Andrew Revkin - The Death of Science Writing, and the Future of Catastrophe

March 12, 2010

Host: Chris Mooney

We live in a science centered age—a time of private spaceflight and personalized medicine, amid path-breaking advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology. And we face science centered risks: climate and energy crises, biological and nuclear terror threats, mega-disasters and global pandemics.

So you would think science journalism would be booming—yet nothing could be further from the case. If you watch 5 hours of cable news today, expect to see just 1 minute devoted to science and technology. From 1989-2005, meanwhile, the number of major newspapers featuring weekly science sections shrank from 95 to 34.

Epitomizing the current decline is longtime New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin, who recently left the paper for a career in academia.

In this conversation with host Chris Mooney, Revkin discusses the uncertain future of his field, the perils of the science blogosphere, his battles with climate blogger Joe Romm, and what it’s like (no joke) to have Rush Limbaugh suggest that you kill yourself. Moving on to the topics he’s covered for over a decade, Revkin also addresses the problem of population growth, the long-range risks that our minds just aren’t trained to think about, and the likely worsening of earthquake and other catastrophes as more people pack into vulnerable places.

Andrew Revkin was the science and environment reporter for the New York Times from 1995 through 2009. During the 2000s, he broke numerous front page stories about how the Bush administration was suppressing science, and launched the highly popular blog Dot Earth. But last year, Revkin announced he was leaving the Times. He accepted a post as a senior fellow of environmental understanding at Pace University in White Plains, New York, where he will focus on teaching and two new book projects—complementing existing works like The North Pole Was Here, a book about the vanishing Arctic aimed at middle and high schoolers. In his new life, Andy will also have much more time to play with what he dubs his “rustic-rootsy” band, Uncle Wade.

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Comments from the CFI Forums

If you would like to leave a comment about this episode of Point of Inquiry please visit the related thread on the CFI discussion forums

Excellent program.  Much to ponder here.  This is a program I will recommend to others.  Keep up the good work.

Posted on Mar 13, 2010 at 1:55pm by Gaythia Comment #1

With respect, not my favorite POI. Didn’t like the soapbox intro. Am bored with Mooney’s thus far narrow purview: First Mann, now this—both largely focusing on climate change. (To be sure, Grothe’s focus on magic started boring me as well.) The style of interview involves too much puff and fluff, meaning softball questions, long responses by the guest, lots of generalities instead more specific facts, little bit too buddy-buddy. I learned very little new.

If Mooney wants to continue with the climate change bit, I’d be much more interested to hear a skeptic/denier. Someone who’s actually considered a scientist, not just a pundit or politico. Maybe have an Oxford style debate like what Intelligence Squared has been doing? Maybe Q&A where the denier asks the global warming proponent a question, then the proponent asks the denier a question, and so on, and Mooney would facilitate and ask follow-ups?

Of course, there’s plenty more in the world of science that Mooney can cover. Just has to sharpen the interview skills and clever-up the topic.

(And where else should I complain about the androgynous introducer’s voice and milquetoast puppet safari theme music? :-)  )

Again, this is meant with much respect. Love the POI.

Posted on Mar 14, 2010 at 12:54pm by Jordan Comment #2

Hi Jordan,
Just want to say I appreciate this sort of constructive criticism, and will weigh it as I put together new programs. Certainly, I’m trying to do my best; I’m also trying to do new things, and finally, am a bit new to this. Would be interested in whether others felt the same way about the program.

best

chris

Posted on Mar 14, 2010 at 7:59pm by CMooney Comment #3

Chris,

This will go back to the two questions I proposed, but I would suggest these even if I had not proposed them before the interview.

Revkin talked about how overpopulation is the underlying cause of all our environmental problems, yet you did not follow up on that. The obvious questions are: “What can we do to reduce our population?” and “What are the possible consequences if we do not reduce our population?” This is the core issue of climate change and ecosystem destruction and needs to be addressed as widely as possible. You are in a unique position to get this question into the public arena.

