Whether Men, Underground

A funny thing happened on the way to the Koch Brothers’ latest “scientific triumph” over the nefarious forces of global warming mind control.  First, the story as K-Drum rolls this out:

Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent. And University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is notorious for believing that conventional wisdom is often wrong. For example, the conventional wisdom about climate change. Muller has criticized Al Gore in the past as an “exaggerator,” has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre’s famous takedown of the “hockey stick” climate graph made him “uncomfortable” with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on.

So in 2010 he started up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) to show the world how to do climate analysis right. Who better, after all? “Muller’s views on climate have made him a darling of skeptics,” said Scientific American, “and newly elected Republicans in the House of Representatives, who invited him to testify to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology about his preliminary results.” The Koch Foundation, founded by the billionaire oil brothers who have been major funders of the climate-denial machine, gave BEST a $150,000 grant.

House Republicans and energy companies pinned a lot of money and time on BEST as the ultimate weapon to permanently cloud the “debate” on climate change.  But the problem is the skeptical physicist who said “yes, I’d like to take a look at those numbers!” has run them and discovered that hey, they’re right:

But Muller’s congressional testimony last March didn’t go according to plan. He told them a preliminary analysis suggested that the three main climate models in use today—each of which uses a different estimating technique, and each of which has potential flaws—are all pretty accurate: Global temperatures have gone up considerably over the past century, and the increase has accelerated over the past few decades. Yesterday, BEST confirmed these results and others in its first set of published papers about land temperatures. [3] (Ocean studies will come later.)

Oops.  Hey, Muller centered his entire debate on running the numbers correctly and with complete integrity and guess what?  The vast group of scientists working on it were pretty much right all along.

In the press release announcing the results, Muller said, “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK.” In other words, climate scientists know what they’re doing after all.

I’d be laughing if the deniers in Washington and K Street hadn’t killed any efforts for the US and the world to do anything substantial to save the planet.






136 replies
  1. 1
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    Too bad the damage is already done. The public “know” already that Global Warming and Climate Change is really a massive conspiratorial grift by scientists and Al Gore, and possibly even a genocidal campaign to freeze the world and kill off the poor.

    I’m not joking about the last part, I’ve heard it at least 5 times in the last 2 months. :/

  2. 2
    schrodinger's cat says:

    It seems to be an open season on physicists these days on Balloon Juice. You wouldn’t be posting on the intertoobs without the advances of 20th century physics.

    Criticize Muller all you want but leave physics and physicists out of it.

  3. 3
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Facts are stubborn things, with a notable liberal bias.

    Kudos to BEST for not fudging the numbers.

    @schrodinger’s cat: I guess I noticed that it was Drum who took the shot at physicists, not Zandar.

  4. 4
    amk says:

    Me thinks herr mueller is a mole planted by those crazy climate scientists to fuck the rethugs.

  5. 5
    Ron says:

    Kudos to Muller for being intellectually honest. It’s okay to doubt claims being made and research them yourself, that’s a big part of what science is about. But when the facts didn’t support his hypothesis, he simply admitted it.

  6. 6
    amk says:

    shrub and bill having fun in canada with $ 599 a head lunch at some economic forum.

    International Human Rights Organization ? What International Human Rights Organization ? What gitmo ?

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/201.....-bush.html

  7. 7
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    I recall Newt Gingrich making a statement in the last year about the earth not caring what we do to it… which is true… it doesn’t… in the same vein, it also doesn’t care if it’s inhabitable FOR humans…. or inhabited BY humans… too.. also…

    Long after we’re gone, or at least back to living in caves, the earth will correct itself…

    And I, for one, am so tired of arguing w/ people too stupid for anyone’s good…

  8. 8
    Shlemizel says:

    But they have already “won” by delaying action to curb warming we are rushing toward a disaster of epic proportions. Any potential solutions are getting too expensive, to complex and/or too draconian to be accepted. The questions now are, how long before the run away, how many of the 7 billion inhabitants will survive and will they ever recover enough to build a technological society again or remain primitives?

  9. 9
    bystander says:

    Shamelessly pimping…. Tom Levenson’s interview with Naomi Oreskes for the influence of Cold War physicists, and the influence of Cold War politics on those Cold War physicists. And, for a useful meme: implicatory denial, which I interpreted as: If you don’t like the implications of the science, deny the science is science.

  10. 10
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: The article in the Economist that talks about this mentions that most of the group of scientists who have climate deniers have been physicists. As someone who attempted to get my degree in physics – until I burned out from studying too much – and knows a number of physicists, the stereotype that physicists look down on other sciences has some truth to it. The counter, if I remember correctly, said something about physicists knowing almost nothing about everything.

  11. 11
    James says:

    With all due respect to the physicists of the world, they have no particular expertise that qualifies them to weigh in on climate science. Except maybe their proficiency in advanced mathematics. By the same token, microbiologists and biological chemists have no particular expertise to weigh in on theoretical physics. Geologists have no business rendering a professional opinion on biological sciences. I would question the integrity of a scientist who rendered a professional opinion outside his field of expertise, without big fat juicy disclaimers.

  12. 12
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    I’d be laughing if the deniers in Washington and K Street hadn’t killed any efforts for the US and the world to do anything substantial to save the planet.

    Exxon, the Kochs and others have run the most successful disinformation campaign in history, and that includes you know who.

    They have been and will be laughing all the way to the bank. The only problem is where they can go to enjoy their ill gotten gains. In the past you could always fuck over the environment and retire to to the south of France. Secure in the knowledge that you would never need to deal with the shit you left behind.

    Where do you go to hide from global warming? What walled compound is high enough? It would be some form of justice if it weren’t for the fact that the rest of us will be suffering more.

  13. 13
    jwb says:

    For real wingnuts, Muller’s defection just serves as further evidence of the power of the conspiracy.

