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The Global Warming Heretic

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the sphere-of-influence dept.

Earth 1190

theodp writes "In The Civil Heretic, the NYT Magazine takes a look at how world-renowned scientist Freeman Dyson wound up opposing those who care most about global warming. Since coming out of the closet on global warming, Dyson has found himself described as 'a pompous twit,' 'a blowhard,' and 'a mad scientist.' He argues that climate change has become an obsession for 'a worldwide secular religion' known as environmentalism. Dyson has been particularly dismissive of Al Gore, calling him climate change's chief propagandist and accusing him of relying too heavily on computer-generated climate models and promoting 'lousy science' that's distracting attention from more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet." Dyson himself wrote about the need for heretics in science not long ago.

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Let me see if I can cool things down here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370827)

frosty post, the frostiest

chillin' like a villain my bitches

let's keep it real, real frosty

Re:Let me see if I can cool things down here (1, Offtopic)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371045)

Heeeey! I remember Frosty [slashdot.org]

There is money and publicity (2, Insightful)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370829)

in fighting the prevailing wind. Credibility will end up tattered, but when your alternative is wage parity with taxi drivers, not such a bad choice. Rail on you rebel you.

Re:There is money and publicity (5, Insightful)

glueball (232492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370893)

There's big money in pushing global warming, too.

Re:There is money and publicity (1, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370921)

maybe now, the last 2-3 years. Did you make the same argument the 20 years before that ?

Re:There is money and publicity (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370971)

No, because 20 years ago Global Cooling was the buzzword :)

Re:There is money and publicity (3, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370997)

quote from wikipedia :

In the 1970s there was increasing awareness that estimates of global temperatures showed cooling since 1945. Of those scientific papers considering climate trends over the 21st century, only 10% inclined towards future cooling, while most papers predicted future warming

Re:There is money and publicity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371145)

[citation needed]

Don't quote wikipedia to prove a point. Quote what it quotes.

Re:There is money and publicity (4, Insightful)

glueball (232492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371067)

Did you make the same argument the 20 years before that ?
No. The hysteria was not at profitable levels 10 years ago.

20 years ago was the hysteria over acid rain.

Re:There is money and publicity (5, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371089)

Actually this is quite a bit of the problem.

Let me give you an example. I have been living here in Europe since 1994. In the past five years here in Switzerland we have been getting Canadian seasons. Yes the summers are warmer as well, but the winters are colder and more snow.

The media hypes the summers because they are hotter, but does not hype on the winter. They say, "oh this can be expected and normal". That bothers me completely because anybody who researches climate knows Europe is being kept warm by the Atlantic conveyor. If the Atlantic conveyor turns around further south then as paradoxical as it sounds with increased global warming Europe gets colder! The UK had its first snowfall in October in 74 YEARS!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3278378/Snow-covers-parts-of-England-as-winter-weather-sets-in.html [telegraph.co.uk]

I remember a report in National Geographic about 5 years ago, and documentaries on TV that said Europe with increased global warming would become cold! The reason was the Atlantic conveyor. What was scary about this is that research has shown that the conveyor can shut down in a matter of a decade, but requires thousands upon thousands of years to restore itself.

I think it is happening! Though do you read about this in the media? NOOOOO because we all associate climate change with warming not change! It is much easier to sell deserts, no water, etc than people freezing their butts... Mentally we associate deserts = death, but cold as just being something we need to deal with...

Though look at the latitude of North Europe... It is freaken Labrador! Definitely not a place I want to live in... (due to its weather...)

Re:There is money and publicity (1, Troll)

kholburn (625432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371211)

There's big money, very big money and huge astroturfing campaigns in denying global warming too.

Re:There is money and publicity (3, Informative)

rs79 (71822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371187)

While I could't think less of his daughter (hi Estie!) I couldn't think more of Freeman. And if you look at the times he's been wrong before (oh, there aren't any) and think about what he says in terms of the context of actual life dynamics you'll see he's not wrong this time.

This doesn't mean we should be free to pollute but as pointed out in Jurassic Park "life finds a way".

Repent now, the end is near (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370837)

Funny how since the beginning of history, groups of people have been claiming that the world is going to end. And it keeps not happening.

Re:Repent now, the end is near (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370885)

In fairness it will only keep on not happening until the day it does happen.

AKA, it's not a matter of "if."

Re:Repent now, the end is near (-1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371035)

But it only needs to happen one time.

Re:Repent now, the end is near (5, Funny)

StartledGnu (548387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371055)

Funny how since the beginning of history, groups of people have been claiming that the world is going to end. And it keeps not happening.

"Past Performance is Not Necessarily Indicative of Future Results"

Re:Repent now, the end is near (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371063)

And a broken [analog] clock is right twice a day.

Re:Repent now, the end is near (4, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371099)

The world will go on, but humanity might not.

