This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I saw bad astronomy on that page. I like his words most of the time.
Except, that is, when it comes to Junkscience and Climate Audit.
I get mildly upset when this happens. It's one thing when someone like Al Gore attacks us (Deniers). It is something entirely different when Phil Plait (Bas Astronomy) or Richard Muller (UC Berkeley) does it.
Mr. Plait resorts to linking to an Ad Hominem attack on Steve Milloy. He doesn't describe why it is bad science and neither does the link. The link only describes Steven Milloy and all the activities he has done that make him "questionable". You know that he was a lobbyist. We all know that lobbyist's are evil. He took money from Exxon.... OOOOOH $90,000. Steve must be living a posh existence on funds like that (BTW it doesn't say it was a recurring grant, just that he received A grant). $90,000 won't cover Al "I am saving the planet" Gore's electricity bill for the year. (That might have been hyperbole).
I get the feeling that some of our respected scientist's are starting to feel pressure not to disagree with the consensus.
Brignell might be cranky (I would be if I had a persistent case of bronchial infection) but I don't think he is a crank. He may refer to Nigel with a belittling tag ("thousands will die"), but normally he then lists the new set of transgressions. Why are these other scientists stooping to Ad Hominem and Argument from Authority type attacks?
Phil Plait said that Junkscience.com being in contention with his site as equivalent to having Hoagland's site listed.
This is sort of like saying that James Randi is sort of like Van Daniken (Chariots of the Gods).
I'm surprised Brad that you're assuming the anti-badscience crowd are automatic allies of the anti-junkscience crowd.
Basically the whole idea of 'badscience' is summed up by the sites that are listed on the 'Crank Dot Net' website. It's a reaction by some of the scientific community to various 'kooks' and 'cranks' that started using the internet as a publishing medium from the 1990s onwards. The anti-badscience people are a sort of scientific version of the Taleban, protecting text book and peer reviewed science from these undesirables. I've always seen badscience as being a mainly American cultural thing. The USA is in the strange situation of being both the world's leading scientific country but also the most religious country in the developed world, and maybe the anti-badscience people think that cracking down on badscience may somehow compensate for this ironic situation.
The anti-badscience crowd are invariably on the side of the scientific establishment, whereas the anti-junkscience crowd are not necessarily always on the side on the scientific establishment, and in the case of global warming, definitely are not. The anti-junkscience people tend to take a more cynical view of scientists whereas the anti-badscience people tend to regard scientists as automatically being altruistic, as though science is still being conducted by 19th century gentleman scientists funding their own studies.
The field of astronomy and space research has also been responsible for producing quite a bit of junkscience itself. One of its luminaries, Carl Sagan, started up the field of climate computer modelling in his efforts to develop a scientific argument for nuclear disarnament, the 'nuclear winter'. There was also the dubious case of life being detected in the so-called 'martian meteorite' about ten years ago.
Looking at the Bad Astronomy website, I see one of the main items on the site is a debunking of the claimed NASA moon landing hoax. This idea that the moon landings were a hoax is suprisingly frequently believed by people under the age of about 25. It must arise from suspicions associated with the fact that manned space exploration effectively stopped dead in the early 1970s, before they were born, with the obvious next steps of a Moon base and/or a mission to Mars in the following few decades never having happened. But what many people don't realise, and Phil Plait fails to mention, is that the lack of progress in manned space exploration (leading to the belief in the hoax claims) is yet another example of the effects of junkscience, resulting from the excessive influence of the Green lobby. The only real option on the table to get to Mars or transport the heavy payloads for a moon base is to use nuclear powered rockets and the rise of the Green movement in the 1970s effectively killed that option off.
The only current application of nuclear power in space is very limited, it is for deep space probes using RTGs (effectively nuclear-powered batteries). Every time one of these RTG-powered probes is launched every few years or so, the Greenies run a vigorous campaign to stop the launch.
Thanks again David,for a very interesting read.I liked your "science Taleban".Maybe a bit much but the sheer palpable hatred expressed on some these sites does bring suchlike to mind.There is so much mayhem,murder and suffering in the world that I can understand hatred-but I fail to credit that which results seemingly just from a difference of opinion.
To me,and I maybe wrong of course, a proper scientific attitude is to "think it possible that you may be mistaken" not-the debate is over-we have the knowledge -respect the facts,etc
We can thank the "greenies" anti-nuclear stance for the present Anthropogenic Global Warming. If you think about it, they are responsible for most of the industrialised world existing on fossil fuels and polluting the atmosphere instead of using nuclear energy. If we had nuclear energy, fossil fuels would have become too expensive and we'd have bio-fuels.
Of course, even the "Greenies" (some of them) don't like most of the renewable energy options because wind turbines are killing birds of prey and bats and hydroelectric is destoying river habitats and so on.
The industrialised world is hostage to the middle east and Hugo Chavez for its energy needs and now has to exchange fossil fuels for palm oil and sugar cane for bio fuels and where does that get grown?
But bio-fules are no good either. Greenpoeace is saying "not all bio fuels are good" Not all? probably very few. It isn;t just going to be the orang utang and the asian elephant that will get wiped out and Indonesia will probably not be seen for smoke from the slash and burn to clear forest for palm plantations for the next decade.
Then of course, we are already looking forward to second generation bio-fuel crops which means genetic engineering and who will get access to the GE crops? Another blow to third world economies?
Pretty well everything could be laid at the doors of the Greenies... the law of unintended consequences, perhaps, but do you get the feeling these people will never be happy or ever take the responsibility for any of their actions?
Of course, there is no such thing as AGW but the if there were it would be down to the Greenies. But don't expect them to explain themselves over the next 50 years while we wait for the vacillation to end and a new nuclear program to begin.
These are the people who oppose incinerators in the UK (where they will be better regulated then in some other countries who will low bid the job)and then wonder why barrels of toxic waste get washed overboard and end up on West African beaches? Not their fault, it is always some one else's.
If you look at the Number Watch links page you will see the remark that Bad Science is wrong on the greenhouse effect. In my opinion it perpetuates two linked fallacies. First, there is the fallacy of the partial balance sheet, talking of heat going to earth without mentioning flow in the opposite direction. If it were true, the earth would continue to heat up forever, rather than being in equilibrium. Second, there is the treatment of the gaseous, liquid and solid parts of the planet as though they were separable bodies. They are inextricably thermally linked not only by radiation, conduction and convection, but also by changes of state and the significant latent heats of water, i.e. evaporation, condensation and precipitation. In my explanation of the greenhouse effect I treat the planet as a single body.
So true John, the Body is Earth. We should re-christen 'Junk Science' to read 'Anti Earth Science'.
Certainly, I consider that the Earth is the most complex 'Body' in our Solar System, wherein the rule of Thermo-Dynamic Law is absolute.