Monday, January 5, 2015

Logic fail x 2: Anthony Watts is confusingly disappointed with Pope Francis

Sou | 7:34 AM Go to the first of 86 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts runs a pseudo-science blog called wattsupwiththat, sometimes known as WUWT. Let's just see what's up with this.

Pope Francis has made various pronouncements on science lately, endorsing the Big Bang, evolution and climate science - as reported by Chris Mooney at the Washington Post.

Logic Fail 1.

"Galilee" by Ottavio Leoni
French WP
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Anthony says he is disappointed with Pope Francis, and this is his convoluted, back-to-front, upside-down reasoning. He wrote:
As a Catholic myself, I’m disappointed in this stance, especially since it seems out of place with doctrines of the past where there Church denounced many issues of science through its history, only to later admit they erred, jumped to conclusions, and admitted such errors in judgment decades or centuries later.
For example, it only took the Catholic church 359 years to decide that Galileo was right after all, and that the Earth DOES in fact revolve around the Sun.

Because it took the Catholic Church 359 years to "decide Galileo was right after all" - except:

  • the link that Anthony provided wasn't to an article where the Catholic Church decided Galileo was right, it was about the Church deciding that the Church was wrong to condemn him, and that the Church did him a wrong.
  • even were Anthony's wrong interpretation right, he is arguing that the Church was wrong to reject the science in the past, and in this situation, where the Pope is accepting the science, the Pope is wrong.

Got that? Ha. If you're a denier you won't get it. If you're a clear, logical thinker you'll be thinking that Anthony Watts has not a logical bone in his body - or that his head is pure bone, or something like that.

Logic Fail 2.

Anyway, all Anthony really wanted to say is what he got to finally, in his last point. He's going to ignore what the Pope says - because Anthony is a science denier. He wrote:
I plan to ignore the Pope and its science panel, as many are likely to do given their track record on getting science wrong in almost every case where science and religion have collided through history,
Except once again, science and religion aren't colliding are they. The Pope is agreeing with the science. Double logic fail.

Oh - what a confused little man is Anthony Watts. Will he be denying evolution, the Big Bang and maybe even his religion next? Because if the Pope is right then the science must be wrong - or something like that.

From the WUWT comments

First up was a sensible comment from John fisk, who wrote:
January 4, 2015 at 11:04 am
As population must be one of the biggest drivers of increasing CO2 , then you would expect him to pass an edict allowing birth control?

With a name like Danny Thomas I'm not surprised he comes out in the Pope's defense - somewhat:
January 4, 2015 at 11:16 am
Just thinking out loud. Why don’t we wait to see what the Pope has to say and address it specifically to see what portions are reasonable, and what portions are not?

ConTrari wonders what it will take for Anthony to lose his faith - his religion, that is. Anthony has no faith in science:
January 4, 2015 at 11:17 am
Dear Anthony, this is just a simple thought from a baffled (although not very practising) Protestant; how can one ignore the words of the supreme leader of one’s faith, without losing faith?
Just a question, no need to answer, lest we veer into the murky dephts of religious debate. 

The Expulsive thinks that humans trashing the environment is "part of His plan" (Him being the Christian's God). He's also a conspiracy theorist of the One World Guvmint/New World Order type:
January 4, 2015 at 11:38 am
How does a man who represents an omnipotent being not accept that this may be part of His plan? Or is this related to the ability of man to choose?
And how does anyone educated person believe an agency like the UN, dominated by regimes that don’t respect basic human rights or abide by the rule of law, is interested in anything more than power? 

That's all the comments there are so far. Well, I didn't copy them all. There are only 13 comments.  I'll keep an eye on it because going by what's been posted so far, there could be some gems.


There aren't too many gems after all. The general consensus is that the Pope is wrong because he's a communist or at best a progressive who wants to redistribute wealth to the poor. The fact that he wants to "redistribute money" (as the WUWT-ers put it) is his biggest crime, naturally enough. (The new testament be damned - by the WUWT folk.)

There are a few people who seem mighty puzzled though. Especially so since it's WUWT. I'd say that the Pope's stance is likely to affect some fence-sitters.


  1. If the leader of one of the largest delusional cults comes out in support, I'd say we should take a closer look. I'd be wary of being aligned with the pope and the Catholic church.

