Political Climate
Feb 02, 2008
Today, We Have “Gods” Walking Among Us That Know The Future, Armed With The Idols Known as Models

By Joe Bastardi, Meteorologist

Today, we have “Gods” walking among us that seem to know how an infinite system will turn out in the future, because they are armed with the idols that are known are models. They are given credit for things that have not occurred and in all likelihood, will not occur.

To those who want this debate shut down, it seems to me that you simply wish to flee what you don’t have the facts to fight. Or can it be some other reason, perhaps unrelated to the real issue. I am a skeptic not only to the results you claim inevitable, but your true motives. Instead of confronting cold hard facts with open and free debate to try to get to the right answer, we have a group of people that know better and will use future projections of a model as fact. One side chooses to ignore (which I think forms the basis for the word ignorance) other data while the other side says, lets look harder at what we are seeing to make sure.

How can this be even allowed, to assume the model knows the answer. The problem with this is not only the fundamental problem of predicting the future, but its bad democracy and bad science too, and can ruin the lives of many through the turmoil it can cause in unintended results. Read more here.

Feb 02, 2008
Polar Bears and Seer Suckers

By John Tierney, New York Times Tierney Lab Blog

The New York Times reported this week on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) Minority report debunking fears of polar bear extinction. John Tierney’s January 31 article, titled ”Polar Bears and Seer Suckers,” called the EPW Minority’s report “persuasive at debunking the predictions of polar bears going extinct this century.”

Tierney noted that polar bear extinction fears are “being stoked to build support in the U.S. for listing them as a ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ species even though it’s not clear that their overall numbers are declining.” Tierney noted that the EPW Minority’s polar bear report featured “one very hard piece of evidence that casts doubt on the doomsday predictions: a polar bear jawbone that appears to be at least 110,000 years old, meaning that polar bears have survived eras with considerably warmer temperatures than today.” [Note: For more on the discovery of an ancient jaw bone which “confirms the polar bear was a morphologically distinct species at least 100,000 years ago” and thus survived past warming periods, see - LINK]

“The report points to, among other sources, an amusing analysis of the polar-bear predictions conducted by three researchers, including J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Armstrong, the editor of a standard text, ‘Principles of Forecasting,’ is the originator of what he calls the Seer-Sucker Theory: ‘No matter how much evidence exists that seers do not exist, seers will find suckers,’” Tierney wrote.

“Dr. Armstrong and his coauthors, Kesten C. Green of Monash University and Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, conclude that the most influential forecasts of polar-bear populations violate at least 73 of the 90 relevant principles of scientific forecasting,” Tierney wrote. “They criticize the forecasters for making large extrapolations based on sparse data and questionable models, relying too heavily on a single expert, ignoring contradictory data and tailoring conclusions to fit a political goal (listing the polar bear as a ‘threatened’ species),” Tierney added.

Jan 30, 2008
U.S. Senate Report Debunks Polar Bear Extinction Fears

By Marc Morano and Matthew Dempsey U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Minority Committee

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing the polar bear a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This report details the scientists debunking polar bear endangerment fears and features a sampling of the latest peer-reviewed science detailing the natural causes of recent Arctic ice changes.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s.  A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations may now be near historic highs. The alarm about the future of polar bear decline is based on speculative computer model predictions many decades in the future. And the methodology of these computer models is being challenged by many scientists and forecasting experts.

See the many recent peer-reviewed papers challenging these models and debunking this fear here.

UPDATE: See Senate testimony this week by Professor Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in front of the EPW as transribed by SPPI here.

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