AN OPEN LETTER TO RICHARD DAWKINS: MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE or is SCIENCE SUBJECTIVE?

Dear Richard,

Hope all is well. With the Copenhagen Summit nearing its end, and little apparent consensus on anything, I read this quote from you today (from December 7, 2009):

“Whatever you think about global warming and whether humans are responsible, I think we have to salute this remarkable feat of international cooperation. Here is an account, by a Guardian journalist, of the difficult process of getting the joint editorial together.”

My wife doesn’t think I should take issue with you for saying “Whatever you think…” She’s probably right. She’s almost always right. Nonetheless, with thousands of life-forms supposedly in peril—including our own—it really pushed a button in me, and I do take issue.

For since when do you say, “Whatever you think…” about anything? With respect to believers in God, I don’t think you’d every say: “Whatever you think…” You’ve said, in fact, things like some religious believers are “pig-headed and ignorant.” Fair enough, as a passing comment.

But with climate change, and going by your scientific guidelines, shouldn’t we only “salute this remarkable feat” if it’s in support of something true? For Richard—and I don’t disagree with your condescension here either—you do not salute two million people from countless nations gathering in Rome to wave to the Pope, as “remarkable” a “feat of international cooperation” as that may be.

And, because my issue with the above quote might just be one of semantics, or a misinterpretation, I actually take issue with it in combination with this quote from you in 2008:

“I am not that well versed on climate science and don’t feel qualified to take on the deniers. I am well versed in evolution, however, and that is why I am happy to take on creationists.”

I apologize if I’ve missed a lot of your writing on the subject, but that quote just doesn’t cut it.

To the contrary, Richard, you take on creationists and spirituality and, thankfully, extremists, while actually having, admittedly, very limited knowledge about the nuance of, say, Eastern philosophy, religion and belief (not an insignificant part of the story and, admittedly, a topic of interest to me).

However, you are a scientist—a great scientist. So I wonder this: as virulently outspoken as you are against your religious opponents, when will you be similarly outspoken where your scientific colleagues are concerned—one group of which must be dangerously wrong—and state for the record what the scientific data shows to be true, or what it doesn’t show to be true, in terms of climate change?

SCIENCE WITHOUT INTEGRITY IS BAD RELIGION

Why is this important? I’ll give you my reasons, but keep in mind—and I’m serious about this disadvantage—my IQ is undeniably not nearly as high as yours.

Nonetheless, I think your integrity—your fairness and objectivity—as a human being may be dependent upon taking an aggressive stance, not to mention vital to a portion of world perception, with regard to so-called man-made climate change.

Also, can you please explain how the lay-person is to understand the so-called rationale and clarity of science, when all these scientists, often with access to the same “incontrovertible” facts, are truly at each others’ throats with insults and accusations?

Further, you are considered one of the world’s most important intellectuals and you are undeniably brilliant in the field of evolutionary biology. I have read several of your bestsellers, as well as your largely ‘non-evolution’ book The God Delusion. Are religious fundamentalists in fact an utter disaster for humanity? Dangerous? To be sure, some are.

But from your point of view—and mine—fundamentalists are known to be irrational, and religion tends to be pathologically speculative.

But scientists and science? Is that not all about being rational? Impartial? So if we are truly in danger of mass extinction by our actions, why aren’t you becoming “well versed in climate science” to aggressively oppose those scientists who deny man-made climate change?

I fear your hatred for religion combined with your unstoppable belief in science has stopped you questioning if in fact science can deliver all you promise it can deliver.

Let me explain.

SERVING LIFE, SERVING DEATH

Only a fool would deny that the way human beings have come to understand and interact with the planet, through science and scientific advancements, is jaw-dropping in the extreme—I’m talking a jaw dragging on the floor, where once only our knuckles dragged. That I am right now alive thanks to modern medicine and using a small machine in my office to write this open letter, and then with one click of a button will post it to millions (well, in my case, hundreds) of other humans, is mind-boggling.

But similarly, only a fool (or a liar) would deny the mountains of experimental and experiential evidence of human carnage that proves scientists have produced and continue to produce the most hideous yet mind-blowing array of military weapons and environmental poisons imaginable, seemingly forever unsatisfied with their previous subsidized models of utter destruction.

