How To Explain Skepticism

As usual, I was doing one thing and ran into something else. The short form is that while looking up some particular science details on an unrelated topic, in a list of Scientific American Articles was one on ~’How to sell science to congress.’. What struck me about it was that it made clear two things.

1) Why the “Hansen Spin” worked.

2) Why arguments from the Skeptical Side get heard, and go “THUNK!” on the congressional floor.

The article:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/06/08/dont-be-arrogant-do-tell-a-story-an-interview-with-congressman-robert-walker-about-how-scientists-should-interact-with-congress/

It’s all about The Story.

In short, the Catastrophic Human Caused Global Warming Story has it all. First off, there’s a looming catastrophe. Second, we have a Guilt Complex sop for some folks and a Self Righteous sop for others (depending on your point of view: Are you causal or are they causal? Guilt or Self Righteous Indignation.) Thirdly, it can be averted if The Congress (or Chamber of Deputies or House of Lords or Parliament or…) only take action. That is, the Politician can be a great heroic figure. Finally, there’s that little fact that by picking “winners and losers” in the economic arena, the various Political Classes can either feather their own stock portfolios, feather those of their donors, or divert money to Friends Of The Politician’s District.

We’ve seen that same process at work in the “Spendulus Bill” were a $Trillion in tax payer money was handed out to Friends Of Congress to assure their favored agencies, banks, investments, NGOs and all were well cared for while nominally “Saving The Economy From Collapse”. The Story was one of impending catastrophe, Self Righteousness on the part of Democrats (Damn Bankers!) and perhaps some Guilt on the part of Republicans who had voted for things like the CRA (that forced banks to make bad loans) and regulatory relief (that let them avoid being collapsed a decade or two sooner from CRA by letting them package and third party the debt as SIVs Special Investment Vehicles et. al.). Thirdly, “The Experts” ASSURED congress that the great economic collapse catastrophe could be avoided, if only they SPEND! What could be better than being forced to spend money? (That they then carved out chunks for Friends Of The Well Connected is just business as usual..) They were truly just being Heroic Figures doing their duty (and salving their Guilt or feeding their Self Righteousness).

So what’s wrong with the Skeptics “Story”?

Pretty simple. Lots of it consists of “THEY are wrong on this obscure technical point.” Sometimes it is “They are wrong as it hasn’t happened.” Occasionally it is “These data are conflicted or compromised, they might or might not be wrong.” Rarely it is “It could cause vague damage to the economy.” Of all of those, only the last one really has much appeal to a Congressman or MP.

(No, I don’t get bent out of shape at using male gender terms as the non-gender form. Classical English lost the ‘neutral’ gender and collapsed it with the male. Losing the feminine gender terms and collapsing them with the male is the next logical move. Getting wound up in things like Congresswoman, Congressperson, Congressmember, et al is a waste of time. They are lumpy and too long. Language evolution favors the short and flowing. They won’t stick. If it bothers you, then mentally stick in whatever neologism you like. We are all part of the human race, not the huperson race, and the loss of gender significance to the particle ‘man’ is already common in words like that where we just don’t notice. Or care.)

Back at congress….

What we need to do is find a way to explain what we all understand: That the AGW narrative leads to a ‘cure’ that is really The Horrible Thing. And present findings in a way that explains the Heroic Narrative that comes from the Skeptical side while showing how the Heroic Narrative of the AGW side is a false narrative. (Holding up Spain as an example of Green Gone Bad looks promising at the moment…)

Ban coal? Destruction of mining economies, loss of livelihoods and destruction of whole geographies economies and increasing poverty. Rampant fuel poverty and an implicit attack on the poor. Promoting the use of coal is the path to economic prosperity and the congressman can be the Heroic Figure standing up for all those poor and supporting that core of American Power. (That they can also help ‘their friends’ in the coal industry and feather their stock portfolios and direct money toward Friends Of The Congressman are things I’m sure they can work out for themselves, just as the Democrats long ago figured how to do the same with organization like Acorn and the NSF and subsidy / bailouts for the likes of Solyndra and Fisker and GM Auto Unions.) Oh, at then at the end mention things like “The GHCN data are not fit for purpose and that means the Global Warming argument is more computer fantasy than actual science. Oh, and the AGW side have suborned the Peer Review process, so don’t put much stock it in as proof of what’s right.”)

