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Fox News Distorts Climate Science; In Other News, the Pope Is Catholic

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Pie chart showing 93 percent misleadingFor anyone with an interest in journalism, it’s no surprise that Fox News Channel and the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal lean well to the right. Editorially, these two jewels of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. have a long history of denying human-induced global warming, in keeping with certain ideological interests.

New data support the anecdotes and conventional wisdom. At a midday panel on September 21 in New York City’s Science, Industry and Business Library, the Union of Concerned Scientists released results of an analysis quantifying the media outlets’ distortions of climate science.

In the six months from February to July 2012, the UCS searched for the terms “climate change” and “global warming” during primetime Fox News Channel programs, which consist of political commentary shows such as The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity.

The UCS found that, in 37 of 40 instances, Fox News programs misled viewers about climate science—mainly, by broadly dismissing it. As an example, the UCS quotes an on-air statement from April 11, 2012: I thought we were getting warmer. But in the ‘70s, it was, look out, we’re all going to freeze. (The report didn’t reveal the name of the actual source.) Fox News hosts and guests also mocked and disparaged statements from scientists and drowned out genuine scientific assertions with cherry-picked data and false claims.

Pie chart showing 81 percent misleading in wall street journalThe WSJ opinion pages fared a bit better: only 81 percent of the 48 references to the climate key words were misleading, according to the UCS analysis. Such instances included a reference to climatologist James Hansen as an alarmist and an assertion that we are only in a global warming “bubble” that raises questions about the veracity of climate science and the “credibility of its advocates,” WSJ editors wrote. The few accurate statements came from readers’ letters to the editors, remarked Brenda Ekwurzel, a UCS climate scientist who presented the data at the panel. (The opinion pages are distinct from newsroom operations, which media researchers in 2010 actually found to lean left.)

You can quibble with the UCS analysis—it did not look at The New York Times or MSNBC programs such as The Rachel Maddow Show, for example. But the results stay true to past incidents, such as this doozy in which a meteorologist asserted that thermodynamics makes global warming impossible. Indeed, News Corp. goes quite far in toeing the right-wing line, so much so that it even tried to rewrite the history of the Internet to deny the U.S. government’s creation of it.

Rather than surprising, the results might be more of a disappointment—to Rupert Murdoch himself. Murdoch acknowledged in 2007 the reality of anthropogenic climate change and pledged that his company’s operations would become carbon-neutral—a goal achieved in 2011. Still, as the UCS data indicate, many of News Corp.’s most influential and powerful employees continue to perpetuate climate denialism.

Battles against antiscience are nothing new, of course. Groups that advocate scientific reasoning, such as CSICOP and the Skeptical Society, have long tried to combat paranormal and pseudoscience beliefs and claims. But the fight has been a slog. When I interviewed CSICOP founder Paul Kurtz in 1996, he said that “we thought that if you just provide information, people would reject” paranormal thinking. Clearly, that hasn’t worked. “The problem is more massive and complicated than we imagined,” he lamented.

Climate scientists face a similar challenge. As Angela Anderson, director of the UCS Climate and Energy program, stated at Friday’s panel, convincing people takes more than information. You must appeal to their values, too.

The shrill political programs on cable TV know that—I suspect that most of the 1.9 million viewers of Fox News primetime tune in to confirm their biases and bolster their belief that government and its regulations are forces for bad. The task ahead is to show that climate change is even worse—a tall order, for sure.

 

Philip Yam About the Author: Philip Yam is the managing editor of ScientificAmerican.com. Follow on Twitter @philipyam.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. just wondering 11:29 am 09/22/2012

    I have to say I personally haven’t seen anyone deny global warming in several years now. It is easy to see that when the population of the world doubles in 30 years, just the sheer number of people will cause major problems. The earth has no chance to heal itself. One small example (of which there are many): Think of twenty-five people in a room that is 25X25; there is a little AC, but add twenty-five more people and there is no way the AC can keep up. (i.e., the temperature is going to go up.) Now think of the room as the earth. There is no way we can stop it, only slow it down, however slightly. And by the way, don’t blame the right, or anyone else in the USA. There is plenty of blame to go around the world–several times.

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  2. 2. G. Karst 11:46 am 09/22/2012

    Sci-Am should pay more attention to it’s own bias and mis-information. Remove the log from your own eye before being concerned by other motes, in other eyes. GK

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  3. 3. Elio Campitelli 12:07 pm 09/22/2012

    “I have to say I personally haven’t seen anyone deny global warming in several years now”

    You may need to look better, there’s plenty of that on the internets.

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  4. 4. janev 12:23 pm 09/22/2012

    Is this a science journal or a political rag? Not the Scientific American my father used to subscribe to, disappointing.

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  5. 5. Pashta 12:30 pm 09/22/2012

    What bull. People actually personally REMEMBER being taught about the coming ice age in the 70′s. Here is your proof. This article is stupid. Stop being political, Scientific American, you may as well call yourselves “Leftist American” anymore..

    http://extraordinaryintelligence.com/files/2011/05/time-magazine-ice-age-global-warming.gif#time%20magazine%20says%20ice%20age%20is%20coming

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  6. 6. Ken MacMillan 1:43 pm 09/22/2012

    My problem with climate change is that it’s used to promote a global agenda. I’m not willing to sacrifice one shred of sovereignty for anything whatsoever.

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  7. 7. Ken MacMillan 1:45 pm 09/22/2012

    Also, all news organizations are biased. FOX is just the only one that’s conservative.

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  8. 8. WRQ9 1:48 pm 09/22/2012

    Passive mind control for the more active minded, a long sought after tool for the ruling classes. What is the message today? The very same as yesterday’s was for fools. “Trust us, we know, we have it all in hand. Meanwhile if you could just make that check out to”…
    D. of E. hypocrites running around in hummers that never leave city streets and you calling yourselves “skeptical” while simultaneously encouraging blanket endorsement of pure government postulation.
    Most of the people you refer to have been systematically disenfranchised and abandoned by your trusty “civil servants” so if they choose to elect a more consonant form of fictitious foresight, what real claim can you lay? Oh I suppose the millions of Government dollars in research as opposed to the publicly raised money for “paranormal” research is really enough evidence for them. Well, maybe, if the Government didn’t spend tax money doing research on all of those “paranormal” subjects and labeling them top secret. Those subjects along with a host of others nobody has ever heard of, that might prove disruptive if released, or lead to a breakdown in civic credibility.
    No, nobody has any reason to distrust you, just because you read more and more like Cosmo or Elle every day. Happy “smooth transition” folks.

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  9. 9. Gatnos 4:30 pm 09/22/2012

    For a science magazine, it is amazing how Scientific American gets it wrong so often. Now they’ve taken to discrediting the few truthful news sources. Scientific American refuses to admit that the so called “global warming” is nothing more than an UNPROVED THEORY. Data supporting the theory has been shown to be suspect and some absolutely refuted. When the weather didn’t co-operate and got colder; “global warming” got changed to “climate change”.

    Bottom line, “global warming” has not been proved and should not be taken as fact. As Ken MacMillan has pointed out above, there is a clear and present danger in embracing “global warming” because the UN agenda of cap and trade endangers the sovereignty of the US, imposing new and uncontrolled taxes. Al Gore may not have invented the internet, but he did invent “global warming”.

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  10. 10. Scrat 5:32 pm 09/22/2012

    Gatnos – your comment shows an astounding ignorance about what science is. Let’s start with the basics. A scientific theory is an idea, supported by a wealth of facts, that both describes and predicts conditions in nature. In other words, a scientific theory is the best explanation for the facts available. Scientific theories do not become facts – they explain them.

    The acid test of a scientific theory is whether it can make predictions. Well – let’s look at the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

    As GHGs increase in the atmosphere – global temperatures are predicted to increase – exactly what is happening. As temperatures rise – more extreme and unstable weather events occur – exactly what is happening. As CO2 increases – the oceans warm and expand – exactly what is happening. Oh – and glaciers start to melt – exactly what is happening. The Arctic ice pack decreases in extent and volume – exactly what is happening.

