Progressive thinking and the rise of the anti-science left.


When Chris Mooney’s (no relation) book, The Republican War on Science appeared in 2005, the liberal/left applauded. Mooney set out his case about what a menace Republicans were to science. He was right, but I remember thinking at the time, that’s all well and good, but I see much of the same anti-science mindset on the left side of the aisle.

I thought to myself, someone should write a book about the anti-science mindset of many in the progressive/liberal/left community. Someone just did. It’s Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left.

The result is a no-nonsense, sometimes brutal and sometimes funny book that progressives should read, but won’t. It was written by Hank Campbell and Alex B. Berezow. Campbell is a science writer and founder and editor of Science 2.0. Berezow is editor of RealClearScience and has a Ph.D in microbiology.

In the introduction, the authors go out of their way to make sure that readers will not take this book as an attack on all progressives, nor a defense of the right. They are taking aim at what they call the kooky left. After reading this book, I believe they underestimate how the kooky left’s ideas have drifted into mainstream liberal/left.

The right is not more anti-science than the left; it just has terrible public relations. Progressives have mastered the feel-good fallacies, and they’ve become so proficient at it that they are able to convince and sometimes bully the scientific community into playing along

Science Left Behind takes aim at progressives’ technophobic tendencies, anti-corporate bias and obsession with relativism at the expense of empirical proof. 

The book doesn’t dismiss all of the the pet issues of the left. They present a good case of why, for example, even though solar power is a good idea, the progressive approach to it is flawed and based more on emotion than good science; that their approach to science is based more on their worldview than the facts and evidence.

They do however, reserve special scorn for the anti-vaccine, alternative health and anti-GMO activists who they feel are not just misguided, but down right dangerous in their beliefs.

There are not many things in life that shake our faith in the intelligence of humanity more than the anti-vaccination campaign. The movement is predicated upon outright lies, and it poses a deadly threat.

One of the misguided beliefs I found interesting was the idea of water conservation. They use the humorous example of low-flush toilets and such helpful hints such as turn off the water when brushing your teeth. The amount of water we use as teeth brushing poopers only uses up 12% of the water supply. Thermoelectric power accounts for 49% and irrigation is in second place at 31%.

I have to admit, I hate low flow shower heads; so much so that I am a green outlaw. When I bought my new shower head I popped the gasket out that makes it a low flow. I now have a full flow shower head and man is it sweet.

Another, “Who knew?” moment is the impact wind farms have on birds. Wind turbines kill anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 birds each year. That sounds like a shitload unto you realize that each year in New York City alone, 90,000 birds fly into windows and die. Nationally the toll is from 100 million to 1 billion. Power lines and cars kill another 200-250 million. But wait, there’s more. Each year domestic and wild cats kill another 500 million.

Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket, all those birds die every year and yet they’re still all over the place. If they weren’t killed I don’t believe it would be a stretch to say that we would be welcoming our new avian overlords.

The above are just a few examples of what they cover in this book. But the bird issue is just one of the examples of how progressives can be for something and against it at the same time.

While progressives champion alternative energy, they are the biggest obstacles to implementing those alternatives. The book gives examples of a few instances of that mindset. They want alternative energy, but balk whenever anyone tries to build a solar plant or wind farm citing environmental concerns. They don’t get the concept that any form of energy, renewable or not will have an environmental impact.

I recently wrote about this in a post called Environmentalists oppose renewable energy they support. I must give credit to the authors because it was their book that gave me the idea to look into it.

What gives this book credibility is the authors did their homework. The book is heavily footnoted and they do make their case, for the most part, using facts and evidence. That is not to say you can’t quibble with their take on some things.

Fracking and the Keystone Pipeline, are two instances, I didn’t necessarily disagree with them, but think they are a little too sure about the safety of both. I understand the idea of risk/benefit, but I think they need to be a little more skeptical. While no major league catastrophes have occurred, there have been incidents that do raise questions.

The authors correctly point out that fracking has been around since the 1940s, but new methods and technology have been invented that some say might pose a threat to water supplies. In trying to find out the real facts about fracking, I wound up being more confused.

