Home > AGW, Climate Change, Omniclimate, Science, Skepticism > Feeling Like A Bee…

Feeling Like A Bee…

Interestingly, sadly buried news about yet another Moonwalker skeptical of AGW

while trying to spread the word about the possibilities of space, Dr Aldrin said he was sceptical of climate change theories.

“I think the climate has been changing for billions of years,” he said.

“If it’s warming now, it may cool off later. I’m not in favour of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today.

“I’m not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it.”

Let’s hear comparisons of Buzz Aldrin to the nazis, shall we?

  1. Luke Warmer
    2009/07/09 at 14:11

    Ah expertise, therein lies a minefield. Even the debate recognises interactional & contributory expertises but it all comes down to who is the non-expert or layperson to trust.

    NAS as above, is simply a political (small p), social body within science. Science is and always will always be fallible at the sharp end but sadly we’re never taught this, preferring the illusion of 20:20 logical positive hindsight.

    Erasmussimo despite it being many scientists the appeal to NAS or the IPPC is still an appeal to authority, not a carefully reasoned argument. Picture a history book and & replace the Soviet Academy of Sciences with NAS, for example. (and this is just an analogy not the inverse of Godwin’s law)

  2. Erasmussimo
    2009/07/08 at 14:07

    Will, perhaps you should make your complaint about Mr. Dyson’s critic to Mr. Dyson’s critic. I make no such complaint. There are indeed a goodly number of qualified scientists who reject the AGW hypothesis. However, there are a great many more qualified scientists who embrace the AGW hypothesis. The problem for citizens is that we must make a decision one way or the other about the AGW hypothesis. Here are some of the possibilities:

    1. Make the decision based on political rather than scientific considerations and then concoct wild scientific rationalizations to justify what is actually a political decision, not a scientific one.

    2. Make a decision based on political rather than scientific considerations and then select a handful of scientists whose opinions are amenable to that decision, ignoring the great mass of scientists whose opinions are not amenable to that decision.

    3. Make a decision based on political considerations, then support that decision with the opinions of the great mass of scientists whose opinions are amenable to that decision.

    4. Make a decision based on the opinions of the great mass of scientists.

    I have never encountered an AGW opponent who did not fit #1 or #2. I have encountered only a handful of AGW citizen supporters who did not fit #3. The only people I have encountered who fit #4 happen to be scientists by training.

    But let me continue to hammer home a key point: the great mass of scientists who work in fields relevant to AGW embrace the AGW hypothesis. The appropriate scientific institutions such as NAS (and in fact just about every single scientific institution that has rendered an opinion on AGW) have embraced AGW. And yet we continue to see a great many deniers who consider their own ill-informed opinions to be superior to the opinions of all these eminent scientific sources. What chutzpah!

  3. 2009/07/08 at 03:23

    It’s interesting that so many AGW true-believers argue that an intelligent scientifically trained person cannot make a reasonable assessment of the science behind AGW. I once heard an interviewer talk to an ‘expert’ (who was a physicist), who dismissed Freeman Dyson’s skepticism of AGW because Dyson was not ‘qualified’. He didn’t seem to be aware that Dyson had worked on atmospheric physics decades before it became ‘trendy’. The other interesting observation is that the critic of Dyson also admitted he wasn’t “qualified” either, but then went on to pronounce various prescriptions relating to the issue of AGW anyway. Oblivious, apparently, as to why he was not exempt from his own criticism.

  4. Erasmussimo
    2009/07/08 at 01:04

    I have numerous times challenged you to state why you believe that your personal expertise is superior to that of the NAS. You have never answered my challenge. Instead, you offer Mr. Aldrin and Mr. Schmitt as experts. Very well, I challenge you to explain why you consider their judgement to be superior to that of the NAS.

    Moreover, your position is inconsistent. On the one hand, you declare that we should not trust experts because experts make mistakes (eugenics, swine flu, cane toads) and besides, we have brains and we should use them. On the other hand, you insist that Mr. Aldrin and Mr. Schmitt are experts and we should pay heed to their opinions. Which is it to be?

    • 2009/07/08 at 06:20


      You’re making a caricature of your opponent’s arguments and then knocking down a strawman. People who read your posts detect the rhetoric over substance so what do you achieve other than the opposite of your intention?

  5. Erasmussimo
    2009/07/07 at 23:25

    Mr. Aldrin’s doctorate is in astronautics. There is absolutely no relevance of astronautics to AGW science. I challenge you to specify the component of astronautics that you think is relevant to AGW science.

    • 2009/07/08 at 00:19

      We have in Buzz Aldrin a human being of exceptional intellect, perfectly capable to navigate his way (literally) in the most complex of circumstances, yet completely unfazed by the AGW brouhaha. How can that be irrelevant to the climate change discourse? And he has just come out as an AGW skeptic just as fellow astronaut and scientist Harrison H “Jack” Schmitt (a planetary geologist, by the way). Another exceptional individual etc etc

      You will not get their message because you have been placing too much faith in a narrow definition of expertise, and expertise alone. Of course, that’s in perfect tune with your curious decision to follow NAS wherever it leads. But we have been provided with brains, and we should be using them, especially in matters of science, rather than delegate analysis to self-appointed experts.

