Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » “Global Cooling” Link on Ornery.org Revealed As Fraud – Detailed Pr (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4   
Author Topic: “Global Cooling” Link on Ornery.org Revealed As Fraud – Detailed Pr
Bryan Erickson
Member
Member # 1135

 - posted      Profile for Bryan Erickson   Email Bryan Erickson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
“Global Cooling” Article, Linked To from Ornery.org, Revealed As Fraud

Bryan Erickson – March 20, 2004

I discovered that the Ridenour “Global Cooling” article, linked to from Ornery.org, is a fraud, as I demonstrate below. The scientists upon whose work Ms. Ridenour bases her claims, actually flatly contradict her. It’s apparent however that Ms. Ridenour based all her conclusions on second and third hand reportage of these findings, without ever reading for herself what the scientists themselves actually wrote. I am not going to debate global warming or recite rhetoric here, only show that the Ridenour site is full of distortions and is completely unreliable. I hope anyone who is interested will look up the cites I provide. There was in fact a genuine scientific study that showed cooling in Antarctica, cited below, but the Ridenour article bears almost no relation to it.

Ornery.org doesn’t just link to this Ridenour article, but seems to endorse it. I hope Ornery.org sees this examination as an attempt to address an aspect that reflects poorly on the site (which I have enjoyed for years) in a cooperative effort to improve the site in the future.

Skepticism is the backbone of science, and the “global cooling” link stoked my curiosity to see and evaluate for myself a worthwhile skeptical review of global warming. So I clicked on the Ornery.org link, under “Links of Interest”, marked “Amy Ridenour’s report on Antarctic research showing a strong likelihood of global cooling” (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA388.html). The linked page, at nationalcenter.org, has a banner reading “National Policy Analysis: A Publication of the National Center for Public Policy Research”, and the title “New Research Indicates the Earth May Be Cooling.”

The article bases this indication on the findings of three scientists, and includes four footnotes among the sections purporting to convey these findings. The remaining footnotes relate to commentary after the claimed scientific findings have been discussed. I’ll include the four relevant footnoted sections made in the article, and an analysis of the cited reference for each.

Footnote 1 appears at the end of this statement: “The mammoth west Antarctic ice sheet, which contains enough water to lift the world's sea levels by 20 feet, isn't melting after all. Instead, it's actually thickening and Antarctica itself is getting cooler.1” This footnote cites, not an actual science article from a professional, refereed science journal, but another page on the nationalcenter.org website (http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR11502.html), which itself has no citations, and to an article by a journalist on techcentralstation.com, without the actual web address. (I googled it: http://www.techcentralstation.com/011502A.html). The techcentralstation.com article is based on an article in Nature, which I’ll get to in a minute, as the only apparent primary source behind the references of footnote 1.

Footnote 2 appears at the end of this statement: “A new study by researchers from the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California at Santa Cruz, published in the respected journal Science, found that the ice sheets of Antarctica, far from melting, actually are expanding by some 26.8 billion tons of ice a year.2” So, the footnote appears at the end of a sentence in which Ridenour has described two scientists, described their findings, and named the professional journal in which these findings appear, the prestigious journal Science. The footnote naturally cites the article in the journal Science, one would assume.

No. Instead, the footnote cites two newspaper articles. Ms. Ridenour apparently never bothered to look up the actual scientific article upon which she bases her report.

But I looked up the article in the journal Science. I’ll get to it in just a minute, after looking at the last two citations Ms. Ridenour provides for the supposed factual basis of her global cooling claims.

Footnote 3 appears at the end of the next statement in Ms. Ridenour’s essay: “The scientists, Ian Joughlin [sic], a geologist at CIT [a.k.a. Cal Tech], and Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz, speculate the thickening ice sheets are repeating a pattern that occurred from 1650 -1850 when the Earth went through what became known as the Little Ice Age.3” Here Ms. Ridenour specifically names the two scientists and further describes their purported findings. Again, you’d think the citation would be to the actual refereed journal publication. Instead, this citation is inexplicably to another article on her own nationalcenter.org website, this one without any citations, and with no mention at all of the two scientists Ms. Ridenour mentions (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA203.html).

Then follow the next few sentences, followed by footnote 4: “The study's lead author, limnologist Peter Doran, an expert on the study of fresh water at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is worried about the cooling's impact on the environment.

“Doran says cooling temperature not only is reducing the amount of fresh water feeding into Antarctica's lakes, but it's also making the surface ice thicker so plankton that use sunlight for energy are getting less sunlight. And that, he says, is bad news for the life forms that depend on plankton for food.

“‘The ecosystem would continue to diminish, and eventually it would essentially go into a deep sleep - like a freeze-dried ecosystem,’ Doran said in a January 21 interview with Richard Harris, a science reporter for National Public Radio.4”

Once again, rather than citing an actual first-hand source, this footnote cites a radio show: “Richard Harris, reporting, National Public Radio Morning Edition, January 21, 2002.” Since Ms. Ridenour didn’t bother to look up a published reference, I searched and found a web page on npr.org corresponding to the broadcast (http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/jan/antarctica/020118.antarctica.html). The interview is with scientist Peter Doran, based on the then-recent publication he co-authored in the prestigious journal Nature.

There’s another problem though. Immediately following the citation to footnote 3, Ms. Ridenour referred to “The study’s lead author… Peter Doran…” Which study’s lead author? In the previous two sentences, Ms. Ridenour introduced “a new study by researchers from…” Cal Tech and U.C. Santa Cruz, then named them as the “scientists, Ian Joughlin, a geologist at CIT [a.k.a. Cal Tech], and Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz…” The problem is, these are the only two authors of this study in the journal Science; Peter Doran’s publication was entirely separate, in the journal Nature.

Since Ms. Ridenour never bothered to look at the actual report in the journal Science, I decided to look it up. After discovering that Ms. Ridenour had also misspelled the lead author’s name (it’s Joughin, not “Joughlin”), I was able to locate the article, “Positive Mass Balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctica”, Science vol. 295 pages 476-480, January 18, 2002. The abstract is available for free at

link to abstract , and the full article can be accessed there with a subscription to Science or for a fee.

Here’s the abstract: “We have used ice-flow velocity measurements from synthetic aperture radar to reassess the mass balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctica. We find strong evidence for ice-sheet growth (+26.8 gigatons per year), in contrast to earlier estimates indicating a mass deficit (-20.9 gigatons per year). Average thickening is equal to ~25% of the accumulation rate, with most of this growth occurring on Ice Stream C. Whillans Ice Stream, which was thought to have a significantly negative mass balance, is close to balance, reflecting its continuing slowdown. The overall positive mass balance may signal an end to the Holocene retreat of these ice streams.”

Does that ice-sheet growth indicate global cooling? Here’s what the authors say (p. 477): “Stagnant Ice Stream C has a strongly positive mass balance because of its negligible outflow, and it is the major contributor to the overall positive mass balance for the region. Thus, the positive mass imbalance is driven not by climate-related changes in accumulation or melt, but rather by the internal ice-stream dynamics that led to the stoppage of Ice Stream C.”

So: the ice growth has nothing to do with climate, according to these scientists.

It’s also worth looking at the numbers they provide in Table 1 for the total differences and uncertainties in these ice sheet mass change estimates. Each estimate of the rate of mass change per year, in gigatons, is accompanied by the two-sigma uncertainty of the estimate. Using three different maps, the authors come up with 26.8 with an uncertainty of 14.9; 30.8 with an uncertainty of 15.4; and 22.7 with an uncertainty of 14.2. So, within the range of uncertainty using all three of their maps, their estimate of the mass imbalance is anywhere from 8.5 to 46.2 (i.e. 22.7-14.2=8.5, and 30.8+15.4=46.2). This can be compared to the previous scientific study to which they compare their own results: it gave the rate of mass change in gigatons as -20.9 with an uncertainty of 13.7, i.e. anywhere from -7.2 to -34.6.

In other words, the results are all over the place, for both teams of scientists that have investigated this.

How did these results get to be so different? One illustrative factor is explained on p. 478: “An additional difference of 3.5 Gton/year can be accounted for by the inclusion of basal melt beneath the grounded ice in the S&B [Shabtaie and Bentley, the previous study showing ice loss] estimate. We believe basal melt to be about an order of magnitude smaller than this amount and exclude it from our calculations…” So, much of the difference between the two studies arises because these numbers are based largely on theoretical assumptions, rather than strictly data.

