Skeptic Failure

I became a member of CSICOP (the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) decades ago.  My Lady and I were there when they held a big fundraising event in the 1990s, featuring legendary comedian Steve Allen and some other guy named Jerry Seinfeld whom I was less impressed by.  Mr. Allen performed a skit using my Lady as the foil, which we both enjoyed tremendously. But in recent years, the organization and its many affiliates have disappointed me.

Readers here know that I have written in favor of science for a long time indeed; on LiveJournal for more than a decade, and in other venues for multiples of that time.  And their magazines (Skeptical Inquirer directly from CSICOP and Skeptic Magazine from the overlapping Skeptics Society) have often disappointed me in their credulous acceptance of global warming catastrophism, while at the same time deriding such a blind swallowing of poor science.  Another affiliated group that champions the teaching of evolution in schools has now adopted global warming as something else worth defending at all costs, even to lying about it.  (CSICOP has carried fawning articles on both Hansen and Schnieder, two catastrophist scientists who have openly advocated lies and exaggerations for the cause.)

The current issue of Skeptic is more of the same dishonesty, and the cover story is “How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused.”  Ironically, the author buys into the catastrophism notion that Global Warming is Real (it’s in his title!) and We Have to Do Something About It! in the same issue that debunks other forms of catastophism.  Not only is there no trace of skepticism — he derides skeptics as “deniers.”

To support his case, he resorts to outright falsehoods, the most obvious one (to non-scientists) being that Peter Gleick’s fabricated document is real. Gleick has already admitted, very publicly,  that it did NOT come from the Heartland Institute, but such details are evidently of no consequence to defenders.  The fraud, error, deceit, and incompetence that has been revealed in the small group of climate scientists at the core of global warming catastrophism don’t faze him.

The Heartland Institute has published a brief commentary, and Christopher Monckton’s response linked in it is worth reading.  As Monckton explains, it isn’t that skeptics “deny global warming” — it is that we note the lack of credible evidence that it amounts to a catastrophe.  In order to get to the much-vaunted “consensus,” catastrophists disingenuously count me as one of them.

  1. Is it warmer now than during the 1970s? Yes.  (But perhaps not warmer than in the years around 1940 — it isn’t in the US, and the records have been tinkered with to the same magnitude as the “catastrophic” warming.)
  2. Is CO2 capable of causing some atmospheric warming? Yes.  (But this is vastly overstated — with modeled positive feedbacks that evidence indicates are negative in reality.)
  3. Are humans contributing to the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere?  Yes.  (But to what extent is unclear, and the result of an increase of CO2 is likely to be a net gain, especially for crops.)

The “Yes” answers to these three questions make me a catastrophist, and variations of them appear on the surveys counting “consensus.” This is not honest. Nor is the Skeptic cover article.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle