Saturday, February 02, 2008

Greenies attack a scientific conference

There are all sorts of conferences with all sorts of purposes and the Heartland Institute is arranging a conference called "The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change" in New York. The purpose of the conference is to highlight the fact that there is a variety of views on climate change among scientists -- and to debate and discuss those views. And the Greenies seem to be afraid to participate -- knowing of course how many holes and frail assumptions there are in their arguments.

So The Greenie "Real Climate" site has slammed the conference by saying that it is not a routine general meeting for members of a scientific discipline but rather a more publicly available talking shop. It appears that according to them there is only one sort of conference! They also quite plainly imply that scientists who do not agree with them are not real scientists! A nice little circular argument implied there, I think. Below is the response (Comment 47) by James M. Taylor of the Heartland Institute to the Greenie article:
The anonymously authored Real Climate article above is a disappointing smear job - i.e., you have nothing to say substantively, so you attempt to smear your intellectual opponents. Many of the world's leading climate scientists from some of the world's most prestigious universities will be giving presentations. Rather than behaving like children and throwing mud at them, perhaps you might behave like adults and discuss the science. Of course, that will never happen because open and honest debate is what you fear most.

I never thought I would see the day when scientific debate and inquiry, conducted by some of the most credentialed scientists in the world, would be considered a bad thing. But that is what happens when people are afraid of the truth.

Al Gore in one day rakes in more honorarium money than all of our speakers combined. Nevertheless, we have offered to pay his usual honorarium to speak at our conference, but have not heard back from Mr. Gore. We have invited Real Climate's Michael Mann to come and speak at our conference, but Mr. Mann also has failed to respond to our invitation.

Unlike Real Climate, we do not attempt to stifle scientific inquiry. Instead, we encourage it. We are equal opportunity investigators of science. As the Real Climate article above notes, we have invited many members of Real Climate to come and give presentations. It is odd that Real Climate is invited to discuss the science in a professional, scholarly environment, yet throws stones from afar, where they do not have to subject their claims to scientific scrutiny.

Perhaps Real Climate will abandon their fear of public discourse, and will reconsider their decision to decline our invitation to speak at the conference. After all, isn't honest and open scientific discussion a good thing? Please send me an email at taylor@heartland.org and, as my prior emails indicate, I would be happy to add you to our conference lineup.

Real Climate's Gavin Schmidt replied:
The level of chutzpah in your comment is breathtaking. Our 'substantive' additions to the scientific knowledge is well attested to by our publications in the peer reviewed literature and is subject to scientific scrutiny every day. I will even venture to make a prediction that the number of peer-reviewed papers on climate science we have collectively authored in the last 5 years will be substantially more than all of your speakers put together. Honest and open scientific discussion is greatly to be wished for, and in fact, happens all the time. I don't recall ever bumping into you at a real conference (AGU/AMS/EGU), but should you ever go, you'll see it how it works first hand. Your institute plays no role in that because your approach is the anti-thesis of scientific inquiry - your conclusions have been decided before you look at the evidence. When you decide to stop abusing the scientific process for political gain, then perhaps we can talk.

In saying: "Your conclusions have been decided before you look at the evidence" Schmidt is in fact of course describing the Greenie procedure. Good ol' Green/Left "projection" again. And getting papers published in journals where the editors and referees agree with you is both a doddle and no proof of anything. It is exposure to people who DISAGREE with you that is the real test and the Greenie scientists will not be in that. James Taylor further emailed Marc Morano as follows:
I would really prefer to keep the conversation with them constructive and professional, but the nasty, unprovoked, ad hominem attack they posted on their website against scientists who disagree with them was simply uncalled for.

By the way, I attempted to post a follow-up comment on their blog, but they have cut me off and refuse to post my comments. How typical of their tactics! If they are going to have a "closed" blog that does not allow dissent, they should at least be intellectually honest enough to identify it as such. Seeing as Gavin and company refuse to post comments from people who disagree with them, I will share my attempted post with you:
Gavin, I am disappointed, though not surprised, that you and your Real Climate fellow activists have refused our invitation to speak at the climate change conference (see 47, above). I can make a pretty good guess as to why. Less than a year ago, on March 14, 2007, Real Climate's Gavin Schmidt and two other global warming alarmists debated global warming against three skeptical scientists in front of the prestigious Intelligence Squared debating society in New York City. A poll of audience members prior to the debate found that the audience believed by a 2-to-1 margin (57 percent to 29 percent) that global warming is a crisis. After a lengthy debate in which all panelists had a chance to present their evidence and answer follow-up questions, the audience voted by a 46 to 42 percent margin that global warming is NOT a crisis.

Better for Real Climate activists to remain in your self-contained blogosphere and classlessly sling mud than to run the risk of another public embarrassment in a fair and honest scientific debate, right Gavin?

Another correspondent writes:
In my opinion, intelligence is a necessary part of a scientist's innate equipment, but intelligence alone is insufficient. Insight and character count too, for without them a scientist lacks judgment, the absence of which will eventuate in self-deception. Bad character leads to worse, until it undermines and defeats intelligence. I offer Gavin Schmidt as evidence for the validity of my opinion.

I might finally note that the Leftist "Think Progress" site has also weighed in with typical intellectual depth. They seem to feel that they have uttered a damning indictment by trotting out their usual boilerplate that the conference is funded by "Big oil". Getting the Green/Left to rise above ad hominem smears and actually debate the issues really is a Herculean task!

See here for theoretical physicist Lubos Motl's scathing comment on the same matter.

Posted by John Ray

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