History... (1, Insightful)

sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370847)

will of course prove him right. But that wont stop the scam that is going on. Im all for conservation and greener technologies. But this is not what is driving the Global Warming folks. Its good old MONEY/POWER. History will show Dyson to be a man of enlightened thinking, a beacon of reason. Course it will be only long after hes gone. Ask Galileo. It takes a truly great society to accept the great thinkers in their time. Plato?

Re:History... (2, Insightful)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370907)

> Im all for conservation and greener technologies.
> But this is not what is driving the Global Warming folks.

Speak for yourself. That's _exactly_ why I'm in so strongly favor of listening to the overwhelming consensus of climatologists.

Re:History... (3, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370947)

Actually climatologists are pretty divided on the whole global warming issue -- they understand the details a whole lot better than the hordes of laymen or non-climatalogist scientists who keep shouting about it.

Re:History... (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370977)

hordes of laymen or non-climatalogist scientists who keep shouting about it.

like 99.99% of slashdot-people ?

Re:History... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370979)

No, they're really not divided. A small number of people disagree, and have spread this idea that there's a lack of consensus.

Which isn't to say that dissenting opinions are bad, quite the contrary. But its important to look at their sources of data and what they chose to ignore or dismiss.

Re:History... (4, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371103)

consensus!=(science || scientific method)

Re:History... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371171)

They keep propagating this nonsense with statements just like yours. "If I say it is so it is" is not fact it is vapor.

I am all for cleaning up the air and environment and have been for 30 years but this global warming nonsense is a huge power and wealth grab and nothing else.

"A United Nations document on "climate change" that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes â" all under the supervision of the world body."

Re:History... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370969)

Since when has science been based on consensus? The 'consensus' has been wrong before and they will be wrong again. Likely, they are wrong on something right now, it is just a matter of what.

Re:History... (3, Insightful)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371107)

> The 'consensus' has been wrong before and they will be wrong again.

And in this case, if we follow the consensus and it turns out they're wrong, the consequences of that are what?

We've dramatically cleaned up our environment, achieved energy independence, freed ourselves from the political constraints of fossil fuels and massively bolstered our economy with a whole new class of green businesses.

Explain again why you're so against this?

Re:History... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371157)

and taxed ourselves to oblivion, put unneeded burdens on our economies, outsourced jobs to cheaper countries...

there is a reason this political religion exists...

green businesses? you've really bitten the bait, no?

Re:History... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370959)

I agree....and it's not that I don't want a nice environment to exist in...the opposite is true:

I want clean rivers and aquifers to drink from, clean air to breathe, and unspoiled land to grow from, and mercury free fish to eat.

But your typical Al Gore liberal isn't helping these issues by pushing this giant all encompassing war on global warming, which will end like other similar wars on poverty, terror, drugs, inequality

poorly.

Re:History... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371205)

And how would you propose to handle the problem? You think you can just bring up the issues, recommend the solution, then call it a day and hope that governments, companies, and people just do the right thing?

There's no way that will work. There's far too much profit at stake for those that need to change. They don't give a shit. If it's going to hurt their bottom line, they won't do it unless forced. People are notoriously short-sighted and it's getting worse. Every CEO wants immediate returns even if the long term harm to the company is obvious. People want all their luxuries right now and will spend their futures to get it. Governments just fuel all of this as well with their constant chanting of "growth, growth, growth", powered by deficit spending, selling the country's natural resources to the highest bidder, and punishing those who don't consume past their means with inflation, bailouts, and pro-consumption policies.

Long ago I came to the realization that people won't change until the problem kicks them right in the teeth and it's too late to do anything about it.

Re:History... (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371007)

In 2007 Exxon-mobile made more money than any company in the history of mankind. It seems there is more money/power in denying global warming.

Anyway, how do you know how history will see Dyson? Does your crystal ball work better than mine? I have no problem with a crazy old physicist coming out and saying that all of your theories are wrong. If you can prove the crazy old man wrong then that just strengthens your theory -- if you can't prove him wrong then you must question your theory. The problem I have is that faux news is probably going to turn this into a full blown "news" story about how we should all keep our SUVs.

Look, even if Dyson is correct the fact is that there are only so many fossil fuels on the planet and the Earth is making more a lot more slowly than we are burning them. All of our energy and technology are linked to this stuff. Even if global warming is caused by something else, we will need to switch to green technology sooner or later. And if we beging to switch sooner rather then later then it will be cheaper in the long run. Energy costs are just going to go up and up and up until we find renewable sources.

Re:History... (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371169)

No actually I believe there is global warming. As I run a financial blog I did some number crunching on CO2, energy and the likes. Conclusion, unless we cut by 50% we are screwed. So my advocacy is that we need to deal with the change coming.

Do I care if it came from humanity or not? Not really, actually it's beside the point. Sort of like arguing about a truck that's about to hit a crowd of people and asking, "well did that truck stop before making a right hand turn or not?" I said who shives a ghit, we need to do something about the ramifications of the truck....

The world is now in a cooling trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370869)

It will take another decade or so before the global warming fad dies.

