Sandbox

My work at the Union of Concerned Scientists and relatively unique name makes it easy for people to find my personal website and post stuff here. Thus, this site has attracted some comments from people who want to challenge the science of climate change.

I don’t believe in censorship, so I will never delete comments on the site. But I will move them to an appropriate spot. So I’ve created this post to hold comments from elsewhere on the site that I feel should be moved, especially ones that are off-topic or ad hominem or that repeat what I consider to be well-worn points about climate change science that are better dealt with on other sites.

For folks who have questions about climate science or points they want to raise, I would encourage them to look up those specific topics at SkepticalScience.com and post there. I greatly admire their site and find that its contributors and moderators are happy to address specific points related to findings of climate science.

In my experience, having protracted back-and-forths with someone who has a firm ideologically based opinion about climate science can be very time-consuming. And while doing so has helped me understand what people who disagree with me believe, it has rarely improved my understanding of the science or led to any increased mutual understanding of perspectives. More practically, I often find that people don’t want a dialogue. They’re happy to drop a nastygram and move on, never returning to read what I wrote in response to them. For those that do want to engage, nine out of 10 seem far more interested in “proving me wrong,” which usually involves misinterpreting what I’ve written or trying to get me to play a game of 20 Questions in an attempt to “trip me up.”

This stands in stark contrast to the in-person interactions I’ve had with people who are skeptical about climate change science. When I’m talking with someone face to face, it’s much easier to be reasonable and find common ground.

The Internet is wonderful. And its open systems, ease of publication and anonymity have great advantages, but they also make the medium prone to online discussions that are dominated by the loudest voices with the most strident, unalterable opinions. NPR’s On the Media has explored some of the issues related to bad comment sections online. I’m struck by the nastiness of online comments I see in my field, but it extends to other topics, too. After the Washington Post ran a well-reported story about a woman who faced incredibly difficult choices stemming from her husband’s illness, its online comment section was filled with vitriol. One Post columnist found the comments so exceedingly nasty, he penned a piece on it well worth reading.

All that said, I may sometimes to respond to such comments left on the site, but usually will not.

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28 thoughts on “Sandbox

  1. I saw your letter in the Baton Rouge Advocate. I do not “believe” in global warming. First of all you tell me this, why did scientist in the 70s predict a new ice age? Second if global warming is suppose to cause more hurricanes how come we didn’t have hardly any this year. Third, why did it snow in Baton Rouge last Friday night. I believe your ability to have common sense is clouded by so called global warming models. There is no such thing as a climate model. If there were you could tell me how many hurricanes will hit next year.

    • I’m glad you saw the letter. Thanks for contacting me.

      Science challenges us to think beyond our “common sense” to understand the world around us. The technology we used to send men to the Moon was not based on common sense; it was based on abstract reasoning and the ability to invent new things.

      When you look at the actual scientific literature, it’s easy to see that claims about 70s predictions are misrepresentations of what scientists really thought at the time: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11643-climate-myths-they-predicted-global-cooling-in-the-1970s.html

      If you want to learn more about global climate models, see this guide at UCAR’s Web site: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/climate/cli_models2.html

      Regarding hurricanes and snow: scientists look at trends over decades when they make statements about climate change. A sweltering day in Baton Rouge tells us just as much about the climate as a snowy day: not much. Weather is what you get when you roll the dice. Global warming just loads the dice in favor of warmer weather.

      Long-term trends show us that global warming is obvious. This is the hottest decade on record globally and climate regions are already shifting in the United States and the rest of the world.

      This Web site has scientific explanations for most of the arguments that never seem to go away about climate science: http://www.skepticalscience.com/

      This section of a recent national climate change report from universities and federal scientists talks about the multiple lines of evidence that humans are causing climate change, including the fact that the atmosphere is warming in a way that could only be caused by excess carbon dioxide trapping heat: http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/full-report/global-climate-change#key3.

  2. I read your piece in Chicago Sun Times abut Phil Jones ALL PROPAGANDA. How can you wtite that with a straight face next thing youll tell me polar bears can’t swim and penguins are drowning like Al Gore said hahaha, Like the gentleman above THERE”S NO CLIMATE MODEL and Phil Jone’s leaked emials shows his fraud and covering up of evidence that contradicts your GLOBAL WARMING now changed to CLIMATE CHANGE religion. First record levels of ice in ANTARCTICA, second the earth has been coolinmg since the 50′s and your hockey stick graph all LIES. EVEN IPCC leading guy PACHURRI is in a criminal investigation of FRAUD ALONG WITH PHIL JONES and all the other FRAUDSTERS, you tube Lord Monckton and LEARN SOMETH(ING as you a press secretary of UNITED of Concerned Scientists put that in you pipe and smoke it.

    • AND to your LUDACRIS ASSUMPTION THAT atmospehere is heating to due humans how about SOLAR FLARES THAT IMPACT EVEYTHING FOR 6 BILLION YEARS THAT HAS NO EFFECT RIGHT HAHAHA.

    • Many climate skeptics suffer from depressed CAPS LOCKS buttons that prevent them from communicating their ideas effectively. I’m working on providing climate skeptics with better keyboards so they can express their full range of emotion without resorting to typographic ugliness.

