Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fred says

When the anonymice comments are better than anything the head cheese comes up with, print the comments

Memetic Disease: Greenhouse Effect Denialism

Causes:

(a) The G&T meme.
(b) The Miskolczi meme.
Long Term Effects:
(a) Succeptibility to other Loonish Ideas
(b) Unrecoverable loss of credibility
(c) Enhanced risk of publication in Energy and Environment
Succeptibility: Most people are immune to infection. Those at most risk are those with
(a) Elevated levels of paranoia, or Conspiracy Syndrome.
(b) BS immune deficiency.
(c) A grasp of basic physics (just enough rope..)
(d) Blog Fever
Early Symptoms: An infected individual will often display the following symptoms within 24 hours:
(a) Frequent and fevered claims to the effect of "a cold atmosphere can't warm a hotter surface".
(b) Frequent references to the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
Within the first week of infection an infected individual can become highly infectious as they propagate the meme to those around them.
Treatment: Recommended treatment involves sustained application of logic to the infected individual. If symptoms still persist after 24 hours of treatment this is usually a sign that the infection is permanent and there is no known cure. Warning signs of permanent infection include rapid switching in the obfuscation cortex leading the individual to discover confusion over words such as "warms", "heats" and "net".

Known Vectors include:
(a) Icecap.us
(b) Watts
(c) Inhofe
(d) Marohasy
Do you know someone with GED? Denial Anonymous can help.

15 comments:

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Eli,

I think that you are quite wrong in thinking that logic has any efficacy in these patients. The disease is in fact associated with an apparently congenital deficiency in logic receptors.

You also have the physics part backwards. Comprehension of the second law of thermodynamics actually is a key component of immunity - unfortunately, such comprehension is hardly guaranteed by a PhD in physics.

Fred said...

lol to see it on a main article.

CapitalistImperialistPig, succeptible people are those who have a little physics knowledge to know that a cooler body cannot heat a hotter body. The G&T meme exploits this by making them question how a cooler atmosphere can warm a hotter surface. It's not the same thing of course, but G&T conflates the two.

Often people will snap out of it when it's explained to them, so logic can work.

But you are right it doesn't work on certain contrarian types. For them a mere question is nothing more than "another nail in the coffin of AGW" and they will refuse to let go of it and start an amazing dance around the room to avoid doing so. They often end up citing their physics grades in highschool or a past slightly-physics-related job...

I would provide links to a few examples of this on various forums/blogs, but it would break patient-doctor confidentiality.

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, google up the following phrase (include the quotation marks): "Correlation between Cosmic Rays and Ozone Depletion". (Note: the original paper can be found here -- http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~qblu/Lu-2009PRL.pdf)

The denialists (like Anthony Watts) have definitely picked up this ball, and the Google search will show you where they are running with it.

For those who don't want to sift through the Google results, here's a representative hit: http://www.timothybirdnow.com/?p=1799

This is an amusing example of what can happen when you mix ideology with scientific illiteracy.



--caerbannog the anonybunny

Hank Roberts said...

Don't worry too much about the ozone guy. The subhead is:

"Fellow scientists say Waterloo professor's hypothesis needs more study"
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/03/23/tech-090323-ozone-hole-cosmic-rays.html

You know how that's going to be spun of course. "Worthy of attention" rather than "Interesting but unquantified"

Hank Roberts said...

Don't worry too much about the ozone guy. The subhead is:

"Fellow scientists say Waterloo professor's hypothesis needs more study"
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/03/23/tech-090323-ozone-hole-cosmic-rays.html

You know how that's going to be spun of course. "Worthy of attention" rather than "Interesting but unquantified" (sigh)

See also:

http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=631

Last year:
http://newsrelease.uwaterloo.ca/news.php?id=4997
2008-09-16 10:09:59
New theory predicts the largest ozone hole over Antarctica will occur this month

WATERLOO, Ont. (Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008) -- A University of Waterloo scientist says that cosmic rays are a key cause for expanding the hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole -- and predicts the largest ozone hole will occur in one or two weeks. ...