Basically, build the Heroic Narrative first, then show the foundations in the science “issues” being explored as supporting data. Oh, and make it an interesting story if you can… not so much the whole numbers and statistics thing, more the human impact / human actions stuff. So while showing that the least squares fit trend line shifts in one set of data vs another, mention along the way that humans make both data sets, humans make errors, we’re hanging The Fate Of Humanity on trust in one vs the other, and they can not be trusted…

FWIW, right now I’m writing up some of my findings on GHCN, so this is particularly useful to me, now. I’ve decided to do a rewrite over this weekend, so don’t expect much in the way of postings for a day or two while I “knock it out”, ok? Less stats and numbers, more human interest story… more interesting character development too ;-)

Back at the article

As things on the internet tend to go “Poof!” some times, I’m going to quote a couple of pertinent bits from the article. Just enough so that if it does evaporate, there’s still some context here. You are encouraged to go read the entire original as it is more effective than the bits I’m quoting here.

Don’t Be Arrogant, Do Tell a Story: An Interview with Congressman Robert Walker about How Scientists Should Interact with Congress

By Marc Kuchner | June 8, 2012 |

Congressman Robert Walker represented Pennsylvania in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from 1977 to 1997. He’s has taken an interest in helping scientists understand Congress, and he invited me to his marble office building on K Street in Washington DC to interview him. Walker was Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, then called the Science Committee. I asked him some questions that had been burning in my mind about how we scientists should behave when we’re interacting with Congress.

So this article is a Q&A with a congressman about how to be effective. They spend a while on the “Don’t be arrogant” point. Something that isn’t much of a problem on the Skeptics side, near as I can tell. We’re a pretty humble bunch. Just keep it that way and don’t wave credentials in a condescending way. You are there to educate and inform as a professional, to another professional. Like a lawyer working for an MD, you both have credentials… you are there to provide a service.

They then go on to ask for an example. They pick the guy who does Astronomy on TV a fair amount. Decent showman (even if he is wrong about Pluto not being a planet ;-)

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Original Image

Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil is just fabulous at taking science concepts, boiling them down in a way that the general public and politicians can understand it.

MK: What does he do that’s so compelling?

RW: Well, for one thing he loves his subject. I remember when we were doing the Aerospace Commission, where we went down to a Conference Center down here in Virginia that’s owned by the government. We’d finished dinner and it was dark out. I was walking back alone and so on, and I came back. Here was Neil. He had members of the Commission and the staff sitting on the steps of one of the buildings and so on. He had a segment of the sky, and he was pointing out. He was telling all the stories of the mythologies, the stars, what part of the galaxy they were, how far out they were, and all of this kind of stuff and so on. He was excited about it and so on, and he was putting it in story terms and so on. The group was just absolutely enthralled by it.

So have some passion, make it accessible, and put it in a context of human dimensions. Check.

MK: So let’s say you were a scientist, and you were planning to make a pilgrimage to D.C. and go have your 15‑minute meeting with your representative. How would you make a good impression?

RW: Well, first of all to recognize that most members of Congress don’t serve on Committees that have a science orientation. So you have to make the presentation in a form that is understandable to a guy who is not going to be looking at the subject matter in any depth. Congressmen just don’t have the bandwidth in order to do things in depth. So if you want to get it across take your best punch line‑‑what it is you’d like to see as the end product, why you think it’s important‑‑and then be excited about the fact that if Congress actually did it, that it would make a difference.

That’s what members of Congress want to hear. They don’t want to hear about the bench tests. They don’t need a lesson in all of the physics theories or chemical theories that go into it. What they need to know is why it’s important, what needs to be done in order to bring it to fruition, and why that would be an exciting outcome.

Lead with the punch line, don’t save it for the end, be a bit superficial on some points (just have the backing available for notes to submit if needed) and explain why it is important in human and governmental terms, not “why it matters to science” or “why the other guy is wrong”. (Though I suspect that saying “This is why it matters AND the other guy was wrong on this point (details attached) so his story is broken” would work well. I’ll likely take that approach as what I’m saying IS basically “their stories are based on broken data, so broken stories”. But as supporting points, not preamble nor plotline…

So, can you think of ways to take common Skeptics points ( like “CO2 doesn’t cause acidification the ocean is neutralizing not acidifying” and “CO2 was higher in the past and we didn’t have thermal runaway” and all the rest) and turn them from “They are wrong on a technical point” into “Here is a Heroic Narrative from this point and why their Heroic Narrative is not going to be there for you.”?

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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23 Responses to How To Explain Skepticism

  1. omanuel says:

    That is the key issue.

