Literary Saturday: Reponse to Readers
Published on: February 6, 2010
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  • SC Mike

    My wife’s family is Episcopalian, so I understand your viewpoint quite well.

    I thank you for the thoughtful essay.

  • peter38a

    Mr. Mead,

    Thank you for your thoughtful discussion in this area. Allow me to try to briefly lay out a few thoughts.

    Global Warming had listen with me until they started to call people with dissenting views names, recalling one fellow early on saying that said dissenters should be jailed! That’s not science that ideology. And although such ad homonym attacks may not have been made by the majority they certainly didn’t discourage them either.

    Maybe there is warming taking place but that is a long way from the package being sold: Man is causing the change, it can be reversed and controlled so finely that we can engineer the climate for the whole planet neglecting of course that the two biggest projected polluters, India and China, are about to come on line with a vengeance.

    What’s being presented is that two measures (temp and CO2) are increasing in a parallel fashion. That’s not science that’s a trend, speculation. Any number of unaccounted for variables could be the ‘cause’ of this trend. Two measures moving divergently or convergently does not mean that one is the cause of the other. How much more basic science is there than that?

    Further, science requires that you point out the weakest aspects of your experiment and conclusions and discuss the weight you’ve assigned them or not. Far from that being the case each new revelation shows a decided cherry-picking and hiding of inconvenient facts. You can prove anything if you can cherry-pick your facts.

    So often in a discussion the question is thrown up, “Well, why don’t you think so?” Hold on, in science the person making the assertion has the burden of proof. Global Warming may be right or it may be wrong or somewhere in between but as in the existence of God it just isn’t science.

    And what is the pay off, the end conclusion; hundreds of billions of dollars spent on regulating every single aspect of our lives. What’s more you can certainly bet that if their projects don’t work as planed that the answer will be that we didn’t spend enough money.

    In Kennedy’s book “Freedom From Fear” he mentions in passing that a number of Roosevelt Progressives were angry when we declared war in WWII because it was derailing their plan for America. I’m damned angry at this relentless infantilization of the rest of us by these patronizing, moralizing twerps and I’m angry that the media haven’t shown the integrity to investigate any of these “warming” claims.

    So, Global Warming, or whatever name they re-brand it with on Monday has no listen for me.

  • Tashlan

    A very thoughtful post Mr. Mead, thank you.

    On many points, I suppose your critics will continue to agree to disagree. For example, since much of my teaching and advising abroad was in places like Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and spent many years teaching Economics here and abroad,I have a much less sanguine view of the American potential to resist an assault by special interests. We note, for example, that though Cap and Trade may be dead, the EPA’s claim of the IPCC report will be the basis for an implementation of the second-best solution. A solution, by the way, that carries far more cost than efficient Cap and Trade legislation could ever have imposed. Like the use of rules of origin or quotas, special interests can (and do) resort to less obvious means(with more deadweight costs) when popular sentiment would clearly oppose the less costly more direct approach (i.e, tariffs).

    I certainly don’t think anyone could accuse you of cowardice or shallow thinking by the way; perhaps carelessness.


  • Norm

    Well said.

  • Jack

    I think that James Delingpole captures Mead’s spirit best, even though he is talking about a Geoffrey Lean article.

    ( Let me quote:

    “.(Lean)…implies ” that somewhere in the AGW debate is a sensible, moderate, middle ground and that if we can only approach this business in the spirit of a sort of Tony-Blair-style Third-Way triangulation, everything can be solved and we can all live happily ever after. No it can’t and we won’t.”

    It is Mr. Mead’s claim of being an Anglican “generalist” that I find so hard to take in a time when easy information retrieval is so, well, easy. Yes, you actually can know more than the specialist, and if you don’t know specific a fact, you can find it out. You the generalist can fact check the specialist. I highly recommend the activity.

