Does size matter?

Does size matter? Now, while I am not talking specifically about the size of a man’s penis here, I will touch on that briefly. We are all aware of the jokes about men with small penises and subsequent feelings of inadequacy driving big cars or owning big dogs or posing with photos of big fish. This particular Freudianesque hypothesis has even been used in commercials aimed at shaming young men into driving sensibly.

This brings me to the subject of big lists. What is it about some climate deniers that makes them think a big list of names of people or papers makes their position valid? It would, if they were interested in sourcing quality information as opposed to quantity. A classic example is the “Global Warming Petition Project” which currently boasts “31,487 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhDs “. This statement is amazing in that they are blatantly admitting upfront that 22458 of their signatories don’t have a PhD. Now, I don’t mean any disrespect to those out there who are working in scientific disciplines who haven’t completed a PhD but the fact is, in scientific circles a PhD is usually a minimum requirement to be considered an expert in any field. What’s worse about this petition is that until recently you only had to hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent to sign.  Now I don’t know about you but when I go to my doctor, I wouldn’t be too happy if she suddenly informed me she only had a medical degree equivalent. Anyway, there is an excellent YouTube video  from greenman3610 that explains how ridiculous this big list is.

Next is the big list of “peer reviewed” papers at the popular technology blog site  which boasts “900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarm”.  This is one of my favourites, not because it is a great website, but because it is a great tool to demonstrate scientific illiteracy, ignorance and deception at its best. For a start, the person running the website is a Computer Analyst and his three contributing website authors are a Computer Engineer, a Computer Scientist and an Electrical Engineer. I’m not too sure their areas of expertise qualify them to determine good climate science from dodgy climate science. It might explain why some of these “peer reviewed” papers are published in journals like The Electricity Journal, Iron and Steel Technology and my absolute favourite the New Concepts in Global Tectonics newsletter, the editor of which recently declared that because Japanese seismologists failed to predict the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami of a year ago, that the entire Theory of Plate Tectonics is patently incorrect. One “peer reviewed” paper in the infamous 900 that appears in the prestigious New Concepts in Global Tectonics newsletter is from one Lance Endersbee, who as far as I can make out from his “peer reviewed” paper, has no professional affiliations or qualifications for that matter. Anyway, he claims that ocean warming “is not due to the influence of Man, and probably due to a change in the geothermal regime of heat flow from the fracture zones in the floor of the northern oceans.” Wow! Now there’s a claim and a half. The amount of energy required from that relatively small area to heat all the oceans by as much as…….I’m not even going to bother. It’s some simple maths for anyone reading this who might be bothered but this is too absurd to waste time on.

So, is this the kind of standard that is set for this list of “900+ peer reviewed” papers? Well, yes and no. To be fair, there are a number of papers in this list from reputable journals like Nature and Geophysical Research Letters but this raises the question, do these papers actually debunk AGW? The answer is no. The person running this blog site likely hasn’t actually read any more than the abstracts of those papers, spotted a phrase or two that could be interpreted as shedding some doubt on some minor part of the AGW or human induced climate change hypotheses for example a particular statistical technique, but that is generally all. A classic case in point is this paper on the list from Frank et al. To the uninitiated this might appear to say that climate model predicted warming is out by as much as 80% where in fact it says “~80% less potential amplification of ongoing global warming” which is of course not the same thing. Also, in light of the fact that the error bars in their p.p.m.v. CO2 per °C calculation are very large, that 80% less potential is at the maximum end anyway. Plus, the authors are only discussing the CO2 released as a result of positive feedbacks and are not dealing AT ALL with the direct input of CO2 from man-made sources. This paper supports the position that the current rate of warming as being both anthropogenic and serious in nature, which actually opposes the claim of the blog site to be presenting  “900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarm”. So, why include it? There are only 2 possible reasons.

1, the blog site owner doesn’t understand climate science sufficiently well enough to really know what he’s doing, or

2. He knows enough to understand what I have just mentioned about the paper and is including it because he knows it will be misleading to laypeople.

I hope its 1 but suspect its 2. Of course, when quality isn’t as important as quantity and the intention is to deceive, the paucity of real peer reviewed papers from reputable journals that debunk AGW and human induced climate change force these people to the fringes for information or to nitpicking papers they know will be too technical for laypeople to understand. The quality doesn’t matter to these people and it doesn’t matter to that proportion of the public who wish to remain wilfully ignorant because the truth is too scary, or those who are generally anti-establishment or the plain gullible whose scientific ignorance prevents them from understanding what comprises quality science. It is easier for this last group to accept simplistic garbage than the often complex real science.

In my opinion, there must be a change in our education systems in the teaching of science and it needs to start in the early years. Of equal importance to the teaching of facts in various disciplines is the teaching of scientific conventions so that future generations are better able to recognise dodgy lists for what they are, know the difference between a climatologist and an engineer, and recognise that computer analysts aren’t well credentialed enough to compile lists of “peer reviewed papers” that actually do what they purport.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Does size matter?

    • Thankyou for visiting my blog. Having a real job, I don’t have time to go point by point through your lengthy opinion but I do appreciate you spending so much time on it. I will just make a couple of points.

      I don’t appreciate your accusation that I am linking you with holocaust deniers. To suggest that my use of the word ‘denier’ is designed to do so is absurd….and people in glass houses………………..

