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Skeptic Summary #265

By The Staff
Posted on: 12/26/2009

Nazis, skepticism about science, climate denialists and more!

Week ending December 26, 2009 (Vol 6, #47)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

Forum Highlights:
Once a Nazi, always a Nazi? - The Pope promotes Nazi collaborator.

What, If Anything, Can Skeptics Say About Science? - The consesus answer is: show us your evidence…

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Who are the climate change skeptics?” by Jim Lippard — While most skeptics pretty much know who the climate change “skeptics” are, Lippard has gathered them up and listed them for this blog. He did it with an eye on how many of the “skeptics” were actually qualified to weigh in with knowledge on the subject of climate change, and what organizations these “skeptics” are being skeptical for. What emerges is both illuminating and a great resource. He opens:
One of the courses I took this semester was a seminar on the human dimensions of climate change, a geography course that briefly looked at the scientific evidence for climate change and then focused primarily on the social science aspects of the problems of mitigation and adaptation. The paper I wrote for the class was about the philosophical problem of how a layman can identify relevant expertise and evaluate the debate without being an expert, by looking at features such as relevance of expertise, consensus within fields, credentials and institutions, track records, logical validity and cogency of arguments, and so forth, and then applying these criteria to the IPCC scientists vs. the climate change skeptics.

What follows is a list of some of the organizations promoting skepticism about anthropogenic climate change and some of the individuals associated with them, with some information about their credentials and activities. It’s my impression that those with the best reputations tend to agree that there is a global warming trend and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are a contributing factor to that warming, but the organizations tend to promote a more skeptical view (fairly characterized as “denial”), as exhibited by such evidence as expressions of apparent pleasure at the recent 2009 Pew survey result that showed a decrease in American acceptance of global warming.
Bookmark the blog. It will come in handy if you ever find yourself in a debate with those who deny the legitimacy of the scientific consensus on climate change and call that denial, skepticism.

To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas — even if they are sincerely held beliefs — is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.
— Rowan Atkinson

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: I (Kil) had fish and chips for dinner. I made the fries from scratch, and then seasoned them with onion powder, season salt and pepper. I squeezed a nice wedge of lemon on the fish and spread a bit of tartar sauce over that. (Some people prefer to drizzle some malt vinegar on the fish, which is the traditional English way, but I like tartar sauce.) Anyhow, while eating my fish and chips during chat, the phone rang several times. And they were calls I had to take. I did check in with chat from time to time, and there were conversations going on. A good thing for a chat…

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Amateur Astronomy: Finding Ultra-High Redshift Galaxies

First Atomic Clock Wristwatch

John Birch Society Sponsors Major Conservative Rally

Nonbelievers, please leave Christmas alone

Polar Bear Versus Walrus Colony

Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too

Substance Dualism

Undermining the troops to make us all sicker

Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck

Why Hollywood security is better than Pentagon's

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.

Book of the Week:
Weather’s Greatest Mysteries Solved!, by Randy Cerveny.

“Why did T-Rex become extinct? Why did the Mayan civilization disappear: If the ancient Israelis did indeed cross the Red Sea, as reported in the Bible, what weather phenomena might have produced the parting of the waters? Why was nearly all human life swept away 73,000 years ago? And what factors created the Great American Dust bowl of the 1930s? The extraordinary people who are interested in asking — and answering — such questions are known as climatologists. In a lively narrative full of intriguing facts, award-winning, internationally known climatologist Randy Cerveny takes the reader on a fascinating tour of some of the world’s most perplexing and provocative climate mysteries, past and present. Cerveny explains the science of climate study — from digging ice cores in Antarctica to counting tree rings in Arizona — and the various specialists whose ingenious techniques help to sort out climate’s intricate components. He also delves into the human impact of weather through fictional introductions to each chapter that depict how climate change might have affected a typical inhabitant of the ancient Sahara or Indus Valley, a peasant during Europe’s ‘Little Ice Age’, or an aviation expert probing a deadly jet crash in New York City. Finally, he discusses research that attempts to forecast the weather of the next 10,000 years — essential information for planning the nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. For readers of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, devotees of the Weather Channel, history buffs, popular science fans, or anyone who wonders what makes our weather tick — and how it will impact our future, this engaging book offers much to ponder and to enjoy.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. Nazi Christmas
  3. New World Order happening right now!
  4. Dracorex hogwartsia
  5. What, If Anything, Can Skeptics Say About Science?
  6. Funny FAILS
  7. Evolution vs. ID: 6 Bones of Contention
  8. ‘Big Farmer’ condemned for disease, suffering
  9. Teabaggin’ for Jesus…
  10. Federal Reserve Act of 1913
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  5. Miracle Thaw Tray
  6. Skeptic Summary #264
  7. Scientific Truth
  8. Evolution is a Lie
  9. TAM5
  10. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
There were 17,897 daily visitors this week.

More issues of the Skeptic Summary can be found in our archive.

The Skeptic Summary is produced by the staff of the Skeptic Friends Network, copyright 2008, all rights reserved.

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