Thursday, May 24, 2007

More Great Inconvenient Letters

Now the Post has letters responding to letters regarding shutting down the classroom debate on global warming, and using Gore's film as gospel truth.


From B. Mark Podolak of Ottawa:

Kenneth Paradis of Wilfrid Laurier University states in his letter that opponents of Al Gore's views should "be given an amount of classroom time in proportion to their representation in the scientific literature," before he rather contemptuously adds, "there certainly might be a minute or two presentation of alternative theories."
It is this attitude that causes academics to be held in such low regard in the real world. The professor should remember two important points: 1. Academics are granted tenure in order to ensure that debate of the common orthodoxy can take place in the universities; and 2. the common academic orthodoxy once held that the Earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth -- and debate on that idea was not allowed.
If the professor is unwilling to allow debate on climate change, then one must conclude that he fears the results of that debate.



Well, Gore's fans seem to be saying that any further debate is a waste of time; that it is ignoring the obvious:

..Isn't it enough that there is a significant consensus among scientists that human activity is contributing to global warming? Doesn't reason suggest that there is a greater likelihood that the prevailing scientific view is right? And given the consequences if we continue to ignore what they are telling us, isn't it the worst kind of folly to just sit back and hope against hope that they are mistaken?



However, Professor R.M. Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University in Townsville, Australia states:

Al Gore's film conveniently ignores that we live on a dynamic planet, and that all of the phenomena about which he raises alarm fluctuate naturally all the time. If teachers are to show An Inconvenient Truth in classrooms at all, then they must inform students that the ex-vice president's arguments are very weak.
As an example, take Mr. Gore's statements on glaciers. Students must be taught that glaciers flow. The rate of advance or retreat of their snout is a function of the overall mass balance of the glacier and the rate of flow. The mass balance includes the melting or breakaway at the bottom end. That parts of the Larson B ice shelf broke off from Antarctica in 2002 is part of the natural process of glacier flow off Antarctica that has gone on for eons.
Teachers must also explain that both the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are thickening, and that the temperature at the South Pole has declined by more than one degree Celsius since 1950. And the area of sea ice around the continent has increased over the last 20 years.
It is incredible that this scientifically unbalanced "docu-ganda" is commanding any public attention at all.
"Docu-ganda". Heh.


But this one by Jack Sands of Markham, Ontario is my favourite; probably because it resonates so well with the quote posted above my blog profile:

A brilliant scholar once told my class, "It's not the truth that makes you free; it's the search for truth." People who want to impose their "truth" without discussion, about climate change or anything else, are a menace not only to science but to a free society.

I couldn't agree more.

13 comments:

Lemon said...

Where do icebergs come from, Daddy?
Why, son, they just appear magically. They're created by ice fairies.
By Santa Claus so he can have a summer residence on an island.

Steph said...

It's incredible to me how easily bad science can be propagated by the fear mongering of those who arrogantly present their theories as facts. I suppose it's only natural for the public to want a simple answer to something they don't fully understand rather than realizing that quite often, in the complex world in which we live, the simple answer is often incomplete, insufficient, or outright false.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Steph, very well said indeed.

I think it all boils down to laziness on the part of the general public - they are looking for 10 second news sound-bytes from the media.

Unfortunately, some issues require more time and commitment.

x2para said...

Haven't you people been paying attention? The debate is over. David Suzuki says so. It has to be CO2 it could'nt possibly be anything else because if it was then Kyoto would be just a big fraud along with all the other enviro-tyrany that's being foisted on us.
Al Gore was right though, when he said that if all the Arctic ice melted sea level would rise 20'. What he didn't mention was that it would take a thousand years IF all global warming predictions are right AND their world famous computer models are also right. However these computer models when used to try to predict todays weather when in forcast mode with a starting date of say 1880 are totally wrong and by a wide margin. This is what High Priest Gore wants us to put our faith in? Can you say huckster?

PGP said...

The first mistake is taking the Gore - O - Drama as an example of science!

That very act discredits all subsequent discussion.
The fact the public officials and worse teachers intend to use this as curriculum material or even as extra-curriculum only goes to show the very low standards we have accepted in education and public office.

PGP said...

Good teachers would be exposing the manipulation that is being practiced!

Anonymous said...

Earnest fascists are the worst kind.

Brian in Calgary said...

We just woke up to 10-15 cm of wet snow here in Calgary (I'm sure glad I cut the grass yesterday since my sister & I have a push mower, but I digress). I wonder how the Kyoto Treaty enthusiasts will manage to blame that snow on global warming.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Brian, everything is caused by global warming, didn't you know that?

lol. Sorry to have to tell you this, but we just turned on the A/C here in Southern Ontario.

PGP said...

".............. we just turned on the A/C here in Southern Ontario."
Don't you feel just a little bit Guilty? .)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

PGP - Not even a smidgen.

liberal supporter said...

Don't worry, be happy!

wayward son said...

From one of the LOE

"That parts of the Larson B ice shelf broke off from Antarctica in 2002 is part of the natural process of glacier flow off Antarctica that has gone on for eons."

Calling the largest disintegration of an ice shelf in what is believed to be 10,000 years normal seems a bit much. Furthermore it was not "parts" of Larsen B that broke off, but 60% of an iceshelf which had been intact for at least 12,000 years. In 35 days ice the size of Rhode Island disintegrated. Ice that was 220 meters thick. For years I watched the ice on lake I used on break up. Sure it was a little faster than 35 days, but it was far from 730 feet thick.

x2para - "Al Gore was right though, when he said that if all the Arctic ice melted sea level would rise 20'."

I think you mean Greenland, arctic ice melt will not raise sea level as the ice is already in the water.

"However these computer models when used to try to predict todays weather when in forcast mode with a starting date of say 1880 are totally wrong and by a wide margin."

Can you provide an example?

pgp - "The first mistake is taking the Gore - O - Drama as an example of science!"

Despite so many scientists saying that Gore basically got the science right?

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/06/10/truths/index_np.html