Respectful Debate and Skeptical Voices Do Make a Difference

Penguin Expert’s Reply to Blinded by Beliefs: The Straight Poop on Emperor Penguins:

Update by Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

In a recent essay Blinded by Beliefs: The Straight Poop on Emperor Penguins posted to WUWT July 1, 2014, Jim Steele criticized Dr. David Ainely for posting the following misrepresentation of climate change and its effect on Emperor Penguins:

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The following is Dr. Ainely’s response:

“Hey, Jim, I hope you are doing well!!

Michelle LaRue sent me a link to your blog about the emperor penguin situation. Sorry to see that I should have deleted that EMPE [code 1=”<b><span” 2=”style="text-decoration:” 3=”underline;">Em</span></b>peror” 4=”<b><span” 5=”style="text-decoration:” 6=”underline;">Pe</span></b>nguin” language=”for”][/code] stuff from our website back when you and I were discussing it and you were convincing me that stuff wasn’t adding up. I actually began to write text to revise the website but kept putting off as other things reared their ugly heads. Currently, when I do get the revision uploaded — and you’ve shamed me to do it sooner than later — I’m thinking that it won’t include emperor penguins at all.

Another reason I have to do this, practical one, is that I’m supposed to address the Natl Science Teachers annual mtg first week of August (in PA) and talk to them about penguins and climate change. Been gnashing my teeth, when thinking about what to say, about the emperor penguin story.

So, now I’ve been kicked in the butt. Thanks!!!

Best regards,

David”

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Katherine

Nice response from Dr. Ainely. But I get the impression he just intends to omit the emperor penguin story and sweep it under the rug altogether, not correct the record and admit climate change had nothing to do with the emperor penguin situation.

Katherine

Update by Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism
Suggest:
Update by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

While comparing factual and alarmists’ graphs, pointing out alarmists’ lies and calculating the damage caused by the monstrous, useless wind farms are all very commendable activities, almost nobody seems to focus on the real and horrible wars and conflicts caused by the “green mafia.” For example, the bloody war in Chechnya and the current conflict in Ukraine are direct consequences of the “green mentality.”
If European countries would use rational approach and develop clean nuclear energy as much as possible, oil and gas pipelines would lose their strategic importance. But no, they prefer to rely on Putin’s oil and gas, and Putin kills thousands of people and devastates whole regions because of his passion for pipeline hegemony. All these lost lives and all this gigantic damage are the green activists’ achievement.

Pat Frank

Reading between the lines here — always a tough job, but made even tougher by the spirited defense posted by Dr. Ainley — it appears that every single one of Jim Steele’s points was dead on the mark.
Tooth gnashing will induce a visit to the dentist and put plastic encumbrances into your mouth at bed-time, Dr Ainley. Avoid that at all costs. Do the only thing a scientist can do: tell the unvarnished scientific truth. The penguins are doing just great, “climate change” isn’t bothering them at all, and they just need to be free of wing bands, pesky conservation biologists, and French dynamite.

Alexander Feht says:
July 4, 2014 at 12:27 am
Shale oil and gas would keep the pipelines more local. Electricity is good. But it can’t yet be used for everything. An of course there is coal.

Streetcred

July 4, 2014 at 12:18 am | Katherine says:

Nice response from Dr. Ainely. But I get the impression he just intends to omit the emperor penguin story and sweep it under the rug altogether, not correct the record and admit climate change had nothing to do with the emperor penguin situation.

Certainly reads like that, Katherine. A proper retraction should be made to correct the disinformation already spread.

joelobryan

Im thinking the Emperor penguins might be better off with global warming since it would make that long trek to open water that much shorter in time and distance for the colony. I know I would want to balance an egg on my feet untilmy mate returned for as short as possible.

Flydlbee

New hypothesis: “The breeding success of endangered species is inversely proportional to the number of naturalists studying them.”

Santa Baby

You find the explanation here somewhere?
http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0787/3/3/299/pdf
?