    Should we begin with the revolutionary discovery by Copernicus in 1543 that the Sun is the center of the Solar System?

    http://tinyurl.com/7qx7zxs

    Here is one tentative path that needs further development:

    1. In 1543 Copernicus discovered the fountain of energy at the core of the solar system that bathes Earth in a stream of energy in the form of heat, light, particles, fields – electrical, magnetic and gravitational.

    http://tinyurl.com/7qx7zxs

    2. In 1905 Einstein discovered that energy (E) is stored as mass (m) and released as E = mc2. Thus, the energy (E) that sustains life and controls the solar system comes from the conversion of mass (m) into energy (E) in core of the Sun.

    http://tinyurl.com/8hays

    3. In 1915 Niels Bohr discovered that atoms consist of light-weight, negatively charged (-) electrons orbiting a central, massive, positively charged (+) nucleus, in the same way that lightweight planets like Earth orbit the massive Sun.

    http://tinyurl.com/6mhbgas

    4. In 1945:
    _ a.) Energy released from the core of uranium atoms destroyed Hiroshima on 6 August
    _ b.) Energy released from the core of plutonium atoms destroyed Nagasaki on 9 August
    _ c.) Dr. Kazuo Kuroda stood in the ashes of Hiroshima and realized, “The sight before my eyes was just like the end of the world, but I also felt that the beginning of the world may have been just like this.” [P. K. Kuroda, “The Origin of the Chemical Elements and the Oklo Phenomenon” (Springer Publishers, 165 pages, 1982), page 2.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=3540116796

    5. In 1946 Fred Hoyle published papers [1,2] that led the scientific community to accept false information on the core of the Sun and other stars.

    6. Hundreds of space-age measurements summarized here [3] show the error in Fred Hole’s 1946 papers [1,2].

    References:

    [1] Fred Hoyle, “The chemical composition of the stars,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 255-59 (1946)

    [2] Fred Hoyle, “The synthesis of the elements from hydrogen,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 343-83 (1946)

    [3] Oliver K. Manuel, “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012)

    http://tinyurl.com/7t5ojrn

  2. View from the Solent says:

    “Hanson spin” Hansen?
    But nitpicking aside, yes. Arguing technical points is falling into their trap.

    [Reply: Ok, ok, fixed the spelling... "Son of Hans", but spelled Sen... -E.M.Smith ]

  3. DirkH says:

    I think it helps to try to put your argument in a classic powerpoint. No, not one of those slideshows with dense writing that look like the fine print of a contract. One like the marketing guys do: No more than 5 points per slide, in non-technical language. It’s good when it makes the expert groan because it’s too superficial for him.

    After re-arranging your slides into a form that allows you to make a “sales pitch”, maybe add another technique I learned one time in post-Warsaw pact Poland: The engineers in the ex-military kombinat that had to make presentations repeated everything three times:

    First, they said: “I will now talk about the following stuff” and gave a complete overview.
    Then they gave the full presentation.
    Then, they said: “I have talked about…” and repeated the overview.

    I wondered why they did this, and the reason was probably that the bosses were so heavy wodka drinkers that this repetition prevented them from missing too much in case they nodded off due to hangovers. Probably all engineers in the Warsaw pact had to learn this technique in college.

  4. omanuel says:

    1. Where did this come from; What is its future?

    2. It is composed of chemical elements: H, He, . . .

    http://www.webelements.com/

    3. The story begins with dissociation of more compact matter

    Neutron star =(emits neutron)=> ~12 MeV + Neutron (half-life = 10 minutes)

    4. The first element, Hydrogen (H), then forms spontaneously

    Neutron => p+ + e- + 0.782 MeV => H + 0.782 MeV

    etc., etc., etc.

  5. omanuel says:

    @DirkH Powerpoint or Video?

  6. George says:

    1. The notion of AGW appeals to news media because it is something your senses can not detect. You must turn to the news media for information. Things that you can’t hear, see, taste, smell, or feel but are reported to be absolutely deadly are the things the news media LOVES.

    2. It appeals to the anti-big business segment of society. The rich people are killing us set.

    3. It appeals to the political left because they realize they can use it to further their political goals. Policies taken in the name of “environmentalism” can be leveraged to reach their political ends.

    Successful “skepticism” needs to point out how expensive these measures are, how little change will result from them, and their overall impact on a relative scale with other nations.

