Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why This Email Leak Changes Nothing (as Yet)

Denialists had made their mind up about the conclusion then went around looking for evidence to fit it. The email leak, as far as many of them are concerned seems to be a slam dunk, it's all over now.

I do wish it were true, as climate change even in a mild form means misery and loss for millions. Sadly I can't see how it is - I can't buy into the Denialists's claims because logic says I can't and as a sceptic I have to be sceptical of all the arguments put to me.

If you read Dawkins's new book 'The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution' the point he makes over and over is that while creationists push at issues like missing links, even without the fossil record, the genetic evidence alone is overwhelming. So those who for ideological reasons, wish to overturn evolution need to not only overturn the fossil evidence, but they also need to account for the genetic evidence, the evidence from cell biological, population distribution, ecological webs and so on.

The reason why creationism have not even come close to overturning evolution despite over 150 years of trying is that there is simply no evidence they can offer that accounts for what we see in the natural world. All they can do is engage in bureaucratic arguments over the evidence and how it is presented. Put simply, they have nothing real to bring to the table.

The same issue is at play here with climate change. Even if the one of the temperature records were overturned, you still need to account for the changes in sea temperatures, changes in breading patterns, changes in migration patterns, changes in disease patters, in rainfall and monsoons, melting glaciers and so on. All these point to something happening; and fast.

The reason why climate change denialism has not even come close to overturning AGW despite million$ of oil money spend and why this email leak, while embarrassing for some scientists, the weight of evidence is still overwhelming. There is simply no evidence they (denialists) can offer that accounts for what we see in the natural world. All they can do is engage in bureaucratic arguments over the evidence and how it is presented. Put simply, they have nothing real to bring to the table.

Now for those who read science, disputes over the peer review process are nothing new. It happens all the time. Read ScienceBlogs (which I do) or New Scientist (which I do) or people like Ben Goldacre (which I do) and you'd know this. You also know that scientists argue amongst themselves - 'cos they are human - that's why a peer review process is so important. It is also why what is said in the emails is no big surprise. So, if the AGW is to be overturned, as a sceptic, the weight of evidence still needs to come from the flat earth society. As a sceptic, simply telling me something is wrong 'cos you say so, does not cut it. You still need evidence. Point to emails out of context is no where near enough. You need to account for example; why in the north Atlantic, 36 of fish stocks studied, the distribution range of 24 of them had changed in unison with the rising water temperatures that have been occurring off the Northeast since the 1970s? - That is one of hundreds of changes we are seeing.

A sceptic needs to know why. Telling us about the New World Order or some other 'conspiracy' is not an answer.

2 comments:

dbmm said...

If Exxon thought there was a scientific case to be had against AGW, they'd open up a climate centre of their own, populate it with top notch academics, and start knocking out peer-reviewed literature by the ton.

The problem with the email leak will be with the people who either don't have time to find out, or aren't particularly bothered about the details of the leak; but merely register it as adding to a cloud of ill-repute around climate research. Something like this happened over Iraq where a sizeable fraction of Americans thought that WMDs had actually been found.
If you are going to convince them otherwise, you are going to have to get their attention first.

anarchist said...

Good points! Thanks