Sunday, April 23, 2006

Global warming disinformation countered

Tim Lambert has a juicy post on a rebuttal to the letter to Canada's prime minister by 60 scientists (and nonscientists) attacking global warming theory as alarmist.

Lambert points to a counter-letter on the subject, signed by 90 scientists. Moreover, according to Canadian artificial intelligence engineer Coby Beck, they are:

"all from Canadian institutions
"working in climate science fields
"unfamiliar names to me (i.e. busy doing their jobs rather than op-eds and Fox News interviews)"

I was going to post on the original letter before, because it makes the provably false claim at the very beginning that the signers are "accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines . . ." This is the short version of my intended fisking as to those purported "accredited experts".

(Update: Just to be clear, I am not denying that most of those signing have such credentials. But a significant number, about 10 from my preliminary findings, don't appear to have such climate-related accreditation. This post is on three signers who I can show this to be the case with reasonable certainty. I may do a more extended version later, if need be. As for the other seven, I've not taken the time to look into their qualifications as fully as I'd like to.)

Signer Benny Peiser is a social anthropologist. He approaches global warming from that perspective. His home page states: "His research focuses on the effects of environmental change and catastrophic events on contemporary thought and societal evolution."

Whatever the merits of Peiser's research, as a social scientist, he is plainly not a primary source on climate-related issues.

Another signer, the eminent physicist Freeman J. Dyson, also has no apparent accreditation in climate-related fields. His expertise is in quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. Look at his own description of his education and contributions to research (provided in the link) and see if you find any mention of climate-related research. While some might be able to twist to find a distant connection, his scientific career has obviously been spent far afield from climatology.

Another signer, Paul Reiter, specializes in tropical diseases such as malaria. Here is his own account of his expertise, written last year. You be the judge of whether he's an accredited expert in climate-related fields:

'I am a specialist in the natural history and biology of mosquitoes, the epidemiology of the diseases they transmit, and strategies for their control. My entire career, more than thirty years, has been devoted to this complex subject."

A number of gullible conservative global warming skeptics have cited this letter without actually looking at the qualifications of its signers closely. They should.

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