Global Warming's Killer: Critical Thinking

Is there any issue more dependent on widespread lapses in critical thinking than the idea of man-caused global warming?

Nothing wrecks an argument faster than a question revealing a gaping hole in that argument's fundamental premise.  Notice the abundantly obvious derailment in this example:

"We need to do something about the proliferation of ghosts causing an unprecedented number of people to have nightmares lately.  This problem leads to widespread sleeplessness, which in turn leads to a downturn in work productivity and overall economic hardship, and you are a cold-hearted capitalist pig if you deny the need for workers to be healthy."

Any critical thinker will yell, "What?! Prove ghosts exist before you start calling me names!"

The so-called global warming crisis has gotten away with an equally preposterous premise -- that human activity drives climate change --  for nearly two decades, because that premise at least sounded plausible.  After all, humans do damage the environment to some extent in various ways, and the weather does seem a bit weird lately, so maybe it's possible that our greenhouse gas emissions have a detrimental effect.  Plus, reporters tell us that scientists are saying this is so.

Overlooked by many is the very thing that's kept the issue alive all this time.  No different from in a ponzi scheme, the public must never lose confidence in the idea that this issue is a problem in need of a solution.  The moment anything approaching a majority of people starts asking tough questions about skeptic scientists expressing legitimate opposition, the entire issue goes into a fatal tailspin, taking down all those who unquestioningly defend the idea.

Think about all the assertions we've heard and what happens when anybody starts asking critical questions using information that's easier than ever to find on the internet.

Even at the height of winter in the northern hemisphere, we're told the Arctic ice cap is melting and that polar bears drown when swimming through too much open water.  Yet polar bear populations are increasing, online Arctic weather station feeds closest to the ice cap routinely show freezing temps in all but the warmest summer months, and this particular winter, Arctic Sea Ice Extent has returned to levels very close to the 1979-2000 average.

The media has been implying that extreme weather is more frequent, yet blaring headlines from long ago are easily found on weather appearing to be just as extreme, if not worse.

We're told that the dry warm winter in the U.S. this time around indicates global warming, yet horrible cold temperatures in Europe this same winter aren't called a similar indicator.

Many express anguish over ocean acidification, yet these same people never mention the irrefutable fact that oceans are alkaline and that it would thus take some kind of herculean phenomenon just to push them into a pure neutral pH balance, long before they ever become even mildly acidic.

Prominent NASA personnel who criticized NASA's alarmist narratives on global warming in a recent WSJ letter are said to be politically driven, yet NASA climate scientist James Hansen is routinely seen being arrested at civil disobedience global warming rallies organized by far-left enviro-activists.

The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that "everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry credibility of peer-reviewed publications, we don't settle for anything less."  Yet people who meticulously sift through IPCC reports are finding out that in its 2007 report alone, over 5,500 such publications were non-peer-reviewed.

And on and on.  Critical thinking is eventually deadly to the idea of man-caused global warming.  It's a death by a thousand cuts.

But there is one more especially egregious lapse in critical thinking here -- not regarding the science, but instead vis-à-vis what the public is led to believe about skeptic scientists.

We're told that skeptic scientists lie about all of the "death by a thousand cuts" evidence.  We're told that they work for big coal and oil -- much like so-called expert shills were paid by tobacco industries to "manufacture doubt" about the hazards of smoking.

Yet no reporter pushing that narrative bothers to show which peer-reviewed science journal-published paper written by a skeptic is an outright fabrication written in exchange for fossil fuel industry money.  No reporter bothers to show how myriad examples of critical thinking reveal pre-existing -- not manufactured -- doubt about claims of evidence for global warming.  And no reporter ever attempts to first disprove that the paltry funding skeptics did receive from the fossil fuel industry was given simply because those people agreed with what the skeptics were already saying.

The accusation that skeptic scientists are corrupt is devoid of critical thinking.  Anybody will spot these problems after a thorough examination of all the facts:

Al Gore says that book author/reporter Ross Gelbspan discovered leaked evidence from 1991 coal industry memos proving that skeptics are corrupt, yet other book authors and reporters quoted words from those memos prior to Gelbspan, including Gore himself.

Uncounted numbers of people quote words from those memos to prove that skeptics are corrupt, yet not one ever shows the memos in their full context.

Gelbspan claimed in a late summer 1997 NPR radio interview, using the most commonly quoted fragment sentences from the memos, that "sinister" efforts were being made to confuse the public about global warming, yet when the full-context memos are read at Greenpeace archive scan web pages (where only an astute researcher would know to look for them; they are not found there via ordinary internet searches), it becomes abundantly obvious that the memos were for a very small pilot project PR campaign, and Gelbspan took the fragment sentences entirely out of context.

Gelbspan was long praised as a Pulitzer-winner, the designation even appearing on the front of his hardcover 2004 Boiling Point book, yet the Pulitzer organization has never recognized him as a prize-winner.

On and on and on, there is a sea of red flags to be found in the accusation itself and all the people surrounding it.

Tie the full exposure of the global warming issue's ever-increasing science problems with the revelation of how a literally unsupportable accusation bordering on libel/slander was concocted against its scientist critics, and the world should now see how all the hysteria was and is nothing more than an "information" Ponzi scheme based on constant infusions of misinformation that could have been revealed as such years ago.  A death of a thousand cuts becomes a stake through the heart.

Russell Cook's collection of writings on this issue can be seen at "The '96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists."  Follow him at Twitter via @questionAGW.