Indeed, some of the greatest scientists of the 20th century gathered during World War II in Los Alamos to relentlessly pursue and capture the secrets of atomic fusion and fission, and created weaponry capable of destroying the species. Some still argue it was the right thing to do.

MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE and CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS

And here we are with so-called man-made climate change, which according to many scientists, threatens the species as we’ve never been threatened before. For the record, but only via the news and my limited understanding of science and the data, I tend to agree with this thesis—I’ve even written for desmogblog.com—and it makes me scared for myself and all species on the planet.

I also fear that the monstrous size and nature of this ugly debate, and its resulting confusion, may be pushing to the fringes utterly undeniable environmental disasters. For example, the increasing lack of potable water for billions of humans; or the pending disaster (or ingenuity) that will arise with the continued depletion of fossil fuels.

Further, as the deniers of climate change become more persuasive—and they are, evidently, thanks to scientists and the media—I believe a side-effect of this polarized debate is oozing into a significant percentage of the masses and suggesting that all loud environmental concerns are likely exaggerated Left Wing/ New World Order conspiratorial ploys. And you think you had problems with religious fanatics? This is devastating to intelligent life.

SO WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT SCIENCE?

I’m not sure what you think, but it seems to me that if scientists observing the same scientific data can end up in such a war of words, insults and polarized results, one can conclude a couple of possibilities, or a combination thereof:

One, that a scientist’s perspective on scientific data is actually alarmingly subjective—despite being considered science. Thus, one could ask, under certain conditions, of what use is it—particularly with human existence under pressure?

Or, two, if the scientific data on, say, climate change, is as undeniable as scientists say (on whichever side), then a percentage of scientists obviously can be so easily bought as to leave scientific ‘fact’ in peril—as we’ve seen perhaps with countless conscious or unconscious scientific stooges for, say, Big Pharma, or the Military Industrial Complex.

Both conclusions, incidentally, seem to be anathema to your belief that the scientific method is the ideology to live by if we are to survive as a species.

As you have said:

“Science is actually one of the most moral, one of the most honest disciplines around—because science would completely collapse if it weren’t for a scrupulous adherence to honesty in the reporting of evidence.”

At this point, Richard, while the species waits to see if what you say about science is accurate—or accurate enough—I’m more worried that what will “completely collapse” is the biosphere.

And there may be “a scrupulous adherence to honesty” in the science behind creating, say, nuclear weapons—one of untold science-driven inventions of devastation—but I’d be hesitant to use the word moral.

MAN-MADE MAN

So where are you, Richard? Are you even a little bit aware or even ashamed, if not of science, of the limits of character and integrity within your scientific family, plagued as they seem to be by dishonesty and confusion—not unlike all others in all other facets of human existence? It’s obvious the exhausted George Monbiot is wringing his hands in lonely desperation. But George is a mere journalist. You are a scientist who declares science to be our only real hope. If we are truly in peril as a species, and being a scientist of great renown, shouldn’t you be a lot louder than George Monbiot?

THE EXTERNALITIES OF FREE SPEECH

In short, Richard, as of late 2009, most solidarity-inducing forms of listening, trust, debate and kindness between people of differing views but similar vulnerabilities seem to have gone to the dogs.

We lay people need you and other ‘rational’ scientists to step up with your detailed analysis of the evidence because it is vital for both the continued integrity of science and, evidently, life as we know it. And hopefully detailed analysis from outside a person’s scientific field will leave him or her less vulnerable to being sold out to big business or a rapacious desire for continued funding. Or perhaps not. Perhaps science, like politics, is to a frightening degree now run by corporations and lobbyists.

You alone have sold over two million copies of The God Delusion. Put some real clout behind the climate-change science. After all, so many of your colleagues are saying this is the greatest catastrophe in human history. Many other colleagues are saying it is a hoax. Ah, science—it’s beginning to sound like religion.

So I ask you, where do the scientist “deniers” of man-made climate change—with access to the same data as the “believers”—fit into your definition of science?