Because of this, I very might very well earn the wrath of the authors as believing in the precautionary principle which they claim too often impedes progress when no clear risk has been shown. I’ll cop to that in this case, but that’s only because I don’t have all the relevant facts to make a decision one way or the other.

While the authors say to trust in science, they qualify it by saying you shouldn’t blindly accept it. They suggest critical thinking. That’s a quandary. Most of us don’t have the background in science to know what questions to ask when reading about a study or issue. We only have science journalists to rely on and according to Campbell and Berezow, they suck too.

They see the current state of science journalism as dismal. They call it churnalism, simply rehashing press releases and not asking the right questions. They also take issue with science journalists seeing themselves as defenders of science, which riles them to no end.  In their view they are more political cheerleaders than journalists. Unfortunately that results in them giving progressive anti-science nonsense a free ride.

So, what happens when progressives are called out on their anti-science nonsense?  The progressive critics trot out creationism and climate change as the reason the right is more anti-science.

Is this true? I decided to see for myself. I found the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. In a poll done in April of this year they found that just over half of Republicans believe climate change action should be a priority. In a surprise result, 84% of Republicans believe clean energy should be a priority.

A poll on the website Audacious Epigone, cited in the book, found that in general, Republicans and Democrats are roughly equal in science knowledge.

As to the creationism argument, that is surprising as well. In a Gallup Poll in May, they found while 49% 59% of Republicans believe in it, an astonishing 41% of Democrats believe it too.

In conclusion, (he said, not having a decent transition here) this book is an honest, non-partisan look at the anti-science mind of many progressives, which despite its strident tone, exposes the fallacies of the left, just as the title says. Ah, who am I kidding? It’s a Sherman’s March against the misguided, idiotic, anti-science thinking that plagues too many progressives.

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36 thoughts on “Progressive thinking and the rise of the anti-science left.

  1. Made my day. I’m ordering the book now.

    Signed,

    Gay atheist liberal farmer.

  2. Here’s the thing … these authors (based on what’s described in this article) are really only talking about the fringe, kooky left … not some mainstream Dem vision. I’m a Dem, relatively moderate, extreme left on climate change, tending conservative on most economic issues. And I don’t subscribe to any of the strawmen beliefs this book (thru this article) ascribes to me. And I’m pretty engaged on public issues, and none of the progressives with whom I speak subscripe to such views. The book (peer the article) is attacking hippies, not informed progressives.

    I, like most intelligent progressives, take the following views on the issues highlighted in the article:
    – we support full blown utilization of renewables, but we know renewables can’t, at present, meet all of our energy needs. Germany, though, is on pace to hit 50% by 2020 … we’re stalled somewhere south of 4%. We can do better. Doesn’t mean we don’t understand base loads …
    – we support water conservation. we don’t believe that turning off the water while we brush will fix all water supply/demand issues, anymore than we believe driving a Prius instead of an SUV will solve all of our oil dependency needs … but we should do what we can, and we lack the moral authority to argue for more efficiencies/conservation if we’re not doing our part
    – we support wind energy, and have long understood that bird kills is an overblown concern planted by fossil fuel interests (at least since we started using the slow-moving, big blades, and figured out to not site them in migratory bird paths)
    – we recognize GMOs as a necessary part of the mix to feed our ever-growing population in ever-more-harsh (due to climate change) conditons … we don’t begrudge anyone who wants to pursue a local and organic diet, and we do that as much as convenience allows, but even Stuart Brand recognizes the need for some genetically-enhanced crops.
    – we know natural gas is better than coal as an energy source, and appreciate that fracking allows us to reach energy sources that can make that a reality. But we also think there is no reason we can’t allow/encourage fracking while at the same time making industry capture fugitive emissions, and build better casings, and figure out how to dispose of produced water, etc.
    – we recognize Keystine is good for energy security, but bad for climate change. Put a price on carbon, and many environmentalists would gladly let the tar sands oil compete on a now-internalizing-the-externalities-level playing field.

    Anyone who says progressives or Democrats embrace views other than what I articulate above haven’t spoken to me or ANY of my acquaintences.

