. It's a faith in the face of facts thing. I inquired of JB because he apparently made a more radical conversion than I did, and maybe he'd have some insight that I don't. But maybe my question didn't make sense to him either.

:-(

1poorguy
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I'll concur with that. In my fundamentalist Christian high school, a teacher read an essay to us during chapel that disparaged science. The main thrust of the essay was that science was always changing. I clearly remember one line: "A ten-year old science textbook is nine years out of date." Of course, no points to anyone who can guess what unchanging book we should focus on instead.

To a fundamentalist science-hater, "change" is never "improvement," since the body of knowledge that is changing is ipso facto a cheap imitation of the already-perfect truth. Scientists can "change" their minds about something all they want, but they'll never measure up to the unchanging perfect gospel. And if that gospel declares that God made man from mud, then no "remarkable new findings about the origins of humans" is going to make a whit of difference to the True Believer.


I don't think it's just that some science contradicts the Bible. I get the distinct impression that science is viewed as a threat because it is a competing method of knowing things in general.

I've heard numerous sermons -- some on the radio, some live -- where the theme appeared to be "Everything in life is garbage unless you have Jesus." Often repeated in this flavor of sermon are verses such as Isaiah 55:8-9:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Human knowledge is garbage. So says the LORD. Your only option is to look to the church for answers. If someone purports to say something that does not match what the church says, don't listen to them, for their ways are not His ways.

Then along came science.

Science proposes a systematic, reliable, testable method for gaining more knowledge over time. It is not based on the Bible. It is not inherently hostile to religion; it just disregards religion completely in the pursuit of understanding the world.

That's not something the church can accept. It undermines authority-based teaching, and it removes the feeling of helplessness that Isaiah's words are meant to invoke.

So as a result, a large body of work has grown around the effort to frame science as simply a competing worldview, devoid of merit in its own right. It's not just fundamentalists who do this; post-modernist writers also get off on the idea that there is no such thing as reality. In their works, they reduce science to one of many "belief systems," neither better nor worse than any other way of understanding.

To paraphrase George Carlin: "Same as God. Same as the four leaf clover, the horse shoe, the rabbit's foot, and the wishing well. Same as the mojo man. Same as the voodoo lady who tells your fortune by squeezing the goat's testicles. It's all the same." (Carlin, of course, was not talking about science, but about offering prayers to Joe Pesci.)

Science is a threat to religious beliefs not only because it sometimes contradicts them, but because it offers a way to be correct without assuming magic powers.
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This may be the wrong thread for this, and I have asked variations of this question before, but I guess I'm just too dense...

How does this work? I mean, how does one ignore evidence? I can see believing something, and even holding that belief "dear". But when confronted with evidence, how can one simply turn a blind-eye and/or stick fingers in their ears and say "no no no no no, not listening, la la la la"? I truly don't get it.


I'll take a shot at this. For what it matters, I grew up in a fundamentalist house and went to private fundamentalist Christian schools until college. For college, I went to a local community college, then a very good private Christian college (not fundamentalist) for my B.A., then to school where I am now for a PhD in materials science. I'm still a theist, too.

Anyways, back to the question. There are several ways to ignore the evidence: Outright dismissal, often bolstered by certain interpretations of the Bible, and/or countering the evidence with other "evidence", such as what you'd find on Answers in Genesis. You can also just limit your exposure to Science, of course, so you face the evidence as little as possible.

I think the fundamentally tougher question to answer is "WHY would you ignore the evidence?" I mean, I understand why, since accepting the evidence for evolution would mean accepting a non-literal interpretation of the Bible, which opens questions about what else we should question about the Bible, etc. But I don't understand how some people can turn off an inquisitive mind (or lack one to begin with).

~w
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How does one simply ignore evidence/data?

It's more a selective use of data. Or more often, a selective use of editorials about the data.

I can understand this with evolution for those who use the bible as their primary source of knowledge. Science for them must be intrepreted within the context of being consistent with biblical truth. So editing science to fit their version of the truth makes some sense, though it seems a bit dishonest to the rest of us.