Also, given that the main topic under discussion was science writers having problems finding ways to make a living another obvious question is: “What are the ethical implications of science writers accepting money from religious organizations?” Yes, I know you recently received a Templeton Foundation grant, and as a writer keenly interested in science I understand the problems and pressures of making a living writing about science. You cannot dodge this fundamental question of journalistic ethics.

Sincerely,

Darron Spohn

Posted on Mar 14, 2010 at 8:31pm by DarronS Comment #4

I have been reading through The Hockey Stick Illusion by A. W. Montford and I think it is fair to say that blogger and retired mining engineer, Steve McIntyre has displayed a brilliant understanding of science.

Is it possible that the divergence of opinion displayed in the blogosphere has actually been the reality pre-internet/pre-blogs, but now we are aware of it because of the internet/blogosphere?

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 4:34am by equinox Comment #5

With respect, not my favorite POI. Didn’t like the soapbox intro. Am bored with Mooney’s thus far narrow purview: First Mann, now this—both largely focusing on climate change. (To be sure, Grothe’s focus on magic started boring me as well.) The style of interview involves too much puff and fluff, meaning softball questions, long responses by the guest, lots of generalities instead more specific facts, little bit too buddy-buddy. I learned very little new.

If Mooney wants to continue with the climate change bit, I’d be much more interested to hear a skeptic/denier. Someone who’s actually considered a scientist, not just a pundit or politico. Maybe have an Oxford style debate like what Intelligence Squared has been doing? Maybe Q&A where the denier asks the global warming proponent a question, then the proponent asks the denier a question, and so on, and Mooney would facilitate and ask follow-ups?

It is a huge disappointment for me to see the direction that this Podcast is going. I joined this forum seeking a refuge where rational thinking, logic and reasoning would prevail - along with a secular/atheistic viewpoint. On the whole I have not been disappointed. However I really think it is so sad that those who have chosen to wholly and completely adopt the mantra of AGW have essentially taken over this Podcast, alienating a huge group of rational and reasonable sceptics.

I only listened to the intro of this Podcast and it said enough for me. I could not spend any more of my life listening to the rest.

Mooney kicks off “over the course of the first few shows, a common theme has emerged”. I found this immediately jarring considering this is a theme he himself has adopted and pursued. It has not emerged at all.

He continues “In discussing Vaccine denialism, and then climate sceptics, my guests have noted that the internet has given new momentum to these anti-science crusades”. This is an outrageous statement of bias. It continues the smearing of AGW sceptics by including them with those who fought vaccines, which is a totally unfounded accusation. It also smears them, by association, as being anti science when the vast majority of them are basing their opposition to AGW on a sound and reasonable debate on the science.

Now I have no problem with debate. I have no problem with people who disagree with me. I have no problem with people who are passionate and aggressive and robust in their disagreement with me. But I abhor the assumption that one side decides IT is the champion of Science while their opponents are on the side of anti-science.

This is a deeply bigotted and prejudiced attitude and as an attitude it is indeed itself deeply anti-science. It reminds me of those that claim God is on THEIR side.

I believe that this policy being pursued by the Podcast is divisive and unreasonable. It does not fit with the stated principles and goals and values of the CoI. The CoI should not be in the business of adopting one position or another, where a reasonable and debatable controversy is in existence. It should not be allying itself so transparently and openly with one side of ANY debate where there are reasonable arguments on both sides. And more than anything, it should not be vilifying one side of a debate while wrapping itself in the cloak of ‘science’.

