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« Choosing sides | Main | Defending Gatten on the wrong front »

Mar 04, 2007


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brad krantz

Ed is so dwarfed by the towering intellectualism of Davenport and the inarguable logic of his arguments that he must build himself up by putting Sir Charles down. It is sad, Ed. I don't think you'll EVER know what it's TRULY like to be a well-sourced, FACT-based journalist like Charles The Great instead of a member of the Bush-hating, America-hating, secular-progressive, liberal-intelligencia-ivory-tower-occupying, global-warming-worshipping, drive-by media.

Percy Walker

More unintentional hilarity: Davenport twice "quotes" from the recent IPCC report to support his claim that global warming "enthusiasts" "tak[e] liberty with the facts." Neither of the quotes he attributes to the report actually appears in the report.

Dave Dobson

It was funny - I saw Davenport's abnormally tan-looking picture in the paper with a global warming headline, and thought, oh crap, I'm going to have to spend a couple hours writing to the paper this afternoon. But there was really nothing there, other than some empty claims that global warming folks think that it will kill millions, and the bogus idea that somehow a questionable, minor cooling from 1940-70 makes the bigger overall warming trend from 1860 until now not relevant. It was so incoherent and content-free (and so 1998-ish, in terms of the status of the debate) there was not much to respond to.

The CA

Brad, you got that last bit describing Ed right.

As far as Davenport, for some reason Ed seems to really be perturbed by the fact that Davenport is allowed ink in the same paper. We all know that only some people are worthy, and others are not. It just sounds whiny and arrogant. After all, Davenport doesn't come from a privileged background and didn't go to Haverford with his daddy's money, but I'm used to that by now and I suppose Davenport is too.

Meanwhile, Ed's latest N&R column once again shows that he is a master of appearing to say something important and insightful while really saying nothing significant at all. He has taken the art of stating the obvious to a new level.

The CA

Dave, why start at 1860? Why not 1060, or even 1360? Your logic used against Davenport is no different than your own.


Says Sam Spagnola, a master of appearing to say something important and insightful while really saying nothing significant at all.

brad krantz

Nowhere did I detect Mr. Cone making a class-based attack on Charles Davenport, only on the lack of the quality of his argument. The same cannot be said about Mr. Sam.

Dave Dobson

Sam, start where you like whenever you like in the last couple thousand years. 1860 is roughly where the big change began, both in CO2 emissions and in warming, which is why I picked it - it has a basis as a turning point in both history and in climate, unlike 1940.

See here.

I'd add that your dig at Ed's education and your aspersions against his family background are pretty damn low, even for you.

The CA

But Brad, Ed says the same thing all the time about Davenport. Dig up some of his previous comments about Davenport being published and they reek of elitism. He doesn't think Davenport should even have a column (but HE should interestingly enough). It inevitably boils down to Cone being worthy of print, but not scum without journalism degrees like Davenport. And you brought up the class issue with the phrase "liberal-intelligencia-ivory-tower-occupying" remark. When it comes to Ed vs. Davenport, that is frequently the subtle underlying theme.

The CA

Dave, in other words, 1860 is convenient for your argument. But if prior to 1860, the earth went through similar warming and cooling periods (in fact, more drastic), that would blow your whole argument for man made global warming due to industrialization, wouldn't it?

Further, Ed has attacked my educational background numerous times, so I don't think he's too upset by my digs at him. Lex did the same thing over at Fec's place last week. Too low for them?


Sam, your law school called. They want their dignity back.

David Hoggard

Those WERE some very petty remarks about Ed, Sam.

I thought the same thing as Ed when I read Davenport's opening paragraph. I was like... uh oh, here we go. And sure enough, Charles didn't disappoint.

It was a laughable column. I know this because I laughed at it.

And that reaction came from someone who has a few things in common with the N&R's main conservative local columnist... I don't have a college degree ( journalism or otherwise) AND I write for the N&R now and again. However, somehow, I have been spared any alleged Ed Cone elitism.

Davenport's columns, for the most part, are only appropriate for intellectual munchkins. I don't think he deserves anywhere near the ink the N&R pays him for.

My theory is that the N&R keeps him around just to piss Ed off and to make me laugh.

The CA

Actually that was UNC who called and they were looking for Mike Nifong. I told them they had the wrong number. They said "oh, yeah. We heard about you. You're that guy who posts on Ed Cone's blog, and when people don't like what you say, they switch the subject to your law degree which almost always has nothing to do with the topic at hand. By the way, SMU is a fine law school. I heard you did very well there and have been rather successful since you left. I just looked at your peer review rating in Martindale Hubbell, and noticed that it is the highest rating one a lawyer with your experience can receive."