  14. 14
    Jay C says:

    “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values…”

    Why would this (given the sheer volume of [truly] scientific study on the planet’s climate) be such a “surprise”? Did Muller really believe that the volume of climate data collected over the past several decades was faked? Fudged? Sysytematically and massively misinterpreted for political reasons – worldwide?

    At least he has been honest enough to admit the reality of the problem, but no matter: I’m sure the climate-change-deniers and their industry-backed whoremasters will find some other way to cloud the issue – probably simply by funding Republican candidates: slavish devotion to (purchased) shibboleths guaranteed…

  15. 15
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Where do you go to hide from global warming? What walled compound is high enough? It would be some form of justice if it weren’t for the fact that the rest of us will be suffering more.

    Most of those bastards will be dead long before the worst effects hit, so their compound will be 6 feet underground.

  16. 16
    danimal says:

    The wingnuts don’t believe their bullshit, they’ll just move on to some other crackpot theory. For the leaders, it’s all about the money. For the followers, it’s all about pissing off liberals. For approximately 0% of the wingnuts, it’s about the scientific validity of climate change theory.

  17. 17
    snoey says:

    Classic British understatement from the Guardian:

    Peter Cox, professor of climate system dynamics at Exeter University said: “These studies seem to confirm the global warming estimated from the existing datasets, which is pleasing but not exactly a surprise to those of us who know how carefully the existing datasets are put together.

    “It is surprising, however, that the authors believe that this news is so significant that they can’t wait for peer review, especially when their conclusions aren’t exactly revolutionary.”

  18. 18
    Mark B. says:

    Physicists usually work with small datasets with a whole lot less uncertainty and variation of collection methodology than the data that climate scientists work with. It’s understandable that they would be skeptical of the reliability of it, since it’s so far from what they usually work with. But it’s kind of a measure of the gullibility of the press that they would take the uninformed skepticism of physicists as a legitimate criticism of the work of climate scientists.

    As we see here, once someone looks at the data and does the math, the results are clear. The climate scientists were right, and their studies were carried out rigourously and ethically. End of story. I know a few physicists. They tend to be excellent scientists within their fields of expertise. Some of them have huge egos and are willing to make all sorts of comments on stuff they don’t really know much about. Just because they have a PhD doesn’t mean every thing they say is golden.

  19. 19
    schrodinger's cat says:

    The article in the Economist that talks about this mentions that most of the group of scientists who have climate deniers have been physicists. /blockquote>

    Most physicists are not climate science deniers. There may be some ideologically motivated physicists who deny global warming. That is not a consensus opinion in the physics community.

    The only conclusion one can draw I think is that some physicists are wingnuts or just plain nuts. That they are physicists is just a coincidence. The respect that physics amongst the scientific community and society at large makes these nutcases more dangerous. I don’t however see that you can use these examples as an indictment against all of physics.

  20. 20
    gbear says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    The counter, if I remember correctly, said something about physicists knowing almost nothing about everything.

    I thought it was Architects. The way I heard it was that Architects know nothing about everything, Engineers know everything about nothing, and Contractors know everything about everything.

  21. 21
    amk says:

    @snoey: ouch. If that mueller feller had any shame left, he should fry his brains.

  22. 22
    cat says:

    XKCD comic which I showed to the physcists I work with, real physcists doing real physcics, and they confirmed to be true and amusing.

  23. 23

    The only Physicist I know is a great guy, who is really good at poker. I know quite a few architects – most of them have huge God complexes.

    Politicians, Architects and Doctors seem to been cut from the same cloth.

  24. 24

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Most physicists pretty much agree with global climate change, the few that don’t tend to be very vocal about it.

  25. 25
    schrodinger's cat says:

    The article in the Economist that talks about this mentions that most of the group of scientists who have climate deniers have been physicists. /blockquote>

    Most physicists are not climate science deniers. There may be some ideologically motivated physicists who deny global warming. That is not a consensus opinion in the physics community.

    The only conclusion one can draw I think is that some physicists are wingnuts or just plain nuts. That they are physicists is just a coincidence. The respect that physics amongst the scientific community and society at large makes these nutcases more dangerous. I don’t however see that you can use these examples as an indictment against all of physics.

    ETA: This comment was stuck in moderation so I am posting it again.

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I don’t think anyone here is saying that all, or anywhere near a majority, of physicists are climate deniers; I’m certainly not. On the other hand:

    Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent.

    fits my experience. Hell, the physics department at the college I went to had a class in music and another class in English.

  27. 27
    dmsilev says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    It seems to be an open season on physicists these days on Balloon Juice. You wouldn’t be posting on the intertoobs without the advances of 20th century physics.

    Physicists unfortunately do sometimes have a tendency to arrogance (I am one, and know quite a few others, so this is a reasonably informed opinion. Most of my colleagues and associates are fairly reasonable, but the bad ones can be very bad). The exemplar of this attitude is Rutherford’s famous quotation “All science is either physics or stamp collecting”.

    That said, polls have been done and surveys taken, and the vast majority of physicists are not climate change deniers. Ditto the vast majority of chemists, etc.

  28. 28
    Yevgraf says:

    Nature has a way of dealing with massive concentrations of chemicals or organisms that make the status quo unsustainable. My guess is a that the events will be multifold – more frequent, more powerful hurricane/cyclone occurances in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Australasia and Bay of Bengal will come about from the global warming will be the first blow. Second, parching conditions in Africa will cause famine. Third, croplands in South america will also be subject to this drying, leading to further encroachment on the Amazon. Next up will be the swine/avian viruses that will roar out of Southeast coastal China, for which we have no immunity (and lets not forget the new horrors of unknown virii from the Amazon). I’m guessing that by 2111, we may be looking at a global population of about 5.5 billion (assuming that we can even reasonably hold our shit together so as not to go off on a horrendous mass destructive kill off). Places like Canada, the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Mid-Atlantic states and Scandinavia should probably do relatively OK on a climate basis, but the Gulf states, Florida and the Midwest will all suck ass.