    Al Gore did not invent Global Warming – the theory of anthropogenic climate change was advanced at the end of the 19th century by Svannte Arhenius.

    A physicist from Berkeley and well known climate skeptic, Richard Muller, in a study funded by the Koch brothers – noted climate warming deniers – had this conclusion: “CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

    See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?pagewanted=all

    He audited all the data from US and British studies to come to the above conclusion.

    It is so easy to argue when you don’t know what you are talking about.

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  11. 11. dubay.denis 6:01 pm 09/22/2012

    It seems the denialists got the word out about this story and the need to debunk it and complain again about Scientific American. The scientific ignorance and misinformation in the replies here are no longer amazing, just very sad, and confirmation of the success of those intent for various selfish reasons to raise doubt about a serious and quite real environmental problem. Sowing misinformation cannot be good for a democratic form of government.

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  12. 12. frankblank 6:12 pm 09/22/2012

    @ Scrat – you are quite right, but there is a deep flaw regarding persuasion in your post. It is: You mention and place weight on the concept of “study.” The right-wing does not “study,” the right believes.

    @MacMillan – Fox is not “biased.” Fox is a propaganda organization. WSJ editorial pages are pure propaganda. Murdoch owns propaganda outlets and tabloids; that’s what he does, when not bribing people and hacking phones. WSJ journalism has escaped his magic touch so far, but give him a few more years.

    As to your sovereignty – I’m not too interested in having other countries having control over US policy. But if you take a look at history, you’ll find that citizens who take your position usually end up with no sovereignty at all. They give it away to those who are going to preserve it for them. Then, what few shreds they have left are taken from them in the name of preserving it permanently.

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  13. 13. Catamount 6:43 pm 09/22/2012

    @Gatnos

    Scrat already went through and pretty much outlined your ignorance, but two points he missed:

    1.) There is no proof in science. Proof is a mathematical term that has nothing to do with empiricism. Scientific evidence might suggest/indicate/demonstrate(to a sub-100% degree of probability) but it never “proves”. The moment someone starts bandying around this term, it pretty much does nothing but show that they never took an intro college science course (or didn’t pay attention if they did).

    2.) The term climate change PREDATES the term “global warming”. People were using the phrase “climate change” or “climatic change” since the 19th century.

    Additionally, not only was Global Warming as a mechanism being suggested by Svante Arrhenius in 1896, but Joseph Fourier had discovered the greenhouse effect in EIGHTEEN TWENTY (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Fourier#Discovery_of_the_greenhouse_effect).

    Arrhenius simply quantified how strong the effect was (or at least took the first serious crack at it). If you want to blame someone for actually solidifying the idea, and getting it accepted within academia, and spurring the first measurements to begin examining our planet to see if it was happening, then blame Guy Stewart Callendar. He basically made the idea mainstream… in 1941. So please, tell us again how Al Gore (born in 1948) “invented global warming”.

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  14. 14. dubay.denis 7:15 pm 09/22/2012

    Thank you to Philip Yam and Scientific American for standing up against the seemingly orchestrated effort to shout down anyone reporting about climate change science. It is a tactic the world has sadly seen executed many times by the unscrupulous out to protect their interests – appreciate your refusal to give in to it.

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  15. 15. gsens 7:38 pm 09/22/2012

    Any real scientist who follows the history of the Union of Concerned Scientists involvement in the Nuclear Industry knows that their surveys and opinions have ZERO credibility!

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  16. 16. ianlib 7:58 pm 09/22/2012

    @Pashta Even in the seventies, it was only a small group of scientists lead by Reid Bryson who believed in the Ice Age coming and they got most of the publicity.He went to Time and Newsweek. Meanwhile,the majority still believed in Global Warming caused by humans and complex studies were being done in the real scientific journals. Get your facts straight.
    Also let us put into context that the only deniers of climate change,created by humans, seem to stem from the U.S. Climate change by humans,is taught, with no difficulty, in every school system, in the western world, except in the U.S where the lobbyists seem to make some sort headway due to propaganda from Heartland and others. The same country that allows another non science called Intelligent Design to be taught, in some states, in order to challenge a science called Evolution. This propaganda from Heartland, and all the other non science ideology gets discarded by every other country.
    @Gatnos To reinforce A Theory usually has already been falsified , supported with empirical evidence, peer reviewed and is always open to replication and new testing and evidence. You are thinking of a hypothesis which climate change is not . It is a theory and a fact.

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  17. 17. SteveO 8:28 pm 09/22/2012

    Pashta,

    Take a moment and see if that “ice age” article was in a peer-reviewed journal, or in the public press.

    Ah, I see that you have confirmed it was an article in Time. Did you know this notion originally appeared in an article where a bunch of folks guessed at what the future would hold. That doesn’t sound very scientific, does it.

    Well, perhaps you can quantify all the peer-reviewed articles about an incipient new ice age that existed at the time.

    Go ahead. I can wait.

    Now compare that number to the number of peer-reviewed articles that support multiple lines of evidence for global warming.

    Now divide the number of ice age articles by the number of global warming articles. You will find a number that is almost indistinguishable from zero.

    What does this tell you?

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  18. 18. Johnay 8:49 pm 09/22/2012

    @gsens: I think you’re thinking of Scotsmen.

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  19. 19. krohleder 8:53 pm 09/22/2012

    I do not think we should give much credit or attention to Fox News anymore since it is just straight propaganda. It no longer has any integrity. It is okay to have a slant but there is a line which they have crossed long ago.

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  20. 20. Xopher425 9:09 pm 09/22/2012

    I happen to be with the most wonderful man who is unfortunately one of the mindless, follow-the-leader Fox addicts. He got SO pissed at this article.

    @frankblank: The right-wing does not “study,” the right believes. LOVE IT.

    Why are people so militant against the concept of climate change? It costs them little to acknowledge it’s existence. It does take some effort to change – is that too much for them? If they admit to it, is it too much guilt to bear for what we have all done to our planet? Is it too much responsibility to bear? And it’s funny how (especially in the case of my partner) that they cry that there is no proof . . . . and then defend religious beliefs and stances that have . . . . NO PROOF! I guess it’s because their magic little book doesn’t mention climate change, it must not exist.

    But then again it seems to be a major part of the Republican mindset: they are NOT going to let the fact checkers or the truth dictate the way they do things.

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  21. 21. Leroy 12:11 am 09/23/2012

    Here’s a fun game… carefully read the comments that are attacking SciAm and see if you can find any facts.

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  22. 22. julianpenrod 12:15 am 09/23/2012

    This may be removed because, among other things, I’m going to “science”.
    How many, on either side, have thought to take issue with the patently illegitimate “mehodology” the “Union of Concerned Scientists” uses to “prove” FOX News and the Wall Street Journal “distort climate science”? Providing elaborate lists of techniques and tactics purportedly used exclusively by FOX and the Wall Street Journal, then admitting that they did not examine sources like New Yorl Times to see if they habdled it any differently! Basically, nothing was proved.
    To the extent, though, that the UCS isolates certain qualities for condemnation, it can be assumed that they characterize all cases of unfair, biased, deliberately scurrilous misrepresentation of sibjects. Dismissive attitude, mocking, disparaging comments, cherry picked “examples” and false statements.
    If such things are experienced elsewhere, say, in the comments of those attacking subjects like the paranormal, chemtrails, rampant fraud in “science”, will Scientific American back characterizing those attacks as illegitimate?
    Perhaps not, since Scientific American engages in the same methods in “discussing” the paranormal.
    First, the very inclusion in an article about climate change deniers suggests that claims of the paranormal are no more reliable than what are called “distortion” methods used against climate change. A subversive, subliminal tactic supposedly wholly at odds with the philosophy of “science”.
    Second, using the term “antiscience” with respect to the paranormal; describing contending against such as the paranormal as a “battle”, to suggest brutality on the part of paranormal investigators; saying “scientific” “reasoning” was used against paranormal assertions are all intended to assassinate the character of paranormal research by misrepresenting it and depending on a target audience to buy it all, without checking. In fact, many paranormal investigators use what “scientific” methodology as is possible. But it’s not easy to take measurements of a UFO a day after it has left. A quality of many examples of the paranormal has been taken to be their unpredictability. Suppose “science” was required to determine exactly what happened at the 35th second after a snowflake with dimaond shapes at the end of each branch formed. All but impossible to predict and difficult to examine directly.
    And, frankly, what is the proof that there are not phenomena that go beyond “science”?
    For the purpose of promoting accuracy which, provably, Scientific American failed in, it can be mentioned, too, that CSICOP no longer uses that name, they refer to themselves only as CSI now. Perhaps to cash in on the television show. Some say it is to avoid the misleading suggestion that they have some kind of legal authority. It should be mentioned, also, that CSICOP is linguistically incorrect. If they are going to include terms like “of” in the acronym, they should call themselves CFTSIOCOTP. Otherwise, use CSICP, which seems the reason they are abandoning “COP”.