    On a related note; perhaps you are aware that in this day and age, ALL of the our media is owned by only a handful of corporations. So, when that media is telling us something, over and over, every day, you know it's a very big lie.

    1. Hi Blanche - when the media, the Pope and the scientists are all aligned, are they all wrong?

      I take it that you are with Anthony Watts. If the Church agrees with the science then the science is wrong. If the Church disagrees with the science then the science is right. So where does that put evolution and the Big Bang? Are they both wrong too - because the Pope thinks they are right.

      Another question: Where does Cardinal George Pell fit in? He's a climate science denier. What if he were to become Pope? Would that make the climate scientists right?

      (I think we might have our very own conspiracy theorist :D)

    2. I'm not much up on Catholic teachings. They support the theory of evolution yet think the Bible is the infallible word of God? I'd love to see the contortions you go through to make that work. I really don't care what they think or what the pope says.

      I'll happily be your pet conspiracy theorist, for a while maybe. :)

      To say that ALL of the our media is owned by only a handful of corporations isn't a theory, it's just the way it is. To wonder what that means in terms of the information we receive only makes sense, to me anyway.

      Please don't put me with Anthony Watts or anyone else. This is not a conspiracy.

    3. No, the Catholic Church doesn't think the Bible is the infallible word of God. It recognises it was written by men. In the 1950s and 60s Bible stories were described by Catholic school teachers and priests as allegories. I expect it's pretty much the same now.

      You've managed to avoid my questions rather nicely. I'll give you a pass. They must seem like difficult questions to get your head around.

    4. Your questions; 'if all those people think thus, is it wrong or right?' seems rhetorical. The Pope's pronouncements or the beliefs of a certain Cardinal are not relevant to me.

      You very quickly removed all pretense of civility from the conversation and made an ad hominem attack. This does not help your cause.

    5. Oh - now you're tone trolling to avoid the questions, Blanche? And that after your very first comment in which you accused all the world's climate scientists of faking their research.

      (I made no ad hom argument - you need to look up what ad hominem means.)

    6. Blanche

      What you are saying, I think, is that the pope is no great endorsement. The thing is, it makes no difference to the science. The pope is head of an organisation with a lot of influence. When powerful political organisations start swinging behind doing something about climate change you know something significant is shifting.

    7. "So, when that media is telling us something, over and over, every day, you know it's a very big lie. "

      So David Cameron is not Prime Minister of the UK!!! I think you ought to find a better way of discerning fact from fiction.

    8. So Blanche will take one plus one to be anything but two if the Pope or the MSM say 1 + 1 = 2.
      His/her post actually states he/she has no ability whatsoever to assess the validity of any statement him/herself. A total dependence on anything printed. This is a special brand of Dunning-Kruger.

  2. Well Blanche might be right about one thing. Every Murdoch newspaper and Murdoch owned Fox News takes a position opposing the scientific consensus on global warming. So it seems that when s/he says "So, when that media is telling us something, over and over, every day, you know it's a very big lie" then s/he is correct.

    1. Yep. I liked how s/he barged in and insulted Catholics the world over, then said s/he knew next to nothing about their religion, then claimed climate scientists (and journalists) were lying, then sulked at some supposed lack of civility on my part.

      You're right about the Murdoch media - it does tend to promote denial, but every now and then they slip up and write about science. It's little wonder deniers are confused, especially the right wing authoritarian followers.

  3. Does anyone know more about Catholic dogma: Will Watts still go to heaven?

    1. Short answer: Yes.

      Long answer: There are specific things that need to be true for papal infallability to be a thing. For starters, the Pope needs to specifically say he's invoking papal infallability. So this doesn't come under the class of things catholic dogma says the Pope is infallible about.

  4. I don't see the contradiction in Watt's thoughts. Perhaps he thinks that "science" is right, it's just that the "scientists" are wrong (and the Pope) - and eventually, "science" will support the climate change deniers? Otherwise, how could he face himself in the mirror each morning?

    1. MWS - but where does Galileo fit in? Don't tell me Anthony Watts thinks he is a modern-day Galileo. He doesn't even know his baselines from his anomalies :)

  5. Bishop Hill ‏@aDissentient: I wonder what @pontifex wants people in Subsaharan Africa to power homes with on still nights. The power of prayer perhaps?

    1. Solar initially, then solar thermal, like South Africa is doing? There's a fair bit of sunshine in sub-saharan Africa, too.



