Religion of Climate Change… and selective reporting

Writing in The Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby puts forth a hypothetical question: if this winter had been warm, with a lack of snow, would you be hearing about it as evidence of anthropomorphic anthropogenic climate change?  What if there were even more news items that suggested warming?  Would the press be on it like white on rice?

SUPPOSE the climate landscape in recent weeks looked something like this:

Half the country was experiencing its mildest winter in years, with no sign of snow in many Northern states. Most of the Great Lakes were ice-free. Not a single Canadian province had had a white Christmas. There was a new study discussing a mysterious surge in global temperatures – a warming trend more intense than computer models had predicted. Other scientists admitted that, because of a bug in satellite sensors, they had been vastly overestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice.

If all that were happening on the climate-change front, do you think you’d be hearing about it on the news? Seeing it on Page 1 of your daily paper? Would politicians be exclaiming that global warming was even more of a crisis than they’d thought? Would environmentalists be skewering global-warming “deniers” for clinging to their skepticism despite the growing case against it?

No doubt.

But it isn’t such hints of a planetary warming trend that have been piling up in profusion lately. Just the opposite.

The United States has shivered through an unusually severe winter, with snow falling in such unlikely destinations as New Orleans, Las Vegas, Alabama, and Georgia. On Dec. 25, every Canadian province woke up to a white Christmas, something that hadn’t happened in 37 years. Earlier this year, Europe was gripped by such a killing cold wave that trains were shut down in the French Riviera and chimpanzees in the Rome Zoo had to be plied with hot tea. Last week, satellite data showed three of the Great Lakes – Erie, Superior, and Huron – almost completely frozen over. In Washington, D.C., what was supposed to be a massive rally against global warming was upstaged by the heaviest snowfall of the season, which paralyzed the capital.

Not only that, but the always-mentioned shrinking arctic sea ice theme was threatened as well:

Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has acknowledged that due to a satellite sensor malfunction, it had been underestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles – an area the size of Spain. In a new study, University of Wisconsin researchers Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis conclude that global warming could be going into a decades-long remission. The current global cooling “is nothing like anything we’ve seen since 1950,” Swanson told Discovery News. Yes, global cooling: 2008 was the coolest year of the past decade – global temperatures have not exceeded the record high measured in 1998, notwithstanding the carbon-dioxide that human beings continue to pump into the atmosphere.

Anyone who pays attention knows that every single time we get a heat wave in the summer or mild weather in the winter it is immediately trumpeted by the media and Al Gore (he’s very serial about ManBearPig!) as further proof that man made climate change is real.  But when we get a cool summer or a bitterly cold winter it gets little mention.

Folks, anthropomorphic anthropogenic climate change is a religion.  They continue believing even in the face of contrary evidence; they have faith in the alleged science of the loud and politically motivated climate change crowd.  Jacoby puts it a little better:

But for many people, the science of climate change is not nearly as important as the religion of climate change. When Al Gore insisted yet again at a conference last Thursday that there can be no debate about global warming, he was speaking not with the authority of a man of science, but with the closed-minded dogmatism of a religious zealot. Dogma and zealotry have their virtues, no doubt. But if we want to understand where global warming has gone, those aren’t the tools we need.

That is not science and it pisses me off.  With real science, you put forth a theory and let everyone poke holes in it.  Imagine if Darwin had refused to answer critics of evolution, or if Einstein had declared General Relativity to be absolute fact and refused debate.  One good measure of real scientific theory is that it makes predictions that are testable in the future… in the case of Darwin there were predictions about the fossil record (which had many more gaps back then) that have proven true.  With Einstein, his theory predicted science that was testable during a solar eclipse.  And it passed.

Where is that cycle of prediction and proof with anthropomorphic anthropogenic climate change?  It is not there… because it is not science!

UPDATE: For some reason I always confuse the two words anthropogenic and anthropomorphic… had to correct this post.

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