Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Logical Case Against Climate Panic

Lord Monckton has been a bastion of scientific thought and logic in the fight against hysteria regarding the anthropogenic theory of global warming.  He's done it again in "The Logical Case Against Climate Panic."

Some excellent bits:
“Consensus” is the New Religion’s central fallacy. Arguing blindly from consensus is the head-count fallacy, the argumentum ad populum. Al-Haytham, founder of the scientific method, wrote: “The seeker after truth does not put his faith in any mere consensus. Instead, he checks.”
Claiming that the “consensus” is one of revered experts is the argumentum ad verecundiam, the fallacy of appeal to authority. T.H. Huxley said in 1860, “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties: blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”
Note that believing without verifying based on the testimony of "those who know better" is religion.  You may not have the background to read the detailed analysis of research, but you can at least apply a skeptical eye to what's presented and ask, "Does that make sense?  Why or why not?"  Whether your prophets wear robes or lab coats, if you do not question, that's what they are.
Believers talk of a “consensus of evidence”. Yet evidence cannot hold opinions. Besides, there has been no global warming for 18 years; sea level has risen for eight years at just 1.3 in/century; notwithstanding Sandy, hurricane activity is at its least in the 33-year satellite record; ocean heat content is rising four and a half times more slowly than predicted; global sea-ice extent has changed little; Himalayan glaciers have not lost ice; and the U.N.’s 2005 prediction of 50 million “climate refugees” by 2010 was absurd. The evidence does not support catastrophism.

Believers say: “Only if we include a strong warming effect from CO2 can we explain the past 60 years’ warming. We know of no other reason.” This is the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental fallacy of argument from ignorance. Besides, natural variability is reason enough.
They say: “Global warming is accelerating, so we are to blame.” Even if warming were accelerating, this non sequitur is an instance of the argumentum ad causam falsam, the fallacy of arguing from a false cause. They go on to say: “CO2 concentration has risen; warming has occurred; the former caused the latter.” This is the post hoc ergo propter hoc sub-species of the same fallacy.

They say: “What about the cuddly polar bears?” This is the argumentum ad misericordiam, the fallacy of needless pity. There are five times as many polar bears as there were in the 1940s – hardly, as you may think, the profile of a species at imminent threat of extinction. No need to pity the bears, and they are not cuddly.

They say: “We tell the models there will be strong CO2- driven warming. And, yes, the models predict it.” This is the fallacy of arguing in circles, the argumentum ad petitionem principii, where the premise is the conclusion.

They say: “Global warming caused extra-tropical storm Sandy.” This inappropriate argument from the general to the particular is the argumentum a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid, the fallacy of accident. Individual extreme events cannot be ascribed to global warming.

They say: “Melting Arctic sea ice is a symptom of global warming.” This unsound argument from the particular to the general is the argumentum a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, the fallacy of converse accident. Arctic sea ice is melting, but the Antarctic has cooled for 30 years and the sea ice there is growing, so the decline in Arctic sea ice does not indicate a global problem.

They say: “Monckton says he’s a member of the House of Lords, but the Clerk says he isn’t, so he’s not credible.” This is the argumentum ad hominem, a shoddy sub-species of ignoratio elenchi, the fundamental red-herring fallacy of ignorance of how a true argument is conducted.

They say: “We don’t care what the truth is. We want more power, tax and regulation. Global warming is our pretext. If you disagree, we will haul you before the International Climate Court.” This is the nastiest of all logical fallacies: the argumentum ad baculum, the argument of force.

These numerous in-your-face illogicalities provoke four questions: Has the Earth warmed as predicted? If not, why not? What if I am wrong? And what if I am right?
Continue reading here.

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