20 November 2014
And This Weeks Most Scientifically Illiterate Post on Twitter Goes To…
Posted by Dan Satterfield
The Heartland Institute long ago proved that they are not among the scientifically literate, but today they posted a real “LMAO fall in the floor laughing” tweet on their twitter account. Let’s talk about just how preposterous this is, and how it shows an absolute total lack of the ability to reason. So, here are 10 reasons why my little dog Riley has greater critical thinking skills than anyone who thinks Heartland’s tweet makes sense.
1. The global temperature is not measured in the Eastern U.S. during one week of November each year. Since the U.S. only makes up about
13% 2% of the globe, that would be patently ridiculous.
2. Here are the global temps. compared to the average from 1981-2010 for the year to date. If you were to compare this year’s temps. to the average temperatures from 1900-1950, the map would be almost totally red. (h/t to Wx Bell which keeps track of theses anomalies on a series of excellent maps.) 3. Ocean temperatures in October were the WARMEST ever recorded. September was also the warmest globally on record.
4.There is a good chance that 2014 will be the warmest year globally ever recorded by instruments, and likely the warmest in several thousand years.
5. The 5 warmest years on record (besides this year’s possible record) were all in the last 16 years. (2010, 2005, 1998, 2013, and 2003) 6. August and September were also the hottest on record. It’s also possible that this Arctic outbreak over the U.S. was climate change related.See Burning Questions on this post from last week. It was written by my friend Bob Henson, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
7. EVERY major scientific body on the planet says the IPCC is right about greenhouse gases increasing the Earth’s temperature.
8. Every major science organization on Earth has said the IPCC is correct. That includes the AAAS,AGU,AMS,GSA,NASA,NOAA. If Heartland thinks they’re wrong, then they should gather their facts and publish them in a peer-reviewed journal.
9. Oh, and about your ridiculous claims that climate change stopped in 1998:
From NOAA: “For the ocean, the September global sea surface temperature was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 20th century average of 16.2°C (61.1°F), the highest on record for September and also the highest on record for any month”. October is the 357th month to have a temperature greater than the 20th century average! If you’re under 30, then you’ve never experienced a month that was colder than average globally.
10. “Science is what we do to keep from lying to ourselves.” Richard Feynman.
Now, I suspect that Heartland may blame this on an intern, and my response to that is that “my interns are a lot smarter than the ones you hire at your so-called ‘think tank’ “. Others may say this is just food for (the confirmation bias) of their supporters, and to this I say, “Do you really think your supporters have critical thinking skills lower than Homer Simpson?
In the recent past, Heartland has spent quite a bit of money trying to influence broadcast meteorologists with slickly produced material that arrives in the mail. I always get their response to the IPCC reports (popcorn time!), but I can tell you all that money was a waste. I know this, because I heard about Heartland’s silly tweet on a private Facebook page for broadcast mets- along with the words “FACE PALM”. In reality, Heartland’s efforts to influence on-air meteorologists (like myself) have backfired badly.
Here’s a tip Heartland: If you want to bill yourself as a think tank, then try to post something on twitter that doesn’t make every science literate American re-tweet with #ROFL- LMAO.
Good points, Dan. One correction: the U.S. makes up about 2% of the area of the globe.
Yea, it is 7% of land area and 2% of total planet area. Not sure where I got that 13% from! Will fix!
Can you start to cover the climate articles that challenge you instead of the ones you find easy? Skeptic websites post hundreds of data-driven articles that challenge specific studies used by political parties to justify their proposed climate policies.
Most serious skeptics concede that humans are influencing the planet; the real question is how much good will any potential government policies actually do at this point in time. It baffles skeptics as to why the predicted environmental and economic impact of any new regulations doesn’t get more serious scientific/media attention. Climate sensitivity is a serious question that models haven’t been able to account for so far.
I believe you’ll convert more people to your point of view if you address hard issues and not posts you find ridiculous. Thank you
I am not the least bit interested in converting anyone to a certain political view. I purposefully never write here about policy that deals with the issue of climate change. It is certainly a debate that needs to happen, but making obvious false claims is not going to help your cause in the long run.
The Heartland Inst. has apparently not learned that lesson, and the response from the nation’s primary science communicators is a prime example. What we do about climate change is an important political question, and it cries for an HONEST debate about how we address it. Absurd claims and inferences like the subject of this post deserve the scorn I hopefully expressed.
This blog is about science and not politics, but a blatantly false claim by a political group is fair game, and those of us who work in science fields should jump to set the record straight.
I appreciate your reply Dan.
However, I must ask, why does a science communicator communicate to the public in the first place?
Politics is the practice of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level. Please forgive me, but I fail to understand how it’s possible to be uninterested in persuading people and be an effective science communicator.
I’d also like to point out that your content is distributed to at least 6x more people than follow the heartland on twitter, when you consider the fact your content is reposted on AGU’s facebook & blog. Many people would have never seen the heartland’s content today if it wasn’t for your post today.
Vigorous and continued skepticism are essential to science. Advertising weak arguements creates the impression that there aren’t any legitimate skeptics. It takes attention and energy away from the honest science.
You have influence with your posts, maybe more than your know. You can use that influence to either encourage young scientists to explorer unanswered questions in climate science, or you can continue to give attention to arguments that are beneath your dog.
“Advertising weak arguements creates the impression that there aren’t any legitimate skeptics. It takes attention and energy away from the honest science.”
Great to hear that you will put your energy into fighting the misinformation of Heartland and WUWT & Co. Their bad quality indeed creates the impression that there are no legitimate sceptics. The comments on those sites also give the impression that no one cares about legitimate critique.
(Do not worry, the real skepticism is alive and kicking within science. Just visit a scientific conference or read the scientific articles themselves and you will see.)
Indeed it is!