Abusing science

Conservapedia is back to abusing science. This is from their “news” section.

The study, which was published on July 14, 2009 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, found CO2 was not to blame for a major ancient global warming period and instead found “unknown processes accounted for much of warming in the ancient hot spell.” The press release for the study was headlined: “Global warming: Our best guess is likely wrong.”

“In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record,” said oceanographer Gerald Dickens, a co-author of the study and professor of Earth science at Rice University. “There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.”

The mistake Conservapedia made is so readily linking to the abstract.

We conclude that in addition to direct CO2 forcing, other processes and/or feedbacks that are hitherto unknown must have caused a substantial portion of the warming during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Once these processes have been identified, their potential effect on future climate change needs to be taken into account.

While the idiots over at Dumbopedia (good one, right?) are claiming that this study PROVES!!! that global warming is not man-made (thus implying that any polluting business practice is a-okay), the study is saying no such thing. This is referencing a period of warming where CO2 alone does not account for all the warming. That isn’t to say that the rise in CO2 can be dismissed during that time – nor is it saying anything about our time. It’d be like saying natural selection doesn’t account for all the change in evolution, therefore evolution is false. CO2 still was a huge factor by which warming was initiated (upwards of 38 degrees F). Today it remains a huge factor.

Let’s just say it. Conservatives are not concerned about science. They care about allowing businesses to practice as they please. That’s it.

A Short History of Nearly Everything

I am currently in my fourth and a half listening of the audio version of Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything“. It’s about 6 years old, but I’ve only recently been introduced to it. I’ve been severely missing out.

This is an overwhelmingly encompassing account of, well, nearly everything. Bryson goes through, with engrossing detail, the history of science. He begins with, naturally, the Big Bang and much of physics. From there he jumps to just about every topic (in an order I cannot recall), from chemistry to biology to geology to mathematics to astronomy. He gives a set of Britannica Encyclopedias’ account of so many scientists, what they were thinking, why they were thinking it, and why they were right or wrong or on the right track or distracted or petty or prideful or anything of which I would never think to ask or consider. This is the best science book I have ever heard or read, and it isn’t even specific like, say, The Selfish Gene (which was also excellent).

One of the best things about this audio book is Bryson’s voice. It’s soothing. It’s also not boring. As much as I love The Science Channel and all the science shows I can find, I have come to the conclusion that I can only watch these if I’m wide awake. It isn’t that the topics are boring. The presentation is usually just very monotone. (One notable exception is the Discovery Channel’s Walking With Cavemen narrated by Alec Baldwin.) Bryson’s book suffers from no such calamity.

Get this book, preferably the audio version (though I’m sure the text version is equally fantastic).