Many people undoubtedly want to know, including me, because as a non-scientist I’m truly confused by what are these days passing for science and freedom of speech—which has become a free-for-all led by the richest, rudest and most inflammatory. Are we not, all of us, unconsciously deafened by a cacophony of intentional lies, half-truths and unreason—sometimes our own?

Indeed, it is not solely the deniers of man-made climate change that make my belief in man-made climate change less stable, but also relentless boardroom manipulations like legalized theft for multinational corporations via carbon-tax speculation and the unconscionable lengths to which the financial sector will reshape reality to maximize profit.

And if the problem is largely the media—which have served your work so well—then, my god, rail against media (and use science if it helps).

SOLIDARITY

Either way, in my opinion, as surely as any decent religious person should aggressively disown foul and murderous commands within their given holy text, you are ethically obliged to come out in full force against either the fallibility of scientific consensus due to the subjectivity quotient of scientific data, or the accidental incompetence of some of your scientific colleagues, or the corruptibility of some of your scientific colleagues (on whichever side).

In comparison, your attack on religion was easy. Why? Two reasons. Firstly, you don’t by definition respect religious believers. Secondly, many aspects of religion are laughably and hopelessly irrational. But these scientists are the proponents of your ideology and your bread and butter. They may even be your friends.

Are the facts obvious or not? Or are we experiencing The Man-Made Climate-Change Delusion?

Richard, if man-made climate change is truly putting the species at severe risk, please put field selectivity aside as you have surely done before. We need your honesty, your wisdom, your integrity, your outrage and your commitment to humanity.

If not, we lay people may just resort to prayer.

Sincerely and with affection,

Pete

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18 Responses to “AN OPEN LETTER TO RICHARD DAWKINS: MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE or is SCIENCE SUBJECTIVE?”

  1. Sue says:

    Hi Pete,

    I commend you for calling Richard Dawkins on his hypocrisies, re his belief that he is “qualified” to attack religion for its creationist perspective just because he studies evolutionary biology, yet he hides behind his specialty saying he’s not really qualified to comment on climate change because he’s not that familiar with environmental science?! Give me a break! Perhaps if he spent less time taking pot shots at other ways of knowing and understanding the world around us, and more time actually reading more about how we as a species (whose egos and smartness have apparently evolved way too quickly to now sustain us or other life forms on the planet) have in fact caused most of the damage to the earth over the last few hundred years–largely due to our reliance on fossil fuels and their rather toxic by-products (or got out of the old paradigm of being narrowly confined within his discipline) he might be willing to take a stand? My sense is that in the larger scheme of things, he still wouldn’t want to risk upsetting the brotherhood of science by challenging some of the dubious scientific claims put forth by scientists in the pay of large corporations. Maybe he should start taking a look at how human inventions and interventions are in fact wreaking havoc on the subsequent evolution of various species…

    I’m not sure that science has ever been entirely rational or objective (and the social sciences even less so!)–despite what we have been told by our science teachers. We have been hoodwinked into believing this is so–as were our well-meaning but unquestioning science teachers–but “it ain’t necessarily so”! Ironically, I have my graduate education in a social sciences discipline to thank profusely for bring these illusions/delusions to my attention. It was my good fortune that I had theories teachers who thought it vitally important to have an understanding of the sociology of knowledge (and how it’s built and shapes disciplines) and the philosophy of science–and better yet we were exposed to thinkers–gasp!–dared to challenge the entire status quo of science!

    If you haven’t already come across this book, you might want to look into Paul Feyerabend’s book “Against Method”. Feyerabend actually started out as a physicist and somehow morphed into a philosopher of science–although from what I gather from his biography, it would appear that he was really a sociologist/philosopher at heart. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Feyerabend) To close, here are a couple of Feyerabend’s thoughts on science and the nonscientific method that I’ve cut and pasted from the same website (the website includes the full citations).

