Home > AGW, Catastrophism, Climate Change, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Science, Skepticism > How Much Wrong Can Joe Romm Be? That Moon Hoax Again…

How Much Wrong Can Joe Romm Be? That Moon Hoax Again…

I have already blogged some time ago about the flawed comparison between AGW skeptics and people believing in the Moon landing hoax. It takes just a sentence: the Apollo mission are historical events (i.e.: they belong to the past, they have already happened), global warming is a forecast projection (i.e.: it is about the future, it has not happened as yet).

Or to explain it the way of Donald Rumsfeld: arguing if an apple that is already on the ground, is on the ground, is absolutely different than arguing if apple that is still on the tree, will or will not eventually be on the ground.

With the usual bottom scraping and blatant headline-following that characterizes his blog, it is now Joe Romm’s turn to recycle the same logic-free pontificating, on the back of the 40th anniversary of the first Apollo lunar landing. Only this time, the point appears to be about an “overall conspiracy“.

According to Romm in fact, claims for a “large conspiracy” would be needed to keep AGW skeptical arguments alive, just as they are fundamental to all Moon-hoax accusations. Citing Harold Ambler by way of Anthony Watts, Romm writes:

Watts approvingly reprints denier manifestos that claim global warming “is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind” — see here. As I’ve written, such a statement is anti-scientific and anti-science in the most extreme sense. It accuses the scientific community broadly defined of conspiring in deliberate fraud

But that is simply not true: it is just a form of reductio ad absurdum (as if one needed any more evidence of Romm’s inability to properly argue a point without infantile rhetorical attempts).

——————–

In general, the fact that people sell a “whopper” does not necessarily mean they are knowingly participating in a conspiracy and/or committing fraud: otherwise, jails the world over would be full of astrologers, wizards, sorcerers, and most probably experts in homeopathy and chiropractic practitioners.

And very pertinent to the AGW skepticism case is that the history of Science is full of examples where quite large “whoppers” have been “sold to the public” by scientists building up and then defending a flawed consensus. Perfectly honest scientists, one can safely assume, with a deeply-held belief that their consensual understanding of the world was the right one.

We know now that such a “consensus” attitude has hindered the scientific careers of scientists, among them Galileo Galilei, Alfred L Wegener, J Harlan Bretz, Sir Gilbert WalkerJohann Ludwig Wilhelm Thudichum, Reg Sprigg. Recent Nobel Prize winners Barry Marshall and J. Robin Warren may have been just lucky to see their consensus-busting findings recognized whilst still alive.

Still, the fact that scientists fall repeatedly and across the centuries in the trap of “consensus” needs no conspiracy. It cannot be interpreted in any other way than as demonstration that scientists are human beings and that like all other human beings they introduce their subjective feelings, emotions, tribal drive, and who knows what else in the purportedly objective scientific process.

Nobody needs a “large conspiracy” to explain why it is so difficult to publish anything that does not include the customary “this may be caused by global warming” statement. All it takes is a large enough amount of scientists and science-related people convinced of the “truth” of Anthropogenic Global Warming, determined to read and to support only whatever confirms their prejudices.

The “consensus” behavior in AGW is exacerbated further by so many AGWers living under the impression that they are saving the planet. Under those circumstances, the esprit de corps is understandably as strong as it can be (this explains the existence of anti-skeptic rants such as Romm’s).

——————–

All in all, it is deeply ironical to find that it is Romm’s statement the one “anti-scientific and anti-science in the most extreme sense“, deep in its core. Because if there is one thing everybody in the scientific community should be well aware of, it is that whatever they will tell the public, it is likely to be wrong one way or another. As per this Bertrand Russell quote:

Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation. When a man tells you that he knows the exact truth about anything, you are safe in inferring that he is an inexact man. Every careful measurement in science is always given with the probable error… every observer admits that he is likely wrong, and knows about how much wrong he is likely to be.

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  1. 2009/10/04 at 12:56

    Maybe this can say something about the changes in the clima?

    I have solved the problems around Alfred Wegener`s theory who have been discussed since 1911.

    22 August 1998, Jeff Hecht wrote an article in New Scientist who proves that AlfredWegeners Theory is wrong. Here is this article:

    quote: “Magnetic shift

    By Jeff Hecht

    TRACES of the earth’s magnetic field frozen in rocks are yielding surprises about the planet’s past. A re-analysis of old measurements of these fields has forced geologists to conclude that either the migrating continents were clustered closer to the equator than previously thought, or that the Earth’s magnetic field was not the simple pair of poles it is today.

    Geologists track the history of continental motion by measuring the magnetism of ancient rocks. As some rocks form, they retain an imprint of the Earth’s magnetic field. The field direction and the age of the rock together show the latitude of the continent at the time the rock formed, provided that the shape of the terrestrial magnetic field at the time can be worked out.

    Today, the Earth’s magnetic field lines, which emanate from the poles and surround the planet, have a simple and predictable distribution. Geologists have proved that for at least five million years the field has been a dipole, like a bar magnet with poles aligned on the planet’s axis. And they calculate ancient latitudes assuming the field has always been a dipole, says Dennis Kent of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York.

