Friday, February 29, 2008

Global Warming Alarmists Stifle Debate

Does anyone read the Wall Street Journal? Everyone should know that one of the leading promoters of the myth a man-caused global warming,, are actively trying to stifle debate or discussion of the issue. (See the article below.) These are just some of the tactics being used against global warming skeptics. We should all be outraged. Our politicians should be nailed to the wall and forced to recognize that there is no consensus about the causes of global warming. In fact, we may actually be in one of Earth's global cooling cycles. Think about this and get involved.

Chilling Effect
Global warmists try to stifle debate.

February 25, 2008
John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all promise bold action on climate change . All have endorsed a form of cap-and-trade system that would severely limit future carbon emissions. The Democratic Congress is champing at the bit to act. So too is the Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of companies led by General Electric and Duke Energy.

You'd think this would be a rich time for debate on the issue of climate change. But it's precisely as sweeping change on climate policy is becoming likely that many people have decided the time for debate is over. One writer puts climate change skeptics "in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial," another envisions "war crimes trials" for the deniers. And during the tour for his film "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore himself belittled "global warming deniers" as unworthy of any attention.

Take the reaction to Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg's latest book, "Cool It," which calls for a reasoned debate on global warming. Mr. Lomborg himself leans left, and he opens his book by declaring his belief that "humanity has caused a substantial rise in atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels over the past centuries, thereby contributing to global warming." But he has infuriated environmentalists by saying it is necessary to debate "whether hysterical and head-long spending on extravagant CO2-cutting programs at an unprecedented price is the only possible response." To do so, he says, it will be necessary to cool the doomsday rhetoric, allowing a measured discussion about the best ways forward. "Being smart about our future is the reason we have done so well in the past. We should not abandon our smarts now."

Mr. Lomborg's solution is to avoid discredited cap-and-trade programs, in which developing nations limit economic growth while they fruitlessly try to convince booming economies such as India and China to do the same. His alternative: "Let's focus on research and development. Let's focus on noncarbon-emitting technologies like solar, wind, carbon capture, energy efficiency and also, let's realize the solution may come from nuclear fission and fusion." He laments that the climate change issue has been demagogued by ideological groups on both sides, "and the ones who are making panicky or catastrophic claims simply have better press." At the end of the day, he ruefully acknowledges that potential progress and the sorts of solutions he advocates "are just boring things."

* * *
Let's hope Mr. Lomborg is wrong in his fear that the media are uninterested in showcasing a real debate on climate change. The proof may be found next week, when hundreds of scientists, economists and policy experts who dissent from the "consensus" that climate change requires radical measures will meet in New York to discuss the latest scientific, economic and political research on climate change. Five tracks of panels will address paleoclimatology, climatology, global warming impacts, the economics of global warming and political factors. It will be keynoted by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who has argued that economic growth is most likely to create the innovations and know-how to combat any challenges climate change could present in the future. (Information on the conference is here.)

The conference is being organized by the free-market Heartland Institute and 49 other co-sponsors, including a dozen from overseas. Heartland president Joseeph Bast says its politically incorrect purpose is to "explain the often-neglected 'other side' of the climate change debate. This will be their chance to speak out. It will be hard for journalists and policy makers to ignore us."

I wonder. Already, environmental groups have sent out their opinion to their media friends that the conference is simply a platform for corporate apologists and can safely be ignored. One group alleges the conference will have "no real scientists" present despite an impressive array of speakers such as Patrick Michaels, a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, and Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Critics point out that ExxonMobil gave nearly $800,000 to Heartland between 1998 and 2005 and that the group's board of directors include several people with ties to energy companies. The authors of the blog Real Climate don't engage the issues raised by the conference but instead attack it as stuffed with shills. When Heartland experts tried to respond to those charges, they were blacklisted from the comments section of the Real Climate Web site.

All this has led the Western Standard, a Canadian magazine sympathetic to the global warming skeptics, to predict that "the gathering will be completely ignored, even though it's being held in the news media capital of the world." Let's hope not. Global warming is too important a subject not to debate, and we in the U.S. may rue the day we rushed pell-mell into expensive and shortsighted solutions when much more rational and cost-effective ones were readily available.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wisdom Of Rudyard Kipling

I keep six honest serving-men:(They taught me all I knew)Their names are What and Where and When And How and Why and Who.
The Elephant's Child

by Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Government-Controlled Grand Funding Is Corrupting Science And Harming Us All

Here is a thoughtful essay about our current state of affairs regarding government-controlled funding of scientific research. The methodology, or what goes on behind the scenes with regard to funding goes a long way toward explaining how we have gone so far astray with the myth of man-caused global warming. He cites other scientific problems, but right now, global warming, and what to do about it, has the greatest potential for harm.


The Trouble With Government Grants
by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MDby Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

Flush with success in creating an atom bomb, the U.S. federal government decided it should start funding nonmilitary scientific research. A government report titled "Science, the Endless Frontier" provides the justification for doing this. It makes the case that "science is the responsibility of government because new scientific knowledge vitally affects our health, our jobs, and our national security" (Bush, 1945). Accordingly, the government established a Research Grants Office in January, 1946 to award grants for research in the biomedical and physical sciences. It received 800 grant applications that year. The Research Grants Office is now known as the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), and it processes applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In 2005 CSR received 80,000 grant applications.

The System
Investigators seeking an NIH grant submit a 25-page Research Plan that begins with an abstract placed in a half-page box on the form. The Specific Aims of the project, preferably two to four, come next (recommended length, 1 page). The applicant must show that these objectives are attainable within a stated time frame. As one NIH center (the National Cancer Institute) advises in its online Guide for Grant Applications, "A small, focused project is generally better received than a diffuse, multifaceted project." The other components of the Research Plan are Background and Significance (3 pages); Preliminary Studies the applicant has done (6-8 pages); Research Design and Methods (about 15 pages); and, if applicable, Human Subjects and Vertebrate Animals considerations. The investigator must also submit a detailed budget for the project on a separate form.

The Center for Scientific Review "triages" applications it receives. A cursory appraisal eliminates one-third of the applications from any further consideration, and it selects the remaining two-thirds for competitive peer review. CSR sends each application to a Study Section it deems best suited to evaluate it. Peers in Molecular Oncogenesis, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cell Structure and Function, Hematopoiesis, HIV/AIDS Vaccine, and 167 other Study Sections review grant applications. Each Study Section has 12-24 members who are recognized experts in that particular field. Members meet three times a year to review 25-100 grants at each meeting. Two members read an application and then discuss it with the other section members who collectively give it a priority score and percentile ranking (relative to the priority scores they assign to other applications). An advisory council then makes funding decisions on the basis of the Study Section’s findings, "taking into consideration the [specific NIH] institute or center’s scientific goals and public health needs" (Scarpa, 2006). CSR’s slogan is "Advancing Health through Peer Review."

With a budget of $28 billion, the director of NIH reports that it currently funds 22 percent of all the grant applications it reviews (Zerhouni, 2006). Among these, multi-year R01 grants are the mainstay of research by medical school faculties. And in 2005, the NIH funded only one in eleven (9.1%) of the unsolicited R01 research grant applications it reviewed (Mandel and Vesell, 2006). In 1998 the NIH funded 31 percent of its grant applications, and since 2003 grant appropriations have lagged behind inflation (Zerhouni, 2006). The National Science Foundation awards $6 Billion in grants each year. This independent federal agency funds 28 percent of the 40,000 annual grant proposals it receives.

