The Logic Lifeline

A logical approach to sorting out world events. Where logic, opinion and speculation are combined to produce a reasoned, but entertaining reading experience. The unofficial hometown conservative blog of Woodridge, Il

Saturday, June 02, 2007

NASA Administrator Hits a Bullseye While Underlings Howl

I consider myself pretty well read on the Global Warming / Climate Change debate yet I do not recall anyone ever addressing the facet of the debate that NASA Administrator Michael Griffen has pointed out. ABC News reports Griffen's comments:

"I have no doubt that a trend of global warming exists," Griffin told Inskeep. "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."

"To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change," Griffin said. "I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take."

When I read this statement, I could only sit there with open-mouthed fascination at the sheer beauty of it. The bottom line is that Climate Change proponents have indeed arrogantly judged the current earth climate as the optimal climate. Any climate change that has and will occur is ordained a "problem" without any analysis or consideration to the contrary. In their rush to picture worst case scenarios of catastrophe, has any scientific group actually done any research on the final climate state and considered if overall, this final state might actually be better for many areas? As Michael Griffen deduces, only after knowing the final climate state and comparing it to the current climate state can we begin to analyze if there is a "problem".

He drives the point even further by noting that we must also consider who both is capable and has the right to decide what the optimal climate is. Are we going to leave such decisions to government bureaucrats or even one group of scientists instead of another? So there is a lot of analysis and many decisions to be made before we are in a position to determine if we have a problem.

The incredibly weakly reasoned response by NASA's resident climate alarmist was also reported by ABC News:

Griffin's comments immediately drew stunned reaction from James Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

"It's an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement," Hansen told ABC News. "It indicates a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change."

Hansen believes Griffin's comments fly in the face of well-established scientific knowledge that hundreds of NASA scientists have contributed to.

"It's unbelievable," said Hansen. "I thought he had been misquoted. It's so unbelievable."


Hansen's response have all the power of "well you're stupid". Hansen completely avoids actually responding to Griffen's main point and sticks on message to the "we are beyond debate" meme. The sheer impotence of Hansen's comments must be an embarrassment to his supporters. I hope Griffen's point continues to be driven home in the debate. It is fresh and reasoned approaches like this to the public discourse that may yet save us from the madness the alarmists are driving us toward.

As always with posts on climate change, here are my five questions we need to answer before succumbing to Climate Change Alarmism:
1) Has it been proven that Global Warming is actually happening?
2) Has it been proven that Global Warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gases?
3) Has it been proven that Global Warming will cause catastrophic conditions that will result in massive human casualties?
4) Has it been proven that if 1-3 are correct that it is possible for man to prevent #3 by reducing or eliminating their output in greenhouse gases?
5) Just because 2-4 are unproven and likely a crock, does this excuse man's irresponsible polluting of the earth?

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12 Comments:

  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger SkyePuppy said…

    And even if all the climatologists decide that what we have right now is the optimal climate, how is man's puny little effort going to stop solar and cosmic influences from changing it in spite of us?

    1. Perhaps
    2. No
    3. No
    4. No
    5. No

    Glad you're back!

     
  • At 2:03 PM, Blogger PAW said…

    I heard the original broadcast of this interview on NPR. It was truly incredible.

    Did you read the whole transcript? I'd guess that if you did, you'd have a different opinion on what is weakly reasoned.

    Here's a context-setting quote from the source: I'm aware that global warming exists. I understand that the bulk of scientific evidence accumulated supports the claim that we've had about a one degree centigrade rise in temperature over the last century to within an accuracy of 20 percent. I'm also aware of recent findings that appear to have nailed down — pretty well nailed down the conclusion that much of that is man made...

    So let's start here. Can't deny it's warming. Harder and harder to deny it's man made. What's a politically motivated denier to do? Strawman the debate, argue against the non-existent position that there are scientists  claiming the current climate is optimal. There is absolutely no logic behind his argument that to assume there's a problem with warming is to assume that the current state is optimal.

    Griffin's logic and conclusion are beyond ridiculous.

     
  • At 9:31 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    paw, your response is quite similar to Hansen's. It goes a little farther but simply calling Griffen's argument a strawman does not make it so. The assumption of alarmists IS that today's climate is better than it will be when we reach the final state of global warming (man-made or otherwise).

    It may even be true that the path to the final state MAY cause some catostrophic weather conditions.

    However, the question of whether today's climate is better than post -warming's climate is quite valid. Both you and Hansen seem to want to nullify the validity of the question by calling it ridiculous or a strawman. Neither of you address the question.

     
  • At 11:22 PM, Blogger PAW said…

    I'll try and be brief (heh) out of respect for your time - I have no illusions of making headway.

    You fat head! (you granted me that one a long time ago and I've considered it banked for an emergency). I'm rejecting his primary premise, I'm not just lobbing stuff over the fence. You want to debate? Argue how its even remotely relevant to start from a position that one must "assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change. "

    Again, start with the fact that he concedes warming and man's role in it. Then he comes up with a cherry like this: "First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown."

    Which is total BS. No one is arguing we should try to ensure that the climate doesn't change at all, or that our current climate is the best ever.