    But now Kent and Mark Smethurst of the Geological Survey of Norway in Trondheim have analysed palaeomagnetic data from rocks up to 3·5 billion years old. Instead of the magnetic distribution expected from a dipole, they found an excess of rocks from older eras with low-angle fields, as if they had formed at lower latitudes than those predicted by standard models that assume a random distribution of the early continents (Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol 160, p 391). “The surprising result is that in the Palaeozoic and Precambrian, the distributions differ markedly,” Kent says.

    One possible explanation is that the Earth’s magnetic field has not always been a dipole. Kent calculates that if the ancient Earth contained elements of between four and eight poles, its magnetic field lines would have met the migrating continents at lower angles than the lines of the modern dipole field. That would account for the distribution he and Smethurst observed, he says. Such an arrangement might have been possible before the solid part of the core–which started growing as late as a billion years ago–reached its present size.

    The other possible explanation for the findings, Kent says, is that the continents were once clustered near the equator. Such clustering could be the result of centrifugal force tilting heavy parts of the outer layers of the Earth away from the poles (” Twist of fate “, New Scientist, 2 August 1997, p 15).

    Gary Glatzmaier of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico says his unpublished simulations of the Earth’s magnetic field may be able to discover which explanation is right. According to his models, multiple poles are unlikely, he says. “When the inner core was smaller, our simulations suggest the dipole was even stronger than today.” If correct, Glatzmaier’s results would mean that geologists have to redraw their maps of the ancient continents.”

    From New Scientist, 22 August 1998

    Proof should, as the article shows, make the geologists want to re-evaluate the foundations they build their authority upon. Particularly because this earlier model is being taught in Universities and Schools. In my estimation, we have a responsibility that we can not neglect when it comes to correct research theories that obviously do not hold good.

    Even though this is only a theory, we must be willing to re-evaluate old theories when new scientific elements come to light that prove that the former theory no longer holds good.

    Unfortunately, the tendency is that man will reject new thinking, when after a while one has built his whole research upon this one special model. In hopes that my private theory might result in an intelligent discussion, I hereby would like to present my work.

    Each individual reader is encouraged and invited to judge the results for themselves.

    Good luck!!

    Take a look at my home page where I have studied the issue for over 20 years.

    You find my work here: http://aspevik.net

    Helge Aspevik

  2. 2009/08/06 at 16:05

    Bottomline, if you are not in position to know what truly goes on, none of us really knows anything. It is all just reported speculation.

  3. DavidCOG
    2009/07/29 at 16:12

    > …global warming is a forecast projection (i.e.: it is about the future, it has not happened as yet).

    Deep, deep ignorance.

    – Copenhagen Synthesis Report, March 2009 – http://climatecongress.ku.dk/pdf/synthesisreport/ + http://climatecongress.ku.dk/newsroom/congress_key_messages/
    – Climate change, people and poverty, July 2009 – http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/policy/climate_change/downloads/bp130_suffering_science.pdf
    – Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States – http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts

  4. Luke Warmer
    2009/07/23 at 15:42

    To build on willn’s point – Fleck used the term Denkcollectiv in his ground-breaking book The genesis & development of a scientific fact which was an (only very later acknowledged) reference for Kuhn.

    But a problem is always that of oversimplification. I started to use the H.Pylori /PUD example as one of a secular scientific revolution (Fleck used syphilis and pointed out the moral/ quasi-religious aspect of it) but it’s actually more complex than the stories about Warren & Marshall suggest. The Bismuth problem, for example, and also the longer gestation of the idea of a bacterial cause from a Greek doctor. There’s a good book by Paul Thagard which even maps out the room where the “trial” of H.Pylori took place, but if you drill down more you find the additional complexities I referred to above. Bizarrely most people I ask still think stress causes ulcers.

    You’ll always have apparent 20:20 hindsight on which side was “wrong” and so it builds a bias into your own investigations (IMHO). The key point is that both sides (right or wrong) can and do resort to bullying/ ad homs etc etc. I found Koestler’s case of the mid-wife toad book fascinating on many levels esp. since K used the ‘bad’ behaviour of the evolutionists to suggest that Kammerer was right. (Ironically for us, RealClimate used this book to bolster their own argument not long ago).

    PS I like the Protagen story – very good – not come across it before.

    • 2009/07/23 at 16:29

      thank you Luke. The “Protagon” (not “protagen”) has been truly and definitively deleted from most histories of science.

  5. willnitschke
    2009/07/22 at 11:11

    Generally speaking, I’ve seen the conspiracy theory argument proposed by both AGW “alarmists” and their “denier” counterparts. Usually when someone poses such an argument it’s a red flag for a confusion in that individual’s thought processes. You don’t need a conspiracy theory to explain patterns of natural human behaviour. A substantial amount of psychological research into “group think” has been found in the literature since the 1950’s and beyond. (I learnt of such fascinating research, i.e., how a decision reached by a committee can be, in certain circumstances, more radical than any that would be made by any member of that committee alone, in my first year psychology class.) People will tend to be more inclined to accept ideas and concepts that coincidentally happen to align with their self interest. Nothing necessarily sinister in nature need occur, to explain such behaviour.

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