Whether you agree with me on AGW or not. Whether you have accepted AGW or not - I urge CoI to change it’s course and resume a position where scepticism is welcomed instead of being vilified, and where it “fosters a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values”.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:17am by scepticeye Comment #6

Thanks for the response, Chris. You’re a talented man, and you still have my confidence.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:23am by Jordan Comment #7

Keep up the good work Chris. I certainly think some of the criticisms above are unfounded.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 12:53pm by craggles Comment #8

Thanks, everyone. I do want to hear the well founded criticisms…and I take it to heart. I know that I don’t have as much experience doing this as DJ did and that his are big shoes to fill. So thanks for your continuing thoughts.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:41pm by CMooney Comment #9

Also….the Revkin show was most emphatically *not* a show about global warming….but if I am making climate “skeptics” upset, then yes, I guess I am doing my job properly ;>

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:44pm by CMooney Comment #10

Your not DJ G, but i think what the guys above are getting at is that DJ would often play devils advocate and try keep his cards closer to his chest until later in the interview. Maybe pretend NOT to be ‘you’ at times and be the embodiment of all those that disagree with the guest. But again i find it entertaining just to hear smart people talk together, so its only a small criticism really. These pod casts make my horrible traffic experiences much more interesting.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:54pm by craggles Comment #11

...it is so sad that those who have chosen to wholly and completely adopt the mantra of AGW have essentially taken over this Podcast, alienating a huge group of rational and reasonable sceptics.

Anthropogenic climate change is not a “mantra”. It is a well-tested scientific theory, backed up by mountains of supporting evidence all the way down to some very basic physics. You cannot be ‘sceptical’ of that. You can be ignorant of it or… in denial.

> It also smears them, by association, as being anti science when the vast majority of them are basing their opposition to AGW on a sound and reasonable debate on the science.

Why not produce some “sound and reasonable” evidence-based science?

> Now I have no problem with debate.

Science is not a matter of debate. It is not a matter of democracy. You don’t get to debate what is true.

> But I abhor the assumption that one side decides IT is the champion of Science while their opponents are on the side of anti-science.

The science is only on one side.

> This is a deeply bigotted and prejudiced attitude and as an attitude it is indeed itself deeply anti-science. It reminds me of those that claim God is on THEIR side.

No, it’s the other way around. You’re experiencing the science community’s scorn because your position is anti-science. You are a denier of science.

> The CoI should not be in the business of adopting one position or another, where a reasonable and debatable controversy is in existence.

There is no “debatable controversy” in existence. There is no credible debate in the scientific community about the core science. The ‘debate’ is only amongst weathermen, economists, political ‘scientists’ and a mountain of sideshow blogs. It’s no different to ‘evolutionists’ and creationists.

> It should not be allying itself so transparently and openly with one side of ANY debate where there are reasonable arguments on both sides.

Really? How about intelligent design? How about astrology? How about voodoo? How about leprechauns?

> And more than anything, it should not be vilifying one side of a debate while wrapping itself in the cloak of ‘science’.

Why have you scare-quoted ‘science’? Do you know of a higher method to determine the truth?

> Whether you agree with me on AGW or not. Whether you have accepted AGW or not -

You’ve provided nothing to agree with. I accept and understand the overwhelming science.

> ...I urge CoI to change it’s course and resume a position where scepticism is welcomed instead of being vilified,

And immediately before you said:

> I only listened to the intro of this Podcast and it said enough for me.

You are not a sceptic. You deny all science that demonstrates that you are wrong.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:56pm by Davito Comment #12

QED

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 5:10pm by scepticeye Comment #13

Also….the Revkin show was most emphatically *not* a show about global warming….but if I am making climate “skeptics” upset, then yes, I guess I am doing my job properly ;>

Which defines the Podcast as a fully fledged anti sceptic one.  Closed to challenging voices. Closed to those who disagree. Sad.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 5:13pm by scepticeye Comment #14

Hold your horses mate, your talking more about opinions rather than who is skeptic and who is not. Which is more skeptic? being skeptical? or being skeptical of the skeptics? which has more value? its kind of an empty question really isn’t it?
95% of the worlds biggest skeptics (Scientists) have a consensus… so being ‘skeptical’ of that consensus does not give that group of people any more ‘skeptical points’. Its not the last on a chain of skepticism who is defined as the true ‘skeptics’. Otherwise I could just say I am skeptical of your skepticism of the climate science findings.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 5:19pm by craggles Comment #15

> Now I have no problem with debate.

Science is not a matter of debate. It is not a matter of democracy. You don’t get to debate what is true.

I can’t believe I have scepticeye’s back on this one as he and I have gone at it tooth and nail over AGW, but you are absolutely wrong on this point. Science is all about debate. No, science is not democratic, but debate is essential to good science. Without debate we’d still believe the Earth is the center of the Universe.

> It should not be allying itself so transparently and openly with one side of ANY debate where there are reasonable arguments on both sides.

Really? How about intelligent design? How about astrology? How about voodoo? How about leprechauns?

These are ridiculous examples. ID is not science it is religion. Astrology is superstitious nonsense. Voodoo is religion. Leprechauns? You cannot be serious, bringing up Leprechauns with when we are debating science. You may as well bring up the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

I don’t agree with scepticeye when it comes to the causes of global warming or climate change or whatever label you want to put on what is happening to our planet, but the examples you proffered are dead wrong and do nothing to bolster your argument.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:06pm by DarronS Comment #16

I thought this podcast was really good, and that Chris continues to give very literate and thought-provoking interviews.  I think the 3 interviewer approach works so far because all three are well-connected individuals who can bring in good topics and guests.  Chris is broadening the previous scope of POI and doing a great job of it.

Everything changes—and as far as science journalism is concerned it is sometimes hard to see the big picture of the trends, so a discussion between two knowledgeable and experienced folks like these two is interesting.  When I was in junior high Scientific American was fascinating to me and I was sorry when they changed the format.  And Isaac Asimov individually made a lot of science accessible.  Nowadays we have Discover magazine which we didn’t have years ago - the New York Times started a Science section on Tuesdays.  Science News was around 40 years ago and it is still here.  Carl Sagan individually made more science accessible and programs like Nova and Life on Earth changed things.

Houghton Mifflin now has the Best Science and Nature Writing of the Year volume.

Anyway—stuff is always ending and new stuff is beginning and although I miss Stephen J Gould and Sagan and Asimov from another perspective it seems like there are more things to learn about than ever.

In regard to population—the [Club of Rome] was pessimistically noting the challenge of population growth in the late 60s (and what about [ Adam Smith] in the early 1800s) .  I agree with other posters, Mooney, and Revkin that this seems like the ultimate “bubble”—- one might hope that the increased cost of fossil fuels will drive solar and nuclear energy as cheaper sources which are incidently cleaner,  but it isn’t obvious that there is anything that can bring a “soft stop” to world population growth.

Thanks again for the effort going into this—I have been reading the Randy Olson Don’t be Such a Scientist book on a business trip and Chris is doing a good job combining style with substance.

sorry for the long post, I haven’t mastered the points in the Olson book….

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:15pm by Jackson Comment #17

Science is all about debate. No, science is not democratic, but debate is essential to good science. Without debate we’d still believe the Earth is the center of the Universe.

Well, debate? Rational discourse would be a better one. A debate can be won on all kind of grounds, truth is only one amongst others. A rational discourse, delt with by people that are prepared to give in based on a convincing argument, and based on actual data, is not debate.

Scepticeye has not delivered much data, but he gives great examples of debating techniques. He is a great master of the english language, his postings are close to literary masterpieces, for short, he is a great debater.

And Ceasar was an honourable man…

GdB

Edit: typos

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 at 11:49pm by GdB Comment #18

QED

Well, at least that is less verbose than the previous comment.

Which defines the Podcast as a fully fledged anti sceptic one.  Closed to challenging voices. Closed to those who disagree. Sad.

Scientists are sceptics by definition. Those who refuse to accept the science without a coherent, evidence-based response are Deniers. You define yourself by your actions - not by how you describe yourself.

“Closed to challenging voices”? How would you know? You refused to listen.

“Closed to those who disagree” - again, science is not a democracy. It’s indifferent to what you want to be true. You can disagree until you turn blue, it won’t change reality: humans are releasing GHGs and heating the planet up.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 5:59am by Davito Comment #19

...you are absolutely wrong on this point. Science is all about debate. No, science is not democratic, but debate is essential to good science. Without debate we’d still believe the Earth is the center of the Universe.

No, it is you who is completely wrong. Science is not a matter of debate. You don’t get to decide what is true by ‘debating’ it or voting on it or compromising on it. It is amazing how many self-described ‘sceptics’ don’t understand the very fundamentals of what science is or is not. I’d recommend starting here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

These are ridiculous examples. ID is not science it is religion. Astrology is superstitious nonsense. Voodoo is religion. Leprechauns? You cannot be serious, bringing up Leprechauns with when we are debating science. You may as well bring up the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

It seems your grasp of climate science and the Deniers’ arguments against it are also lacking. Their position is bereft of science as any other idiot belief. They are no less in denial of the truth than any creationist.

...the examples you proffered are dead wrong and do nothing to bolster your argument.

I wasn’t presenting an argument for the evidence of anthropogenic climate change. You seemed to have judged my comment as though I were. Perhaps read it again to see what I was really commenting on.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 6:14am by Davito Comment #20

Darron and David, I do not believe you disagree on anything fundamental here. Darron, I might have used very similar language to describe the situation as David used. There is a sense in which, of course, debate is central to the scientific method, but it is debate among the scientists themselves, in particular those who are experts in the relevant field. Public debates among nonexperts, however, are irrelevant, and I think that was David’s point, which is why he was saying that science isn’t a democracy.

Re. intelligent design, again, you are both right. David is right that there is disagreement among scientists about ID. (Indeed, the Discovery Institute found 500 scientists who were willing to state publicly that they disagreed with it), but Darron is right that it is nevertheless not appropriately described as a scientific debate—since the experts in the relevant field are in virtually unanimous agreement about it.

So it depends what one considers “reasonable arguments”. Clearly, the arguments about ID are not reasonable to the experts, however they do seem reasonable to a significant portion of the general public, as do the arguments against AGW.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 6:22am by dougsmith Comment #21

Doug, you are right, as usual. David, we are on the same side. Let’s play nice.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:07am by DarronS Comment #22

There is a sense in which, of course, debate is central to the scientific method, but it is debate among the scientists themselves, in particular those who are experts in the relevant field.

Indeed, but I think ‘debate’ is not the right word. It suggests a discussion and eventual agreement, depending on who produced the best arguments. In reality, climate science - like all other sciences - is a growing pyramid of evidence that has been tested to destruction and remains standing. Discovery of the greenhouse effect goes back to the 1850s with John Tyndall. Global warming science is as old as evolutionary science - and both can be considered fact as much as any science can be.

Public debates among nonexperts, however, are irrelevant, and I think that was David’s point, which is why he was saying that science isn’t a democracy.

Exactly. scepticeye’s opinion is worthless - just as mine is on the subject. We don’t all get a vote in what climate science says. This seems to upset some people - most likely because they recognise the implications of the science being true. The only legitimate way to influence the science is by producing peer-reviewed papers that destroys current theories or introduces new ones. To date, no one has refuted the science as presented in the IPCC AR4 WG1.

Clearly, the arguments about ID are not reasonable to the experts, however they do seem reasonable to a significant portion of the general public, as do the arguments against AGW.

Bullseye! “It’s the sun!” is as ridiculous to a climate scientist as “There are no transitional fossils!” is to an evolutionary scientist. Unfortunately, it is possible to confuse the public on both. Whether it’s “irreducible complexity” or “Medieval Warm Period”, the untrained and scientifically ignorant can be fooled by pseudo-science.

I believe that any evolutionary scientist would describe evolution by natural selection as ‘fact’. The same applies to any climate scientist: global warming is ‘fact’ - and I believe that we should all object anyone who declares themselves a ‘sceptic’ purely because they refuse to accept this while offering no science to support their ‘scepticism’.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:17am by Davito Comment #23

Scepticeye has not delivered much data,

It is not a battle of contradicting data, but of interpretation of data. And I have indeed attempted to discuss the problems with how and what data is being used in AGW many times on this forum only to meet the usual abuse and smearing by the anti-sceptics.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 9:36am by scepticeye Comment #24

Scientists are sceptics by definition. Those who refuse to accept the science without a coherent, evidence-based response are Deniers. You define yourself by your actions - not by how you describe yourself.