Olaf Koenders

When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.. ¯\ (ツ) /¯

Bloke down the pub

Happy Independence Day to all in the colonies.

Greg Goodman

“Currently, when I do get the revision uploaded — and you’ve shamed me to do it sooner than later — I’m thinking that it won’t include emperor penguins at all.”
Good to see that debating the fact can lead somewhere, but my reaction to reading this was exactly what I read in the first comment, by Katherine.
Rather than retract and correct his previous errors, he seems to prefer not to talk about it.
So his work will stand as published and continue to mislead people who have not read Jim Steele’s article and Dr. Ainely acceptance of it here.
He’s still writing his blog update and preparing his address the Natl Science Teachers annual meeting, so we should not judge before he decides how to present this.
Hopefully he will fess up and correct the earlier error which is still out there misleading everyone ( except WUWT readers).

knr

Well at least his admitted the problem, of course those so quick to run with the first claims has unquestionable ‘proof’ will not cover it and if this nonsense has entered AGW dogma you can bet your bottom dollar its will be defended endlessly , has all the dogma must be , despite the authors own words .
No science her , rather a hard core religion that demands nothing but certainty and unquestioning loyalty.

Alexander Feht….you would go for nuclear to replace oil? How much uranium do you think is left? Why do you think Japan switched off all its other nukes? Because had the wind been blowing onshore, large swathes of land, including Tokyo, would be uninhabitable. Greens are people who think it is not worth the risk – and that is why Germany opted to close its nukes. Unfortunately, the greens get climate wrong – but that is because they were misled by Hansen and Co into thinking it a global threat to mankind.

LearDog

It seems that the good doctor was more on the horns of a MORAL dilemma than a Technical one. Here is to hoping that he instructs his science teachers about the scientific process rather than further indoctrinate about global warming / climate change.

Brute

For sure, respect is the key to credibility. It’s an issue of dignity.

oppti

May-bee they are sensitive to CO2 content in the air, a content that is rising like the false temperature-curve.

hunter

Dr. Ainely,
Perhaps a talk about how hype and alarmism are ill-suited to the advancement of science?

Alan Robertson

Santa Baby says:
July 4, 2014 at 1:38 am
_____________________
That’s a fascinating read. Thanks for the link.

pat

speaking of “blinded by beliefs”, how’s this from a Bishop in the Anglican Church in Australia!
4 July: Guardian: Melissa Davey: Anglican church synod urges Coalition to respect science on climate change
Bishop Tom Wilmot says the government has worked to ‘denigrate science in general and environmental science in particular’
The Anglican Church general synod has unanimously passed a motion urging the federal government to respect the science on climate change.
Speaking at the gathering of Anglican diocese representatives in Adelaide, Bishop Tom Wilmot, of Perth, said the dismantling of the Climate Commission proved the Abbott government was not interested in the truth about climate science….
The motion states “with deep regret that it is future generations and other forms of life who will bear the real cost of our heavy dependence on carbon-based energy”…
But it appears the passing of the motion has done little to sway the environment minister, Greg Hunt.
A spokesman told Guardian Australia: “We do fully accept the science. The problem with the carbon tax is that it has an adverse impact on families, whilst failing to significantly reduce emissions.
“We therefore hope the Anglican church will agree that the Coalition’s approach of taking pressure off electricity prices and actually achieving a significant reduction in emissions is a far better policy.”
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jul/04/anglican-church-synod-urges-coalition-to-respect-science-on-climate-change
how to debate the Bishop?
29 April: Australian: Bjorn Lomborg: Renewables pave path to poverty
THE Australian government recently released an issues paper for the review of the renewable energy target. What everyone engaged in this debate should recognise is that policies such as the carbon tax and the RET have contributed to household electricity costs rising 110 per cent in the past five years, hitting the poor the hardest.
A Salvation Army report from last year found 58 per cent of low-income households were unable to pay their electricity bills on time. Lynne Chester of the University of Sydney estimated last year that 20 per cent of households are now energy poor: “Parents are going without food, families are sitting around the kitchen table using one light, putting extra clothes on and sleeping in one room to keep warm, and this is Australia 2013.”…
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/renewables-pave-path-to-poverty/story-fni1hfs5-1226898730123?nk=b87523c7b34d534d032de8d98da81d2c

bit chilly

and that,in a nutshell ,is how the process should work.