Later on p. 478, the authors discuss more theory behind the ice-stream mass changes: “Thermodynamic models of ice-stream evolution show that ice streams may be inherently cyclic in their behavior, with switches between active (“purge”) and inactive (“binge”) phases occurring with a periodicity of several thousand years…” In other words, following the assumptions of these scientists, drawing ultimate conclusions about the climate from selected reference to ice-streams that happen to be in their binge phases makes as much sense as only looking at a clock pendulum when it happens to be swinging to the left and saying that its “true” motion is leftward.

Now, this study at least did estimate statistically significant rise of ice mass on some of the ice streams studied, though only Ice Stream C “is the major contributor to the overall positive mass balance for the region.” Remember, the Ridenour article claimed these scientists “found that the ice sheets of Antarctica, far from melting, actually are expanding by some 26.8 billion tons of ice a year.” Do the scientists claim their result applies to “the ice sheets of Antarctica”? Their answer is on p. 479: “This analysis covers only the Ross Sea sector of the ice sheet, and negative imbalances are observed in other areas of West Antarctica such as Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers…”

So, this study is based on the temporary positive mass imbalance of a single ice-stream in a single sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet. They continue on the same page: “Such a reduction in discharge could cause the ice shelf to thin and could trigger a retreat and/or break-up [of the Ross Ice Shelf]. Additional impetus for retreat and/or break-up may come from future climatic warming that appears to have helped to destabilize some smaller ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula (27). Over time scales on the order of decades to centuries, ice shelves may represent the most vulnerable element of the West Antarctic ice sheet/shelf system.”

From this, Ms. Ridenour claims that Mr. Joughin and Mr. Tulaczyk “found that the ice sheets of Antarctica, far from melting, actually are expanding by some 26.8 billion tons of ice a year.” Instead, they estimated, within a vast degree of uncertainty, and incorporating substantial theoretical assumptions, that Ice Stream C of the Ross Sea sector of West Antarctica is expanding; while they also taught that other sectors are indeed melting, and that the Ross Ice Shelf overall may be subject to “retreat and/or break-up” and “climatic warming”. Ms. Ridenour either knew, or should have known, by actually going to the source of the information she claimed to represent instead of relying on hearsay, that her claim is an unrecognizable distortion of the publication.

As a bonus, I also tracked down the publication in Nature by Peter Doran and coauthors, which was not cited in the Ridenour article, which identified Mr. Doran as “The study’s lead author” immediately after discussing the Joughin and Tulaczyk article, but which proved the ultimate source of the techcentralstation.com citation and the NPR radio show citation. Nature also ran a critical response by another team of scientists, and a rebuttal by Doran and company. The URLs for the abstracts for all three are presented here; the full versions require a subscription to Nature or a fee:

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v415/n6871/abs /nature710_fs.html

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v418/n6895/abs/4 18291b_fs.html

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v418/n6895/abs/4 18292a_fs.html

The original publication reports a net cooling in parts of Antarctica over the past few decades, although it also says the overall temperature of the Earth has risen during the same period; while the critical review argues that the conclusion of overall cooling of the continent is based on too few data.

In other words, different scientists are reaching different conclusions about a complex and still poorly understood field.

The Ridenour article, on the other hand, unlike the scientists it cites, demonstrates a certainty of its conclusions. What’s the difference between it and those scientists?

In the 1974 Commencement Address at Ian Joughin’s employer, Cal Tech, the great Nobel laureate Richard Feynman described the Cargo Cults of the south Pacific, who tried building runways and radio towers out of bamboo in imitation of how they saw westerners, apparently magically, summon airplanes out of the sky filled with amazing cargo. (See Richard P. Feynman, “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”, Perseus 1999, pp. 208-216.) Feynman then identified what he saw as the difference between Cargo Cult science and real science.

“But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in Cargo Cult Science… It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty – a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid – not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked – to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

“Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can – if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong – to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. …

“In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” (Feynman, 209-210.)

Science is based on this absolute honesty, objectivity, and open-mindedness in following where the data lead you. The method opposite to science is to begin with a position of dogma, and then subject all data to confirmation bias, wherein you leap on and emphasize every datum that supports your dogma, and refuse even to consider any datum that detracts from your dogma. This is anti-science, since any dogma imaginable by the human mind can be supported by 100% of the data, when the data is pre-filtered to match the dogma.

