[Vision2020] Scientific Consensus & Unqualified Pronouncements

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Mon Mar 24 14:00:51 PDT 2008

*Chas wrote:*
*>* elected hopefully wise individuals to represent us, and that's what
*>* they did. You ask whether I think there should have been "more
open *>*public >discussion" first, and my truthful response is no, I
*>* First, because I believe that there had already been ample opportunity
*>* for discussion for everyone who had anything viable to say.  Every
*>* nuance of opinion had already been expressed ad nauseum.
Applying your analysis below regarding "unqualified pronouncments," as you
put it, and your lack of expertise in economics, water resources, urban
planning, and law, your final sentence above is "pointless," again to use
your wording, not mine.  You concede by your own argument that you lack the
"expert level knowledge," and again this is your wording, not mine, to
evaluate the complex questions impacting the Hawkins deal.  Yet you state
that "Every nuance of opinion has already been expressed ad nauseum."
regarding these complex issues, which is a bold assessment I doubt would be
made by many experts evaluating the completies involved in the
Hawkins/Moscow deal.

If you presented well researched findings to support this statement, on
water use, for example, showing that the science involved in local water
resources demonstrates, with a high degree of probability, how much water
can be extracted, without risk of problematic depletion, according to the
form of the argument I make below regarding a non-professional researching
the science of climate change, then at least you would be supporting your
statement with research, lending some credibility, even though you are not
an expert in water resources.  But you presented no evidence on this
important question.

In my posts on the science of climate change I present credible research to
support any claims regarding the scientific consensus; and I certainly would
never state that on the subject of anthropogenic climate change, "Every
nuance of opinion has been expressed ad nauseum."

I doubt there has been "...ample opportunity for discussion for everyone who
had anything viable to say." as you phased it, on the question of local
water resources and conservation, given the current uncertainties in the
science regarding this issue, and what further investigation and discovery
will reveal.

Now to address your dismissal of the value of a non-professional but well
researched analysis of climate change science:

On 3/21/08, Chasuk <chasuk at gmail.com> wrote:

> But what about this?
> Me:  I think that Professor Fizzbottom is correct when he argues that
> the Higgins boson particle, when redacted by mitochondrial drift, (and
> considering the influence of chaotic extremis created by Golgi body
> apparatus) will cause plenitudinal corruption in dalmations.
> Someone Else:  Ah!  But Professor Ezekiel Tink disagrees!  In fact,
> he... Etc.  Etc.
> Now, I didn't actually say anything meaningful at all (unless it was
> accidental).  Neither did Someone Else.  But pretend that these
> arguments are valid for Profs Fizzbottom and Tink to have, being
> authorities on the subject.  This reduces Me and Someone Else to mere
> cheerleaders for our respective Profs.  Our opinions are entirely
> worthless.  Th truth of our Profs claims are not matters of opinion,
> and we don't have the qualifications to usefully judge their words.
> We are making unqualified pronouncements.

Your example does not conform to the example of an evaluation of the
scientific consensus on climate change, which was the subject of the
thread.  The consensus is determined by the scientific community compiling
the work of thousands of scientists to determine the probability of the
truth or falsehood of the proposition that human impacts are changing the
climate.  Having respect for the consensus position of the scientific
community is not being a "cheerleader" for a professor, or expressing "fan
club membership," but involves making a rational objective assessment of
what the scientific community determines to be the consensus, if there is

If I survey the peer reviewed literature from the most well respected
scientific journals, and the conclusion that human caused climate change is
very likely occurring predominates, to believe that this conclusion is more
likely to be true than the claims it is not occurring, is not to be a
"cheerleader," but someone who follows the findings of objective
research. If someone states that we do not know with any reliability, based
on science, whether the climate will warm or cool due to increasing
anthropogenic sourced CO2 levels, as if this question has been examined by
the scientific community and found to be very uncertain, to object and
provide the scientific research that shows otherwise, is again not to be a
"cheerleader."  It is to present the majority findings of the scientific

I'll put aside the question of whether I, or any other non-professional
student of climate change, can understand the hard science to a high level.
This issue is not central to the argument I am making.

Chas continues:

> Worse, the same old players make the same old predictable
> pronouncements, every time.  If Gore/Clinton/Kerry seem to be
> favorable towards proposition X, then certain Vision2020 members will
> invariably, and reflexively, take opposing sides.  If
> Bush/McCain/Reagen heirs  seem to be favorable towards proposition X,
> then certain Vision2020 members  will invariably, and reflexively,
> take opposing sides.  So, in the case of complicated issues like
> global warming, we have people arguing about the causes of global
> warming who are (a) unqualified to do so, and (b) aren't making
> arguments based on the evidence at all, but based upon fan club
> membership.

Why you are reducing questions regarding the objective evidence of the
scientific consensus on climate change to political loyalty, or "fan club
membership," I am not sure.  However, I agree this is the approach of many
who have not carefully and objectively researched the body of scientific
work on climate change.

Chas continues:

In other words, it is pointless for someone, anyone, to express an
opinion on a matter of fact, something which requires expert level
knowledge for that opinion to be valuable, when: (a) they don't
possess that  expert level knowledge, and (b) they aren't arging THEIR
OWN opinion at all, but regurgitating the opinions of presumably
qualified scientists only because it happens to match (or not match)
whatever Bushco espouses.

The last paragraph seems to merely restate your previous points in different
words.  Again, I don't think your analysis allows for the value of the
opinion of a careful unbiased non-scientist researcher, who investigates the
published science on climate change, to come to credible conclusions
regarding whether there is or is not a scientific consensus. Again, it is
not necessary for the researcher to understand all the complexities of the
hard science involved to come to a reliable conclusion.

Within the science of climate change, covering numerous disciplines, even
the scientists themselves are so specialized that they do not fully
understand the work of other scientists.  One scientist is an expert on
atmospheric dynamics, another on ocean currents, another on climate change
impacts on forests, another on impacts to animal species extinction and
adaptability, another on glaciation, and so forth.  Evidence from numerous
disciplines is involved in determining the consensus on climate change.

Ted Moffett
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