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December 30, 2006

Rewriting the Past

Twiddling The Data To Give Desired Answers

Berkeley Professor Emeritus of Law Phillip Johnson is quoted as saying, "Whenever science is enlisted in a political cause, the result is always that the scientists themselves become fanatics."

Despite numerous suggestions that I should, I haven't followed the current fashion of opening a blog. I find them the biggest time-waster since televison--which I don't watch either. But somebody who follows a list of exchanges between scientists committed to promoting the Global Warming line sent me a copy of a posting in which one of them exhorted "We've got to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period!" The reference was to the period around 1100 A.D., when the Vikings established settlements and farms on Greenland, the Chinese sailed in the seas north of Siberia, and burning hydrocarbon fuels had nothing to do with it. By "get rid of" he meant finding a way of massaging the data to expunge the event from the record, along with its inconvenient implications. Think about what that means. We have a clear-cut instance of a dogmatic belief that is to be instilled and circulated for ideologically motivated reasons, with contrary evidence being suppressed and dissent silenced. And this is popularized by the media and defended by journals as constituting "science."

Some time ago, I posted an item about the notorious Hockey Stick report that purported to achieve precisely the above objective by ironing out pre-1900 temperature swings, but was shown to employ a devious statistical procedure that made the desired result inevitable, even when given random data as input. Nevertheless, it is still widely cited and used as a guide for policymaking. Since then, John L. Daly has produced an informative piece entitled "The 'Hockey Stick': A New Low in Climate Science," posted at http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm that provides ample charts and figures to show that temperatures have indeed cycled significantly through the past thousand years, and the cause is almost certainly variations in the Sun. Daly also discusses the inherent weaknesses of studies such as the Hockey stick that draw their conclusions from analysis of tree rings, which tell only of the growing season and whose growth is affected by such other factors as sunlight, cloudiness, pests, competition, forest fires, soil nutrients, frosts and snow duration, as well as temperature.

An accepted principle of science is that a demonstration of substantial physical evidence that contradicts a theory is sufficient to falsify that theory. To that end, Daly presents ten examples of physical evidence ranging from the Caribbean to East Africa to Tasmania to Japan showing that not only is the Hockey Stick false, but that the Medieval Warm Period and "Little Ice Age" that followed it were not only very real, but also global in extent.

Another interesting piece, referred to me by Thomas Pearson, is one entitled "The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide," by Dr. Jeffrey A. Glassman, online at http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2006/10/co2_acquittal.html . Analysis of 400,000 years' worth of Vostok Antarctic ice cores shows that carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere in cold-water regions of the oceans and re-emitted after being tranported to warm regions. Far from being the cause of temperature changes as the currently structured models presume, carbon dioxide levels are controlled by them. The CO2 increase that we're told caused the O.60C warming that took place in the first half of the 20th century, for example, occurred predominantly after 1950. Or as Dr. Glassman puts it:

Notwithstanding that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, atmospheric carbon dioxide has neither caused nor amplified global temperature increases. Increased carbon dioxide has been an effect of global warming, not a cause. Technically, carbon dioxide is a lagging proxy for ocean temperatures.
 
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