You clearly have not read any of the threads and my posts where I have done just that. You should try to do some research before you throw around accusations.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 9:37am by scepticeye Comment #25

“Closed to challenging voices”? How would you know? You refused to listen.

On what basis do you make that assertion ?  I have spend several decades in science and research. I have read extensively on AGW. I read all of the threads on this forum.

Or is your assertion simply based on the fact that I refuse to agree with you ? 

An interesting viewpoint….

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 9:41am by scepticeye Comment #26

Exactly. scepticeye’s opinion is worthless - just as mine is on the subject. We don’t all get a vote in what climate science says. This seems to upset some people - most likely because they recognise the implications of the science being true. The only legitimate way to influence the science is by producing peer-reviewed papers that destroys current theories or introduces new ones. To date, no one has refuted the science as presented in the IPCC AR4 WG1.

Here DavidC you are completely correct.
My opinion and yours are utterly worthless in the scheme of science. And your statement about the scientific process is also true. Your last point about the IPCC is rubbish however.

What is also true, as a corollary to your correct assertion above, is that my opinion IS of worth when it comes to political action being demanded by the AGW followers. I know I can never change the minds of AGW scientists. But I can debate and argue and struggle to attempt to stop the political action and financial waste that is being demanded.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 9:47am by scepticeye Comment #27

I can’t believe I have scepticeye’s back on this one as he and I have gone at it tooth and nail over AGW, but you are absolutely wrong on this point. Science is all about debate. No, science is not democratic, but debate is essential to good science. Without debate we’d still believe the Earth is the center of the Universe.

I know it seems ungrateful to be the recipient of such warm support and then disagree ... but what the hell ..  :red:

Science is not all about debate. But a critical element of science includes debate. When we measure and we observe and we gather and collate data and evidence there is no debate as long as it is collected and collated correctly. Debate plays no part. evidence should speak on it’s own.
However evidence rarely speaks so clearly without interpretation. What is the meaning of the evidence ? does it mean what it appears to mean ? does it imply other unknowns ? does it clarify or confuse ? These are all issues that require interpretation and, hence, debate.
As I said there are times when evidence speaks clearly. It makes simple statements about the truth of theories or the falseness of theories. My assertion in holding the views that I do is that this is not the case with AGW. There is extensive uncertainty about how the data was collected and is being interpreted and how the modeling is carried out. These are the grounds on which debate should be encouraged and continued.

To those of you in the US that may be irritated by waking up to what is periodically a series of posts by me, I apologise. Being in Europe I post at different times than you and my posts therefore don’t get spaced out as much as yours.  :coolsmile:

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 at 9:59am by scepticeye Comment #28

It is a huge disappointment for me to see the direction that this Podcast is going. I joined this forum seeking a refuge where rational thinking, logic and reasoning would prevail - along with a secular/atheistic viewpoint. ..............
alienating a huge group of rational and reasonable sceptics.

Real rational thinkers present evidence ~ rather than endlessly spewing hostile hot air.

You sound more and more like the mom watching the marching band then wondering why everyone excepting her son is out of step.  And then getting huffy at the band because “they” don’t get their act together.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:14pm by citizenschallenge Comment #29

The only legitimate way to influence the science is by producing peer-reviewed papers that destroys current theories or introduces new ones. To date, no one has refuted the science as presented in the IPCC AR4 WG1.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:31pm by citizenschallenge Comment #30

  I have spend several decades in science and research. I have read extensively on AGW. 


Then, why not open a thread that contains a short concise point by point listing of specifics that inform your convictions?
I know, I know, you keep saying you have, but you never link me to it and I can’t find any posts where you list a rational point by point underpinning of your strong opinion.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:40pm by citizenschallenge Comment #31

It is not a battle of contradicting data, but of interpretation of data.

