more on -er (UNCLASSIFIED)

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 1 21:45:38 UTC 2009

I believe, it would be inappropriate to delve further into theoretical
musings on global warming (or lack thereof) on this list. This is not
meant to evade the discussion but to channel it elsewhere.

On language: The term I prefer to use in such situations is
"manufactured", as I wrote in the last message. It is "fictitious" in
the sense that the controversy has been created and inflated by agents
other than those who have any part in it (unlike, say, Watergate,
where the controversy was created by the actions of the participants).
I referred to it as "fictitious" because the controversy is not in the
actions but in the commentary on them--any act can be made
controversial in this manner, as various self-described conservative
publications do daily (as much as Leftist publications used to do it
in prior decades). In fact, a number of large-circulation (a.k.a.
mainstream) publications have recently been referring to the
"controversial topic of evolution". AGW *data* are about as
controversial as evolution--perhaps even less so. Actions of
scientists--who are human being, possessed of inherent
small-mindedness, pettiness and other fine qualities--are not
particularly "controversial" either, as they are fairly common across
most fields (in fact, they seem to be less controversial by any
standard than, say, those of sociologists or scholars of English).

There had been classical physicists, educated at the turn of the
century (XXth) who fundamentally opposed the notion of quantum
mechanics. Even that opposition was marginal compared to opposition to
the theory of relativity (opponents, at one point or another, included
Max Plank). And, of course, two common points where orthodoxy is known
to have impeded the ultimately victorious explanations had been plate
tectonics and dinosaur extinction (via asteroid collision per
Alvarez). None of these can compete with the current
disagreement--however ideological the opposition might have been in
all those cases, they did not resort to perversion and distortion of
*facts* as AGW denier have been doing for the past decade.

As has been pointed out twice on this list (as well as in other
places--most recently by Dave Wilton in this thread), the focus of the
*manufactured* controversy has been on *intentional* misinterpretation
of fairly innocuous language (not even jargon). Ultimately, the
controversy is about language and speech acts, not about global
warming and its scientific foundations. If my terminology was
imprecise enough, I offer an apology--I should have been less reckless
in my description. I hope I have corrected that particular error.


On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 3:45 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC
<Bill.Mullins at> wrote:
> If your position is that there is in fact a controversy, but it is
> meaningless, that's different.  I was responding to your post that it
> was fictitious/imagined.  That I put some of the reasons that it is seen
> as controversial could lead us into a discussion of whether GW exists (I
> think it does) and whether it is man-made (I tend to think that the
> trends we currently see are primarily the result of millennia-scale
> cycles -- "ice ages" -- but agree that the air pollution of the
> industrial age can't be a good thing).
> I further think that some of the points that deniers are making, based
> on the hacked files, are valid.  The fact that they start from a denier
> mindset doesn't mean that everything they say is wrong.  For example,
> the IPCC and the East Anglia GRU have consistently failed to make their
> models and source code available for review.  The hacked files indicate
> that the models were "tweaked" to give desired results, that certain
> data sets were ignored because they contain trends which aren't
> currently explainable in the context of GW, and now the original data
> sets are lost.  While their ultimate conclusions may be true, this isn't
> how good science is supposed to work, and their shoddy methods means
> that it is fair to skeptically (I use the word in its best sense)
> challenge what they say.
> And I don't think it's fair to equate perpetual motion (for which there
> is _NO_ theory or data to support it) with skepticism of AGW (for which
> there is much unexplained data, and data which lie out of the sets which
> support AGW; as well as theory to go along with it).

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