    For example, if the crap hit the fan today and we needed to ramp up military production, we can’t. We don’t have the steel mills or the power plants to ramp up large scale industry quickly. As far as I know, not a single one of the plants that produced Bradley fighting vehicles still stands today. The plant that produced the C-17 is now Douglass Park in Long Beach. We just do not have the industrial infrastructure required to quickly produce military equipment if we need to. The replacement span of the San Francisco / Oakland bay bridge is made from Chinese steel. I have a friend who is a civil engineer and have heard the comment that US made steel for various projects can not be found that meets their standards. They have to purchase steel from overseas for bridges and other projects. With Obama promising to remove 20% of our electric generation capacity from the grid, the remaining electric arc steel mills will become unprofitable and will shut down. You can’t build a coal fired mill. We are becoming extremely vulnerable in a strategic sense and there is no REASON for it.

  7. Petrossa says:

    Imo there is not that much need to fight AGW, it’s selfdefeating. In the end bottom line is what decides everything and what with 3/4 of the world’s economy running out of steam money for luxury problems such end of the world scenario’s will become scarce.

    Denmark, Germany, Spain are already discovering the hard way

  8. Another Ian says:

    Scepticism in good hands?

    In comments at Andrew Bolt on the recent US green jobs enquiry

    http://blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/andrewbolt/index.php/couriermail/comments/exploding_the_green_jobs_myth/#commentsmore

    “I guess that by the above definitions it would include a coal miner who is re cycling old and previously unused vegitation

    Geoffc3 of Eden (Reply)
    Sun 10 Jun 12 (10:31am)

    Geoffc3 replied to Geoffc3
    Sun 10 Jun 12 (04:23pm)

    And a power house worker who is recycling it into useful electricity.

    The list is endless/

    doomy of nq replied to Geoffc3
    Sun 10 Jun 12 (06:18pm)

    Geoffc3
    That is one of the most relevant comment that I have seen on the issue of this farce since this idiocy started. No doubt, Big Ted will have a comment that you are a blatant denier.
    Regards
    Doomy”

  9. David says:

    Petrossa says, 10 June 2012 at 7:07 am
    Imo there is not that much need to fight AGW, it’s selfdefeating. In the end bottom line is what decides everything and what with 3/4 of the world’s economy running out of steam money for luxury problems such end of the world scenario’s will become scarce.
    Denmark, Germany, Spain are already discovering the hard way
    —————————————————————————————————-
    Yes, and our host E.M. has pointed out how socialism is also “unsubstainable”, but if de-industrialization is part of your goal, then their is success in failure, the more catestrophic the better.

  10. omanuel says:

    How about a video, “Did Science Led Society to Orwell’s Fascist State?”

    See Orwell’s biography: http://www.george-orwell.org/l_biography.html

    And http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-105

  11. Pascvaks says:

    In the FWIW category, as I type, if any of the above comments were to come into my office looking for me to do anything for them that involved more than a handshake and pat on the back as I showed them the door after our 15 minute meeting, they wouldn’t get a penny (or second thought;-). Now, if you said you were a college professor at Podunk U, a teaching kind’a guy, or a preacher with a fair sized congregation, or a labor union rep, or the owner of a Green Industry looking to set up in my backyard, or even a tiny little member of a town council or the Chamber of Commerce, or a Wal-Mart cashier maybe, I’d be real nice and smiley to you. Know why? You’re a means to an end, and I just might be willing to drop a word in the hopper for you about whatever it was your were rambling to me about. And follow up in a few seeks with a little form letter prepared by one of my staff and signed with a handy dandy sign-o-graph machine. Politics is about power and backscratching and power and backscratching and…. VOTES! It’s also about backscratching those higher in the food chain that can do you a favor and need your vote and who have bigger friends in higher places that they are kissing on the rear end. Oh, and say to me that you’re a country club member, or attend every meeting of the local NAACP chapter, and I’ll pucker up and say “Helllllllllllllllo!” real nice.

    PS: I tend to be a real skeptic about politicians, don’t I?

  12. Pascvaks says:

    PPS: Now if you have a Blog… the Bigger the Better… and you have a great local (my District;-) following, or you’re as BIG and FAMOUS as that Anthony Watts guy, or work for the MSM (maybe FOX even) you know I just might want to let you take me out to lunch or something, and give you some HOT “OFF THE RECORD” feedback on things you might be interested. (Elected officials should NEVER be allowed to be reelected to consecutive terms for the same office more than once in a lifetime.)

  13. DirkH says:

    omanuel says:
    10 June 2012 at 3:59 am
    “@DirkH Powerpoint or Video?”