      And especially so, when those experts call for societal and political changes. The alternative is to legislate according to the “latest science” without understanding that the “latest science” is going to be obsolete if not invalidated in no more than a few decades’ time. I find that alternative absurd, considering the experience for example with eugenics, whatever the NAS’s official opinion at the time might have been. And the experience with the swine flu vaccine of the 1970’s. And the experience with the release of cane toads in the Australian environment.

  6. Erasmussimo
    2009/07/07 at 20:45

    Whoa! You’re making a very broad boolean division of all science into two classes: climatology and non-climatology; then you note that there exist specialists in the second area whose contributions are useful; then you conclude that all contributions from all people who are not climatologists are useful. That’s ridiculous. Let’s be a little more precise: there are a great many disciplines that bear in greater or lesser degree on climatology: geophysics, geology, meteorology, statistics, oceanography, even astronomy. And there are also many disciplines that have very little bearing on climatology: genetics, solid state physics, and anthropology, for example.

    Of course, expertise in a relevant field does not constitute expertise in all fields. A glaciologist, for example, would be able to offer a great deal of useful expertise in the analysis of changes in glaciation; that same person, however, would be of little use in analyzing ocean thermal distributions.

    So please, let’s focus our discussion on expertise that is significant to the issue we discuss. Buzz Aldrin has little real expertise in the matter of AGW. He’s welcome to his opinion, and he’s welcome to broadcast that opinion. But if I were to offer you Al Gore as an expert, you’d quite rightly laugh at me. So why shouldn’t I laugh at you when you offer Buzz Aldrin as an expert?

    • 2009/07/07 at 21:45

      It’s you the one making “a very broad boolean division of all science into two classes”, by stating about Aldrin “neither is he a climatologist” and comparing him to Al Gore and Michael Jackson.

      I do not think Gore or Jackson have done major contributions to the field of orbital rendezvous techniques, or invented the “Aldrin cycler”, or received a field training as geologists. With his Doctorate in Science from MIT, I wonder who would question Aldrin’s ability to get an informed opinion about any topic, and especially about a planetary science topic such as climate.

  7. Erasmussimo
    2009/07/07 at 19:25

    You insinuate hypocrisy; while there may be some other people out there who are hypocrites in this matter, I am certainly not one of them and so your comment is irrelevant to my post. I do not cite Al Gore or Hollywood actors in support of my claims. I cite groups of scientists who have the necessary expertise, such as the National Academy of Sciences.

    I suggest you reconsider your argument after reading what kind of specialties are involved in the writing of the IPCC reports…

    You’ll have to be more specific here. The sentence as worded has no logical force.

    • 2009/07/07 at 19:57

      Erasmussimo – you are certainly not the first one “rebutting” somebody’s non-AGW stance because he or she is not a “climatologist”, whatever that means. I am afraid that is no “rebuttal” at all. “The National Academy of Sciences” is not made 100% by “climatologists” either…I do not think there is any field in Science (apart from Climate Change) where I have heard such an argument being made.

      As for the IPCC, a minute’s search reveals that one of the WG1’s co-chairs for 2014 is Qin Dahe. WG1 of course “assesses the physical scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change” and Qin Dahe is well-known as…”glaciologist” and “Former Director of the China Meteorological Administration”. Doesn’t look like a “climatologist” to me. Feel free to send your letter of complaint to the IPCC for such an absurd choice they have made, in your logic. Me, I can afford myself the luxury to accept the involvement of non-climatologists into the assessment of “the physical scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change”. Both theories of relativity have been successfully explained for decades to anybody with an interest in physics and mathematics, not just to experts in relativity.

      There are countless examples in the history of Science of major progress being made in a field by people not necessarily already-established experts in that field. I may dare say, the whole IPCC would collapse the day only “climatologists” would be let in to talk about climate change.

  8. Thomas Richard
    2009/07/07 at 18:59

    You might want to have a link to this article where Al Gore likens his fight against climate change to the fight against nazis:

  9. Erasmussimo
    2009/07/07 at 14:40

    Let’s hear comparisons of Buzz Aldrin to the nazis, shall we?

    Of course he’s not a nazi. But then, neither is he a climatologist. If Michael Jackson had come out against AGW, would you be quoting him?

    • 2009/07/07 at 17:16

      It’s funny how anybody speaking against AGW is disqualified unless he/she is a climatologist, no less, whilst every Jane, Dick and Harry can talk in favor of AGW.

      I suggest you reconsider your argument after reading what kind of specialties are involved in the writing of the IPCC reports…

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