Well, er, fifth largest ... but see, it's longer and wider ....

http://newsrelease.uwaterloo.ca/news.php?id=5051
2009-03-23 10:05:59
UW prof says cyclic ozone hole proves cosmic ray theory

WATERLOO, Ont. (Monday, March 23, 2009) -- A University of Waterloo scientist says that an observed cyclic hole in the ozone layer provides proof of a new ozone depletion theory involving cosmic rays, a theory outlined in his new study, just published in Physical Review Letters.....

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Anonymous said...


Don't worry too much about the ozone guy. The subhead is:


What I found amusing about the whole thing is that the cosmic-ray theory advanced by that paper still requires the presence of CFC's, something that Watts (surprise, surprise) failed to comprehend.

The only thing new (or controversial) is the notion that cosmic rays may also be responsible for kicking loose chlorine atoms from CFC molecules in the stratosphere.

But of course, this was all lost on Watts and Co.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Hans Erren said...

Come on Eli, be civil, don't use the guilt by association on Watts. I am not equating you with Jim "Death Trains" Hansen either.

The evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic warming is getting more flimsy by the day, there is sufficient evidence for that, which cannot be denied. Still I am glad to assist you with eradicating nonsensicle "science".

chriscolose said...

Please Hans. Watts' blog is one of the leading sources of disinformation on the internet. Particularly when you weigh in the readership he gets, what he allows on his site is unethical.

I get wary of anyone who uses phrases like "catastrophic warming" which are intentionally defined a bit too broadly to allow for meaningful rebuttal. There is plenty of evidence that the ecological and socio-economic impacts of climate change are worth addressing-- whether or not you feel is "catastrophic" is not particularly meaningful, or relevant.

Anonymous said...

Chris:

The evolution of the denier arguments is interesting (and telling).

First, they said there was little evidence that the earth was warming at all.

When the evidence continued to build and showed otherwise (and their claim became completely untenable), they started claiming that "there is insufficient evidence that humans have caused the warming" (or that humans have caused the majority of the warming, at least)

Now that that the latter claim has proved untenable as well, they are claiming that "the evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic warming is getting more flimsy by the day".

In other words, the deniers have learned the lesson: it is unwise to make (scientific) claims that can be disproved.

Far better to make highly subjective ones like "catastrophic' that mean different things to different people.

Even if warming turns out to be a disaster (catastrophe) for some, it will almost certainly not be for all. In fact, it is reasonable to expect that some may benefit from it.

So, even if the warming is disastrous for a large number of people, the deniers can always hold up the guy whom it benefited as an example "see, it didn't turn out so bad after all."

Very convenient, no?

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Hans Erren writes:

The evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic warming is getting more flimsy by the day

If you don't call

* more drought in continental interiors,
* more violent weather along coastlines,
* eventual loss of coastal cities and whole countries like Bangladesh to sea level rise, and
* the disappearance of fresh water for a billion people in Asis who depend on glacier melt for fresh water

a catastrophe, what do you call it?

Global warming is the biggest problem our civilization has ever faced with the exception of nuclear war.

Anonymous said...

"Please Hans. Watts' blog is one of the leading sources of disinformation on the internet. "

Watts is McIntyre's stalking horse. McIntyre wouldn't publicly stoop to the inane barbarism of Watts, but he is the best of buddies with him.

Bugs

Anonymous said...

Long Term Effects:

(a) Succeptibility to other Loonish Ideas


Is the latter an effect or a cause of the former?

I think there is a good reason why AGW denialists and creationists seem to have so much in common.

John Mashey said...

re: Kaufman & JSE
Oops, we did discuss that guy before, but it was late, and I guess my brain is improving its ability to forget painful things.

susan said...

Do you mind if I borrow some of this stuff? McIntyre and Watts (plus E. Patrick Mosman and some others) are persistent mosquitoes and I'm trying to do battle with them on DotEarth. (Please don't ask why I bother, it's a public forum and I hope to help with lurkers instead of quitting and following some nice safe place like this). I can tell a hawk from a handsaw when the wind's in the whatsit, but my formal education is nearly as little as a snarky remark above suggests theirs is.

Seems like all you experts really should be occupied with real stuff, not the re-re-re-re....birth of doubt creation via the big lie. Which demonstrates they have done real harm.

I second the Levenson remark about what constitutes catastrophic.
(Anderson)

EliRabett said...

Susan, feel free, but don't take it too seriously if someone accuses you of quoting a dumb bunny.