    And God help you if you live in the Southwest, which is going to be about as dry as the Sahara. The good part? All those Okies in Central California (the ones whose ancestors were too fucking dumb to figure out to not play out their fields in Oklahoma) will have to migrate yet again. This time, they’ll hopefully go to to the free market paradise of Somalia.

  29. 29

    Waaah! Soros must have outbid them!

    @arguingwithsignposts: Yep. Among that set concern for their descendants is limited to making sure their inheritance doesn’t get taxed.

    Let them eat stock portfolios!

  30. 30
    Mark B. says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy: I don’t think it’s just physicists, people with right wing views tend to get a whole lot more attention and approval from the press in just about every profession. I’m not sure if they are just more entertaining to listen to, being contrarians and all, or just because the press has a hardon for right wingers, but it’s pretty undeniable.

  31. 31
    kindness says:

    Well…we all know that the right will now commence to referring to this poor physicist as a Berkeley commie lib extremist.

    Oh, and no more Koch money for you, you damn lib-tard!!!

    The blather, the lack of articulating an actual argument from the right, the contempt and charged rhetoric against anything Obama or liberal….it really is hurting us all. The Right doesn’t care. It’s what they are trying for, to reduce the citizens respect in anything government. Sad.

    I want to see this article posted everywhere through the 2012 elections: Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult.

    It’s from a Republican Capitol Hill staffer who retired this summer after working 30 years in the capital. It’s nothing we all didn’t know but the right foams at the mouth of speaking the truth about it.

  32. 32
    Marty says:

    I think physicists can handle a little criticism. They know they are arrogant and they don’t mind taking some heat for it, esp when they turn out to be right.

  33. 33
    iriedc says:

    In the race to the bottom Climate Deniers have Anti-Vaxxers beat by a nose.

  34. 34
    Jinchi says:

    You’ve gotta love the hubris of a guy who’d step into a different field of research and name his project BEST.

    But his biggest surprise is that decades of research by thousands of climatologists managed to get an answer as good as his own?

    Really?

  35. 35
    The Moar You Know says:

    Another inconvenient truth.

    But AlGore is fat.

    Thank God I’ll be dead before all this really goes to shit. Sorry youngsters.

  36. 36
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Marty: I think they can, as long as it’s peer reviewed first.

  37. 37
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Unless I am missing some subtle pun shouldn’t the title be Weather men?

  38. 38
    expatoz says:

    His testimony was LAST MARCH? So they have been grifting for 10 months on this climate change denial crap and muller didn”t call them out? oh that’s right — not a repub has mentioned the environment in —hmmm– 10 months.

  39. 39
    wilfred says:

    Well, it can’t be that bad. If it were, we’d never hear about anything else. I mean whither politics in the face of the end of life as we know it? It’s not as if it’s the principal contradiction, right?

    So things must be ok.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    jonas says:

    Clearly the thugs in the global climate science community — the very same ones who used coarse language in those Climategate emails — got to this guy somehow and forced him to concur with them. Put a horse head in his bed or something.

  42. 42
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @dmsilev: I know that physicists can be assholes, from personal experience, my adviser was one.

  43. 43
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Jinchi: I guess I needs more cawfee!

  44. 44
    Mark S. says:

    The response from the deniers is in:

    1. It hasn’t been peer reviewed (so shut up and get peer reviewing)

    2. So what? It’s been warming since the Little Ice Age. We still don’t know if it’s man-made.

    Yeah, it could be sunspots or some other bullshit, but I’m a little suspicious of billions of tons of CO2 we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere the last hundred years or so.

  45. 45
    jonas says:

    @Mark S.: Hasn’t been peer reviewed? This was a peer review of the other scholarship. They want to peer review the peer review? But then who will review that?

  46. 46
    The Moar You Know says:

    Clearly the thugs in the global climate science community—the very same ones who used coarse language in those Climategate emails—got to this guy somehow and forced him to concur with them. Put a horse head in his bed or something.

    @jonas: It’s an interesting story, I read all about it on Fox. According to an anonymous source, a guy who used to work in a warehouse during the summer back in high school in the 1970s and who was a member of the Teamsters during that summer, became an alcoholic and spent the next thirty years on the streets homeless. One night he was shambling around the Berkeley Hills and started screaming, supposedly at an “alcoholic hallucination” that just happen to “conveniently” be located right outside the residence of, you guessed it, one Richard Mueller, who was working bravely into the night disproving the Democrat “global warming” conspiracy. Mueller, hearing the homeless man outside screaming at his mailbox, hid under his bed and called the Department of Homeland Security. DHS, being firmly in the iron fist of the Obama/SEIU/Teamster/New Black Panther thugs, refused to send a squad of agents and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which was all that Mr. Mueller asked to protect himself and his family from the screaming drunk wandering the streets in front of his house. Mueller, terrified at the fact that the Obama administration would abandon him to a Teamster thug in such a way, rewrote his entire study over one weekend and, pleading for his and his family’s lives, sold his entire family into white slavery as Michelle Obama’s personal manicurists.

    UNION THUGS ZOMG

  47. 47
    gene108 says:

    @James:

    Geologists have no business rendering a professional opinion on biological sciences.

    If by biological sciences you mean medicine, genetic engineering, etc., I think geologists have very little to contribute.

    If by biological sciences you mean rain forest ecology, marine biology, etc. geologists have enough of an understanding of how the Earth works to have some knowledge of these systems.

  48. 48
    Mark S. says:

    @jonas:

    Well then you peer review that. Then you complain that that hasn’t been peer reviewed. Repeat 363 times. By that time, we’ll be out of oil and living on Greenland and the oil companies will stop funding the climate deniers.

    Also, too, the earth has been warming since this event, so it’s impossible to tell if it’s man-made or not.

  49. 49
    Reality Check says:

    Hear that sound, progressives? Can you hear it? It’s the sound of a new, big-ass COAL FIRED power plant coming online in China. They’re starting up a new COAL fired power plant on average every day. Same in India. Now, do you think anything we do here will have any impact at all even if APGW is true?