    Feyerabend commented on the Galileo affair as follows:

    The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just, and revisionism can be legitimized solely for motives of political opportunism.[1][2][3]

    and this on the separation of philosophy from scientific training:

    [edit] The decline of the physicist-philosopher

    Feyerabend was critical of the lack of knowledge of philosophy shown by the generation of physicists that emerged after WWII:

    The withdrawal of philosophy into a “professional” shell of its own has had disastrous consequences. The younger generation of physicists, the Feynmans, the Schwingers, etc., may be very bright; they may be more intelligent than their predecessors, than Bohr, Einstein, Schrodinger, Boltzmann, Mach and so on. But they are uncivilized savages, they lack in philosophical depth — and this is the fault of the very same idea of professionalism which you are now defending.[6]

    Keep on writing, Pete! Your “blessays” are great and a real inspiration.

    Hugs and blessings,
    Sue

  2. Erynn says:

    I’ll admit I’m well-convinced that a huge chunk of climate change is human-caused. I’m no happier with that knowledge than any other person with a functional conscience. I do what I can (but obviously not enough) on my own to reduce my contribution to this, but corporate and political entities need to change as well to swing the situation.

    Scientists are human beings as much as anyone else and of course some of them are going to be unethical, some of them will be upstanding, some will take corporate bribes, and some will respond to political pressure.

    I agree that respected scientists in any field should be speaking out against this destruction. So should anyone who breathes and drinks water and eats the fruits of the earth. Yet politics and money, as always, speak louder than the voices of the people who are affected by those politics and that money.

    Individual changes do make a difference, but not enough of one. No matter what I do personally in terms of changed behavior, it’s not going to make a dent in comparison to what one corporation or government entity could if it shifted its policies and practices. The most effective thing, imo, is still going to be activism and calling political and financial powers to task on their egregious disregard for humanity and everyone else on the planet. There are far higher goals than reelection or shareholder profits.

  3. [...] couple of paragraphs and the mention of Big Pharma (the Pharmaceutical Industry) are from my Open Letter to Richard Dawkins a day or two ago—he hasn’t written back! And then below them, I quote from an interview [...]

  4. mag says:

    well said pete. while religion may factor who the current resident of the white house is; it most certainly doesn’t affect Industry. At least no where near to the point that Science does. so i understand why Dick needs to watch his words carefully as i’m sure the kinda shit he does costs ALOT of money and is VALUABLE information.

    i’m sure you are aware of other scientists who have championed this subject and we are lucky enough to have a few of them here in our province. i saw david suzuki last week out at UBC. I felt shell shocked as i left the performance. i’m pretty current on this stuff and still i was speechless. Did you know that half of the nobel prize winning scientists signed a letter that was messaged with their concerns for the environment and delivered to the UN? These are our Worlds Brightest minds. No news. Nothing ever happened with this.

    I attended a mock trial on the steps of the VAG one sunny afternoon a few weeks back. stephen harper and jim prentice on trial for climate crime. Bill Rees of carbon footprint status was there speaking. Our earth is .8 degrees hotter. At 2 degrees of change things start to look pretty bleak my friend. Both politicians were convicted of their crimes. is it possible to give harper the boot?

    i believe that most scientists believe that this global warming isn’t the first time it has happened on our planet. There lies heaps of safety net for the Industry exposed scientist. The difference is the speed that it is happening. Here lies proof positive that we don’t need science after all. most impartially funded scientists fear the exponential growth. Suzuki gave an excellent description of this. earth is a biosphere. imagine our earth, our biosphere, as the size of a bottle of water. the whole earth. all the air. all the water. everything we would need to live is contained in this bottle of water. enough to live for 60 mins. There is one cell that starts all life in this biosphere and it multiplies every minute. 2 cells. 4 cells. 8 cells. exponential growth. At the 59 minute there will be 50% capacity left in the biosphere. ONE minute before this biosphere collapses a whole 50% is LEFT! 58 minutes 75% capacity left. 97% of the biosphere remains at the 55th minute. You can imagine how hard it would be to get someone in that biosphere to get excited about climate change at the 55th minute.