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  23. 23. R.Blakely 5:42 am 09/23/2012

    Is “denying human-induced global warming” more logical than “denying human-induced global cooling”? Climate science is not a very exact science since it is involves more politics than real science. For example, global dimming is cooling the equator, which causes warming in the Artic, and causes melting ice in the Artic. Therefore, should we blame humans for warming or cooling the Earth? I think humans are cooling the Earth!
    In fact, CO2 cannot affect Earth’s temperature now. CO2 already blocks as much infrared as it can, and so more CO2 cannot block more infrared. Dr. Hertzberg has a file about the lynching of carbon dioxide, which can be viewed at http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/hertzberg.pdf

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  24. 24. rodestar99 8:03 am 09/23/2012

    Well both sides of this issue are distorted by their proponents.
    However the most respected climate scientists have been
    caught deliberately falsifying and doctoring information.
    That is a fact.
    And that is a shame……
    And that is why it is hard to believe the (science)
    that their claims are based on.
    When the climate summit is being fed garbage then
    the assumptions based on this garbage are suspect.
    They have no one to blame but themselves.

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  25. 25. Star Theory 8:59 am 09/23/2012

    What is this? This isnt Sci Am, this is political stuff that we try to get away from. Sci Am was a place for me to get away from the normal and political world. It was meant to be a place to learn about space and general Earth Science, but it seems to be not anymore.

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  26. 26. Catamount 10:20 am 09/23/2012

    R.Blakely it’s a good thing you went through and checked the veracity of that link, to make sure that “combustion research scientist” (read: someone who has never studied climate) has his facts straight… oh wait

    The very first argument he makes was refuted DECADES AGO after Knut Angstrom made it.

    The CO2 bands are only saturated at the surface. The heat still escape this surface layer, and in the higher levels of the atmosphere, where those bands are not saturated, add more CO2 causes that heat to be more effectively re-captured, slowing down its ultimate release still further (and when you slow down the rate of outgoing radiation, the planet has to heat up to emit it at a faster rate to compensate, to balance out the fast rate at which it comes in, hence why the physics isn’t terribly far off from a greenhouse).

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    The arguments you link to just get progressively worse from there. I debunked the first for you; if you really care about the subject, might I suggest you do for the rest what your “combustion research scientist” never did and actually try to learn the actual science?

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  27. 27. Biodiversivist 5:49 pm 09/23/2012

    The government didn’t create the internet. Government funded research created some of the tools eventually incorporated into the free market version we see today.

    This publication is starting to read like a high-school blog.

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  28. 28. HarryW 8:03 pm 09/23/2012

    Much caterwauling from the usual denialist suspects: G. Karst, *precisely* what “log” has SA in its eye? the robust support for the increased temperature of the globe (now an incontrovertible fact) and the most apparent cause of it–humanity–is no log. It’s based upon ~1.6 billion bits of evidence, sourced over many years, and confirmed by the Koch-funded BEST study. To those whining about this being made political, I’d suggest the source of that is in your mirror, and/or your political party, which has MADE it a partisan issue. It is decidedly NOT partisan, but reality does have a liberal bias.

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  29. 29. HarryW 8:10 pm 09/23/2012

    R. Blakely@23, a more incorrect dissertation and show of misunderstanding of chemical REALITY I’ve read before, but I cannot remember when. I guess you’d best publish your * extraordinary* claim, which requires *extraordinary* evidence, in a peer-reviewed journal. a Nobel awaits you, in overturning ~150 years of established science.

    As a geologist, I’d be VERY tickled to have the (well-supported) theory of ACC overturned. I’ll wait….

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  30. 30. HarryW 8:11 pm 09/23/2012

    julianpenrod@22: A *classic* Gish Gallop….WTG!

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  31. 31. HarryW 8:12 pm 09/23/2012

    rodestar99@ states: “However the most respected climate scientists have been caught deliberately falsifying and doctoring information.”

    Please post the links to sources that will support that. I call BS on that claim.

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  32. 32. sicky 10:58 pm 09/23/2012

    Wow! I see the right wing news trolls are giving up on the election already and are returning their attention to other areas such as global warming.

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  33. 33. blindboy 11:22 pm 09/23/2012

    More paid cheerleaders! Oh and don’t believe anything in any associated media…….it is the work of fabulist confounders hired to distort reality to fit the senile delusions of a man whose life work was…….money!

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  34. 34. randy101 11:35 pm 09/23/2012

    Saying something generic like Fox News broadcasters “mock” scientists and global warming is not good enough. You’ve got to site specific examples: Naming people and quoting what they said, who they said it to, and so on. If it’s a news person or a scientist, the reader needs to know who is saying what, and what they’re qualification are to speak. If Fox News is truly ignoring proven fact, you’ve got to spell it out. If you don’t, you’ll lose your audience. People need connect-the-dots proof, and they need to know just who the heck is denying the truth.

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  35. 35. thejerk 1:58 am 09/24/2012

    I love when people who never watch Fox News tell us how bad Fox is. Many of the shows on Fox are commentary. I didn’t really see anything in the article that mentioned rather or not the “climate key words” were part of personal opinion commentary or reporting.
    I’ve also noticed that “respected” scientific reporters never differentiate between anthropogenic and natural global warming. They always just say climate change in a way that implies man made.
    Somebody actually commented that the U.S. is the only country that questions “man made” and then says other countries teach it in school. To that comment i’d say, duh. If you taught kids that blue is red you’d get kids that wouldn’t question that either. And I’m sure they are always taught global warming is bad. The world will become a desert. Every body knows things grow better in the cold. Everybody also knows that rain forests only exist where the snows can nourish them. Crops grow best where the frost makes the ground hard, we all know that.
    I’ve never actually heard any good arguments that convince me global warming is bad. How about you alarmists tell me what temperature the earth is suppose to be before you use your superior intellects to stop the seas from rising.

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  36. 36. phalaris 2:09 am 09/24/2012

    It’s pretty partisan of SciAm to give so much credence to the views of a left-wing lobby organisation.

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  37. 37. Krayde 2:47 am 09/24/2012

    Before jumping on this article as political, look at the mission statement of the Union of Concerned Scientists which conducted the study cited in the article. The goal of the organization is to fight politicizing science, they have been involved in fighting FDA influence by politicians as well as fighting think tanks that produce studies which basically are funded to produce studies contrary to properly conducted studies.

    STAY INFORMED.

    PS. carbon cap threat paranoia suggesters: What is to stop the US from developing stronger green energy or even more efficient energy uses?

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  38. 38. elderlybloke 4:13 am 09/24/2012

    I find it strange that there is nothing ,repeat nothing reported in the Mass Media that is beneficial,positive or good about having a bit warmer weather / climate.

    I really do find it hard to believe that everything is going to be worse because of it.

    About 50 years ago a superior of mine in my job said ” You can’t believe half the lies your told”.
    It seems to have been good advice,if somewhat obstruse.

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  39. 39. Sacrieur 5:51 am 09/24/2012

    Woe is this day where reporting science that is common in the public forum is construed as unfairly taking a side.

    In reality, the only political side SciAm has taken is the one of scientific truth – it is merely the opinion of others that this empiricism grinds against their political gears, and must therefore be unfairly biased.

    I don’t know whether to be disgusted or entertained by the amount of ignorance in the comments.

    But then again, can’t explain that.