Global warming is a politically painful subject. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370975)

My biggest personal problem with global warming is that it is so cold all the time. In Portland, Oregon, it snowed in March, even though it usually doesn't snow at all. In another city with which I am familiar, in the southern hemisphere, there was no summer, only two warm days.

Global warming is politically difficult to sell to people when they are experiencing record cold.

Re:Global warming is a politically painful subject (4, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371049)

that's because 'global warming' is a badly chosen term. the average temp may go up, but lots of places are going to get colder, hotter, drier, wetter for longer periods.

Re:Global warming is a politically painful subject (2, Interesting)

StartledGnu (548387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371129)

Global warming is politically difficult to sell to people when they are experiencing record cold.

That's because people tend to take 'global warming' as literally meaning that 'everywhere gets hotter'. Of course, some places get warmer and some get cooler but the average global temperature increases and the planet experiences more erratic and extreme climactic behavior as a consequence. 'Climate change' is a more useful term.

Re:Global warming is a politically painful subject (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371181)

How long a period does your "all the time" cover? Decades? Centuries? We've had quite a cold winter here in Western Wisconsin, but twenty years ago it would have been average.

Global warming is not about your local weather over the past week.

Re:The world is now in a cooling trend (2, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371037)

Nope that is what is so crazy about this.

Everytime they models don't predict the results there is an excuse. Global Warming has become as unfalsifible as any Religion every has been.

Oh well the ICE caps got bigger, umm umm, CO2 is makeing more clouds and keeping us cooler for the moment but its going to get hot we sware..just wait

Oh well core samples and focile records show we have been though much more extreeme temperature swings and more fequently in the past long before industrialization.., umm umm, yea some stuff and whatnot but this time its diffent. Just wait for this next *Nino Cycle to end then the wether is gonna get crazy...

Oh forget global warming, its global cooling.... ...

Oh forget global cooling/dimming its global warming... ...

Ok Ok global climate change, we have not idea whats happening but we know we are somehow responsible for it and its going to be a catastrophe. - Sounds oddly religious to me.

Yeah, well, they also got mad at Galileo. (1, Informative)

watermodem (714738) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370871)

the Zealots are always willing to burn a heretic.

Dyson is one of the greats and as Einstein said:

        "Greatspirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

And God knows there are a sh*tload of mediocre minds involved with gerbil wormening
Not to mention with Lefties, politicians, movie stars..
If movie stars are in favour of it, it pretty much guarantees it's a bad idea.

Freeman Dyson has, apparently, angered all the right people.
FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson has quietly resided in Princeton, N.J., on the wooded former farmland that is home to his employer, the Institute for Advanced Study, this country's most rarefied community of scholars. Lately, however, since coming "out of the closet as far as global warming is concerned," as Dyson sometimes puts it, there has been noise all around him. Chat rooms, Web threads, editors' letter boxes and Dyson's own e-mail queue resonate with a thermal current of invective in which Dyson has discovered himself variously described as "a pompous twit," "a blowhard," "a cesspool of misinformation," "an old coot riding into the sunset" and, perhaps inevitably, "a mad scientist." Dyson had proposed that whatever inflammations the climate was experiencing might be a good thing because carbon dioxide helps plants of all kinds grow. Then he added the caveat that if CO2 levels soared too high, they could be soothed by the mass cultivation of specially bred "carbon-eating trees,"

His most useful contribution to science was the unification of the three versions of quantum electrodynamics invented by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga.

        Wikipedia on Freeman Dyson
Although Dyson has won numerous scientific awards, he has never won a Nobel Prize, which has led Nobel physics laureate Steven Weinberg to state that the Nobel committee has "fleeced" Dyson. Dyson has said that "I think it's almost true without exception if you want to win a Nobel Prize, you should have a long attention span, get ahold of some deep and important problem and stay with it for 10 years. That wasn't my style."

Dyson worked as an analyst for RAF Bomber Command at RAF Wyton during World War II, where he would come to create what would be later known as operational research. .... his major awards and accomplishments run for pages....

Dyson Sphere, Project Orion - on and on.,.

his home page:
http://www.sns.ias.edu/~dyson/ [ias.edu]

Re: Yeah, well, they also got mad at Galileo. (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370929)

Given the class of folks behind "Gerbil Warmening" ( I like that I am going to borrow it from your ) the fact that they need to resort to personal attacks like calling him "an old coot" and like is both unsurprsing and farther proof they are not worthing listening to and that Dyson probably is...

they need to resort to personal attacks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371183)

"And God knows there are a sh*tload of mediocre minds involved with gerbil wormening
Not to mention with Lefties, politicians, movie stars..
If movie stars are in favour of it, it pretty much guarantees it's a bad idea."

woosh

Re: Yeah, well, they also got mad at Galileo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371155)

If movie stars are in favour of it, it pretty much guarantees it's a bad idea.

Movie stars are in favor of curing cancer too. Is that a bad idea? No, jackass, because it doesn't matter who likes what. If the data disagrees with the hypothesis then and only then is it a bad idea. Do you have any data or studies to provide? No? Then shut the fuck up. I'm sick of this "gut instinct" skepticism. I'm as skeptical as the next guy but for the right reasons, because as humans we are ignorant about many things, not because some face on a TV program said something I didn't like.