      Maybe wind as well. A big improvement on either nothing or kerosene and diesel.

    2. When I was a pre-schooler and living in the country with no power lines, think 1950, many of our neighbours had what they called "wind-lights". An ordinary windmill as seen on farms all over the world, connected to a car battery, provided electric light for most of the night. Certainly enough for all the early bedtimes of all those early rising dairy/ mixed farmers of the time.

      Considering the advances in batteries of all kinds between then and now, as well as the availability of small solar panels, I'd say getting electric light to many / most regional South Africans should be doable.

  6. The author of the article that WUWT has reposted is H. Sterling Burnett, who is a listed 'expert' at the Heartland Institute. Meaning the article itself is nothing more than paid lobbyist propaganda.

    I always find it interesting to check the authors of the Watts reposting - the percentage coming from GMI, EIKE, Heartland Institute, and other well funded denier organizations is IMO significant.

    1. KR - WUWT has been a bit slow the past couple of weeks, probably the holidays. Anthony does seem to be running a bit low on contributors.

      I regard WUWT as a pin board for denier organisations to use as they please. And when they dry up, for denier bloggers. And when they run out, Anthony copies and pastes a science press release under a "claim" headline.

      I didn't bother with the article itself. It had barely two lines relating to climate and those two lines were nothing but stock standard denialist talking points.

  7. Does anyone know the Isis/Isil/Is Caliphate's position on global warming? Should we even care?

    1. Who cares whether IS is partly the result of climate change already happened?

  8. Sou,

    William Briggs is another Catholic AGW contrarian who is a bit beside himself with this Pope for a number of reasons. Unlike Watts, he's a bit more circumspect about his criticism, and generally saves it for things like Francis' attempts to soften the church's stance on ... "marriage and family" ... issues. A few days back he wrote up an article slamming the press for "reporting wild speculation as actual news":


    He really gets it going in the second graf: "The uber-left Guardian speculates 'Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches'. Edict? As in legally binding command? Denier? As is one who still holds to the scientific precept that consistently bad and busted forecasts imply a bad and busted theory?"

    Now that it's looking like the Vatican really is going to come out on the right side of this issue, I'm keeping a weather eye out for a follow up from my favorite Catholic denier just to see how he'll wriggle out of this one.

    And investing in popcorn futures.

    1. The only thing new is that it's Pope Francis. The Vatican and Pope Benedict spoke out on the issue ages ago. I'm surprised that good solid Catholics like William Briggs and Anthony Watts aren't aware of that.

      Here's an example from 2007 - if you scroll down the page there's more:


      You'll also see that the Cornwall Alliance gets short shrift.

    2. Perspective I did not have, thanks. I'm never surprised at Briggs' inconsistency on things. He's learned and intelligent, or perhaps more properly, clever and my read is that gives him an ability to fool himself quite creatively. I did a fair amount of time over there, and his readers gave me a good run for my money. Watts and his crew are not as sophisticated by half.

    3. Sou

      You beat me to it with the Pontifical Council link. I keep that one because as you say, it's the episode where E. Calvin Beisner gets told he doesn't understand his theology properly.

  9. Sou,
    I take one small issue with part of your comment (and please do not take my comment as implying the rest of your comment is incorrect or out of place). Pope John Paul II did indeed side with Galileo after all, "Thanks to his intuition as a brilliant physicist and by relying on different arguments, Galileo, who practically invented the experimental method, understood why only the sun could function as the centre of the world, as it was then known, that is to say, as a planetary system. The error of the theologians of the time, when they maintained the centrality of the Earth, was to think that our understanding of the physical world's structure was, in some way, imposed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture...."
    —Pope John Paul II, L'Osservatore Romano N. 44 (1264) - November 4, 1992
    (Note: I borrowed this from Wikipedia but I do have an original source of such scholarship.)
    Although AW's secondary scholarship led him to quote a NYT's article, the underlying thesis is fairly correct. Oddly, your comment is correct, as well, since Pope John Paul II "de-excommunicated" Galileo on recommendation of a Papal committee headed by noted astronomer Dr. and Ft. George Coyne S.J. By fiat, the Pope declared Church incorrect on that matter and Galileo correct.
    I'd like to add an interesting tale told to me by Ft. Coyne - we shared many astronomical observing nights at Kitt Peak and Mt Lemmon Observatories in Tucson in the 1970s and have been colleagues since, albeit distant now. When the Papal committee decided to present the Pope with their conclusion and recommendation they were perplexed about what was appropriate garb for such an historic event. They chose traditional (i.e., 16th Century) Papal dress - the Vatican may be the only place where one can find such (original) pre-Rennaissance getup. When the group walked into their audience with the Pope, he was confused as to why they were wearing such odd costumes. According to George John Paul II had a sense of humor, as well as a sense of humanity and reality.
    Best regards.

