So what harm does it do if Tyson makes up stories to fit his rhetorical needs? As an elite celebrity scientist who gets plum appointments, attracts a cult of personality, and hobnobs with presidents, he sets the tone for the rank and file on issues that do involve scientific substance.
Take a recent blog post from climate scientist Kate Marvel, of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and more recently NASA, in which she proclaims, “I Am So Bored with the Hiatus.” The “hiatus” refers to the failure of global temperatures to warm significantly since the mid-1990s.
I’m not sure anything could better capture the adolescent, “be one of the cool kids” style of the Neil deGrasse Tyson era than to proclaim oneself “bored” and like-soooo-over-this about facts that don’t fit your favored scientific theory. The only way to top this would be to write it in emojis.
In fact, the “hiatus” is a really big problem for claims that mankind’s industrial production is causing the planet to heat up. Historical temperature records show a slight decline in global temperatures from roughly 1940 to 1970, which is why some scientists in the 70s were predicting a new ice age. By 1980, there was some wavering between predictions of global cooling and predictions of global warming, but warming won out and hit the height of its vogue in the late 1980s and the 1990s—not coincidentally, during a sustained period of slightly increasing temperatures. But global temperatures have now been flat for almost as long as they were rising.
The Climategate e-mails show that this has been a topic of great concern in private discussions among the warmists, with one of them asking his colleagues, “where the heck is global warming?… The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” They knew that they had hung their argument on rising surface temperatures, and they knew that they couldn’t explain the recent stasis in those temperatures.
But evidence that challenges the prevailing theory bores Kate Marvel, who brushes it off by declaring: “No serious scientist truly believes that the slowdown in surface warming invalidates greenhouse physics.”
This is utterly superficial. The basic physics of the greenhouse effect are not the issue here. At issue is a whole series of more complex questions: whether the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is mostly attributable to human beings, whether that increase produces a large enough greenhouse effect to warm the planet, and whether any effect from carbon dioxide (which is actually a very weak greenhouse gas) might be offset by the enormous number of other factors in an extremely complex system. So to cite basic physics—a common trope of the warmists—is a glib and irrelevant answer.
Marvel goes on to assert that the pause in warming can be explained by “a massive increase in ocean heat content.” Well, all right, I suppose this is a plausible theory. But it is also a very new one—and only one of 52 different theories offered to explain the hiatus.
Read the entire essay here, well worth your time. http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/17/neil-degrasse-tyson-and-the-science-of-smug-condescension/