In December 2009, Scientific American, once a respected popular-science journal and now a pulp science-fiction picture comic, viciously attacked US Senator James Inhofe because he had proclaimed 2009 to be the Year of the Skeptic. By skepticism, he meant “standing up and exposing the science, the costs and the hysteria behind global warming alarmism”.
Venomously, Science Fiction American’s editorial comment continued: “Within the community of scientists and others concerned about anthropogenic climate change, those whom Inhofe calls skeptics are more commonly termed contrarians, naysayers and denialists.” Yah-Boo! This name-calling marks the depth of unscientific desperation to which the proponents of the “global warming” nonsense have now sunk.
Unscientific American pompously continued: “Not everyone who questions climate change science fits that description, of course—some people are genuinely unaware of the facts or honestly disagree about their interpretation. What distinguishes the true naysayers is an unwavering dedication to denying the need for action on the problem, often with weak and long-disproved arguments about supposed weaknesses in the science behind global warming.”
Politicized American, following a host of similarly left-leaning bodies such as the Royal Society and the unspeakable BBC, proceeded to parody and then condemn the now-overwhelming scientific case against the notion that CO2 is the principal driver of the past half-century’s “global warming” by setting up and then knocking down seven feeble straw men – childish, dishonest simulacra of the true scientific arguments against “global warming” hysteria. It described its straw men as “only a partial list of the contrarians’ bad arguments”. Yah-Boo!
In this introduction, we have made some rude remarks about Scientific American. Did those remarks grate as you read them? If so, you will know what it feels like when, day after day, those scientists whose diligent research has shown the “global warming” scare to be nonsense have to put up with invective and vilification of the sort that Scientific American doles out in its poisonous article.
From here on, therefore, we shall confine ourselves solely to scientific argument, with no name-calling. Scientific American would do well to learn from this approach.
We shall reproduce each of Scientific American’s seven straw men in bold face, state the true skeptical argument in italic face, and discuss the scientific truth in Roman face.
Straw Man 1: “Anthropogenic CO2 can’t be changing climate, because CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere and the amount produced by humans is dwarfed by the amount from volcanoes and other natural sources. Water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas, so changes in CO2 are irrelevant.”
Straw Man 2: “The alleged ‘hockey stick’ graph of temperatures over the past 1600 years has been disproved. It doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of a ‘medieval warm period’ around 1000 A.D. that was hotter than today is. Therefore, global warming is a myth.
Straw Man 3: “Global warming stopped a decade ago; Earth has been cooling since then.”
Straw Man 4: “The Sun or cosmic rays are much more likely to be the real causes of global warming. After all, Mars is warming up, too.”
Straw Man 5: “Climatologists conspire to hide the truth about global warming by locking away their data. Their so-called ‘consensus’ on global warming is scientifically irrelevant because science isn’t settled by popularity.”
Straw Man 6: “Climatologists have a vested interest in raising the alarm because it brings them money and prestige.”
Straw Man 7: “Technological fixes, such as inventing energy sources that don’t produce CO2 or geo-engineering the climate, would be more affordable, prudent ways to address climate change than reducing our carbon footprint.”