Tucci78

At 1:01 AM on 4 July, Flydlbee proposed:

New hypothesis: “The breeding success of endangered species is inversely proportional to the number of naturalists studying them.”

I endorse the strength of this conjecture and suggest that we get up a grant proposal to fund the research. All we have to do is tie the phenomenon in some way to “global climate change,” possibly by averring that with a warming environment, naturalists are less inclined to stay sheltered from the weather, and therefore more likely to be out-of-doors pestering the critters.

“I can’t mate now, Harry! Those humans with the binoculars and the telephoto lenses are all watching us!”

Ed

He hasn’t changed it yet, plus “As countries continue to rely on fossil fuels, the Earth will most certainly continue to warm. Places like Antarctica will change the fastest, as more and more sea ice disappears. For a while Adélie and Emperor penguins find new locations to make colonies.. But, as they relocate farther and farther south they will eventually run out of room. By the time this happens sea level will also have risen and eliminated even more of their habitat. New York, London, Amsterdam, Calcutta and many other human cities will be under water, too.”
Penguinscience.com, twinned with Globalwarmingbandwagon.com.
Where exactly is the science at PenguinScience.com?

Tucci78

At 3:24 AM on 4 July, Peter Taylor had criticized Alexander Feht with:

…you would go for nuclear to replace oil? How much uranium do you think is left?

Happily, that’s not relevant. In the early years of the post-World War II “atomic age,” the general thought was that the thorium fuel cycle would be used for nuclear power generation in preference to the rarer uranium fuel.
Among the reasons why the uranium fuel cycle had been preferred in government-regulated “civilian” electricity generation has been the fact that capital investment in uranium enrichment for the creation of fuel elements can be readily turned (and in the Soviet Union designedly was turned) to the creation of “bomb-grade” fissile materials.
The nuclear power industry became a strategic component in governments’ war-waging capabilities. This is the great reason why the current Iranian pursuit of “nuclear power” by way of the uranium fuel cycle scares the living hell out of the Israelis and all the Arab polities west of the Persian Gulf. Were the mullahcracy in Tehran working on thorium-fueled reactor technology, nobody would be upset at all because the thorium fuel cycle can’t produce stuff that goes boom.
And fissile thorium is far more abundant than uranium. Heck, it’s the reason why coal ash is so commonly radioactive.

richard verney

Alexander Feht says:
July 4, 2014 at 12:27 am
/////////////
I agree with the thrust of your comment that it would be wise for the West to concentrate on gaining energy security, and that that security will not be achieved by the pursuit of renewables. It will only be achieved by concentrating on extracting its own fossil fuel reserves, and to exploit these for all that they are worth, and/or to expand the nuclear programme.
The fact that the US has beeen exploiting its shale reserves can be seen in the recent change to middle east policy. The US is no longer so beholden to the middle east for energy, and that is why it did not take the lead in Libya and why it can enjoy being reluctant to interven in Syria or Iraq. etc.
However, you should be sceptical of western MSM. It paints only one side of the picture. The West has for years been destabilising the middle east, and other countries. It itself was destabilising Ukraine, but failed to appreciate the Russia response. Now the West is licking its wounds on that front.
Only a few months ago, MSM and Western governments were crying out for intervention in Syria supporting the insurgents and arming them. The Russians were stating that many of the insurgence were Al Quaeda or groups affiliated to, and some cases even more extreme. It appears that the Russians were right, and that the insurgences in North East Syria that Western MSM were clamouring to support, are now seen to be ISIS. If we had acted as MSM was pressing we would have armed ISIS.
Russia was also weary about intervention in Libya. Much of what they said also now appears to have a ring of truth about it. Large areas of Libya appear lawless, there have been many examples of dessicration of WW war graves, and the example of the American Embassy.
I am not supporting Russia, merely cautioning that in all issues there are 2 sides to every story (and then there is the truth), and one gets a very distorted view of the world, if one is only guided by MSM (whether this be Western MSM, or Russian/Communist block controlled MSM). We are lucky that our press is free, but there are influencing forces which restrain it from acting in a free and objective manner. The reporting of Climate Change is illustrative. There are so many good stories for an investigative journalist to get their teeth into, so just ask yourself why you do not see these stories in MSM.
Regretfully, Governments of any ilk, simply cannot be trusted, they lie to their citizens every day, such that they should be better regarded as snake oil salesmen..