    We have nearly 7 billion people on our planet. I used to fish with my dad in the fraser river. i would be able to see the salmon in hundreds. and now our oceans molecular structure contains plastic bits. i drank raw buffalo milk whiling living in india. milk in canada makes me vomit. our diet in the west is so criminal we should all be on trial. we use fresh water to wash oil out of sand. there are people without any water to drink on our planet. deserts are growing. fresh water supply is decreasing. How important are our cars? How much more can this planet give? Are we in the 55 minute? 57, 58, 59? When i said earlier that we no longer need the scientists. we are the scientists! the climate is changing baby and it’s getting in hot in here. doesn’t take a noble prize winner to figure this out.

    a shift in values is upon us pete. i see it every week in my small circle of influence.

    lv mag

  5. Carlos Wotzkow says:

    Ohhh, what a surprise!!!
    Richard bieleve in Climate Change?
    Did he believe in that BS since the 70′s, when all these pseudoscientists mentioned the Global Cooling? Or it is just since IPCC started to receive lots of money from other believers? I have been checking around 30 videos of Dawkins in Youtube, he always answered in such a unprofessional manner that I do not listen to him anymore.
    BTW, do you noticed how carefull is Richard with the islamists in his own backyard? Is he afraid of the islamist God?
    He is definitevely an oportinist, and if you see his speach at Berkeley University you will agree he is converted to comunism

  6. [...] I have written Richard Dawkins an open letter begging him to speak out more against scientists and the science that create the most immoral, life-destroying products—or at least speak out in some sort of [...]

  7. Cameron Moore says:

    I don’t pretend to know the precise temperature increase that would result from a doubling in co2 concentrations in the atmosphere (the correct method of describing temperature increase in relation to co2 levels due to the logarithmic nature of their relationship), which distinguishes me from the IPCC.

    The problem I have with the “science” of the man-made global warming is their prognostications about the effect this warming will have on the planet; droughts, floods, hurricanes, drastic sea level rises of 20 feet “imminently” (according to Gore), mass species extinction, plague, pestulence, famine, death, war over remaining water sources.

    The comman sense reality is that warmth is GOOD for life, high co2 concentrations are a boon for plant life (we can already see the effect of increasing co2 concentrations in the retreat of the Sahara desert). Sea levels will continue to rise at around 1-2cm per year on average as they have been doing for the past 10,000 years.

    “Climate scientists” are just computer modelers and not very good ones at that, their job consists of plugging a load of variables into a poorly designed model intended to predict the weather years in advance then publishing the scariest scenario that pops out the other end and calling it science. They have NO empirical evidence for these positive feedback loops they tack on to their models to enable a suitably disastrous prediction.

    The main players in this fraud are few in number, the rest of the supporters just nod their head in agreement, probably thinking that it’s not their field so they should stay out of it unless asked to sign some petition. This small cabal can be seen in the “climategate” emails plotting how to subvert the peer review process by having disobedient journal editors fired even as they shoot down the “deniers” by claiming they haven’t been published in a peer reviewed journal so their arguement is worthless. Gloating over the death of sceptical scientists and blatantly FABRICATING data.

  8. Thanks for the great notes. So much debate, so little time—even with technology. Throwing ‘prognostications’ onto data is indeed at times a grand problem, and more dogma than dog gone science.

    Oh, Cameron, what does this mean exactly?:

    The comman sense reality is that warmth is GOOD for life, high co2 concentrations are a boon for plant life (we can already see the effect of increasing co2 concentrations in the retreat of the Sahara desert).

    I thought so-called desertification was and is a grand problem.

    Thanks again.

    All the best,

    Pete

  9. Dana Visalli says:

    I just finished Dawkin’s ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’ and was so impressed by both Dawkins intellect and his fastidious avioidance of taking sides in the iimmumerable arguments within the evolutionary story of life that I googled ‘Dawkins on climate change’…..and got this essay, along with quite a bit else. Fascinating to see that he has not ‘taken a side.’

