William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The ad I wish CATO would have run

I did not think to say this to CATO when they sent me an email requesting I sign their ad. I should have suggested this alternative, and as our Uncle Mike has said, made a stand.

I suggest these modifications to the ad.

Quoting Obama was fine. However, his words are from the time of the campaign. Are there none more current?

Since With all due respect usually means Twwpth, cut it.

Instead lead with, “We dispute the science.”

New meat:

We scientists acknowledge that humans influence the climate. But most claims about the consequences of global warming are grossly exaggerated. There is no need for alarm. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest, and there has been no net global warming for over a decade. What we know about how the climate works comes from necessarily incomplete observations and mathematical models. This knowledge is limited and growing, but still flawed. Our models said we would get hotter but we got colder. Our models cannot make accurate predictions and need to before we can use their output for decision making. We urge that government not mandate behavior until our models improve.

I would have signed that.

10 Comments

  1. Matt

    I like the statement “We dispute the Science” That should be the start of every debate on the issue.

    I think I would leave the last sentence out. Just a personal preference, maybe it is cultural?

  2. I agree that the last sentence should go. Part of the problems is that they improve the models on a regular basis, insisting that this time they’ve got it right. But other than that, this is a superior statement.

  3. yeah, Matt, I’d sign that.

  4. Noblesse Oblige

    March 31, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Much as I respect Matt and his views and his eclectic interests, I think we must not lose our sense of perspective. One can argue this way or that about the Cato statement, that it should have been stronger on the one hand… or more detailed, or less direct on the other. Optimizating such statements is just not a productive exercise; the key issue after all is whether the case for AGW warrants the economic, social, and political interventions being contemplated, with their certain severe impact on human development for decades to come. Against that stark reality, detailed issues of an incremental nature are unimportant. “We must hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately. “

  5. “Our models cannot make accurate predictions and need to before we can use their output for decision making. “

    Hypothesis = T or F? Are you sure you didn’t study Cletus Bayes from the Famous Las Vegas Statisticians School?

    😉

  6. “Against that stark reality, detailed issues of an incremental nature are unimportant.”

    I disagree 100% for the same reason I disagree with my wife. She doesn’t put much stock in AGW, but she says because the cause is increasing environmental awareness(yeah she’s a hippy) it doesn’t matter if it’s wrong.

    I care much less about all the hypotheticals (lies?) involving “certain severe impact on human development for decades to come” than I do about people presenting bad data, making equally bad analysis and worse conclusions… all the while the public is taking it as gospel.

  7. Curse you, Dr. Briggs! That reference to “Uncle Mike” looks too good to leave off my reading list. I don’t have time for this. I’ve got tests to grade and essays to critique. Can’t you just tell me that “the science is settled” and I can demolish all my alarmist colleagues with a devastating citation? Lord, there are days I HATE being a skeptic.

  8. Bravo Matt. In the main I agree with N. Oblige above, but I’d sign your statement.

    The CO2 hysteria is out of control. There has to be limit to this madness. I don’t mind fervent debate, but when it comes to wrecking my country for no good reason, I most assuredly draw the line.

  9. Noblesse Oblige

    April 1, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I would also sign Matt’s statement, as I did the Cato statement. To drive the point home, given the dominance exerted by the political class, the support of a compliant and sympathetic mainstream media, and the impact of the steps being proposed on a worldwide level, we cannot afford a lot of academic fussiness.

  10. Making an in-your-face statement only asks for things to devolve into an adversarial IS SO, IS NOT argument. Your improved version is the way to go.

    The business of AGW fanboys lying to improve environmental awareness fails. Some of us use a simple rule: If you lied to me about this, why should I believe anything you say on any subject?

    If this position was fed back to the Gores and Suzukis very publicly, it might catch on.

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