Political Science

Global WarmingIn news that doesn’t make you feel too great about the power of viral ideas, there is apparently an effort underway by conservative blogs to get people to vote for Climate Audit as the Best Science Blog in the 2007 Weblog Awards. Basically, conservative sites are telling their readers that the award would be a great way to combat the idea that global warming is a scientifically sound phenomenon, which a vast majority of science blogs (and, um, actual scientists) seem to subscribe to.

BoingBoing was quick to jump on this since they believe that this is a politically motivated campaign that has little to do with science. Of course, once BoingBoing chimes in the fun really starts, as you can see in the 200+ comments on the most recent Climate Audit post.

The consensus amongst non-conservative blogs is that Bad Astronomy, a site that, among other things, talks about misconceptions regarding astronomy, should win the award. In fact, Bad Astronomy is playing hardball and actually embedding the voting application directly into their latest post. As of the time of this post, Bad Astronomy is behind by about 500 votes.

What do you think? You can go cast your vote here for a little while longer.

  • MrPete

    What’s so funny about this silly vote, is that Climate Audit really IS about science. In fact, it is more about improving scientific practice in practical ways, than just talking about it.

    Political and religious discussion is very strictly prohibited!

  • http://www.weirdozone.com The Centipede

    Looking at it from a mostly BA-commenter newly introduced to CA, it’s really just a sad thing. Al Gore is right, the debate is over. Now it’s an ideological struggle so entrenched that a site that doesn’t even attack anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in general, only a stastical method used to support it, is being attacked by the politicized pro-AGW crowd as ‘antiscience’ and supported by the politicized anti-AGW crowd as ‘antiextremism.’ Never mind the concept that the AGW idea is probabably fundamentally sound but the statistics used to support it may have actually been flawed hasn’t seemed to enter anyone’s head who’s taken either pro- or anti-AGW as an ideology with associated battlecries, uniforms, and decoder pins.

  • Ed Snack

    Centipede, CA is rather broader than statistical methods although that is its forte. It would be more correct perhaps to say that CA has focussed on paleoclimate issues in general. As part of that there has been considerable effort placed on obtaining the original data used in many analyses as a significant number of these have not, contrary to the policies of both the journals and the funding organisations, been archived.

    The conclusion one can take is that AGW may be sound, but that with the information we have to date, the evidence that the current climate is in any way exceptional or not explainable by natural phenomena is not at all strong. Most CA contributors would probably agree that the excess CO2 in the atmosphere has some impact on climate, but I feel that most would also agree that that impact has been grossly overstated both in magnitude and in the certainty with which that magnitude is asserted.

    And yes, the viewpoints have become entrenched, but I suggest that CA itself does at least try not to be that way. This has become a politico-religious arguement, and the basic science does tend to come off second best.

  • http://www.weirdozone.com The Centipede

    Thanks for the clarification. I’ve only been introduced to CA due to this hootenanny. The politicking has somewhat reduced my faith in the human capacity for science and skepticism, though. It doesn’t help that I’m reading a book on Chinese thought reform of the 1950s right now too, and I see sad parallels (of course, they’re the same sad parallels one sees in any sort of ideological conflict).

    The fact that this is now a matter of ideology and right-think bothers me the most. It’s not creation versus evolution, where science has essentially ruled. It’s AGW is certain versus evidence for AGW may be flawed (but AGW is still a valid not-disproven theory). One would think that one could take weaknesses in evidence and use them to improve the arguments and the models involved. The lack of number-publishing especially smacks of jiggling data, and that only harms the science of determining whether AGW is the case or not in the long run.

    Perhaps it’s a matter of how the argument/ideology is formulated: “humans are the driving force in the warming trend” as opposed to “humans are a contributing force in the warming trend.” Yes, the former is more valuable ideologically as a call to action, but both support the concept of developing a sustainable ecological-economic structure in order to minimize human influence and better prepare it for what may be inevitable trends, no matter what the case may be.