CAVEAT LECTOR “let the reader beware”

Posted by john Byatt . How often do we see a research paper that turns out to be misrepresented by the sceptics or ignores any caveats imposed ?

This paper looked ripe and plump enough to be picked by the sceptics to spread misinformation .

Climate Warming Unlikely to Cause Near-Term Extinction of Ancient Amazon Trees, but Multiple Threats to the Forest Remain
Dec. 13, 2012 — A new genetic analysis has revealed that many Amazon tree species are likely to survive human-caused climate warming in the coming century, contrary to previous findings that temperature increases would cause them to die out.

The study by University of Michigan evolutionary biologist Christopher Dick and his colleagues demonstrates the surprising age of some Amazonian tree species — more than 8 million years — and thereby shows that they have survived previous periods as warm as many of the global warming scenarios forecast for the year 2100.,

But study co-author Simon Lewis of University College London and the University of Leeds cautioned that “the past cannot be compared directly with the future.”
“While tree species seem likely to tolerate higher air temperatures than today, the Amazon forest is being converted for agriculture and mining, and what remains is being degraded by logging and increasingly fragmented by fields and roads,” Lewis said. “Species will not move as freely in today’s Amazon as they did in previous warm periods, when there was no human influence. Similarly, today’s climate change is extremely fast, making comparisons with the past difficult.
“With a clearer understanding of the relative risks to the Amazon forest, we conclude that direct human impacts, such as forest clearance for agriculture or mining, should remain a focus of conservation policy,” Lewis said. “We also need more aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to minimize the risk of drought and fire impacts to secure the future of most Amazon tree species.”


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4 responses to “CAVEAT LECTOR “let the reader beware”

  1. het

    This tendency to spin, misrepresent and/or misconstrue is exactly why
    I devised what I call the Wnatt scale to measure the likelihood of a paper
    being so misused. Wnatt being in the fine tradition of Fnord.

    • john byatt

      Mike has the Worrall scale for denialism
      Most of Watts comments fall around w5 to w7 , scale only goes to w7.

      • George Montgomery

        Yes but I assume that the Worrall scale is similar to the Richter Scale (magnitude to base 10) rather than the Mercalli Scale (intensity in terms of effect) or the Beaufort Scale (descriptors of effects).
        The problem with Watts is that, like Bolt (Andrew not Thunder) and Nova (nee Codling not Super), he believes that debating a point in Science is like constructing a legal argument to present to a judge and jury. You use the points of law or evidence that fit your argument, exclude those that don’t, and, where necessary, interpret the evidence in a way that supports your case.
        When challenged on a particular point or multiple points, in Watts’s case act as judge and overrule the objection, or do a Bolt and have the objector removed, or ‘do a Nova’ – quote Karl Popper and waffle on about falsifiability. The latter point is interesting in that, as an example, Newton’s Law of Gravitation would have been thrown out on Popperian philosophy as it failed to accurately predict the orbital speed of Mercury and couldn’t explain the orbital perturbations of Uranus.
        Apparently, Patrick Michaels read and was highly impressed by ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ by Thomas Kuhn which is in direct oppostion to Popper’s ideas on science. I’m not surprised that Nova and Michaels disagree on how science functions as one constant among climate cooligans is that there is no constant – they all have differing views on how and what causes climate change. Not that I’m surprised as most of them are science illiterates and the rest fall into two camps, incompetents and pathological liars.

  2. john byatt

    Nova has different views on what causes climate change everyday.

    ” he believes that debating a point in Science is like constructing a legal argument to present to a judge and jury. ”

    You sound like you have come across Anthony Cox

    Richard Courtney at WUWT is a classic, check him out on the Leaked?
    IPCC thread, headvice ready.
    No on second thoughts, strap it on first