    APGW is the “new” Christianity for the left.
    There’s the original sin (the industrial revolution), the fall from grace (rising temperatures), prophets (Al Gore), holy scriptures (“An Inconvenient Truth”), even indulginces (“Carbon credits”). You’re not atheists, you’re Warmists. It’s the new faith for guilty western leftists.

  50. 50
    Reality Check says:

    @Yevgraf:

    Shorter Yevgraf: TEH RAPTURE IS KOMING!!!! REPENT AND BE SAAAAVED!

  51. 51
    Bill Arnold says:

    @cat:
    Physicists took a bigger reputation hit IMO with reporting that the ranks of quants working in the financial system were swelled with ex-physicists seeking to monetize their talents.
    (Mainly because simplified models contributed to the start of the great recession, or so the narrative goes.)

  52. 52
    catclub says:

    @Mark S.: Yep.

    My understanding is:
    1. We think our models are pretty good ( not great necessarily) because we can match up reasonably well with past observations, given our estimates of the inputs.

    but 2. One of those inputs is CO2 and its greenhouse effect. If we do NOT include that, we cannot get the models of the past 100 years records to match up with observations. If we DO include it, then things match up.

    3. Our conclusion: CO2 inputs matter, and when we model the future ( all caveats still apply) the CO2 effect is increasing and nothing else is counter-acting that. [Because for the period from about 1967-2000, cloud effects due to pollution DID mitigate the effects. Cleaning up those makes things hotter. Soot and volcanoes are a possibly global cooler, but have other issues.]

  53. 53
    Reality Check says:

    The Revelation of Gaia, which Mother Earth gave unto her, to shew unto her servants things which must shortly come to pass; and she sent and signified it by her angel unto her servant Al Gore…

  54. 54
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @The Moar You Know: That story is entirely plausible up until the part where he sold his family. He would actually shoot his family rather than having them working for some black woman. You almost pulled it off.

  55. 55
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Reality Check: Yep, I let my kids get away with “But Brandon does it” all the time.

  56. 56
    Reality Check says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    China will make up for any puny carbon cuts ever made here, and THEN some. But then again it’s not really about reducing carbon output, it’s about making guilty western leftists feel better about their lifestyle while also increasing government control over our lives. That’s the real endgame for the Warmists.

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mark S.:

    Stop making sense!

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Reality Check:

    The cretinous stupid.

    It burns!

  59. 59
    Yutsano says:

    @Reality Check: I know. Who needs life when you got FREEDUMB!! amirite?

  60. 60
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Reality Check: Ah, I see the latest Koch check cleared the bank.

    Guess Trurl and jwest haven’t checked the mail yet.

  61. 61
    scav says:

    @Gene208

    If by biological sciences you mean medicine, genetic engineering, etc., I think geologists have very little to contribute.
    __
    If by biological sciences you mean rain forest ecology, marine biology, etc. geologists have enough of an understanding of how the Earth works to have some knowledge of these systems.

    I’ll back you up insofar as the general movement toward geoscience hasn’t been front paged that much, but I am territorial enough to say the geographers have been there all the time neener-neener and some of us get into the real medically bits (disease diffusion, cancer hot-spots etc.). OK, token departmental-bicker-mode disengaged. All hail Geo-x!

  62. 62
    Reality Check says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Translated: YOU’RE GOING TO HELL, SINNER! YOU REFUSE TO BELIEVE IN THE REVELATIONS OF WARMISM AND OUR PROPHET AL GORE! MOTHER EARTH WILL SMITE YOU!

  63. 63
    DBrown says:

    @Mark S.: Either you are trying (and failing) to be funny or you are one VERY stupid person. There is so much proof that humans are causing the warming (via CO2) that it is not even an open question at all – either learn better jokes or stop proving how stupid you are … at least a few brother stupids or trolls are out now to join you.

  64. 64
    Reality Check says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Ah, and like any good religion, Warmism has an “evil one”. For Christians, Satan is around every corner, for Warmists, it’s David Koch.

  65. 65
    handy says:

    @Reality Check:
    @Reality Check:

    When a problem comes along, you must whip it.

  66. 66
    Reality Check says:

    @handy:

    There is no Goddess but Mother Earth and Al Gore is Her prophet!

  67. 67
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Reality Check: Yes!
    Al Gore is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    He maketh me to believe in brown pastures:

    he leadeth me beside the boiling waters.

    He restoreth my drum circle;

    he leadeth me in the paths of anthropogenic global warming for his name’s sake.

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Koch,

    I will fear no evil: for Gore art with me;

    thy Keynote and thy Inconvenient Truth they comfort me.

    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

    thou anointest my head with biofuels; my cup runneth over.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

    and I will dwell in the house of the Gore for ever.

  68. 68
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Reality Check:

    Weak sauce. Godfather’s puts better sauce on their cardboard pizza.

  69. 69
    Reality Check says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    ALMIGHTY Godess, Mother of our Lord Al Gore, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold pollution and carbon output, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have emitted, By automobile, factory farm, and coal power plant, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for this our carbon footprint; The remembrance of these carbon emissions is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable…

    (w/apologies to my childhood BCP!)

  70. 70
    Mark S. says:

    @DBrown:

    Jesus, please adjust your snark detector.

  71. 71
    MomSense says:

    Here is a completely unscientific comment about physicists. I have one in my extended family (family by marriage) and he is the only person that all three of my children when they were toddlers and both of my labs, who have loved everybody, are afraid of. My old, dearly departed lab was so terrified of him that he would cower, his fur would stand on end, and he even peed a bit on one occasion.

    This physicist is a climate science denier. Now is this information enough to determine that all physicists who are climate science deniers are scary? No. Is it as rigorous as climate science denial? Yes, I believe it is. And believing is all that is required to make it so.

  72. 72
    GregB says:

    Hopefully these scientists will get on to a new and more important endeavor, like proving there is indeed a war on Christmas.

