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Roger L. Simon

Will Obama Continue the Assault on Science During the State of the Union?

January 27th, 2014 - 9:46 pm

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Barack Obama is not at a great moment in his presidency.  His numbers are terrible.  Obamacare, his signature legislation, is a fiasco.  His attempts to make peace in the Middle East — let’s be charitable here — have not borne fruit.  The labor participation rate is at a thirty year low.  Things are pretty bad for the president (and for the country, I am sad to say).

At moments like this people do strange things. Word is that President Obama is going to ignore the freezing weather and say something about “global warming” or “climate change” or “stormy weather,” or whatever the euphemism of the moment may be, during the State of the Union address Tuesday night.

It’s a sign of desperation — fewer people believe in this now than ever — an attempt to change the discussion and a sop to his left wing.  Also, it’s a power grab, in concert with his desire to circumvent a supposedly do-nothing Congress.

But it’s worse than that.  If he goes this way, he will be attacking and discrediting, and therefore undermining, something far more important than he , or any other president in history, could ever be — science.

I don’t know how much Barack Obama knows about science.  I’m skeptical he knows much.  His college and graduate school grades have been a state secret beyond anything even Eric Snowden could ferret out.  But we can assume they’re not terrific in the science area.  They may not be as bad as Al Gore’s D in geology, although Obama was attending Occidental, not Harvard, when he was required to study science. No one knows what happened when he was at Columbia.  In any case, he doesn’t evince a public interest in science.  He hobnobs with Beyonce and Jay Z,  not Nobel Prize winners in chemistry.

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Top Rated Comments   
Don't know much about history
Don't know much about producing energy
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the constitutional law I took

But I do know that I would love imposing Marxism on you
And I know that if you would just love Lenin too
What a wonderful socialist country this would be

La ta ta ta ta ta ta
(History)
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
(Producing energy)
La ta ta ta ta ta ta
(Science book)
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
(Constitutional law I took)

But I do know that I would love imposing Marxism on you
And I know that if you would just love Lenin too
What a wonderful socialist country this would be

- The Mad Child Pharaoh
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
OBAMA KNOWS AS MUCH ABOUT SCIENCE AS HE DOES ABOUT ECONOMICS
Which is to say, nothing. I doubt he knows anything about the Constitution, as well.
However, not to worry. No one will be listening to our Liar-in-Chief at the State of the Union. After all, even with the Press in his pocket, our would-be
Lincoln can't fool all the people all the time.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama has a pen and phone to bypass Congress.

He has a hockey stick to bypass science.

He has an IRS to bypass the First Amendment.

He has an EPA to bypass capitalism.

I wanted to attend the SOTU in person, but had to turn the car around. I tried to take a bypass, but Obama had them all.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (111)
All Comments   (111)
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Tables turn, eventually. And when they turn, what say we put Eric Holder and Bill Ayers in prison. And that's just for starters.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
What do you mean he hasn't had success in the Middle East? He got Israel to release vicious murderers, didn't he? (I mean, assuming you consider killing Jews murder.) And as an added bonus, the Creator of us all, who works measure for measure, has brought the Afghans to release vicious killers (assuming one cares about American lives of course).

It's win-win!

Oh, and bin Laden is still dead. Yay.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All these "scientist" courtesans forget that planet Earth has plants. There has always been a place for the "C" in CO2 to go; the dirt.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
This matter of junk science and medicine becoming mainstream has happened before. During the late Roman Empire, this junk became dominant and persisted in the West for some 1000 years and more. Some of this had official patronage, which gave it longevity. Some of it was merely mistaken understanding, some was outright hoax. In our time, the combination of gullibity, miseducation, and ideological pigheadedness could have a like effect---the decline of civilisation.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
One can add the stubbornness of the adherents of the Hyle (look up "Jewish Science", which is what the new Physics was called by some German scientists) and the refusal of many scientists to realize the universe had a beginning, way after the evidence was in. (I thank the readers here for correcting me on this.)

I would personally add the continual rewriting of the theory of evolution, but that drama has not yet played out, and I'm not competent to have any conclusions on the matter.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's not forget how junk science reigned in Stalinist Russia and Mao's China.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, Lysenko.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here is a Preview of tonight's State of the Union Address by the President and more of his empty speeches that he usually gives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7hyUucbmj4
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's never gonna happen I know, but what I'd give anything to see at tonight's SOTU is that every time Obama tells a lie the entire Republican caucus stands up and in unison says, "And if you like your health care plan you can keep it."
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd like to see him interrupted by a couple of MPs while in the middle of his speech and frog marched off the stage under arrest ... If wishes were horses and all that.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't want to see that.

If the military every thinks it has the authority to arrest a sitting President, we are done as a free nation.

It's bad enough as it is - don't wish to make it several orders of magnitude WORSE.

