The Corner

Liberty, Tyranny, and the Globe

I don’t know Jim Manzi, but given his out-of-nowhere rant, you’d think I ran over his dog or something. Feel free to read my book, and the chapter Manzi distorts and cherry-picks, yourself. You don’t need Manzi to interpret it. He’s no true expert on the subject, nor is he logical or coherent in his post. Indeed, he’s a very, very angry advocate of open and well-reasoned debate!

His style of argument here reminds me of that of Andrew Sullivan, for whom Manzi has the highest regard. Which makes me wonder: Since Manzi has appointed himself the umpire around here, will he call out Sullivan for his continuing obsession with Trig Palin in equally harsh terms? Call it the lunacy it is, or even call it “wingnuttery”? At the very least, Manzi is guilty of “epistemic one-sidededness.”

Here are the facts: There is an enormous amount of fraud and politics involved in global-warming science, some of which I mention in the chapter, much of which I didn’t have room to, and none of which Manzi acknowledges. But the research and evidence are available and extensive. I touch on it as best one can in a book that is not focused exclusively on the subject.

I would also encourage you to look at the petition Manzi disparages, having, I’m sure, carefully reviewed the qualifications of each and every expert listed, as he dismisses the entire lot of them. He mentions that 20,000 of the signatories don’t have doctorates. But more than 9,000 do.

Even so, that alone is not the standard. Reading his post, one would think they’re all a bunch of kooks and frauds. He knows this because Scientific American did the hard work of taking a small sample of the group and contacting them. Now, how scientific is that? Global-warming bloggers have unfairly attacked this petition relentlessly. Manzi simply repeats the mantra. He even refers to the phony names on the list, which he hopes will degrade the effort, without realizing that global-warming zealots are responsible for inserting them. How embarrassing.

The true believers used to cite Mann’s hockey-stick curve as conclusive evidence of man-made global warming. The graph has been demonstrated a fraud, as I point out in the chapter. They used to cite the U.N.’s IPCC findings. The panel is not scientific and its findings have become a joke, requiring the IPCC to try and save face by amending them. Manzi doesn’t talk about the temperature stations, of which there has been a great deal of research and criticism. What about Hansen’s models and recent “errors” in temperature reporting? Manzi ignores it, as he must.

Manzi mocks some of the experts cited in my chapter, dismissing them as few and inconsequential. Actually, they are very serious and substantive experts. And I mention and cite more than three. There are many others available to anyone who wants to look, but I chose to mention them for space-limitation purposes. But notice the pattern: Manzi mocked the long list of experts as well. So, I reference too few experts? Too many experts? Not the right experts?

Manzi provides us with his own list of authorities — a list of impressive-sounding and -seeming groups. As I began going through a “sample” of their findings, I noticed many of them were saying the same things and citing the same information. Could it be that Manzi, having lectured about basic research and mocked Google (Manzi’s good at mocking), actually came up with his list from Wikipedia?

Well, that’s what he did. Check it out here. It states that there are 32 academies that conclude man-made global warming is a threat that requires international action, among them the academies of Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Uganda, all of which are undoubtedly top shelf. I can’t understand why Manzi excluded them from his authoritative list.

Contrary to another of Manzi’s assertions, I make no references to conspiracies in the book, although, thanks to scores of news reports a few months back, we now know that some very notable global-warming authorities did, in fact, destroy raw data and manipulate other data to advance the global-warming argument — as Manzi might put it if he were intellectually honest, they “colluded across decades and continents to fool gullible” policymakers. Among them is Prof. Phil Jones (who, Manzi will be glad to know, has a doctorate), who had to step down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. Jones now claims that there has been no global warming since 1995. What a fickle bunch. Manzi didn’t mention any of this in his post, although he cleverly implies that anyone who isn’t epistemically open to their hoax must be wearing a tin-foil hat and obsessing over the Queen of England and the Trilateral Commission. Very compelling stuff.

In depicting global-warming doubters as lunatics, Manzi scoffs that they are at odds with the entire global scientific establishment. Manzi’s use of “entire global scientific establishment” is tellingly misleading. He uses that term to avoid saying what global-warming zealots used to say — “consensus.” The fact is that there is none. As I wrote in the chapter, “There is no consensus that man has influenced the earth’s temperature or that the earth’s temperature is warmer now than in past periods. And even if there were a consensus, science is not about majority rule.” So, where is this representation by the “entire global scientific establishment”?

Moreover, as I wrote further, MIT professor Richard Lindzen, whom Manzi approves of, classified “scientific consensus” respecting global warming as “unscientific.” But it is the global-warming alarmists who seek to cut off debate, which, again, I explain in the chapter. It’s quite remarkable to be accused of “epistemic closure” when it is Manzi who clings to a list of academies and others who insist with certitude that the end is near and we must act now no matter the cost. (By the way, here’s Lindzen in today’s Wall Street Journal, in an op-ed entitled “Climate Science In Denial — Global warming alarmists have been discredited, but you wouldn’t know it from the rhetoric this Earth Day.”)

Manzi also cannot comprehend why I would dare mention that in the 1970s, scientists were warning of global cooling and the coming Ice Age. Don’t I think that these scientists are also aware of what was said back then, he muses? Well, let’s see, could it be that the science remains as inexact or bogged down by politics today as it did then? And what if we as a society had acted on the bad information promulgated only three decades ago? That’s another debate Manzi doesn’t want to have.

Science requires proof. Where’s Manzi’s? Knowledge is something you can acquire. Class, apparently, is not.

Incidentally, there are two excellent new books out on this and related issues: Chris Horner’s Power Grab and Dr. Roy Spencer’s The Great Global Warming Blunder.


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