Twenty-six federal granting agencies now manage 1,000 grant programs. Even clinical trials of drugs, vaccines, and devices, where industry may profit from the outcome, have come under the purview of government. Zarin and colleagues (2005) reviewed records and found that the federal government currently funds 9,796 (51%) of the 19,355 interventional trials being conducted. Industry sponsors 4,734 (24%); and universities, foundations, and other organizations, 4,825 (25%).

Under the current system scientists are expected to spend time drafting, writing, and refining unsolicited R01 grant applications, despite a less than one in ten chance of success.

Ethics of Writing Grant Proposals
Ethics in science and society "describe appropriate behavior according to contemporary standards" (Friedman, 1996). Two standards that scientists follow for writing grant proposals are: 1) Keep it safe and survive, and 2) Don’t lie if you don’t have to.
Pollack (2005) addresses the first ethic, noting that the paramount motivational factor for scientists today is the competition to survive. A scientist’s most pressing need, which supersedes the scientific pursuit of truth, is to get her grant funded – to pay her salary and that of her staff, to pay department bills, and to obtain academic promotion. The safest way to generate grants is to avoid any dissent from orthodoxy. Grant-review Study Sections whose members’ expertise and status are tied to the prevailing view do not welcome any challenge to it. A scientist who writes a grant proposal that dissents from the ruling paradigm will be left without a grant. Speaking for his fellow scientists Pollack writes, "We have evolved into a culture of obedient sycophants, bowing politely to the high priests of orthodoxy."

Applicants following the ethic of "keep it safe and survive" propose research that will please the reader-peers and avoid projects that might displease them. An NIH pamphlet on grant applications reinforces such behavior by stating, "The author of a project proposal must learn all he can about those who will read his proposal and keep those readers constantly in mind when he writes." (Ling, 2004a).

With regard to the second ethic, Albert Szent-Györgyi said, "I always tried to live up to Leo Szilard’s commandment, ‘don’t lie if you don’t have to.’ I had to. I filled up pages with words and plans I know I would not follow. When I go home from my laboratory in the late afternoon, I often do not know what I am going to do the next day. I expect to think that up during the night. How could I tell them what I would do a year hence?" (Moss, 1988, p.217). This long-time cancer researcher, discoverer of vitamin C, and Nobel laureate was unable, despite multiple attempts, to obtain a government grant.

Friedman (1996) describes a variant of this ethic where an investigator applies for a grant to do a study that he has already completed. With this grant awarded and money in hand he publishes the study and uses the funds on a different project. The misrepresentation enables the investigator to remain one project ahead of his funding. Apparently enough seasoned investigators do this that the academic community views the practice as sound "grantsmanship."

Apollonian Research
When the peer review grant system was established in 1946 people assumed that scientific progress occurs in an evolutionary incremental and cumulative fashion. Having a panel of experts judge the worth of each research proposal seeking funds seemed then to be the best way to allocate federal tax dollars for research. This system assumes that a majority of specialists in a given field will know where truth lies and how best to get there and find it (Ling, 2004b). But as Hall (1954) and Kuhn (1962) later showed, periodic upheavals and revolutions in science disrupt an otherwise steady growth of scientific knowledge. Long-cherished ideas are replaced wholesale by new ones that lead science in a different direction.

The grant system fosters an Apollonian approach to research. The investigator does not question the foundation concepts of biomedical and physical scientific knowledge. He sticks to the widely held belief that the trunks and limbs of the trees of knowledge, in, for example, cell physiology and on AIDS, are solid. The Apollonian researcher focuses on the peripheral branches and twigs and develops established lines of knowledge to perfection. He sees clearly what course his research should take and writes grants that his peers are willing to fund. Forced by the existing grant system to follow such an approach, Pollack (2005) argues that scientists have defaulted into becoming a culture of believers without rethinking the fundamentals.

Intuitive geniuses, like Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, Ernest Rutherford, and Albert Einstein, take a Dionysian, transformational approach to science. Their research relies on intuition and "accidental" discoveries. Szent-Györgyi describes intuition as "a sort of subconscious reasoning, only the end result of which becomes conscious." The Dionysian scientist knows the direction he wants to follow into the unknown, but "he has no idea what he is going to find there or how he is going to find it. Defining the unknown or writing down the subconscious is a contradiction in absurdum." And, citing Pasteur, who said, "A discovery is an accident finding a prepared mind," Szent-Györgyi notes that "accidental" discoveries are rarely true accidents (Moss,1988, pp. 216-217).

Although it is the Dionysian method of research that produces transformative scientific breakthroughs, peers possessing the power to judge grants do not support this kind of research. They abuse the trust and power of government, which does not know science, to advance their own careers and, in some cases, protect their investments in companies that profit from the reigning paradigm. Knowing this government might be more amenable to supporting potentially transformative, Dionysian research.

To make matters worse, this system is replacing other sources of funding that formerly supported Dionysian scientists. Ling (2004b) observes, "Oversupply of scientists, the rising cost of living and of research, the decline of private foundations and scientific niches which these foundations once sustained [has] completed the dismantling of the socio-economic environment which once protected revolutionary scientists and their young followers."

Unassailable Paradigms
Paradigms in the biomedical and climate sciences that have achieved the status of dogma are:

Cholesterol and saturated fats cause coronary artery disease.

Mutations in genes cause cancer.

Human activity is causing global warming through increased CO2 emissions.

A virus called HIV (human immunodeficiency) causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

The damaging effects of toxins are dose-dependent in a linear fashion down to zero. Even a tiny amount of a toxin, such as radiation or cigarette smoke, will harm some people.

The membrane-pump theory of cell physiology based on the concept that cells are aqueous solutions enclosed by a cell membrane.

Scientists that question these state-sanctioned paradigms are denied grants and silenced (Moran 1998). But valid questions nevertheless have been raised about each of these established orthodoxies.

The idea that cholesterol causes coronary heart disease is now close to being dogma, and investigators that question the lipid hypothesis need not apply for funding. But there is growing evidence that the hypothesis is wrong, as Ravnskov (2000) documents in The Cholesterol Myths.

Aneuploidy (an abnormal number and balance of chromosomes), instead of mutation-produced oncogenes, may well prove to be the true cause of cancer (Bialy, 2004; Duesberg and Rasnick, 2000; Miller, 2006).

The human-caused global-warming paradigm is most likely false (Soon et al., 2001; Editorial, 2006). Two climate astrophysicists, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, present evidence that shows the climate of the 20th century fell within the range experienced during the past 1,000 years. Compared with other centuries, it was not unusual (Soon and Baliunas, 2003). Unable to obtain grants from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Soon (personal communication, August 31, 2006) observes that NASA funds programs mainly on social-political reasoning rather than science.

Duesberg (1996), Hodgkinson (2003), Lang (1993-2005), Liversidge (2001/2002), Maggiore (2000), and Miller (2006), among others, have questioned the germ theory of AIDS. All 30 diseases (which includes an asymptomatic low T-cell count) in the syndrome called AIDS existed before HIV was discovered and still occur without antibodies to this virus being present. At a press conference in 1984 government officials announced that a newly discovered retrovirus, HIV, is the probable cause of AIDS, which at that time numbered 12 diseases (Duesberg, 1995, p. 5). Soon thereafter "HIV causes AIDS" achieved paradigm status. But, beginning with Peter Duesberg, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, a growing number of scientists, physicians, investigative journalists, and HIV positive people have concluded that HIV/AIDS is a false paradigm. The NIH awarded Duesberg a long-term Outstanding Investigator Grant and a Fogarty fellowship to spend a year on the NIH campus studying cancer genes, and he was nominated for a Nobel Prize. When Duesberg publicly rejected the HIV/AIDS paradigm the NIH and other funding agencies ceased awarding him grants. Government-appointed peer reviewers have rejected his last 24 grant applications. Peter Duesberg (personal communication, September 20, 2006) writes: When I was the blue-eyed boy finding oncogenes and "deadly" viruses, I was 100% fundable. Since I questioned the HIV-AIDS hypothesis of the NIH's Dr. Gallo, and then the cancer-oncogene hypothesis of Bishop-Varmus-Weinberg-Vogelstein etc. I became 100% unfundable. I was transformed from a virus- and cancer-chasing Angel to ‘Lucifer’."