I hate fanboys, of anything, including global warming theories but I'm not that much of a fucking social narcissistic though that I can't be seen with twits if they also happen to be right.

Re: Yeah, well, they also got mad at Galileo. (0, Flamebait)

shaitand (626655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371159)

'And God knows there are a sh*tload of mediocre minds involved with gerbil wormening'

Sorry, you lost all credibility when you capitalized god.

beacon of hope (4, Insightful)

okooolo (1372815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370877)

I dread the day we stop questioning ourselves

Re:beacon of hope (5, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370963)

well I don't question myself, I'm pretty much perfetc.

Re:beacon of hope (0)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371047)

I'm pretty much perfetc.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Re:beacon of hope (2, Insightful)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371065)

Joke

----

You

The bear can't be wrong (1)

Lightzout (697564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370881)

You can include Owsley Stanley amongst the naysayers. While its hard to imagine billions of humans and their herds not farting up the globe dissent and criticism are always a good thing.

Re:The bear can't be wrong (1)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371071)

There's two people I work with who are convinced global warming is some sort of liberal fraud. Should I list their names here too since they are as exactly relevant to this thread as Owsley Stanley?

Thank goodness (0, Flamebait)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370883)

Global Warmin is bad science, as a general rule. If you look at most studies past the title they all play fast and loose. There is some good work being done for sure; but its been turned into a Religion, and the facts are thin, and or simply made up.

After it was revealed the Hocky-stick report was done with largely fictious data I don't understand how the public can stick behind this garbage. They just cling to the hope of their lord and master Barrack and the Queen of the Damned herself Nacy; and gobble up anything their pathetic pitchmand Gore says. You know he actually was quoted saying "I am not going to let science get in the way", why anybody takes anything these people say seriously without first independantly verifying it is beyond me.

Dyson on the other hand is a great thinker who has done great science, real science and knows how its suppose to work. Hopefully people will take him as seriously as they do their false prophets.

Re:Thank goodness (4, Informative)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370915)

You know he actually was quoted saying "I am not going to let science get in the way"...

Googling 'gore "I am not going to let science get in the way"' returns 0 results.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

okooolo (1372815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370955)

I guess computer science got in your way.

Re:Thank goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370967)

You know he actually was quoted saying "I am not going to let science get in the way"...

Googling 'gore "I am not going to let science get in the way"' returns 0 results.

Funny, I found two results [google.com] pretty quickly.

Re:Thank goodness (4, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371085)

Funny, I found two results pretty quickly.

For a different search, how surprising. Not two mention to hits to somone's comments on Digg, don't count as an actual source for a quote of that nature. Looks like a bloody lie.

Re:Thank goodness (2, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371003)

Yes,

and searching for 'gore "science get in the way"' similarly turns up nothing useful (except for maybe a video I am too lazy to watch).

Mostly I see forums discussing it and it not even attributed to Gore. Sometimes I see it attributed to him similar to the GP. I don't see evidence that is was actually said by Gore though.

I believe it is a more relevant search because it removes the possibility of contractions throwing off the results.

Re:Thank goodness (4, Informative)

IQgryn (1081397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371097)

Following a few links from googling 'gore "not going to let science get in the way"' led me to this: http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=13773 [dailytech.com] . Seems he did say something of the sort, anyway.

Actual Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371193)

Actual Quote [dailytech.com] :
"science will not intrude on public policy"

Though, it is just a second-hand quote.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

okooolo (1372815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370927)

Well whether it's bad science or not, it at least encourages humanity to clean up our act. Which is kind of ironic when you think about it..

Re:Thank goodness (2, Insightful)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371041)

Well whether it's bad science or not, it at least encourages humanity to clean up our act.

The truth doesn't matter as long as everyone else lives by your standards?

You should get into politics.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

cam_macleod (59140) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370957)

Yes, yes, one study was debunked. The infamous hockey stick graph was based on incorrect data. However, over ten other non-debunked studies show very similar data, so it's time to grow up and stop complaining about one single tree in a forest.

See these sites for helpful links to other studies, and accurate graphs showing that there is still an obvious issue we need to be concerned about:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm [skepticalscience.com]

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/12/14/01828/236 [grist.org]

No recent warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370993)

Watch whether any of the reports on Dyson mention that there hasn't been warming for several years now. And much of the previous warming was just a recovery from the "Little Ice Age"... at least I hope that "Little Ice Age" temperatures aren't normal.

Re:Thank goodness (2, Informative)

stevew (4845) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371001)

I have to agree with you (and Dyson). Al Gore looses his argument as soon as he says that a concensus has been reached. Science simply doesn't work that way! Then he follows up with "the discussions are over." No they are not. Real science is a process of ALWAYS questioning your theories and assumptions and going where the evidence leads.