    There are big issues with the climate change debate, many of them with a scientific basis. But who can bring them up without being crucified? In general, and within limits, warmth is good for life; outside my window everything is covered with snow at the moment, and the plants are all dead, or act dead. College botany texts will point out that the optimum level of CO2 for photosynthesis appears to be about 1000 ppm, and hypothesize that plants evolved their current physiology 50 million years ago when there was more CO2 in the atmosphere. Think about it….they do need CO2 to survive, and that minute proportion in the atmosphere, 380 ppm, has to simply diffuse into the microscopic holes in the leaves–the stomata. It’s incredibly inefficient.
    The biosphere itself is composed of innumerable feedback loops of immeasurable complexity; we barely know that such loops exist and we do not know what they all are nor how they work. Think of gargantuan changes that have occured on the planet through time, with ice advancing and retreating many, many times, continents shifting positions constantly, volcanoes blasting Co2 into the atmosphere on a regular basis for 4 billion years…..
    A further problem is the human ego. Once a scientist or a public figure has taken a stand, they are incapable of changing their perspective; the ego will not allow it. Also, climate change is a ‘movement’ and it commands big research money, all good reasons to remain skeptical.
    Lastly, and this is not nice, the real problem on the planet is the size of the human population, which has well overshot it’s carrying capacity and is wreaking havoc with individual species, entire ecosystems, and the biosphere as a whole. An ecological response to a species out of control is utterly inevitable; a reduction in the human population is utterly inevitable, a no-brainer. If you have empathy or love for the larger world you first goal should be reducing the human population….and climate change could be your best ally.

  10. Thanks, Dana, interesting points. The last one a little too Malthusian for my little heart—although you may be right! That will be nature’s decision. I prefer to think in terms of the Gandhi saying, something to the effect of: “The Lord made enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” As for Dawkins, he isn’t obliged to take a stand, but I just thought it ironic, because he’s often so certain in o many of his comments, sometimes without sufficient evidence. He certainly is a great writer in the world of evolutionary biology. I’ve read a couple or more of his books, and hi TED talk is great. Thanks again for taking the time to read such a long essay!

    All the best. Keep warm,

    Pete

  11. jane says:

    I agree that it is ironic that Richard Dawkins is hedging his bets about climate change. Afterall most scientists actually agree it is happening and it is human induced. But then perhaps it is not so ironic. One of the great proponents for human induced climate change is James Lovelock and this is in part due to his Gaia theory. Gaia is the theory that the Earth, its atmosphere and its systems have an interconnection and regulate each other to fit Earth for life. In fact life itself is part of the interconnetion. Richard Dawkins is highly critical of the said theory – little too close to a belief in God – although Gaia says nothing of the sort. But the theory is not inconsistent with a God and would undermine Dawkins’ campaign that belief in God is irrational. If one accepts human induced climate change then its a short step to accepting Gaia.

  12. Hey Jane,

    Thanks for the comment. Interesting thought. Can our own dogma in so-called rational fields blind us? Of course, history shows a whopping yes. And one of Lovelock’s great answers to the problem is nuclear energy—also highly controversial. But I must say, if science is THE answer to most everything, which is not far (if at all) from Dawkins’ point of view, and many, many scientists have stated the massive, dire threat of global warming to the species, it does surprise me how little Dawkins—an evolutionary biologist for god’s sake—and others have been willing to speak out, gather forces, instead forming atheist clubs for, a lot of the time, the mystically impaired. Like life as we know it is solved!

  13. Helgi says:

    I think you are making too much of this. Unless there is more to Dawkin’s position than can be gleaned from the quotes above, it seems to me he is simply saying that he isn’t qualified to respond to climate deniers, which as an evolutionary biologist, he isn’t. If this position was taken by most of the climate change deniers, there would be a lot less climate change denial. The scientific consensus is clearly on the side of those contending that anthropogenic climate change is occurring. While the scientific consensus has been wrong before, it is the best tool we have. And that’s all the scientific method is. A tool. It has obviously been a great tool in some ways, but the way this tool has been used in other ways seems to be taking us towards a convergence of multiple environmental catastrophes. That you can justifiably argue we would have been better off never having developed this tool doesn’t invalidate the effectiveness of the tool.
    Seems to me you could criticize Dawkins for not more strongly supporting the scientific consensus. This consensus is produced by people and is therefore inherently fallible and prone to manipulation, but the system of peer reviewed academic journals is (in my opinion) one of the most trustworthy and self-correcting intellectual endeavors created by humankind. It’s focus tends to be narrow and technical, not broadly moral, but within the area of that focus we have nothing better. Not much good for deciding how we should live our lives though.
    Also, as a side note, I don’t think too many climate scientists would agree that it is a short step to the Gaia hypothesis from accepting anthropogenic climate change. A bit of a stretch.

