Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:05 PM
I try to just enjoy the comedy value of PB and ignore the frequent scientific misinformation and logic gaps (mostly on David's part), but this episode was kind of infuriating.
Steven, you say "Citing 'nearly universal consensus' is another technique used to argue the point without addressing the science." I think NE's point is that WE don't need to address the science because most of the brilliant people who study this for a living are doing that for us. Why would that level be reached if evidence wasn't strongly on their side? If "nearly universal consensus" isn't acceptable, what is? 'Vast majority'? 'Majority'? Which of those levels is enough of a burden of proof to demand action? And what are the negative consequences of taking mitigating action? I agree about the politicization being shameful (and find it really sad that it's come to a point where no one wants to touch it, as evidenced by the debates), but I also think that framing this sort of discussion strictly in 'global warming'/'climate change' terms is reductive. Granted, that was the topic of this episode, but still.
I've seen a lot of data about the cyclical nature of weather (I actually created/adapted the figures for a book which is largely about this subject, and some related papers), but those medium-term drops don't negate the fact that the long-term trend is upward. Steven also brought up the complicated nature of CO2/temperature data, effect on oceans, etc. Regarding the oceans, I think the accepted view is that there is a sort of avalanche effect where higher temperatures in the oceans melts polar ice, which 1) releases even more CO2 into the atmosphere, and 2) causes the ocean to absorb more light/heat from the sun rather than reflecting it, both of which amplify the temperature increase.
Anyway, I'm sorry if this is coming across as too strong of an 'attack mode', because I do appreciate the opportunity for discussion and have always enjoyed Steven's appearances on the show. I'm also directing this at Steven because David isn't going to come in here and defend his views, many of which seem to come from ignorance or misinformation more than a difference in informed opinions. But I'd also love to hear an opposing view from an expert on the show given that I'm a little rusty on all of this and that only a very small fraction of Blastronauts will see what any of us say in the forum.