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drumbo

Are most climate scientists alarmists?

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On 5/7/2020 at 1:43 AM, MigL said:

Humans have a bad habit of changing definitions to suit their purposes/agendas.
You need to consider the source using the term, to deduce the agenda of that source.
I certainly wouldn't be offended at being called an 'alarmist' for pulling the fire alarm in a burning building.

I agree. And this observation has led me to further reflection. One should also consider the context too. Take, e.g., the term 'conspiracy theorist.' In a context like these forums, such tag would more than likely be pointing at logical flaws in someone's argument, or the lack of one such argument. But taken in a wider context, it would be very easy to dismiss just about any suspicion or reasonable case for conspiracy, the latter being a concept that sometimes makes perfect sense, given the context. I am firmly convinced, e.g., that Elizabeth I of England faced a real Catholic conspiracy led by the Pope and Phillip II of Spain to murder her.

Same goes with 'alarmists,' 'bleeding hearts,' and many others.

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This discussion reminds me of a funny conversation I had with a girl at a coffee shop once. Out of the blue she asked me "Do you think 9/11 was a conspiracy?" It was so unrelated to our conversation thus far that I just laughed off the question, but she insisted and asked again. I thought for a second, and realizing the ambiguity in the common usage definition of the word conspiracy I said "Yeah". She started laughing and said "You think 9/11 was a conspiracy?" I said again:

Me: Yeah.

Her: Why do you think 9/11 was a conspiracy?

Me: Well that's the official story.

Her: That's the official story? How is that the official story?

Me: Well who do you think was responsible for 9/11?

Her: Terrorists from the Middle East.

Me: Yeah, exactly.

Her: Then why do you think 9/11 was a conspiracy?

Me: Terrorists from the Middle East conspired together to fly planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Her: That's why you think it's a conspiracy? That doesn't mean it's a conspiracy.

Me: Terrorists conspired together to fly planes into the World Trade Center, therefore it's a conspiracy.

Her: No, just because they conspired together doesn't mean it's a conspiracy.

Me: Well yeah, it does. Because that's what words mean?

Her: Stuttering and babbling...

Me: Here let me help you out. I think the phrase you're looking for is inside job not conspiracy.

Then we a little conversation about government PSYOPS designed to discredit the word conspiracy so that people won't understand what the word really means, and how she should use words accurately and carefully in order to avoid confusion.

Edited by drumbo

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42 minutes ago, drumbo said:

This discussion reminds me of a funny conversation I had with a girl at a coffee shop once. Out of the blue she asked me "Do you think 9/11 was a conspiracy?" It was so unrelated to our conversation thus far that I just laughed off the question, but she insisted and asked again. I thought for a second, and realizing the ambiguity in the common usage definition of the word conspiracy I said "Yeah". She started laughing and said "You think 9/11 was a conspiracy?" I said again:

Me: Yeah.

Her: Why do you think 9/11 was a conspiracy?

Me: Well that's the official story.

Her: That's the official story? How is that the official story?

Me: Well who do you think was responsible for 9/11?

Her: Terrorists from the Middle East.

Me: Yeah, exactly.

Her: Then why do you think 9/11 was a conspiracy?

Me: Terrorists from the Middle East conspired together to fly planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Her: That's why you think it's a conspiracy? That doesn't mean it's a conspiracy.

Me: Terrorists conspired together to fly planes into the World Trade Center, therefore it's a conspiracy.

Her: No, just because they conspired together doesn't mean it's a conspiracy.

Me: Well yeah, it does. Because that's what words mean?

Her: Stuttering and babbling...

Me: Here let me help you out. I think the phrase you're looking for is inside job not conspiracy.

Then we a little conversation about government PSYOPS designed to discredit the word conspiracy so that people won't understand what the word really means, and how she should use words accurately and carefully in order to avoid confusion.

That seems diametrically apposed to your OP; can we take it that you have learned from your mistake?

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34 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

That seems diametrically apposed to your OP; can we take it that you have learned from your mistake?

Either that, or it is an attempt to gloss over the huge difference in meaning between "conspiracy" and "conspiracy theory".

Note: theorising that terrorists conspired to carry out the attack is not a "conspiracy theory". Not all idioms can be analysed in terms of their component parts. A cat burglar is neither someone who steals cats nor a cat who carries out burglaries.