    1. Thanks, Jonathan. Interesting. Wheels turn slowly in ancient bureaucracies. Thankfully the hoi polloi (anyone below the level of Cardinal) don't wait for such things. I don't imagine anyone having a Catholic education in the past couple of centuries (at least) would have been taught that the earth is the centre of the universe - not in any science (or natural history) class at least.

    2. BTW Jonathan, I wasn't suggesting that John Paul II didn't 'side with Galileo' - it was just that I understood that particular pronouncement to be a sort of Papal apology to the long-dead Galileo, rather than an admission that the science was correct. The acceptance of the science would have come decades or centuries earlier I'd have thought - by default rather than by Papal decree.

      Your quote doesn't contradict my interpretation, though there may be more that you haven't quoted that I'm not aware of.

    3. More to the story? Nuance, mostly. The decree is about reversing the excommunication, like finding the executed prisoner innocent after the fact. Ooops. And, we can discuss how many angels ... which also would detract from the main and more important thesis of your argument: WUWT and AW, et al., live in an alternate and odd reality. Is the Universe (humorously) trying to tell us something about humans? If the relervant "fine structure" constant isn't exactly correct, life (rational thought) is not possible.

  10. Look forward to seeing this headline at CNA:

    'Pope urges Catholics to practice evidence-based thinking'

    1. Good one, David R. Almost as good as this one:


  11. "I plan to ignore the Pope and its science panel, as many are likely to do given their track record on getting science wrong in almost every case where science and religion have collided through history,"

    Oh my giddy aunt!

    My son an avowed atheist completed his high school education last month at a brilliant Jesuit establishment. He loved his school and he adored its boss - a brilliant and loving principal-priest.

    The Jesuits taught him to respect truth and to respect science.

    I'm not sure what school of Catholicism Anthony clings to but I'll bet my left testicle that its leadership includes Cardinal Burke http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-j-reid-jr/cardinal-raymond-burke_b_6154122.html
    and Cardinal Pell http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/27/pope-francis-edict-climate-change-us-rightwing

    1. Didn't you lose that in your last bet?

    2. Hmm..., Is PG now a left or right leaning nutter...?

      Err... sorry about that!

      R the Anon.

    3. Anon is an undergrad at the Bart Simpson School of Rapier Retort inc.

      In Anon's next semester at Liberty U, he will major in "I Know You Are But What Am I ?"

    4. PG - your observation is the same as mine (I am an agnostic Methodist something or other). I have two Jesuit professional colleagues (astronomers), Dr. & Ft George Coyne S.J and Dr. & Ft. Guy Consolmagno, S.J. (Guy & I we were graduate students together). Brothers Guy and George have written and lectured extensively on the "meaning of life in a Catholic Universe" and I encourage everyone to listen or read what they have to say, not to change any opinions but to provide a context or interpreting (any) religion in an incredibly large modern Renaissance of knowledge, immense compared to what was ever available, even 100 years ago. As George Coyne points out, how could the Bible say anything about modern science? It was written even before science was invented. But that does not detract from the very useful human aspects of religious philosophy (as opposed to religion as a structure). Remember, before Christianity's "turn the other cheek" perspective it was a dog-eat-dog, eye-for-an-eye world. Guy? Well, he's just this guy ... and a lot of fun to talk with.

  12. While its appropriate for a Pope to take on the forces of evil, I suspect that Francis will have taken on a enemy too powerful for him. I'd imagine that meetings are being held today on how to bring down a Pope. We can expect articles linking Francis to Argentine juntas, to paedophiles, to corruption anywhere and everywhere, to start surfacing in the media.

    1. John Paul I provides an example of how to take down an inconvenient Pope. It's interesting that Francis makes his own tea ...