    • “Anyone who says progressives or Democrats embrace views other than what I articulate above haven’t spoken to me or ANY of my acquaintences.”

      Hmm. Another self-anointed expert.

    • Well spoken Buzz. I’ve always thought that unbiased logic and reason leads to approximately the same place. When you accept the same facts you usually have the same opinions.

    • Buzz, sorry for talking like a dick in my reply.

      But let’s not try to talk ourselves out of taking a critical view of the left by taking the “we’re not as bad as they are” tactic.

      Let’s nip it in the bud.

  3. As a liberal, I agree we need to confront the quacks in our own ranks, before they take over the show. For instance, understanding our fossil fuel dependence will continue for decades even with honest effort on renewables, perhaps longer.

    And everyone needs to heap scorn and animosity on the vaccine deniers, on both sides. The autism quacks on the left are just as dangerous and harmful as the ones on the right who attack things like HPV shots. Bachman did real harm there, as did those on the left who contributed to the resurgence of measles and whooping cough.

  4. The difference is that mainstream Democrats do not campaign against vaccines while the GOP presidential canidate makes climate change a punch line.

    Anti-Homeopathy
    Pro-Vaccine
    Pro-Science
    Pro-Obama

  5. Just thought I would point out that the author got the stat wrong in the Gallup Poll cited at the end of the article. The Republican figure for creationists was 58% not 49%. That is a relatively substantial difference.

    My view on the book’s thesis is that, while the modern progressive movement does have some factions with wacky views on vaccines and GMOs, among some other topics, these factions do not have nearly the same kind of influence on policy that the hard core Christian conservatives do within Republican ranks. You won’t find too many (if any) well known Democrats agreeing with the progressive fringe on science, but you will find many well known Republicans spouting the same anti-science claims that the conservative right articulates.

    • Thanks. You are correct. But I still think the idea that 41% of Democrats think the earth only is 10,000 years-old is quite a high percentage coming from a self-proclaimed pro-science party. I will make the correction.

      As to the anti-vax and anti-GMO influence, well look at Prop 37 which will most likely pass. And according to a book By Seth Mnookin, vaccine non-compliance is highest in upper income, educated liberal enclaves.

      • I agree that 41% seems rather high, however I am even more interested in the fact that such a significant minority has so little influence on shaping Democratic policy initiatives related to their beliefs.

        Also, it does seem to be the case that California has a high volume of the ‘wacky progressives.’ I’m as concerned about the increasing use of GMO’s as I would be about any growing national trend, but I don’t have any particular feelings one way or another about labeling foods containing GMO’s (as Prop 37 would do). I live on the East Coast and find popular referendum to be a highly questionable practice for crafting policy (Disclosure: My background is public policy analysis.)

        And, again, I don’t deny that there are elements within the modern Progressive movement that hold wacky views, but rather that those views rarely, if ever, hold sway over the general party platform to anywhere near the level of influence that hard-core conservatives have in pushing what must be seen as ‘anti-science’ positions.

        Mitt Romney laughed–he laughed–at Obama Administration efforts to curb the rise of sea levels in his convention speech. Whether or not you believe this to be a practical course for the government to take, the rising sea level is far from a laughing matter. I got chills when I heard that part of his speech.

      • I’m skeptical of these statistics. The figures I’ve seen online (Gallup and other polls) suggestion that between 40% and 45% of the entire U.S. population believes that humans were created in their present form, and that includes people who also believe that the earth is billions of years old. An additional 38% believe that god guided evolution, but that’s a little different than hard-core creationism. (A Gallup poll reported in January 2012 found that 46% of Americans believe the hard-line creationist argument, the highest recent number.)

        The last figures I saw for Democrats versus Republicans were 38% and 60% believing in creationism — a large difference.

        This is good example of one of the flaws in Campbell and Berezow’s book. There is a difference in kind between a false belief about a matter of scientific fact and a decision to ignore a matter of scientific fact in practice. Belief in creationism is a rejection of science; declining to have your kid vaccinated is a decision you can make even if you understand and accept the validity of the science. Campbell and Berezow don’t consider a variety of policy issues that interfere with our ability to put science into practice.