[ March 23, 2004, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: Ornery ]

Posts: 68 | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Anonymous24
Member
Member # 1468

 - posted      Profile for Anonymous24   Email Anonymous24   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Summarize.
Posts: 1226 | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
potemkyn
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Good catch. That was some serious work you did there.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WmLambert
Member
Member # 604

 - posted      Profile for WmLambert   Email WmLambert   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yes, well presented. However Confusion corner: Antarctica from the GeoTimes sums up your post quite well: Antarctica is both heating and cooling simultaneously in different places. 58% is cooling, but the warming parts are warming faster than the cooling places are cooling. The Ice dams on frozen lakes and rivers have been in place for 200 years causing thickening - with little temperature relevance. The whole earth may be warming slightly, but more research is needed to make anything out of that - it may all be normal cyclical activity.

As hard as your post was on Ridenour, she was correct in reporting that objective observation says Antarctica is cooling - she just neglected to note that 42% of it is also warming. I think the GeoTimes article balanced out Ridenour's lack of scholastic objectivity well.

Posts: 1372 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
" I think the GeoTimes article balanced out Ridenour's lack of scholastic objectivity well."

I don't. Its actually the "neutral" position, whereas, to balance out someone screwing up as badly as Ridenour did, you need to point out the specific flaws. That article did not, as it did not even mention her name.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Could you edit the link name so it is shorter? It is making the page difficult to read.

Thanks,

LetterRip

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Also,

where is the link to the 'global cooling' article,

I haven't been reading the site for awhile ...

LR

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Its on the "front page" in the box off to the left
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KnightEnder
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Who at Ornery wrote that blurb and linked to the article? They should have read what OSC has to say on the subject first.
quote:
The quality of science reporting in this country is so wretched that whenever you hear any report on TV or read one in the newspaper that claims that scientists have proven something, you ought to assume, automatically, that there is something ridiculously false in the conclusions that are being reported. Most of the time, closer examination will reveal that the report is even more bogus than you suspected.
JE
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thats why people need a science education in America [Smile] You can't function in the modern world without a basic ability to sift through the crap in scientific reporting, and actually get a grasp on the science.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
FIJC
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
"Summarize."
Read.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nice one [Smile]
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
potemkyn
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Anon,

It actually is summarized in the title. The Global Cooling is inaccurate and poorly cites its works. But I can say that and it might not be true. Bryan takes the time to PROVE it. It's worth reading.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Anonymous24
Member
Member # 1468

 - posted      Profile for Anonymous24   Email Anonymous24   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you Potemkyn. FJIC, you dont need to make any rude comments.
Posts: 1226 | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bryan Erickson
Member
Member # 1135

 - posted      Profile for Bryan Erickson   Email Bryan Erickson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I sent notice of this critique to both Amy Ridenour and Orson Scott Card, and they've both responded.

Amy Ridenour tried to squirm out of taking responsibility for what she had written: "I think you're taking things a bit over-seriously, or perhaps my writing skills need a refresher course. That piece was not meant to demonstrate that the Earth truly is cooling..." She went on for several paragraphs along these lines.

Orson Scott Card thanked me for "checking up on" ornery.org and said he will have my links added so people can "think things through for themselves", which of course is fitting for a website distinguished for its intellectual honesty.

Posts: 68 | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AmyRidenour
New Member
Member # 1651

 - posted      Profile for AmyRidenour   Email AmyRidenour   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mr. Erickson sent me an e-mail March 22 inviting me to respond to his opinion of the introductory paragraphs posted in my op/ed length essay posted at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA388.html. I did send him a note of response. He has not replied to me, but I see here that he did post a less-than-flattering characterization of my response in this public forum.

Since Mr. Erickson chose to respond only in public forum and not to me personally, and has not made an effort to present my reply to him in an objective manner, I think it is appropriate for me to simply post our e-mail exchange here and let others draw their own conclusions.

Before I sign off, however, I invite anyone who wishes to do so to visit our website at http://www.nationalcenter.org and draw their own conclusions about that as well. In writing to me, Mr. Erickson volunteered that he "enjoyed and agreed with" much of the other content on our website. I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that the rest of what he saw in our multi-thousand document website did not attract his ire.

Mr. Erickson's e-mail to me of March 22:

Ms. Ridenour,

I have voted for mostly Republicans and exactly one Democrat in my life, and I agree with you that there needs to be more skepticism leveled at the discussion of global warming. I learned of your site through a link to your article entitled "New Research Indicates the Earth May Be Cooling" (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA388.html). I enjoyed and agreed with much of the other content on the site.