      Francis could be a surprisingly bad enemy to make himself. The Papacy hasn't survived as an institution this long without developing one heck of a tactical skill-set.

    2. Millicent, This Pope may be charmed. Having already taken on corruption at the Vatican Bank and lived to tell the tale it would seem he's not totally without friends. True, he didn't have the numbers amongst the Bishops to get everything he wanted from the extraordinary Synod on the family, but he's earning more friends than enemies from outside than his predecessor. More progressive Catholics, which seems to be most of them, are noticing. And this agnostic for the first time in memory is tempted to actually like a Pope.

  13. As with most of his "facts", Anthony's 359 years is wildly out. While the church pushed back against the theological implications they had no objection to the publication of a "revised" version of Copernicus which restricted its heliocentric claim to being a useful model rather than a statement of fact. With the evidence available at the time, that was - scientifically - the strongest claim that could be made. In the absence of accurate parallax measurements (which could not be made with Galileo's crude instruments) any such claim to being fact was something of an over-reach, and the church clung to the existing paradigm.

    When parallax measurements became available they removal of their injunction against heliocentric books in 1758, and their objection to "unrevised" Copernicus and Galileo in 1820, as something of an afterthought following Vatican approval for a Catholic priest to publish a heliocentric book (after it was initially banned by the the Vatican's censor). The Vatican observatory could hardly have done the good work it has over 230 years if they were sticking to geocentrism until 20 years ago.

    The whole Galileo story is grossly distorted in the manner of "scientists thought the world was flat" meme. Initially the Vatican damped down the issue by striking an agreement with Galileo that he could publish the data for and against the heliocentric model (the church already acknowledged its utility for calculations) but that he was not to advocate for it as a fact, pending conclusive evidence. The church took a position that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof - shock, horror! Surely Anthony would approve of the publication of evidence without advocacy?

    Galileo's "heresy" was not his support for heliocentricism. It was in his defiance of the terms he had agreed with the church, in his pointing out passages in the Bible contradicted by the supposed fact of heliocentrism, in his mockery of Pope Urban (his former friend). He was undoubtedly very intelligent, but not so wise it seems.

    Personally, I think John Paul II's speech vindicating Galileo was problematic. While rehabilitating him, it mischaracterised the Church's position at the time. Neither JPII's pronouncement, nor the original verdict (a 7-3 decision), bear the stamp of infallibility, so Catholics a free to argue the merits of both. Especially if they are as terminally lapsed as I am (my Jesuit education seems to have "taken" only in secular matters....)

    Oh, AND double-logic-fail.

  14. For an organization supposedly determined to oppose science, the Catholic church sure spends a lot of money on it. The Vatican Observatory maintains an up-to-date astronomical research facility on Mt. Graham, Arizona; it's informally known as the "Pope Scope".

    1. Presumably the Pope Scope is permanently pointed to the East ...?

  15. Just when I thought WUWTers had thrown every irrelevancy but the kitchen sink at me, they desperately hurl another self-distraction into the mix:



    Ron C.
    January 5, 2015 at 5:54 am
    With the Pope on board, Global Warming Alarm is confirmed as a religious belief.


    Isn't even on the Pope thread, for St. Pete's sake. Context of this "response" is me asking dbstealey (for the 10th time) why their better and brighter honest skeptical scientists cannot beat the CMIP5 ensemble for predictions, and him lamely telling me "Easy-peasy. We do it all the time: the climate is a function of natural variability. There is no need to invoke a magic gas, or to promote a scare. And the IPCC cannot even beat it’s own so-called ‘predictions’."

    Hilariously, db goes on to confuse the game of whack-a-mole with "Look! Squirrel!".

    1. And there was me thinking that with every prestigious scientific body on this planet on board Global Warming is confirmed as good solid science.

    2. No no no, see when warmists say such things, it's a fallacious appeal to authority and/or popularity.

  16. "perhaps you are aware that in this day and age, ALL of the our media is owned by only a handful of corporations"

    This is true:

    I worked for a CBS affiliated station as chief meteorologist for 11 years. The media are not good sources for science, nor do they understand what is. They give most weighting to ratings and measures that determine profitability Fox news is a good example of one side that has made a successful play to attract viewers of one particular political affiliation...........realizing that most other sources have the opposite bias. This was a brilliant move.