  73. 73
    Amir Khalid says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    Ahem. That should be “anthropogenic global warming”, to mean global warming caused by man.

    “Anthropomorphic global warming” would mean the kind of global warming that resembles a man.

  74. 74
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Reality Check: Well, that’s far better than worshipping Mammon.

  75. 75
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Amir Khalid: I edited it after about 30 seconds because it didn’t sound right.

  76. 76
    RalfW says:

    Here’s the interim denier strategy/taling point du jour: It’s not peer reviewed (yet).

    It’s not convinced everybody, however. Blogger Anthony Watts, for example, points out that the BEST papers haven’t yet been peer-reviewed. “I had very high hopes for this project as the methodology is looked very promising to get a better handle on station discontinuity issues with their ‘scalpel’ method,” he says. “Now it looks just like another rush to judgement, peer review be damned.”

  77. 77
    BrYanS says:

    I’ve read Muller’s Book, Physics for Future Presidents and I’d hardly call him a global warming skeptic. He states in the book that he believes the IOCC’s report that global warming is happening and humans are causing it. He believes we should do something about it. What he feels uncomfortable with as a physicist is some of the conclusions in an Inconvenient Truth are cherry picked and not supported by any data. He goes on to say that he’s not a politician and is far more convinced by the data than the examples Gore cites, but maybe Gore as a politician understands human nature better than a physicist to people to action incite action. It’s an interesting read and he makes some interesting points about how we should spend our money. The US would be much better off spending money upgrading the 3rd world then making us more efficient.

  78. 78
    Mark S. says:

    My old man is a (retired) physicist and a climate change denier. He’s pretty much turned off all of his critical faculties and just absorbs everything that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh tell him. It’s a blast talking to him.

    ETA: That last sentence was snark. Some people have been having trouble with that today.

  79. 79
    scav says:

    @Amir Khalid: and @arguingwithsignposts: But wouldn’t a giant vaguely-hominid climate change monster (possibly wearing a mask and shooting warming lasers out of his eyes) lumbering over the planet be simply a great image.

  80. 80
    Reality Check says:

    @Mark S.:

    Yet everyone here uncritically repeats what Rachel Maddow told them about the The Great Koch Konspiracy Kochtopus, who she herself got from…wait for it…the Paultards! That’s right–they say Ron Paul didn’t get the GOP nomination in 2008 because the Kochtopus rigged the primary election for McCain. How does it feel to be in THEIR company? Maybe you guys can get your next theory from Alex Jones.

  81. 81
    James says:

    @gene108:

    If by biological sciences you mean rain forest ecology, marine biology, etc. geologists have enough of an understanding of how the Earth works to have some knowledge of these systems.

    You are absolutely correct. I should have been more precise, but I plead undercaffeination and being a lazy commenter.

  82. 82
    Yutsano says:

    @Reality Check:

    Yet everyone here uncritically repeats what Rachel Maddow told them about the The Great Koch Konspiracy Kochtopus, who she herself got from…wait for it…the Paultards!

    LOLWUT?

  83. 83
    scav says:

    chex_mix, you and your brain stem are barely on speaking terms, so don’t expect us to lend much credence to you lecturing us about the application of critical facilities.

  84. 84
    Brachiator says:

    In the press release announcing the results, Muller said, “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK.” In other words, climate scientists know what they’re doing after all.

    Unless this becomes a top story on Fox News, climate change denial will continual unabated like hot gas.

  85. 85
    Mark S. says:

    @Reality Check:

    Is someone doing a Turing test experiment on us?

  86. 86
    Reality Check says:

    @Yutsano:

    Yes, exactly. See here:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blo.....20146.html

    And here:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/gordon/gordon37.html

    They were on the Koch beat while you all would have been saying “David who?” They’re hardcore Neoconfederates, anti-semites, and gold bugs. And they agree with you about Koch.

  87. 87
    Amir Khalid says:

    @scav:
    A lot of people would buy that comic book.

  88. 88
    James says:

    @jonas:

    Hasn’t been peer reviewed? This was a peer review of the other scholarship.

    No. In climate science, a physicist is not a peer, and is unqualified to do any kind of peer review. He’s not a peer. He’s a random person with a physics background that is rendering an opinion.

    (Unless I miss the snark. If so, my apologies. It’s early hereabouts.)

  89. 89
    Comrade Mary says:

    I don’t know whether I’m shocked or amused that Schrondinger’s cat is defending physicists, given the way it may or may not have been treated by them. Let’s see what happens when I click this button.

  90. 90
    Reality Check says:

    MORE KOCH KONSPIRICIES!!!11

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blo.....18639.html

    Why is Lincoln considered our greatest president instead of a war criminal? IT’S CHARLES KOCH, STUPID!

  91. 91
    Yutsano says:

    @Comrade Mary: Okay I LOLed.

  92. 92
    Nylund says:

    My university is making a big push to get more interaction between departments and research projects. I think it’s a good thing. But, it does often feel like the physicists are snickering and sneering at the work of everyone else, like they believe they are the only ones capable of doing research correctly. Yet, time and time again, when they do dip their toes in subjects outside of physics, it seems like they conclude, that lo and behold, the other departments are actually pretty good at what they do.

    As someone who nearly became a physicist (and is friends with many), I have the utmost respect for what they do, but there is some truth to the notion that they consider themselves on a higher plane than everyone else. It’s sort of obnoxious.

  93. 93
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Mark S.: Most physicists I know are either Democrats or lean Democratic if they are independent. I used to know one physicist (now retired) who was a Republican but he was one the old school ones.

  94. 94
    electricgrendel says:

    Good on him for being able to admit that someone else in the world can do math and science. I hope this guy isn’t going to become some sort of club with which to smack around the denier crowd, because even in the short excerpts he comes across as a massive, pompous co-bag.

