I’ve detailed some of my misadventures at Real Climate.org, the sometimes insightful but usually activism-masquerading-as science water cooler for folks who buy the notion that human-caused global warming (aka “AGW”) is on a rampage that is increasingly likely to end with the destruction of global civilization as we know it.
My greatest frustration at RealClimate is the bizarre comment moderation policy, which effectively squelches most informed dissent in favor of “supportive” comments from the regulars. My reasonable comments have so often been zapped out that I don’t post there anymore – it’s a waste of my time (and theirs!) to compose a thoughtful reply only to have it reviewed by a climate scientist who takes some offense by people less interested in parroting the party line than questioning some of the nuanced, globally warmed interpretations of proxy data.
But I digress…
Enter Nathan Myhrvold and the fun new book “SuperFreakonomics”, which was the subject of RealClimate’s spurious attack piece of the week by Raypierre:
The problem wasn’t necessarily that you talked to the wrong experts or talked to too few of them. The problem was that you failed to do the most elementary thinking needed to see if what they were saying (or what you thought they were saying) in fact made any sense. If you were stupid, it wouldn’t be so bad to have messed up such elementary reasoning, but I don’t by any means think you are stupid.
Now, it’s one thing to make a case that a bunch of whacky bloggers or frothing-at-the-mouth fools like Glenn Beck don’t understand the issues surrounding Global Warming, but it is ridiculous to make this case against a guy like Myhrvold who has both the business credentials and academic ones to suggest he’s very well informed. He was Microsoft’s Chief Tech Officer and he is the founder of the globally respected “Intellectual Ventures” think tank. He’s also got the academic chops to debate these issues thoughfully: Master’s degrees in Geophysics/Space Physics and in Mathematical Economics and a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics.
Here’s Myhrvold’s reply which includes this real nugget of wisdom:
One of the saddest things for me about climate science is how political it has become. Science works by having an open dialog that ultimately converges on the truth, for the common benefit of everyone. Most scientific fields enjoy this free flow of ideas.
The good news is that some good scientists who do NOT have a political agenda are (finally) starting to speak out forcefully when attacked by those who do. The end game is already obvious because reason tends to prevail over ranting. We should soon soon see the alarmist rhetoric die down in favor of real discussion of real issues, and as we do let’s tip our hats to Nathan and others who are willing to simply state the obvious, regardless of the political implications of doing that.