Having said that, this "global cooling" article is filled with shoddy scholarship, mischaracterization and fabrication, and does a disservice to public dialogue.

For a detailed account of your article's failures, see
http://www.ornery.org/forums/essays/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=003 381 (It is on this site that I discovered a link to your article and website.)

If you still think your article is defensible, I'd love to hear how. But please, for the sake of reputable conservative and skeptical advocacy, do your homework before you put your arguments in front of the world.

Bryan Erickson

My reply that evening:

I think you're taking things a bit over-seriously, or perhaps my writing skills need a refresher course. That piece was not meant to demonstrate that the Earth truly is cooling -- the title was intentionally overstated to demonstrate how silly it is to draw massive conclusions about the global climate based on weather or temperature trends in one spot or another. I was merely commenting upon reports in the popular media at the time about Antarctica. I did not pretend to be providing an exhaustive scholarly review of studies of Antarctic temperature trends or ice sheets. I've actually never studied Antarctica's temperature trends.

One merely gets tired of hearing about global warming being the cause of nearly every widely-reported hurricane, flood, or flea-infestation in someone's pooch. I figured I'd illustrate the absurdity of this in the opposite direction. That folks would say, now wait, you can't say that about the Earth based on what a couple of guys say about Antarctica -- to which I say, yes, you are right, you can't! I suspect, at least in your case, I failed to illustrate absurdity but instead provided some. Perhaps it is dangerous to ever write something tongue-in-cheek. People have written me since expecting that I really believe I can prove the Earth is cooling. Of course I can't. Regardless of what is happening in Antarctica, it wouldn't be enough to prove anything conclusively about the future of the planet.

If you have read other articles on our site, you may well have seen me say that one can't predict the planet's future weather from past temperature (or other isolated weather events) in any one place. That's my real view. If that isn't sufficiently clear in this particular piece, I certainly hope it is in my entire body of work.

Ms. Ridenour,

I have voted for mostly Republicans and exactly one Democrat in my life, and I agree with you that there needs to be more skepticism leveled at the discussion of global warming. I learned of your site through a link to your article entitled "New Research Indicates the Earth May Be Cooling" (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA388.html). I enjoyed and agreed with much of the other content on the site.

Having said that, this "global cooling" article is filled with shoddy scholarship, mischaracterization and fabrication, and does a disservice to public dialogue.

For a detailed account of your article's failures, see
http://www.ornery.org/forums/essays/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=003 381 (It is on this site that I discovered a link to your article and website.)

If you still think your article is defensible, I'd love to hear how. But please, for the sake of reputable conservative and skeptical advocacy, do your homework before you put your arguments in front of the world.

Bryan Erickson

Posts: 1 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For what it's worth, I think you're both being rather silly. [Smile]

Brian's clearly taking an unscientific opinion piece too seriously -- for reasons I can only speculate.

And you, of course, have written an unscientific opinion piece about something you only barely understand, and drenched it in your own political biases.

Either way, I think it's safe to say that very few of the regulars on this site care, so your reputation is, I assure you, unsullied. [Smile]

Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
drewmie
Member
Member # 1179

 - posted      Profile for drewmie   Email drewmie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I second Tom.
Posts: 3702 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bryan Erickson
Member
Member # 1135

 - posted      Profile for Bryan Erickson   Email Bryan Erickson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I replied here instead of directly to Ms. Ridenour because there would be no point; she refused to take responsibility for publishing false material to the world on an important issue.

I am taking this seriously because Ms. Ridenour and her National Center have an avowed purpose of influencing public debate and public policy; and this purpose has been effective to significant degree, as witnessed by Mr. Card posting it on ornery.org and by the Center's endorsements - assuming they were published with more attention to truth-telling than was applied in the global cooling article - by current House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan, all of whom are in the position to spread the influence of this site into public dialogue and policymaking.

(The endorsements are found here: http://www.nationalcenter.org/NCPPRHist.html)

Michael Reagan's endorsement is revealing (about his own standards as well as the likelihood for Ms. Ridenour's work to be understood quite seriously):

"As a national talk show host, I need reliable sources of information. The National Center gets me the facts I need, professionally and quickly."

Now Ms. Ridenour dismisses her article - if this one, why not her whole website? - as merely "tongue-in-cheek", a big joke, something surely no one would ever take seriously.