    Regarding the Catholic Church, I taught religious education as a volunteer for 15 years but knowing the Catholic faith or not is not what this is about. My opinion is as good or bad as anybody's on why the Pope is pursuing this path.

    This has and should not have anything to do with science. The Pope(and media) generally understand very little about science, especially something as complicated as climate science. The media is run as a business and the Catholic Church, if it is to survive must follow a similar course. Teaching the same dogna in the same manner that was successful for my generation and those generations before me will fail miserably with the young Catholics in today's world.

    This will be seen as the Pope selling out by many of us that you like to call "deniers" but we should listen to exactly what he has to say before forming an opinion. Long time Catholics like me will have a hard time embracing this path but most of us will be dead in 30 years............and this Pope is looking at the big picture.

    I mentioned teaching religious education earlier. During that time, it became obvious that in today's world, you can't teach religion like it was taught to us in the 50's-60's-70's and prior to that. We were given books and resources to teach with but clearly, they were created by "old school" Catholics most of the time.

    This is just my opinion at the moment but I think the Pope has a mission to spread the Catholic faith in today's world using effective, political methods, while still keeping true to the beliefs of the church and message of Jesus.

    1. Meteormike

      A long post Meteor mike but you do not get off the fence or say anything substantial.

      It would be genuinely interesting to hear how you will reconcile your two faiths.

    2. "It would be genuinely interesting to hear how you will reconcile your two faiths"

      This was already stated.
      "This has and should not have anything to do with science"

    3. Meteormike

      How does that explain how you will reconcile your two faiths?

    4. We haven't heard Francis yet but I rather expect he'll be approaching this as a moral issue, not a scientific one. The scientific case for AGW is accepted by essentially the whole decision-making class; it's their decisions (or lack of same) that he may have something to say about.

    5. Hmm, err, Christian Rock ...

      File that one under ...

      How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)?

  17. 1. Religion is based on a belief(faith) in something that cannot be proven.

    2. Science is based on something that can be proven using the scientific method.

    As an active Catholic for 58 years, I can apply principles regarding #1 that are not in conflict with those that I apply in #2, using observations/interpretations as an operational meteorologist for 33 years.

    1. So are you saying, Mike, that the Pope is taking this position on climate change in order to make the Church more relevant, without regard to whether the science explaining climate change is correct or not?

    2. I can apply principles regarding #1 that are not in conflict with those that I apply in #2,


      Assuming you think the science does not support AGW. But the Pope is saying that it is a moral choice to err on the side of caution and catholics should do what is necessary to mitigate the risk. Surely this is a dilemma for you? Will you still believe your interpretation of the science or agree with the pope to adopt a precautionary strategy?

    3. I think he is giving tremendous weight to making the Catholic Church more relevant while also acting consistently with moral principals.

      We'll have to see what he says about the science but he probably would not do this if it strongly contradicted the science that his close advisers on science were telling him. This is not saying anything you don't know, just clarifying what I think since you asked.

      However, I don't get my science from politicians, the media(people like Bill O"Reilly or Rush WIndbag) famous actors or from the leader of my religion.

      Unfortunately, most people probably do and as you know, people's belief systems determine cognitive bias so that a source they align with on some issues will more likely be trusted on other issues that are outside that same sources area of expertise..

    4. MeteorMike

      OK, from your reply i understand that you do not get your science from the Pope. So will that exclude following his moral guidance because you do not agree with the advice that he has been given? Or will you go along with it while at the same time thinking his advice is misguided?

    5. "Assuming you think the science does not support AGW"


      Not correct.
      I am called a denier because I don't believe in as much AGW as many do. Labeling me as such because I think there might only be half as much warming as you(and give greater weighting to elements related to my own observations) never really has made sense to me.

      "Surely this is a dilemma for you?"

      When you have an open mind, you make adjustments based on what is happening........at least in a scientific field that is advancing.

      On religion, questioning ones own faith is always a good thing too and can strengthen it(or not). What the Pope says on climate change should not play a role on what one believes about religion.

      It's ok to think the Pope is full of crap on certain issues(he is human and will be wrong at times) but still follow the Catholic faith with him as the leader.