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12 minutes ago, Strange said:

Either that, or it is an attempt to gloss over the huge difference between conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. (Note: theorising that terrorists conspired to carry out the attach is not a "conspiracy theory". Not all idioms can be analysed in terms of their component parts. A cat burglar is neither someone who steals cats nor a cat who carries out burglaries.)

I didn't invest much hope...

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On 5/6/2020 at 9:22 AM, dimreepr said:

I'm guessing they're alarmed, because we're not dinosaurs; and like the dinosaurs, life will continue after the planet chooses to no longer sustain us.

 

39 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

That seems diametrically apposed to your OP; can we take it that you have learned from your mistake?

But it is not diametrically opposed. Perhaps a more precise way to title my OP would have been "Are climate scientists only speaking about the bad and dangerous things related to climate change, and so unnecessarily worrying people?", or "Are climate scientists making people worried by telling them about bad or dangerous things related to climate change when it is not necessary or helpful?", or "Are climate scientists unnecessarily communicating anxiety and fear?" Lo and behold from https://dictionary.cambridge.org:

alarmist

adjective

intentionally showing only the bad and dangerous things in a situation, and so worrying people

 

alarmist

noun

someone who makes people worried by telling them about bad or dangerous things when it is not necessary or helpful

 

alarmist

noun

a person who communicates anxiety and fear, esp. unnecessarily

 

Now you may not agree that climate scientists are unnecessarily communicating fear, but that is the question I put forth. Those definitions are completely consistent with my question, and intended meaning. Interestingly enough your clever, I admit, quip "I'm guessing they're alarmed, because we're not dinosaurs; and like the dinosaurs, life will continue after the planet chooses to no longer sustain us." has missed the point by twisting language, since the definition of alarmed does not imply that the state of being alarmed is unnecessary. Do you see how you have twisted language, but I have used it accurately?

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6 minutes ago, drumbo said:

 

But it is not diametrically opposed. Perhaps a more precise way to title my OP would have been "Are climate scientists only speaking about the bad and dangerous things related to climate change, and so unnecessarily worrying people?", or "Are climate scientists making people worried by telling them about bad or dangerous things related to climate change when it is not necessary or helpful?", or "Are climate scientists unnecessarily communicating anxiety and fear?" Lo and behold from https://dictionary.cambridge.org:

alarmist

adjective

intentionally showing only the bad and dangerous things in a situation, and so worrying people

 

alarmist

noun

someone who makes people worried by telling them about bad or dangerous things when it is not necessary or helpful

 

alarmist

noun

a person who communicates anxiety and fear, esp. unnecessarily

 

Now you may not agree that climate scientists are unnecessarily communicating fear, but that is the question I put forth. Those definitions are completely consistent with my question, and intended meaning. Interestingly enough your clever, I admit, quip "I'm guessing they're alarmed, because we're not dinosaurs; and like the dinosaurs, life will continue after the planet chooses to no longer sustain us." has missed the point by twisting language, since the definition of alarmed does not imply that the state of being alarmed is unnecessary. Do you see how you have twisted language, but I have used it accurately?

I love a strawman, it interests me; why do you want to be right?

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15 minutes ago, drumbo said:

Now you may not agree that climate scientists are unnecessarily communicating fear, but that is the question I put forth.

unnecessarily

 adverb
 
/ʌnˈnesəsərəli/
 
/ˌʌnˌnesəˈserəli/
  1. without any need; in a way that is not needed or is more than is needed

I think you misspelled "inconveniently":

inconveniently

 adverb
 
/ˌɪnkənˈviːniəntli/
 
/ˌɪnkənˈviːniəntli/
  1. in a way that causes trouble or problems, or that makes something more difficult
    • The house is inconveniently situated for local schools.
    OPPOSITE conveniently
46 minutes ago, Strange said:

Either that, or it is an attempt to gloss over the huge difference in meaning between "conspiracy" and "conspiracy theory".

My bad. You're right. I brought up the idiom and there's a clear difference.

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24 minutes ago, drumbo said:

Now you may not agree that climate scientists are unnecessarily communicating fear, but that is the question I put forth. Those definitions are completely consistent with my question, and intended meaning. Interestingly enough your clever, I admit, quip "I'm guessing they're alarmed, because we're not dinosaurs; and like the dinosaurs, life will continue after the planet chooses to no longer sustain us." has missed the point by twisting language, since the definition of alarmed does not imply that the state of being alarmed is unnecessary. Do you see how you have twisted language, but I have used it accurately?