      • “There is a difference in kind between a false belief about a matter of scientific fact and a decision to ignore a matter of scientific fact in practice. Belief in creationism is a rejection of science; declining to have your kid vaccinated is a decision you can make even if you understand and accept the validity of the science.”

        If you accept the validity of the science, what would be the reason not to vaccinate your child? If you believe in creationism there are no real negative real world effects. Not believing in vaccines is a real public health threat. In my opinion, ant-vaxers are more of a threat than creationists.

        Campbell and Berezow don’t consider a variety of policy issues that interfere with our ability to put science into practice.

        And what are those policy issues? I think more than policy it’s the public sentiment that prevents progress. I touched on it in my review, but the biggest obstacle to implementing alternative energy is the left. I wrote about it here. It isn’t conservatives that are preventing solar plants or wind farms from being built, it’s environmentalists.

      • Bernie asks “If you accept the validity of the science, what would be the reason not to vaccinate your child?”

        Look at the ethnographic literature on the subject, in fields such as medical sociology and medical anthropology. The research suggests that people have a poor understanding of risk — it’s not a rejection of “science” — or simply lack knowledge to make risk assessments. It seems rather harsh to condemn people whose knowledge of infectious disease and vaccination is less robust than, say, a microbiologist who instead decides that vaccination decisions must per force be driven by politics.

        I’m glad you pointed out that opposition to some forms of alternative energy comes from environmentalists. I’m not sure why a desire to return to small-scale subsistence horticulture is anti-science. It’s anti-progress, sure, but environmentalists are some of the most science-savvy people I know.

        In the end many of these examples don’t strike me as a rejection of science, but of several other things. Sometimes it’s inadequate knowledge (vaccinations). Sometimes it’s a lower threshold for risk (nuclear power, fracking), or even a higher threshold for risk (cigarette smokers), and sometimes it’s a strategic blindness — the same people who embrace Science writ large may not like the implications of climate science, and other times it’s faith in marginal probabilities (using acupuncture).

        I don’t even think that climate change ‘deniers’ are “anti-science”. My reading of climate change denial is that it attempts to use other scientific principles, other data, etc.

        Real rejection of science is what we see when parents refuse to allow a child to be treated for a potentially fatal disease, and pray instead. Real rejection of science is what we saw when tobacco companies buried epidemiological studies that revealed the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. Real rejection of science would be climate change arguments based on the predictions of Nostradamus. And real rejection of science is the increasingly popular view that scientists are elitist liberals who cannot be trusted to tell us the truth.

      • Okay, fair enough. You raise some good points.

        As to the the issue of understanding risk, you say it’s not a rejection of science. I think it is. We can’t know everything. That’s why we have “experts” and in the case of vaccines, the experts are the scientific community. Why would the same people who accept the scientific consensus of climate change have doubts when it comes to vaccines? Do they have more knowledge of climate change than vaccines? It goes to worldview and what fits in with that.

        I think that’s what the authors mean when they say anti-science. It’s that progressives tend to base their acceptance of science based on their worldview rather than on empirical evidence. But again, we can’t all know what that evidence is, so that’s why we have to rely on those who do. Progressives pick and choose what science to believe.

        You say, … why a desire to return to small-scale subsistence horticulture is anti-science

        Yes, it is anti-progress. It’s also anti-science because they reject the science that has helped agriculture improve yields and create heartier and more robust plants. Progress and science pretty much go hand in hand.

        You say people refusing to allow a child to be treated for a potentially fatal disease is a real rejection of science. Well, how about this? What about people who refuse to vaccinate a child which will prevent that child from developing a potentially fatal disease?

      • Hi, Bernie, quite an exchange. Happily I don’t teach today……

        I know that the research on people who do not vaccinate their kids shows that they believe that a good deal of medical research gets overturned: is fiber good for you, or not, according to the last big study? Antioxidants? SSRIs were miracle cures for depression, now they’re barely more effective than placebos. There are small risks to a variety of vaccines, but people who are skeptical simply don’t know the science, aren’t acquainted with the facts, and aren’t rejecting “science” so much as exercising what they believe is a caution justified by medicine’s flip-flops on so many subjects. And, the Jennie McCarthy’s who should know better are not necessarily liberal idiots; she’s a conservative who believes that scientists are engaged in a mass conspiracy. And she doesn’t represent the majority of vaccine suspicious people, who are more likely to be latter day hippies than Hollywood republicans.