  3. Hahaha I appreciate your sarcsam. (Saw your comment on the UMass Daily Collegian page). Must be the most frustrating job in the world dealing with these people.

  4. Dear UCS Spokemouth

    I’m concerned too. As a Registered Engineer I studied a number of branches of science in far greater detail than that required of ANY Clima-Clownologist. In addition, I’ve had fourty years of technical industry involvement and read over a 1,000 pages of history, science and biography every month. I too have watched TV enough to know that there is no coherent method of understanding based on that form of ‘self’ study. You appear underqualified to make ANY statements about science. If you do have any formal education, please be proud enough to furnish on your website Bio.

    Please document WHO is in your “Union” and what their qualifications are as “Scientists”. Otherwise we must assume that you are merely “Concerned” liberal activists with a powerful sounding name and a devious agenda. Until Obama & google ‘resized’ the web, on May 9, 2010, I had over 200,000 crosslinks to my ‘Science’ articles in over twenty languages. And for the record, ‘human caused climate change’ is the biggest FRAUD in the history of the world. If you bothered to learn any REAL science you would understand why so many highly educated men of honor stand against AGW.

    Joe Olson

    • Hey, Joe,

      “Spokemouth” is a new one. You seem like you have some pretty strong political beliefs and I won’t attempt to argue against them.

      Anyway, I’m curious — what prompted you to Google me?

      Also, what’s this reference to resizing the Web? I’ve not heard of this before.

      If you’re interested in the scientists who work at UCS, check out the staff page on the group’s site. You can also see the letters we’ve organized which have been signed by tens of thousands of scientists on various topics.

      I don’t pretend to be a scientist. I just work on behalf of them. My background is in communications and I’ve always loved science.

      Thanks,
      Aaron

    • Surfing the web to rebutt half truth, i rediscovered this post. A lot has happened since my reply above, including this weeks ClimateGate 2.0 evidence file. For any reader interested in further understanding of the all encompassing extent of ‘outcome based education’ mid warp, please visit my website…

      http://www.FauxScienceSlayer.com

      We have been herded into a non objective comma. Either you can believe that hapless humanity stumbles from one expensive bloodbath blindly into the next bloodbath….or….you can accept that powerful, moneyed interests carefully stage set, direct and PROFIT from human carnage. If you decide that humans deserve better treatment than our present Feudal masters can deliver, then find and share truth, we have a planet of slaves to free. Veritas Vos Liberabit !

    • When King Barry and Eric the Google ‘resized the web’ on May 9, 2010 the “new algorithms” reduced the number of crosslinks, which is an indication of the popularity and market penetration of ideas. That night Alex Jones, all ready heavily “redacted” in webcount to only 2 million, dropped almost instantly to 1 million. That night my unique penname had 250,000 crosslinks in 20 languages. (written in just one, trust me) Instantly that dropped to 10,000….and the next day 900. I had almost 100 articles posted at Canada Free Press, Freemen Institute, Climate Realist, Climate Depot, InfoWars, Drudge, Breitbart and read into the US Congressional Record. BTW….Google admitted shutting down 18,000 conservative websites that night….BUT….Google also found and shut down 100 Jihadist sites that showed how to make a dangerous bomb with common household chemicals. Feel safe yet ?

      If you wonder why all of the lies by government, media and our (choke) education system then read “Fractional Reserve Banking Begat Faux Reality”. And be sure and visit the “Faux History” tab at http://www.FauxScienceSlayer.com

      Find and Share TRUTH….it is what you were given a life to do….

    • OH I FORGOT ! ! !

      When the web got wacked, the polished teleprompter reader, and best impression of the Milly Vanilli President said this….

      “Too much information is dangerous for our democracy”

      Of course in this context, “OUR democracy” means Oligarchs United in Repression. This buzz line had such a good ring that the King Daddy enacted it over and over again that week as at commencement speechs to mind numbed college kids. The guys like Bill Murry in Groundhog Day….same speech, over and over. Google it and see the YouTube miracle of Hope and Change in action….over and over !

  5. Greetings, Aaron.

    I’ve read your letter to the Heartland Institute. You know the one you had Ray, Dave, Mike, John, Ben, Gav and Kev sign.

    Why didn’t you sign as well? It would have been honest to see “UCS” on the letter, wouldn’t it?

    Or don’t you do honesty?

    I’m expecting this comment to never see the light of day, of course.

  6. Perhaps you could help me.
    I have been scouring the “denier” websites in search of those who deny the climate has been changing, as you suggest they do.

    So far, I have been unable to find any.

    What I do find overwhelmingly are sites that readily accept that the climate is changing, and in fact maintain the climate is constantly changing as it always has, and will continue to do so.

