Acton Institute Powerblog

Inconvenient Expertise

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During this year’s hurricane season, global warming will likely become a topic of discussion at dinner tables across the United States (and likely in other countries as well).

Al Gore recently released his documentary on climate change. “An Incovenient Truth” asserts that global warming is indeed a real occurance, and that it is being caused by CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere by factories, vehicles, etc. Gore also asserts that the majority of the “scientific community” agree that global warming is a human caused phenomenon. Tom Harris, writing for the Canada Free Press says that climatologists are beginning to get fed up with these assertions.

Harris argues that the so-called “majority” of scientists who are cited in reports like those in Gore’s film are not climatologists. They are very qualified in reporting the effects of climate change, but are not qualified to report on the causes of climate change. Reports that computer simulations predict massive climage change are also misleading. These simulations are not really predictions, they are scenarios. According to Dr. Tim Ball, climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, not only are these models only scenarios but “these models have been consistently wrong in all their scenarios.” Ball claims that it is irresponsible that the researchers behind these simulations have allowed the public to think that their scenarios are predictions.

Before I point you to the rest of the article, there’s a quote from a professor of climatology that I loved: “Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.” That comes from Prof. Bob Carter.

Now, while I don’t endorse massive pollution of the environment on principle, I also don’t condone finger pointing at empty space (there is a big star that tends to have quite an impact…some people call it the Sun). That said, this is a great review and commentary on global warming that also cites several experts on climate change.

If you’re interested in reading more about climate issues, check out our entries tagged with “global warming” and “climate change.”

Hat tip, Slashdot.

Jonathan Spalink


  • I dunno. It seems pretty bloody stupid to me to write off the scientific consensus on global warming just because you are partisan. Facts don’t vote, vote with the facts. Bob Carter is a troll, I have done my research.

  • Jonathan: nice post; where did you get the graph?

    Wadard: calling people trolls and partisans does not change facts. Nobody is arguing that anything be ‘written off’, merely that all the facts get a proper *scientific* hearing. It is a little unusual, you must admit, for a former (losing) presidential candidate to make a scientific case via a Hollywood film. I can’t think of too many scientific discoveries that were made that way… or by consensus for that matter. E.g., the consensus about Newtonian physics… before Einstein, or about a geo-centric solar system… before Galileo, or about the nature of matter… before Bohr?

    Consensus about the future is not the same as consensus about the verifiable present or past.

  • Tom Harris

    Contact the scientists themselves if you think they have no credibility – they are among the leaders in their fields in the world. Here are [url=]”a couple of others”[/url].

  • The graph is from a website on Stanford’s website on solar activity: [url][/url] This website offers a starting point for researching solar impact on global warming. Just a note – there is a lot of disagreement on these topics, and for the record, I think that reducing emissions and air pollution (among other things) is a good idea, just on principle. However, I think that causing major economic changes for unproven, and highly disputed facts is irresponsible.

  • Yes , but Dr Robert Carter really is a well known oil industry stooge and he is doing their trolling: :::[Global warming denial funded by ExxonMobil]. He is a geologist, paid to find oil and coal, so how can any intelligent person believe his impartiality?

  • Jack C

    In response to wadard’s very pertinent question (“…so how can any intelligent person believe his impartiality?”):

    You can continue to harbor healthy doubt about the impartiality of any source. But if you want to determine their accuracy, you do it by examining the facts they marshall, not by offering ad hominem arguments. You attacked his motives and his honesty (“well known oil industry stooge”) as well as the intelligence of anyone who takes him seriously. This is not science, but politics, and rather low politics at that.

    If Dr. Carter is mistaken, show it by attacking his facts or logic, and not his motives or character.

  • Ohbloodyhell

    > Bob Carter is a troll, I have done my research.


    > The scientists quoted in that article — an article published by web site that is not a credible news source — have no credibility.

    Nice to see people making bald-faced assertions without anything to back it up, like a link or two, so we could assess your own ability to make a rational decision about what is reliable information and what is not.

    > He is a geologist, paid to find oil and coal, so how can any intelligent person believe his impartiality?

    Oh, my, as opposed to a Greenpeace scientist, who gets paid to find Doom and Gloom? How can any intelligent person believe their impartiality?

    Certainly this information you supply is RELEVANT. It does say we should be *careful* about taking his word.

    It does NOT make him into a guaranteed lying charlatan. Especially since the failure of the government to fund any kind of honest, double-blind studies into the matter to come up with reliable, unbiased information, it means that MOST of those who are studying the matter are going to come from “tainted” sources. On BOTH sides.

    Just offhand — without any investigation of the people in question I’ll ack — I’m more likely to take HIS word than some buttlick who works for Greenpeace.

    I trust a scientist who is simply getting subsidized by a corporation more than I do an idealist who is getting subsidized just as much by an organization with similar ideals.

    It may be true that all idealists can’t be trusted to be honest, but it is certainly not true that anyone working for a corporation in a scientific field can’t be trusted to be honest.