        I would never doubt that we all base our acceptance of specific scientific notions on world views — that’s been demonstrated, well, scientifically. For progressives and conservatives. My concern is that attitudes about this or that bit of science have giant political implications attached to them by people such as Campbell and Berezow.

        I can trace back a reason why conservative republicans would reject climate change claims. In terms of the standard understanding of the fundamental difference between the democratic and republican political positions (democrats believe that governments can/should assist individuals; republicans believe that governments can/should assist business, which in turn will help individuals), climate change science threatens entrenched modes of industry, especially if blame for rising temps can be attributed to the unregulated production of greenhouses gases. We are told that the major research supporting climate change denial is funded by the energy industry — even climate change denial uses science to promote its claims — and any threat to industry is a threat to the major republican constituency.

        Vaccine rejection is a little harder to link to a liberal world view. Suspicions of scientific suppression of the truth of vaccine dangers are a more conservative response — the sociological research suggests that ‘liberal’ vaccine rejection is more likely to be a sense of discomfort with injecting foreign substances into one’s body. It’s not clear to me why that’s a a feeling that gets labeled “liberal” or progressive. I suspect it’s a case of correlation rather than causation. Many of these views look to be to be more libertarian than liberal. The issue of fluoride in water supplies is a good example. Check the Sunday NYT, for a good article on Portland, which is debating whether to fluoridate its water. The opposition sounds more libertarian — government should not be a nanny — and plenty of liberals and conservatives support the fluoridation of their water. General Jack D. Ripper, guy who was obsessed with protecting his precious bodily fluids in Dr. Strangelove, was certainly no liberal!

        Forgive me for abandoning this interesting exchange. I lecture tomorrow on human rights law in west Africa, and I really do have to start preparing some powerpoint slides….

      • Thanks for the discussion. This is the kind of thing I hoped to generate with this blog. Reasoned, civil discussion.

        Okay. Go prepare. Feel free to come back and read my other posts so you can disagree with me about that stuff too. ;-)

  6. I second Barbara’s comments. There is a difference between an individual holding personal views that differ with scientific evidence and an individual proactively seeking to alter public policy in order for their anti-scientific interpretation to be enacted into law. Conservative views on science are disruptive to the process and progress of science, whereas liberal views largely are not.

  7. “There is a difference between an individual holding personal views that differ with scientific evidence and an individual proactively seeking to alter public policy in order for their anti-scientific interpretation to be enacted into law.”

    Bernie Sanders is behind the campaign to label (read “eliminate”) genetically modified foods.

    Tom Harkin is an absolute quack-lover with his creation of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

    Shellie Pingree is head of the Organic Farming Research Association, which has lots of congressional supporters:

    http://ofrf.org/policy/advocacy-network/congressional-advocates/chellie-pingree

    People who refuse to vaccinate their children ARE anti-science: they refuse to accept that science finds no link between vaccines and autism.

    Any other liberal/left quacks in government you can think of?

  8. The kookiest , and most anti-life , delusion of the anti-science religious left is their hysterical fear of the building block , along with H2O , of the biosphere .

    • The “left” does not have a hysterical fear of carbon dioxide, if that’s what you are referring to. The “left” generally subscribes to a profound concern about global warming that is increasing so rapidly that most of the biosphere will not be able to adapt to it. This concern was identified, predicted and measured by scientists; and it is widely shared in the scientific community and in the climate science community in particular. Even though the preponderance of doubt and denial of global warming occurs among our more “conservative” brethren, that august organ of the anti-science religious left, the Pentagon, has conceded that climate change is a security threat to the U.S. because of global disruptions.
      Richard Muller said it best: the data drove him to believe that global warming is real, and is human-caused. Unfortunately, it is the “right” whose view of the world is so challenged by the scientific findings that they respond with hysterical anti-science and irrationality.