The CA

Then they added "but you probably should proofread your comments for typo's before posting", at which point I agreed.

The CA

Hoggard, it sounds like the N&R is succeeding at both.

brad krantz

By the way, is an elitist credential more tied to where one goes to college or whether one's daddy paid for it? I didn't go to no elite school (Ohio State) but my daddy DID pay for me. He is only a high school graduate himself and was honored to do so for his kids but maybe I should have declined the generosity to maintain future credibility. And yes, it was so long ago that Woody Hayes was the damn football coach.


"Those WERE some very petty remarks about Ed, Sam."

No, the petty remarks came from Ed, aided and abetted by followups from you, Dobson, Krantz, and John C.

Same script, different thread.

Just more business as usual.

Dave Dobson

Sam -

Did you even look at the graph, or, like, read what I said? Sheesh. I could pick any time in the past 1,000 years, and now would be warmer.

I could pick any time in the past 2,000 years, and now would be warmer.

I could pick any time in the past 15,000 years, and now would be warmer.

In fact, I'd have to pick carefully to find a warmer time in the past 2,500,000 years that was warmer than now.

If you don't like 1860, I'll be happy to stipulate to 42,365 BC.

Almost none of the changes in the recent geologic past, changes which are large, match the magnitude of change (just under a degree Centigrade) over the brevity of the time period (about a hundred years). One exception is the cooling of the Younger Dryas, and there are other similar events, but these caused changes far worse than even the worst case we predict for the next 100 years for the current global warming scenario. Atmospheric carbon dioxide content shows the same thing - we're now far above CO2 levels present even during the last warm period about 100,000 years ago.

Your accusations of my bias actually reveal your lack of perspective and research on this issue.


"Your accusations of my bias actually reveal your lack of perspective and research on this issue"

Your bias is self evident from your past contributions here.

Much hilarity ensues over your statement.


You used a link from Wikipedia? You, the "peer revied" guru? One which distorts the actual chart?

MUCH hilarity now ensues!


And there's Bubba, right on schedule.

Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!

The CA

Dave, the graph you cite is a composite of the infamous "hockey stick" chart which has been discredited.

Brad, my dad went to OSU, too, and the US Air Force paid for it. Woody Hayes was still the coach then, too. It's not so much where Ed went to school and who paid for it by itself as it is how it all fits in with the big picture. Ed's trademark arrogance and inflated belief in his own intelligence combined with his frequent jabs at Davenport as not being worthy of print and "embarrasing". Why would Ed be embarrassed by what Davenport writes save for the fact that Davenports words are published in the same paper that publishes Ed's golden wisdom?

I wouldn't comment on Ed's background at all if he wasn't so snobbish and warrantlessly arrogant. There are plenty of people from richer backgrounds and better educations than Ed who don't get petty like he does when dealing with others from different circumstances who dare undertake the same tasks Ed has chosen for himself. After all, HE is a JOURNALIST, and YOU, well YOU didn't even graduate from college! How dare they let YOU opine in the same pages as ME! I went to Haverford for God's sake! That sort of thing. It's not even about if Davenport is right or wrong to me, it's Ed's attitude towards him, which is typical of his attitude towards nearly everyone he disagrees with.

Even people who know and like Ed personally have said he is arrogant.

The CA

Dave, note that the reconstructed graph you cite contains a number of different lines from different studies. Try to follow each individual color, not just the one the leads to the highest temperature, which is all by itself and represents only one study. You can clearly see that our temperatures now are about the same as they were in the years 1000-1200. Look at the zero temperature change mark on the graph and you will see roughly the same amount of colors at or above the line from the various studies. Almost every line ends very close to where it started back in 1000.

Also note the many drastic spikes in relatively short periods of time that have occurred as well. Our time is no different. Also, how do explain the "cooling" from 1000? In order to cool, you must first be hot.

Brad had a guy on his show (with Britt) last week who made some of these same points. Also, a new movie is coming out to debunk the man made global warming hype should be interesting.

Ed Cone

I do not have a journalism degree, and have never taken a journalism course.

The CA

All the more reason your insight and vastly superior writing skills are that impressive.

Dave Dobson

Bubba, as I said when I used these graphs before, they're all based on data from peer-reviewed journal articles. If you'd bothered to look at the citations on the page, you'd have seen that. What is it that you usually say? Thanks for playing. Collect your year's supply of Turtle Wax on the way out.

