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Saturday, March 14, 2015

What does Michael Zimmerman mean - "even if"?

Sou | 2:31 AM Go to the first of 26 comments. Add a comment


Judith Curry has found another science denier (archived here). His name is Michael Zimmerman and he is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

You'd think that being a professor and all, and an exponent of "integral ecology" he'd have the wit to pop down the corridor and speak with some climate scientists at U Colorado. Not on your nellie. Judith Curry has posted some article he wrote, in which he said:
Even if Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios about rising global temperatures are plausible, an important issue remains: should resources be directed to adapng to coming climate change, or should they be directed to efforts to cut drama- cally anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, especially C02? How are we to know how billions of different people with many different perspecves would answer this queson?

Even if? What does he mean "even if"! Notice his suggestion that climate science isn't plausible. Looks as if he's not just a fake sceptic, he's a budding climate conspiracy theorist.

And while Judith presents him as understanding her wicked problem, he presents his "even if" solution as binary. As an "either/or" solution. That doesn't sound like a rational response to a wicked problem, does it.

He goes further and says that
When I began research for this article, I initially assumed that AGW was largely validated, but the more I read, the more I began to conclude that something was amiss. Too many credible scientists strongly object to the AGW hypothesis and to the IPCC as the agency responsible for promulgating evidence in its favor. 

I was right. He's not a climate scientist or a scientist of any sort, he's a paranoid conspiracy nutter. Judith cannily leaves out Michael's "credible scientists". However his article, which reads like any other denier manifesto, lists them as follows:

  • Willie "it's the sun" Soon
  • Roger Pielke Snr
  • Henrik "cosmic rays" Svensmark and journalist Nigel Calder - and their book (no peer reviewed paper) "The Chilling Star"
  • John Christy
  • William DiPuccio, who reportedly "was a weather forecaster for the U.S. Navy, and a Meteorological/Radiosonde Technician for the National Weather Service.  More recently, he served as head of the science department for St. Nicholas Orthodox School in Akron, Ohio (closed in 2006)." I think Michael Zimmerman went to WUWT for that bit of nonsense!

Sheesh! 

And what about this?
Scientists can provide important information about what a particular problem is, but go astray when suggesting that such information dictates what policies ought to be promulgated to deal with the problem.

I can see why Judith likes him. Scientists can define the problem, but when it comes to what policies ought to be put in place they have as much say as any of us.


Where does integral ecology fit into all this? (It reads like a 21st century rehash of 1970's New Age.) Well, Judith didn't say. She didn't even explain what "integral ecology" is.  She did say up front that "A way forward through the morass of wicked environmental problems is suggested by integral theory as applied to integral ecology." but at the end all she said was that she doesn't have an answer.


26 comments:

  1. It's so cute when non-scientists pretend that they are smarter than real, actual scientists, and it's all the cuter when these non-scientists happen to have an discipline-irrelevant academic position.

    Actually, no, scrub that...

    It's deplorable, and it's intellectually dishonest, because such folk should have sufficient education that they are aware of the perils of speaking beyond one's own expertise. Double for someone ostensibly trained in philosophy.

    Curry really is establishing a good collection of fleas. Just the thing for a circus...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It's so cute when non-scientists pretend that they are smarter than real, actual scientists"

      ...but don't realise it's CO2 (with the letter O) and not C02 (with the number zero).

      Delete
  2. His webpage reads:

    " Natural science is crucial for characterizing, making predictions about, and providing alternative scenarios regarding existing and emerging environmental problems. Anthropogenic environmental problems, however, arise from human activities that are usually best studied by researchers from the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. "

    Yeah, but you'd darn well better have a clear understanding of the natural-science end of things to understand what the problem is. It sounds as if he's pretty much innocent of this.

    And at Boulder, of all places, home of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

    The Bind Moggles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Anthropogenic environmental problems, however, arise from human activities that are usually best studied by researchers from the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. "

      I'll take it as read that he didn't run this past José Duarte before publication.

      Delete
    2. Ugh. I wish I could un-read that thread.

      Delete
  3. I find myself wondering what the philosophical difference is between "too many" and "none at all".

    But then it is worth remembering that philosophers are unable to decide what reality is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_a_vat

    ReplyDelete
  4. It may be that Zimmerman has a similar perspective on climate “skeptics” as he has on alien abductees, that they are a “manifestation of the soul realm” from a “different dimension of reality”.

    Very much some “ideas are worth examining and developing”, no?

    http://tulane.edu/news/tulanian/the_z_files.cfm

    [Cross posted from Curry's ]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's written two books on Heidegger. No wonder the man's messed up.

