New Scientist woes

Non Scientist magazine's current issue prints two letters of breathtaking stupidity (thank PH for pointing this out, though he didn't use exactly those words...) on climate type issues: this drivel from David Bellamy (a sad case of enviro-gone-bad, due to hated of windfarms); and this drivel from Ivor Williams, in response to a rather more sensible letter from me. The IW letter is obviously drivel, because he ventures to contradict *me*: he is trying to press the familiar ice-age-in-the-70's stuff. That is wrong, as proved by http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/. IWs references to the contrary are... the BBC's Radio Times (14 November 1974), or David Bowen's "The next, inevitable, glaciation" in Geographical Magazine (August 1977), or "Chilling confirmation that the next Ice Age is on the way," in New Scientist (24 November 1983, p 575). There are dozens more. Well, I daresay there are any number of other items in the popular press, but thats not very useful. Quoting something from 1983 won't work either (this is supposed to be from the 70's, remember) and NS isn't a sci journal, whatever its pretensions. I don't know about the status of "Geographical Magazine" (I presume its the same as http://www.geographical.co.uk/) but it looks to be pop too. As to the Geog article, I presume it will be much the same as this, from National Geographic, November 1976. Which is to say, qualified and ice-age-in-the-absence-of-human-effects but not particularly soon.

Why does NS print these things? Ignorance? Stupidity? Or just a mischievous attempt to stir up controversy and try to sell more magazines? Probably the latter.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, your revisionist website on the "Ice Age" scare of the 1970s does not prove anything at all, since it has an unfalsifiable proposition at its centre about whether there was a "scientific consensus" on global cooling.

You do not provide the complete source materials and your citations are full of fractured statements. You ignore confounding evidence, even to the extent of trying to excuse Stephen Schneider's demonstrable championing of the global cooling theory as "unfortunate". Yes, unfortunate for your thesis it certainly is, but damning nonetheless.

Still another poster on Usenet pointed out that H.H. Lamb also opined that the long term future was cooling (and I have the book as well) and referred to the majoritarian view of long term cooling.

Your site is not proof of anything. It's not even peer-reviewed by competent scientific historians, nor published in refereed scientific journals, nor independently verified by others citing other source materials.

It's just a website of partial viewpoints.

William M. Connolley said...

Oh, I think you'lll find it proves lots of things, most notably that most of the claims made to the contrary are wrong.

Mean while, your criticisms are absurd, and must sound so even to yourself. Of course I don't provide complete transcriptions: but I do provide accurate in context quotes (unlike many on the other side who specialise in out-of-contexting, as I demonstrate) and complete references.

As to Schnieder: I suggest you read the R+S paper more carefully.

As for Lamb, this is an excllent example of the OOC problem: see http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/lamb-1982.html.

Anonymous said...

Which part of my comment was absurd? My comment made references to facts. Perhaps in your chosen career, you must come across them occasionally.

As for Schneider I suggest you read "The Genesis Strategy" a little more carefully. It's chock full of lovely tips on how to survive continually cooling temperatures, with exercises in short term climate modification like pouring black soot onto ice sheets in order to encourage them to melt.

I do not regard what I wrote as absurd, but rooted in demonstrable documentary evidence. Your site proves nothing, except that historical revisionists on the Internet can make sweeping statements and play fast and loose with the historical record, especially when they don't submit their thesis to proper peer review.

I checked your page on HH lamb and had a look at Usenet. Your correspondant went a lot further than you quote:

In chapter 18, on whether H.H. Lamb was of the opinion as to whether the natural climate dominated or not:

"So what can we do if the climate does fluctuate and change? And what can
we learn from the past?. To answer the questions briefly: the main
requirement is realism about our situation. We must seek to know and
understand enough about the behavior of climate and its effects upon our
environment and resources to cast off illusions and false expectations"


"And to be realistic, also demands humility about what man can do in the
face of climatic shifts, even today, other than adapt his ways. It may
well be that mankind has, and perhaps always has had, an exaggerated
impression of his power to alter the climate, intentionally or
otherwise, for good or ill, except on a quite local scale"

You want proof? Try writing up your thesis and sending it to a recognised society on historical research and see how much shrift it gets. You'll find that real historians don't start with an unfalsifiable proposition and then load contrary evidence with emotive terms like "unfortunate" or "soporific".

Then we'll see who's absurd. I've talked to climate scientists of the time, and they were in no doubt that the majoritarian view was of extended cooling (just like H.H. Lamb wrote). Perhaps they're all liars paid off by the fossil fuel industry?

Or maybe it's just you, Bill.

Anonymous said...

John A...why are you pretending that William's correspondent is somebody else? Did you forget that you used to post on Usenet as "Titan point"?