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August 2, 2007

Hockey-Stick Hokum

Kooking The Climate Books

Imagine an analyst who works for an agency that provides intelligence data that guides national policymaking. Ideally he uses computers to extract and make explicit whatever message lies hidden in numbers. The trouble is he also has an ideology that shapes how he would like the results to be, and the numbers aren't generating those answers. Hence, the agency won't be able to give the policymakers a case for making the war he wants to see fought.

This is the scenario that fellow science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card sets in his unraveling of how the notorious "Hockey Stick" curve, that purports to show how Global Warming is a new, human-created phenomenon, and which is still being used to impress the public and guide decisionmaking, was faked.

First, the software was rigged to pick up any data showing the target pattern, and then magnify it by a factor of 139 so as to swamp anything else in the data. Even an input of random numbers would be coaxed into yielding the desired trend. But that still didn't work on the real-world data, because what was happening in the real world wasn't random, and it didn't tell the right story. So it had to be "salted" with a false number set that the software would pick up, and then evaluated by a sympathetic reviewer who could be relied upon not to apply the kind of critical scrutiny and double-checking that professional standards normally demand. And even though the results contradict what many others in the business know from their own experience, none of them say a word because they share the same ideology and want it to be true too, and the agency goes ahead and issues the report that it knows has been altered to fit preconceived conclusions. Orson's complete article is online in Meridian Magazine at http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/070313goodprint.html, reprinted from The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro, North Carolina. It goes on to describe how it took a Canadian with an aptitude for math, experience at spotting phony projections in the mining business, and a lot of tenacity, to drag the sordid story out.

Nevertheless, the bandwagon rolls on. As Orson concludes: "The Hockey Stick Hoax should be a scandal as big as the discovery of the Piltdown Man Hoax. Bigger, really, since so much more is at stake. But because the media are dominated by True Believers, they are doing everything they can to maintain the hoax."

Martin Durkin, the British TV producer and director responsible for The Great Global Warming Swindle, which has been getting a lot of attention in recent months, had this to say in response to critics:

"Why did I make the film The Great Global Warming Swindle? The head of science programs at Britain's Channel 4, Hamish Mykura (who has a PhD in environmental science), asked me to. He suspected the global warming alarm was not based on solid science. So did his predecessor, Sara Ramsden, who was also eager to make a film in this area. I was an experienced science documentary producer used to handling complex subjects.

So what was our conclusion, after months of research that involved talking to hundreds of scientists and wading through mountains of science papers? It's all codswallop. The notion of man-made global warming started life as a wild, eccentric theory and, despite throwing billions of dollars at it, scientists have failed to stand it up. Man-made global warming is unmitigated nonsense."

Taken from "So you think I'm defying the scientific facts on climate change?" by Martin Durkin, at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,22029942-30417,00.html

For those who haven't seen it, the Google link is http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=- 3028847519933351566

Finally, for some solid, fact-based discussions on various aspects of the subject, my good friend Henry Palka recommends the Science and Public Policy Institute's site at http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/. A sample of papers currently listed:

"Consensus”? What “Consensus”?Among Climate Scientists, The Debate Is Not Over

Shining More Light on the Solar Factor: A discussion of Problems with the Royal Society

Current issues in Climate Science: Focus on the Poles

The Myth of Dangerous Human Caused Climate Change

 
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