This is a stupid story.
Anyone checked out this film yet? I’m thinking of going this weekend:
Scientists OK Gore’s movie for accuracy
By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer1 hour, 27 minutes ago
The nation’s top climate scientists are giving “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy. [/quote]
Interesting headline, but is it representative? Let’s go down a bit past the headlines that reflect the sincere wishes of the reporting class.
The former vice president’s movie ? replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets ? mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.[/quote](bolding and underlining added)
Now that’s interesting. Hmmm, I wonder how representative that sample is.
And the claims on hurricanes - sure looks like they’re being endorsed. I wonder if someone attempting to present unbiased news might have reorganized this slightly. Let’s ponder for a moment as we scroll down further.
The AP contacted more than 100 top climate researchers by e-mail and phone for their opinion. Among those contacted were vocal skeptics of climate change theory. Most scientists had not seen the movie, which is in limited release, or read the book.[/quote](bolding added)
Well wasn’t that a neat little trick of phraseology. Gosh, we contacted some VOCAL skeptics (but please ignore the next sentence saying that most people we contacted did not see the movie). Continue to scroll.
But those who have seen it had the same general impression: Gore conveyed the science correctly; the world is getting hotter and it is a manmade catastrophe-in-the-making caused by the burning of fossil fuels.[/quote](bolding added)
Hmmm. Not too surprising. We wouldn’t trust those who haven’t seen it, after all.
But let’s ponder for just a moment. They called 100 scientists, INCLUDING VOCAL SKEPTICS OF GLOBAL WARMING – and then the 19 (i.e. less than 20% of the sample, which wasn’t random anyway) who had seen it say it’s top notch.
I wonder if the 19 who had seen the movie, with its limited distribution and marketing as political propaganda, were more likely to include or not include those vocal critics of global warming? Hmmmm…
I wonder what the likeliehood is of the predisposition of beliefs of those 19 scientists toward human-caused global warming generally, as a baseline? Might one presume that the 19 scientists who actually saw or read this limited-distribution political diatribe might just be predisposed to agree with it, even if the AP originally called 100 scientists INCLUDING VOCAL SKEPTICS(!!)(Note how much important it becomes with CAPS! - just a general observation on posting styles…).
But of course, the writer wishes to imply that the 19 who saw it are a representative subgroup of the non-random sampling, including those vocal skeptics, even though they’ve been sorted based on a decidedly slanting factor.
“Excellent,” said William Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. “He got all the important material and got it right.”[/quote]
Hmmm. He’s not identified as either a vocal skeptic or a vocal previous embracer of the theory. Note, btw, that the writer did not note that the sample included any scientists who had previously been very supportive of the theory of human-caused global warming. I wonder about Schlesinger… He wouldn’t have any pro-agenda ahead of time, would he. ( http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=about.viewcontributors&bioid=29 ) Hard to say, but I’d love to see the transcript of that senate testimony.
Robert Corell, chairman of the worldwide Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group of scientists, read the book and saw Gore give the slideshow presentation that is woven throughout the documentary.
“I sat there and I’m amazed at how thorough and accurate,” Corell said. “After the presentation I said, `Al, I’m absolutely blown away. There’s a lot of details you could get wrong.’ … I could find no error.”[/quote]
What about Robert Corell. I’d say it’s a bit clearer he’s not among those vocal skeptics that were noted in the second paragraph, in the journalistic equivalent of all caps. ( http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/testimony.cfm?id=1340&wit_id=3052 ; http://www.groundtruthinvestigations.com/documents/climatechange.html )
Gore, in an interview with the AP, said he wasn’t surprised “because I took a lot of care to try to make sure the science was right.” [/quote]
So what do you think Al? “I’m right.” Thanks. And thanks for the internet…
The tiny errors scientists found weren’t a big deal, “far, far fewer and less significant than the shortcoming in speeches by the typical politician explaining an issue,” said Michael MacCracken, who used to be in charge of the nation’s global warming effects program and is now chief scientist at the Climate Institute in Washington.[/quote](bolding and underlining added)
What about MacCracken? Surely they would attempt to quote at least one of those vocal critics they pointed out so prominently before? Nah. ( http://www.geo.msu.edu/glra/PDF_files/workshop%20report/05.%20Appendices/Appendix%201-%20Invited%20talks/03.%20Maccracken.pdf )
One concern was about the connection between hurricanes and global warming. That is a subject of a heated debate in the science community. Gore cited five recent scientific studies to support his view.
“I thought the use of imagery from Hurricane Katrina was inappropriate and unnecessary in this regard, as there are plenty of disturbing impacts associated with global warming for which there is much greater scientific consensus,” said Brian Soden, a University of Miami professor of meteorology and oceanography. [/quote]
But of course, if I had only read the lead I would have assumed the hurricane claims were entirely unproblematic. Which, if you ask a journalist, is what they assume about half the readers do – read the headline, read the firt couple paragraphs, and that’s it.
Even this guy, who obviously is on the pro-side in terms of the divide over human-caused global warming, is pointing out the problems with the hurricane claims. About the story’s organization again…
Some scientists said Gore confused his ice sheets when he said the effect of the Clean Air Act is noticeable in the Antarctic ice core; it is the Greenland ice core. Others thought Gore oversimplified the causal-link between the key greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and rising temperatures.[/quote](bolding added)
But wait, isn’t that essentially the key claim of the whole thing? Rising C)2 emmissions leads directly in inexorably to the warming and its attendant horrific consequences (including all those hurricanes of course). What about the fact that we were assured a few paragraphs up that all the problems were “tiny”? What about the headline? Oh yeah – fewer people read down here where there might be a little clarification.
While some nonscientists could be depressed by the dire disaster-laden warmer world scenario that Gore laid out, one top researcher thought it was too optimistic. Tom Wigley, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, thought the former vice president sugarcoated the problem by saying that with already-available technologies and changes in habit ? such as changing light bulbs ? the world could help slow or stop global warming.[/quote]
OK, here’s a new guy – they haven’t quoted any vocal skeptics yet. Maybe he was, but was miraculously persuaded by this hole-ridden political tract… What do you think? I mean, he wouldn’t be someone who’s been arguing with those vocal skeptics for at least 10 years, which one could find with a quick google search ( http://www.sepp.org/ipcccont/wigley.htm )…
While more than 1 million people have seen the movie since it opened in May, that does not include Washington’s top science decision makers. President Bush said he won’t see it. The heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA haven’t seen it, and the president’s science adviser said the movie is on his to-see list.
“They are quite literally afraid to know the truth,” Gore said. “Because if you accept the truth of what the scientific community is saying, it gives you a moral imperative to start to rein in the 70 million tons of global warming pollution that human civilization is putting into the atmosphere every day.”[/quote]
How dare they not see something that 19 scientists say may have some small problems that may be significant if you look at them closely and that has been packaged as a political diatribe - and even that Mr. Gore has said deliberately exaggerates to scare people into reacting in his preferred manner? The nerve of some people. Obviously scared of the truth.
Thanks again for the internet Al.
As far as the movie’s entertainment value, Scripps Institution geosciences professor Jeff Severinghaus summed it up: “My wife fell asleep. Of course, I was on the edge of my chair.”
Ha, they made a joke about Gore being boring. See how balanced a presentation we’ve received? That proves it, because they made fun of Gore for being boring. Or were they making fun of us for not being smart enough to care about what’s so important? Hard to say - I should listen more carefully to what journalists and Al Gore tell me.
And this was a “news” story by a “science” writer. Thank the lord that I don’t have to worry about biased presentation of the cold, hard facts…