CA, the "hockey stick" graph has not been discredited; some scientists have challenged it, and those challenges are being played out in the literature through standard scientific method, a process which you and Bubba seem to think happens in the manner of beat poets around a hooka in an open-mike coffee shop rather than by serious trained folks in offices and labs around the world. Independent researchers have reached largely the same result as Mann, Bradley, and Hughes. The only major debate in the challenges is not the magnitude or direction of the recent warming trend; instead, it centers on the uncertainty figures in their reconstructed temperatures from earlier centuries.

Regardless, the 19th-20th century warming is instrumentally derived, not reconstructed, so you're still talking out of your ass with regard to the current topic.

The CA

Another thing, Dave, the chart you cite to prove it is warmer now than in any time in the past 2,500,000 years only demonstrates my point even more and discredits yours. Look at the chart and tell me what happened 500,000 years ago, 1 million years ago, 1.5 million years ago, 2.0 million years ago, 2.5 million years ago and further back for that matter that caused temperatures to be close to what they are today? Man? How can you explain all the drastic temperature swings in between those periods that appear on that chart? Man? Fossil Fuels?

That chart, along with the others, work against your theory, not for it.

The CA

No, Dave, you're talking out of your ass by jumping on the bandwagon that man is the cause of the warming. Nobody is disputing the warming has occurred. You have no evidence that it is man's fault, and those charts certainly don't provide any evidence that it is. In fact, they show the opposite.

Dave Dobson

Sam, dude, can you even see the black line at the right side? Those are friggin' thermometer measurements - not a "study" or "reconstruction" or anything like that. The line is significantly higher than any wiggle in the rest of the graph, and it goes on for twice the magnitude of any of the other oscillations over a 150 year period.

Ed Cone

Sam, merely correcting your statement that I regard a journalism degree as a prereq for publication. Obviously, I do not.

My problems with Davenport's columns involve Davenport's columns, not his resume.

If anyone doubted it beforehand, the blogging wave has made it abundantly clear that lucid writing is not the exclusive province of professional journalists. Nor does a degree or two guarantee good writing or cogent arguments.

Dave Dobson

Three factual observations:
1) Atmospheric CO2 is always significantly positively correlated with global temperature.
2) We're at CO2 levels not seen in the past 300,000 years thanks to human emissions.
3) The time we've released all that CO2 corresponds to a major change in temperature. The beginnings of both changes are coincident and their slopes are coincident.

Where's the bandwagon? I swear, it's like talking to a block of wood.

The CA

But Dave, you don't have a thermometer for the thousands/millions of years before then, so you can't prove the significance of the thermometer to your theory. The thermometer reading (the black line on the Reconstructed Graph) is in line (although slightly higher) than the reconstructed data. The conclusion seems to be that due to this correlation, the reconstructed data should be fairly accurate.

On your points:

1) It is debatable whether the increased CO2 follows the warming or the warming follows the CO2. Many reputable climatologists/meteorologists believe the former is the truth. This is one issue that will be covered in the documentary I cited as well as pointed out by the climatologist from CATO who was on Brad & Britt last week.

2) We may be at CO2 levels not seen in the past 300,000 years BUT a) what caused the higher levels before then? b) did the CO2 cause the warming or the warming cause the CO2? and c) what evidence do you have it has been caused by human emissions? See a & b.

3) What about all the major temperature changes before we "released all that CO2"?

I swear sometimes it's like talking to a global warming religious fanatic who only sees what he wants to see without analyzing the data and engages in post hoc ergo proctor hoc reasoning.

The CA

Ed, you are showing uncharacteristic restraint. I'll give you credit for that.

Dave Dobson

I give you data from published papers, you give me a movie that's not yet made and an unlinked reference to a CATO guy? It's not me who's a fanatic, dude. Just defending the science work of others from politically-motivated criticism, in an area I've dedicated a career to. If we were talking about whatever kind of law you do, I'm sure you'd have an informed opinion and state it strongly.

The CA

Maybe you should analyze the data from published papers that you gave me like I did. Perhaps you should also examine the political motivations of those you cite instead of merely claiming that only skeptics are politically motivated.

I'm sorry, I thought you were a geologist, not a climatologist or meteorologist.


Gotta get your denialist talking points straight. That's not the infamous "hockey stick" plot.