richard verney

The reality is that all species have endured in the past much more significant climate change than we are seeing today, and have survived to tell the tale.
Indeed, climate change is one of the drivers of evolution. There is no reason to believe (and I deliberately use that word) that Penguins, or Polar Bears or others of their ilk, will not survive a warming world. Heck during the Holocene Optimum, the Arctic was probably largely ice free, and the Polar Bears survived that; they are still here today.
Nature is far more resilient than we give it credit.,

richard verney says:
July 4, 2014 at 6:02 am
There is no reason to believe (and I deliberately use that word) that Penguins, or Polar Bears or others of their ilk, will not survive a warming world.

Yes, but can they survive a world that has had no statistically significant temperature change in over 17 years?
/grin

Been gnashing my teeth, when thinking about what to say, about the emperor penguin story.
=========
why not stick to the facts? your assumptions about global warming misled you into conclusions that were not supported by the evidence.
why not make that the meat of your presentation? that assumptions blind us to reality.

why not make that the meat of your presentation? that assumptions blind us to reality.
====
re-examine your paper and eliminate every assumption. what you have left is science. the part you removed is a fairy tale.

Ed

“Sorry to see that I should have deleted that EMPE stuff from our website back when you and I were discussing it and you were convincing me that stuff wasn’t adding up”
What exactly do you get paid for, by the way?

tell the unvarnished scientific truth. The penguins are doing just great, “climate change” isn’t bothering them at all
===============
there is a much more important story. it is the story of how the conclusions about the emperor penguin went wrong. what was the mechanism that led an expert in the field to get things so wrong. this is the important point – and of course whether the good Dr talks to the issue as a lesson for other scientists. because this is indeed the lesson to be learned. not how the penguins are doing – but rather how an expert could have gotten it so wrong.

latecommer2014

Peter Taylor It might interest you to compare the statistics of deaths caused by nuclear power plants in the United States compared to those in the fosil fuel production of energy. The Japanese disaster was caused by poor planning in designing sea wall construction.

hum

maybe Willis and Leif should read this about respectful debate.

There is no reason to believe (and I deliberately use that word) that Penguins, or Polar Bears or others of their ilk, will not survive a warming world.
========
every major extinction event has been followed by an explosion of new species, rather than a regrowth of the previously existing species. this suggests that life is always waiting in the wings for opportunity, and that change is engine that drives opportunity.
for you to get an opportunity in life, that implies that something has changed. prior to the change you didn’t have an opportunity. maybe the person in line ahead of you died or move to a new job, or the gal you’ve had your eye on just left her husband. Thus, opportunity is itself represented by change. if this holds for you, why not for other life forms? change is opportunity, and without opportunity how does life evolve and prosper?

Chuck L

richard verney says:
July 4, 2014 at 5:51 am
Regretfully, Governments of any ilk, simply cannot be trusted, they lie to their citizens every day, such that they should be better regarded as snake oil salesmen..
That’s a harsh insult to hard-working snake oil salesmen

maybe Willis and Leif should read this about respectful debate.
==========
more like compare/contrast Dr. Ainely’s response to Michael Mann’s.

