Skeptical Science: how do they do

I am truly in love with this absolutely brilliant website, which invites its readers

to get skeptical about global warming skepticism.

In particular, I find hilarious the way they explain serious scientific matters in an ironic way, which ends up in mocking the sceptical approach to scientific method.

However, it’s important to clarify why in this case mockery is fully justifiable. Normally, in a scientific debate one should always respect the opponent, recognising his intellectual honesty.

But within the climate debate we face a plainly dishonest and  clumsy data manipulation. Although it is often effective in addressing the public opinion, this practice is based on bad science. Sceptical science commits brutal mistakes in terms of scale and moreover, when presenting figures describing climate change trends,

it uses a cherry picking strategy.

What is cherry picking then. Firstly, here is a picture which tells more than a thousand words:

from Skeptical Science

Basically, what they do is considering a small bit of the available data to describe an entire scenario. As you can see in the graph, since the ocean heating is a massive phenomenon, which contradicts the sceptical claim about climate change being a minor problem, they just don’t take it into account.

The same is done, an this is definitely more worrying, with the calculation of the global warming trends. You might have heard that climate change is a hoax, because rise of global atmospheric mean temperatures is so small as to be irrelevant. Sometimes you will find such claims supported by graphs and figures.

Skeptical Science explains how do they obtain their numbers. Introducing the Escalator!Here you can see how sceptic scientists view global warming:

Below, how realists calculate it:

And here, both frames together:

This last graph shows what does “cherry picking” means: looking only one bit at a time, you’ll notice that the the mean temperature’s trend seems to remain the same and in some cases even dwindles.

Whitout the red line clarifying that in a span of about 40 years the mean temperatures of the global surface have spiked, you wouldn’t understand why scientific community and policy makers around the world are so worried.

In science there are no certainties, but there are fields in which bad faith is so crystal clear that a little irony is definitely allowed.

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6 responses to “Skeptical Science: how do they do

  1. No matter how you interpret the temperature graph over the last 35 years, the graph is merely evidence that the earth’s climate changes, it is not evidence that CO2 is the cause.

    cheers

  2. Thank you for commenting.
    If by CO2 you mean “human made emissions”, and suggest we have no proof that these have an impact on climate change, you underestimate the issue of scale (another sceptics’ classic). Across its history, the planet had already experienced changes of the mean surface temperature. But they occurred in a span of hundreds of thousands years. A change of 1 or 2 degrees in a span of 150 years is a totally different phenomenon, and it’s very likely to have different causes, namely the greenhouse gases.

  3. There is also an app (for Android, don’t know about iOS) which collects all the skeptical myths and their debunking arguments from that site, organized in a very handy taxonomy.

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