There is some evidence that there is some heating. The evidence that it is caused by CO2 or is man-made is tenuous at best! Depending on computer models that are not historically consitant is also ludicrous. All you really need to do is look at the prediction results for a Hurricane track. They use 10-15 different models and get that many different results. Usually as they show tracks taking off from Cuba - the run anywhere from the Yucatan to curling around and hitting Florida - and this for 3-4 days out!

Further - a lot of the data that they use for their arguments of warming are things like the temperature readings in the US - where it has been proven that a goodly chunk of these numbers are biased by Urbanization, but the numbers haven't been corrected for this affect!

Remember the announcement that 1998 was the warmest year of the century -well it turns out that these biases through them off. !934 or there abouts where (remember the great dust bowl???) 1998 was one of the 10 hotest in the century, but not the worst. Further - we've been having a cooling trend for nearly 10 years now! How does that jive with global warming?

Hocky-stick report .. (0, Flamebait)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371011)

'After it was revealed the Hocky-stick report was done with largely fictious data'

According to this [wikipedia.org] the report was later endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences after a concerted effort to discredit its findings and the reputation of its authors.

Gore says. You know he actually was quoted saying "I am not going to let science get in the way"

Where did he say that and in what context. Citations ??

Re:Thank goodness (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371019)

Who mods this stuff up as informative? This seems a lot closer to flambait to me. It mentions (but doesn't cite) what seems to be a fictitious quote from Gore and makes reference to "lord and master Barrack". If that isn't inflammatory, what is it? The whole thing is misinformation and ad hominem/argumentum ad verecundiam.

Bad studies don't support the opposite case. There was a flawed study on global warming (assuming one agrees with such an assessment) somehow makes all the other studies on the subject less credible or valid? Anyone making such a claim doesn't understand how science works.

give me a break (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371143)

Why that biased partisan rant posing as a comment was moderated to (+5, insightful) is beyond me.

Global Warmin is bad science, as a general rule

And that statement is bad English, as a general rule. The word is Warming, not Warmin. If you want to be taken seriously please avoid slang.

facts are thin, and or simply made up

Can you provide a specific example?

the Hocky-stick report was done with largely fictious data

OK, you gave an example, that is a start. Care to tell us why you call it "largely fictious" (sic) data? Can you point to a data set that specifically disproves it?

I don't understand how the public can stick behind this garbage

You aren't helping your cause when you just keep criticizing people without providing a reason to believe your argument.

their lord and master Barrack

You really are doing yourself a disservice, here.

And the first name of the current President of the United States is Barack. Please, learn to spell it correctly.

Queen of the Damned herself Nacy;

Cute. Her name is Nancy, if you are talking about the speaker of the house.

Though again you do yourself no service by going for insults rather than information.

pathetic pitchmand Gore says

I suspect you wanted the word pitchman?

You know he actually was quoted saying "I am not going to let science get in the way"

Do you have a source for that quote?

why anybody takes anything these people say seriously without first independantly verifying it is beyond me.

You would do yourself well to take your own advice and provide some verification for your own claims.

Dyson on the other hand is a great thinker who has done great science

Again, a source would be nice.

Re:Thank goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371213)

Quick! Look at me! I'm overgeneralizing to make a point because I think others are overgeneralizing to make their points!!!!!!1111oneone!

"heretic" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370891)

A heretic is a person that believes in the same thing, but has their own angle not following the exact doctrines. However, the church has managed to change the public perception of the word into something so extreme, it's as bad as falling out of the devil's bottom and calling yourself jesus or some other mythical character.

His story is typical. (-1, Flamebait)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370913)

Any time someone has a dissenting opinion against a liberal the liberal only seems capable of defending their argument with insults and threats. In the past, some scientists who have came out against global warming actually received death threats. The sad thing is that the evidence for global warming is subjective and yet people think they should make death threats to defend it. The same immature responses occur when liberals are arguing about religion. They believe they are always right and if you aren't on their side you must be stupid, your PhD backing your credibility is actually worthless, and you must be a member of the sheeple party. Liberals don't have a higher level of thinking to get past the subjectivity of the evidence they rely on to make their case. That very well may be the reason they attack those who do have the higher level of thinking. That hearkens back to school days where the stupid kids are the bullies. A lot of times those kids also had broken homes but a correlation I believe exists between their intelligence and their personality trait that makes them lash out as their only defense mechanism.

Re:His story is typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370985)

Good personal attack against Liberals there.

Re:His story is typical. (2, Interesting)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371023)

Any time someone has a dissenting opinion against a liberal the liberal only seems capable of defending their argument with insults and threats.

Ummmmm, every ideology has a subset of people who behave this way.

Saying stuff like this helpfully labels you as being the kind of rabid fundamentalist you're accusing your opponents of being.

Re:His story is typical. (2, Interesting)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371043)

Any time someone has a dissenting opinion against a liberal the liberal only seems capable of defending their argument with insults and threats.

