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What Your Beliefs Are Based upon Does Count for Something

January 1st, 2011

It’s telling that those who accept global climate change do so because they accept the science, even though it goes against their own personal interests. Truth be told, we want to gulp up energy using all of our modern conveniences and drive big, cheap gas guzzlers just as much as the next guy, when it comes right down to it. Those who oppose global climate change do so not because of any scientific models–in fact, it’s despite the science, “dissenting experts” BS aside–but because they are ideologically opposed and/or because they don’t want to go to the trouble or expense required should the theory be true. Like everyone else, they also want to enjoy conspicuous energy consumption. But instead of accepting a painful truth and making sacrifices, they simply reject the science so they can enjoy the luxuries without believing they are destroying the world for future generations in doing so.

In short: one side believes against their personal interests because the science tells them so, and the other believes because it is personally and politically convenient to do so. Which has more likelihood of being correct?

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  1. January 2nd, 2011 at 07:40 | #1

    Are you really this comfortable assigning motives to others?

    It is indeed ‘telling’ that the motives you imagine for those who disagree with you are purely selfish and entirely lacking in any moral value.

    But I am certain we would disagree entirely on what it tells.

  2. Luis
    January 2nd, 2011 at 11:44 | #2

    Sorry, just stating the obvious, is all. If intent is clear, there’s nothing inappropriate about noting it. And it’s pretty darn clear that global climate change denial is based upon ideological and/or personal reasons. You could make a similar complaint about my posts that the intent of the people on Fox News is to propagandize rather than to inform people in an objective manner; it wouldn’t change the fact that the observation is apt.

    If you disagree, then convince me. It can be done–right-wingers changed my mind about gun rights, for instance. It only takes a solid argument backed up by fact.

  3. January 3rd, 2011 at 08:52 | #3

    A non ideological motive for climate skepticism?

    Here is an easy one. Try and locate meta-data for the measuring stations used to track temperature change. For example: What year did the parking lot the station is in the middle of go in? When was it last painted? Washed? Has anything else changed that would effect the performance of this device?

    You know, just basic info on the quality of your measuring tool.

  4. Luis
    January 3rd, 2011 at 12:23 | #4

    “Solid arguments” tend to be more in the style of making an assertion and presenting evidence, not laying out coy hints about one aspect of the overall issue that require the other person to do your legwork for you. If you have an assertion to make regarding heat retention effects of local surfaces (or other local environmental factors which could skew data collection) on surface measuring stations’ data, simply make the point and present a clear rationale for how this is significant, citing your own sources and giving reasons for why you find it credible. Is this a widespread phenomenon, or just a few stations? Does it truly have a great effect, and are such things taken into consideration already by those making the measurements? How does it effect the measuring of ocean temperatures or data from airborne stations? Since the data is most significant regarding temperature change over time, are the concerns about station locations even relevant? How trustworthy is the data and evaluation of the ‘skeptic’? Etc., etc.

    Since you failed to be clear in making any assertion and did not cite your source, I can only presume that you have simply found the various sites run by the former local Fox News weatherman, Glenn Beck guest, and global climate change denier Anthony Watts and not read any of the contrarian evidence [NOAA Q&A (PDF), informal rundown].

    Sorry, but I have a ton of work to do (Spring semester is starting, four sections full to the brim with two of them being writing classes with heavy workloads), and am not in the mood to play games. If you have an argument and a source, cite it, instead of making me work an extra hour to puzzle out which denial theory you’re working from. I don’t plan on wasting another hour like I did this morning, thank you.

  5. January 4th, 2011 at 00:13 | #5

    No denial theory. Have no idea what the Fox weatherman thing is you are talking about.

    What I am saying is much simpler – As far as I can tell this data does not exist anywhere. Anywhere at all.

    The most basic question of all. What are we measuring?

    I suppose you can say this is coy, but I am keeping this as simple as possible. No crazy theories, no conspiracies. Just… where is the data?

    And what does it mean if it does not exist at all?

  6. Luis
    January 4th, 2011 at 02:37 | #6

    Again, not an “argument” as much as non-specific fishing-around. A 5-minute search on the web produced multiple documents (e.g. Sample and Sample, and possible actual database here, I didn’t feel like starting an account and doing hours of research based on your vague suspicions) referencing such metadata and the fact that it is kept. Search for yourself, if you’re serious. Are you lamenting that it’s not available in convenient form for your immediate perusal, or are you suggesting that all these people are faking it?

    Your query, in any case, if not coy, is seriously undefined. Did you search for this data? Are there serious people calling for the data and claiming it’s not there? Any answer to your query, as you presented it, would require quite a bit of research just to figure out what you’re referring to, and that’s assuming you even know what you’re talking about. This is part of what I was talking about it the “waste of my time” mention in my last comment.

    Be specific. Where did you hear the data was missing? What makes you think it is?

  7. Geoff K
    January 4th, 2011 at 11:56 | #7

    I think that 1. You’re missing the point of scientific skepticism and 2. You’re making unwarranted assumptions about the motives of the opposition.

    First, both climate models and climate data have been shown to be incomplete and to have been altered by Global Warming proponents. This has been admitted in publicly revealed emails and other documents. You may feel that they were justified in making their case look stronger and that it doesn’t alter the “undeniable” facts. But actual climate has precisely followed neither the models nor the predictions. So demanding better proof is scientifically reasonable.

    Secondly, skeptics fall into two camps. The first are simply unconvinced by the evidence as above. The second may accept that warming is possible or even occurring, but feel that money and effort are better spent on vaccination, clean water and other projects rather than “carbon caps”. In any event, unless you are Al Gore, with a huge mansion and private jet, personal sacrifice will make very little difference. Thousands of well-maintained private cars contribute less to the problem than one coal-burning Chinese power plant. And the refusal of China, India and other emerging economies to handicap themselves with climate issues is the elephant in the room that climate advocates prefer not to discuss.

    I’m probably in that last group. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that humans may be causing some climate changes (although I’m not 100% convinced by the evidence that I’ve seen). However, I think that the solutions which have been offered so far are economically disastrous, unworkable or impractical. I would support research into better solutions, but many of the best solutions that we do have (e.g. nuclear power) are opposed by many of the same people who are strident about taking action. So I feel relatively unsympathetic towards their pleas and “sacrifices”.

    Attributing selfishness and bad motives to your opponents may get nods from your supporters but it will rarely change anyone’s mind.

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