      Delete
    2. '
      alien abductees, that they are a “manifestation of the soul realm” from a “different dimension of reality”. '

      "Oh, no! He's being alienated!" -- Firesign Theater, "Everything you Know is Wrong"

      Delete
    3. Whoa! A 'manifestation from the soul realm' sounds like the closest thing to an explanation that we have had so far for Farce X. The man could be onto something! Though I'm not sure quite how it will fit into the next IPCC report. Perhaps a satellite should be launched to monitor manifestations on a global scale, the data to be ably analysed by Doc Spencer ofc.

      Delete
  5. Even though chances are slim that my house will burn down, by Jove it's still insured against fire damage.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is very simple, integral economy is what you make of it. You ignore the damage that our actions produce. We prefer to look at the company balance sheet. The damage to our life support systems are irrelevant. All you very dumb taxpayers are fools. You pay the bills and we reap the profits. We do not care as we are old and do not give a fuck. Do you ignorant morons know how tough it is to be a billionaire these days. I have to think twice before I buy an Apple Watch! Times are tough! Bert

    ReplyDelete
  7. Without comment this is what Atmospheric Scientist, Professor Curry is pushing today in 2 parts on CE.
    PART 1
    Week in review
    Posted on March 13, 2015 | 40 Comments
    by Judith Curry
    A few things that caught my eye this past week.

    Politics/policy
    Global warming might be real, but the Democrat’s solutions are not [link]
    Republicans demand “greater transparency and government accountability” for social cost of carbon figure. [link]
    How Obama plans to bypass the Constitution again by not calling Paris climate agreement a treaty [link]
    What if states just say ‘no’ to climate rule? [link]
    Serious Doubts Over Europe’s Decarbonisation Pledge[link]
    Twist on carbon footprinting ‘could unblock’ UN climate talks [link]
    Pollution is changing the way China does politics: [link]
    China: When Pollution Solutions Can Actually Damage the Environment [link]
    China takes down documentary on pollution [link]
    Bjorn Lomborg warns Bangladesh about ‘climate politics’ [link]
    Greg Laden: Bjorn Lomborg Is Wrong About Bangladesh And Sea Level Rise [link]
    The Hindu: ‘Indian Ocean sea-level is rising faster, but it is not alarming’ [link]
    Mark Lynas: We must reclaim the climate debate from the political extremes [link]
    “John Kerry Says Climate Science is as Settled as Gravity” [link]
    Interesting guest post by Prof Halvard Buhaug for @CarbonBrief on linking climate change and conflict [link]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Curry has abandoned credibility. She had it. She lost it. She does not mourn that loss.

      Delete
    2. OK I lied. That was not without comment.

      Delete
    3. Curry jumped the shark years ago.

      What her current collaborators should think about extremely carefully is the implicit ethical affirmation that they're giving to her through their association, and how history will see them for participating - even indirectly - in her responsibility for delaying of any remaining chance for effective mitigation.

      Delete
    4. "Judith cannily leaves out Michael's "credible scientists".

      Dr. Curry is utterly shameless, yet she imagines herself wrapped in a cloak of Plausible Denial.

      Delete
  8. I thought being a professor of philosophy meant you had to be smart. Because this...

    "When I began research for this article, I initially assumed that AGW was largely validated, but the more I read, the more I began to conclude that something was amiss. Too many credible scientists strongly object to the AGW hypothesis and to the IPCC as the agency responsible for promulgating evidence in its favor."

    ...is so incredibly stupid and misleading.

    And he wrote two books on Heidegger? That means he has to be smart because Heidegger was one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century (despite his huge mistake to think that Hitler was going to bring about some brave new world).

    So, how can someone so smart write something so stupid? Does he want to feel what it's like to be as wrong as Heidegger?

    ReplyDelete
  9. My brother lives next to NCAR at Foothills and Valmont in Boulder. He'd have to drive across town (not very far) to talk to the big boys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course being Boulder, he should be riding a bike.

      Delete
    2. He can put the bike in the trunk of his car! ;-)

      Delete
    3. Of course being Boulder, he should be riding a bike.

      Delete
    4. He can put the car on the back of his bike! ;-)

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Reading Heidegger isn't sufficient to explain philosophical confusion over climate science. I did it and my conclusions are diametrically opposed to Zimmerman's. It does, though, raise an interesting point, in that we are defined as people in terms of our presence in the world and therefore our understanding of the world, so there is a question of priority over whether we protect our identity against the incursions of worldly contradictions of our sense of self, or remain open to the possibility of self-adjustment in the face of the challenge to our being.
    Which is to say, in applying Heidegger's understanding to myself I see the chaos and uncertainty of the horizon, whereas Zimmerman appears to deny the possibility of the world being a challenge to his sense of self.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My brother lives next to NCAR at Foothills and Valmont in Boulder. He'd have to drive across town (not very far) to talk to the big boys.

    ReplyDelete

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