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, what's up with the comments here? We've got VoiceNDWoods, Boots R, Alias Echo and now Carol contesting the scientific basis for Paltridge's essay.

You have an obligation here, guys. If you're going to be libertarian opinion leaders you have to do the legwork to differentiate fact from fiction. It's not enough to be free of *political* bias, you have to be informed. If that means taking the time to educate yourself on the problem space, do so.

And on the AGW issue, that means educating yourself on the SCIENCE. Bite the bullet, do the work. I'm sorry to be harsh, but we have a higher standard to live up to.

Carol, the problem with AGW is the level of uncertainty, exactly like Paltridge says. The IPCC policy guideline report's dishonesty (aside from some fairly limited falsehoods regarding model prediction results and forecast accuracy) is in spinning the certainty of the results. But the IPCC has the most integrity of all AGW proponents. In a nutshell, although we understand CO2 as a greenhouse gas and its physics, we're completely at sea w/regard to sensitivity. We don't know how much CO2 we need in the atmosphere to generate a (for instance) one degree fahrenheit increase in temperature.

For the last two decades (16-17 yrs) we've been pumping record amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, with no measurable effect. Statistics *don't* clearly show a generally hotter climate in that time period, and they SHOULD, according to the alarmists. Now, the IPCC would have us believe (contrary to prior reports) that we're going to be screwed in the long term but with NO measurable effects near-term - which is where Mark v's "garbage science" comes from.

Meanwhile, the "consensus" bs is just that - on both "there is none" and "science isn't a democracy" level.

This should make you happy. It keeps BO's record clean. But that doesn't matter at the end of the day either, this is science, not politics. The only political aspect is that you can trust me - I'll give you the truth as I understand it, as fully as I can with space constraints.

tl;dr - we do not know if AGW is really a problem
(show less)
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I could go even a step further. We are absolutely certain that carbon dioxide is warming the atmosphere a little bit over background. Maybe 0.25 to 0.5 degrees C. What we really don't know, at all is 1) sensitivity - how does that little bit of warming directly attributable to anthropogenic carbon dioxide get amplified or dampened, and 2) what is driving the natural variation in temperatures, that are likely to be much greater than this amount (+/- 5 degrees C). So far, it appears that anthropogenic global warming is happening, but whatever effects are occuring are below the threshold of the natural variations. So far it looks like we are in the clear - impacts from anthropogenic carbon dioxide are likely to be reasonably small - either there is no mutiplier in the environment, or the natural trend for temperatures is downward, and the small increase may actually be helping us a little bit.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
And that was a feeble attempt to say something Paltridge said better to start with. The article - read the whole thing.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps you are new here and, therefore, are not familiar with Dwight. Dwight can always be counted on to weigh two opposing views and find they are both correct or both wrong, thus providing a valuable input.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can't stand BHO, disagree with him on almost every issue, yet on this issue, I would have to agree.

The statistics clearly show a general trend that the climate has been getting hotter and hotter, even with ABERRATIONS such a cold winter here on occasion.

To view an aberration as a failure of climate scientists is a lesson in poor science in and of itself.

The science -- unfortunately -- ultimately supports global heating/change, with changes that have the capacity to bring mayhem.

One has to get out of their little right wing/left wing box and know the truth once in a while, even when it's painful and doesn't support one's generally held political beliefs.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good point, Carol, for while I remain a skeptic, I do understand that the 1998 high temperature year was triggered by a major El Nino, and until we get the next one, it is a bit disingenuous for deniers to talk about the plateau or pause in warming. Since 1998 was a major high temperature year, the fact that we have not surpassed it in subsequent years can be deceiving, in that the successive El Nina years have gotten generally warmer, almost up to the level of 1998. 2013 was the second warmest on record, I believe.
Our current cold in the lower forty eight happens to hide the fact that there is record warmth down in Australia, and Sitka, Alaska has had some abnormally warm weather. If it is colder in New England and Georgia, but not as cold in parts of Alaska, it is the overall average that tells the true warming tale.
This is not to say that the scary tipping points and sensitivites that have been predicted are accurate, but one would have to have one's head in the sand, or be very politically committed the other way to ignore the potential for a big problem down the road. I haven't developed a position on the tar sands, but there will come a point where responsible people will decide that we have gone a bridge too far with petro. Charlie, I don't think that there is much question that humans are responsible for the elevated levels of CO2. How could we NOT be with the massive and increasing amounts we churn out each year. The El Nino vs El Nina explanation IS a plausible reason why there has not been a massive steady rise and other natural variables will always be in play.
I admit that I can take the exact opposite point of view when I am in the online company of the warmists, but I do think that we have to be moving toward new sources of our energy. Obviously, the timing is everything. Like Nixon going to China, it will probably take a Republican to propose and enact the first serious moves.
Roger, as a climate scientist, you make a good playwright. Read Watts all you want, but read the other guys, such as Real Climate as well. Mark Twain claimed that we basically inform ourselves of history by reading what OUR party says about it. Reading both sides takes a lot more effort.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hm. I'm tired and cranky and so will cut to the chase: don't be a damn fool. The dramatic warming of recent years was only about 30 years long; a long cold phase is what led to worries about an ice age 40 years ago. We're talking about a plateau that's already half as long as the last warming burst. An honest critic would have to admit that this is not fitting the models at all well.