Rather than being harmful, as predicted by the linear no threshold hypothesis, low doses of radiation are actually beneficial (Calabrese, 2005; Hiserodt, 2005). Its beneficial effect is based on hormesis, where radiation in small doses stimulates immune system defenses, prevents oxidative DNA damages, and suppresses cancer. The dose must exceed a certain threshold to stop having a simulative and start having an inhibitory effect on the body and become toxic – and in high doses, fatal (Miller, 2004).

Research in cell physiology is based on the concept that the cell, the basic structural unit that makes up all living things, is an aqueous solution of chemicals enclosed within a cell membrane. Drug research adheres to the concept that a drug’s action is mediated by fitting into a specific receptor site on the cell membrane. Ling (2001) and Pollack (2001), however, make a strong case that the membrane paradigm of cell physiology is wrong. They show that cell function does not depend on the integrity of the cell membrane, and membrane pumps and channels are not what they seem. These investigators hypothesize that the three main components of a living cell – proteins, water, and potassium ions – are structured together in a gel-like matrix, where the cell’s water is organized into layers alongside proteins. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a product of this view of cell physiology, known as the association-induction hypothesis, which was first proposed by Gilbert Ling in 1962. For more than 45 years government granting agencies, guided by their "expert" peer-reviewers’ verdicts, have refused to provide funds for this pioneering investigator to pursue research on this hypothesis, even after it brought about the important medical technology of MRI (Ling 2004b). Despite multiple attempts, Gerald Pollack (personal communication, September 13, 2006) also has been unable to obtain government grants to conduct research on this alternative hypothesis of cell physiology.

Peer review enforces state-sanctioned paradigms. Pollack (2005) likens it to a trial where the defendant judges the plaintiff. Grant review panels defending the orthodox view control the grant lifeline and can sentence a challenger to "no grant." Deprived of funds the plaintiff-challenger is forced to shut down her lab and withdraw. Conlan (1976) characterizes the peer-review grant system as an "incestuous ‘buddy system’ that stifles new ideas and scientific breakthroughs."

Science is self-correcting and, in time, errors are eliminated, or so we are taught. But now with a centralized bureaucracy controlling science, perhaps this rhetoric is "just wishful thinking" (Hillman, 1996, p.102). Freedom to dissent is an essential ingredient of societal health. Braben (2004) contends that suppressing challenges to established orthodoxy sets a society on a path to its doom.

Science in Service to the State
Over the last 60 years a new power structure, the state, has taken control of information. It uses federal tax money to fund and control research through the peer-review grant system. It forms mutually advantageous partnerships with industry and the academic community, which do its bidding. The state holds sway over education. And to round out its control of information an increasingly powerful centralized government bureaucracy has persuaded the mainstream media to accept and espouse state-approved ideas.
The Western tradition of information ethics dating from ancient Greece to the 20th century, characterized by freedom of speech and inquiry, has been co-opted by government. Knowledge advances by questioning accepted paradigms (Hillman, 1995). The state thwarts this and requires its tax-funded scientists to conform to the official establishment view on such things as global warming and HIV/AIDS.

Government-sponsored scientific research reflects the biases, preferences, and priorities of its leaders (Moran, 1998). The state uses science to further its social and political purposes.
Its actions follow Lang’s First Law of Sociodynamics, where "The power structure does what they want, when they want; then they try to find reasons to justify it. If this does not work, they stonewall it (Lang, 1998, p. 797).

When inconvenient facts challenge paradigms the state promotes, it justifies them by consensus. If polar bear experts (Amstrup et al., 1995) find that the bear population in Alaska is increasing, placing doubt on the government’s stance on climate change, this finding is dismissed as being outside the consensus and ignored. Science magazine supports the prevailing view, stating, "There is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change" that accounts for "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years" (Oreskes, 2004).

In 21st century America, consensus and computer models masquerade as science. They supplant experimental data. As Corcoran (2006) puts it, "Science has been stripped of its basis in experiment, knowledge, reason and the scientific method and made subject to the consensus created by politics and bureaucrats." Reduced to a belief system, a majority of scientists and groups like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change can declare, without having to provide scientific evidence, that they believe humans cause global warming. This alone makes the hypothesis become an established fact and received knowledge (Barnes, 1990). Peer review compounds the problem. It competes with objective evidence as proof of truth.

Computer models purporting to make sense of complex data, particularly with regard to climate change, have replaced the scientific goal of supplanting complicated hypotheses with simpler ones (Pollack, 2005). Researchers offer computer models as evidence for global warming. When unsound assumptions and faulty data render one model unreliable, other improved ones are constructed to justify the state’s desire to promulgate this "truth," which it can use to exert greater control over the economy and technological progress.

AIDS research serves the interest of the state by focusing on HIV as an equal opportunity cause of AIDS. This infectious, egalitarian cause exempts the two primary AIDS risk groups, gay men and intravenous drug users, from any blame in acquiring this disease(s) owing to their behavioral choices. Duesberg, Koehnlein, and Rasnick (2003) hypothesize that AIDS is caused by three other things, singly or in combination, rather than HIV: 1) long-term, heavy-duty recreational drug use – cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and nitrite inhalants; 2) antiretroviral drugs doctors prescribe to people who are HIV-positive – DNA chain terminators, like AZT, and protease inhibitors; and 3) malnutrition and bad water, which is the cause of "AIDS" in Africa. HIV/AIDS has become a multibillion-dollar enterprise on an international level. Government, industry, and medical vested interests protect the HIV/AIDS paradigm. The government-controlled peer review grant system is a key tool for protecting paradigms like this.

Grant Reform
Bauer (2004) proposes that there be mandatory funding of contrarian research, along with a science court set up to adjudicate technical controversies. In addition, science journalism needs to investigate established orthodoxies more vigorously.
Pollack (2005) proposes several remedies to the competitive peer review grant system. Government should establish forums where the most significant challenge paradigms can compete openly with their orthodox counterparts in civilized debate. Open-minded "generalists" who have no stake in the outcome should adjudicate, like a jury does in law. Pools of money should be set aside to support multiple grants on selected schools of thought. Training grants that encourage curiosity and thinking outside the box should be made available. And the NIH should provide lifetime support for a select cohort of Dionysian scientists.

The peer review grant system stifles innovation and protects reigning paradigms, right or wrong. The 60-year experiment of "Advancing Health through Peer Review," the NIH Center for Scientific Review’s slogan, has failed. It needs to be dismantled. Tax-funded research would be better conducted and more productive if government allocated funds directly to universities and foundations to use as they see fit for advancement of the biomedical and physical sciences.
One alternative to the competitive peer review grant system that the NIH and NSF might consider for funding specific research projects is DARPA, the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency. This agency manages and directs selected research for the Department of Defense. At least up until now it has been "an entrepreneurial technical organization unfettered by tradition or conventional thinking" within one of the world’s most entrenched bureaucracies (Van Atta et al., 2003). Eighty project managers, who each handles $10-50 million, are given free reign to foster advanced technologies and systems that create "revolutionary" advantages for the U.S. military. Managers, not subject to peer review or top-down management, provide grants to investigators who they think can challenge existing approaches to fighting wars. So long as the state controls funding for research, managers like this might help break the logjam of innovation in the biomedical and physical sciences.