Your contorted use of language makes it completely unclear what you are trying to say.

I'm not quite sure what you expect climate scientists to do: report the dramatic changes in climate but not say anything about what the effects might be in order not to worry people? 

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We know that climate scientists are alarmed. We know why climate scientists are alarmed. Those are not the questions I asked, and dimreepr's claim that I used the word alarmist inaccurately is plainly wrong. I don't expect him to admit that his claim was wrong, since instead he twists language yet again misusing the word strawman. There is no strawman here dimreepr. You claimed that my use of the word alarmist was inaccurate, and I addressed that claim.

It is ridiculous to believe that human beings could not survive in an environment where dinosaurs could, and any arguments built on that premise can be immediately rejected. Human beings are incredibly intelligent, resourceful, and resilient. Even the dumbest humans can understand language and basic arithmetic, and that is no small feat. Our caloric requirements are far lower than that of a dinosaur. Any environment that could sustain dinosaurs could sustain humans as well. Will there be challenges? Of course, but there have always been challenges. If you believe that climate change is a threat solely because it introduces change then that is an alarmist position, since you have only considered the downsides of possible changes and not the benefits.

How much research is done on the possible benefits of climate change? If the answer is none, then climate scientists must admit that they begin their research with a pessimistic bias. Focusing on all of the possible downsides of change, proclaiming doom and gloom, and completely ignoring possible benefits of that change is alarmist.

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2 minutes ago, drumbo said:

If you believe that climate change is a threat solely because it introduces change then that is an alarmist position, since you have only considered the downsides of possible changes and not the benefits.

We know that most of those changes will have very serious negative impacts on the human environment. So I don't think that drawing attention to those negative effects is alarmist. We need to know what needs to be done to try and minimise the effects and start planning the necessary changes to adapt.

It is unlikely that this would make it impossible for humans to survive but it will cause major problems in many parts of the world.

5 minutes ago, drumbo said:

How much research is done on the possible benefits of climate change?

There is some. But the benefits are minimal.

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19 hours ago, drumbo said:

and dimreepr's claim that I used the word alarmist inaccurately is plainly wrong. I don't expect him to admit that his claim was wrong, since instead he twists language yet again misusing the word strawman. There is no strawman here dimreepr. You claimed that my use of the word alarmist was inaccurate, and I addressed that claim.

Since you're attacking a claim you say I claimed when I haven't claimed it, I'd say strawman is pretty darned spot on.

19 hours ago, drumbo said:

It is ridiculous to believe that human beings could not survive in an environment where dinosaurs could, and any arguments built on that premise can be immediately rejected. Human beings are incredibly intelligent, resourceful, and resilient. Even the dumbest humans can understand language and basic arithmetic, and that is no small feat. Our caloric requirements are far lower than that of a dinosaur. Any environment that could sustain dinosaurs could sustain humans as well.

Survival, without shop's, is notoriously difficult; there's a whole television genre based on it.

I wonder how long we would survive if all the shops ran out of food? 

Much of the alarm is about our future ability to keep the shops stocked.

19 hours ago, drumbo said:

If you believe that climate change is a threat solely because it introduces change then that is an alarmist position, since you have only considered the downsides of possible changes and not the benefits.

OK, what are the bennefits? 

Bearing in mind that there aren't too many scientists saying "don't worry, there's a good chance you'll end up with an ocean view"...

No, wait... I see your point, It really is a conspiracy... 

Edited by dimreepr

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I understand what "alarmist" means and the mainstream expert advice we've been getting and the experts giving it on climate change is not alarmist.

18 hours ago, drumbo said:

It is ridiculous to believe that human beings could not survive in an environment where dinosaurs could.

Human civilisation arising under such conditions, maybe. This human civilisation survive conditions changing that much? No. I don't believe our global population and civilisation and the infrastructure and global economy that supports us can survive the change into the kind of environment the dinosaurs had.

18 hours ago, drumbo said:

If you believe that climate change is a threat solely because it introduces change then that is an alarmist position, since you have only considered the downsides of possible changes and not the benefits.

