[Vision2020] American Geophysical Union: The Plainspoken Scientist: "A message to science educators and students about global climate change"

Ron Force rforce2003 at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 6 20:21:00 PDT 2010

Paul, others have the same criticism: 

Climate change report is 'reliable but flawed'

    * 12:40 06 July 2010 by Fred Pearce
A tendency to highlight worst-case scenarios undermined parts of the last 
assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to a new 
study by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).

The inquiry was ordered by embarrassed Dutch ministers after it emerged that a 
mistake in the 2007 IPCC report originated with its own scientists. The report 
stated that 55 per cent of the Netherlands is below sea level, when in fact the 
true figure is half that.

Overall, the Dutch investigators said, the IPCC report's conclusions were 
"well-founded". But it found several judgments that were "misleading" and 
appeared to have no firm research basis...
The rest:

From: Paul Rumelhart <godshatter at yahoo.com>
To: Ted Moffett <starbliss at gmail.com>
Cc: Moscow Vision 2020 <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Tue, July 6, 2010 7:00:21 PM
Subject: Re: [Vision2020] American Geophysical Union: The Plainspoken Scientist: 
"A message to science educators and students about global climate change"

I roll my eyes at these kinds of polls for a number of reasons.

For one, who cares how many people support something?  What matters is 
if it's correct or not.  How many scientists rejected the continental 
drift theory proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912?  If they had made a 
poll then that asked whether or not tectonic plates drifted slowly 
around, there may well have been 98% of the scientists weighing in 
against the idea.

For another, I don't usually like the questions they choose.  The 
question basically was "does the data clearly demonstrate the earth is 
warming and that human activity is contributing to rising 
temperatures?"  I would vote yes on this question.  The world has been 
warming since the Little Ice Age bottomed out in the 1600's or so.  
Based on simple physics, a rise in CO2 has to warm the world at least a 
little bit.  We have obviously been burning lots of fossil fuels, so we 
have to be contributing to it.  It appears that the natural carbon 
sequestration methods can't keep up.  However, that doesn't mean that 
the proposed apocalyptic scenarios will play out.  If they're going to 
poll all the climate scientists, why don't they give them an interesting 
question to answer?  How about the question "how much warming will a 
doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels produce?" and then give them 
1 degree increments from -5C to +5C to choose from.

For yet another, comparing published climate scientists opinions to that 
of the earth scientists in general might be more of an indication that 
the "pal review" process is working well as a political tool.

Also, at the risk of losing my revered "climate contrarian" card, I'm 
vehemently against rewriting textbooks to include creationism and 
excluding evolution.  I've studied evolution, and I'm convinced it's 
real.  I haven't read any of the school textbooks that cover global 
climate change, but if they are heavy on scare-mongering and low on 
facts, then I would like them to be revised.  If they happen to mention 
that there are scientists that are in the minority that think that 
mankind's impact on climate change might not be as bad as the majority 
thinks, that would be great.  As long as they don't compare them to 
holocaust deniers, flat earthers, or phrenologists, that is.


Ted Moffett wrote:
> It appears Professor John Ayers is unaware that the EOS survey article 
> he references (EOS v. 90 Number 3, p. 22 
> can be read by anyone on the Internet without access to American 
> Geophysical Union publications via a log-in, at the following website:
> http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf 
> <http://tigger.uic.edu/%7Epdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf>
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ees/johnayers
> *John Ayers
> *Ph.D. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1991
> /Geochemistry and Experimental Petrology/
> http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ees/johncayers
> office: 5705 Science & Engineering Bldg.
> phone: 615-283-0775
> email: john.c.ayers at vanderbilt.edu <mailto:john.c.ayers at vanderbilt.edu>
> -----------------------------------
> 19 April 2010
> */Guest post by John C. Ayers, Professor at /**/Vanderbilt 
> University/* <http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ees/johnayers>*/./*
> A recent poll of earth scientists found that 97 percent of actively 
> publishing climate scientists agree that data clearly demonstrate the 
> earth is warming and that human activity is contributing to rising 
> temperatures (EOS v. 90 Number 3, p. 22 
> — those who don’t have access to Eos, see this CNN story 
> In contrast, the same poll found that only 82 percent of earth 
> scientists agree that human activity is contributing to climate 
> change. Many of the 18 percent who disagreed are undoubtedly science 
> educators. This poll and my own experience suggest that a significant 
> percentage of university and high school science educators who are not 
> climatologists remain skeptical about human-induced climate change 
> because they haven’t taken an in-depth, unbiased look at the data. 
> Then they pass their skepticism on to their students.
> What these science educators need to realize is that they are teaching 
> their students to be skeptical not about one scientific theory, but 
> the entire scientific process. If science educators don’t accept the 
> overwhelming consensus of scientific experts, why should their 
> students or the public? My concern isn’t so much whether students 
> learn and accept the scientific consensus on global warming; it is 
> that students will conclude that science isn’t a legitimate source of 
> knowledge, and shouldn’t play a role in public policy decisions. 
> Science educators who express opinions rather than demonstrate facts 
> undermine the scientific process. The best approach is for educators 
> to present the facts and let students draw their own conclusions.
> Now, climate contrarians are allying with creationists to keep 
> teaching of global climate change and evolution out of public schools 
> (see “Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets 
> <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html>”, 
> Kaufman, March 3, 2010). For over a century, creationists and their 
> predecessors have fought earth scientists about the age of the earth, 
> biologists about evolution, and astronomers about the age of the 
> universe. Expert scientists in these fields need support from 
> non-expert scientists. All members of the scientific community must 
> learn the scientific evidence relevant to each of these battles and 
> avoid undercutting science by voicing uninformed opinions.
> Students of science: Don’t believe anyone who states opinions about 
> scientific issues without presenting supporting facts. If your teacher 
> or political representative makes an unsubstantiated challenge to the 
> consensus scientific view on global climate change, evolution, or any 
> other topic, demand the evidence they base their opinions on. If the 
> response rests on politics, religion, or something else that is not 
> science, call them on it.  On climate change, ask why they think they 
> know better than the 97 percent of climatologists. If they claim that 
> scientific experts in the field are unreliable or have all committed 
> fraud, ask them why you should trust any scientific authority. All 
> scientific claims need to be tested. Students can contribute to 
> scientific progress by testing claims of science educators, or even 
> better, by persuading educators to test their own claims.
> [/A previous version of this blog post was published in Ayers' 
> Sustainability Blog 
> /– John C. Ayers, Vanderbilt University
> -------------------------------------------/
> /Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett/
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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