And how is this different from how a "conservative" deals with the same situation? There are dogmatic believers on both sides (and honestly there are far far more sides than just Liberal/Conservative). People that believe you have to chose between Liberal or Conservative are already taking a step into a world of Us Vs Them that instils in their followers a world view that scares me; and leaves many of them incapable of dealing with Reality in a reasonable and pragmatic manner.

People are people whatever party/faction/group they support. The Us Vs Them mentality is the death of debate, reason and democracy.

Re:His story is typical. (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371051)

Yes, all liberals are that way. Thanks to whoever modded-up such a blanket political statement. Lets also mod-up replies such as "all Republicans are rich old men", "all Greens are hippies", and "all Slashdotters are male virgins who live at home."

Re:His story is typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371101)

Could also be the result of a cognitive dissonance. They may have the high level thinking abilities, but those thinking abilities are in conflict with their left-wing dogma. They are able to see the data and understand that it does not support man-made global warming, but their mental investment or desire to believe in the myth creates internal problems. There are only two ways to overcome the problem 1) reject the myth, or 2) refuse to be presented with correct data. It appears that number (2) has won out.

Now this appears to be true only for the "believers." The folks at the top of the scam have probably rejected the myth, but understand the power that it wields and so perpetuate it.

Re:His story is typical. (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371125)

Any time someone has a dissenting opinion against a liberal the liberal only seems capable of defending their argument with insults and threats.

In all fairness, that statement is equally correct when written:

Any time someone has a dissenting opinion against a conservative the conservative only seems capable of defending their argument with insults and threats.

And is more accurate when written as:

Any time someone has a dissenting opinion against an ideologue the ideologue only seems capable of defending their argument with insults and threats.

Few of us have the integrity and intellectual curiously to acknowledge our bias and challenge our own ideas.

Re:His story is typical. (1)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371167)

Any time someone has a dissenting opinion against a conservative the conservative only seems capable of defending their argument with insults and threats. In the past, some scientists who have came out against the war actually received death threats. The sad thing is that the evidence for war is subjective and yet people think they should make death threats to defend it. The same immature responses occur when conservatives are arguing about evolution. They believe they are always right and if you aren't on their side you must be stupid, your PhD backing your credibility is actually worthless, and you must be a member of the sheeple party. Conservatives don't have a higher level of thinking to get past the subjectivity of the evidence they rely on to make their case. That very well may be the reason they attack those who do have the higher level of thinking. That hearkens back to school days where the stupid kids are the bullies. A lot of times those kids also had broken homes but a correlation I believe exists between their intelligence and their personality trait that makes them lash out as their only defense mechanism.

The last 50 years or so, summarized. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370923)

1960s Environmentalists: Hey, maybe we like, shouldn't piss in our own drinking water and stuff.

Entrenched corporate interests: Fuck off, hippies.

1970s Scientists: Hmm, we probably shouldn't piss in our own drinking water.

Entrenched corporate interests: Fuck off, hippies.

1990s Scientists: Hey, we're really pretty sure about this not-pissing-in-drinking-water thing now.

Entrenched corporate interests: Fuck off, hippies.

Everyone else: Hey, so I saw this Inconvenient Truth thing, and I gotta say, this not-pissing-in-drinking-water kind of makes sense.

Entrenched corporate interests: Fuck off, hippies.

Re:The last 50 years or so, summarized. (2, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370961)

"Inconvenient Truth" ah yes one of the most widely debunked documentaries in recent years that now I am convienced oh wait no I am not,

F**k off hippie

Re:The last 50 years or so, summarized. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371191)

So instead of debunking the idea that resources are finite and the ecosystem is entwined, you debunk one movie and consider the issue settled?

Look at me, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370939)

in before science!

Heretics are GOOD (3, Insightful)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370943)

A lot of time in Science, you see people get aggressive towards dissenters of the popular opinion. Not aggressive in a good way, mind you. Heretics are GOOD because they strengthen or destroy good/bad science.

Just remember that next time you read an ID article ;-)

Professor Dyson is a very smart man (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27370949)

Unfortunately, he also happens to be wrong. He is a lone voice who has never published or conducted any research in Climatology; it is not his field. Those who insult and demean Dyson because of his views engage in abhorrent rhetoric. But the fact that some crazy people engage in abusive conduct does not make Professor Dyson's scientific views on this issue correct. It simply means that some people are assholes.

I'm sorry. There is a strong sentiment among slashdotters that Global Warming is bunk. Which shows just how ignorant the population at slashdot really is (never mind the general public).

Its all a LIE for MONEY & Control (3, Insightful)

MrHyd3 (19709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370951)

Its all about control and taxation. Taking from the haves and giving it to HAVE NOTS by force. SUN SPOT cycles have more control over our environment than all humans combined. The Earth has had COLD and WARM cycles centuries before the SUV was created.

Yawn (2, Insightful)

jamie (78724) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370953)

Oh look. Another non-climate-scientist who thinks nearly all of the climate scientists are wrong about the climate.

Non-experts who disagree with experts are a dime a dozen in any field, but for some reason, global warming seems to be the only field where they make headlines. Wonder why that is.