Ornery.org didn't convey any sense it had understood it as other than seriously, before it removed its endorsement of the article in response to the critique above. Michael Reagan doesn't indicate he understands it as tongue-in-cheek; he indicates he understands it as "the facts" he needs to spread to the nation on his radio show. Dick Armey doesn't indicate he understands it as tongue-in-cheek when he characterizes it as "articulating the conservative and free market message."

So when Ms. Ridenour admits "Perhaps it is dangerous to ever write [sic] something tongue-in-cheek", she is hiding behind a flimsy excuse for being too lazy in her research even to be honestly wrong, though she is all too correct to admit, "Perhaps it is dangerous..."

And I was perfectly frank in saying I enjoyed and agreed with much of the sentiments reflected in other material on the nationalcenter.org website, which is also part of why I am interested in exposing its shoddiness: one of my great sources of chagrin in modern politics is the hijacking of the Republican party, of which I was a registered member until recently, by intellectually dishonest right-wing extremists.

It is ignorant dogma of the sort provided by nationalcenter.org that diverts otherwise sensible but insufficiently skeptical conservatives into ignorant and extremist views that can only drive public dialogue away from intelligent debate and toward mindless rancor.

That is something to take seriously.

Posts: 68 | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"and this purpose has been effective to significant degree, as witnessed by Mr. Card posting it on ornery.org"

Ah. While I of course agree that misinformed punditry is one of the great curses of the age, I think you overestimate the effect of Scott's webpage on the political process. Perhaps you should start with the Drudge Report or something? I mention it only because going after reports merely linked to on an obscure political forum founded by a moderately popular science fiction author doesn't seem like the most efficient way to influence public opinion.

Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bryan Erickson
Member
Member # 1135

 - posted      Profile for Bryan Erickson   Email Bryan Erickson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ornery.org might not be an influential enough forum for "Locke" and "Demosthenes" to use to shape world opinion, although it's influential enough to draw Ms. Ridenour's participation. Exposing her work here may not exert much influence, but her article is more than just a link from Ornery.org; the influence of her work is more considerable than you may think.

Here's an "Earth Day 2002" report on global warming and the environment that House of Representatives Resources Committee chair Richard Pombo put his name on top of, and that is posted in a Republican Study Committee (RSC) directory:

http://www.house.gov/burton/RSC/word/Pombo.PDF

Here is what appears to be the exact same document, published by Ms. Ridenour's National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) and copied wholesale by Congressman Pombo:

http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay02Myths.html

The RSC lists 85 members from among the House of Representatives, who presumably are getting their "information" on the environment from NCPPR:

http://johnshadegg.house.gov/rsc/about.htm

Here's another report by House member Jo Ann Emerson on the environment, attributing its factual source as a report by NCPPR:

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/mo08_emerson/end_of_endangered_people.html

Ms. Emerson is not a member of the Republican Study Committee, so it's safe to assume the NCPPR's audience among the House is not limited to the 85 representatives listed on the RSC's membership roster.

Other examples of NCPPR's influence on our national government can be found at these dot-gov websites:

http://www.house.gov/budget/FY00Budget/coalitionsupport.pdf
http://www.house.gov/resources/108cong/energy/2003sep25/cohen.htm
http://www.house.gov/resources/Press/reports/esa/esalitigation_ncppr.pdf

How many of these congressional representatives are looking up back issues of the journals Science and Nature, rather than merely relying on what Ms. Ridenour and her colleagues are delivering to them?

Still, at least Ms. Ridenour is simply motivated by the selfless desire to promote what she sees as the right political choices, even if she's too busy to check any facts.

Then again, maybe it's the $155,000 salary she draws from the NCPPR's six million dollar budget, according to Charity Navigator: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/search.summary/orgid/5416.htm

But she deserves the compensation, considering all the hard work it takes to look up a few journal articles to make sure she gets her facts correct... or not.

Where on Earth does all this money come from? Largely from the big right-wing philanthropies, as well as from Big Oil and Big Tobacco:

http://www.mediatransparency.org/search_results/info_on_any_recipient.php?recipientID=682

http://www2.exxonmobil.com/files/corporate/public_policy1.pdf

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/cgi/getdoc?tid=zoo67c00&fmt=pdf&ref=results

I wonder how much these congressional representatives or donors would care to learn more about NCPPR's standards of scholarship and truth-telling. Then again, these donors are probably more interested in the effect than the means.

