Crazy science letter of the week part 8

This one contains so many inaccuracies, exaggerations and irrational thoughts its clear someone isn’t thinking straight in the deep south…

From  The Press, May 11th

Source: The Press
Source: The Press


  1. philipgillibrand

    I note in the above discussion that Joe avoids responding to drmike and returns instead to a rant about climate change as a “Catholic religion”. The problem is, that sceptics have not come forward with any consistent alternative theory that explains observed changes to physical and ecological systems on earth. I would like Joe, or any other climate change sceptic, to answer the following questions:

    1. Given all we know about energy-trapping properties of greenhouse gases, Why would the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 levels NOT have an effect on the radiative balance of the earth, causing energy trapping and warming at the surface ?

    2. What is causing the global ocean to warm up ( ?

    3. What is causing global sea level to rise ( ?

    4. And what is causing the loss of total ice mass in the Arctic, Greenland and now also the Antarctic ?

    As an obviously intelligent person, I suggest Joe starts reading journals such as Science and Nature rather than websites and blogs for his information, and that he stops following the herding instinct of the climate sceptic pack and starts to think for himself.

  2. Peter Griffin

    As this exchange has been going on over the weekend, I’ve been reading Bill Bryson’s “Seeing Further: the story of science and the Royal Society”.

    I’ve come to the chapter by Professor Stephen Schneider who relates an interesting story. Back in the early 70s, a journalist asked him when the climate change computer models he was working on would provide “high confidence” that they accurately predicted the probable outcome. He answered: “[Our models are] like dirty crystal balls, but the tough choice is how long we clean the glass before we can act on what we can make out inside”.

    Thanks to more sophisticated scientific techniques, the crystal ball has become much clearer in the last 30 years. As Schneider points out, what constitutes ‘enough’ credibility to act is not the science per se, it is a “subjective value judgement on how to gauge risks and weigh costs”.

    So joe, the question now is whether the remaining uncertainty is a justification for delay. I think the world, despite the filter of value judgements it views this issue through and the noise to that effect from the sidelines, is waking up the fact that there is no justification for further delay in acting…

  3. Gareth Renowden

    Sorry Joe, but Richard Lindzen has been arguing in the face of the evidence for so long, and become so adept at calling all his colleagues wrong, that he no longer carries any weight in discussions of climate science. At the same time, every one of the “scientists” in your list has been associated with the campaign of climate denial organised by right wing US think tanks. Most of them are in Chicago this weekend for the climate “conference” organised by The Heartland Institute. No doubt they will emerge reinvigorated, ready to stun us all with the power of their argument.

    But I won’t be holding my breath.

  4. joefone

    Renowden: “I am not impressed by your list of “experts”, or your arguments”. Poor Renowden… you remind me of Shultz in Hogan’s Heroes who was terrified he might inadvertently hear something challenging, something he might actually have to think about… “I hear nuttink!” Crikey Gareth what WOULD you be impressed with? These are pretty seriously top shelf names, especially Lindzen who is considered by most in the field to be one of the world’s most senior experts on climate science for goodness sake. So your pithy and quite ridiculous comment suggests to me you would automatically dismiss out of hand anyone and everyone who disagrees with you on AGW for that reason alone. Regardless of their credentials, knowledge and experience. Lindzen and the other’s I mentioned all think Gareth’s wrong so Gareth shuts his ears. Well done. No point debating with you on the subject then is there? It would be like debating the scientific merits of Catholicism with a priest. No rational argument there either. But then that’s no surprise because they are both entrenched religions with cheerless blinkered adherents who refuse to acknowledge there’s even a counter argument to be heard let alone the possibility they could actually be in error. Hence the terms “heretic” and “denier” used on those who dare challenge such religious dogma.

  5. drmike

    joefone, I agree that snide comments and other unfortunate behaviours arise on both sides of the climate change. I have used such remarks once or twice in the past but have since decided that they have no place in rational debate.
    I’m convinced that AGW is highly likely based on current physical observations of the world, with support from climate models.
    One of the major arguments of AGW opponents is that there is a conspiracy amongst scientists to falsify information to indicate that AGW is real. I have to reject this argument based on my experiences with other scientists and my own scientific training. Most scientists are interested in uncovering the truth and would be appalled at the idea of twisting data.
    Because of the complexity of climate change science there is a need for “adjustments” to data that can look suspicious but such adjustments are common in different fields of science. Of course with some fields of science, e.g. physics, such adjustments may not be common and I suspect that is why quite a quite a few opponents of AGW are physicists – they are used to research with fewer variables. Still the majority of scientists worldwide accept AGW as highly likely, which I find quite convincing.
    I disagree that either side bears the responsibility to “prove” their view. Both sides need to work to produce more information, and to try and interpret it with as little bias and possible (not easy with such an emotionally charged argument).
    Underlying the climate change debate, is the fact that humankind has altered the planets ecosystem, which makes the idea of undesirable effects (e.g. AGW) quite probable.
    With regards to the ETS/carbon tax, I think you will find that many scientists have doubts about such “political” approaches to solving AGW.
    Also having read the climategate emails, although the behaviour of the researchers involved is unfortunate, if I were in their place (being harassed by people for data and insulted) I can imagine being obstructive and writing rude emails in response. I would suggest that many AGW opponents have also written derogatory emails given some of their public comments.