    For me, the process of preparing a talk in the form of a powerpoint helps me simplify my argument to a degree that makes it understandable for lay people. Whether I will present it as a powerpoint or as a video is a different matter. If its more helpful to you to think about preparing a video then by all means do it, different people use different approaches.

    I don’t have to do this often, maybe twice a year, but I learned how to dumb things down sufficiently for managerial types who need an overview and not all the details. If they need more details they can always ask.

  14. DirkH says:

    Pascvaks says:
    10 June 2012 at 2:03 pm
    “(Elected officials should NEVER be allowed to be reelected to consecutive terms for the same office more than once in a lifetime.)”

    Bad idea. Comparing the German to the US system – a chancellor in Germany can be reelected again and again; in the US only two terms – I must say we never have the dreaded “more flexible” 2nd term president who knows that no matter what he does it’ll make no difference. Also, you might occasionally get a real good one which you WANT to keep.

  15. acckkii says:

    Reblogged this on acckkii.

  16. acckkii says:

    Due to the nature of the scientific works, the scientists are always at odds with each other. They are fearful of consensus on the issues discussed between themselves. Whenever a relative consensus among the scientists is created in each stage, the legislators and politicians do not have an option to intervene in any way to provide the public benefits.

  17. Pascvaks says:

    @DirkH-
    “Politicians are like eggs, the fresher the better!”
    The first term you’ll have someone who’s learning fast and being as faithful as they’ll ever be to the voters back home and their core values. If you really have someone with a hard shell and backbone, who seems to be holding their own against the onslaught of curruption, then OK take a chance and reelect; but most humans are rather human. What you eventually get are the ones that go for 1 or 2 terms and quit or want to move up the ladder; but you also have those who get hooked and will sit down a term or two and try to get back in, these can be might iffy –are they up to it or do they just want to get another POWER fix? Politicians are not only like eggs, they’re also a lot like people (not you and me;-) don’t trust anyone to guard your home and wife and kids and money any longer than you have to. Nobody!

    PS: If you think Germany’s got a better system today than it did yesterday, or one that beats anybody, I got some beautiful beachfront property in Montana I’d like to sell you, sight unseen.
    ;-)

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    Politicians are disposable. There are dozens of want to be’s in line. If you don’t like one just dump em and start anew. Generally an old trained crappy politician is worse then a new dumb one. Although I must say that the Obamanation crew is the worst that I have seen in a long lifetime. pg

  19. Mark Miller says:

    Interestingly Tyson doesn’t like testifying to congress. He’s been asked to do it, and he’s done it once, but he’s said he’d much rather tour and speak to people who come to see him. I think he said one reason was he doesn’t particularly like talking to politicians, because they have other agendas besides what they’re talking with you about. I think you identified those other agendas. Another is he wants to encourage people to grow a movement to revitalize an interest in science in the general population. He wants to create an environment in which a scientific mission can be created for NASA, which is going to require broad public support. He said if he just goes to testify before congress, first of all, anything he advocates is going to have to go up against whatever other interests have broader support, and secondly he thinks it’ll look like he’s trying to manipulate an outcome against the public will. He’d rather have NASA driven by public support for scientific exploration, rather than just the scientists advocating for it, because he knows that’s unsustainable.

    Re. the story

    What came to mind as you described your story idea, which I think is right on the money, is a social-economic message, not a scientific one, just as the story of CAGW has something to do only obliquely with science. I don’t know if this show is on PBS anymore, but I remember Tony Brown talking several years ago about how black men were losing ground economically, because it used to be possible to get a high school education, to get a job at a factory, and to make a good enough income to get married, and raise a family on the income. He said that those entry-level jobs are gone, and it’s had a direct effect on the economic prospects of blacks. I mean, the same could be said for many whites as well. It’s not a race-specific thing.

    As has been pointed out, manufacturing requires energy, and economical energy at that, to be competitive.

    An interesting historical note I learned a few years ago was that a major component of how the Industrial Revolution got started was as an anti-poverty program. It lifted people out of subsistence farming into a higher standard of living. As we are seeing–just take a look at what’s happening in Detroit–this is just as true today as it was in the 18th century. People who would otherwise be employed in manufacturing are going back to subsistence farming. Is that what we want for our economic future? I think you could add in the “green jobs” program in Spain, where they now have 25% unemployment, and they’ve been at that for several years now. This is equivalent to the level of unemployment we had during the Great Depression, people! You could also point out that a small number of plutocrats in Europe have become billionaires (part of “the 1%”) as a result of their cap & trade system, which has not resulted in carbon emissions being capped at all. In fact, their CO2 emissions have been increasing, while ours have been falling, with no Kyoto Protocol, and no national C&T system.