The sports writer [mediamatters.org] who for some reason was tasked with writing this science article let Dyson get away with a couple of groaners. One was his comment:

The warming, he says, is not global but local, "making cold places warmer rather than making hot places hotter."

Climate scientists will be the first to tell you that global warming affects the poles disproportionately. That doesn't make it "local" -- and the fact that those words are not in quotes suggests to me that Dyson never said it. Dyson seems well aware that the climate is, in fact, warming.

Dyson's wrong to repeat the "global cooling" myth [mediamatters.org] , and in his Salon interview [salon.com] a couple of years ago, he was wrong to assert that polar bear populations are increasing. But then, he didn't almost win the Nobel Prize for Polar Bears. He's undoubtedly a genius when it comes to physics, but why does the media love to find global-warming contrarians who are not experts on global warming? There's a question I'd like to see explored.

Re:Yawn (0)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371161)

You don't need to be an alchemist to to proclaim the absurdity of turning lead to gold.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371215)

And yet, ironically, with a suitable particle accelerator one can now turn real lead into real gold.

What's your point?

Read his actual opinions (5, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370965)

I'm sure this discussion will be flooded with global warming deniers, but if you actually read Dyson's opinions, he believes that global warming IS happening and we ARE to blame.

His only complaint with the science is that he feels that some of the computer models are fudged to make the results look worse than they might actually be.

Of course, his opinion on this seems utterly pointless to me. The man is a physicist, specializing in solid-state and quantum physics. He's no more qualified to analyze the science behind climate change than an electrical engineer is to build a bridge.

Re:Read his actual opinions (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371073)

The term "deniers" originally was applied to Holocaust deniers.

So you are trivializing the most tragic event of the 20th century as a rhetorical trick. That makes you an asshole.

Oh, and you just violated Godwin's law. On most boards that would get you banned for life.

Seriously, you should think about the effect your actions have on others. And you should go to a Holocaust museum and reflect on the insensitivity of your juvenile prank.

Re:Read his actual opinions (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371115)

You're an idiot. That word dates back to the 15th century.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denier [merriam-webster.com]

Re:Read his actual opinions (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27371197)

and the word holocaust is from the 13th century.

You were caught, you should apologize.

Seriously, this isn't a game, you did some profoundly wrong and should reflect on the insensitivity of your act.

Shame.

Climate, pollution and consequences. (5, Insightful)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370987)

While I will wholeheartedly agree that there are dogmatic idiots on both sides of this issue. And while I have no personal experience or knowledge on how, what and why things happen the way they do; I feel that those supporting doing nothing and ignoring any potential problem related to global warming and increased pollution are sticking their heads in the sand.

This isn't just about Environmental Nutters (though there are plenty of those); it's about responsible use of our resources and how to dispose of any waste generated. Continually, and increasingly, dumping chemicals and pumping exhaust from cars and factories into the atmosphere is not a positive thing. Our planet is big, and the problems related to increased pollution builds up over time; but it is absolutely clear in my mind that we can't keep doing what we do; there are simply too many people on the planet for it to magically absorb and breakdown all our waste (especially at the level we now generate and discard it).

Basically my point is that investing and researching more energy efficient ways is a good thing. Cutting down on consumption, and perhaps thinking a bit more about the stability and continuity of our ecosystem is a good thing.

Re:Climate, pollution and consequences. (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371151)

Honestly I don't care much for the climate thing. But Russia were cutting off gas to eastern and central Europe to to show who's boss. I don't need AGW to want to find more long term solutions to the energy problem.

Not out of his mind, just not terribly rooted in r (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27370999)

He hasn't lost his mind, it just ain't particullary rooted in reality. Never was.

His solution should CO2 become a problem? Plant trees.

Forest around the world are being cut down. Where would we plant not just the trees to replace the ones we had last year but the ones we need extra? He doesn't so much deny that CO2 is a potential problem but seems to think planting lots of trees is the answer without apparenly ever having thought about how we are supposed to do that. Great minds are like that, they can think about immense and complex things we can't fathom, but can't quite grasp that the world can't just turn farmland into forests.

"Bio-tech, he writes in his book, Infinite in All Directions (1988), offers us the chance to imitate natures speed and flexibility, and he imagines the furniture and art that people will grow for themselves, the pet dinosaurs they will grow for their children, along with an idiosyncratic menagerie of genetically engineered cousins of the carbon-eating tree: termites to consume derelict automobiles, a potato capable of flourishing on the dry red surfaces of Mars, a collision-avoiding car."

A potato that grown on Mars. How nice. And how do we get there einstein? This is the kind of stuff we read about 20 years ago that would be with us in 20 years. It is flying cars. As well all know, they don't exist and probably never will. Why? Because they are practical.

Enviromentalists like Al Gore have to be practical. They are dealing with the very real effects of ricing sea levels NOW because you can't just build higher dikes when they have been destroyed by a storm. That is for instance the problems in Holland right now. As a country we are more then rich enough to raise the dikes but we need to do it NOW when the danger is years or even decades away because it will take years and even decades to finish and worse, if the predictions are to conservative, then those higher dikes might be needed sooner rather then later. You can't just plant a lot of trees if Dyson is wrong in 30 years. By then it will be to late.

