Monday, August 13, 2007

More on 1934

Tim Lambert at his Deltoid blog has more commentary over the nonsense surrounding NASA's revised temperatures for the continental United States.

One thing that I find interesting about this story - from a purely sociologial perspective - is that you can step back and clearly see how the mind of the bullshitter constructs an untruth. Recall that Harry Frankfurt wrote that the bullshitter totally disregards facts and will either pick them out to suit his purposes or will make things up to do the same without ever really caring to know what is true or not.

Now think of that in the context of the revised temperatures. For the planet, 2005 (followed by: 1998, 2002, 2003, and 2004) is the warmest year on record, so how do you make a big deal about the newly modified temperatures which do not change that fact? You seize upon the fact that 1998 went from being the warmest year on record in the states by .01 degrees to be the second warmest by .02 degrees and fail to make a distinction between "warmest year on record" for the planet and "warmest year on record" for the continguous American states while concimitantly failing to mention the trivial difference in temperatures between '98 and '34.

If you go back and look at my original post with the link to the Rush Limbaugh transcript you can see him saying that 1998 is the "warmest year on record" is one of the "central theses" of global warming. Yet, as I've already mentioned, its been known for over a year that 2005 is the hottest temperature on record, but what's more, NASA never hyped the 1998 vs. 1934 difference in the first place, as Lambert explains

Because the 1998 and 1934 numbers were so close, minor adjustments could easily change their ordering. This is what happened with the GISS numbers released this year. In that data set, 1998 was a tiny amount warmer than 1934. This change was not much ballyhooed. Nor was it a little ballyhooed. In fact, it wasn't mentioned by anyone at all. Because it didn't matter. When the data correction made 1998 and 1934 flip back, this change was much-ballyhooed by Steve McIntyre, even though he knew that it didn't matter.
Exactly. The "global warming is a hoax/fraud" crowd seem to have the same bad mental habits that creationists have, including quote-mining, but especially in the tendency to seize at any error or flaw possible as proof that the entire edifice upon which a science rests is faulty. They are quite inable or unwilling to see the forrest for the trees.

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