    The issue, and you know this, is that we shouldn't allow the unregulated side effect of our economic activity to bring us to an unknown destination, given that human societies are so invested in, and so many natural systems are dependent upon, the current order and the natural machinations of the climate system.

    Feel lucky? No? Don't worry. Let's just sit back and see what happens. It might be better. That is what his argument reduces to.

    This guy is using 10th grade debate techniques to keep things on his terms and to provide a very scant fig leaf to the brigades of deniers. Griffin is truly a national embarrassment, not because of his conclusions but because of the route he takes to get there.

    Over and out.

     
  • At 7:45 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    paw,

    Really, I simply cannot follow your point. It was obvious to me from the start that you were rejecting his primary premise. It was also obvious that you were rejecting it because you disagree with his conclusion rather than addressing its validity.

    You are still stuck on addressing his point with low to non-reasoned attack.


    The issue, and you know this, is that we shouldn't allow the unregulated side effect of our economic activity to bring us to an unknown destination, given that human societies are so invested in, and so many natural systems are dependent upon, the current order and the natural machinations of the climate system.

    No one is arguing we should try to ensure that the climate doesn't change at all, or that our current climate is the best ever.

    "fat head"! These are basic things that must be foundational before one could even stand with a straight face and argue for expensive policy changes to be made. If we cannot ensure that the climate can be "fixed" or that the climate is going to be worse than it is now how can such sacrifice be sold? As you well know, we are not just talking about changing light bulbs and walking to the store inb order to reverse our emissions. We could take 90% of the cars off the street and still have a long way to go on emissions.

    The issue, and you know this, is that we shouldn't allow the unregulated side effect of our economic activity to bring us to an unknown destination, given that human societies are so invested in, and so many natural systems are dependent upon, the current order and the natural machinations of the climate system.

    Unknown destination!?!! So you admit that you don't even know what the result of emissions are? Yet you want us to make huge changes in our lifestyle and economy? Who has the fig leaf now?

    So I am curious what you think of my five questions? If you want to call them fat-headed, well..

     
  • At 11:07 AM, Blogger SkyePuppy said…

    AICS,

    It's so nice that your busy schedule has given you a (maybe only temporary) break. I've missed the entertainment value of you and PAW (or others) throwing the punches back and forth.

    I can sit back and relax now and say, "Life is good." Keep going, guys.

    P.S. The last I heard (probably several months ago), the earth hadn't warmed since 1998. Did I miss something? Did it start warming again last year and nobody told me?

     
  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger PAW said…

    "It was also obvious that you were rejecting it because you disagree with his conclusion rather than addressing its validity."
    Uh, no. That your mouth will drop over a sophism that supports your preconceived notions couldn't be more clear to me.

    Apparently as a team we're not bright enough to pull of a conversation on this level. Your blog, I'll move on.

     
  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Mojo_Risin said…

    If he concedes that warming is happening, and that its probably man-made, then why is he saying that there's nothing wrong with it? Or that there's nothing to worry about? Does he just think that it will stop some day? Or that it won't have serious effects?

    And Skye, if we're causing the warming, then it seems logical that we can do something to stop or reverse it.

    We're artificially warming the Earth, with consequences to come from it. Even he seems to be saying that. Which makes me wonder what his point was in the first place?

     
  • At 4:29 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    paw,

    we tried.

     
  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    mojo,

    in short he would answer yes to the first two of my questions and no to at least 3-4.

    If the earth is warming and even if man caused it, is that necessarily a bad thing and who decides?

    I would think those who live in Russia would mind a little more warmth.

     
  • At 12:08 PM, Blogger SkyePuppy said…

    Mojo,

    Your "If" is a big one. Are humans alone THE cause of global warming? The concensus I've seen, even among the believers in our guilt, is that we simply contribute to global warming, not that we are the only cause.

    How much is mankind really capable of affecting when we're fighting against the forces of the sun and the cosmos?

    And again I ask, did the globe start warming again last year? Climatologists have said (last year) that the earth's temperature dropped a tiny bit (not enough to count) from 1998 until the then-most-recent year with available data. Doesn't this give us some time to stop hyperventilating about the issue and make some reasoned assessments of the situation, including what the "optimal" climate really should be?

     
  • At 12:16 PM, Blogger PAW said…

    Just for the sport of it...

    I didn't want to get introduce the "change is good/change is bad" argument since Griffin himself doesn't go there. He does something different, arguing that to think warming is a problem you have to think that the current climate is all-time best, and you have to consider that stopping ALL climate change might be undesirable and outside of human ability. If you listen to the interview, it's clear he's being *very deliberate* in how he is arguing.

    That you take those arguments and extend them to a different conclusion that you happen to fancy (hey, it might be better so no worries) is, I think, likely to be his goal. Giffin is not arguing directly that "it might be better", but his argument leads in that direction. Not saying what you mean is a good tactic to muddy the waters and to imply something that you're not willing to say directly. It's an intellectually dishonest approach.

    Oh, and since you asked me about your five questions - After you originally introduced them I did spend some time looking into your point of view. I decided to let them pass without comment - I don't have the time to meet your level of detail and taking potshots at something you intend to be comprehensive is not satisfying to anyone.

    Lastly, having used up my fat head credit, you will not hear that from me again! How's that going, by the way?

     

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