Key indicators

PZ Meyers tries to explain Why climatologists used the tree-ring data ‘trick’ and, in the process, demonstrates several key indicators that should raise a great deal of skepticism about the source.

One is the establishment of an authority. That is rather benign. But then this authority then provides other key indicators that are not so benign in their indication of bias. One of these is to refer to the “stolen 1999 e-mail” and another is a judgmental reference to FoxNews.com coupled with a sarcastic “I’ve never really understood the goals of the evil scientific conspirators.” There are similar dismissals of other ‘evil opponents’ that can be noted as well. These are judgmental, incomplete, and subject to significant interpretation. Sarcasm and dismissal are not ‘scientific’ methods for dealing with things that are not understood. Ad hominem is never good science and neither is unfounded presumption.

On the more scientific aspect of the presentation is that fact that the arguments presented only reinforce the idea that tree ring data is a complex proxy for temperatures and cannot be relied upon with certainty to actually indicate or determine temperature. This is the critical idea behind the ‘trick’ to ‘hide the decline’ that the argument is trying to dismiss. The trick was to hide a divergence that illustrated that tree ring data made a poor proxy for temperatures. This is a problem when the conclusion is not supported by the nature of the arguments made to support it.

Another key indicator is that these arguments are also defensive and not explanatory. They try to explain away issues and points made rather than support theses presented. If you want to see a more ‘scientific’ discussion, do not read scienceblogs. Instead, go take a look at the blogs of those they castigate and impugn.

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