WEBCommentary Editor

Author: Bob Webster
Date:  July 8, 2006

Topic category:  Other/General

Flak Mail

I thought I'd share some of the flak mail I receive whenever I write something that steps on the toes of the global warming cult fanatics.

Without question, the greatest amount of "flak mail" I receive deals with the global warming issue. Zealots of the new cult of global warming respond with the full fury of any religious fanatic whose faith is simultaneously blind and poorly founded.

I've found that this flak mail can be categorized as originating from two general types:

  1. Factually-challenged name-callers, and,
  2. Pretentious pseudo-intellectual ignoramuses.

The first generally consist of those who haven't any knowledge of climate history or science, yet are prone to believe the hysterical fear-mongering that certain politicians in league with grant-seeking scientists and media morons have conspired to produce for their own purposes (political posturing, lucrative grants, and media sales). These folks are truly being mislead and I tend to have greater patience with such ignorance because it has been fostered by those who, if they had any decency, would find themselves pursuing a more honorable treatment of the subject.

The second are the true believers who refuse to deal with all the facts and possess no substantive knowledge of either climate history or climate science. They cherry-pick their own "science" and then come on as though they had all the answers, posturing as though they possessed the expertise they so obviously lack. These are the ones who find a scientific paper or two that they hold up as "proof" of their position, while simulaneously having failed to educate themselves on even the basics of climate history or science. Nevertheless, they will posture as erudite on the subject and will never deal with the inconvenient facts that cast enormous doubt on their position. Rather than intelligently disputing material with which they disagree, instead they attack the messengers. Any scientist or other soul who doesn't agree with their position is a just a shill for the oil companies.

For your amusement, I reproduce below a few recent responses, one to each type:

Factually-challenged name-caller:

My reply:

I'm afraid you miss the point ... but do not seem to grasp it well enough to realize it.

You have a lot to learn before coming to the "certain" conclusions you evidently have come to.

One of the first rules of problem solving is to understand the problem well enough so that you can develop a proper solution. It is pointless to pursue a course that will not solve the perceived problem. Since we have no real solid knowledge that anything humans do can significantly alter what climate will do, it is hard to establish a solution to what may not even be a real problem. To go off half-cocked, as Al Gore does, misleading the public with absurd suggestions about the Aral Sea and Mt. Kilimanjaro's ice cap, is to do a great disservice to the public. Following such a "leader" is a dangerous path to tread.

So your "solution" is to do something just to make you feel good that you've done your part, when, in fact, what you do may in all likelihood have zero impact on climate. Brilliant. It also qualifies as a non-solution.

Don't get me wrong ... if you want to stop breathing or alter your lifestyle in some other way so that your production of CO2 is dramatically reduced, be my guest.

Those who must resort to declaring "You are a lazy, stupid, regressive libertarian" merely because they have no clue about the science of climate change nor the history of climate change, have demonstrated their dearth of knowledge on the subject. Name-calling is the common last resort to those who are flummoxed by the facts.

By the way, you have a lot to learn about philosophy, too. I am not a libertarian, though I am certainly more of a libertarian than any liberal I know.

Pretentious pseudo-intellectual ignoramus:

My reply:

You show your colors again.

It would make little sense to try to persuade the public one way or another to "change" climate if humans have no capacity to do so. You assume they can and do. I do not.

You claim that asking for a proper framework for the discussion by understanding something about climate change history is "propaganda" ... in other words, any credible scientist (whose work is peer reviewed) with whom you disagree is producing "propaganda" whereas others have some kind of magical stature because they have been "peer reviewed" (as though that were a confirmation of perfection). You have a lot to learn.

The correct answers to the following (which I've provided you previously) would not be "laughed" at by any qualified climatologist (nor anyone else who had the slightest understanding of climate history).

Do you deny Earth's typical climate (since living organisms first appeared) is vastly more prevalent and considerably warmer than any climate human's have known?

Do you deny Earth's typical climate has no persistent surface ice at sea level?

