NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dueling Blogs - On getting the facts right

Anna at NCFocus critiques my comments in a earlier post. Read the whole thing here.
Russ, is it just the specific case of climate science reporting that you disagree on, or all kinds of science reporting? Do you agree that in the case of alien abduction experiences (which Mooney explains do have a scientific, non-alien explanation), "balanced reporting" does a disservice to the readers? What's your overall (i.e., not attacking a minor point) impression of the April Scientific American editorial on this problem, "Okay, We Give Up"?
Anna, I think that both sides of any issue should be heard. In the global warming case, many government decision makers do not understand stand science and the scientific methods and the peer review process used to validate scientific claims. Validation of a hypothesis comes when a second team of scientist can duplicate the experiment. In the UN IPCC case, Mann used computer models to forecast CO2 was causing rapid temperature increases. Once examined the models proved to be flawed. So if we only listened to one side of the issue, we would never know that global warming based on the IPCC models is bogus. From a recent conference in Australia:

Dr. John Zillman, former head of Australia's meteorology bureau and Australia's leading scientific member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argued its processes were as good as you would get and its science sound. Ross McKitrick from the University of Guelph, Ontario, took the conference through the detail of research which demonstrated as unsupportable the analysis which produced the famous "hockey stick" chart. This chart demonstrated the twentieth century is the hottest on record. See complete report here. It was endorsed by the IPCC which headlined it to support the case that human activity was causing global warming. McKitrick's analysis that the modeling was fundamentally flawed and the data unrepresentative is now regarded as correct. The work behind the chart was not checked before the IPCC endorsed and headlined it.

The case made by IPCC also depends on results from several climate models. Professor Garth Paltridge from the University of Tasmania argued the models were skewed to show warming. They depended on artificially constructed inputs which would just as easily produce a negative result. Another former official of the meteorology bureau, Bill Kininmonth, pointed out the models disregarded the transfer of energy between the poles, a major determinant of climate change, and focused solely on radiation in and out of the atmosphere.

Dr. Roger Beale, the former head of the Australian federal environment department, conceded the IPCC numbers for possible increases in global temperature (the notorious range of 1.4 C degrees to 5.8 C degrees by 2100) were numbers from scenarios, not predictions.
I am no expert in alien abductions, though I thought the explanation given by Mooney was credible. But, we have no scientific proof of abductions, because we can not find any aliens to observe. Key part of the scientific method. As for the April Scientific American editorial. You are aware this was an April Fools Joke? Right?

On the PACNC statistical analysis, I am going to consult some one who knows more than I do. More when I am smarter.

Tell me what you think


Post a Comment

<< Home