      • What “scientific findings” ? The most simple highschool extrapolation predicts that if CO2 is totally responsible for our change in temperature and if we add again to the atmosphere the CO2 we have since the industrial revolution our temperature would rise about another 0.8c which is all that it has risen in the last century and a half . Hardly catastrophic , particularly when combined with the enhanced plant growth proven everyday in greenhouses and grow-ops .

        But CO2 doe not have even that much effect on our temperature . As you probably know HadCRUT’s records show no warming in 16 years while CO2 has increased 4% or more .

        And , of course , if there’s no warming , it can’t be driving any “climate weirding”

        This watermelon stupidity is in it’s last decade .

      • What “scientific findings”?! Well, let’s see…
        • The aforementioned increase in the global temperature of 0.8C in 150 years – Undisputed. This trend is accelerating: two thirds of the increase has occurred in the last 30 years.
        • An increase in global CO2 concentration from 275 PPM to 392 PPM – Undisputed. This trend is accelerating: the yearly increase in CO2 in the 2000’s was more than twice the yearly increase in the 1960’s.
        • Rising sea levels around the planet, 7 inches in the last century – Undisputed. This trend is accelerating. The yearly increase in sea level from 1993 to present was twice the rate of increase from 1950 to present.
        • A planetary loss of ice mass from glaciers, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, and Antarctica – Undisputed. This trend is accelerating: the loss of albedo compounds the warming effect of greenhouse gases.
        • Not to mention acidification of the oceans stressing calcifying marine life and the marine food chain in general; or ecological disruptions from earlier springs and later autumns; or an increase in extreme weather events..
        Think of each of these effects as a tree. Are you starting to see a forest? I hope so, because the actual forests are being cut down at an annual rate equal to the area of Costa Rica! This trend, happily, is not accelerating, and net loss of forests, with planting programs, is only about half that area. But the loss of carbon sequestered in those forests is a major driver of CO2 gain in the atmosphere, contributing over 25% of the annual increase.
        So your cartoonishly weak analysis is wrong on several counts. You and your high school buddies’ arithmetic exercise extrapolates a straight line of temperature increase into the future. We know that the curve is bending up and is not a straight line. And you have failed to incorporate further expected accelerations including loss of albedo and melting of the permafrost which will flood the atmosphere with methane. And you have posited a mitigating effect of increased vegetation taking up carbon when in fact, the opposite is occurring very rapidly with deforestation.
        As to the politics, I would offer that “the left” tends to understand and focus on the signal of global warming because of the threat it poses to humanity as a whole; whereas “the right” focuses on the noise (without understanding it as noise?) because the right generally can’t give a fig about humanity as a whole. (IMHO, but it does explain the observed disparity in political outlook on climate change, in what should otherwise be a straightforward universal understanding.)

      • There is so much unanalytical garbage in your blunderbuss that it’s not worth responding to . Bottom line , life would not exist if ALL the O had not been locked up in CO2 originally and the success of plant life has driven it down to levels which barely sustain that life .

        As a numerate “bleeding heart” libertarian I have come to see the hallmark of the statist liberal to be supreme arrogance wedded to implacable ignorance . You are willing to enslave the living in poverty for your visions of a utopian future . Same old shit .

  9. Plato’s allegory of the cave has relevance for not only philosophers, but also for scientists. How much more confused are science journalists and the general public about the shadows that see on the walls of scientific research? Any strong opinions coming from such are highly suspect.

    • @Samuel: What strong opinions do you find suspect, and why? Aren’t some strong opinions eventually warranted by data and by convergence of evidence?
      I note that even the “progressive contrarian” professes to believe in the precautionary principle, which is very sensible in an environment where accelerating technological change can present globally dangerous developments on very short time horizons. Insistence (strong opinion) on the application of the precautionary principle, therefore, is no vice.
      I also note that in the case of climate change certainly, the allegory of the Tragedy of the Commons is relevant: freedom to pollute a common resource threatens ruin of the resource. We can’t afford to ruin our atmosphere (or our gene pool!). Thus proactive regulation of commerce, based on the accumulation of scientific evidence, to protect against gratuitous destruction, is no vice. That’s why we have EPA, FTC, FDA, etc.