Pamela Gray

Want a good topic for science teachers? I would talk about type 1 and 2 error in research. Which is ubiquitous in the published literature. Most of it is because raw data turned out to be incorrect (references to TSI and SSN data here). Some of it is because of human bias (too many to list regarding climate studies). Both types of errors cause prim rose path journeys and a few of these error-filled tomes cause damage to human life (have we not learned anything since autism was first thought to be caused by cold mothering?).
I am a teacher and I get the impression from science teachers that their field is all about facts. So when I ask them about type 1 and 2 errors, I get a blank stare. These teachers seem convinced that their field is immune to such things. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I actually like this response. Very human, and honest about shortcomings. Just because scientists tend to to be very exact about details in the field they are focused on doesn’t mean they remember where they put their car keys, or don’t resemble air-headed artists in other ways.
Also it seems friendly. I cannot imagine Michael Mann responding is this way to any criticism of any sort, and even among his peers you sense people are a little gun-shy and reluctant to approach him. Dr. Ainely seems far more approachable.
It will be interesting to see if he merely deletes the information about Emperor Penguins, or revises it.

James Strom

A more charitable interpretation of Dr. Ainely’s response: he doesn’t have time to write it up properly, so he’s skipping it in the immediate future. The test of sincerity would be whether he does correct the record when time is available.

Joe Crawford

ferdberple (at 7:09 am) said: “…there is a much more important story. it is the story of how the conclusions about the emperor penguin went wrong. what was the mechanism that led an expert in the field to get things so wrong. this is the important point – and of course whether the good Dr talks to the issue as a lesson for other scientists. because this is indeed the lesson to be learned. not how the penguins are doing – but rather how an expert could have gotten it so wrong.”
You are quite right. Dr. Ainely’s talk to the National Science Teachers annual meeting is the perfect opportunity to show how approaching problems from an emotional rather than a strictly logical sense can lead to grossly invalid conclusions. Confirmation bias is an easy ‘sin’ for any of us to fall into… and an extremely hard one to recognize in one’s self.

sailboarder

“The test of sincerity would be whether he does correct the record when time is available”
No, the test of sincerity will be if her owns up to being wrong, and why, at the conference. Failure to do so would condemn more children to a wrong concept. He is trash imo if he does not care enough about our kids to own up.

Nylo

JohnWho says:
July 4, 2014 at 6:20 am
Yes, but can they survive a world that has had no statistically significant temperature change in over 17 years?
They may… Weren’t it for the continuous ridiculous claims by warmists that keep us busy debunking them, we could have died from climate boredom 😀

Steve from Rockwood

I’ve always had this feeling that people who count penguins or polar bears, or age-date moss etc are considered experts only by the virtue of the fact that they are the only ones doing it and not because they are adding real scientific knowledge – with a few great exceptions like Dian Fossey.

Richard Verney says:
7/4/2014 5:51 am
“Regretfully, Governments of any ilk, simply cannot be trusted, they lie to their citizens every day, such that they should be better regarded as snake oil salesmen..”
Indeed. Democracies, in theory anyway, are supposed to serve the people which I would think should not include brainwashing. Unfortunately, as I have been saying for some time now, democracies are just as capable of pulling off brainwashing campaigns of propaganda as are totalitarian police states and dictatorships like North Korea with Kim Jong Un, his father and grandfather. In their efforts to make the campaign successful, democracies can garner the support and cooperation of science, academia and the MSM by making it financially profitable to participate and with political agendas that the MSM leadership (that has lost respect for objective, unbiased journalism) can sympathize with. We are obviously seeing this today with the campaign of climate alarmism. In such a situation, an unregulated, uncontrolled Internet can serve as the propagandist’s worst enemy.
Those in democratic govts that are responsible for such campaigns may feel as though they have some moral and ethical right to these propaganda efforts when they see the ends as justifying the means. What they fail to understand however is that there is a right way and a wrong way to do many things…if not everything. Will climate alarmist campaigns, along with CO2 taxes, cap-and trade schemes, and other such things provide us with the advanced energy-generating technology that with enable us to put a foot in a post-fossil fuels era someday? Somehow, I doubt it. I know that nuclear science can. A careful study of human history shows us that it is technological improvements and advances (among other things) that usher in new eras. We didn’t usher in the space age and put a man on the Moon in this country with a propaganda campaign. We did it by developing a technology called the rocket engine.
I continue to wait patiently for the day when this CAGW alarmist campaign will be fully exposed as the fraud that it is. Only then will the American people fully understand how much even democracies can subvert and distort the truth in a very perverse way to control our minds.

