George Will is at it again. Thankfully this time he steers mostly away from argument’s requiring facts to back him up, preferring instead to argue that since China wont commit to firm GHG emissions reductions we should do anything. Despite the fact that such arguments only really make sense if your refuse to accept global warming, they don’t require blatant falsifications.
But given the subject matter you know George wouldn’t go an entire column without making a serious factual blunder:
When New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called upon “young Americans” to “get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon,” another columnist, Mark Steyn, responded: “If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade.”
Not this again. It is the old, completely and utterly debunked global warming stopped in 1998 talking point. But George Will and Mark Steyn are smart enough to realize the folly of simply stating that global warming stopped in 1998, so instead they dress up this tiered old myth:
If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life.
If you’re 29 now (born in 1980-1979) and your “adult life” began when you turned 18, that unsurprisingly gets you right back to the 1997-1998 El Niño.
If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade.
If you’re graduating high school in 2009 (likely age 17-18), and you entered 1st grade at the typical age (6-7), that brings us back, once again, to……… 1998.
I, for one, am shocked (SHOCKED!) that Will and Steyn would resort to such strained, bizarre accounting gymnastics to perpetuate this tired, cherry picked, denialist crap.
What if their arbitrary cutoffs had been 28 or “since you entered second grade”, putting the starting period at 1999? The trend would inconveniently be strongly and significantly positive [as would 1996, 2000, etc.]. Of course, we know via Robert Grumbine that you want to use 20-30 years of temperature data before you start drawing conclusions about trends. If your “trend” is dependent on such specific cherry picking, it isn’t a legitimate trend. And if your cherry-picked “trend” has been so debunked that you’re reduced to hiding it behind children’s birthdays and grade school dates, it’s well past time time to retire that lie.
Grow up, gentlemen, will you?
Remember the good old days when George Will would cite the World Meteorological Organization? I guess something had to change when he was publically rebuked by Secretary General of the WMO writing in the Washington post. That must have hurt.
But I never would have guessed that things would have gotten so bad for George Will that he would be reduced to citing self-admitted creationist Mark Steyn. As pointed out by Tim Lambert:
ARE YOU A CREATIONIST?
I enjoy your various articles in the Speccie, torygraph etc and agree with most of what you say and your support for Right views. But I am concerned with your right-wing mates in the US and UK who seem to be on the intelligent-design rubbish bandwagon. I hope you will distance yourself from them in future articles on this subject as there is no evidence for their views at all whereas evolution is supported by enormous volumes of evidence. You don’t strike me as a creationist irrationalist.
And responds with:
The fact is that this is a planet overwhelmingly dominated and shaped by one species, and our kith and kin – whether gibbons or pumpkins – basically fit in in the spaces between. That’s pretty much the world the Psalmist outlined in the Old Testament thousands of years ago. By comparison, the evolutionists’ insistence that we’re just another “animal” seems perverse and irrational and refuted by a casual glance out the window. I am coming round to the view that hyper-rationalism is highly irrational.
Note to George Will: Using a creationist as your scientific authority is a bad idea. It is a stupendously stupid idea. It makes no sense whatsoever… unless you happen to also be a creationist.
Or perhaps you simply don’t care about presenting the issue honestly. Either way, you just flushed whatever credibility you had down the toilet. Congratulations!