The last link, to Ms. Ridenour's solicitation for money from Frank Gomez at Philip Morris is particularly enlightening, especially considering the pro-tobacco propaganda Ms. Ridenour published on the NCCPR website, such as this winner posted a month before asking Philip Morris for more money:

http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA198.html

Notice Ms. Ridenour's avowed commitment to provide, not "tongue-in-cheek" "absurdity" as she assured me, but "hard data and well-reasoned arguments... an appreciation for sound science... well-researched arguments and data..." But apparently that does not include "an exhaustive scholarly review" of any sources, where an "exhaustive scholarly review" is her code word for "look up the one journal article I'm citing."

Mr. Gomez of Philip Morris had long been an admirer of Ms. Ridenour's "exhaustive scholarly review" of the benefits of tobacco, according to this note from three years earlier (referring to Ms. Ridenour by her maiden name, Amy Moritz):

http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/2000Q3/ncppr.pdf

Notice Mr. Gomez's confidence in NCPPR's ability, nine years ago, to affect public discourse.

So much for influence. Ornery.org may not change any minds in Congress, but I enjoy it; and it served well enough as a forum in which the president of NCPPR could take enough time out of providing publications to our lawmakers, which they are reading and using to argue policy, to recharacterize publicly those publications from "hard data and... well-researched arguments" to "intentionally overstated" and "tongue-in-cheek", that "illustrate absurdity" and shouldn't be taken "over-seriously".

Posts: 68 | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
*nod* I must say, Brian, that the leaden weight of your citations has impressed upon me the seriousness of your effort. [Smile]

While I still say you've chosen entirely the wrong battleground for what you clearly consider an important fight -- it's like Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker in an all-night kosher deli -- you've managed to persuade me that it is, in fact, important.

So, given that, why start with Ornery?

Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bryan Erickson
Member
Member # 1135

 - posted      Profile for Bryan Erickson   Email Bryan Erickson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A) because Ornery is where I found out about this "national center",

B) because I admire Mr. Card enough that I felt compelled to show him why I didn't agree with something he was endorsing, and

C) because I'd pay good money to watch Darth Vader fight Luke Skywalker in a late-night kosher deli (that would be cooler than the last two SW films).

Posts: 68 | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Morton
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Out of curiousity, why does Ornery continue to post such a link as the Anne Ridenour article after seeing it's sources and arguments so well torn appart in this topic? I just found these links on the front page of the site and while I applaud the forum for posting the rebuttal to Ms. Ridenour's biased piece, why keep it on the front page when so many more important and accurate informational links can be posted there?
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You might email the Moderator and he can forward a mention to the Cards. In all likelyhood OSC is unaware that the rebuttal has occured.

LetterRip

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DonaldD
Member
Member # 1052

 - posted      Profile for DonaldD   Email DonaldD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Orson Scott Card thanked me for "checking up on" ornery.org and said he will have my links added so people can "think things through for themselves", which of course is fitting for a website distinguished for its intellectual honesty. - Bryan Erickson

Posts: 10751 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yes, Bryan (and GOOD NAME! Bryan spelled with a Y, you have two guesses why I like that [Wink] ), you've certainly contributed. Thanks.
Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oops, sorry had overlooked that...

LetterRip

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
J
New Member
Member # 1791

 - posted      Profile for J   Email J   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Bryan, good work; please post and publish your work elsewhere (as well, not instead of). This site needs fact checkers (evermore desperately), and deserves them.
Thanks.

Posts: 3 | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bryan Erickson
Member
Member # 1135

 - posted      Profile for Bryan Erickson   Email Bryan Erickson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
due to popular demand (no more fretting, Amy), here is a link to the original page for this bryanerickson.com investigative report...

http://www.bryanerickson.com/index_mar04.html

and for anyone who cares, i will be speaking (alongside the principal investigator of the NASA Mars rovers, the NASA associate administrator for exploration systems, and filmmaker James Cameron) at the Mars Society convention in Chicago next month - it will be a hot time...

http://www.marssociety.org/

Posts: 68 | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nrp
New Member
Member # 2652

 - posted      Profile for Nrp         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Bryan,

These are wonderful reports, and among the most disturbing i've ever read. You did a great job showing the links between politics, corporate money, and science. This whole exchange shows vividly how "facts" can be fabricated that are entirely misleading and fraudulent, and how from these "facts", profoundly and deliberately misleading conclusions become part of commonly accepted policy and opinion.