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  40. 40. mariaoconnor 7:53 am 09/24/2012

    @Scrat, you’re an idiot. @Gatnos, you are quite right. It makes a change to see something written by someone with an ounce of intelligence and a mind of their own.

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  41. 41. HarryW 9:45 am 09/24/2012

    mariaoconner@40: I see you have a poor grasp of the scientific method, its data, and the well-supported interpretations of same, wrt to climate change, plus a TOTAL lack of understanding of the empirically-sourced facts about climate change. However, you do have a good grasp of the ‘parroting’ of the rightwings’ lies.

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  42. 42. Catamount 10:42 am 09/24/2012

    @HarryW

    Honestly, I think you’re actually giving maria too much credit. This person didn’t make a bad argument because they didn’t even MAKE an argument.

    They basically said “Herp Derp, Person A is stupid; Person B is right”, as if that amounted to actually saying something. Alas, this IS the internet…

    Btw, nice to have someone who at least studies Earth science commenting here. Anything in particular you study in geology?

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  43. 43. Dredd 11:02 am 09/24/2012

    One wonders how their reporters got out of Journalism 101 class, that is, if they ever attended.

    http://blogdredd.blogspot.com/2012/09/is-new-age-of-pressure-upon-us-4.html

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  44. 44. G. Karst 12:32 pm 09/24/2012

    ‘On June 27, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a statement saying it had “complete[d] the process of implementation of a set of recommendations issued in August 2010 by the InterAcademy Council (IAC), the group created by the world’s science academies to provide advice to international bodies.”

    http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/

    Here are some of the findings of the IAC’s 2010 report.

    The IAC reported that IPCC lead authors fail to give “due consideration … to properly documented alternative views” (p. 20), fail to “provide detailed written responses to the most significant review issues identified by the Review Editors” (p. 21), and are not “consider[ing] review comments carefully and document[ing] their responses” (p. 22). In plain English: the IPCC reports are not peer-reviewed.

    The IAC found that “the IPCC has no formal process or criteria for selecting authors” and “the selection criteria seemed arbitrary to many respondents” (p. 18). Government officials appoint scientists from their countries and “do not always nominate the best scientists from among those who volunteer, either because they do not know who these scientists are or because political considerations are given more weight than scientific qualifications” (p. 18). In other words: authors are selected from a “club” of scientists and nonscientists who agree with the alarmist perspective favored by politicians.’ GK

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  45. 45. cpathenry 3:46 pm 09/24/2012

    I wish I could know that Fox is just misunderstood or maybe missing a few clicks in the brain? However when you watch and listen you realize if they thought as they speak they would be incapable of starting or even finding their car. Poor Babies. Try the truth it feels good and it works.

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  46. 46. dtruman@snet.net 3:59 pm 09/24/2012

    Some sort of pretense of objectivity would have been nice. A control group, or random selection of journals, or standard unit of analysis would once have been expected of even the most deliberate hatchet job. Nowadays we do science by consensus and by journalistic analysis and by polemic and by taking exception to each other’s comments.

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  47. 47. thejerk 4:00 pm 09/24/2012

    Why is global warming bad and or good?

    Cpathenry, what? did your say, “when YOU watch and listen YOU realize.” How about you watch and listen. A large portion of Fox shows are commentary. I’m sure, because I know lots of leftists, that you never watch and never listen to opposing view points.

    Please explain why climate change always equals global warming and why climate change and global warming are always used interchangeably with anthropogenic global warming? No there is no political mumbo jumbo going on there.

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  48. 48. Ronnie 4:13 pm 09/24/2012

    Grow up Scientific America! I hate your article, it’s filled with bias and left wing dogma. Your in the wrong century for a witch hunt………

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  49. 49. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 5:34 pm 09/24/2012

    @ thejerk: Well, you’re a jerk. And a troll. And annoying. Sheesh, I just got done with that moronic geocentrist Bill Crofut, and now I turn to another article and get–a whole pile of trolls. Speaking as a person with a vastly superior intellect (I got a 5 on the AP Calc BC and Bio exams in 8th grade, have an IQ of well over 160, and am currently reading graduate-level paleontology books as bedtime reading), the solution to global warming is simple: ban fossil fuels, and work out some efficient carbon recapture technology before it’s too late. Oh, and keep the human population below 1 million, because above that point the growth rate skyrockets.
    Please go troll somewhere else, annoying reactionary denialist.
    The above also goes for all denialists who post on the thread.

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  50. 50. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 5:39 pm 09/24/2012

    @ Ronnie: What’s your point? It’s hard to be a right-wing scientist. All of the paleontologists that I know very much about are liberal, although as a whole they aren’t very political. The same can be said of all people in OEB, ecology, and even microbiology/molecular biology/cell bio: Usually liberal, rarely explicitly political.
    YOU ARE A TROLL. Please do not comment here again. The same goes for all denialists and right-wing nuts on this thread.

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  51. 51. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 5:56 pm 09/24/2012

    Next headline: Investigators discover that Fox “News” hasn’t actually distorted a single fact over the last ten years. And in other news, geographers have proven that the world has suddenly become flat.

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  52. 52. Catamount 6:05 pm 09/24/2012

    @Geek

    While I sympathize with your position on people who can’t be bothered to spend a few minutes researching a subject before assuming themselves experts, appealing to your own “vastly superior intellect” will neither convince others, nor satisfactorily address the points/questions brought up by these posters.

    What you’re done is to essentially commit an appeal to authority fallacy here, boiling your argument down to “I’m really smart and got good grades on end-of-highschool tests, therefore I’m right”. The fact that the ability to do well in a glorified intro college course really doesn’t mean much, and it does nothing to answer the question presented.

    @thejerk

    If you bothered to study the subject, you’d realize that you’re basically asking a leading

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  53. 53. Ungolythe 6:33 pm 09/24/2012

    I have watched Fox news and to their credit(?) they are just as bad at reporting on matters of science as most other media outlets. The real debate going on when the Time article was published was whether or not the effects of the particulates pumped in the atmosphere thru a variety of means would counteract the effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions. It was speculated that if the forcing of the particulates was greater then it could lead to a premature ice age. Thousands of peer reviewed papers since have shown that there is little doubt that we are causing an increase in its overall temperature. Of course that doesn’t stop the Fox pundits, that I have personally watched, making such claims that “In fact the decade from 2000-2010 was the COOLEST on record!” and back to the ice age argument “These scientists really don’t know what they are saying. It wasn’t that long ago that they were telling us that we were headed for an ice-age”

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  54. 54. Catamount 6:48 pm 09/24/2012

    @thejerk (continued because of overzealous use of the Enter key)

    If you bothered to study the subject, you’d realize that you’re basically asking a leading question.

    No scientist has ever suggested that warming in and of itself, within the confines of likely human impacts, is bad. Contrary to your strawman of the position of the scientific community, there is no position that moderately warmer temperatures in and of themselves are in any way a threat to life on this planet on the whole. Such a position would be untenable, as much, if not most, of Earth’s history, has been warmer than present.

    What scientists have ACTUALLY said is that a change in EITHER direction of sufficiently fast rate to exceed the adaptive response of living systems (including human civilization) is dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether it’s warming or cooling; any fast change is a problem. The Younger Dryas was little short of a catastrophe for the human race, but it was a rapid cooling event, not a warming event.

    If you’re going to address this issue, please try to address what scientists actually say, and if this is still confusing to you, then I suggest you grab an introductory college ecology textbook and begin reading. Maybe you’ll understand why the magnitude and rate of changes are more significant than the direction.

    When the Younger Dryas freeze occured, it coincided with the rapid deaths of much of the world’s megafauna, and caused the collapse of the human civilization at the time (Clovis culture).

    Now we’re dealing with rapid warming, and while we’re only looking at the beginning of said warming (having only experienced the opening 3-4 decades of what’s expected to be, on average, an increasingly rapid change), evidence of effects from warming is hardly absent or poorly understood.