The conclusions that the effects of the change global warming introduces will be bad for people, infrastructure, agriculture and remnant natural ecosystems emerged out of science based investigation to understand how it will proceed and what impacts it will have. The grandfather of global warming, Arrhenius - living in a climate with freezing winters - thought like you that warming would be good, but had not - was not capable - of climate modeling and was guessing. Me, I live in a climate where adding 3 or 4 or 5 degrees is truly terrifying - drought and heatwave would kill livestock and crops and forest and the fires would turn the remnants to ash every summer. A large part of the human population lives in places like that. Your belief that only downsides were considered is false; global warming really is overwhelmingly damaging.

Scientists are raising alarms because it is seriously alarming - and it has already gone beyond any "might happen" to "how much and when". We are way past holding out for scientist to come up with different answers; we aren't going to get any. And it is a cumulative problem; waiting just makes it worse, in ways that we can't ever get back from. CO2 is a thermostat with a ratchet; we keep turning it up just by keeping on as we are and we can stop it from going up further by stopping emissions (so long as carbon feedback tipping points aren't crossed) but we can't turn it back down. People are legitimately alarmed.

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I don't want to undermine the seriousness of AGW.

I recently watched the BBC  Walking with Monsters/Dinosaurs/Beasts/Cavemen,  as suggested in another thread.
Apparently at one time CO2 levels were up to 40 times higher than they are today.

Was the ratcheting mechanism broken back then, or is this hyperbole that illustrates the premise of the OP ?

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3 minutes ago, MigL said:

Was the ratcheting mechanism broken back then, or is this hyperbole that illustrates the premise of the OP ?

No, it just illustrates the time it took to change...

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Sooooo
No ratchet.

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1 minute ago, MigL said:

Sooooo
No ratchet.

Define ratchet... 😉

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3 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Since you're attacking a claim you say I claimed when I haven't claimed it, I'd say strawman is pretty darned spot on.

Playing obtuse only makes you look dishonest. If you think I do not have the energy to point it out you are mistaken. The advantage of a conversation on a forum is that you can't rely upon our poor memories to get away with your attempt at deception. Here, let's recap. You said:

On 5/24/2020 at 9:46 AM, dimreepr said:

That seems diametrically apposed to your OP; can we take it that you have learned from your mistake?

In response to:

On 5/24/2020 at 9:00 AM, drumbo said:

she should use words accurately and carefully in order to avoid confusion.

Which is clearly a claim that I did not use my words carefully and accurately. Prior to that you said:

On 5/6/2020 at 9:22 AM, dimreepr said:

I'm guessing they're alarmed, because we're not dinosaurs; and like the dinosaurs, life will continue after the planet chooses to no longer sustain us.

Indicating that you had an issue with my use of the word alarmist. What conclusion can I make other than you do not think I used the word alarmist carefully and accurately? If that's not true, please feel free to clarify your statement. You clearly did mean that though, so stop lying.

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12 hours ago, MigL said:

I don't want to undermine the seriousness of AGW.

I recently watched the BBC  Walking with Monsters/Dinosaurs/Beasts/Cavemen,  as suggested in another thread.
Apparently at one time CO2 levels were up to 40 times higher than they are today.

Was the ratcheting mechanism broken back then, or is this hyperbole that illustrates the premise of the OP ?

Within the human related timeframes that this round of warming is occurring it is a lot like a ratchet; processes like CO2 uptake by oceans and vegetation can bring some reductions to raised CO2 fairly quickly in the absence of continuing emissions from fossil fuel burning but not nearly enough to bring us back down to pre-industrial; centuries to millennia for that and still highly dependent on what humans are doing.

My understanding is that a rapid switch to very low/zero emissions would see enough CO2 (in the process of reaching a new equilibrium) taken up by oceans and vegetation to nullify the increased warming from reduced atmospheric aerosols and "in the pipeline" committed warming from CO2 ... but not much more. And that only so long as significant tipping points are not passed - things like soils and permafrost releasing a lot of additional GHG's due to warmer temperatures or ice sheet collapse - http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/climate-change-commitments/ 

Impacts like sea level rise are likely to continue for a long time after surface air temperatures stabilise - and that will be all cost and loss; the rise in value of "new" coastal property cannot offset the permanent loss of old coastal property, plus all those people who have to move somewhere. And a lot of that "new" coastal property is going to get inundated in time as well.

