“Climate Agnostic” Columnist Pissing Off New York Times Readers

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EARLIER THIS MONTH, OR LAST
MONTH I SHOULD SAY, THE NEW YORK TIMES PISSED AWFUL LOT OF PEOPLE
WHEN IT DECIDED TO HIRE BRET STEPHENS TO WRITE ARTICLES FOR
THEM. HE IS A LONGTIME CLIMATE DENIER AND CONSERVATIVE THEY
PITCHED AS A DIFFERENT VOICE, I GUESS HE DENIES THE CLIMATE IN A
DIFFERENT WAY THAN OTHER REPUBLICANS PERHAPS. PEOPLE WERE
MAD, AND NOW HIS FIRST ARTICLE CAME OUT, WE HAVE ACCESS TO IT,
AND PEOPLE ARE EVEN MORE MAD. BECAUSE THE NEW YORK TIMES SAID
THAT, LOOK, WE GET YOU ARE MAD ABOUT THIS GUY, HE GOES AGAINST
97% OF ALL THE CLIMATE SCIENTISTS IN THE WORLD, DOESN’T
SEEM TO HAVE CREDIBILITY ON THIS ISSUE, BUT WHATEVER, WE WILL
HAVE HIM, BUT WE WILL FAX CHECK HIM. THEY DIDN’T DO THAT,
BECAUSE HE GOT A LOT OF FUNDAMENTAL FACTS STATED — HE
ONLY STATED A FEW FACTS HERE AND HE GOT THEM WRONG. WE WANT TO
READ A LITTLE OF HIS ARTICLE BECAUSE THE CORE ARGUMENT I FIND
NOT JUST OFFENSIVE AS SOMEONE WHO BELIEVES IN SCIENCE, BUT FOR
SOMEONE WHO CARES ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND OUR ATTEMPTS TO FIGHT
IT. STEPHENS SAID THIS. IS ARTICLE, BY THE WAY, IS CLIMATE
OF COMPLETE CERTAINTY –>>AND HE IS VERY WORRIED THAT
THERE WON’T BE ENOUGH CONVERTS TO PEOPLE CARING ABOUT
CLIMATE CHANGE, I GUESS. AFTER THAT HE SAYS –>>I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF
-ISMS GOING AROUND WE SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT, SCIENTISM IS NOT
ONE WE SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT.>>YOU ARE CENSORILY DOING THAT.>>HE SAYS NONE OF THIS IS TO
DENY SCIENCE, I GET WHAT HE SAYS THAT, HE’S A LONGTIME CLIMATE
DENIER AND HE’S WORRIED ABOUT LOSING HIS JOB SO HE WANTS TO
PITCH HIMSELF AS A CLIMATE AGNOSTIC, AS IF ONE SHOULD BE
AGNOSTIC ABOUT WHETHER OUR CIVILIZATION IS ON THE BRINK OF
DESTRUCTION OR NOT. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT HIS HISTORY, VOX HAD
SOME GOOD QUOTES THEY COMPILED –>>THAT IS NOT JUST CLIMATE
DENIAL –>>IF THAT IS
NOT CLIMATE DENIAL, CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS. AND THEN,
OH, YOU ARE JUST AN AGNOSTIC ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE
FACING HUMANITY NOW. THAT’S HIS POSITION. I DON’T LIKE THE
FRAMING THAT SCIENTISTS ARE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN ABOUT
ANYTHING. WHEN SCIENCE, IF ANYTHING, AND ESPECIALLY
SCIENTISTS IN THE MODERN DAY, ARE MARKED BY — I WAS IN
ACADEMIA, A SOCIAL SCIENCE, THAT YOU SHOULD CONSTANTLY QUESTION
YOURSELF. YOU ARE CONSTANTLY CONTESTING OTHER HYPOTHESES. EVEN WHEN SOMETHING IS SHOWN BY THE DATA IT IS RETESTED. THERE
IS A HUMILITY THAT NO OTHER FIELD FIRST OF ALL IS DEMANDED
OF THEM, AND SECOND OF ALL THAT THEY TAKE UPON THEMSELVES SO
WILLINGLY AS SCIENCE. SO TO PITCH IT THAT THEY ARE
ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN ABOUT ANYTHING IS 100% UNTRUE, I DON’T
KNOW WHY THE NEW YORK TIMES DIDN’T DO THEIR FACT CHECKING
THERE.>>WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK?>>BRET STEPHENS WON A PULITZER
PRIZE WHEN HE WAS AT THE MOST REGIONAL, BUT THE PULITZER
COMMITTEE NEVER SAW HIS WORK ON CLIMATE CHANGE, THE TIMES HIRED
HIM TO DO THIS, IT’S SUCH A DEPARTURE FROM THE WAY MOST OF
THEIR READERSHIP AND MOST OF THE COUNTRY THINKS, TO GO AT SCIENCE
IN THAT WAY. THE TIMES REALLY HAS TO RETHINK THE WAY THEY DO
THIS BECAUSE YOU TALK ABOUT FAKE NEWS, I KNOW IT IS AN
OP-ED AND ITS OPINION AND ALL THAT, BUT IT’S FAKE NEWS AND
THE TIMES HAS BEEN FIGHTING AGAINST THAT LABEL.>>AND THEY THROW THEIR WEIGHT
BEHIND IT. THIS IS A MUCH ADVERTISED POSITION THAT THE
TIMES AS REPRESENTING. WHEN THE TRUTH IS, AS JOHN STATED SO
WELL, THE FACTS ARE THE FACTS, AND THERE ARE CERTAIN FACTS THAT
ARE NOT IN DISPUTE, AND THERE ARE CERTAIN FACTS THAT ARE BEING
REVISED CONSTANTLY AS THEY ARE DISPUTED BY NEW FACTS THAT COME
IN. ALL THE GRAPHS ON THE WARMING OF THE GLOBE ARE
UNDENIABLE. IT’S SUCH A STEEP CURVE UP, THAT TO DENY THAT
WOULD BE CRAZY. THEN YOU GET INTO THE, HOW MUCH IS MAN-MADE
AND HOW MUCH ISN’T? BUT AGAIN, THE SCIENCE COMMUNITY IS REPLETE
WITH EXAMPLES OF AWARD-WINNING SCIENTISTS, ALL OF WHOM THINK
THAT THIS IS A MAN-MADE EVENT. LOOK, IS IT PROVOCATIVE AND COOL
TO TAKE IT ON BECAUSE I SUPPOSE –>>BUT WHY IS IT?>>THERE IS NO SUBSTANTIVE
FACTUAL PART OF THE –>>HE DIDN’T EVEN CITE AN EXAMPLE
OF THIS SUPPOSED CERTAINTY. THERE ARE NO EXAMPLES OF
SCIENTISTS SHOWING CERTAINTY.>>PART OF THIS IS IRONIC BECAUSE
HE CAME FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL WHERE THEY DON’T
CRITICIZE ANYTHING TO DO WITH WALL STREET FOR MEDICALLY, HE IS
SAYING THERE IS A MONEY PART OF THIS, THERE IS A MONEYED
INTEREST IN GOING OUT AND SAYING THAT THERE IS MAN-MADE CLIMATE
CHANGE, IT’S A HUGE PROBLEM, THAT IS TO OPEN THE COFFERS OF
MONEY, AND STEPHENS IS CRITICAL OF THAT AFTER HAVING
BEEN AT THE WALL STREET JOURNAL FOR SO LONG, NOW HE WILL
GO AFTER SCIENTISTS AND SAY THEY ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY? WHEN PEOPLE CRITICIZE
JOURNALISTS AND SCIENTISTS FOR BEING IN IT FOR THE MONEY I
HAVE NO PATIENCE FOR THAT.>>APPARENTLY THEY HAVE NOT
WORKED AS ONE OF THOSE THINGS.>>THERE IS NOT BIG-MONEY THERE.>>TO THE PULITZER, YOU CAN DO
GREAT, INVESTIGATIVE WORK AND BE CRAZY ON OTHER ISSUES. THIS IS
NOT JOURNALISM, IT IS AT BEST A POORLY WRITTEN AND RESEARCHED
OP-ED. MAYBE IT WILL GET BETTER, BUT TO SAY THAT HIS MAIN CONCERN
IS THAT THOSE SCIENTISTS ARE SO SURE OF THEMSELVES AND THAT IS
WHY THEY SAY WE SHOULD SPEND AN EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT OF MONEY
AND DAMAGE THE ECONOMY AND LIMIT GROWTH TO STOP HUNDREDS OF
MILLIONS POTENTIALLY HAVING TO FLEE RISING OCEAN LEVELS — HE
BELIEVES THAT — FIRST OF ALL MANY BELIEVE THAT INVESTMENTS IN
CLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY COULD BE A NET POSITIVE FOR THE
ECONOMY, HE SIMPLY ASSERTS IT’S A NEGATIVE WITHOUT PROVIDING
EVIDENCE, THAT WASN’T FACT CHECKED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES. BUT I’VE SEEN A BIG META-ANALYSIS OF IF WE WERE TO
PURSUE POLICIES TO KEEP GLOBAL TEMPERATURES FROM GOING ABOVE
2∞C THAT IT WOULD LIMIT GROWTH GLOBALLY BY .06%, AND FOR SOME
REASON THEY CAN SAY IT LIMITS GROWTH TO SCARE PEOPLE. I WOULD
EASILY GIVE THAT IF IT MEANS WE DON’T POTENTIALLY HAVE TO FACE
WORLDWIDE DROUGHTS AND FAMINES AND THINGS OF THAT SORT. THERE
IS ONE OTHER META-ANALYSIS, IF WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CERTAINTY
AND WHAT SCIENTISTS THINK IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN, THE BOOK
CLIMATE SHOCK HAD THIS CHART. THIS IS AN ACCUMULATION OF A LOT
OF ANALYSES OF EXPECTED WARMING, YOU SEE THERE, THERE IS NO
CHANCE WE ARE NOT GOING TO GO UP ALMOST 1∞C. SINCE THE 1900S
WE’VE ALREADY HAD SOMEWHERE BETWEEN .6 AND 1∞ RAISE IN
TEMPERATURE. THERE IS A VERY HIGH CHANCE IT WILL BE TWO OR
THREE OR 4∞. THAT IS A DISASTER BY ITSELF, YOU ARE LOOKING AT
OCEAN LEVELS GOING UP, SOME CITIES BECOMING UNINHABITABLE,
SOME CROPS NOT BEING ABLE TO DEVELOP, THAT’S A DISASTER. BUT
ONCE YOU GET TOWARDS THE RIGHT THERE IS A LARGE CHANCE, THEY
HAVE MARKED IT OFF, MORE THAN 10% CHANCE OF MORE THAN 6∞C OF
WARMING. THAT IS SPECIES THREATENING. IF THERE WAS A 10%
CHANCE OF YOU CRASHING YOUR CAR, WOULD YOU DRIVE? IF THERE WERE A
10% CHANCE IN A ROUTINE SURGERY THAT YOU WOULD DIE, WOULD YOU
GET THAT SURGERY? YET HE LOOKS AT THAT INFORMATION AND SAYS
THEY ARE TOO SURE OF THEMSELVES. I WOULD SAY BOTH THE SCIENTISTS
AND THOSE OF US WHO CARE ABOUT THE CONTINUATION OF
CIVILIZATION ARE BEING TOO TIMID, YET HE IS GETTING PAID BY
THE NEW YORK TIMES.>>AND THE CODA TO THAT IS THEY
HAVE BEEN ON THE TIMID SIDE HISTORICALLY. WE ARE GETTING
WARMER AT A PACE THAT IS FASTER THAN THOSE PROJECTIONS, AND YOU
SEE THAT STORY OVER AND OVER AGAIN FOR THE LAST DECADE. SO I
THINK THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY IS TIMID ABOUT MAKING THESE
ALARMIST FORECASTS.>>BECAUSE UNFORTUNATELY THIS
PARTICULAR AREA OF SCIENCE HAS BECOME INCREDIBLY POLITICIZED,
AND WHEN THEY COME OUT WITH THEIR FINDINGS THEY ARE EITHER
CENSORED BY THE GOVERNMENT, ATTACKED BY POLITICIANS AND
PUNDITS BECAUSE THEY DON’T LIKE WHAT SCIENCE HAS REVEALED — I
WOULD SAY IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT IT’S SHOWING, ENTER A DOCTORAL
PROGRAM, CONDUCT YOUR OWN RESEARCH, AND SHOW THAT THOSE
OTHER SCIENTISTS ARE WRONG. THAT’S HOW YOU PROVE A POINT,
NOT SIMPLY ATTACKING THEM AND ASSERTING THAT SOME GUY WHO WENT
TO SCHOOL FOR 12 YEARS AT THE DOCTORAL OR GRADUATE LEVEL IS
DOING IT FOR THE MONEY WHEN HE MAKES 50K A YEAR AFTERWARDS.

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