    Deglaciation lifting heavy ice sheets off of volcanoes and fault lines can trigger harmful geological effects, observed correlations between increased temperature and decreases in the output of crops are already being reported in the scientific literature (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6042/616), the thus-far modest sea level rise is already beginning to cause damage (North Carolina is already beginning to feel the effects in damage to coastal property), and we’re starting to see changes in availability of fresh water between melting glaciers and seasonal precipitation changes.

    Non-human biological systems are already beginning to see the effects of climatic change as well. Because water’s ability to hold dissolved gas changes with temperature, ocean oxygen content is decreasing, ranges for terrestrial species are shifting rapidly, yet, because of habitat loss already incurred, many of these species simply have no where to move to to adapt, and differences in the biotic response disrupt the ability of codependent species to interact (if two co-dependent species change ranges or seasonal behavior in different ways, they may suddenly not find themselves in the same places at the same times relative to each other, a big problem if they depend on each other). This is something seen between birds or flying insects and plants. The fauna shift their ranges very quickly, while plants that are ecologically important to them lag behind, leading to a net loss of suitable habitat on account of unsuitable biotic factors. Other species suffer because of the abioatic affects. Salmon, for instance, are stressed because ever-decreasing glacial runoff from our shrinking glaciers negatively impacts stream flow.

    One could go on and on about how humans will be directly impacted, how other species will be, and how we’ll in turn be indirectly impact by the general degredation of biological systems. This is really something you should research yourself. So much as a ten minute trip to Wikipedia would tell you anything that I could, even as an ecology major. If you really want to learn about it, the information is out there in droves, and easy to find. If AFTER you actually bother to do some research, you still have questions, THEN you should come back and ask them.

    But the point is that NO ONE has suggested that the planet being warmer is bad overall for life, human or otherwise. If the planet ends up 3-4C warmer, the conditions will be just as favorable for life as they were before. The problem is simply that life is adapted to the temperature we have now, and so while the end point isn’t important, the change itself will lead to a lot of damage as adaptation lags behind that change. We would be facing the exact same problem (if with slightly altered specifics) if it was a cooling trend we were facing instead of a warming trend.

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  55. 55. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 6:53 pm 09/24/2012

    @ Catamount: I’m not saying that because I’m intelligent, everything that I say is true, but I am saying that anyone who has actually looked at the data (like me and, I presume, you) is in a better position to state a point here than any of these denialists.
    On the matter of intellect, however, I would be willing to bet every cent I will ever earn that the mean IQ score of non-denialists is at least ten points higher than that of denialists. I make this statement because the denialists tend to be uneducated, of lower SES, male, and Caucasian, and all of the above factors are correlated with low IQ scores and/or laziness (often culturally based, in the case of Caucasians).
    On my own intellect, those examples were the first that came to mind. I could probably come up with better examples (i.e., I am a SET member in Johns Hopkins’s CTY program), but I don’t want to brag too much.

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  56. 56. Rollie 6:53 pm 09/24/2012

    Good article. But reading the comments I am confused by the number of attacks on SA which I really appreciate. I am concerned with the anti-science orientation of those who consider findings that do not conform to their ideology or religious/political beliefs. I feel we are ready to burn Galileo again. Sad when scientific studies are disqualified simply because they don’t agree with someone’s beliefs. Please don’t let these anti-intellectuals stop the great work that SA has been doing.

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  57. 57. Catamount 6:54 pm 09/24/2012

    Oh, and correction above: It’s a loaded question you’ve asked, not a leading one (this is what happens when one tries to answer questions while sleep deprived)

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  58. 58. Catamount 7:06 pm 09/24/2012

    @geek

    I have no doubt that people who accept basic science are, on average, more intelligent than those who don’t, since both those with high levels of understanding and simply those who accept something that’s true by pure serendipity can have an understanding of a subject that’s in line with the facts of that subject, while someone who denies basic science can ONLY do so out of ignorance.

    That said, the operative phrase above is “on average”; you should be careful about presuming that that applies to a given person.

    More to the point, if you want to show someone like thejerk is wrong, then you should address what they say, rather than simply implying inferior intelligence on their part. Doing the former probably won’t convince that particular person, but it will publicly present refutations to fallacious arguments for the benefit of others, while doing the latter neither tells anyone else anything of use, nor is likely to convince them of anything.

    Just as importantly is the fact that projecting a self-superior attitude is likely to alienate anyone who might otherwise consider points you make, before they even read them, because you come off as arrogant and closed-minded when you begin your posts by claiming to be smarter than your opponent.

    I’d just urge you to consider as much. “Being right” isn’t enough on a public forum; you need to be able to make a compelling argument to that effect, and I think you are capable of doing just that.

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  59. 59. Catamount 7:18 pm 09/24/2012

    @G. Karst

    Rather than addressing your misconceptions about the IPCC, I think it’s easier to just point out the irrelevancy. Even if your misunderstanding of their operation amounted to valid criticisms, it has nothing to do with whether humans are responsible for anthropogenic global warming, or what its magnitude and effects might be, nor does it have anything to do with the soundness of the science.

    The IPCC is not a scientific journal; they’re a summarizing organization. Regardless of what they do and don’t do, actual published research (which the IPCC just quotes, rather than publishing) establishes that CO2 is a strong climate forcing, that humans are responsible for notable changes in atmospheric and oceanic CO2 concentration, and the fact remains that no scientific research has ever managed to plausible suggest an alternative explanation for recent observed warming (even suggested alternative, from cosmic rays to the PDO, have fallen apart at the seams under scrutiny).

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  60. 60. JToohey 7:35 pm 09/24/2012

    I’m pleased to see the Tea Party nutters read SA – even if it is to post un-informed denialist rubbish about climate change.

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  61. 61. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 9:05 pm 09/24/2012

    @ Catamount: Point taken, thank you. I think, however, that anyone who has any knowledge of the actual data on AGW will understand the lack of substance of thejerk’s arguements. Oh, and writing while sleep-deprived (as I am now) is always a recipe for disaster.

    @ JToohey: I do not think that the climate denialists are actually reading the article. They are most likely just being trolls.

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  62. 62. swagman231 9:10 pm 09/24/2012

    It seems like the Political trolls have now turned SA into their blog. Everyone knows that the Union of Concerned Scientist has a Liberal agenda. So where does a moderate have to go to get unbiased News, not ABC, CBS NBC Fox, Now replace the term “News” with “Science” and that’s were we are.

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  63. 63. spbrown 10:09 pm 09/24/2012

    Why can’t we be good sceince students and just belive those who actually use thermometers to find out if the theory is correct.

    I have not been to Greenland or to the artic, nor to Florida or Europe, nor up in hot air baloons, nor to sapce, nor under the sea ice to check whether the globe is warming. I have not measured the Greenland ice a cap over decades. I have not checked ice cores that record data from thousands of years ago up to the present. Those who have done so claim the data shows that the earth is warming. Why are we supposed to deny these observations and argue that it is all a hoax? How deos one fake a thermomete reading; a photographic history of artci ice; the gases encapsulated in an ice core? Is Fox News serious? Have they ever paid sceintisst to check it out with real sceince measuring devices? If not what is their source of claiming to know whereof they speak? Why does anyone listen to them?

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  64. 64. G. Karst 10:42 pm 09/24/2012

    Catamount says:

    “Rather than addressing your misconceptions about the IPCC, I think it’s easier to just point out the irrelevancy. Even if your misunderstanding of their operation amounted to valid criticisms, it has nothing to do with whether humans are responsible for anthropogenic global warming, or what its magnitude and effects might be, nor does it have anything to do with the soundness of the science.”

    Perhaps you confused threads. The article in question is “fox-news-distorts-climate-science”. My point is: even the IPCC has been caught distorting climate science ie Himalayan glaciers etc. Their releases go straight to News organizations, which then run with it.

    All News organizations are guilty of bias, distortion, dramatizing their info, including Sci-Am. If you want a complete climate picture, one must look beyond MSM. I don’t have to remind you that climategate also showed improper manipulation of news media as well as the peer review process.

