June 28, 2006

Activists Scientists Praise Gore Film?

Well, not exactly. Although the AP would like you to believe it. Yes, some "scientists" gave Gore's An Inconvenient Truth "five stars for accuracy" we need to take a closer look at this report. And the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works did just that. And they say "whoa, hold on a minute":

AP chose to ignore the scores of scientists who have harshly criticized the science presented in former Vice President Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

In the interest of full disclosure, the AP should release the names of the “more than 100 top climate researchers” they attempted to contact to review “An Inconvenient Truth.” AP should also name all 19 scientists who gave Gore “five stars for accuracy.” AP claims 19 scientists viewed Gore’s movie, but it only quotes five of them in its article. AP should also release the names of the so-called scientific “skeptics” they claim to have contacted.

The AP article quotes Robert Correll, the chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group. It appears from the article that Correll has a personal relationship with Gore, having viewed the film at a private screening at the invitation of the former Vice President. In addition, Correll’s reported links as an “affiliate” of a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that provides “expert testimony” in trials and his reported sponsorship by the left-leaning Packard Foundation, were not disclosed by AP. See http://www.junkscience.com/feb06.htm

The AP also chose to ignore Gore’s reliance on the now-discredited “hockey stick” by Dr. Michael Mann, which claims that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the 20th century, and that the 1990’s were the warmest decade in at least 1000 years. Last week’s National Academy of Sciences report dispelled Mann’s often cited claims by reaffirming the existence of both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. [my emphasis]

Dafydd at Big Lizards eviscerates the AP's claim:
This is about as self-selected a group as it's possible to compose: climate scientists who actually take Algore seriously as a spokesman for the dangers of "global warming pollution!"

(While AP is quick to note that some of those they contacted were "vocal skeptics of climate change theory," you may notice they oddly fail to mention how many of the 19 who responded to them were among those "skeptics." At a guess, I'd have to say -- zero?)

If you're a climatologist -- and even if you more or less support the IPCC position on global climate change -- how likely would you be to seek out a showing somewhere of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth? Most scientists I know cringe at such populist caricatures, even if they agree with the basic premise... especially if they agree.

Scientists tend to be irritated anyway by the depiction of science in movies, even so-called documentaries: everything from orbits that "decay," to explosions that can be "outrun," to a rotating space station that produces a gravitational-like force... directed along the axis of rotation.

But they're even more skeptical of science when the subject is controversial within the scientific community (which anthropogenic global warming certainly is) -- and in spades and doubled when the moviemaker is not himself a scientist but a politician with no formal training in any math or science beyond what he learned in high school (which, considering Algore's GPA at St. Alban's and at Harvard, was probably not very much).

Most climate scientists would steer so far away from An Inconvenient Truth, even if they supported global-warming theory, that they would probably pretend they didn't even know it existed. Those who went to pains to actively seek it out would be a special breed: scientists who were so tickled that someone as important as Albert A. Gore, jr. would make a movie about their crackpot theory, that they could hardly stop themselves from gushing.

I wish the Associated Press had thought to ask those 19 gushers who they thought had really won the 2000 election.

The very essence of scientific consensus is that every person must give an opinion; every position must be canvassed; all objections must be answered. If you contact 100 scientists and only 19% have seen some work, their opinion is not a consensus: at best, it's a sampling; but more likely, it's a biased pool that does not represent the whole. [all original emphasis]

Curt at Flopping Aces cuts to the chase:
How much you want to bet those 19 agreed with Gore before they saw the movie. Now how much you want to bet the other 81 didnÂ’t want to see the movie because its fiction?
The enviro-scaremongers will always find fellow travelers to prop up their claims. And the antique media is only too happy to be complicit in distorting reality for those who only skim headlines and buy into this silliness...because some scientists say it's true.

Posted by: Gary at 09:30 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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June 27, 2006

I've Heard Some Wacky Theories Before, But...

...this one sits way near the top of the list.

A study in Canada (why do these studies always seem to come from Canada anyway?) is claiming the the more older brothers a man has, the more likely he is to be gay. No, it's not an argument in favor of environmental factors. It seems the people behind this study believe that having many older brothers has the effect of "tricking" the womb into making you gay. Check this out:

[Professor Anthony Bogaert] suggests the effect is probably the result of a "maternal memory" in the womb for male births.

A woman's body may see a male foetus as "foreign", he says, prompting an immune reaction which may grow progressively stronger with each male child.

The antibodies created may affect the developing male brain.

In an accompanying article, scientists from Michigan State University said: "These data strengthen the notion that the common denominator between biological brothers, the mother, provides a prenatal environment that fosters homosexuality in her younger sons."

"But the question of mechanism remains."

Andy Forrest, a spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall, said: "Increasingly, credible evidence appears to indicate that being gay is genetically determined rather than being a so-called lifestyle choice.

Huh? Their kidding, right? "Credible evidence" now equates to some crack-pot theory that homosexuality is caused by an immune reaction in the womb?

Look, do I know exactly what factors go into making someone gay? Of course not. Nor do I claim to. But if someone's going to convince me that it's 100% biological, they're going to have to do a whole lot better than this nonsense. And if you ask me, based on the content of this article, it flies in the face of journalistic integrity to have the headline read "Womb environment 'makes men gay'" as if it were a statement of fact.

But then, we are talking BBC News here.

Posted by: Gary at 09:30 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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