And you think your “interpretation of data” is superior to thousands of highly trained and skilled professionals who are in total agreement? Either they are all wrong or you are. I’m betting that it’s you.

> ...abuse and smearing by the anti-sceptics.

I don’t know what an “anti-sceptic” is, but I do know that me and many others have little respect for pseudo-sceptic deniers who pollute the conversation.

> You clearly have not read any of the threads and my posts where I have done just that. You should try to do some research before you throw around accusations.

No, I haven’t read all 433 of your posts on this forum. I am simply responding to what you wrote in this thread.

> On what basis do you make that assertion? 

What?! You admitted yourself that you refused to listen to this podcast while claiming to be a ‘sceptic’! That’s not scepticism, that’s sticking your fingers in your ears and going, “La la la la la - I can’t hear you!”.

> I have spend several decades in science and research.

So you’ll be aware of something called fallacious argument from authority? Which is distinct from valid argument from authority.

> I have read extensively on AGW. I read all of the threads on this forum.

And I have read the IPCC AR4. I have read numerous papers and articles by climate scientists. Their arguments are compelling, those from the Deniers are not.

> ...a critical element of science includes debate.

Done via the peer reviewed literature - not comment threads on the internet by people who are not qualified to ‘debate’ it. The science is clear: humans are heating up the planet. There is no credible argument against that.

100 aero engineers are stood next to an aeroplane. 97 tell you that it will likely crash after take off. 3 tell you it won’t or that the crash won’t be “too bad”. From your output here it seems you would board the plane. Unfortunately, with climate change, we all get dragged along. Some of us don’t like that so you should expect much more “abuse and smearing” when you deny established science.

P.S. It’s much easier for people to read and respond if you don’t spread your replies over multiple comments.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 1:43pm by Davito Comment #32

Scientists are sceptics by definition. Those who refuse to accept the science without a coherent, evidence-based response are Deniers. You define yourself by your actions - not by how you describe yourself.

You clearly have not read any of the threads and my posts where I have done just that. You should try to do some research before you throw around accusations.

You’re a blow hard SE

Instead of bragging about your attempts to educate…..

Do some!

we do have this wonderful new dimension of discourse called the LINK
to further and hopefully authoritative information that supports your opinions

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 6:44pm by citizenschallenge Comment #33

And I have read the IPCC AR4. I have read numerous papers and articles by climate scientists. Their arguments are compelling, those from the Deniers are not.

I’ll admit earlier I skimmed your post, but was caught up in my own trajectory at the time.
I just reread your post with a clear head.  Impressive, what a clear explanation.

Thanks for contributing, please stick around.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 at 8:36pm by citizenschallenge Comment #34

You’re a blow hard SE

Instead of bragging about your attempts to educate…..

Do some!

we do have this wonderful new dimension of discourse called the LINK
to further and hopefully authoritative information that supports your opinions

I am tired of responding to your posting-diarrhea all over every single category section on this Forum. If you are unable to recall my posts, to which you responded in your usual manner, I have more interesting to do with my life that go trawling through the forum looking for the links to correct your laziness. Your constant arrogant smearing of views that don’t agree with you is tiresome and boring. You are without humour or humility. Do your own research.

Posted on Mar 19, 2010 at 11:24am by scepticeye Comment #35

Now there’s the rational mind at work….......

Posted on Mar 19, 2010 at 11:38am by citizenschallenge Comment #36

I just reread your post with a clear head.  Impressive, what a clear explanation.

Thanks for contributing, please stick around.

Thank you. I’ll try and pop by once in a while. :)

One thing that irritates me in this ‘debate’ - beyond the denial of science which predicts very bad things happening if we do not act now - is the devaluation of the word ‘sceptic’. The climate deniers are not sceptics, they have hijacked and devalued the word. scepticeye here is a great example. He’s not sceptical of the science, he simply refuses to accept it.