Dave Dobson

Sam, let me put this in simple terms. Regarding credentials, I'm a paleoclimatologist. That doesn't make me right, but it does make me an informed, educated party in these questions, which you continually deny. You're a criminal defense and family law specialist, which makes you not an authority on this at all. That doesn't make you wrong, but think of it this way - I'll freely confess that I'd be an idiot to debate finer points of divorce litigation or felony law with you, and I'd be a total poser if I tried to. If I called you wrong, denied your legal reasoning, and questioned your legal background over and over again, I'd be a dick. You might consider the possibility that I haven't wasted the last 20 years, and that I might actually know something about this. I certainly respect your legal expertise.

You say you "analyzed" the data. You didn't analyze anything; you looked at a graph that clearly shows warming and tried to find some feeble reason to say it doesn't exist, or that I can't prove it, or whatever. That's not science, that's self-delusion. That's what Intelligent Design guys do, that's what Bigfoot guys do, that's what UFO conspiracists do. If you start with the result you want, and then pick and choose the data that support it while ignoring the preponderance of clear evidence to the contrary, you're not doing science; you're trying to force the world into your preconceived model.

About my supposed "bias" - I don't want there to be warming. I don't want us to be causing it. What possible benefit could I derive from pointing out that global warming exists, other than to get folks to learn about it and address it? I don't know what the best policy to deal with it should be; it's conceivable that doing nothing might be OK, at least for the U.S., but it's not for people living in coastal areas and flood-prone areas around the world. I'm nervous because of my perspective as a geologist, though, about changing climate so much and so rapidly, and I think it might be a good idea to put the brakes on while we figure it all out. Particularly when the actions we would take (reducing dependence on fossil fuels) have many accompanying geopolitical benefits, like not giving Iran $100,000,000 a day.

What's your position, Sam? What are your policy goals? Can you accept that warming is even possible? You never make any affirmative statements; you just snipe at others and then deny, deny, deny.

There's no point in discussing this further, because (a) you're clueless about the science here and just echoing stuff you read on some conservative site somewhere, and (b) you're not interested in an honest conversation. There's also (c), you're obnoxious.

David Hoggard


You echoed my exact position on the warming debate with this, "...it might be a good idea to put the brakes on while we figure it all out. Particularly when the actions we would take (reducing dependence on fossil fuels) have many accompanying geopolitical benefits".

Man-made global warming or no... I support any movement, regardless of motivation, to reduce our dependence on oil. To me, the results justify the means - even if it all turns out to be junk science - which I don't think it is.


"There's no point in discussing this further, because (a) you're clueless about the science here and just echoing stuff you read on some conservative site somewhere, and (b) you're not interested in an honest conversation. There's also (c), you're obnoxious."

No, there's no unsubstantiated nonsense from dupes like Dobson, is there?

I am constantly amazed at the bad science some supposedly well-educated science academics are willing to swallow without question.

The "instrumentally derived" line is only the most recent example, but it ranks right up there with the howler about "peer review".

What's next, Dobson? A rehash of the "oil company shills" talking point?


"Perhaps you should also examine the political motivations of those you cite instead of merely claiming that only skeptics are politically motivated." -- CA

Good point.

"This is one issue that will be covered in the documentary I cited as well as pointed out by the climatologist from CATO who was on Brad & Britt last week" -- CA

Sam, you failed to mention, but surely examined, the political motivations of the "climatologist from CATO." Would you please share with us your findings?

Dave Dobson

Bubba, if you think shouting from Cato is better than peer reviewed research, there's no way to communicate with you about science.

If you think thermometers aren't a good way to measure temperatures, then you're just weird.


Another example of "quality science" supporting the cherished "global warming" meme.

Thanks, Dave.

The desperation is starting to cause people like you to gt REALLY stupid about this issue, isn't it?

Dave Dobson

I realized after posting last night that legal thinking is, actually, completely opposite from scientific thinking. Lawyers are supposed to bend all observations and data toward their client's position - it's how they best do their jobs. For scientists, it's the opposite; they want to find the truth based on observations, but they don't (or shouldn't) have a preconceived notion of what the truth is.

Lawyers, though, aren't necessarily interested in the truth; if their clients are guilty, or philandering, or whatever, it's still the lawyer's job to prove otherwise, as it should be under our legal system. Political pundits and think tanks use the same style of thinking and argument, but you'd think they'd at least be interested in the truth, however inconvenient. I suppose that given most politicians are lawyers, they might be more receptive to legal thinking than scientific thinking.

The CA

Dave, why don't you deal with my analysis of the information you provided instead of going off on a rant. This is a fact: You have no proof that man is responsible for global warming. You produce a chart and I question some of the assumptions of the chart, and suddenly I am unqualified to even ask questions- especially when you don't even answer them.

