It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Please Support Andrew Freedman!

It's always painful to see discussions of climate change in the popular press. People who fail to understand the science always make their positions known with such vehemence.

Eli points us to the latest round from Andrew Freedman at the Washington Post:

Andrew Freedman who posts on the Capital Weather Gang has been visited by a plague of Moranos. He wrote, not so long ago, that Obama needs to give a speech on the need for climate legislation which will control greenhouse gas emissions. For his efforts he has been visited by the banshees.

The most extreme example of the many nonsensical contributions already appearing on this thread is that of CoSyBob, who claims:

"I wouldn't be surprised if Freedman himself believes the common howler that Venus's extreme temperature is the result of some "runaway greenhouse effect" . I have NEVER seen an AGWer disavow that idiocy . FYI , Venus is more than twice as hot as any object in its orbit could be heated by the sun . Therefore by basic physics it is radiating 16 times as much energy as it is receiving from the sun."

In fact, the surface of Venus is in radiative balance with the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is in radiative balance with the sun and space. How energy piles up at the surface is accessible as an undergraduate level calculation.

To suggest that a body the size of Venus is actually an energy source goes totally against astrophysical principles. So to hold on to his political philosophy, CoSyBob is inclined to abandon several sciences.

Looked at in detail, it's an absurd argument, beyond circular. "The greenhouse effect is unreal. Look at Venus! Venus couldn't possibly be that hot because of the greenhouuse effect, which is unreal! Therefore it's unreal!"

The Washington Post is not the place to work out the details, of course. It's unfortunate that we don't have more scientists rising to the occasion to put all the hopelessly misplaced confidence in antiscientific ravings that appears in the comments to an adequate refutation. Of course, one has to understand that scientists are busy, and that, thanks to people like Morano, the supply of addled misinformation is vast.

Many thanks are due to Andrew Freedman for having the seriousness of purpose and tenacity to see through the mendacious nonsense and call it for what it is. I strongly hope that his efforts are rewarded and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

And for those of you out there wondering "but what can I do about this huge problem?" what you can do right now is register at the WaPo site and leave a comment commending Mr Freedman for his efforts. Please and thank you.

4 comments:

keith said...

Michael,

Are you running a support group now? C'mon. Journalists are generally pretty thick-skinned-- accustomed to being "visited" by all types who take exception to a particular story (or blog post).

L. Carey said...

Michael, thanks for the note. It seems (like many climate sites these days) that the discussion thread at the WaPo is dominated by a few folks who appear to have nothing to do except compose lengthy and usually outlandish "rebuttals" of scientific conclusions that don't fit their political ideology.

Marion Delgado said...

On the subject of vaccines, I have given up. All I do is offend people. Seriously. I can't think of anything to say, or any way to say it, that doesn't simply polarize people more.

Maybe just saying "well, I don't know. I'm getting a flu shot but I wouldn't make you get one."

People take pro-vaccination comments as personal attacks sometimes.

Marion Delgado said...

also for the benefit of the non-michael lurkers, I went there and did that.