On this week’s show: Some good news, and some sad news, IOP oh no!, it’s not about saving the planet, the skeptic debunk of the week and Ken Cuccinelli doesn’t know when to quit
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This morning, Stephen Schneider died of a heart attack. Schneider was one of the most well known and respected scientists studying the earths climate. He had an amazing ability to communicate the complexities of science in a manner accessible to all.
Perhaps most important of all his qualities, was the fact that he was not afraid to stand up for science and denounce denialism. This is something that is far too rare in the scientific community.
Some Videos of Schneider
IOP oh no!
If you remember, one of the sub-stories to come out the frenzy around the CRU email hack was a controversy over theInstitute Of Physics’ statement to the U.K. Science and Technology Committee in which they, among other things, suggested that the non-U.K. scientists who had been drawn into the CRU Hack controversy should be investigated by the Committee–that the committee should start an international witch hunt.
In other words, the IOP statement came across as a typical piece of denialist crap…
Following the meeting of the Science Board on 17 June 2010, it is with regret that I announce that the Energy Sub-group is to be disbanded, immediately. This, as you can imagine, is a direct consequence of the Climategate affair.
It’s not about saving the planet
The phrase “Save the Planet” was never meant to be taken literally. This hunk of rock that we live on is incredibly old and resilient, and despite what we may do on it’s surface the planet itself is in no danger. People who campaign under the save the planet banner by in large understand that the planet will be fine regardless of what humans do. Only a handful of wackos would disagree, and all of them should be simply ignored.
However some people who ought to know better, like Stanford University physicist and 1998 physics laureate Robert Laughlin, do take save the planet literally, and in doing so reveal their folly:
Common sense tells us that damaging a thing this old is somewhat easier to imagine than it is to accomplish—like invading Russia. The earth has suffered mass volcanic explosions, floods, meteor impacts, mountain formation, and all manner of other abuses greater than anything people could inflict, and it’s still here. It’s a survivor.
The planet itself may be a survivor, but specific life forms are not. The dinosaurs for example did not survive. There is no guarantee that we will survive… But we care about the human perspective. Looking at geologic time the whole of human existence is but the blink of an eye, barely noticeable, and completely insignificant. But to us it is different, as Carl Sagan sated so eloquently:
The Skeptic Debunk of the week
That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 19 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position.
Science isn’t a house of cards, ready to topple if you remove one line of evidence. Instead, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. As the body of evidence builds, we get a clearer picture of what’s driving our climate. We now have many lines of evidence all pointing to a single, consistent answer – the main driver of global warming is rising carbon dioxide levels from our fossil fuel burning.
Ken Cuccinelli doesn’t know when to quit
UVa has responded yet again to the VA Attorney General, who wants to go rooting around in Michael Mann’s sock draw
The Attorney General’s Opposition itself makes clear that the Attorney General did not issue civil investigative demands under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act to investigate fraud on Commonwealth taxpayers. Rather, the CIDs were issued in an unprecedented attempt to challenge a university professor’s peer reviewed data, methodologies and conclusions. But FATA does not authorize the Attorney General to police academic debate – and it certainly does not authorize the Attorney General to target for government investigation those who conduct scientific research with which the Attorney General disagrees.
and they get a bit bloggish
The Attorney General complains that in the graph accompanying Dr. Mann’s conclusions, the “Medieval Warm Period” and the “Little Ice Age disappeared”. FATA does not authorize an investigation into the disappearance of the “Medieval Warm Period” and the “Little Ice Age” from the presentation of Dr. Mann’s research conclusions.