    I do appreciate Mr. Mead’s assertion that global warming is “complicated, important and contentious” and the clever juxtaposition he makes with the uncharitable Jack who, by implication, is in need of further explanation, or at least some gentle schooling.

    Yet, while no one would expect Mr. Mead to analyze the raw data, surely a generalist would have an opinion about the handling of raw data and computer code when it is being used to justify such far reaching government policy. There is no ambiguity here. CRU-Hadley, Jones, Mann and others conspired to delete the raw data. They conspired to prevent the release of data requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI).

    Nor is it unreasonable to expect a generalist to be at least somewhat familiar with the scientific method. To the uninitiated, hiding your data, and then telling your critics to trust you, or at least shut up, is not a generally accepted method of scientific enquiry. Big pharma isn’t allowed to lie about drug testing The FDA and the quite justified fear of mass civil litigation settlements sees to that. Why should ‘big warming’ be granted an exception when it comes to an audit and fact-checking by critics? No other human endeavor is, except, in some quarters, Islam.

    Further, the scientific method also does not include clandestine efforts to prevent one’s critics from publishing in peer reviewed journals, and then claiming that the critic’s papers are invalid because they weren’t published in peer reviewed journals. Surely even a generalist can see the circular reasoning involved. And as we now see, the vaunted use of “peer review” by the IPCC to defend its conclusions is, shall we say, less overwhelming by the fact that the IPCC is using non-peer reviewed studies to justify its conclusions.

    Sometimes, even the good hearted, reasonable, yet sanctimonious and windy, generalist can miss the forest for the trees. Unfortunately, this situation is worse than that. The IPCC latest report is a vast edifice surrounded by hard flat ground. There are no trees, only a crumbling foundation of egregious science being propped up by hastily erected scaffolding. Mostly paid for by US and UK taxpayers.

    In science, you just aren’t allowed to hide, not share, lose, keep from critics, your data.

    In science, you just aren’t allowed to hide, not share, lose, keep from critics, your computer code. (Aside: notably, CRU, Jones, Mann and other are still doing this!)

    Hiding information isn’t the way you do science, but it is the way you con people.

    I would think that a generalist would vociferously support the idea that the raw data and methods of these so called scientists already belong to the public. After all, we paid for it.

    Most of us can heartily applaud Mr. Mead’s approach that it is “generally best to deal with people on the basis of respect for different points of view.”

    Yet, in the specific, some things really do cry out for uninhibited and forceful condemnation. The corruption of the scientific method and the peer review process as regards the IPCC report are two of them.

    Surely a generalist could speculate about the motivations of the men who wrote and/or referenced the papers that have lead to Glaciergate, Amazongate, ArcticFreeOfIceGate, Africagate, and Ausssiedroughtgate? Yes, it could be any one of a variety of human failings: true belief, good intentions, or even a simple error, or two. Simple coincidence could explain it. Except for the fact that all the ‘errors’ support or hype AGW consequences, fraudulently. It’s a crisis!

    To quote Ian Flemming, via Auric Goldfinger, “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, third time, is enemy action.”

    One would think that an Anglican (and I was brought up in Canada and confirmed in the Anglican church, so I would know, right?) would accept that most human folly springs from our more base motivations. No matter how pretty it would be to think otherwise.

    The skeptics have been pilloried as liars, bought-and-paid-for shills, morons, and moral Neanderthals by the likes of Jones, Mann and Al Gore. The skeptics have been subjected to a media campaign of vilification and ridicule. Our governments have spent billions, by some estimates over 87 billion, paying for AGW research. Strangely enough, nothing has been spent on scientific audits. But according to Mead we should be reasonable now.

    Generalists have an important place in philosophical, scientific and religious discussions. But the importance of the generalist is not because he knows a little about a lot of things, rather, it is because the generalist knows broadly about the history, structure and process of a variety of academic specialties. Where they go right and where they go wrong. And that dishonest practices can be ascertained by means other than outright admission.

    At least you would think so.

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