    6. MeteorMike

      Oh come on MeteorMike. Why are you finding it so hard to answer the question? Stop dancing around what I am asking. :)

      For a start I did not call you a denier. I could have listed every shade of AGW doubt possible but I thought you could be savvy enough to work it out for yourself where you are on the scale. It is not important exactly where you are. The point is that you part company with what the Pope is saying and disagree. As a Catholic you may find disagreeing with the Pope a bit troubling. Will you resolve that sense of unease by:

      a. Ignoring him.
      b. Going along with what he says but think the advice he has received is not sound.

      It is not a trick question! :)

    7. Jammy,
      I've clearly answered your question repeatedly and will do so again.
      This time, I pick choice:
      a. Ignoring him.

      Possibly you are having such a hard time with this because, like many folks, you have the mistaken belief that Catholics are always obligated to follow everything the Pope says.

      Maybe this will help:


    8. MeteorMike

      Thanks for the definitive reply.

      You may think you answered repeatedly but you only answered in vague generalities, including your first posting, which was why I was interested in a bit of clarification.

      Yes, you are right that I was asking you if you felt at all obligated to follow what the Pope said. I do not have a hard time accepting your answer. The hard part was getting you to answer.

    9. But not as hard as getting MM to admit that lukewarmerism is incompatible with paleoclimate behaviour and is in fact just plain old denial in a sciencey disguise.

    10. The difficulty may lie in the fact that a different MM thinks trees are thermometers not rain gauges.

    11. Well it's a bit of both, innit? Though mainly during the summer. Apparently, at high N latitude, growth rate may be a proxy for TSI variability (Stine & Huybers 2014).

    12. No problemo Jammy,

      You might be surprised to know that I'm an environmentalist and will likely be in agreement with much of what the Pope states regarding being good stewards of the planet and help those less fortunate(people and countries).

      The point(s) that I will likely ignore, relate to advice based on assumptions of much greater warming or extreme weather that I disagree with.

    13. MeteorMike

      I am not particularly surprised you are an environmentalist. Why not?

      Good luck with disagreeing with greater warming and extreme weather. Let us hope you are right. Unfortunately I do not think there is much likelihood of that.

    14. Meteormike

      Low sensitivity is incompatible with paleoclimate behaviour. You can strut around repeating your incorrect and scientifically weightless opinion all you wish but it changes absolutely nothing.

      This is why it's called denialism.

    15. I've heard the "I'm an environmentalist" many times before from "luke-warmers", or "pseudo-skeptics" and out-and-out deniers. I believe the claimants are sincere. It is often followed up with "there are bigger problems for the environment than climate change". This is also true, and may even form part of a reasonable argument for how to partition limited resources to protect the environment.

      However, often it seems intended to imply that the claimant knows more about climate change than they really do. ("I love the environment, so trust me I know the science of the real threats to it.") That doesn't follow. I haven't seen anything from MM yet that persuades me that medium projections from IPCC are excessive.

    16. BBD, That paper is a goldmine, thanks for the ref. The bit about volcanoes is topical for me right now. All this prompts me to ask, what's the deal with Friederike Wagner leaf stomata as a proxy for CO2 concentration in the Holocene? 1999 paper in Science touts >300 ppmv, "falsifying" the stable ~280 ppmv from ice cores:


      The falsification claim is rebutted the next month by Indermühle and friends, including Barnola whose name I most know:


      But they don't completely throw the technique under the bus, and in 2002 Wagner gets off another one in PNAS this time, where he cites the rebuttal and softens statements of certainty, but still trots out the 300 ppmv levels:


      Then in 2004 he publishes again in QSR:


      Still talking about 350-370 ppmv, but now the time series are in "norm. CO2 (ppmv)" which I take to be read as anomalies. He winds up the conclusion with, "The demonstrated ability of stomatal frequency analysis to generate independent but highly comparable proxy records clearly meets the requirements for a palaeo-proxy in the field of global atmospheric CO2 dynamics."

      Which I take to mean, "Why is no one paying attention to me?"

      These aren't crank journals. Do you know anything about this?

      There is one punchline I do know: WUWTers love their tree leaves ....

    17. Brandon R

      I don't know much at all about this but the latest, very high resolution gas analysis from the WAIS Divide core strongly suggests that Wagner is mistaken. See Marcott et al. (2014).

      As a general rule, actual samples of paleoatmosphere are likely to be a more accurate guide to CO2 variability than a statistical model of stomatal proxies. I thought the Wutters didn't trust statistical models derived from proxies anyway. WUWT? :-)

      It sounds like teh usual Wuttering over obsolete and problematic research.