    What seems to be in question is the actual data used to make the determination of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th order forcing that
    drives the changes. It would seem to be patently obvious to this casual observer that all parties having the full and complete raw data would facilitate the determination.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

  7. To Joseph A Olson, PE, regarding your earlier question about members of the Union of Concerned Scientists:

    I am a proud member. (I’m not proud to be a member, just proud)

    Membership in this esteemed organization headed by someone with a background and advanced degree in fundraising requires a valid credit card, which I possessed. (proudly, I might add)
    (I did not mention to them my 30 some year background in scientific research at a university, primarily in physics)

    I fear your assessments here neglect a significant variable, the ad hominem. Its usage, by measure of frequency and amplitude, will give you a clear indicator of the validity of the argument. :)

    Occam was right.

  8. Aaron,

    Help me understand what a “climate denier” is. Also, if you could give an example of a real-life person who is a “climate denier” that would that be helpful.

    Secondly, I need you to help me understand what “anti-science” means. Also, if you could give an example of a real-life person who is “anti-science” that would be helpful.

    Surely, as much as you use these terms (in fact they seem to constitute the foundation of your loud minority) you can define them and provide one example.

  9. Aaron.
    You are the Author of the letter to Heartland and all your links are closed, WHY??
    Your own article heading say’s it all:
    Having Only One Loud Minority Makes the Climate Change Debate Lopsided and Dangerous.
    You sir and your fellow Climate wranglers have had 99% the funding 90%+ government backing. Most of the media support and attention. all of so called scientific review journals are under your heels. The data manipulation and grant seeking climate scientist lined up in suppression and outright fraud as evidenced by Climategate 1 + 2 and soon to be Climategate 3 (the final nail in the CAGW coffin) in spite of all this lopsided power you and your fellow rent seekers are losing the battle. Mother nature is not cooperating. Sceptics are a growing army of smart well educated, financed by there’re own money and wages. You are losing the hearts and minds of the public. You have bullied and suppressed the public and governments with fear mongering and end of time doom and gloom climate scares. You shut out descent or dialogue with reasoned and sound scepticism of the closed door The warmist agenda. You have the affront to suggest you are under class and the underdogs what a crock. Who travels endlessly 1st class to luxury resorts for so called climate conferences. Perhaps you should compare the poxy $6.5 million of the heartland group compared to the $3.9 BILLION that we know off, that freely distributed to groups like yours, who push the CO2 climate agenda and have succeeded in creating greater poverty in the world with the use of agricultural land for bio fuels. The $ billions spent on useless solar and wind projects, have more than helped nudge many western nations closer to financial collapse. You have created a new class of people in the western world having to choose between keeping warm or starving (energy poverty) and made people in the 3rd would poorer. Well done.
    Go and see the real finances (massive funding) of the global warmist as apposed to the poorly funded sceptics and we are still winning truth is a hard to keep suppressed even by the power brokers and elitist who push the Global warming/CO2/ Carbon tax /UN/ IPPC agenda.

    Climate Spending by warmist = $3.9 Billion – Heartland $6.5 Million

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/02/logic-gate-the-smog-blog-exposes-irrational-rage-innumeracy-and-heartlands-efficient-success/

  10. I know there is such a thing as climate change. In fact the climate has always changed, for example:
    * Younger Dryas
    * PETM
    * Mega-droughts during the past several millenia
    * Co2 levels over 5 times higher than today with no runaway warming

    I insist and utterly believe in climate change just as you claim to do yet I am an AGW sceptic.

    Aaron, do you agree with all the examples I have just listed or do you deny any of them?

  11. Aaron,
    Here is a link supporting the Megadrought issue:

    Cook et al.
    “Asian Monsoon Failure and Megadrought During the Last Millennium”
    “We used the MADA to identify the regional footprints and severity of four well-documented historical droughts: the Ming Dynasty drought (1638 to 1641), the Strange Parallels drought (1756 to 1768), the East India drought (1790 to 1796), and the late Victorian Great Drought (1876 to 1878),…”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/328/5977/486

  12. Here are other examples of climate change since the termination of the last age.

    Minoan Warm Period (Holocene Climate Optimum)
    Roman Climate Optimum
    Medieval Warm Period
    Modern Warm Period

    Periods of an ice free central Arctic ocean during the last ~11,000 years.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.016
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFMPP11A0203F
    http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/21/3/227

    I insist on climate change and I am sure Aaron believes in all the examples above as examples of climate change.

  13. Aaron, still waiting for even one example of someone who is a skeptic and is a “climate-denier” and/or “anti-science.”

    Thanks.

  14. Ah, I seem to have stumbled on to this website for some sort of Luddite cult. Everyone remain calm. I will send for some help for all of you. In the meantime, please resume taking your meds….

  15. Hey a bunch of guys have signed a letter written by you to Heartland Institute and seem to pretend that they have written it. Publically funded scientists can’t type their own letters these days, or do they have too much funding to afford a typist? This is that letter:

    http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2012/02/17/heartland.pdf

    wuwt has a screenshot of the document properties. From ‘hide the data’ to ‘hide the decline’ to ‘hide the author’, the real slymates are into hiding the science. Are you also warming up to this?

  16. Obama science adviser John Holdren proposed blasting sulphate particles
    into the atmosphere to block the rays of the sun.
    Well, then, how would they do this without causing a real-life Armageddon.
    Therefore, these lights are the best option for
    saving energy and the global environment from global warming.

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