    Your confidence arising from your faith, in a few climatologist and their model outputs is admirable, but lacks sufficient, direct empirical evidence. A fractional degree of warming proves absolutely nothing as to cause, nor adequate reason for alarm. Just, as the fact of CO2 being a secondary GHG, says nothing about the magnitude or degree of sensitivity. Every time empirical evidence is checked, it results in a lowering of the sensitivity guess. GK

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  65. 65. thejerk 11:43 pm 09/24/2012

    I don’t know what your IQ is, however, I do have my doubts. Why would you put this “I could probably come up with better examples (i.e., I am a SET member in Johns Hopkins’s CTY program), but I don’t want to brag too much.” in a post in which you are acting like a jerk? Not very smart.

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  66. 66. OrgPa 12:55 am 09/25/2012

    The real problem here is of ethical epistemology. As long as too many scientists and “scientists” have prostituted and continue to prostitute science for ideological, political or ignoble personal reasons (many times in hysterical ways of silencing opponents) we can and should be very weary of topics with strong bias possibilities.

    Let’s face it, the new-left ideology and propaganda machine draws extensively from this science prostitution; therefore, please allow us to question what comes from there.

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  67. 67. Adolphe FABER 6:16 am 09/25/2012

    Climate on earth is essentially the result of chaos. Therefore there are no “laws”. The fact is, CO2 is increasing, whatever the reason. And high temperatures on earth have been shown to be assiociated with high values of CO2. Mind you: not man-made! Observations may be misleading. Take the melting of arctic ice: Is this not rather the result of huge quantities of soot from aircraft on this highly frequented route between USA and EU? Conclusion: We don’t know! Therefore, rather than investing money to bury CO2 (!), let’s rather concentrate on the biggest problem facing mankind, which is overcrowding of our planet by 7+ billion people. Money cannot be spent twice !

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  68. 68. hulitoons 7:46 am 09/25/2012

    WOW! I’m not a scientist nor a mathematician, but I find some of the comments here even more alarming than the unusual changes in climate I can feel and continue to see over the past 10 years of my own 65-year long life. I’ve also seen milk delivered by horse-drawn trucks become gasoline trucks and finally to ‘get it at the store yourself if you don’t own a cow’. I’ve also seen the fields we played in disappear under developers’ houses and I’ve seen traffic jams that involved 6 cars turn into non-moving traffic jams of 6,000. I’ve also noted the changes in migratory bird patterns as well as insect and rat populations and movement.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a math professor to note any of this, or even the smell of the air when you step outside. It takes paying attention. I’m also reminded that this article is a BLOG editorial, not a news article, submitted by the author who also apparently ‘pays attention’ to more than just math, but also to what human critters are saying or not saying, or what they want to see or not see.

    In the end it doesn’t matter why or who is in charge of our changing climate, it only matters that we accept it IS changing. Part of adapting is accepting.

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  69. 69. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 8:02 am 09/25/2012

    @ thejerk: And the substance of your point in nonexistent. This thread is not about my exact IQ score, but I bet that I am orders of magnitude more intelligent than a reactionary troll who doesn’t even bother to look at the actual data.
    Also, show me how deconstructing your feeble and diverting arguements is being a jerk, mister thejerk. If you actually had substantive arguements, you wouldn’t divert like Mitt Romney, although you seem to be living in the Republican fantasyland where the President is a Stalinist Muslim radical, government spending is through the roof, everyone except WASPs are evil infidels, Islam is a cancer, global warming is a hoax, and a sixteen-year-old who can argue you under the table anytime, anywhere, on any issue, is beaten into submission and isn’t allowed to talk. Given that you live in this evangelical/reactionary hell of an alternate world, I suggest that you go get some LSD or another hallucinogen so that you can see the world for what it actually is. Try going to Mexico and buying some off of the drug cartels; that’ll give you an even bigger shock when you’re kidnapped and killed.

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  70. 70. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 10:50 am 09/25/2012

    I strongly suspect that most, if not all, creationists and AGW denialists are delusional. Many of them show hallmarks of schizophrenia and similar disorders, and show an obsessive lack of regard for facts.
    Mr. Yam, please hit the denialists with the banhammer. I am certain that everyone else will thank you for doing so.

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  71. 71. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 12:22 pm 09/25/2012

    The interesting part of the article is that Murdoch himself ACCEPTS AGW AND THE EVIDENCE, and has made his company carbon-neutral because of it. Basically, Fox “News”, like other Murdoch holdings, is blatantly playing only the tunes that reactionary pelycosaurs* want to hear, despite knowing that everything that it broadcasts to that effect is a lie. Talk about a lack of journalistc ethics.

    *Hey, calling denialist reactionaries “Neandertals” is an insult to Neandertals**, and I do not spit upon graves without reason.
    **In the same way that calling these people “therapsids” is an insult to therapsids.

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  72. 72. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 2:29 pm 09/25/2012

    @ Leroy (comment 21): My current score is 1-17 (the one fact is that UCS is a center-left group, although even that was distorted)

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  73. 73. BruceWMorlan 3:21 pm 09/25/2012

    Well, even if we adjust for the “man-bites-dog” effect, it still shocks me to hear that the Pope is Catholic. In a world where 99% of the coverage is that global warming is anthrogenic, any story that it might not be qualifies as “man-bites-dog” and deserves more press. But even that does not justify that large a bias against the science.

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  74. 74. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 8:18 am 09/26/2012

    @ Bruce: Three things:
    1. Is a “man-bites-dog” story really news, or is it just tabloid stuff?
    2. I’m not surprised to hear that the Pope is Catholic. Just watch five minutes of Glen Beck, Hannity, or O’Reilly, and see my point.
    3. This one’s for everyone: the best reserve of bad science news stories: Just go to Google Books and type in “Weekly World News dinosaur.” The best one was Saddam Hussein breeding killer war dinos (apparently *Deinonychus* sans feathers).

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  75. 75. Wynn Ray 11:43 am 09/26/2012

    Deniers of AGW will not be swayed by any facts, nor the most vetted research. Do not waste your carefully crafted arguments, curb your passioned responses, they do this merely to say they sat at the table. They chose to “believe” what they want to, for whatever reasons they chose. The proper response is to politely ignore them as you would someone who argues for the flat Earth theory. They have no place at the discussion table, they can only detract, not add to the discussion. Adults should not tolerate loud children clamoring for attention, when the adults are having a serious discussion.

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  76. 76. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 12:25 pm 09/26/2012

    @ Wynn Ray: Yeah, but it’s fun to play Boss Pong (from a letter in “The Dilbert Principle”, if memory serves) with cranks. I like to publicly ridicule creationists and BANDits this way, too. BANDits are the most fun, because they keep changing their arguements, and because what they say is so ridiculous.
    The important part of playing AGWDenialist Pong (or BANDit Pong, or Creationist Pong) is to make sure that it’s still fun. These people and their blind acceptance of a silly myth, coupled with their unconvinceable denial of the evidence, can enrage people who are trying to debate them. Once the crank scores a point (i.e. the scientist player loses his/her cool), that’s the time to stop, before the scientist player spouts some creative insults.

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  77. 77. mbautista 2:26 pm 09/26/2012

    Its so sad to see how many people are in denial to global warming. Have you people not seen the drastic climate changes over the years? For example this year. The horrible drought/heat wave we received in the mid U. S., consequently rising the prices of corn. The melting ice cap of the artic ocean, the endangered polar bears (due to the melting ice of the arctic ocean). I am sorry but what you don’t know CAN hurt you, or at least what you guys refuse to acknowledge. Ignorance is not bliss. Please educate yourself about the Earth’s climate over the last two decades and you would see. If this is the kind of generation we are living in now, I hope I am not around when the other generations come along because I have a feeling there won’t be a Earth for them.

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  78. 78. Fanandala 4:31 pm 09/26/2012

    @ bird tree whatever: you make me laugh you are obviously foaming at mouth. I am a compulsive reader and I read just about any crap, the only reason I read your rabid outpourings. Lay off the bottle for a while and come back when you are sober. Maybe you could conduct your discourse in less irrational manner.