Science under the government grant system has failed and new kinds of funding, with less government control, are sorely needed.

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This paper, titled "The Government Grant System: Inhibitor of Truth and Innovation?", was published in the Spring 2007 issue of the Journal of Information Ethics 2007;16:59-69.
May 16, 2007
Donald Miller (send him mail) is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparednessand writes articles on a variety of subjects for web site is

Zombie Or Democrat?

This is meant to be humorous.....

Zombie = Democrat...

Climate Consensus And How It Harms Us All

Here is an essay on the use of the concept of consensus in science, and how dangerous and damaging it is. Truth must prevail, or we are headed down a slippery slope and destined for a crash. Those of us who can, must resist this trend.


Climate consensus and the end of science
Terence Corcoran
Climate consensus and the end of scienceNational Post (Toronto), June 16, 2006 Column by Terence Corcoran It is now firmly established, repeated ad nauseam in the media and elsewhere, that the debate over global warming has been settled by scientific consensus. The subject is closed. It seems unnecessary to labour the point, but here are a couple of typical statements: "The scientific consensus is clear: human-caused climate change is happening" (David Suzuki Foundation); "There is overwhelming scientific consensus" that greenhouse gases emitted by man cause global temperatures to rise (Mother Jones).

Back when modern science was born, the battle between consensus and new science worked the other way around. More often than not, the consensus of the time -- dictated by religion, prejudice, mysticism and wild speculation, false premises -- was wrong. The role of science, from Galileo to Newton and through the centuries, has been to debunk the consensus and move us forward. But now science has been stripped of its basis in experiment, knowledge, reason and the scientific method and made subject to the consensus created by politics and bureaucrats.

As a mass phenomenon, repeated appeals to consensus to support a scientific claim are relatively new. But it is not new to science. For more than a century, various philosophical troublemakers have been trying to undermine science and the scientific method. These range from Marxists who saw science as a product of class warfare and historical materialism -- Newton was a lackey of the ruling classes and pawn of history -- to scores of sociological theorists and philosophers who spent much of the 20th century attempting to subvert the first principles of modern, Enlightenment science.

Reproduced on this page is the latest Wikipedia entry titled "Consensus Science." It sets out a bit of context for one aspect of the use of consensus in science. While the Wikipedia item is a useful, if rough, polemical introduction to the issue, it doesn't begin to plumb the ocean of dense philosophical discourse behind the movement to turn science -- the pursuit of fact, knowledge and truth through the scientific method, based on reason and experiment -- into a great social swamp of beliefs marked by consensus, social arrangements and customarily accepted ideas.

Throughout the 20th century, science was overwhelmed by the sociology of science and "sociological explanations of knowledge." At the extreme, we end up with the idea that there are no facts and nothing is verifiable. "Customs and conventions are seen as the creations of human agents, actively negotiated and actively sustained, under the collective control of those who initially negotiate them.... Scientific knowledge is seen as customarily accepted belief." This is from "Sociological Theories of Scientific Knowledge," an essay by Barry Barnes, University of Edinburgh, in the Routledge Companion to the History of Modern Science (1990).

Most of the recent history-of-science theory is a series of attempts by one camp after another to demolish the basic principles of science and install a new order based on political and sociological collectivism. While early hard-core Marxist views on science were too crazy to gain support, various "New Marxists" came along with more subtle forms of subversion. "This New Marxism," said Roy Porter of London's Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, "has aimed to depriviledge science, restoring it to the same plane as other belief systems."

If science were to become a belief system, then the belief with the greatest number of followers would become established fact and received knowledge. Knowledge based on observation and rational inference would play second fiddle to what Barnes calls "customarily accepted belief." This belief is "sustained by consensus and authority." This is not just one science writer proposing a theory. Barnes is reporting on the mainstream elements of new-science thought over more than a century. Ideas come from such well-known brand names such as Marx and Kant, but mostly from a procession of philosophers even most scientists have never heard of. It's a jungle, to be sure, filled with impenetrable language and philosophical jargon. But the trend is clear.

Global warming science by consensus, with appeals to United Nations panels and other agencies as authorities, is the apotheosis of the century-long crusade to overthrow the foundations of modern science and replace them with collectivist social theories of science. "Where a specific body of knowledge is recognized and accepted by a body of scientists, there would seem to be a need to regard that acceptance as a matter of contingent fact," writes Barnes. This means that knowledge is "undetermined by experience." It takes us "away from an individualistic rationalist account of evaluation towards a collectivist conventionalist account."

In short, under the new authoritarian science based on consensus, science doesn't matter much any more. If one scientist's 1,000-year chart showing rising global temperatures is based on bad data, it doesn't matter because we still otherwise have a consensus. If a polar-bear expert says polar bears appear to be thriving, thus disproving a popular climate theory, the expert and his numbers are dismissed as being outside the consensus. If studies show solar fluctuations rather than carbon emissions may be causing climate change, these are damned as relics of the old scientific method. If ice caps are not all melting, with some even getting larger, the evidence is ridiculed and condemned.

We have a consensus, and this contradictory science is just noise from the skeptical fringe. Jasper McKee, professor of physics at the University of Manitoba and editor of Physics in Canada, asked recently: "Is scientific fact no longer necessary?" Apparently it's not. "In the absence of hard scientific fact or causal relationships, a majority vote of scientists can determine scientific truth."

Perhaps, says Mr. McKee, the great scientific revolution begun in the Renaissance of the 17th century is over and the need for science is gone. "The prospects," he says, "are alarming." In the end, though, real science can only win. If real science produces truth that the consensus method cannot, any consensus will inevitably fail to hold. Until then, however, we will have to live with the likes of David Suzuki.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Search For The Truth..........Employs All......

A new member......submitting this request.........shall we let him in?
Click here!

If you have a dirty monitor screen, you can use this to clean it... Click here!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dr. S. Fred Singer, An Interview With PBS

This is a long interview with Dr. S. Fred Singer and PBS. However, I think there is a lot of good information here, relevant questions, and thoughtful and answers from a prominent climate scientist with many years of experience and perspective on the issue of global warming and climate change. I think the interview is worth saving.

Dr. S. Fred Singer
He is an atmospheric physicist at George Mason University and founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, a think tank on climate and environmental issues. Singer has been a leading skeptic of the scientific consensus on global warming. He points out that the scenarios are alarmist, computer models reflect real gaps in climate knowledge, and future warming will be inconsequential or modest at most.
An Interview between Dr. S. Fred Singer and PBS:
Some people hold that the threat of climate change is so great that we need to fundamentally change the way we produce and use energy. What's your response to this view?

Climate change is a natural phenomenon. Climate keeps changing all the time. The fact that climate changes is not in itself a threat, because, obviously, in the past human beings have adapted to all kinds of climate changes. The argument is that there's a new cause for climate change, which is human beings. And that the dimensions of this change might exceed what is natural or normal.

Well, there's no question in my mind that humanity is able to affect climate on a local scale. We all know that cities are warmer than the suburbs or surrounding countryside. So there's clear indication that human beings, in producing energy, in just living, generate heat. We're not going to go back to living without energy.