I don't know think examples from warmer conditions of geological ages past provide any reason to believe the warming and changes we are experiencing will turn out being harmless or easily managed - nor that periods of stable warmer climates of the past in any way are representative of rapidly changing climate; for most of the species, rapid climate change has been cause for extinctions.

I am also of the view that repeat  opportunities for global civilisation will be hard to come by if things go badly; there won't be the readily accessible high quality mineral ores used to make our first attempt for example and I am not convinced the buried waste of our age will be quality resources enough to compensate.

Edited by Ken Fabian

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As I said, I don't want to undermine the seriousness of AGW, but you must understand that there cannot be  runaway CO2 release and associated global heating. The 'tipping point' that you mentioned, would have to be at least 40X higher than today's CO2 levels, as we know the Earth has come down from those levels. IOW, we have been much higher in the past, and the conditions did not diverge.

We may still become extinct as a species, along with many other species, that fail to adapt, but eventually the Earth will again trap the excess CO2 ( as it did in the past ) through increased plant growth ( and other mechanisms ), and find a similar equilibrium.

So there is no ratchet mechanism that prevents return, and the Earth cannot become like Venus ( or any other planet )

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@MigL I wasn't suggesting runaway CO2; the releases will be finite, but some carbon feedback tipping points are capable of raising CO2 levels beyond what we presently have, bringing damaging climate changes over decades and centuries, whilst the natural processes that can reverse them are more like centuries to millennia. Beyond the lifetimes of children now living, to whom - I think - we have ethical obligations to minimise forseeable harms from our actions. 

The "ratchet mechanism" as I describe it is of course, rhetorical - applicable to the shorter term, like the scale of human lifetimes. If you are aware of viable and cost effective means to bring CO2 down on decadal timescales - disengage or reverse that ratchet - I'd be interested.

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9 hours ago, MigL said:

As I said, I don't want to undermine the seriousness of AGW, but you must understand that there cannot be  runaway CO2 release and associated global heating. The 'tipping point' that you mentioned, would have to be at least 40X higher than today's CO2 levels, as we know the Earth has come down from those levels. IOW, we have been much higher in the past, and the conditions did not diverge.

We may still become extinct as a species, along with many other species, that fail to adapt, but eventually the Earth will again trap the excess CO2 ( as it did in the past ) through increased plant growth ( and other mechanisms ), and find a similar equilibrium.

No-one doubts the planet will survive, so unless you're suggesting AGW wiil be a walk in the park for humans, it both undermines the seriousness of AGW and is completely off topic.

20 hours ago, drumbo said:

Playing obtuse only makes you look dishonest. If you think I do not have the energy to point it out you are mistaken. The advantage of a conversation on a forum is that you can't rely upon our poor memories to get away with your attempt at deception. Here, let's recap. You said:

In response to:

Which is clearly a claim that I did not use my words carefully and accurately. Prior to that you said:

Indicating that you had an issue with my use of the word alarmist. What conclusion can I make other than you do not think I used the word alarmist carefully and accurately? If that's not true, please feel free to clarify your statement. You clearly did mean that though, so stop lying.

Instead of blindly swatting at my arguments, why not answer a serious question "What are the benefits"?

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4 hours ago, dimreepr said:

No-one doubts the planet will survive, so unless you're suggesting AGW wiil be a walk in the park for humans, it both undermines the seriousness of AGW and is completely off topic.

Please point out where I suggested that, Dim.

And the 'seriousness' of the situation is NOT the topic of the OP ( hopefully we all agree on that ), rather it is 'alarmist' ( whatever we choose that to mean ) hyperbole, of which Ken provided an example before he clarified his position.
So I would say, I'm on topic; you're not !

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19 hours ago, MigL said:

Please point out where I suggested that, Dim.

Your posts seemed to imply it.

OK my bad, I misread.

19 hours ago, MigL said:

And the 'seriousness' of the situation is NOT the topic of the OP ( hopefully we all agree on that ), rather it is 'alarmist' ( whatever we choose that to mean ) hyperbole, of which Ken provided an example before he clarified his position.
So I would say, I'm on topic; you're not !

But "the 'seriousness' of the situation" does call into question the reason for doubt and the legitimacy of people being alarmed (let's just stick to the literal meaning)...

So unless you can provide a benefit, to humans, with AGW; I'm gonna say, "I'm on topic; you're not !"

Edited by dimreepr

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