Monday, April 21, 2008

Data studied

That The Australian hates science is a given. That a conservative Catholic Archbishop hates science has.....historical precedent. When the two combine, it’s non-stop laughs (though not nearly as funny as this effort. Bill Hicks should consider himself fortunate he’s no longer with us).

Australian Archbishop George Pell wrote a denialist puff-piece in the Sunday Telegraph and The Australian picked it up and ran with it today:

We can trust that Catholic cardinal George Pell has not had to resort to inside knowledge to play the devil's advocate on global warming. Like historian and political scientist Don Aitkin, Dr Pell has studied the data and rejected the claim that scientific consensus exists.
Just picture that: a bloke who believes in a particularly vindictive, invisible, human-shaped sky-dweller; who holds as a central tenant of his faith that some sheila didn’t get knocked up out of wedlock by her soon to be husband and wasn’t just a little bit untruthful to her dear son about the whole matter; a fella who would rather AIDS ravish the third world than people use contraception.

Now picture that same bloke lecturing the great unwashed on what the data say and what accordingly should or shouldn’t be rejected.

To be fair, there surely are some Catholic and other religious types who are able to quarantine their irrational beliefs from their rational analysis.

Pell isn’t one of them.

It’s about as likely as zombies walking the earth on a short term basis some time ago that Pell has looked at any raw data or indeed read any of the peer-reviewed scientific literature that underpins the theory of AGW.

And who’s this Don Aitkin? Oh, him.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday, Dr Pell highlighted what he says are inconvenient facts for the climate change bandwagon. These included the declaration by more than 100 international scientists, some of them members of the UN Intergovernmental panel on climate change that attempting to control climate was "ultimately futile".

Oh...that data. Hang on...there’s more:

In addition, none of the natural changes observed with glaciers, sea levels and species migration is outside the bounds of known variability, including the warming of 0.1c to 0.2c per decades, in the late 20th century. But the 1930s decade was warmer than the 1990s.

The 1930s were warmer than the 1990s? Maybe I’m reading this here graph thingy wrong:

Or maybe Pell hasn’t looked at any data at all and latched on to second hand denialist bollocks confusing a so-called change from a statistical dead heat to a minimally-different statistical dead heat for 1930s and 1990s temperatures in the lower 48 sates of mainland USA, and confused that with global temperature?

Most importantly, the global temperature has not increased since 2001.
Even denialists who want to cherry pick temperatures from recent years to intentionally deceive don’t grasp at 2001, because pretty much all data series show that some intervening years such as 2005 were warmer. Get with it, Pell…’s 1998 you’re after with a spit on the floor at the mention of evil GISSTEMP!

We (the Oz) have always been concerned about the quasi-religious fervour that surrounds climate change….. we’ll get some factually-confused religious bloke to show how it’s done properly.

Lordy me.