  14. Oakwood says:

    I can suggest why Dawkins does not take a position on CC. He is probably a sceptic, but seeing the debate has become so polarized, does not want to get involved and let it distract from his own focus areas.

    I am a scientist, environmentalist, and recognize there are many big environmental and social problems in the world, including malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water, disease, poverty, etc. I have followed the CC debate for many years, originally open minded, but now a confirmed sceptic. But most AGW believers would call me a “denier” with a reaction equivalent to telling a devout religious believer that you don’t believe in God. I am a fan of Dawkins. His capacity for challenging silly and non-scientific arguments is sharp. I would therefore find it hard to believe that if he studied the evidence for and against AGW that he would not be sceptical.

    The CC debate is a tragedy for science, and a tragedy for all the attention and investment being diverted from genuine problems.

    The most telling aspect of the AGW faith is that it has no room for scientific debate and scepticism. This is not science.

    In the 2 years since this article was first written, we are stilling waiting for global warming to get back on track. This should be good news, but to AGW believers, this is just a big disappointment.

  15. Terry Coupland says:

    Some food for thought:

    All life is carbon based. Both carbon dioxide and water are required for
    photosynthesis. Without carbon dioxide or water, life, as we know it, would
    not exist.

    Carbon dioxide contributes 4 to 8% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect, water
    vapour 70% and water droplets in clouds 20%.

    When fossil fuels are burned, energy, carbon dioxide and water are produced in the formula:

    HYDROCARBON + OXYGEN = ENERGY + CARBON DIOXIDE + WATER

    The US Environmental Protection Agency has declared that carbon dioxide is a
    pollutant. Julia Gillard, PM of Australia (for now), used the same terminology when she announced her ill-conceived carbon tax. Using the same distorted logic, water is also a pollutant.

  16. Melanie says:

    Terry you are right, but it is not distorted logic. Water is – while not necessarily a pollutant – a major greenhouse gas. Why? It holds substantial amounts of long wave radiation emitted by the Earth in our atmosphere, greatly increasing the warming effect. Furthermore, a differentiation must be made between global warming and climate change. Both are occurring. With present and projected levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, the global temperature will increase (global warming), but Earth will be affected in different ways in different areas; Areas that are warm will get warmer, dry areas will become drier, areas that receive much precipitation will have an increase in precipitation. But water is an indirect player in the GHG game. As the Earth warms with increased CO2 emissions, more water is absorbed into the atmosphere. As more water is absorbed more heat is held in the atmosphere, which accentuates the warming. It is a positive feedback loop.

  17. Sonny Smith says:

    I think by not taking a position on CC Dawkins can be assumed to be a sceptic.

    Food for thought:
    There has been no real global warming in the atmosphere or in the oceans for over a decade. This can be seen in NASA’s satellite data and Argo bouy project. This was not (could not) be predicted by climate models because they are fundamentally flawed.They treat additional evaporation due to warming as a positive feedback which amplifies (triples) the 1.2 degree warming expected for a doubling in CO2. This is wrong. We know it is wrong because weather baloons have failed to find the characteristic hot spot at 10km in the greenhouse layer. All the models predicted that this would exist. All the models predicted warming of the ocean. Since 2003 (when accurate measurements were first possible) ocean temperatures have flatlined.

    Do what’s happened? The scientists funded by government have needed to conceal te failure of their theory by lying, cheating and distorting the evidence.

    Why?

    Job security.
    You can’t get a man tonundertand something when his job depends on him not understanding it.
    Ideology.
    Many suffer from noble cause corruption. While behind closed doors they admit the faults of the models they believe that transitioning to renewable energy is desirable so continue to sell te junk science.
    Ego.
    Who wants to admit they are wrong?

    The most useful sceptic resource is a website from an Australian blogger Jo Nova. Her partner David Evans (also a sceptic) used to consult for the Australian greenhouse office as a carbon modeler.

    http://www.joannenova.com.au

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