  6. Gareth Renowden

    Sorry, Dr Mike, I am not familiar with Joe’s oeuvre beyond his writings on climate, and as he displays in his comments here, they tend to be routine denialist nonsense.

    Joe: I am not impressed by your list of “experts”, or your arguments. One basic point: the balance of evidence for the reality of CO2-forced climate change is huge, and a simple risk assessment suggests that it would be prudent to make urgent reductions in carbon emissions. To persuade the world not to do that, sceptics have to provide extraordinary evidence — and that’s something you ain’t got. ALl you can do is witter about fraud and political interference.

  7. joefone

    drmike, a fair comment and I take your point on “snide remarks”. However to be fair, I was responding to Renowden’s own snide remark which was based on nothing at all scientific. His comment came across like a childish and bad-tempered outburst. I pictured him with his bottom lip out. Hence my follow up sarcasm.

    In any case there is no shortage of examples of fudged “evidence” like the fake polar bear image used by so called scientists to support their AGW cause. This particular example is just the tip of the ice berg (pun intended).

    As for me “buying into conspiracy theories”, I am merely sceptical of someone else’s unproved hypothesis. But you miss an essential point… it is the alarmists who have bought into a particular theory of questionable merit so it is clearly up to them either to prove it or to front up with some clear undeniable empirical evidence in support thereof. So far they have failed to produce anything that cannot easily be undermined or questioned – especially by many competent scientists in the field or related fields (ie., by such scientists and academics as Lindzen, Spencer, Watts, Singer, Michaels, Ball, Shaviv, Soon, Baliunas, Stott, Calder, Gray, de Freitas, Plimer, Carter, McLean… et al., these are just the names that immediately come to mind!). Computer models and hysterical arm-waving by washed-up celebrities, politicians, anti-capitalist greenies and of course the highly amusing Al Gore and his merry men do not constitute evidence. It is just noise. So the reason I’m sceptical is that whatever “evidence” the alarmists have hitherto provided is of very dubious quality. That is to say your “evidence” has been shown by those listed above (as well as many others) to be lacking in substance and tainted by political interference. The IPCC itself is a political entity, not a scientific one. On top of that is the shonky behaviour by rent-seeking scientists and tax-mad politicians who clearly have vested interests in furthering that theory. It represents their bread and butter so to speak.

    So I have reason to be sceptical. The AGW theory is riddled with issues and is being defended by people who indulge in obfuscation, scientific fraud and open hostility against anyone – including scientists – who question it. Indeed I see little difference between this kind of behaviour by the climate science community and the Church during the Reformation.

    But my reasoned scepticism based on this assessment does not in any way make me a “conspiracy theorist”. If the science was so obvious, there wouldn’t be any need for lies and celebreties to sell them.

  8. drmike

    Gareth, I would disagree that everything Joe Fone writes is crazy. While his climate change related arguments tend to focus on the “conspiracy” at the expense of the science, his letters on other subjects can be quite perceptive (in my opinion). It’s just a pity that he has bought into the “conspiracy ideas” around climate change, as he is a passionate and articulate writer.

  9. drmike

    It’s a pity that on a science based blog there are arguments not based on science but snide remarks.
    Joe I fail to see the relevance of the “expert on truffles” remark. And your expertise is in…?
    The “manbearppig” site fails to deal with science but purely focuses on the picture chosen to go with the article and doesn’t comment on the caption that goes with the picture in the article but instead finds the picture elsewhere and comments on the caption used there? And this is supposed to make what point?
    Also, don’t assume that if people agree that global warming is occurring that they support carbon tax or the ETS. Many scientists believe the ETS and carbon taxes are not an effective way to combat global warming.

  10. joefone

    Thanks Peter. That’s very thoughtful. Who is doing the preaching and giving the sermon? This is a religion after all. Or is it a cult? Do I need to be baptised into the Church of Global Warming first? Is there a uniform? Yes it’s more of a cult, the Carbon Cult.

    Perhaps you need to get in touch with these people:

    Here is the opening guideline:
    “Few people plan to fall victim to coercion tactics used by cults. However, we are all sometimes prone to make a mistake in judgment. If you or someone close to you has been mislead by an immoral leader or by his followers, you are not alone. Millions of people are subjects of brainwashing scams every year”.


  11. joefone

    How quaint. I’ve been noticed by an expert on truffles.

    So here’s something in return… a typical example of the kind of evidence you guys rely on to support your cute religion:

    “’ManBearPig is real!’ declare top climate scientists. ‘And to prove it here’s a photo-shopped image we found on the internet of a polar bear on a melting ice floe.’”

    Read about it here:


  12. Gareth Renowden

    The Press has a deep well of this sort of contributor from which to draw… Anything by Joe Fone, for instance.

  13. Grant Jacobs

    Checking using google maps confirms my suspicion that Rimu is on the West Coast not far from Hokitika, not the “Deep South” 😉

    The deep south certainly has it’s own share of silliness, but this isn’t one of them!

    Or maybe this is a case of a North Islander thinking that all of the South Island is the deep south… :-/

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