Whether or not human beings can produce a global climate change is an important question. This question is not at all settled. It can only be settled by actual measurements, data. And the data are ambiguous. For example, the data show that the climate warmed between 1900 and 1940, long before humanity used much energy. But then the climate cooled between 1940 and 1975. Then it warmed again for a very short period of time, for about five years. But since 1979, our best measurements show that the climate has been cooling just slightly. Certainly, it has not been warming. The surface record, however, continues to go up.

The surface record continues to go up. But you have to be very careful with the surface record. It is taken with thermometers that are mostly located in or near cities. And as cities expand, they get warmer. And therefore they affect the readings. And it's very difficult to eliminate this--what's called the urban heat island effect. So I personally prefer to trust in weather satellites. You've got one record that goes back 100 years, which has got imperfections in data gathering, and then you've got a much shorter record that also has questions about data gathering, the satellite record.
From a statistical point of view, you get more power out of a longer record than a shorter record, don't you?

A longer record, in general, will give you more statistical power, if there is a general overall trend. But, in fact, the surface record also shows a cooling. So, which part of the surface record are you going to believe? The part before 1940, that shows a warming, or the part after 1940, that shows a cooling? See, that's the dilemma. The curve--as the climate modelers have it--has three segments. They would say there was a warming, a cooling, and a sharp warming now...they would say...on the land surface. And that's their problem.

Well, since we're using models to predict the future--and the only way you can predict the future is to use models--the important question is: Can these models be validated by observations?
And the models very clearly show that the climate right now should be warming at about the rate of one degree Fahrenheit per decade, in the middle troposphere, that is, above the surface. But that's not what the observations show. So until the observations and the models agree, or until one or the other is resolved, it's very difficult for people--and for myself, of course--to believe in the predictive power of the current models. Now, the models are getting better. And perhaps in ten years we will have models that can be trusted, that is, that agree with actual observations. Let's go back to the basic physical principles. People like John Tyndall did experiments in the nineteenth century, where he filled tubes with different gases and found that certain trace gases--CO2 and also gases like water vapor-- had the ability to block infrared radiation. And that basic physics suggests the natural greenhouse effect takes advantage of this, suggests that part of the reason we have the climate we have is because of that, and that if you added to it continually and for long enough, you would increase the optical thickness of these gases and, therefore, would trap more heat in the system.
From that standpoint, you don't deviate, do you?

There's nothing wrong with the basic physics. There's nothing wrong with laboratory physics, with measurements taken in the laboratory. They can be made very precisely, and under controlled conditions. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is not a laboratory that you can put into a building and control. The atmosphere is much more complicated.

For example, as carbon dioxide increases, you would expect a warming. But at the same time that you get this warming or this slight warming, you get more evaporation from the ocean. That's inevitable. Everyone agrees with that. Now, what is the effect of this additional water vapor in the atmosphere? Will it enhance the warming, as the models now calculate? Or will it create clouds, which will reflect solar radiation and reduce the warming? Or will it do something else? You see, the clouds are not captured by the models. Models are not good enough to either depict clouds or to even discuss the creation of clouds in a proper way. So it's not possible at this time to be sure how much warming one will get from an increase in carbon dioxide.

I personally believe that there should be some slight warming. But I think the warming will be much less than the current models predict. Much less. And I think it will be barely detectable. Perhaps it will be detectable, perhaps not. And it certainly will not be consequential. That is, it won't make any difference to people. After all, we get climate changes by 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some places on the earth.
So what difference does a 1-degree change make over 100 years?
Well, for instance, it might increase the size of oceans through thermal expansion. So, over time, it would increase the water levels, which have been increasing naturally.
There's no question that if the ocean warms, the water will expand and sea level will rise. But that's just one factor. Another factor is that mountain glaciers will tend to melt and, therefore, add water to rivers, and rivers will add the water to the ocean, and that also will produce a rise.
But counterbalancing this is the fact that more water will evaporate from the ocean because it's now warmer. And this will come down as rain all over the earth. And some of the rain will come down over the Antarctic, where it will turn into ice and accumulate. Then the question is: Which is more important, the accumulation of ice --which will lower sea level because it takes water from the ocean and puts it on the ice cap--or, the other factors that raise sea level? You can't decide these questions by theory. You have to do measurements.

I have now looked at the measurements and have analyzed them, and I find that the accumulation of ice is more important. And, in fact, when I look at the data from the early part of the century, when there was a strong warming--I forget what caused it, but there was a strong warming between 1900 and 1940--during the same time, sea level actually fell. So we have, you might say, an experimental verification. We have a check on the idea that accumulation of ice will be more important if there is a modest warming. Of course, if the warming is extreme, and melts all the ice caps, all bets are off. But no one is talking about that. So, basically, the issue depends on the kinds of particular feedbacks that are operating. And the fact you've said-- it's so complicated and nonlinear--that a warming can produce a cooling, a cooling can produce a warming, all kinds of things like that can happen. But it is possible in principle to have forcings that are powerful enough to dominate. For example, there have been times in history when it's been very much warmer than now, where there's been more CO2.

In principle, you can get forcings that will produce strong warming, and you get forcings that produce strong cooling. For example, a volcanic eruption produces a strong cooling. No question about this. Changes in solar radiation can produce warming or cooling, depending on which way the change is going. But the feedbacks are the most important part. And these feedbacks are not properly described by models, because we don't understand how they work. That means we have to do a great deal of physical research on the atmosphere--that is, more observations--to discover what the feedbacks are, which way they operate. Are they positive feedbacks that enhance the warming, or are they negative feedbacks that diminish the warming? And the evidence, as far as I can tell, seems to be that the negative feedbacks must be important, because we do not see the warming that's expected from the current rise in carbon dioxide.
Some people would say that we've got inertias in the system. All we're seeing are delays caused by other anthropogenic forcings we're putting into the atmosphere--like aerosols--either directly or producing clouds...or ocean lag in the system...and that actually the lack of warming isn't a cause for complacency. It's really a worry, because when it comes, it will be hard to get out of. What about that as an argument?

We have to distinguish between delays, which have their cause in the heat capacity of the ocean. That's one issue. But we also must look carefully at other human activities that can produce a cooling, like the production of aerosols. How are aerosols produced? Well, one way is to burn coal and release a lot of sulphur into the atmosphere. Fortunately, now we [are] beginning to use clean coal. We're actually taking the sulphur out of the smokestacks so that the aerosol production is no longer as important. Also biomass burning, burning of forests, produces a lot of smoke and particulates in the atmosphere. Agriculture disturbs the land surface so that winds can then pick up dust. And dust in the atmosphere is another aerosol.

All of these particles in the atmosphere have some effect on climate. Some will cause a cooling. Some will cause a warming. Different particles act in different ways. Depends on whether the particles are black (soot), in which case they absorb solar energy, or whether they're reflecting...whether they reflect solar energy back into space. That has to be done carefully.

One of the leading climate modelists is Jim Hanson. He actually was the man who, ten years ago, went out on a limb and said he was sure the enhanced greenhouse effect was here. He now says we can't really tell. He says the forcings are so uncertain that they're much more important than the climate models. In other words, until we get the forcings straight, the climate-model predictions are not worth very much. That is basically what he said.
But there's this argument: Yes, the aerosols are there and might counteract some of the enhanced greenhouse effect. But, they will be washed out within a few days and, therefore, wouldn't continue to accumulate in the way that CO2 does. CO2 stays around for 100 years. Therefore, the two things really aren't in balance. They might balance for a bit, but over a long period of time, if you go on producing CO2, this will concentrate, while the other will get washed out. And if you look ahead and project the use of fossil fuels, isn't it going to overwhelm the other forcing factors?