    So the scientific message that goes against CAGW could “piggyback” onto an anti-poverty story.

    At some point “in the conversation” I think the issue of CAGW needs to be addressed, and it’s ultimately going to come down to a decision between the CAGW message of, “We are going to kill ourselves,” and an economic message of, “We refuse to live in poverty.”

    The CAGW advocates have gotten some traction out of the idea that we can plan our way out of this recession using “green jobs.” They held out the promise that as old industry left, this new industry would provide jobs for the displaced. It could help to throw in statistics about how that has not worked.

    If Skeptic advocates can win on the moral argument of fighting poverty, I think the scientific argument against CAGW will go down easier.

    As for how to play the patronage game, I’m at a loss. I’ve never been involved in that aspect of things, and I wouldn’t choose to be. You’ve said yourself that what we need to do is get the federal government out of many things it’s doing now. So this pragmatic idea of patronage would go against what you’ve advocated before. If you’re interested in that, what comes to mind is consult a lobbyist or political consultant.

  20. Jason Calley says:

    @ Mark Miller “If Skeptic advocates can win on the moral argument of fighting poverty, I think the scientific argument against CAGW will go down easier.”

    Very good point. This is a good way to provide CAGW ideologues an alternate conceptual scaffold which they can climb down while still retaining the “I am supporting a good thing” self image.

  21. Adrian Camp says:

    Dirkh, the system you describe was taught to me as part of how to give a lesson, in the army. Armies have to take recruits as they find them, but everybody has to be trained. Armies are essentially training organisations. Fighting is at best secondary. My sergeant taught me: Tell ‘em what you are going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, then tell ‘em what you have just told them. It works.

    Now, our story. I see nothing better than, they cheated, they are lying now, today’s hero is tomorrow’s dupe. A full-blown political denial with a flavour of little boy vs Emperor’s new clothes.

    I don’t hold with lukewarmist or conciliatory economic approaches (this form of carbon tax isn’t toooo bad).

  22. Pascvaks says:

    Question: If some people today were to “copy” and “e-mail” the exact same materials that the Committees of Correspondence sent to each other back in the days before and during the American Revolution, would they be arrested and charged with treason and sedition by the DOJ and DHS?

    (I guess they’d have to change all reference to the Crown and insert ‘the President’, and ‘the Congress’, and ‘the Supreme Court’. Wouldn’t they?;-)

    Think it might also be kind’a bad if States started jumping up and down like Colonies?

    How about the Federalist Papers? Bet they wouldn’t like that either.

    My how we’ve changed!

  23. DirkH says:

    Here’s how I would build a quick argument:

    * explain negative feedback. Most people have no idea; some think that pos feedback means HIGHER temps, and neg feedback LOWER temps.
    As the CO2AGW catastrophe rests crucially on runaway pos feedback this is the key. Destroy the misconception, destroy the alarm!

    * example thermostat
    * example non-existence of positive water vapor feedback , but evidence for neg water vapor fb.
    Here’s a very good video, but too long; and in the comment thread another very good argument:
    “A clear prediction of the CO2AGW theory is that positive water vapor feedback should occur AND that the radiating top layer of the troposphere that radiates most of the IR to space should rise.
    Both predictions can be tested, have been tested, and fail:”

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/simple-disproof-of-runaway-greenhouse.html

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2012/03/simple-disproof-of-runaway-greenhouse.html?showComment=1332558067400#c2031512486689428024

    “It is now time for the CO2AGW scientists to accept this failure, come up with a new theory, and make new predictions.”

    * From there I would point to a related negative feedback: increased CO2 leads to increased plant growth and increased bioproductivity – positive effects.
    * Conclusion: No reason for alarm about *HIGH* CO2.
    * BUT: – now we give people some DIFFERENT problems to chew on – humans need their sense of alarm directed to SOMETHING, so help them; here are worthy targets:
    ** corruption of science, squandering of scarce resources through CO2AGW funding.
    **energy crisis, help the poor and promote growth through cheap energy
    **overfishing
    **historically (in geological terms) LOW CO2 -> low bioprod
    (similarly: historically low nutrients in pacific -> low bioprod; most lifes
    near nutrient rich river mounds / continental shelf)
    **overregulation / overtaxation – which again forms a neg fb loop, this time for GROWTH
    **greens say growth is bad but the only WHY is because it needs energy, and that’s supposedly bad due to increased CO2; but as we have seen growing CO2 is GOOD for planet

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