Thursday, January 18, 2007

Observation versus theory: climate change.

Listen to Mark Lynas attacking Denis Avery. Listen to Denis Avery fight back. It's on the Today programme on Radio 4 (Thursday, 18th January) at 08.36. The science is all on Avery's side (quoting peer-reviewed studies of ice cores , pollen samples, stalagmites etc. which establish a 1500 year global warming cycle), yet Lynas asserts that Avery has no science to back what he's saying. Avery's key quote:
`if you have an observation it outranks a theory'.

`I'm very familiar with the scientific literature, and you won't find any of this stuff about 1500 year solar cycles in it, because it's simply not publishable';

`in the book I cite a 100 different scientific studies: most of them published in the journals Nature, or Science or [Quarterly Science Review]...For you to say there is no science simply beggars the imagination'.
Of course it doesn't. This is the standard tactic of the left, of the `outraged', of the `deeply-concerned': when confronted with evidence which contradicts your tenuous theories, deny it.

I note the deployment (twice) of the phrase `global warming denier' with exactly the same emotional overtones as `holocaust denier'.

UPDATE; thanks to John Carroll, I have corrected the spelling of Lynas' surname (23.30 GMT 17 Jan 2007)


John (JAC) Carroll said...

As much as I liked reading the transcript of the debate I couldn't help but wonder who the hell is Mark Linus, some noisy light-weight? Sorting through Google and I now see we're talking about Mark Lynas. Okay, now we've got a really serious global-warming pro on the defensive. Great show!

Cleanthes said...

I heard this discussion as well and have blogged it here.

The crucial thing for me was Avery's rebuttal that Lynas's argument was pure "ad hominem".

All we need now is for R4 to take this on board and for the presenters to disallow the tactic.

Like that will ever happen...

Canker said...

I fear that you are right. However someone like John Humphreys might start a trend. Thanks for the references.