But then an honest critic wouldn't let the game slip by calling critics "deniers".
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Charlie, don't waste your time with this, finish your article!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I'm not tired or cranky, so won't deal with your "damned fool." I posit "warmists" on on side, "deniers" on the other with skeptics in my middle ground. Can you habdle that? ;-)

Someone told me to check the site below, if I wanted to know (or pretend to know) about climate science and the history thereof. It is a elevated Reader's Digest version and the person who wrote it is a warmist, but there is a lot of essential general climate history/knowledge here, including how science slowly moves forward, many missteps at a time. http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Carol, that has a problem: no one much disagrees with that general trend. however, that's not enough: we also need some demonstration that the contribution of humans has been of significant magnitude, that the primary source is actually increased CO2, and ideally that reducing CO2 is the optimal strategy to reduce the effects.

There's also a problem that people are being fed a lot of fallacies because they're convenient propaganda. For example, you hear often that n of the last m years were the warmest on record. This, however, doesn't tell you anything useful; we already know there's been warming. I can illustration with a simple example: say the sequence for temperatures over the last some years is

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 17 18 17 18 17 16

Now, plot that out and you see a climb to a plateau, which is what real observations have shown. Having plateaued, the last several samples are indeed among the warmest -- but all that tells us is that there had been warming in the past. It doesn't tell us anything about mechanism, and if anything it's evidence against CO2 dominating, because while temperatures have plateaued, CO2 continued to rise.

I've written several of my science columns on this recently. See

http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/08/01/climate-change-and-the-problem-of-press-release-science/

http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/06/25/can-we-actually-even-tell-if-humans-are-affecting-the-climate/

http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/08/08/climate-change-what-are-the-real-questions/
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The oil and coal companies have all the motivation in the world to minimize any evidence of global warming. A recent HSBC (not exactly a liberal organization) study estimated that the major oil companies would lose 50% of their valuation in a low carbon emission future. That comes out to between $10 and 20 trillion (with a t). If that doesn't motivate a company to alter, manufacture or distort data, they aren't a very good capitalist.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Only if using your definition of a good capitalist. Where do these studies exist? Are you even aware that solar grade silicon takes more energy to produce than it will create in final use on panels? That solar power cannot be used to create solar grade silicon, only high temperature fossil fuel. Perhaps you are also unaware that coal allows you to have a flat screen tv, a laptop, a cell phone. Where do you intend to live when plastic and insulation (fossil fuels) is outlawed, mining for clay for bricks is stopped, lumber cutting prohibited? Personally, I would enjoy seeing you elitists try to live in your east/west coast cities without food, water and sewer services provided to you via fossil fuel resources...you know, services from those evil capitalists. This is the same condition you are pushing on all the poor around the world while you live comfortably and secure.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Empire, Boots is right, oil companies do have motive to disprove Climate Change theories. That's a fact, it's not under dispute.

Point is more that it's not necessarily a bad thing. The Paltridge essay correctly points out that institutional researchers have more resources than individual "skeptics", oil company funding helps even up the playing field.

Bottom line is that an adversarial research climate (heh) is a good thing, key element to scientific theory is formulating and *testing* hypothesis, ie, trying to disprove them. Again - it's not a democracy, you don't want a consensus, that's unhealthy.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
And where do you think these oil companies' data is being pushed into the science?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
...and yet we have definitive proof of alarmists altering data and presenting the resulting high-profile studies to the public and Obama himself as recently as last year, and none for skeptics doing the same. hmm...
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, let's lay out the scorecard plaingly for all to see:

1. We have oil companies with an imputed, but believable, motive for lying about the issue, but no actual evidence of them doing so.
2. We have "scientists" with a stated motive for lying about the issue, and they've been caught red-handed doing so.

So, who do we believe?

Oh, that's easy for any leftist. Clearly, #2. They aren't capitalists, so of course they are trustworthy.



30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Romney should have held back his tax returns until Obama released his grades.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I go with the hypothesis that Obama was admitted to Columbia on the basis of foreign student status, and attendant advantages thereof. His book bio/blurb that stood out there for a number of years stated clearly and unequivocally that he was from Kenya.

My hypothesis is at least as meaningful, on scientific grounds, as anthropogenic global warming and/or human caused climate change.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, it's more so. It's at least not at odds with the evidence, and it's not dependent on fabricated evidence.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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