Aerosols have a very short lifetime in the atmosphere, measured typically in a matter of a week, two weeks, something like that. And then they rain out, or they fall out. Carbon dioxide has a lifetime measured in decades. Some of it survives even beyond 100 years. So if carbon dioxide effects were important, then they would eventually predominate.

But the question is: Are they important in relation to the aerosol effects? Or, put it this way: Are the aerosol effects hiding the effect of carbon dioxide now? We can tell. We can find an answer to this, because we can look for fingerprints in the climate record. Since aerosols are mostly emitted in the northern hemisphere, where industrial activities are rampant, we would expect the northern hemisphere to be warming less quickly than the southern hemisphere. In fact, we would expect the northern hemisphere to be cooling. But the data show the opposite. Both the surface data and the satellite data agree that, in the last 20 years, the northern hemisphere has warmed more quickly than the southern hemisphere. So it contradicts the whole idea that aerosols make an important difference.

This is very embarrassing to the modelists, because they have been using the aerosol as an excuse to explain why the models do not agree with observations. I suggest that they now will have to look for another excuse.
Talk about the models. What is a computer model, and what isn't it? What is its purpose in science?

There are many kinds of computer models. But the ones that people mostly talk about these days are the giant models that try to model the whole global atmosphere in a three-dimensional way. These models calculate important parameters at different points around the globe--and these points are roughly 200 miles apart--and at different levels of the atmosphere. You can see that if you only calculate temperature, winds, and so on at intervals of 200 miles, then you cannot depict clouds, or even cloud systems, which are much smaller. So until the models have a good enough resolution to be capable of depicting clouds, it's very difficult to put much faith in them. But, still, they're playing quite an important role in this debate.
Take me through a history of what the models have predicted. You've alluded to this, and how some of their predictions have had to be scaled down. What can models do, and what can't they do?

You have to understand that these models are calibrated to produce the seasons. That is to say, the models are adjusted until they produce the present climate and the seasonal change.
So they're faked, you're saying?

They're tweaked. I think that's a polite way of putting it.
They're adjusted, or tweaked, until they produce the present climate and the present short-term variation. You have to also understand there's something like two dozen climate models in the world. And one question to ask is: Do they agree? And the answer is: They do not. And these models are all produced by excellent meteorologists, fantastic computers. Why do they not agree? Why do some models predict a warming for a doubling of CO2, of, let's say, five degrees Centigrade--which is eight degrees Fahrenheit)--and why do other models predict something like one degree?

Well, there's a reason for this. These models differ in the way they depict clouds, primarily. In some models, clouds produce an additional warming. In some models, clouds produce a cooling. Which models are correct? There's no way of telling. Each modeler thinks that his model is the best. So I think we all have to wait until the dispersion in the model results shrinks a little bit--until they start to agree with each other. What happens when you use these models to try and reproduce past climates, when other forcings are known, like ice ages and so forth? Can they succeed at that?

They fail spectacularly in explaining, for example, why an ice age starts, or why an ice age stops. The most recent result on this was published in early 1999. It's always been known that, for example, the deglaciation--that is, the transition from an ice age to the warm interglacial, which is spectacular--suddenly the ice age ends and the warming starts. And at the same time, you see an increase in carbon dioxide in the record. And these are records taken from ice cores--good measurements. They go up and down together.

Well, you certainly find an association between carbon dioxide changes and temperature changes. Now, scientists have been very careful to just call it an association without identifying which is the cause and which is the effect. Politicians have been less careful. In fact, our Vice President, Al Gore, has a standard presentation where he shows the results of the Antarctic ice core (called the Vostok core), and you see changes in temperature and changes in carbon dioxide. And he points to this and says, "You see? These carbon dioxide changes caused a temperature increase in the past."

Well, it's not so. In fact, in early 1999, there was a paper in Science in which they have now gotten adequate resolution so they can measure which came first, the temperature change or the carbon dioxide change. And guess what? The temperature change came first, followed by the carbon dioxide change about 600 years later. This means that something changed the temperature, not the carbon dioxide. But then as the climate warmed, more carbon dioxide apparently was released from the ocean into the atmosphere. Which could of course, in principle, make a feedback.

Yes, I would expect so. But how much of a feedback, we cannot tell. In other words, we're back again to the question of how much of a temperature increase is produced by a change in carbon dioxide. But to go back to my question: What can the models do? Can they take an era and plug in some figures and reproduce what happens?

A number of researchers have actually tried to reproduce past climates, using models. And to some extent, they've been successful. And to another extent, they have not been successful, in the sense that you cannot derive what is called the climate sensitivity. In other words, what we really are after is some way of valiating these models. We'd like to know how much of a temperature change is produced if carbon dioxide doubles in the atmosphere? That's called the climate sensitivity. What is the climate sensitivity? As I've mentioned earlier, it can range from as little as one degree in some models to as much as five degrees Centigrade, which equals eight degrees Fahrenheit, in other models. That's a big difference, a huge difference.

Which of these numbers is correct, if any? You cannot just take the median or the average. There's no reason why the average should be correct. Maybe it's the high number; maybe it's the low number. We don't know. We need to find out by making observations and understanding really what happens in the atmosphere. Some say we don't have the time for that, and that it would be prudent, since this is at least a plausible scenario, that we do something about it now, because as you said, these measurements are very difficult to take. You need to do it over a long period of time and very accurately. It might take fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years. Should we do nothing until that point?

Well, the question is what you mean by "doing" something. I'm not a great believer in buying insurance if the risks are small and the premiums are high. Nobody in his right mind would do that. But this is the case here. We're being asked to buy an insurance policy against a risk that is very small, if at all, and pay a very heavy premium. We're being asked to reduce energy use, not just by a few percent but, according to the Kyoto Protocol, by about 35 percent within ten years. That means giving up one-third of all energy use, using one-third less electricity, throwing out one-third of all cars perhaps. It would be a huge dislocation of our economy, and it would hit people very hard, particularly people who can least afford it.

For what? All the Kyoto Protocol would do is to slightly reduce the current rate of increase of carbon dioxide. And in fact, the UN Science Advisory Group has published their results. And they clearly show that the Kyoto Protocol would reduce, if it went into effect and were punctiliously observed by all of the countries that have to observe it--by the year 2050, --about 50 years from now--it would reduce the calculated temperature increase by .05 degrees Centigrade. That amount is not even measurable. So this is what you are being asked to buy. With regard to that range of model predictions, from one to five degrees: Even if we assumed the climate was not very sensitive, clearly a doubling of CO2 is bound to happen in the next century, and probably a trebling after that. If you look at the growth rates in population and the growth rates in standard of living that are plausible, and if you look at the dependence on fossil energy, which is definite--85 percent to 90 percent)--it seems very likely that you would treble and probably quadruple. At what stage does even a low sensitivity climate become vulnerable to climate change? There has to come a point when the forcing of greenhouse gases would become significant. Do you accept that? Would there come a point when you'd have concern?

Let me deal first of all with the question of the future levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The fact is that people disagree about this. Some good experts believe that carbon dioxide will never even double [in/near] the atmosphere. They believe that the so-called decarbonization of our economy, which has been ongoing for some time, will continue. That is, we will use less and less fossil fuels to produce a unit of GNP.

