an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Climate Change, or Bob Sorensen Gets it Wrong….Again

Having never met a ‘load of bullshit’ that he didn’t like, our favourite fundie coward, Bob Sorensen, has run a story titled ‘Physics Professor Says Global Warming is Pseudoscientific Fraud‘ on his ‘Stormbringer’s Thunder’ blog this week. Based on a year old blog entry on the Telegraph’s website by James Delingpole, it covers a resignation letter written by the late Professor Harold Lewis. By introduction, Bob makes the following statement – 

Professor Harold Lewis boldly states that Global Warming is pseudoscience. The greatest pseudoscientific fraud. (I disagree, it is second to the pseudoscience of evolutionism.)

Let’s ignore his invention of the word ‘evolutionism’, and look at the real meat of the story. Firstly, Delingpole is a known critic of those who claim that climate change is a real threat. Looking into his background turns up his appearance on BBC’s Horizon earlier this year, a show on which he apparently made a bit of an arse of himself – read this, from the Guardian review of the show

Nurse’s interview with Delingpole was notable for forming a centrepiece to the programme, and because Delingpole complained he was stitched up on his blog, claiming that a good three hours of him being reasonable and cogent was edited out in favour of one scene where he looks like an idiot. To be fair, there are two scenes where he looks like an idiot. In one he explains that he never reads peer-reviewed scientific literature on the subject of global warming because “it’s not my job”. In the other, he condemns the scientific consensus on global warming – and consensus in general – as unscientific.

If you’d rather see for yourself how Delingpole acquitted himself just watch the following clip from that BBC show….

So, we have an initial article written by a man who admits he doesn’t bother reading peer reviewed papers….that in itself doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong, but it does show that he has an agenda before he even sits down to write his articles. 

But what of Professor Lewis? Well, his letter was his resignation to the American Physical Society, and they responded to it

There is no truth to Dr. Lewis’ assertion that APS policy statements are driven by financial gain. To the contrary, as a membership organization of more than 48,000 physicists, APS adheres to rigorous ethical standards in developing its statements. The Society is open to review of its statements if members petition the APS Council – the Society’s democratically elected governing body – to do so.
Dr. Lewis’ specific charge that APS as an organization is benefitting financially from climate change funding is equally false. Neither the operating officers nor the elected leaders of the Society have a monetary stake in such funding. Moreover, relatively few APS members conduct climate change research, and therefore the vast majority of the Society’s members derive no personal benefit from such research support.

Hmmmm, looks like some of the things that Professor Lewis said were downright untrue, the the APS are more than willing to hold their records up for examination by anyone who wants to look… Again, it’s interesting, but it doesn’t automatically mean Lewis was wrong about climate change.

Why then, if I’m being so balanced here, am I writing this at all? Well, as is so often the way with hapless Bob’s blog posts, news has come out today that completely debunks Lewis’s position.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, investigated several key issues that sceptics claim can skew global warming figures and found they had no meaningful effect on world temperature trends.
Researchers at the Berkeley Earth project compiled more than a billion temperature records dating back to the 1800s from 15 sources around the world and found that the average global land temperature has risen by around 1C since the mid-1950s.

Yes, it does say ‘more than a billion temperature records’, I’d say that was pretty conclusive. Now, this information hasn’t yet been peer reviewed, and it might turn out to be wrong, but I will be very surprised if it is.

It’s a shame that Bob believes anything that Right Wingers say, and it’s a tragedy that he doesn’t bother to check his sources, or do more than the most basic of delving into the topics he ‘writes’ about. One can’t help but feel that if someone like Ann Coulter said that the world was flat, Bob would rush to his PC and mindlessly parrot this ‘fact’ to the world in his typically dismissive style.

It must be terrifying and frustrating living in Bob’s world, and I feel sorry for him.

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