Why are we having a hearing that features a fiction writer as our key witness?

The headline for this post is the rather plaintive quote from minority leader senator Jeffords' statement at the US Senate EPW committee hearings today. The fiction author is the egregious Crichton.

This question is a reasonable one. The answer is obvious: that Inhofe has totally lost the plot. The details however remain to be seen.

There doesn't seem to be much else available yet, but I'll update this when there is.

Note that this is the Inhofe hearings, not the Barton hearings, which seem to have been wimped out of for the moment.

[Update: there is now an RC post on this with some more detail. Wonkette and Think Progress also take the piss. Note that we need to be careful: Crichton deserves dishonour and (slightly contradictarily) contempt (I like Hobbes and his definitions). The point at issue is not C's worthless opinions, but the apparent waywardness of a (presumably) powerful US senate committee.]


William M. Connolley said...

This is just a note to me... next post should be ripping apart the tissue of lies that is http://epw.senate.gov/repwhitepapers/ClimateChangeWebuse.pdf

LuboŇ° Motl said...

Why was Crichton chosen?

It's because Crichton is a very smart guy who has focused his skills on climate in the last 3-4 years and he knows the issues about the global climate roughly 5 times better than you do.

William M. Connolley said...

Your trolling is becoming a bit obvious. I haven't read C's testimony and probably won't... but RC has a nice post I can link to.

Anonymous said...

"The point at issue is not C's worthless opinions,..."
"I haven't read C's testimony..."
always nice to see well informed and thoughtful comment ! keep it up !

William M. Connolley said...

Its Mr Sock! Hello and welcome to Stoat. C has had vaious occaisions - an entire novel - to say something worthwhile, and failed, preferring to stick to fiction rather tahn reality. In SoF he purports to believe that there is no good explanation for the 1940-70's cooling, whereas, as we all know, the aerosols provide a good explanation and the model simulations accurately reflect this.

The most recent RC post provides more examples, if you've forgotten so soon.

But the issue isn't C's worthless opinions - the issue is, why is Inhofe reducing to inviting fiction authors to testify? Has he run out of septic scientists? It would seem so. Why aren't... oh, Michaels, Lindzen, whoever... why aren't they ready to step up to the plate?

Anonymous said...

i notice my previous post hasn't appeared.
Why could that possibly be ?

Just for info, some light reading.

William M. Connolley said...

Hello . Your previous comment was deleted for trolling. Save your trolling (and, I'll add in advance, complaints about censorship) for sci.env.

However, the link to Crichtons speech was useful, thank you. Most of it is pap. The first bit of science I found was:

"Mann's work was immediately criticized because it didn't show the well-known Medieval Warm Period"

Neither, of course, does anyone else's reconstruction. See [[
Image:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison]]. Crichton is yet again demonstrating his ability to make fiction.

Note how (in the quote an above) Crichton personalises this to Mann alone. He needs one man to demonise. MBH just won't work for him.

Anonymous said...

Dear belette
thanks for your honesty in admitting you deleted my post.

I could be a bit bemused. You start a blog, and you invite people to comment on what you said. Do you only want adulation ?

I commend you on reading Crichton's evidence, but am having difficulty in following your logic. Crichton's analysis is that Mann's work doesn't "show the well-known Medieval Warm Period"; you agree, and note that no-one else's does either.

How does this demonstrate Crichton's ability to make fiction ?

guess I am up for banning yet again !


William M. Connolley said...

No-ones analysis shows the MWP. You know this, you've been on sci.env. Why are you wasting time repeating failed arguments? The idea that the MWP was much warmer than now is nonsense, and this has been known for quite some time, apparently to everyone except Crichton (and, presumably, to the senators on the panel, unless they challenged him on this).

Formally speaking, I don't think I've invited anyone to comment. Sane polite people with interesting things to say are welcome. Trolls aren't. If I wanted only adulation, Lumo wouldn't be here. I was going to have a comment policy... the nearest I seem to have is this http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/06/comment-on-scienv.html. Maybe I should resist instruction creep.

Anonymous said...

"Formally speaking, I don't think I've invited anyone to comment"
An interesting perspective. With my browser, it says "Post a comment" at the bottom of the page.

"No-ones analysis shows the MWP."
Interesting. In order to support this assertion, you posted a reference to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png. This shows a graphic, prominently labelled "Medieval warm period", and "little ice age". In faith, the legend does say:
"The medieval warm period and little ice age are labeled at roughly the times when they are historically believed to occur, though it is still disputed whether these were truly global or only regional events. ". I find it strange that you should post as evidence a web page which directly contradicts you.

Under any circumstances, the Moberg and Esper reconstructions are entirely compatible with a MWP, and the Huang reconstruction looks additionally to be consistent with an LIA.
toodle pip !

William M. Connolley said...

David, that was laughable. The picture quite clearly shows that (a) all the records pretty well agree about the temps in the MWP (although they disgree about the LIA) and (b) those temps are clearly lower than now. Look at those little wiggly lines on the graph, not the words.

William M. Connolley said...

The following was posted by mt to sci.env, and as usual mt has said it better than I could.


Crichton's testimony, which sounds reasonable, isn't really. It might be fruitful to discuss why or why not. That isn't the question you raised. The question you raised was why people were treating Crichton's testimony as outrageous.

The answer is that what he said in his testimony is not the issue. What he said prior to his testimony and how he said it, and whether and how that qualifies him to testify to the senate committee on the environment, that is the issue.

The chairman of the committee should have consulted the National Academy of Sciences, or the American Geophysical Union, or some other qualified institution, to identify the broadest range of informed opinion to testify on these matters. Crichton would not have shown up on any such list.

It's certainly a catastrophic start to a reasoned investigation to start it off with nonsense. The purportedly conservative chairman of a senate committee ought to be willing and able to distinguish right from wrong.

That the chairman was not willing or competent to identify testimony representing the range of informed opinion, but rather chose to highlight uninformed opinion outside that range constitutes a failure on the part of the senate to govern competently. That this extreme opinion was presented as a counterbalance to informed opinion, rather than to comparably extreme opinion at the opposite fringe of the consensus, was unfair as well. The entire event was thoroughly contrary to any actual spirit of civilized democratic inquiry.

In short, the choice of witnesses was both unfair and incompetent. That's why this event is even more outrageous than Crichton's misleading and mean-spirited arguments are themselves.

LuboŇ° Motl said...


Dear William,

I want to assure you that you can't hide the fact that the article by Fraedrich and Blender - and therefore also your article about the scary power laws that show that the existing global climate models don't work - have been proved incorrect.

The exponents are universally around 0.65 plus minus 0.04, and the climate models disagree with this observed exponent.

Please don't erase these comments again. It is not nice.

The response showing why the FB evaluation is wrong is here, and my article about the issue is here.

For everyone: I apologize if you had to read it twice.

Have a good night