They also believe that fossil fuels will become more expensive as they become depleted, and that therefore in a very natural way nonfossil fuels will be used to produce energy. Nuclear energy is a good example. Nuclear energy produces no carbon dioxide whatsoever. And now nuclear energy is in bad repute in the United States and in some other countries. But in France, it produces 75 percent of electricity. In Japan, they've just decided to build 20 more nuclear reactors in the next ten years, which would increase their electricity capacity by 50 percent, all nuclear. However, the two largest countries for population, India and China, have enormous dependence on coal. Most economists agree that as they expand, they will burn a lot of coal and produce a lot of CO2, and much more than the U.S. probably in thirty to fifty years. So, in the short term, I don't see grounds for optimism that CO2 won't go into the atmosphere.

I'm not a prophet. I don't try to predict what the carbon dioxide levels will be in the future. But I can read and report on work that's being published. And certainly China and India, particularly China, will continue to increase its carbon dioxide emissions, no matter what we do. And this will soon dominate the world emissions, probably by the year 2010, at least by the year 2020. And beyond this, it really doesn't matter what we do. It will be determined by how many people are living in China and India, how much energy they consume, and whether or not they use coal or other fossil fuels. I think that's a given. The question is: Why should we be concerned about it? Is the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere any sort of danger to us? That was my question. The model scenario you give is for a doubling. If we had a trebling or a quadrupling, is there a stage at which even an insensitive model produces a climate change that you would get serious about? Because clearly, a five-degree change is pretty significant, true?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, I have no doubt that an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should lead to some increase in global temperatures. The question is: How much? We do have some way of getting a handle on this problem, because carbon dioxide levels have already increased by 50 percent since the beginning of the industrial era--let's say, in the last hundred years. So where is the temperature increase from this? Why don't we see it? This is the way to ask the question.
And how can we be sure that any temperature increase that we do find in the record is in fact due to this additional carbon dioxide? Since we know that the climate also changes naturally--it warms, it cools)--how can you distinguish a warming produced by an increase in carbon dioxide from a warming produced by some other cause--let's say, by the sun? These are important issues that need to be settled.

But let me go a step further and ask: Supposing carbon dioxide does increase by a factor of four, five--mention any number you wish. What has happened in the past? We have geologic evidence that carbon dioxide levels were twenty times as large during the fossil record as in the last 600 million years, and have been decreasing steadily. So carbon dioxide levels have been decreasing. The earth has experienced much, much higher levels than we have today, without any apparent ill effects, because life developed quite well. In fact, it blossomed forth at the beginning of the Cambrian period.

And the only thing we are concerned about is carbon dioxide levels becoming too low, because if carbon dioxide levels were to fall below, let's say, one-half of the present level, as they almost did during the last ice age...if they were to fall below one-half of the present level, then plants would be in real trouble. After all, carbon dioxide is plant food. Without carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, plants would disappear. And so would animals. And so would human beings. In other words, we do have a stake, a vested interest in making sure that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not fall to low levels. High levels of carbon dioxide should not concern us. They will make plants grow faster. They will make agriculture become more productive. They will encourage more diversity of animals, and they'll make for a better life for human beings.
Obviously, lower costs for food, more food, is a better situation than higher costs and less food. Some climatologists have argued that while there was indeed more CO2 if you go back to when the dinosaurs lived, since there's been ice in the world--since the last few million years--there's never been this much. And if we go up higher, it's the combination of CO2 and ice that's the issue. And then they would add to the argument that also the world has huge numbers of people on it, therefore it's less adaptable than perhaps it was before, in terms of consequence.
I think to argue that the world is less adaptable because it has huge numbers of people is a specious argument. I think adaptability has to do with technology.
Obviously, if people could adapt during the Ice Age, as they did to very low temperatures, and during the previous interglacial--let's say, 120,000 years ago--they certainly should be able to adapt to almost any climate change that we can imagine, because we have the technology to do so. And also, people can move, and do move. If we look at the historic record--let's say, the last 3,000 years--we see that during the cold periods, people really suffered. During the Little Ice Age, from around 1400 to 1800 or 1850, things were really cold in Europe, and we have records of this. Harvests failed. Food became scarce. People starved. There was much disease. It was a miserable period.

Before that, we had what's called the medieval climate optimum--notice the word "optimum" used by climatologists here. The climate was warmer around the year 1100. The Vikings were able to settle Greenland, actually grow crops in Greenland, and life was good in Europe. Cathedrals were being built. There was plenty of food, plenty of surplus. So I think the historic record clearly shows that a warmer period is better for human beings than a colder period. And I would be much more afraid of adapting to a coming ice age than adapting to a coming warmer period.
Another argument sometimes made comes under the rubric of surprises--that there have been these sudden temperature shifts in history, particularly when you're coming out of an ice age--some people have tried to link them to changes in ocean circulation--where you get maybe ten-, fifteen-, twenty-degree drops within a matter of a decade. And the argument sometimes is put that this proves that the climate system is unstable at some level, that it can be perturbed to switch states quickly, and that we're messing with fire, because maybe what you're saying is true, but we might just hit it and trigger it, causing a big change. What do you think of that argument?

Well, climate does change rapidly at times. But I think you should note that this all happened without any human intervention. Actually, we do have historic records again of climate changes that were faster and greater than anything predicted by the UN science group. For example we have records from ocean sediments with very good resolution, where we can actually resolve the temperatures that existed year by year. And we see climate changes that are really quite fast, without any human intervention. So I think these sorts of climate changes will keep occurring.
Now, it's interesting that the variability of climate is greater when the climate is cold and when CO2 content is low. It's just a historic fact. When you analyze the data, you find that the variability of climate during the last ice age was much greater than it is during the present warm interglacial. So if you believe this, it would argue that we should have a warmer climate with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, because it will make the climate more stable.
While there are scientists who hold views similar to yours on this subject, there are a very large number who don't. I want your reflections on what's happened in terms of the way this has played out with the intergovernmental panel on change, with the statements that a majority of scientists believe this or that, because there are a lot of scientists who feel very passionately there is an issue here. What do you think has been going on? Because there's a tremendous amount of people involved in modeling, an activity which you think is fairly limited in terms of what it's delivered so far. How are they getting away with it?

Well, when you start talking about the question of scientific consensus, I think one should be very careful to say, first of all, that science is not decided by vote. I don't take a poll and then determine what is the correct answer. Science is decided by observations that either confirm or deny a theory, a hypothesis. And if they confirm the theory, you go on to the next set of observations and see whether it still holds. And if it works against the hypothesis, you try to develop a new hypothesis.
That's how science makes progress.

And, in fact, historically, every bit of scientific progress has come about because the observations or the experimental facts did not support the current theory. And, usually, these new experiments were done by a small group, or the new theory was proposed by a single individual, even. Take Albert Einstein, as an example, against the great opposition of the large scientific community. But science is a wonderful subject. It works itself out. The truth eventually emerges.
So, this is my preface.
In the climate business, the situation is more complicated because there are also political factors involved, and frankly, there's also money involved. This is an unusual situation. There's no politics attached to the theory of relativity, for example. But there is to climate science. There are no large sums of money attached to relativity, but there are to climate science.

The federal government pumps about $2 billion a year into climate research. Now, this money has to be spent by someone. It supports a lot of jobs. It supports a lot of people. And inevitably, many of these people begin to feel that what they're doing is tremendously important and vital. Otherwise, they couldn't really live with themselves. They've talked themselves into the fact that the work they're doing is somehow helping humanity deal with some kind of a problem.
You're not saying they're dishonest, are you?