I am amazed that the link to Ridenour's article remains in the 'Links of Interest' section of the site, but am glad because the link to your critique is there also which gives people a chance to find this tremendously valuable discussion. Thanks for your research and citations. I very highly recommend a close reading of this whole discussion, if there is anyone who has made it so far as to read this without reading all that it refers to. It is far quicker than reading an entire book on the links between industry, politics, public relations firms and media, and is just superbly done.

Thanks,
Nathan

Posts: 1 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
javelin
Member
Member # 1284

 - posted      Profile for javelin   Email javelin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No! The ZOMBIES HAVE ESCAPED AGAIN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

*runs off screaming, hands waving in the air*

Posts: 8614 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Drake
Member
Member # 2128

 - posted      Profile for The Drake   Email The Drake   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That was an inauspicious first post.
Posts: 7707 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tezcatlipoca
Member
Member # 1312

 - posted      Profile for Tezcatlipoca     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
*runs off screaming, hands waving in the air*
Acting like that while there is a zombie pandempic is a pretty sure way to get yourself shot in the head.
Posts: 1272 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
0Megabyte
Member
Member # 1217

 - posted      Profile for 0Megabyte   Email 0Megabyte       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No, Tez, that wouldn't at all! For you see, contrary to new movies such as the Dawn of the Dead remake, zombies are slow and mindless. Seeing someone running off screaming, hands waving in the air is a pretty clear way to show that you ARE a human.

Of course, this indicates such to both humans and zombies... so someone stupid enough to act that way in the middle of a zombie pandemic and get close to ME is gonna get shot in the head... but that's just me.

Posts: 2668 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jadeitejewel
New Member
Member # 2701

 - posted      Profile for jadeitejewel   Email jadeitejewel       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is my first time to this site, following a link from the Orson Scott Card website to Ms Ridenour's article.

I find myself forced to comment: why is it so impossible for us to separate science from politics? Mr Erickson's letter to Ms Ridenour opened with a statement concerning his VOTING HISTORY, for goodness' sake! What on earth does it matter who he voted for? We are discussing a matter of accuracy in reportage and in science!

How on earth have we managed to become so ideologically-bound, so absolutely nuts, as to think that the accuracy of our science has anything to do with our political alignment? I think this shows that anyone who defines themselves by a party preference is liable to be closed to an objective evaluation of the facts.

For what it's worth, based on my non-political (I'm an Australian so even if it mattered I couldn't boast a vote for a Republican or a Democrat) assessment of the various scientific research coming out over the past five years or so, I think global warming is certainly happening, and that the effects are likely to have wide-ranging effects. I also believe that, while we have every right to be on the planet, when we're talking about such potentially enormous repercussions, we should err on the side of caution in our behaviour. You insure your house against fire, don't you, even if you believe the risk of fire is low? That's because any potential loss is catastrophic. Same for climate. If you don't understand, better to mess with it as little as possible.

Posts: 1 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's fascinating to me how every few months we get a "new member" to bump this thread who never posts again.
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
roper66
Member
Member # 2694

 - posted      Profile for roper66   Email roper66   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Bryan, I appreciate your scientific rigor. Thank you.
Posts: 173 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TS Elliot
Member
Member # 736

 - posted      Profile for TS Elliot   Email TS Elliot   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tom,
Your comments on this breathe an air of disdain, which is unbecoming of you. You apologized, but acompanied those with a 'insignificant'-label.
You said to B.E. 'You were right, I'm wrong, but you are irrelevant, so ne ne ne'
I feel this is unkind, especially given the extensive sifting and sieving BE has done.

Mr. Erickson, you remind me of university friend of mine, who, at his internship, went to 25 kilos of computer printouts to find some accounting error in the salary dept. Once he found the pattern, it was easy to find where said error occured in the remaining 50 kilos.

For the rest, I'd like to agree with all the positive statements made by the rest on this page. It's nice to notice that there are some honest Republicans left. And I'm dismayed to find you to subject of glee and dismissal by those who otherwise take global warming as a serious threat.

Hey TomD, am I a sufficiently new member enough for you?

Posts: 793 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:

You were right, I'm wrong, but you are irrelevant, so ne ne ne

I don't recall saying ANYWHERE that I was wrong. [Smile] But yeah, I DO think he's tilting at windmills.

[ December 23, 2005, 04:42 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1