The real sceptics are the scientists who have been researching our planet’s climate for the past 150 years since John Tyndall documented the greenhouse effect. There is probably no other scientific discipline that has received such scrutiny from so many scientists - and ‘armchair scientists’ - in the past ~50 years. And all of that research has produced near-total consensus from the planet’s experts. It’s amazing how many people are so arrogant and ignorant that they think they know better after reading a few blogs!

Posted on Mar 19, 2010 at 12:00pm by Davito Comment #37

If you are unable to recall my posts, to which you responded in your usual manner, I have more interesting to do with my life that go trawling through the forum looking for the links to correct your laziness.

ps.  “my usual manner” was to introduce arguments and information that highlighted “weakness” in your claims, which you decided to ignore.

I would think if you believed in something strongly ~ you’d be willing to defend it with all the information at your disposal.
You’ve never done that. 
You just reply with hostility although I would think your opening salvos in this thread would make you ‘fair game.’

Posted on Mar 19, 2010 at 3:35pm by citizenschallenge Comment #38

I enjoyed this interview, and I think it’s a shame that the focus of this, like so many threads lately, so quickly shifted away from the original idea to being yet another battle between the usual players in the AGW argument. Granted, the subject was a part of the content of this interview, but I wish we could try to keep the subject from overwhelming every thread in which it is even tangentially relevant.

Again, I for one am very grateful to have science and public policy issues take a larger role in POI. DJ was an awesome interviewer, but he also had his own personal interests, and these tended to dominate the content of the podcast. The conflict between theism and non-theism (whatever label you choose for it) isn’t the only interesting set of issues relevant to CFI’s mission, and the new format for POI gives a needed broader scope to the content of the show.

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:02pm by mckenzievmd Comment #39

.....
And I have read the IPCC AR4. I have read numerous papers and articles by climate scientists. Their arguments are compelling, those from the Deniers are not.
.....

There is an enormous amount of material in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007) (AR4)

Is there a separate blog/website just devoted to this one report, documenting answers to questions and documenting updated info?
[ PDF version]

Posted on Mar 23, 2010 at 2:58am by Jackson Comment #40

Is there a separate blog/website just devoted to this one report, documenting answers to questions and documenting updated info?

The only comprehensive site that I know of is the IPCC one. There’s the three working group sections:

1. http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg1.htm
2. http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg2.htm
3. http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg3.htm

Also available in HTML: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/contents.html

And there was a semi-official update to the AR4 prior to Copenhagen: http://www.copenhagendiagnosis.com/executive_summary.html

AR5 will not be out until 2012 (?).

HTH.

Posted on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:08am by Davito Comment #41

I enjoyed this interview, and I think it’s a shame that the focus of this, like so many threads lately, so quickly shifted away from the original idea to being yet another battle between the usual players in the AGW argument. Granted, the subject was a part of the content of this interview, but I wish we could try to keep the subject from overwhelming every thread in which it is even tangentially relevant.

True, despite my own keen interest in the debate ;)

Perhaps these threads should be broken off? Admin - a good idea?

Posted on Mar 23, 2010 at 4:03pm by Mike from Oz Comment #42

I enjoyed this interview, and I think it’s a shame that the focus of this, like so many threads lately, so quickly shifted away from the original idea to being yet another battle between the usual players in the AGW argument. Granted, the subject was a part of the content of this interview, but I wish we could try to keep the subject from overwhelming every thread in which it is even tangentially relevant.

True, despite my own keen interest in the debate ;)

Perhaps these threads should be broken off? Admin - a good idea?

All roads lead to AGW!! :)

Posted on Mar 23, 2010 at 6:53pm by asanta Comment #43

I enjoyed this interview, and I think it’s a shame that the focus of this, like so many threads lately, so quickly shifted away from the original idea ...

I made some comments on modern science writing—I don’t think it is as bleak as these guys describe, but I’m not trying to make my living in this area
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/7274/P15/#88747

Do you think “Science Writing” is becoming rarer?

Posted on Mar 24, 2010 at 3:02am by Jackson Comment #44