ralfellis

This response is no better than the scruffy and errant school kid saying ‘the dog ate my homework’.
Pitiful excuse after pitiful excuse, and no apology whatsoever.

Jimbo

Dr. Ainely’s response is rare indeed. He’s not defending the fort no matter what. Good show Dr. you have my greatest respect.

…Been gnashing my teeth, when thinking about what to say, about the emperor penguin story….

We are watching. 😉 Save your teeth, don’t make assumptions and just say what you see. No need to spice it up my friend. See Antarctic’s sea ice extent and you will realise it ain’t the lack of sea ice. Investigate whether there is TOO MUCH sea ice. Now that would be a departure.
Maybe in future you should send any new claims to Steele for ‘review’. Watcha say?

Mickey Reno

Dr. Ainely, might I respectfully suggest that you update your website NOT by deleting the Emperor penguin stuff, but by correcting it, and headlining this good news for all people who study and otherwise love biodiversity and who may otherwise have been unnecessarily alarmed by previous predictions of climate change. You could add a dire caution to your readers, warning that speculations of both biological responses to, and the overall effect of climate change, are very difficult, uncertain things, NEVER to be confused with scientific fact? And you might add science works by exactly this type of skepticism, correction, and the replication of previously published work in order to build upon it. If you’re really brave, you could save the original article, properly framed, and link to it in the new article that exposes the exact nature of what has been learned from this episode?

Gary Pearse

Peter Taylor says:
July 4, 2014 at 3:24 am
“Alexander Feht….you would go for nuclear to replace oil?”
Peter check how many people have been killed by nuclear energy accidents. You will be surprised that in 60yrs or so of nuclear energy, they don’t number even a hundred. Sixty-eight have been killed since 1957, 56 of which were killed at Chernobyl – a terribly cheaply designed Soviet era plant with no safety features.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents_and_incidents#Nuclear_power_plant_accidents
Of course, the UN and green parrots will say that untold thousands die from indirect effects particularly because of the embarrassingly low reported deaths. As a comparison, `4,000 die a year in China’s coal mines.
Note that only 3 died in the US in one accident and this was at testing facility, and 1 only in France (the world’s only country-wide national electrification with nuclear) in an accident melting nuclear waste in a furnace. This is more than have been killed by solar installations in California.
Stop reading the lefty agenda B.S. You are reading stuff here, the number one scientific, skeptical blog in the world. You should at least have learned to be questioning of the fluff turned out on nuclear. Also, it will ultimately be the source of the world’s energy. Don’t be a member of the man-was-never-meant-to-fly crowd. Their descendants are flying rather well, don’t you think?

Hot under the collar

Perhaps Dr Ainely can inform the the usual propaganda suspect, such as the BBC,
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28089988?ocid=socialflow_twitter
and the Guardian,
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/29/emperor-penguins-at-risk-of-extinction-scientists-warn
On second thoughts why bother, they will only keep re-hashing it as more “peer reviewed evidence” of climate doom.

Gunga Din

Respectful Debate and Skeptical Voices Do Make a Difference

=========================================================
If I remember Anthony’s story correctly, it was the “skeptical voice” of his mentor that made the difference for him. (Maybe I have that wrong.)
But I’m sure his personal “climate change” wasn’t an overnight 180° change.
Give people that are willing to listen the time to connect the dots.
Those who aren’t willing? As Captain America said, “Hulk, smash!”