Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Fun with climate change deniers

I've had a long weekend to laze about, and I've spent some time online with climate change deniers. Some of it has been rather amusing, some frustrating, and I'll have longer posts to come, but I found one bit particularly amusing.

Patrick Moore, a noted denier whose main claim to fame is he was involved in Greenpeace's early days (whether he was a founder or an early member is debated - long winded semantic arguments may ensue), posted a tweet about US Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who is trying to become the Presidential candidate for the party, and Cruz's claim that:

As with most of the Republican clown car of potential candidates, Cruz at least claims to be deeply religious. It has always struck me as odd that religious people, when seeking to denigrate something they disagree with, try to put it on a par with religion.

When someone lamented the possibility of Cruz actually becoming President, Moore followed up:

Science in his family? This was a reference to Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz's father, who was mentioned in the article as being a mathematician and programmer, and a "self-taught geophysicist". This magnified my mirth. Why?

Rafael Cruz is not just a conservative Christian. He's a theocratic, Dominionist, fundamentalist preacher who has called evolution a communist lie - something he and other climate change deniers, coincidentally enough, call climate change too.

I would have thought Ted Cruz would be the last person to put forward in arguing that climate change is a religion, but I was wrong. Rafael is even more remarkable. He a nuttier than squirrel shit science denier and a deluded faithhead. It would be really nice if reporters asked Ted Cruz about his beliefs and how they line up with his crazy father's views. Hopefully that will happen if Cruz does, somehow, get the nomination.

When I brought Cruz Snr's denial of evolution and claim it was a communist lie, Moore asked for documentation of the claim, saying if I could back it up he would reconsider. Cruz Snr isn't shy about making such claims, so I gave a link to video of it and more. We'll see if Moore comments on the anti-scientific and bizarre religious views of both Rafael and Ted Cruz.

What was the good reasoning that Cruz had? Aaron Mair, the President of the Sierra Club (and not a climate scientist) hadn't answered some questions at a hearing to his satisfaction. The questioning was about the "global warming pause" or "hiatus", which never actually happened. There simply was no pause. I must admit that the President of the Sierra Club didn't handle it well, and should have been better prepared. It was a very poor performance, possibly due to Mair being prepared to comment on social impacts rather than the science of climate change. Anyone testifying before the US Congress on climate change should familiarise themselves with denier memes, because they're going to get hit with common ones.

Even if you take the RSS data, which is what Cruze was referring to and isn't as simple a measurement as he seems to suggest (objective numbers?), the warming since 1998 is in keeping with the trend prior to 1998. It's just that the warming trend is slight since 1998 and still within the limits of a 2σ confidence interval. In other data sets the warming over the period is faster and significant.

I really don't think Cruz had any good reasoning for calling climate change a religion. It seems an insult to religion, and a misunderstanding of what religion is. Religion is not just "something people believe" or "something people accept without evidence".

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