  95. 95
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @RalfW:

    Peer-review matters NOW!….funny, when have any of the deniers’ assertions and reports gotten subjected to proper peer review and stood up to it? Mm, MR. Watts?

  96. 96
    Mark S. says:

    Drum:

    So in one sense, its impact is limited since the smarter skeptics have already abandoned the idea that warming is a hoax and now focus their fire solely on the contention that it’s man-made. (And the even smarter ones have given up on that, too, and now merely argue that it’s economically pointless to try to stop it.)

    I never pass up a chance to bring up the worst article ever written in the history of the Universe:

    If you expect economic growth to continue at the average annual rate of 2.3 percent, to which we’ve grown accustomed, then in 400 years, the average American will have an income of more than $1 million per day—and that’s in the equivalent of today’s dollars (i.e., after correcting for inflation). Does it really make sense for you and me to sacrifice for the benefit of those future gazillionaires?

  97. 97
    ed drone says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Hell, the physics department at the college I went to had a class in music and another class in English.

    Most of my school classes were in English (German 101 excepted), so how do you say something in “music?”

    Ed

  98. 98
    Loneoak says:

    On the topic of climate deniers, a friend posted this hilarious spoof of Lord Monckton, the darling of Fox style deniers who is quite insane.

  99. 99

    So all these deniers have succeeded in paralyzing the whole culture until the point where we are already passing tipping points. They have sabotaged efforts to stop the process [which might or might not have been effective] and they will probably be no help whatsoever in coming up with ways to cope with the changes.

    My plan as an individual is to use the philosophy of container gardening except what’s planted in the micro-ecology will be me and my loved ones.

    The same group of people will probably be just as helpful in dealing with peak oil. I’m not sure what an individual can do about that.

  100. 100
    gene108 says:

    @danimal:

    For approximately 0% of the wingnuts, it’s about the scientific validity of climate change theory.

    You do realize most wing-nuts believe science and the scientific method are inherently unable to lend validity to anything?

    It doesn’t matter what it is. Their pre-conceived notion is 100% valid. Any facts presented to change that notion is 0% valid, no matter how much care has been taken to research, test and otherwise make sure of your facts.

  101. 101
    Loneoak says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    “Anthropomorphic global warming” would mean the kind of global warming that resembles a man.

    Thus the famous “hockey stick”.

  102. 102
    gaz says:

    @cat: (O/T) Thanks for the link to the comics. The one about the lightning made me lol.
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/conditional_risk.png

    hahahah

    yay – you made my morning =)

  103. 103
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Loneoak:
    That was mean — and all the funnier for it.

  104. 104
    Bago says:

    A message that might be interesting to other oil barons would be the following: “Quadaffi was the 1%”. You can’t deny that he was in the top 0.00001% of Libyans when ranked by wealth, much of it derived from petrochemicals.

  105. 105
    DFH no.6 says:

    Global climate change – in the likely way that the vast majority of climate scientists are projecting – trumps everything short of massive nuclear exchange (and the likelihood of that horror is something much more than zero, of course).

    Everything else happening on our world pales by comparison – our current economic woes, Mid-East strife, terrorism, the many wars and revolutions throughout the Third World, population growth, even peak oil and the end of cheap energy.

    Everything.

    I’m old, so I will not live to see the truly drastic effects I believe are now inevitable.

    My children (now in their thirties) will probably begin to see some undeniably bad effects in their lifetimes.

    Yes, bad effects are already visible, but they are – for now – “deniable” for those who ignorantly refuse to see them (or who pay – or are paid – to do so).

    Asshole fascists like the ironically-tagged Reality Check troll deny the overwhelming empirical scientific evidence from an ideological basis, but, because fascists notoriously project like motherfuckers, make the absurd-on-its-face claim that it’s the climate scientists (and those who – quite sensibly – believe that the conclusions of those scientists are more likely true than not) who are “faith-based” and ideologically-driven.

    At some point in this century denial will no longer be tenable, no matter how much evil fascists pay for their lies, nor how furiously brownshirts like Republican officials (and Reality Check and his ilk) work to spread those lies.. The only question is when we cross that line (20 years? 30? as much as 50? – I doubt that long).

    I hope climate scientists are completely, 100% wrong, and that the deniers (based on nothing more than a rightwing ideological “faith” that this must be some worldwide leftist conspiracy) are right. Seems rather unlikely, unfortunately.

    So I’m still going to “plant my apple tree” (i.e., campaign for Obama, et al, prepare for my retirement, volunteer at the animal shelter, etc.) but I’m afraid the planet (meaning, humanity along with huge swathes of the ecosystem) is well and truly fucked for a long time.

    On that cheery note…

  106. 106
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @ed drone: See what happens when physicists attempt to teach English? It was strange to see a music course and an English course being taught from within the physics building. And they were taught by the physics professors.

  107. 107
    gene108 says:

    Also, too Engineers are probably more likely to be climate change/global warming skeptics than actual scientists and quite vehement in defending their skepticism…a little knowledge is a dangerous thing…and Engineers have a bit of knowledge of how science works, without knowing the nitty-gritty of the details…

  108. 108

    WOW. Y’all need to read David Sirota’s latest at Salon, “W Enters My Wife’s School Board Race.”

    He writes:

    As many major campaigns as I’ve worked on, and as much experience Emily has in the public policy arena, we didn’t realize that local races had become this corporatized. Maybe we were naive, or overly idealistic, but the point is that something has gone deeply wrong in America when elections about our local schools have becomes yet another chess board for oligarchs.

    I mean my god. The corruption of our politics has filtered down to the hyper-local level.

  109. 109
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    Hey-soos Vega, Reality Check. So how does the fact that China and India are both building new coal fired power plants in any way change the scientific picture?

  110. 110
    Joel says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): The scientific term is “knowledge a mile wide and an inch deep”.

  111. 111
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Bago:
    I figure Qaddafi was the absolute top Libyan in terms of wealth. After all, he got to rake off all he wanted from the public treasury.

