Monday, April 09, 2007

Where that came from

Eli has been reading and commenting over at Oekologismus, a German blog dedicated to the proposition that environmentalism is the new anti-Christ (ok, Eli exaggerates slightly as usual, they only think that environmentalism is the new western religion spread by an evil media. If you have some German you can read their mission statement, but the ten commandments they assign to this new dogma are out of the normal denialist playbook - not a complete translation:

1. You shall fear. The worst scenario is the most likely
2. You shall have a guilty conscious. Who lives harms the world
3. You shall not doubt. The environmental movement never errs.
4. Nature is our god.
5. You should hate mankind
6. Reject the free market
7. Don't consume
8. Don't believe in a better tomorrow
9. Value technology not much
10. Know that guilt is white, male, christian and western.
To which we add, leave no strawman unturned, but the owner operator does turn up interesting stuff like the Lindzen interview, and the comments are rich, which brings Rabett media to tonight's feature. One Planck, who appears to work at a climate research institute of some sort, had heard a Lindzen seminar a couple of weeks ago. Planck was not kind
He, (Lindzen) has done practically no science in the last five years but bloviates about the iris hypothesis, that has been beaten down again and again and again. Supposedly the talk was supposed to be about this and our entire cloud troop was there to ask a few questions. Instead ~80% was a dumb polemic linking climate research to eugenics to racial theories and the nazis. He provided a taste of this in the (Weltwoche) interview. . . .

I asked him who it can be that we have thousands of proxy records that document climate variability and all show that the glacial maximum was at least 3 degrees colder in contradiction to an iris feedback. His short answer was "I don't believe in paleoproxies". Lalala I create reality, just like I like.
Planck dug out the source of Lindzens polemic. This, young bunnies, is the source of all strawmen, with many of our favorite characters doing walk ons. Published in 1996 as Science and Politics: Global Warming and Eugenics in Risks, Costs, and Lives Saved, R.W. Hahn, editor, Oxford University Press, New York, 1996, it was due warning to anyone listening that Richard thought that environmentalism was the new anti-Christ or at least Shabbatei Zvi, and had signed on to the Oekologismus mission statement ten or more years before it was drawn up.
The issue of global warming has been one of the more confusing and misleading issues to be presented to the public. Despite the absence of a significant scientific basis for most predictions, the public has been led to believe that there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that the issue is a matter of immediate urgency requiring massive control of energy usage. The first part of this paper will briefly describe this situation. The thought that scientists would allow such an abuse of science is difficult for most laymen to believe. However, I suggest that what is happening may, in fact, be the normal behavior to be expected from the interaction of science, advocacy groups, and politics. A study of an earlier example of such an interaction, the interaction of genetics, eugenics and immigration law during the early part of this century, reveals almost analogous behavior.
Hmm...where do we see this type of argument today?, But the interesting part is that early on we meet our old friend Princess Denial, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen,

The consensus concerning the behavior of the observed globally averaged temperature is pretty much a natural consensus. The consensus concerning the model response to increasing CO2 is not. The issue is described by Boehmer-Christiansen in both the 1 December issue of Nature and in a book-length analysis. Briefly, a number of groups in the early 80’s wanted to push increasing levels of CO2 as a major environmental issue. However, it was recognized that this would be difficult to do in view of the degree of scientific disarray on the issue of anthropogenic global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in order to forge a consensus on the scenario of significant warming (rather than to objectively assess the issue in terms of supporting and contradictory findings) so as to facilitate the development of international policy.
The beginnings of the hurricane wars
A recent example was the publication by world leading experts in hurricanes that there was no reason to suppose that, even were global warming to occur, it would have any particular affect on hurricanes (6).

6 Lighthill, J., G. Holland, W. Gray, C. Landsea, G. Craig, J. Evans, Y. Kurihara, and C. Guard, 1994. Global climate change and tropical cyclones. Bull. Am. Met. Soc., 75, 2147-2157.
and then Richard jumps the shark
Somewhat by accident, I came to realize that we’ve been through all this before. The interaction of genetics, eugenics, and the politics of immigration in the early 1920's has been studied at great length, primarily as an example of the misuse of science in the interests of racism. It was in this connection, that I was given an article by Jon Beckwith to read9. However, whatever the implications of this case for the responsible application of biology, it is also a remarkable example of the interaction of science, advocacy, and politics. Although it will be obvious that I am neither an historian nor a social scientist, I find the history of this matter helpful in understanding contemporary environmental issues, and I would hope that those more capable than I am would examine it in a more professional manner.
It goes downhill from there. His own paragraph heading applies Simple minded pictures and events. Perhaps we will return.

7 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

Very interesting, but (trying to keep things topical here) is it framing?

Steve Bloom said...

I remembered hearing the author of this article interviewed on the local wingnut radio station last weekend, and there does seem to be a certain similarity to the German stuff. Limbaugh et al make a lot of similar remarks, although I haven't been listening long enough to detect how the message may be chnaging over time. The intent seems to be to prepare loyal listeners to not even listen to information from environmentalists (broadly defined) during the former's forthcoming time in the political wilderness. (The linked article is the first in a three part series; the other two are here and here.)

Anonymous said...

Everything is a frame.

That's why Mooney/Nisbet are really saying very little.

It's pretty obvious to most people that when you try one approach and it does not work, you look for another angle.

It's also clear (to me at least) that Nisbet is now doing angling of a different kind -- angling for a scientist to co-author a paper on framing with him. He apparently recognizes the credibility that this will bring.

Any takers?

If you don't believe me, look at some of his posts on Pharyngula where he proposes a "conference" and personal conversations on the phone with PZ meyers.

If I did not know better, I would say that the whole framing brouhaha is as much about two guys trying to make a splash in the scientific world (without doing actual science) as it is about trying to get scientists to communicate better.

Anonymous said...

It all becomes clear. About the clouds and the iris, I mean. And the CNN/Larry King smackdown. Remember when Richard was spluttering about ice cores with the Science Guy? About how useless the cores were? I think we all need to chip in to buy the Science Guy the bottle of Lagavulin single malt whisky that Richard owes for losing the bet. Cause "I don't believe in paleoproxies." When does he relinquish the Sloan profesorship?

Anonymous said...

Now Lindzen is at it again in the April 16 Newsweek. The tone is querelous, and strawmen and red herrings abound. It is hard to know where to begin.

Dano said...

Wow. That Coffman is a wee bit unhinged, isn't he?

And wrt Lindzen's Newsweek piece - he's just using careful FUD rhetoric again.

No reason to do anything other than point out passages such as There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we've seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe.

It's not compelling to delusionist ideologues, but it's compelling to most folks. No more energy expenditure than that.

Time to start treating this stuff for what it is so society can start having a decent dialogue about adaptation and mitigation. Strike that: past time.

Best,

D

merjoem32 said...

Very interesting. I am willing to support an advocacy campaign that is in support of global warming but I think that the issue has been muddied. Politics has taken our attention off the real issue. The issue is not whether global warming is real or not. Conserving our planet is more important than debating about the genuineness of global warming.