Do you deny that tropical climate is preferable to arctic climate for human life?

Do you deny Ice Eras, Ice Epochs, and Ice Age Cycles?

Do you deny that humanity has existed within a tiny fraction of the current Ice Era/Ice Epoch?

Do you deny that humanity is currently in an interglacial that began about 10,000 or so years ago of an Ice Age Cycle that began over 100,000 years ago?

Do you deny the major warm period/cold period cycles that Earth has experienced within the current interglacial?

Do you deny the persistent cold period known as the Little Ice Age?

Do you deny the emergence from that cold period since the 17th Century?

If you deny any of the above, you are ignorant and incapable of understanding within an intelligent framework of climate history either current climate change or the current climate debate.

Are you aware that your "consensus" of peer-reviewed scientists who support Gore's clear propaganda piece (even The Christian Science Monitor recognized that much) excludes the following distinguished scientists?

Tim Ball at the University of Winnipeg, Robert Balling at Arizona State, Sallie Baliunas at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Bob Carter at James Cook University in Australia, Randall Cerveny at Arizona State, John Christy at the University of Alabama, Robert Davis at the University of Virginia, Christopher Essex at the University of Western Ontario, Oliver Frauenfeld at the University of Colorado, Wibjörn Karlèn at Stockholm University, Christopher Landsea at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, David Legates at the University of Delaware, Henry Linden at IIT, Richard Lindzen at MIT, Ross McKitrick at the University of Guelph, Patrick Michaels at the University of Virginia, Dick Morgan at the University of Exeter, Tim Peterson at Carleton University, Roger Pielke Jr. at the University of Colorado, Eric Posmentier at Dartmouth, Willie Soon at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama and Boris Winterhalter at the University of Helsinki.

Oh yeah, that's right. One article by Tim Lambert makes all their views "propaganda" in your eyes.

If you think it's "cherry picking" to view 1998 because it was a particularly hot year, then why is it perfectly all right for you and your "scientists" to ignore the entirety of climate history before the 19th Century (which is what most of the global baloney believers restrict their views to)? Many of those who have jumped on the global baloney wagon look only to the last few decades of warming to declare "unprecedented" (based on what?) global warming - and then leap to the conclusion that it is because humans are burning fossil fuels (that connection has never been scientifically established). They rely on correlation statistics ... like the stork and baby correlation proves storks bring babies!

I maintain you cannot provide honest answers to these questions and still hold the pretentious posture you've assumed.

This last writer grasped a single peer-reviewed paper as though the peer review process somehow anointed the paper with credibility beyond question. Clearly, this writer has no understanding of the peer review process. Just because a paper is peer reviewed does not make it either accurate or allow one to assume that it had no serious challenges among those peers doing the reviewing! Throughout his barrage of flak mail he never once took issue with any of the salient facts I provided. Mark just kept playing the same old stanza about a single peer-reviewed paper. Talk about treading on thin ice!

Given his penchant for demanding everything be peer reviewed, one wonders if Mark ignores the daily weather forecast because it hasn't been peer reviewed! Mark's suggestion that one cannot discuss climate history or science unless all cited facts are referenced to peer reviewed papers is just so much nonsense designed to ignore the specifics that I raised. By assuming the position that everything must be peer reviewed to have any validity, Mark's position would render many textbooks and other scientific materials invalid merely because they had not been subjected to his notion of the peer review process!

The lack of substance in such flak mail serves to solidify my view that the current global warming fear crusade is on weak foundation and is built upon the kind of misrepresentation that has been a common thread of its proponents since their "global warming" drums began beating in 1978.

Bob Webster
WEBCommentary (Editor, Publisher)

Biography - Bob Webster

Bob Webster, a 12th-generation descendent of both the Darte family (Connecticut, 1630s) and the Webster family (Massachusetts, 1630s) is a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, who served with General Washington. Bob has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.

A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.

Copyright © 2006 by Bob Webster
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