I'm not saying that they're dishonest at all. No. No one has been caught falsifying data. No one has been caught falsifying calculations. But inevitably, when you have a particular point of view--(and this works both ways--you tend to suppress facts or data that disagree with your point of view, and you tend to favor data, observations that support your point of view. You become selective in the way you present your observations.

Take an example. Take the UN Science Advisory Group, the IPCC. In their report--which is a very good report, by the way...which is close to 600 pages without an index, so no one really reads it except dedicated people like me--there's a five-page summary of the report that everyone reads, including politicians and the media. And if you look through the summary, you will find no mention of the fact that the weather satellite observations of the last twenty years show no global warming. In fact, a slight cooling. In fact, you will not even find satellites mentioned in the summary.

Now, why is that? These are the only global observations we have. These are the best observations we have. They cover the whole globe. The surface observations don't cover the whole globe. They leave out large chunks of the globe. They don't cover the oceans very well, which is 70 percent of the globe. So you see, the summary uses data selectively, or at least it suppresses data that are inconvenient, that disagree with the paradigm, with what they're trying to prove. This happens often, unfortunately.

Now, you'll also notice that people who are skeptical about global warming generally do not have government support for their work. They don't have to write proposals to government agencies to get money. They tend to be people who have other sources of income. They might even be retired and live on pensions, or they might [have] other sources of income that do not depend on writing research proposals to federal agencies. And if you look at research proposals to federal agencies, you will find that people who write a proposal saying, "I'm going to do research to show that global warming is not a real threat"...they're not likely to get funding from any of the government agencies. Do you think, then, this is no longer operating as "normal" science, that there's some kind of pathological mechanism here?

I think climate science is on its way to becoming pathological, to becoming abnormal in the sense that it is being guided by the money that's being made available to people. I don't blame people for accepting money. And the people who take the money and do research, by and large, are doing very competent research. [But] you'll find them very careful not to speak out against the global warming "threat"--(I'm putting "threat" in quotes, of course. And you'll find also that when they do speak out, as many of them do, they suffer consequences. They lose support. And I can give you examples of that.
Or they have other consequences that are equally disagreeable. And if you're a young professor at a university and want to get tenure, or if you want to get a permanent academic position, you must do published research. And to do published research, you must write proposals to get money to do the research. So you're locked into a vicious spiral here. You have to go along with the current wisdom that global warming is a threat. Otherwise, you're not going to get the job that you want. If you're right and they're wrong, then is what they're doing falsifiable? If, for instance, the next ten years was unusually cold, would that make them give up their theory?

The climate business doesn't work the way laboratory science does. If the next ten years turn out to be cold, this by itself does not prove anything. It just makes it less likely that global warming is important. Because people will say, "Well, now instead of having 20 years of satellite data, we have 30 years of satellite data." They'll say, "Well, that's not really long enough. We need 100 years of satellite data that show cooling." And inevitably during the next 100 years, you're going to have some warming, because the climate is constantly changing.
Certainly it will change as the solar radiation becomes stronger or weaker. And we know solar radiation does fluctuate on an 11-year cycle and on longer cycles. But my question is: What could convince you that you were wrong? What could convince them they were wrong? What could actually resolve this debate to the satisfaction of honest scientists? If people can always interpret what happened within their model, how do you resolve it?

I think that we would have to try to get the models to become better, and try to find more specific fingerprints-as I call them-- in the observations that can either be verified or falsified by models. And the global average temperature simply isn't good enough. It has to be based on geographic variation, or variation with altitude, or temporal variation, or much more detailed measurements. Certainly we know that the models do not agree amongst themselves. So I think the first step is to find out why this is so, and work very hard to at least resolve the differences between [models], and then try to resolve differences between models and observations. I want to finally get at this mix-up some people have between weather and climate.
When we see Al Gore standing in front of forest fires in Florida, or talking about the droughts in Texas, or people saying, "Last July was extremely hot," does this constitute evidence of global warming? Or, the hot summer of 1998--is that evidence of global warming? Yes or no? What's going on there?

A hot summer, a warm winter, is no evidence for global warming. Don't forget, we've had a warm winter in the United States, but temperatures in Europe and Russia were extremely cold. Of course, we don't hear about this because we read American papers describing weather in the United States.

So all of these observations that we are bombarded with tend to be anecdotal. And if we have cold weather, that doesn't mean that an ice age is coming. But if we have many, many cold periods in succession, as we did, for example, between 1940 and 1975, where even global temperatures were decreasing, then people become quite concerned--and I do remember this period--about a coming ice age. And it's interesting that many of the kind of people who are now concerned about a coming global warming catastrophe were then concerned about a coming global cooling catastrophe.

And what was their recommendation? Government has to do something about this. The National Academy of Sciences published a report in 1971, saying, as best as I recall, that a coming ice age was a definite probability within the next hundred years. The National Academy of Sciences...supposedly a collection of the best scientific minds to deal with this issue. Naturally, they're not--they're only as good as the particular panel that was chosen to do this work.
Anything else? . . .

Let me say something about this idea of scientific consensus. Well, you really shouldn't go by numbers. I think it's significant to straighten out misconceptions. One misconception is that 2,500 IPCC scientists agree that global warming is coming, and it's going to be two degrees Centigrade by the year 2100. That's just not so. In the first place, if you count the names in the IPCC report, it's less than 2,000. If you count the number of climate scientists, it's about 100. If you then ask how many of them agree, the answer is: You can't tell because there was never a poll taken. These scientists actually worked on the report. They agree with the report, obviously, in particular with the chapter that they wrote. They do not necessarily agree with the summary, because the summary was written by a different group, a handful of government scientists who had a particular point of view, and they extracted from the report those facts that tended to support their point of view.

For example, they came up with a conclusion--the only conclusion of this 1996 report--that there's a discernible human influence on climate. I don't know what that means. Nobody really knows what that means. On the one hand, it's easy to agree with a statement "a discernible human influence on global climate." Sure, why not? Nights are getting warmer. Maybe that's it. On the other hand, it certainly does not mean--as politicians think it does--it does not mean that the climate models have been validated, that there's going to be a major warming in the next century. It does not mean that. And they don't say that. They just imply it.
If people can't rely on statements like "most scientists agree" and so forth, like that, with an issue of this complexity, how are they supposed to come to an opinion on it?

How should people come to some conclusion when scientists disagree? I think this is a problem that people will have to ask themselves. They'll have to say: What happens in the worst case? Supposing the scientists who say it will warm are correct, is that good or bad? And the answer is: If it warms, it will be good. So what is the concern, really? Even if the warming should take place, and the warming will be noticeable...if that should be the case, if it is measurable, that does not mean that it is economically damaging. In fact, the opposite is true. But you might get, for instance, flooding in Bangladesh or in the [Maldive] Islands, or in southern United States. Those have to be scenarios. If you have a warming up,four or five degrees, those are possibilities, aren't they?

We have to ask, what is the impact of a warmer climate? It's not the warming itself that we should be concerned about. It is the impact. So we have to then ask: What is the impact on agriculture? The answer is: It's positive. It's good. What's the impact on forests of greater levels of CO2 and greater temperatures? It's good. What is the impact on water supplies? It's neutral. What is the impact on sea level? It will produce a reduction in sea-level rise. It will not raise sea levels. What is the impact on recreation? It's mixed. You get, on the one hand, perhaps less skiing; on the other hand, you get more sunshine and maybe better beach weather.
Let's face it. People like warmer climates. There's a good reason why much of the U.S. population is moving into the Sun Belt, and not just people who are retiring.