Is there any issue more dependent on widespread lapses in critical thinking than the idea of man-caused global warming?

Nothing wrecks an argument faster than a question revealing a gaping hole in that argument's fundamental premise.  Notice the abundantly obvious derailment in this example:

"We need to do something about the proliferation of ghosts causing an unprecedented number of people to have nightmares lately.  This problem leads to widespread sleeplessness, which in turn leads to a downturn in work productivity and overall economic hardship, and you are a cold-hearted capitalist pig if you deny the need for workers to be healthy."

Any critical thinker will yell, "What?! Prove ghosts exist before you start calling me names!"

The so-called global warming crisis has gotten away with an equally preposterous premise -- that human activity drives climate change --  for nearly two decades, because that premise at least sounded plausible.  After all, humans do damage the environment to some extent in various ways, and the weather does seem a bit weird lately, so maybe it's possible that our greenhouse gas emissions have a detrimental effect.  Plus, reporters tell us that scientists are saying this is so.

Overlooked by many is the very thing that's kept the issue alive all this time.  No different from in a ponzi scheme, the public must never lose confidence in the idea that this issue is a problem in need of a solution.  The moment anything approaching a majority of people starts asking tough questions about skeptic scientists expressing legitimate opposition, the entire issue goes into a fatal tailspin, taking down all those who unquestioningly defend the idea.

Think about all the assertions we've heard and what happens when anybody starts asking critical questions using information that's easier than ever to find on the internet.

Even at the height of winter in the northern hemisphere, we're told the Arctic ice cap is melting and that polar bears drown when swimming through too much open water.  Yet polar bear populations are increasing, online Arctic weather station feeds closest to the ice cap routinely show freezing temps in all but the warmest summer months, and this particular winter, Arctic Sea Ice Extent has returned to levels very close to the 1979-2000 average.

The media has been implying that extreme weather is more frequent, yet blaring headlines from long ago are easily found on weather appearing to be just as extreme, if not worse.

We're told that the dry warm winter in the U.S. this time around indicates global warming, yet horrible cold temperatures in Europe this same winter aren't called a similar indicator.

Many express anguish over ocean acidification, yet these same people never mention the irrefutable fact that oceans are alkaline and that it would thus take some kind of herculean phenomenon just to push them into a pure neutral pH balance, long before they ever become even mildly acidic.

Prominent NASA personnel who criticized NASA's alarmist narratives on global warming in a recent WSJ letter are said to be politically driven, yet NASA climate scientist James Hansen is routinely seen being arrested at civil disobedience global warming rallies organized by far-left enviro-activists.

The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that "everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry credibility of peer-reviewed publications, we don't settle for anything less."  Yet people who meticulously sift through IPCC reports are finding out that in its 2007 report alone, over 5,500 such publications were non-peer-reviewed.

And on and on.  Critical thinking is eventually deadly to the idea of man-caused global warming.  It's a death by a thousand cuts.

But there is one more especially egregious lapse in critical thinking here -- not regarding the science, but instead vis-à-vis what the public is led to believe about skeptic scientists.

We're told that skeptic scientists lie about all of the "death by a thousand cuts" evidence.  We're told that they work for big coal and oil -- much like so-called expert shills were paid by tobacco industries to "manufacture doubt" about the hazards of smoking.

Yet no reporter pushing that narrative bothers to show which peer-reviewed science journal-published paper written by a skeptic is an outright fabrication written in exchange for fossil fuel industry money.  No reporter bothers to show how myriad examples of critical thinking reveal pre-existing -- not manufactured -- doubt about claims of evidence for global warming.  And no reporter ever attempts to first disprove that the paltry funding skeptics did receive from the fossil fuel industry was given simply because those people agreed with what the skeptics were already saying.

The accusation that skeptic scientists are corrupt is devoid of critical thinking.  Anybody will spot these problems after a thorough examination of all the facts:

Al Gore says that book author/reporter Ross Gelbspan discovered leaked evidence from 1991 coal industry memos proving that skeptics are corrupt, yet other book authors and reporters quoted words from those memos prior to Gelbspan, including Gore himself.

Uncounted numbers of people quote words from those memos to prove that skeptics are corrupt, yet not one ever shows the memos in their full context.

Gelbspan claimed in a late summer 1997 NPR radio interview, using the most commonly quoted fragment sentences from the memos, that "sinister" efforts were being made to confuse the public about global warming, yet when the full-context memos are read at Greenpeace archive scan web pages (where only an astute researcher would know to look for them; they are not found there via ordinary internet searches), it becomes abundantly obvious that the memos were for a very small pilot project PR campaign, and Gelbspan took the fragment sentences entirely out of context.

Gelbspan was long praised as a Pulitzer-winner, the designation even appearing on the front of his hardcover 2004 Boiling Point book, yet the Pulitzer organization has never recognized him as a prize-winner.

On and on and on, there is a sea of red flags to be found in the accusation itself and all the people surrounding it.

Tie the full exposure of the global warming issue's ever-increasing science problems with the revelation of how a literally unsupportable accusation bordering on libel/slander was concocted against its scientist critics, and the world should now see how all the hysteria was and is nothing more than an "information" Ponzi scheme based on constant infusions of misinformation that could have been revealed as such years ago.  A death of a thousand cuts becomes a stake through the heart.

Russell Cook's collection of writings on this issue can be seen at "The '96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists."  Follow him at Twitter via @questionAGW.