Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pete Olson Bags a Unicorn

For his inane attempts at scientific logic, my congressman, Pete Olson, has rated a "Unicorn Trophy," by "Organizing for Action."
Congressman Pete Olson, no student of science from what I can see, denies that climate change is occurring, and uses as the basis of his denial the astounding fact that not all scientists agree, and when someone does bad science or poorly executes a scientific study it is necessarily suppressed by the scientific community through review process.
From OFA, quoting Pete Olson from the House floor:
"The emails that emerge from the University of East Anglia call into question the accuracy of the IPCC data." 
Now what emails does Pete Olson refer to? If you view the first 3 minutes of this clip you see Pete Olson on the House floor with a damning bit of evidence, that scientists disagree and when someone does something really stupid they don't get their papers included in a report.
Now how naïve is that?
For every ounce of good scientific knowledge in the world we have a pound of "junk science." For every solid scientific study there are three poorly drafted ones. In science we have a review process. We have editors.
Said Pete Olson in the clip:
"There is evidence that researchers suppress science and data that do not conform to their preferred outcome."
Oh the humanity. Science is suppressed?
Umm, yeah Pete. Happens a lot.
Here is his evidence - quoting the East Anglia emails:
"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what peer-review literature is."
Now Pete doesn't go on to indicate what "these papers" were about, so what he is saying is that when scientific papers are subjected to peer review they are sometimes suppressed and editors go to great lengths to do that. Nowhere do we get to see how these papers did not conform to their preferred outcome. That is all inferred by Pete.
Pete, in short, is out of his depth. He needs to stick to driving jets. Scientific methods and review are not his strong suit.
So for denying climate change, and using specious reasoning as a point of attack, Pete Olson rates a Unicorn. May he wear it in good health.


Anonymous said...

Climate change happens all the time -- hundreds of millenia of scientific data show that the Earth's climate fluctuates in a sine-wave pattern and always has -- even before there was a significant human population and certainly before there was industrialization.

Hal said...

No, Anon, climate change doesn't happen all the time. It has happened in the past, but not in a regular sine wave pattern which implies regularity. See the Haq Hardenbol and Vail Coastal Onlap Curve for an idea of this. The point is that the one we are all discussing now is not a natural phenomenon but man-made.

If climate change is inevitable, why should mankind be allowed to make it worse. Or is one man's minor blip in climate change another man's mass extinction?