    18. BBD,

      WUWTers have of course thoroughly "debunked" both Marcott (2014) and Shakun (2012). The latter especially because of its direct challenge to the "CO2 (always) lags, not leads" article of faith. It goes without saying that what I call the "hemispheric sloshing" of temperatures shown in Shakun goes completely ignored.

      I gather what's really going on is that direct gas measurement is indeed the superior technique for reasons I already found obvious, and that while what Wagner writes is good enough pass muster for publication in serious journals his techniques don't gain traction because real skeptics know when to model and when not to ... and have a thing for being logically consistent about it.

      I need a plasma cutter to slice the irony. Thanks for the feedback.

    19. Teh Wutters and McI tried very hard to pull down M*13* (duly chronicled by Sou) but AFAIK they haven't come across Marcott14 yet. Here's the full paper for you. I know the CO2 curve stops ~9ka, but it's far enough into the Holocene to show that Wagner's proxy reconstruction is probably wrong. The new WAIS Divide core seems to be yielding the best combination of temporal resolution and gas measurement accuracy so far achieved (excepting the relatively short record from the Law Dome cores - which also contradicts Wagner).

    20. BBD, ah my mistake, a new paper is out. Excellent.

    21. ... or I should say, has been out for over three months.

  18. It will be interesting to see what Catholic Bill O'Reilly has to say about the Pope's position. He just said in December: "It's Easier To Believe In A Benevolent God, The Baby Jesus" Than Manmade Climate Change

    1. Yes, because a benevolent god is just so much better than the malevolent god of the Old Testament.

      But a random and capricious god is just so much better than, hmm, err, a random and capricious god.

      Or so I've been told.

      What would bebaby bejebus do?

  19. From The Guardian:

    Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion.

    “The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

    (I'm guessing the liberal Guardian cut-off his detailed explanation of the sciencey bits.)

    1. The Catholic Church vs the Cornwall Alliance - not a fair contest. Poor little Calvin's still got his knickers in a knot from the disdain he got at the 2007 conference.

      Dr. Calvin Beissner (US) argued along the lines of Dr. Idso and Prof. Singer but framed his contribution theologically. His approach was strongly questioned by theologians around the able for an insufficient exegetical and systematic basis.

      from a report of the Pontifical Council on Climate Change and Development (2007)

      Calvin's not on the bandwagon with Evangelicals, either.


    2. The Wiki link brought me to this quote from Ann Coulter, a beautiful example of the far-right's 'stewardship' mindset:

      "God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'"

    3. When God installs the sewer outlet where the fresh water inlet is supposed to be, what else would we expect?

  20. I have seen it claimed that the Pope has a Masters in Chemistry and worked in a lab at one point. Most of the Church also seems smart enough not to paint themselves into a corner by claiming that the Bible is a science text, as the Biblical literalists so foolishly do.

    No wonder the fundamentalists are so terrified of modernity. If they let themselves think too much, they may lose their faith, and then they'd be totally lost, or they think they would.

  21. You probably will not hear this at WUWT.

    Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has appointed Aldo Rebelo, a climate science denier and a member of the Communist Party of Brazil as science minister.

    That will surely cause the "its all a communist plot" deniers heads to explode.


  22. Watts claim that it "took the Catholic church 359 years to decide that Galileo was right after all, and that the Earth DOES in fact revolve around the Sun." is also quite wrong. They formally recognized that Galileo was right in 1822.


    "Galileo's works were eventually removed from the Index and in 1822, at the behest of Pius VII, the Holy Office granted an imprimatur to the work of Canon Settele, in which Copernicanism was presented as a physical fact and no longer as an hypothesis."

    1. In my previous post I should have included the point made in my link that,
      " Heliocentricism was never declared a heresy by either ex cathedra pronouncement or an ecumenical council."

    2. Eadler2, as per my earlier post (January 6, 12:00 AM) they stopped banning new books supporting heliocentrism in 1758, but it took another 60 years to get around to rehabilitating works that were already on the Index.

      And they had always accepted heliocentrism as a useful model. They just declined to accept is as a physical fact until the key issue of the apparent lack of parallax was solved (the stars were at much greater distances than anyone imagined). Cardinal Bellarmine explained all this to Galileo at the time, and once that vital piece of evidence put the issue beyond doubt, they made no further objection.


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