It’s an argument – Can’t call it a debate because it really doesn’t rise to that level. J.E. Dyer describes Climate in Wonderland by using a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland character The Mock Turtle.
“[T]he different branches of arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.”
— The Mock Turtle, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
The global climate debate bears an increasing resemblance to Alice’s interview with the White Queen. The world’s hardworking climate agencies can’t seem to issue a single proclamation without contrary evidence popping up, as if on cue, somewhere else. That doesn’t, of course, stop the agencies from issuing proclamations, however much they may deviate from the reality certified to a weary public by actual data.
The note is about the WMO ‘warmest decade’ pronouncement and its problems. From there, it is noted how many such doom and gloom climate pronouncements are being met by contrary data or evidence. Then there is Darwin Ground Zero: Data Faked to illustrate the point. That gets to the point at Q&O about How The Internet Has Changed More Than Science.
One of the more interesting straw men right now is the conspiracy problem. The assertion is that those who think the CRU leak information is important are claiming ridiculous conspiracies and everyone knows that conspiracy theorists are wackos. The reality is that the claims of actual conspiracy in the wacko sense are only out on the fringe. The rest are either trying to come to grips with a systemic failure or trying to defend against the idea that there might have been one in the first place. As Ace notes:
Now, back to something I said would be interesting, … The psychological journey from global warming cultist to global warming agnostic.
Watching the talking heads bat ClimateGate back and forth, the warmists are saying (among other things) that a “conspiracy” is almost impossible to imagine because of the thousands of people involved. For what it is worth, I agree. There is no evidence of a global conspiracy to invent evidence of anthropogenic global warming. The more partisan skeptics who have argued the conspiracy theory, or at least alluded to it, are setting themselves up for the obvious response, which is that true conspiracies involving thousands of people are virtually impossible to organize, sustain, and cover up. Megan McArdle describes the much more probable case, which is that the community of climate scientists are practicing a subtle sort of collegiality bias, in which nobody wants to find large errors in the reasoning of their colleagues.
The idea of collegiality bias received some reinforcement in a new story Ace describes in Sure, Why Not: Scientists in Met Office (Overseeing CRU) “Pressured” to Sign Circular Defending AGW “Or Risk Losing Work”. That is a story about an effort to defend against the tarnish placed on climate science by the CRU leak.
The story is really about complacency in the light of extreme advocacy. This story is being repeated on may fronts. The tendency is to believe others are well intentioned, well meaning, honest, and reasonable. Most folks don’t want arguments, fights, or confrontations. When there are a few who get an ideological fire and put the end above the means, they can take advantage of the normal tendencies of the population — up until the point that it gets to be just too much to swallow. That point is getting close in matters such as those surrounding ACORN and voting fraud, TARP and economic interventions, health care, and environmental extremism in the climate wars. There are so many of these major issues hitting peak at once one could think it a perfect storm.
In the past it was not the job of public policy to act on a bet or a maybe. To justify government intervention in economic activity, personal lifestyles, the right to travel; to have the effrontery to prescribe how many children a population is allowed; how many sheets of toilet paper it can use; what it may purchase and how much it could be taxed, a clear and compelling case formerly had to be put forward. Absent a compelling public interest you were obliged to leave people alone. Without a sound foundation in “reality” it really is dangerous to regulate the world. Honest. Maybe the media had a consensus; but perhaps Megan McArdle is beginning to have her doubts.
Richard Fernandez describes the conspiracy straw man the provides a good suggestion to explain what is being seen in Rocket man. The example is the Space Shuttle O-ring crash investigation. It describes a path to doom and what must be done to avoid it.