  112. 112
    Catsy says:

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the number-one reason why Republicans so relentlessly attack scientific curriculae, demonize intellectualism, and try to undermine the public’s trust in science: when they actually subject their agenda to independent scientific analysis, they get shot down almost every time.

    Their policies and ideas simply cannot withstand competent scrutiny, and they know it.

  113. 113
    Mark S. says:

    @Southern Beale:

    God, that’s pretty terrifying.

  114. 114

    Obama is going to announce complete drawdown of all U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of this year, according to this Jake Tapper Tweet I just reproduced on my Friday Good News post.

  115. 115

    And here’s the story:

    Sources tell ABC News that the president will announce today that US troops in Iraq will draw down to zero by the end of the year.
    __
    A White House official says that at approximately 11:30am today, President Obama convened a secure video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to talk with him about this news.

  116. 116
    DFH no.6 says:

    @gene108:

    Same is true (and closer to home) with meteorologists/weather forecasters.

    Many deniers in that crowd.

    As an engineer myself (mechanical) I find your view of engineers in general to be spot on.

  117. 117
    Judas Escargot says:

    @gene108:

    Also, too Engineers are probably more likely to be climate change/global warming skeptics than actual scientists and quite vehement in defending their skepticism…a little knowledge is a dangerous thing…and Engineers have a bit of knowledge of how science works, without knowing the nitty-gritty of the details…

    Nice broad brush you’ve got there.

    Engineers tend to come from white middle/upper-middle class families. Some of these, unsurprisingly, bring their cultural biases along with them.

    We do have a term-of-art for engineers who ignore empirical data, however: “Shitty engineers”.

  118. 118
    ruemara says:

    @Southern Beale:

    That’s been happening for over 30 years. That’s how you have county clerks who find votes on their laptop. And judges that feel guaranteed a seat so they can vote to uphold union busting laws. Conservatives have played the real long game while Democrats and Progressives show up every 4 years, have a cup of outrage, glitter bomb someone and then fail to vote in off years or for their local reps.

  119. 119
    Rihilism says:

    @gene108:

    Also, too Engineers are probably more likely to be climate change/global warming skeptics than actual scientists and quite vehement in defending their skepticism…a little knowledge is a dangerous thing…and Engineers have a bit of knowledge of how science works, without knowing the nitty-gritty of the details…

    While I agree that there are a vocal number of engineers posing as “experts” on climate science (deniers), I disagree with what appears to be your generalization of “Engineers”. A person with a B.S. in engineering or a PhD in a wholly unrelated field (say electrical engineering) may be unqualified to comment on the validity of AGW (as would someone with a B.S. in another science field or a PhD in an unrelated field).

    However, there are engineers (my guess would be mostly in academia) who are quite familiar with how science works. Some, such as my undergraduate adviser in chemical engineering, actually work on climate science. Some, such as the professors from my environmental engineering masters program, do “hard” science and to a person accept the science of AGW.

    I’m not entirely disagreeing with the context of what you’re saying, just throwing in a few caveats…

  120. 120
    trollhattan says:

    Of our generation’s many failings, dropping the ball on climate will prove the most disasterous, literally. I’m practicing my apology speech to my kid and her generation, as they’re really going to be in the soup.

    sigh

  121. 121
    chicodude says:

    Fuck Anthony Watts. I live in Chico and I despise that piece of shit. Chico is such a great little town it really sucks to have him and his bullshit associated with the place.

    I wish he’d move to Texas or something.

  122. 122
    ericblair says:

    @Rihilism:

    However, there are engineers (my guess would be mostly in academia) who are quite familiar with how science works.

    I think it breaks down as to whether an “applied scientist” type of engineer or a “super technician” engineer. Nothing wrong with the super technicians: I’d say most cardiac surgeons would qualify in that category and it’s not easy at all. It’s that the super technicians are honing a complex craft, and the applied scientists are, as the label says, applying scientific principles to solve concrete problems.

    In my experience in undergrad at least, it was the hard scientists that had more difficulty with real-world application to problems than the engineers did. The scientist students would get wrapped around the axle about some third-order effect that they couldn’t model, and your basic engineering student would understand it was a negligible effect and ignore it. Pure mathies had a hell of a time, obviously.

  123. 123
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Rihilism:

    Completely anecdotal, of course, but in my personal experience of over 30 years as an engineer (now manager) in building construction I have found most of my fellow engineers (non-academics) to be rightwing-oriented and very prone to use their limited scientific knowledge to make judgments (like climate science denial) beyond any actual expertise they possess, while claiming their engineering background (hey, they remember well that course in thermodynamics) does provide them that expertise.

    Same is true of the 6 close relatives (sibling, in-laws, uncle) who are engineers, including the one in academia. Climate change-denying teabaggers, the lot of them.

    And each of them smugly claiming their engineering background (varies from chemical to electrical to structural, even) trumps the expertise of climatologists on the subject of, well, the climate. Same is true of several of them re: biologists and evolution (they love the stupid “irreducible complexity” canard, for instance).

    Maybe my “personal sample” is unrepresentative, but I don’t think wildly so. In fact, from what I’ve read of the wider world of engineering, I’d wager it’s not unrepresentative at all.

  124. 124
    Rihilism says:

    @ericblair: I concur with your distinction (though I believe there are engineers who perform basic research that may or may not have application).

    I often think of this when confronted by a particularly arrogant surgeon or specialist. I’m tempted to say to them, “You realize that you are a highly trained, highly specialized, highly paid technician, don’t you?”, whenever it appears that they have mistaken their aptitude in their field for god-like infallibility. Perhaps the same could be said to any engineer, physicist, or “insert technical field” who decides they are more qualified than most to comment on areas outside their expertise.

    As a practicing dilettante, however, I exclude myself from such limitations…

  125. 125
    Rihilism says:

    WTF??!!! Moderation? Was it “dilettante”?…

  126. 126
    Scott P. says:

    Hear that sound, progressives? Can you hear it? It’s the sound of a new, big-ass COAL FIRED power plant coming online in China. They’re starting up a new COAL fired power plant on average every day. Same in India. Now, do you think anything we do here will have any impact at all even if APGW is true?