That is the real problem with the supposed climate change. Say we follow Al Gore and there turns out not to be a problem. We would have wasted lots of money. Say we don't follow Al Gore and he is right, then we are in deep shit and it is to late to do anything about it. That is roughly the left and the right. The left want to be save and pay insurance now. The right wants to keep their money and their childeren be damned.

We need opposition with DATA (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371021)

It is one thing to oppose an idea because you dislike it or you distrust it. There is no shortage of people running around claiming global warming to be total FUD.

However, there is a distinct shortage of people who are actually able to provide DATA to support their opposition to it. There is a significant difference between saying "I don't agree with that data" and "I have this data set that shows that data set is wrong". Global warming, by definition, is based on the global mean temperature of the earth. Plenty of people try to go for statements like "it snowed in Atlanta, so global warming must be BS"; though of course a statement like that ignores the global aspect of global warming.

As I don't have a NY Times account, I could not read the article provided. Can anyone tell us, did he actually provide meaningful data, or is he just criticizing the existing data?

Re:We need opposition with DATA (1, Troll)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371091)

He's not a climatologist. He has never done research on global warming. He has absolutely no data of his own. He is not an expert in this field. There is no reason, whatsoever, to listen to his opinions.

You might as well have your car mechanic perform surgery on you. After all, he's a professional, right? Therefore he must be qualified!

Although I still think global warming real... (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371031)

...and human-caused, Dyson has far more credibility with me than Gore does.

Re:Although I still think global warming real... (0)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371173)

Well, lucky for you, Dyson also thinks global warming is real and human-caused.

Re:Although I still think global warming real... (2, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371217)

Is there some point you are trying to make?

I could be wrong (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371165)

Repeat that 20 times a day, and one can remain objective. Modern science is based on that premise. This is beyond simply observing the natural world and deriving defensible predictive processes. It is admitting that even though these processes reliably predict all known verifiable phenomena, it could still be wrong.

This is what Kuhn was saying in the Structure of Scientific Revolution. Paradigms, as defined and used in the book, not in the modern sense corrupted by brain dead executives, are created by an elite group of scientists and these paradigms are mistaken for truth. It is a priori truth instead of a posteriori truth, but if we are actively searching for the ultimate nature of the divine, and not just the static representation, then truth is of no use.

History has shown that our static representations of the truth are always incomplete. In An Incomplete Guide to the Art of Discovery [cornell.edu] Oliver asserts that such incompleteness can be the basis of science. By finding the one verifiable phenomena that does not seem to fit perfectly, we can do science, either by showing an error in the measurement or interpretation of the phenomena or showing that the theory used to describe the phenomena is incomplete.

Which is to say we should really think about what we are talking about. For the most part when scientists argue about this stuff, they are fighting over old and new paradigms. It is often not about whether humans are impacting the climate, which is a conclusion, but often how we go about collecting data and developing the processes used to quantify those changes. Because the average person only cares about conclusions, they really don't see the subtle difference, and they just see a person who says that people they disagree are wrong. But it is not about right or wrong. It is not about really about whether the earth is 10,000 years old or 10,000,000,000. It is about whether we are being honest and developing ideas that reflect the observations we make, and not just what we are raised to believe.

Skeptics are usually crackpots (2, Insightful)

s-whs (959229) | more than 5 years ago | (#27371189)

Skeptics, here in the Netherlands, are almost exclusively people who are not working in even a related field, or retired. Now, being retired means you have no more career/position to worry about, and for many such people apparently the 'old boys network' of friends is more important than actual science. It's nicely summed up here in a response to an article in the Volkskrant (2007.1.11) about some "scientists who say the cimate problem isn't caused by humans":

http://www.volkskrantblog.nl/bericht/100021 [volkskrantblog.nl]

But on examining their credentials, they aren't really scientists, or if they are, well, they actually *were* (i.e. retired) or the few that still are, are so in some completely unrelated field. Then their arguments don't hold up (because they don't actually give hard facts and reasons), etc. The article that was published in the paper is what's referred to as an 'opinion piece".

I've checked out several other people on the 'skeptic' side, and never seen a proper argument, but plenty of nonsens and unbelievably inane arguments that would be a disgrace to a five-year old kid.

What Dyson himself said in a previous slashdot article makes me see him in the same light:

Dyson: There is no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global

No need: due to extra CO2 more energy is being stored in the earth, could be water warming up, etc. Also, ocean currents could change, which would mean an ice age in Europe despite global warming is possible. The average temperature goes up though. And that's what's meant by global warming.

Dyson: When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories.

He shouldn't listen to public debates! That's almost always not where real science is done or shown.

Whether global global warming really is a problem or not, you need to take it seriously and try to pollute as little as possible, because it's moronic to gamble with this one ecosystem we have.
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