Thursday, August 22, 2013

Crappy science denialist arguments from Illinois Review

I'm only now getting around to it, but a few weeks ago, there was a rather badly-argued climate change denialist post over at Illinois Review by Nancy Thorner. It comes after President Obama's ObamaHitler's speech where he referred to global warming denialists as "the flat-earth society." (Ironically, there actually is a Flat Earth Society and their President accepts climate change.) It always kind of pisses me off when science gets distorted for political means.

Thorner, who's primary qualification is apparently that she writes a lot of Letters to the Editor of local newspapers, can't even seem to come up with a coherent argument. First she quotes the Heritage Foundation quoting a denialist think tank:

But let's pretend we were able to stop emitting all carbon immediately... No talking. The Science and Public Policy Institute found that the global temperature would decrease by 0.17 degrees Celsius -- by 2100.

What she fails to mention is that the "we" in the above quote is the US only, not worldwide. It's not at all surprising that a global problem can not be fixed by the action of one country with a fraction of the world's population. This might be an argument that global warming is irreversible, but it's not a valid argument that it's not happening.

It should be a warning sign when your first go-to authorities on a scientific matter is a bunch of interlocking political think tanks, not scientists.

Next, she punts to a video, no longer available, put out by the Heartland Institute, another right-wing think tank.

Thirdly, she quotes Alan Caruba the founder of the National Anxiety Center, which sounds like it should be a medical organization, but is actually a right-wing think tank. Caruba is also a member of -- again -- the Heartland Institute. This has got to be the dumbest fucking argument I've ever heard for anything, anywhere:

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant. It is essential to all life on Earth insofar as it is vital for all plant life, from a blade of grass to a giant redwood, but most essential to the growth of the crops that are the basis of feeding humanity and the livestock it depends upon as a food source.

The Earth and of living things on it would benefit from more carbon dioxide, but the president is asserting the very opposite of this while vilifying CO2 and the business and industrial sectors that produce it in the process of manufacturing everything a society requires.

Seriously, because CO2 is used by plants, we can't possibly ever have too much of it. That's a mind-numbingly stupid as saying because sunlight is necessary for plant life, it can't cause skin cancer. Or that because we all need water, the flooding along the Missouri river the past couple of years couldn't possibly be bad for farms or homes.

And it's this next argument that really fucking pisses me off. Unfortunately, it's probably going to need a blog post of it's own because it will probably be long. But, no, NASA has not disproved global warming.