That's why the anti-global warming bias is so puzzling. There is no biblical truth on this topic to fit science into, so why not be objective? If the only motivation is to stick it to the scientific establishment, it would have been nice if they had chosen an issue with less severe possible consequences. Like whether the Atkins diet really works or if ginseng is more effective than viagra.

But I still find it curious how resistant bdhinton and the other anti-warming folks are to the seemingly rational position of: "I don't know squat about global warming but we'd better do X, Y, and Z just in case those science pillheads are right."
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So as a result, a large body of work has grown around the effort to frame science as simply a competing worldview, devoid of merit in its own right.

Which is why a certain troll on AF likes to chant "evolution is a religion," as if repeating it over and over again will make it true.

- Gus
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That's why the anti-global warming bias is so puzzling. There is no biblical truth on this topic to fit science into, so why not be objective? If the only motivation is to stick it to the scientific establishment, it would have been nice if they had chosen an issue with less severe possible consequences. Like whether the Atkins diet really works or if ginseng is more effective than viagra.

One part is that climatology seems less like a science than anthropology/paleontology, which seems like less of a science than physics/chemistry. I mean, those weather guys can't even predict the weather for next week, right? </tongue-in-cheek>

I don't think the anti-AGW bias is a Christian belief so much as a right-wing belief, probably emerging out of an anti-environmentalist bias. AGW is also a much more political issue, thus there exists more possibility for political bias to affect the science. It certainly seems like evolution is much more scientifically established than AGW.

~w, believes in evolution and tentatively in AGW
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To a fundamentalist science-hater, "change" is never "improvement," since the body of knowledge that is changing is ipso facto a cheap imitation of the already-perfect truth. Scientists can "change" their minds about something all they want, but they'll never measure up to the unchanging perfect gospel.

This one jumped out at me. Many of the great philosophical writings came from ancient Greece. They have been expanded upon, commented on, but most are still taught and read as they were presented a few thousand years ago.

We better hope the fundie philosophers don't hook up with the religious folk, or things could really get messy.
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I really don't think I'm expressing myself well. It would be easy to get bogged-down in minutia of gw or evolution or whatever. My question is more general. It's a faith in the face of facts thing. I inquired of JB because he apparently made a more radical conversion than I did, and maybe he'd have some insight that I don't. But maybe my question didn't make sense to him either.

:-(

1poorguy


You're expressing yourself fine, you just can't wrap your brain around the answer. Remember when I took off on the 2+2 doesn't = 4 tangent? It's like that, but not so black and white that everyone will gang up on the guy saying it.

Toss in some unprovable threats and unprovable promises and you've got a damned fine recipe for getting people to want to believe something in spite of the evidence. If it was written in the bible that God gave Mosses those very same commandments, but there was really 15, math would be in big doo doo, too. The whole pi thing was ambiguous enough to work around.
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I've heard numerous sermons -- some on the radio, some live -- where the theme appeared to be "Everything in life is garbage unless you have Jesus."


Yup. On the PBS Evolution series a few years ago, a college student was telling his fundie dad about how evolution might be compatible with christiantiy in light of a different interpretation of the bible, but dad wasn't having any of it. "Man's wisdom is FOOLISHNESS in the eyes of God! FOOLISHNESS!"


Yet Dad's house has AC, electricity, appliances, medicine, and all sorts of inventions dreamed up from man's foolishness.
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Quick summary: it works, but they need some money to try a larger scale.

They need a measly $2M to build a big one and test it. That's nothing compared to tokamak (among others), and is one of the reasons it's so exciting. If it scales up (and it looks like it should) then it's cheap to make these things. We should at least spend the few bucks it will take to verify it, IMO.


I agree. At the price of $2M even if it fails we'll learn something about plasma physics. Compared the price of the current crop of particle accelerators, that's a bargain!

Plus we have almost 0% chance of making viable tokamak fusion plants in the next 50 years. If we want any chance of deploying a fusion plant before that, it'll be one of these alternatives.

Jim
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I agree. At the price of $2M even if it fails we'll learn something about plasma physics. Compared the price of the current crop of particle accelerators, that's a bargain!


Compared to virtually anything the military buys, it's a bargain.
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