    I see RC has moved on to the next stage in the Global Warming Denial checklist:

    1. Global Warming doesn’t exist. It’s just not happening.

    2. Okay, it’s happening, but humans are not causing it.

    3. Okay, humans are causing it, but there’s nothing we can do about it, we can’t go back to the stone age, it would ruin our economy, it’s worse to act than not to act, etc.

    4. Okay, it is possible with technology, efficiency/conservation and smart planning to do something about it, but it’s going to hurt the bottom line of “dirty” corporations.

  127. 127
    Rihilism says:

    @DFH no.6: Unfortunately, I have had this experience as well, though perhaps not to the extent you’ve experienced. I even commented here on “experts” speaking to issues outside their area of expertise, though my latest comment is in moderation (hint, hint, Zandar).

    My only quibble was with gene108’s “Engineers” which seemed to imply “all”, which hasn’t been my experience. Seems as if the further I was removed from academia, the more frequently I encountered the engineers who were less likely to accept AGW (though not all or even most in my case).

    An aside, the strangest encounter I’d ever had was when I suggested that those who believe in a literal bible are delusional to an electrical engineer who, unfortunately (in every sense), happened to believe in a literal interpretation of the bible. Having only been out of graduate school a year or two, I was somewhat dumbstruck that someone with a science education would have such a difficult time accepting an earth older than 10K, let alone evolution (I also mistakenly assumed this was a “safe” subject to discuss with a fellow engineer). I immediately began bringing up the fossil record, carbon-dating, the distances to the nearest stars, the apparent age of the universe, but just as quickly realized that efforts to dispute his beliefs were futile. Needless to say, we never broached the subject again…

  128. 128
    S. cerevisiae says:

    @trollhattan: I know, when I think about the world the kids growing up now will inherit it makes me want to cry. Hell yes, I WANT to be wrong! But the primary literature is clear, my computer is full of pdfs that show plain as day that AGW is real and if anything has been previously underestimated. Unlike our resident troll I can’t just bury my head in the sand. I have looked at the so-called science the deniers have produced to try and disprove AGW and it is weak sauce.

    Prove us wrong. Please.

  129. 129
    gene108 says:

    @Rihilism:

    I find engineers to be a bit skeptical of anything a DFH would be for. Maybe it’s a hangover from the 1960’s, when engineers had crew cuts, wore button down shirts w/ pocket protectors, and were the young folks getting out of college, who were basically the antithesis to the hippies.

    I know generally liberal engineers – universal healthcare is good, tax the rich, etc. – who doubt climate change for whatever reason.

    I think some of it is because the hippies are for it and they just don’t trust or like the hippies.

  130. 130
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Rihilism:

    I believe much of the current “anti-science” proclivities so prominent even among the highly-educated cadre of the rightwing (let alone the legions of poorly-educated rightwing rubes) is due to the well-known tribalistic nature of modern movement conservatism.

    When my now-Teahadist baby brother was a young man, he was neither anti-gay, anti-union (considering our Dad was a lifelong union worker), anti-abortion, nor anti-evolution. He had been fairly apolitical, but like so many who “came of age” in the 80s (when he – eventually – acquired his university degree in accountancy) he became a Republican.

    And for him (as so many others) becoming Republican meant becoming anti-gay, anti-union, anti-abortion, and even anti-evolution. And now, anti-global climate change. These are tribal beliefs that signify membership in the group.

    The same brother who had enjoyed watching the original Carl Sagan Cosmos series with me told me one night as we sat outside that he didn’t “believe in” evolution anymore, and when I pointed at the stars and reminded him of just how far away they were (including galaxies millions of light-years away) and how that couldn’t possibly square with a 10,000 year-old “creation”, he responded with a scornful “we don’t know that!” and that was the end of the conversation.

    Tribal, ideological beliefs. Anathema to science.

    One of my wife’s uncles is an electrical engineer, and a Young Earth fundamentalist, too.

  131. 131
    Dr. Squid says:

    @Loneoak: Gadzooks, his eyes make Marty Feldman’s look normal.

  132. 132
    Rihilism says:

    @gene108:

    I find engineers to be a bit skeptical

    I believe that skepticism (not just of DFH, but in general) is probably the source of a lot of engineers “trouble” with AGW. I also assume that many of the deniers believe that climate is far too complex to model, though most outside of academia haven’t been exposed to models more complex than the simple models they studied as undergrads.

    That said, you’d think that some engineers would be a bit more skeptical of young earth theories (is there something about electrical engineers that make them more susceptible to this?). Or perhaps it’s just the result of group-think DFH no.6 suggests.

    @DFH no.6: I must say that I find your brother’s choices to be very sad, especially going from enjoying to Carl Sagan to questioning fundamental facts about the universe. Sad, very sad…

  133. 133
    de stijl says:

    If Mueller was a real evil physicist he would have a lair. Hollowed-out volcano, high-tech bunker buried in an Antarctic glacier, that sort of thing. Mueller is just a wanna-be evil physicist. He’s more of a naughty physicist.

  134. 134
    DavidTC says:

    Am I the only person imagining Richard Muller as Sheldon Cooper, insisting that theoretical physics is, in fact, the only actual science? And all other scientists are just people goofing around with his subatomic particles, and that their knowledge is automatically a subset of his own?

    So he spends days going over their math because they can’t possibly be right, having to teach himself statistical modeling that he doesn’t generally use (Which he can do, because he is an uberscientist, aka, a physicist. He can learn anything those lesser mortals have learned.)

    And then discovers, to his shock, that those other scientists are not idiots.

  135. 135
    Comrade Mary says:

    Did someone say lair?

  136. 136
    Flugelhorn says:

    What does this have to do with Man-made global warming again?

Comments are closed.