      Dodgy editors making quotes about how legitimate their “peer reviewed” journal is, is akin to people using the bible to justify the accuracy of the bible.

      But alas, you can go on believing that your dodgy list is legitimate and those of us who actually know a thing or two will continue knowing that it isn’t. Good luck. I hope you have a happy, allbeit wilfully ignorant, life.

      • I have a very real job too, I just am able to work much smarter than the average alarmist and not much time was spent at all as I type very quickly. I do not appreciate your lack of an education where you should of learned proper terminology. I believe the Holocaust happened and I also believe the climate changes. The quote from the editor was in support of the journal being peer-reviewed, if it does not have a peer-review process then you need to falsify his claim, something you have failed to do. Surprisingly, it never takes long for an alarmist to bring up their anti-religious obsessions. Since I am agnostic and support evolution theory you have no where to go here.

        The list is completely legitimate, fully cited and sourced.

        You have failed to show;

        1. That the counted papers on the list were not peer-reviewed.
        2. That the counted papers on the list cannot support a skeptic argument against ACC/AGW Alarm.

        Your failures are noted.

        • “I do not appreciate your lack of an education where you should of learned proper terminology.”

          You mean “have” not “of” don’t you? Oh the irony.

          “Your failures are noted”

          If it is you judging my failure, I’ll take that as a compliment. By the way, misquoting people is dishonest. What do you have against the word ‘penis’? It is the anatomically correct term to use. Had I meant scrotum, testes and penis I would have used the word ‘genitalia’ that you have incorrectly attributed to me. I was referring specifically to penis, but then that is just you being true to form. Accuracy and honesty aren’t really your strong points.

          1. I have never claimed that your list of “papers” are not peer reviewed and I challenge you to show me where I have.
          2. The counted ‘papers’ do support a skeptic argument against ACC/AGW alarm, just not a scientific one because they have been published in obscure unrelated or industry-based journals and journals with patently dodgy track records. The papers from reputable journals dont actually refute AGW/ACC but merely pick around the edges of some methodologies.

          You see, what you fail to realise is that by including really dodgy entries in your list, you are setting the bar very low and it really reflects badly on your overall position simply because you’ve demonstrated that you don’t really care about quality. One bad apple, does spoil the batch,

          Now this is where you get repetetive in your final reply and break the rules of my blog.

  1. The forum software auto-corrects certain words to keep the discussion out of the gutter where people like you like to take it.

    You have admitted,

    1. All the counted papers are peer-reviewed.
    2. All the counted papers support a skeptic argument against ACC/AGW Alarm.

    You have failed to provide an objective criteria for determining a “quality” journal. Instead you just make unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks against journals that publish papers you find inconvenient, it is pathetic.

    It is a strawman argument that papers are listed only to refute ACC/AGW.

    You fail to realize that by not receiving a proper education you never learned what the word “subjective” means nor when you are making subjective arguments. You have been taught to be emotional not logical, it is definitely a failure of the school system.

    I could careless about the “rules” of your blog because I am posting everything to my site.

    • You can’t help yourself. Your intellectual dishonesty is astounding. I hope you post a link to this blog so that your followers can see how dishonest you are.

  2. You promised more talk about penises

    Well, last month over 2200 high temperature records were set in the US alone. The year 2010 is now declared the warmest on record.

    This seems to be a lesson that climate change deniers have not learned.

    It is like when a young boy first learns how his penis works; outdoors standing to pee, he quickly learns not to piss into the wind. And sometimes turning away just a little is not quite enough. Every boy eventually learns from experience.

    Similarly, young girls may decide they want to learn how to spit. And they soon learn what it means “don’t spit into the wind” They get the idea.

    Sometimes people will stand too long, facing one direction – and the wind will grow stronger than before. It starts blowing harder and harder, and the forecast is for even stronger winds. You may not change your stance, but all of a sudden you gotta go, and find you are aiming directly into the wind. And no matter how big and forceful you think you are, and even by aiming to the side is just not working. And it no longer works to telling yourself it is just warm yellow rain.

    All young children learn about pissing and spitting into the wind. You can keep trying, but after a while you just realize it is not working and maybe something else is worthy of your curiosity.

    After a few thousand more temperature records, pre-pubescent climate change deniers might regard where the wind blows. You learn soon by getting covered with spit and piss and even your words are blown back into your face, you may realize that your entire stance is wrong. You might want to turn around.

    We have long since tired of explaining things in scientific terms, now it is experiential – your get it or not, but even now, nobody wants to stand down-wind of you.

  3. john byatt

    Another dodgy list is Idso’s MWP project, I have come across many, citing papers from the list and simply accepting the nonsense that Idso claims from each paper.

    One writer after spending most of his letter claiming that Mann was involved with deception, then went on to cite Bird et al 2011 regarding MWP, having only read Idso’s opinion on the paper at NIPCC blog, the writer had no idea that Bird cites two papers from Mann and includes Mann’s graphs to give credibility to his own paper.

    of course my reply was lost on the irony-challenged

    • You know, I can never quite work out how I feel about this sort of thing.

      While I get increasingly frustrated at the stupidity, wilful ignorance, deliberate deceptivesness or sheer laziness of these people, I can’t help but be constantly amused by it as well. It’s probably a defence mechanism.

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