Your logic is we started recording actual temperatures around 1860 and the actual temperatures have gone up since then. By that post hoc ergo proctor hoc argument one could say that thermometers instead of CO2 are the cause of global warming. The fact that they have gone up since we started recording them proves nothing unless you know what happened before you started recording them.

That is like saying last year was the hottest year ever. Really? How do you know that if you didn't record every year since the beginning of the earth.

Roch, why don't you apply your logic to Dave's statements? He's the one who accused me of being political- why not ask him about the political nature of the people he cites? I never said CATO wasn't political. I merely said a lot of people on Dave's side of the issue are. You don't seem to have a problem with that.

Once again, the usual suspects go on the attack while ignoring the shortcomings of your ideological brethren. I don't make this stuff up, you guys prove it over and over again.


"Roch, why don't you apply your logic to Dave's statements?"

Aw, come on, Sam. "Look over there" is the best you can do? You admonish people to know the political motivations of the sources they cite on this issue. I asked you to apply your standard and tell us the political motivations a source you cited and you wag your finder instead. Lame.

Joe Killian

Am getting into this late after a strange weekend, but...

I don't have a journalism degree. Some of the best journalists I know (reporters and columnists) don't have journalism degrees. I've never worked with anyone in any newsroom who went to Harvard. I don't want to speak for Ed, but I think it's obvious that's not his problem with Davenport.

Shitty writing is shitty writing. Poor arguing is poor arguing. And hackery is hackery. When you put them all together...yeah, good writers of all stripes feel like that person should just go to bed. I read Ann Coulter's books because I want to know what I'm talking about if someone asks me what I don't like. Same for Michael Moore's. But I recognize that both of them together wouldn't equal half a Jimmy Breslin, Molly Ivins or P.J. O'Rourke. That doesn't make me an elitist. It makes me someone able to tell unlike things apart and recognize without shame or fear of being called a snob that not all things appearing in print under a byline are created equal.


Sam, I think Dave may have a point. For instance, don't you think the same scrutiny should be applied to your take on scientific and climatological matters as you apply to Lex's take on legal matters?

Also, can we skip the tired "usual suspects" spiel? How about we all agree that on every single thread from here on out, we'll all just mentally categorize everyone on one side "Usual Suspects, Liberal Division" and everyone on your side "Ususal Suspects, Conservative Division", and skip the actual public beating of the dead horse? Seems to me it would be more efficient that way, and just as useful.

Fec Stench

For the record, we've had no concession from Lex on the legality of releasing the Brady tapes. In any case, I can't find anybody who agrees with you and me that it violated an NC Statute.

BTW, I've been reading this blog for two years and only recently did I learn where Ed matriculated. While he enjoys a putatively successful surname, Ed's own circumstances are his business.

These ads hominem are tiresome as I made them years ago.

Dave Dobson

Sam, I've provided proof, data, and my reasoning. It turns out those facts are enough for more than 99% of the scientific community, plus the governments of virtually all other functioning countries, plus now George W. Bush. If you want to believe that thermometers cause warming, you're free to continue to do so, but I hope you're not suggesting we base policy on that supposition.

We have a pretty good idea of temperatures prior to the 20th century, as well. The middle of the 1800's saw widespread records being kept, at least in the western world, but Galileo created his first thermoscope in 1592-93, and Fahrenheit invented the mercury thermometer in 1714. The reconstructions from corals, tree rings, and other records are also very helpful. The statistical techniques behind the reconstructions are somewhat complicated, but they're not that hard to understand. There is uncertainty, but it's quantifiable.

I never said last year was the warmest ever. We're in a cold period in Earth history; there have been many warmer times when the world has been mostly ice-free and when Antarctica has been tree-covered. Some folks have called it the warmest on record, which is true based on the history of widespread temperature readings.

CO2 and temperature have a complex interdependence partially regulated by dissolution in the oceans, but it is undeniable that CO2 is a greenhouse gas - you can prove that in a lab - and that we're producing a bunch of it.
I can't believe you're now denying that we're causing the CO2 increase. Burning fossil fuels creates CO2 gas. The mass of fossil fuels we've burned is commensurate with the increase we've seen in the atmosphere. I guess I should clarify that the atmosphere is where smoke goes, too, in case you want to deny that as well.

You haven't yet proposed a policy or made an affirmative statement of what we should do.


"It those facts are enough for more than 99% of the scientific community.

Really? You mean facts like these?

Global Warming model predictions versus the actual evidence.


Great record, Dave.

Go back to your "peer review", "fringe scientist/deniers", but don't give us the "scientific consensus" nonsense, when it's obvious your "consensus" can't even falsify its data properly.

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