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  79. 79. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 6:27 pm 09/26/2012

    @ Fananwhatsit: I never drink alcoholics or carbonated drinks, and the only caffeine I ever consume is in green tea. Why do you find me to be psychotic/under the influence?
    Also, if you really are a compulsive reader, go read some actual scientific papers on AGW, and then go away.
    In a nutshell, you are just another one of the denialists and cranks that I argue under the table every day. Seriously, at least John Jackson has the decency to craft fine insults, and at least Bill Crofut is too mentally disturbed to call other people such. You are just an internet troll, one of several million in this country. If you feel that your reproductive organs are not large enough (the likeliest reason behind your pathetic ranting), I suggest sports cars, annoying motorcycles, and “Dr. Strangelove” Blu-Rays. Those are the best confidence boosters that I can come up with.

    Does anyone rational know why the denialists, creationists, and BANDits that inhabit the dark recesses of the Web refuse to face facts? There’s got to be a lot of guys who are self-conscious about their family jewels, but even then, there are a staggering number of cranks.

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  80. 80. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 6:33 pm 09/26/2012

    @ mbautista: What we’ve seen is only the tip of the iceberg. SciAm did a story a few months back about the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and its relevance to the progress of AGW. At the rate we’re going, we’re looking at a 30% minimum biodiversity loss (my lowest estimate, given past losses and projected AGW outcomes)over the next century, paralelled only by the KT event and the PT “mother of all extinctions”. Look it up; we’re in deep sh*t, and we need to get out FAST. It’s people who actually look outside occasionally, like you, who tell the most worrisome accounts.

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  81. 81. jstahle 7:03 pm 09/26/2012

    As it may be quite clear if one doesn’t know Antarctis, let me add Re. ’1841. p.151 Ross’s expedition’, + ’1899. Borchgrevink’s expedition’: Colbeck’s maps document, that they sailed to Mount Erebus and Mount Terror.

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  82. 82. G. Karst 8:36 pm 09/26/2012

    Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek hoots:

    “we’re looking at a 30% minimum biodiversity loss (my lowest estimate, given past losses and projected AGW outcomes)”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=biodiversity-found-increase-during-warm-periods-earths-history&posted=1#comments

    After reading the above, you should research the words “autistic savant” or “Asperger disorder”. You might be able to modify your behavior and control your tremendous IQ sufficiently, in order, to NOT disrupt the thread. GK

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  83. 83. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 8:50 pm 09/26/2012

    @ G. Karst: Maybe you should get some therapy for your denialistic obsession. I actually know basic neuroscience and psychology, to the point where I can often diagnose attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder on sight.
    You should look at the PETM, the closest prehistoric period that we have to our current crisis. The PETM left the dominant Paleocene tree in the Northern Hemisphere all but extinct, led to the spread and diversification of adapoid and omomyid primates at the expense of plesiadapids and multituberculates, led to the exitnction of champsosaurs and several other groups, and caused the world biome of the time to transition from tropical forest to tropical open/shrubby parkland (very different habitats, especially for smaller mammals). And all that was with an estimated temperature increase per year one-tenth (if memory serves) of the current rate of increase. The temperature increase isn’t the problem, it’s the sheer speed. One degree centigrade in a million years is small; one degree in a hundred years is huge.

    Please spread your baseless reactionary nonsense somewhere else, primitive mylokunmingiid (look it up).

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  84. 84. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 8:56 pm 09/26/2012

    Oh, and G. limestone outcropping left behind by an evaporating ocean:
    I have been diagnosed (most likely incorrectly, according to later, more detailed observations) with Asperger’s Syndrome in the past, because of my obsession with birds. I’ve met people with genuine Asperger’s, and they tend to be highly intelligent and obsessed with knwing everything possible about a particlar topic. They do not cling to baseless views, in my experience.
    Go cheer on Rush Limbidiot, reactionary.

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  85. 85. G. Karst 10:21 pm 09/26/2012

    Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek hoots

    “I have been diagnosed (most likely incorrectly, according to later, more detailed observations) with Asperger’s Syndrome”

    Bingo! Who is in denial now?

    “PETM, the closest prehistoric period that we have to our current crisis”

    Says you. There are about as many theories and hypothesis regarding the PETM as your self declared IQ. Unless you accompany your hyperbole with some citations of support… Why should anybody read your comments?

    Next… What world crisis are you referring to. Where are the millions of climate refugees promised. Mass graves of climate induced starvation victims. The truth is more people are being fed now… then have ever been fed before. This is in no small part, due to warmer temperatures and enhanced CO2 fertilization.

    Climate is always changing and will continue to change as the millenniums pass. Cooling is dangerous… Warming – A pleasant walk in the park, for humanity and global biomass. It is the fail-safe direction. GK

    Link to this
  86. 86. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 7:48 am 09/27/2012

    @ G. Moron: You still miss my point, and completely ignored my statements about Asperger’s, as well as my psychological expertise (I have had the luxury to be treated for my ADHD and comorbid disorders by Dr. Shawn Ewbank, one of the best psychologists in the country, with an intuitive understanding of mental processes. Also, I have read multiple psychology and neurology texts as leisure reading.). I am willing to bet that you have no psychological knowledge whatsoever, and are merely trolling here and making such ad hominem attacks to make you feel as if your microscopic penis is larger.
    My major point is that the warming/cooling of the planet is bad, it’s the sheer speed of said warming or cooling. Without time to adapt, species quickly go extinct.

    Also, cooling would actually be good for humans in the long run. Sure, we might lose Alaska to glaciers, but the continental shelves that were above water during the last Ice Age make up most of that, and oceanic current changes would most likely drench the Sahara. Not great for many species, perhaps, but good for your primitive homocentric view of the world.

    Finally, you are a troll with no apparent psychological expertise. This is a respectable site, and you should leave before someone kicks you out. Go to the Republican fantasyland where every fact-free thing that you people say is true. Get lost, you ******* *******.

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  87. 87. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 7:53 am 09/27/2012

    Also, you’ll just try to discredit any refs that I find. Start with “The Inconvenient Truth” and go from there, you tiny-minded buffoon.

    I will be leaving for a tour of colleges across the country now; please spew your primitive attempts at backwards logic at someone else. Oh, and if you say that I “hoot” anything in the future, I’m calling SciAm personally and making sure that you’re banned.

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  88. 88. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 8:00 am 09/27/2012

    One last post before I leave:
    Forget if G. Karst says that I “hoot” anything from now on. Could the author of this article please just ban him and never let him back? I do not know what you tolerate as far as cranks go (I have seen that Darren Naish (Tet Zoo author) deletes the wackiest ones immediately, but I strongly suspect that David Marjanovich (briliant paleontologist) will most likely let them all rant if he ever does his own blog so that he can prove, once and for all, that he’s Huxely’s reincarnation), but I urge you to ban denialists as soon as they post in the future, so that we normal people can get to brainstorming solutions for AGW that actually work instead of arguing with cranks.

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  89. 89. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 9:30 am 09/27/2012

    Sent from the spotty Internet zone of the airport–not sure how well this will go through:
    To quote Catamount:
    “”"No scientist has ever suggested that warming in and of itself, within the confines of likely human impacts, is bad. Contrary to your strawman of the position of the scientific community, there is no position that moderately warmer temperatures in and of themselves are in any way a threat to life on this planet on the whole. Such a position would be untenable, as much, if not most, of Earth’s history, has been warmer than present.

    What scientists have ACTUALLY said is that a change in EITHER direction of sufficiently fast rate to exceed the adaptive response of living systems (including human civilization) is dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether it’s warming or cooling; any fast change is a problem. “”"

    Which is the point that I was trying to get through to G. Denialist. The PETM event caused a 50% biodiversity loss in tropical forams, and a ten percent loss among other groups. Our current crisis is much, much faster than the PETM. Getting the world back to pre-Industrial levels of CO2 is the most important thing for our species today, besides reining in our stupidly huge population. Speaking as a person who’ll inherit this dump of a planet when you adults and denialists are done raping it, I’m not pleased by your progress.

    References: Thomas, E.; Shackleton, N.J. (1996). “The Paleocene-Eocene benthic foraminiferal extinction and stable isotope anomalies”. Geological Society London Special Publications 101 (1): 401.
    Kelly, D.C.; Bralower, T.J.; Zachos, J.C. (1998). “Evolutionary consequences of the latest Paleocene thermal maximum for tropical planktonic foraminifera”

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  90. 90. Scrat 11:29 am 09/27/2012

    Been away from this one for a couple of days.