      • When the putative “precaution” has non-zero costs , one must be cautious in applying the precaution . In the case of CO2 caused Global Warming which this last decade and a half of non warming despite rising CO2 has put the lie to , the precautions all take the form of suppression on human welfare .

        The prime precautionary principle is “first do no harm” . AGW alarmists are all about doing harm and already have done massive harm to the living with thousands of abandoned bird chopper blighting landscapes build with diverted capital contributing to the bankruptcies of entire countries .

  10. @Bob Armstrong:
    While I understand that you can’t have an intelligent discussion with a raving lunatic, I will make this attempt:
    I have listed some of the incontrovertible evidence of global warming and you dismissed it out of hand. If you are not willing to accept facts, or challenge them with evidence, why should anyone take you seriously?

    Pull your head out of the tar sands, dude!

    • @Jay , There has been no detectable change in our climate , and its extremes since at least the 1930s . Sandy looks a kin to this 1938 autumn storm : http://youtu.be/RA-3zULhCvM . If you live in the NorthEast , you better batten down .

      The fact there has been no warming in the last decade and a half while CO2 has increased 4% or more shows that even the notion that a 33% increase since the 1800s caused about a 0.3% ( 0.8 degree ) increase in our temperature is an over estimate . There should have been about a 0.1 degree rise if CO2 were the total cause of our observed change in temperature .

      If you can’t understand what I’ve written above , you must have dropped out of math and science courses far too early .

  11. Wow, now you are just embarrassing yourself..
    In the first place, you are simply and flagrantly wrong to claim that “there has been no warming in the last decade and a half.” Here’s where I get my data:

    http://www.earth-policy.org/indicators/C51/

    If you know how to use a spreadsheet? you can look at the raw data. There was a spike in global temps in 1998 to 14.58 C., which was, at that time, probably the highest global temp in many centuries. In the 13 years since then, that temperature has been equaled or exceeded THREE TIMES (not counting 2012 for which we do not yet have full year data, but which has been mighty hot so far). If I average the global temperatures for the five years centered on 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009, the averages are:
    13.99, 14.15, 14.31, 14.43, and 14.55. Seeing a trend there?!
    In the second place, you have STILL FAILED to suggest an explanation of a 7 inch rise in sea level, a worldwide decrease in ice cover, and a decrease in the pH of the oceans, all of which are explained by an increase from 275 to 392 PPM of CO2. At least you seem to concede the fact of the increase in CO2! But where almost every climate scientist understands that AGW is real, dangerous, and principally explained by massive consumption of fossil fuels, you petulantly refuse to accept the science. So please do the honorable thing: stop attacking my intelligence and propose a plausible alternative explanation for the observed warming, ice melting, rise in sea level, and decrease in pH of the oceans.
    In the third place, your whole paragraph about the correlation of temp increase (which you do not accept?) and the CO2 increase (which you do accept?) is bafflingly and laughably nonsensical. PLEASE, PLEASE, do not take my word for it; run it in front of anyone you trust who is numerate and literate, and let them explain to you how it does or DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.

  12. I’m not an expert in anything, just a simple guy. To be honest there is so much information about everything out there it makes my head spin. I’ve come to the point to just rely on my own common sense and the instinct to survive. There are too many opinions and too many rebuttals all which seem to have a logical stance? We all have a short 60 to maybe 100 year life span, some less, and I’m tired of this crap, I just want to keep more of what I earn, not live under the constant threat of losing everything if I were to lose my paycheck, due to the fact that I am forced to live paycheck to paycheck because of the continued rising cost of everything I buy, taxes and healthcare, thus creating my inability to save $$. I just want to be happy and content, isn’t that what we all want? I mean what are we really “progressing” towards?? Like I said I’m just an average Joe, call me ignorant or whatever you want but I don’t see anything ever getting better unless we all can unite and remove the divisions that prevent this Utopian goal for humanity. I realize that’s ultimately what all the fighting and discussions are about but there has to be a better way to reach our goals?

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