[Marxism] Freeman Dyson on scientific heretics and climate change

Bob Hopson bobhpsn at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 12 10:37:48 MDT 2007


> 
> i don't see anything in his statements that make me
> think he has a
> unique big picture view of climate modeling. and in
> the few times i've
> challenged you on it, you have not  presented any
> convincing evidence,
> other than he is a great man who once helped build
> nuclear weapons and
> worked out some QED. if i told you i was once asked
> to work on nukes
> (nuclear triggers actually), would you find me more
> impressive? bah humbug.
> 

Les,

with all due respect to your scientific work (and I
mean that sincerely), one of your main arguments
against Dyson was that he's a johnny-come-lately who's
attacking climate change models without knowing
anything about them. In this interview with Dyson

http://gustofhotair.blogspot.com/2007/06/freeman-dyson-on-global-warming.html

he claims he started working with Alvin Weinberg at
Oak   Ridge on the question of atmospheric CO2 long
before it was fashionable.  He also claims there's a
real dearth of ground-level measurement of CO2
soil-to-air transfer that is only now being addressed,
which is  one of the main reasons he's skeptical of
over-reliance on computer modelling.  If you can post
something that shows he's totally off-base about this,
fine, I'll take it at face value.

This news item from 1999 
http://www.npaci.edu/online/v3.17/dyson.html
shows that he's been making these criticism for at 
least the last eight years.  So I think that shows
you're wrong that he's jumping on the anti-bandwagon.

Look, I have no particular reason to doubt the
climatologists -- they're smart, hard-working and
largely honest (I assume), and even if the predictions
of climate change are "only" 90% accurate, it's enough
to convince me we need to start reducing fossil fuel
use now, even if it means reevaluating nuclear power.

That being said, the only reference you actually
posted was an article about global warming causing
rainforest growth to slow rather than accelerate,
which doesn't seem to actually have much to do with
Dyson's points about land use as a "cure" for
atmospheric CO2 (he at no point denies that climate
change is real and potentially very harmful, but
rather that the science is not as solid as  the
experts claim).  Frankly, there were far better
rebuttals to Dyson't comments on  Slashdot (as well as
climatologists who didn't think he was terribly wrong
to make them).

Maybe Dyson's a crabby old man who wants to stir up
controversy to sell books.  Maybe he has enough
theoretical and practical experience to actually be
saying something that needs to be said.  (As a side
note, it's interesting that he never got a PhD,  which
 is rather unorthodox in itself)  I can't actually
judge this to my own satisfaction without dropping
everything and studying climate science for the next
couple years, because it's a complex subject.  I
posted this because I thought it would be of interest
to those who wonder about excessive orthdoxy in the
sciences.  Sorry if  it bothers you; you're a
moderator, so feel free to kick me off.














       
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