    @mariaocconner – I am a “jerk” because . . . I understand the scientific method and keep up with current information about geologic and environmental changes on the planet?

    I always find it fascinating when folks resort to ad hominem attacks when they otherwise have no factual support for their beliefs or arguments.

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  91. 91. Kernos 11:41 am 09/27/2012

    Heh! The science deniers come out of the closet or are led here by the conservative evangelists to spam their beliefs on thinking people. What is said here is accurate about Fox News. But the other news channels are almost as bad, virtually ignoring our #1 problem (climate change and global warming) and concentrating on politics, crying mamas, police chases, economies… Of course the news programs exist in order to sell ads, so they must have prurient appeal. NPR does it better by just a bit.

    The powers in the US have learned what priests have known for millennia: keep the masses ignorant and uneducated. It keeps them more easily controllable and foolable. Why do you imagine education in the US sucks so badly? Think what might happen if everyone could critically read a science paper. Faith is so much easier, especially when combined with the fear imposed by the priesthoods.

    Climate change and global warming are not a matter of faith or belief, but fact. It’s has been happening for some time now. The big questions remaining are the details and when, where and how much. Pity your descendants while you live your comfortable, ignorant little lives, hoping the next cat 5 hits elsewhere.

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  92. 92. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 11:57 am 09/27/2012

    @ Kernos: It helps that many people actively desire ignorance, for some reason.

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  93. 93. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 12:17 pm 09/27/2012

    Sent from airport–apparently those secutiry clowns didn’t wipe my hard drive after all.
    @ Scrat: Cranks use ad hominem attacks whenever their arguements are the most pathetically weak. The most fascinating part, at least to me, is that they stick with these pathetic arguements despite all of the evidence.

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  94. 94. G. Karst 1:21 pm 09/27/2012

    Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek hoots:

    “Also, you’ll just try to discredit any refs that I find.”

    That is a common and erroneous attitude of many warmist, who refuse to supply research data, for replication and confirmation. It is, however, the very heart of the scientific method. ALL assertions stated must be tested and reproduced, before it is considered for validity.

    Your real problem, which you are denying, is the misconception that people are attacking YOU and not your FALLACIES and ASSERTIONS. This sends you into a tizzy and comes through your comments, as an angry rant. No one enjoys such rants and there is certainly no scientific content worth considering. Even if there was, without citations, they are worthless.

    You must learn the techniques of coping with Aspergers, in order to successfully interact with fellow colleagues (and society). Otherwise I guarantee you will crash and burn out early and your beginning career will end abruptly. I say this with genuine sincerity and well meant advice.

    I have supervised more than a few savants and enjoy their honesty and admire their productivity. However, it requires conscious effort on everyone’s part to keep a lab working smoothly. Otherwise… it’s the trash heap for you. Good luck.

    Btw: if you don’t like hoots, stop calling yourself Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek. See how this works now. GK

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  95. 95. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 1:53 pm 09/27/2012

    G. Denialist, give me some data that shows that AGW doesn’t exist, and I might listen to you. Until then, the evidence that I have seen is monolithic. You are just an annoying Internet troll. You say that I have Asperger’s; I was only given one tentative diagnosis of it, and that was invalidated later on. I have ADHD, OCD, and Tourette’s Syndrome, which causes involuntary motor twitches (seizures, in my case). I deal with trolls like you often, and the only thing that I admire about you is your impossibly thick skin. I assume that people like you are used to being shot down.
    I gave you your citations, denialist. Now go away. People like you are part of the reason that nothing is being done about AGW; you greedy, stupid, reactionary trolls divert time and attention to your annoying anecdotes and baseless assertions, leaving normal people with less time and energy to fix AGW before it’s too late.
    “That is a common and erroneous attitude of many warmist, who refuse to supply research data, for replication and confirmation. ”
    A blatant and uninformed lie. AGW is only accepted by the scientific community because a huge number of peer-reviewed papers have been published, with full data sets, showing that AGW is real and urgent.
    Refs: 2009 Ends Warmest Decade on Record. NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day, 22 January 2010.
    “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.” IPCC, Synthesis Report, Section 1.1: Observations of climate change, in IPCC AR4 SYR 2007.
    America’s Climate Choices. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. 2011. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-309-14585-5. “The average temperature of the Earth’s surface increased by about 1.4 °F (0.8 °C) over the past 100 years, with about 1.0 °F (0.6 °C) of this warming occurring over just the past three decades”
    And more, if you choose to look.

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  96. 96. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 1:59 pm 09/27/2012

    Oh, and you need professional help, denialist. You clearly are suffering from either excessive greed, an unusualy low IQ score, mild schizophrenia, delusions, or excessive obstinacy. I suggest the Rutgers graduate psychology program; the grad students there are as good as most regular therapists.

    Link to this
  97. 97. G. Karst 5:06 pm 09/27/2012

    Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek hoots and hoots again!

    SOooo… It’s the trash heap for you? GK

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  98. 98. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 7:25 pm 09/27/2012

    I’m through with you, denialist. I will ignore you from now on, you obstinate, primitive igrnoamus.

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  99. 99. na73x 9:39 pm 09/27/2012

    The one datum that I bring up to my younger brother, who is a die hard Rush Windbag follower, concerns ice cores that go back 440,000 years. During previous ice ages, the CO2 concentration averaged 140 ppm; during the “warm ages” (for lack of a better phrase, the CO2 concentrations averaged 240 ppm. Guess where we’re at now? 340 ppm AND CLIMBING. This fact is irrefutable and not based on politics. The Ross Ice Shelf, ice 12,000 years old, is GONE. Many glaciers the world over, ice around 12,000 years old ARE GONE. The tundra in the Artic is thawing, raising spectres of fires that can’t be extinguished and threatening wildlife in ways yet unknown. The science is right; the “Right” (what an oxymoron if there ever was one) have this one completely wrong. Oh, and for the poster that stated the Internet was not created by the government, ARPANET, the predecessor of our current Internet, was created by DARPA … Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency … the government. Truth hurts sometimes, eh? Deal with it.

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  100. 100. G. Karst 10:42 am 09/28/2012

    na73x says: “During previous ice ages, the CO2 concentration averaged 140 ppm”

    Plant life cannot be maintained below 200ppm. If CO2 was at 140ppm we usually refer to such… as an extinction event. 800 ppm puts us in a nice safety zone and our plant friends thank-you. GK

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  101. 101. G. Karst 11:45 am 09/28/2012

    Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek hooter:

    Here is a quick summary of your hooting. See if you can detect any pattern. Do you really believe anyone will respond?!

    “Speaking as a person with a vastly superior intellect (I got a 5 on the AP Calc BC and Bio exams in 8th grade, have an IQ of well over 160″

    “*Hey, calling denialist reactionaries “Neandertals” is an insult to Neandertals**, and I do not spit upon graves without reason.
    **In the same way that calling these people “therapsids” is an insult to therapsids.”

    “Bill Crofut is too mentally disturbed to call other people such. You are just an internet troll, one of several million in this country. If you feel that your reproductive organs are not large enough (the likeliest reason behind your pathetic ranting), I suggest sports cars, annoying motorcycles, and “Dr. Strangelove” Blu-Rays.”

    “you greedy, stupid, reactionary trolls divert time and attention to your annoying anecdotes and baseless assertions”

    “Please spread your baseless reactionary nonsense somewhere else, primitive mylokunmingiid (look it up).”

    “but I urge you to ban denialists as soon as they post in the future”

    “Oh, and you need professional help, denialist. You clearly are suffering from either excessive greed, an unusualy low IQ score, mild schizophrenia, delusions, or excessive obstinacy.”

    And finally this gem:

    “please spew your primitive attempts at backwards logic at someone else. Oh, and if you say that I “hoot” anything in the future, I’m calling SciAm personally and making sure that you’re banned.”

    Hoot, hoot, hoots, very hoot, hooter, sir hoots alot etc.

    Thanks for your contributions to the blog. GK

    Link to this

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