Friday, 26 February 2010

War on Science

From Deltoid:
Clive Hamilton has written a five part series on the attacks on climate science in Australia:
Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial. I already mentioned this one
Who is orchestrating the cyber-bullying?. Andrew Bolt gets a special mention for his hate mongering.
Think tanks, oil money and black ops. The think tanks in Australia promoting denial and delay are Lavoisier, the IPA, the CIS and now the Brisbane Institute.
Manufacturing a scientific scandal. Jonathan Leake's concoctions are well covered.
Who's defending science?. The Australian's War on Science and how the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and The Australian Academy of Science are missing in action.
Oddly enough the anti-science movement is still going strong despite the numerous articles/blogs debunking their nonsense. I keep saying about this specific infectious disease that "there is no cure for stupidity."

As we know this type of delusional disorder, in which the inflicted are resistant to all sorts of evidence countering their believes, is not limited to Global Warming denialists. Not to mention the tendency to support  all that oppose science.

Interestingly, Mark Crislip, for Science-Based Medicine, discusses the influence of climate(change) on the prevalence of infectious diseases.
Maybe its just the weather, the season, and not climate change that is causing the change in the epidemiology of infections.  I do not think so.  I think these infectious disease associations lend credence to climate change. Another line of converging evidence in support of global warming.
Steven Novella explains the concept of scientific consensus and how the anti-science movement misrepresents or misunderstands what science does:
Generally, non-experts tend to accept or reject anthropogenic climate change based upon their politics and world-view. That is a strong indication that most people are not assessing the science objectively, but are simply fitting the science to their ideology.
Update: The methods, and arguments, used by Global Warming denialists are eerily similar to those that we saw during the there-is-no-relationship-between-smoking-and-cancer-lobby.

Today's campaigners against action on climate change are in many cases backed by the same lobbies, individuals, and organizations that sided with the tobacco industry to discredit the science linking smoking and lung cancer. Later, they fought the scientific evidence that sulfur oxides from coal-fired power plants were causing "acid rain." Then, when it was discovered that certain chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were causing the depletion of ozone in the atmosphere, the same groups launched a nasty campaign to discredit that science, too.
Later still, the group defended the tobacco giants against charges that second-hand smoke causes cancer and other diseases. And then, starting mainly in the 1980s, this same group took on the battle against climate change.
So, again, monetary incentives trump science. I for one am shocked.

Update II: In a previous post I mentioned more reading material for those that remain science-resistent. Then there is the article in The Guardian denouncing this fake scepticism.

Update III: This video should help too. (h/t Deltoid)

Update IV: Skeptical Science reminds us of the tediousness of the "debate:"
The Skeptical Science list of skeptic arguments is one of the larger compilations going around, currently numbering 91 different arguments. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Whenever I encounter a skeptic argument, I add it to the database which currently contains 242 skeptic arguments. The 91 are those which I've found the time to research and write a summary of what the peer-reviewed science says on the topic. Now all 242 arguments have been categorised and displayed on a new Global Warming Links page. And just to open up a potentially huge can of worms, you can add to the list of skeptic arguments yourself! 
Update V: In case you missed it, the anti-science movement has no problem fabricating a controversy by claiming a multitude of scientists oppose the idea of human influence in global warming. "The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) published their Petition Project, a list of names from people who all claimed to be scientists and who rejected the science behind the theory of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW)." The problems regarding this collection of alleged scientists are discussed by Brian Angliss. He observes:
While it’s not possible to test the validity of OISM list directly, it is possible to test the conclusions that have been drawn from the OISM list. Specifically, we can test what percentage the 30,000 “scientists” listed on the OISM petition represent when compared to the total number of scientists in the U.S. And we can then compare that to the percentage represented by the 2000 IPCC AR4 WG1-associated scientists as compared to the estimate number of U.S. climate-related scientists.
It’s clear that the OISM names don’t represent a significant number of scientists when compared to either the total number of science graduates in the U.S. or to the number of practicing scientists who work in likely relevant fields. But that’s not all.
To conclude:
Ultimately, The OISM petition will continue to rear it’s ugly head until its fabricated credibility has been thoroughly demolished. Social conservatives and libertarians, each of which has their own ideological reasons to push the OISM petition, have been effective at keeping the “30,000 scientists reject warming chicken-littleism of IPCC” meme circulating throughout conservative media outlets, even as climate disruption-focused media have worked at limiting the damage from the OISM petition. But given the fact that the science supporting a dominantly anthropogenic cause for climate disruption is overwhelming, it’s only a matter of time before the OISM petition wilts in the heat.

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