Wednesday, October 11, 2006


What's in an Ellipsis

Whenever I see a posted article with ellipsis, I always wonder what got cut out. Was it something that was irrelevant, or was it something that didn’t serve the point that the person doing the quoting was making? Today I have a perfect example of a dishonest use of ellipsis courtesy of, who else, Unreliapundit.

He’s written an article on how, “anthropogenic global-warming is bunk,” supposedly supported by this article. Here are some of his quotes:

“The Earth's orbit is not a perfect circle ... shifts in Earth's pattern of movement are relatively minor compared with those of other planets. But they can greatly influence the amount of radiation -- heat and light -- which Earth receives from the Sun. ... Astronomical impact "provides a crucial missing piece in the puzzle" of regular species turnover, it says.”

Note the first bolded ellipsis. What got left out? The cycle period of these changes. Here’s some of the unredacted passage:

The Earth's orbit is not a perfect circle: it is slightly elliptical, and the ellipticality itself goes through cycles of change that span roughly 100,000 and 400,000 years.
Its axis, likewise, is not perfectly perpendicular but has a slight wobble, rather like a poorly-balanced child's top, which goes through cycles of 21,000 years.
In addition, the axis, as schoolbooks tell us, is also tilted, and this tilt also varies in a cycle of 41,000 years.
These three shifts in Earth's pattern of movement are relatively minor compared with those of other planets.

So, he is trying to explain rapid warming over 100 years (at the most) with cycles that are tens of thousands of years long. Only he doesn’t want to let you in on that part. I guess it goes without saying that his last quote cut off just before this in the original article:
In addition to natural factors, the world's climate system and its biodiversity are also being affected by the burning of fossil fuels.
Oil, gas and coal, and to a lesser degree agriculture, release carbon gases into the atmosphere, creating a "greenhouse effect" that traps solar radiation and causes Earth's surface temperature to warm.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Too Hilarious

My last post was responded to on Cheat Seeking Missiles. Here was the full text:

"You've got religion, Yangtree, and there will be no converting you. By the way, the organizations you cite for your documentation are just as biased as the ones Inhofe used."

Wow. That is too funny. His original post made the claim that, "The NAS report confirmed criticisms leveled against the hockey stick," and my post used quotes exclusively from that very NAS report to show that contention was incorrect and not factually based. His only response (and this was a comment by the original poster) was to then question my source, which was actually the basis for his article's original contentions. I guess you could say, in a way, that my sources are "just as biased" since they are the same source that he used. The only difference is that the NAS report actually said the things that I claimed. I'm not sure where a person who just tried (and failed) to use a source as evidence turns around and claims that the source is biased gets off, but I think it's the same place where the short bus stops.


Sunday, October 01, 2006


Misusing the NAS Study

This article at Cheat-Seeking Missiles gives quite a spin of the National Academy of Sciences report on temperature data and evaluation. They say that one of the main conclusions of the study is that "Based on the evidence cited and methodology used by the hockey stick researchers, the idea that the planet is experiencing unprecedented global warming "cannot be supported." Let's see what the actual NAS report says:

Global Temperature:
"It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries...Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstruction for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600.

Global Warming:
"Surface temperature reconstructions for periods prior to the industrial era are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that climatic warming is occurring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence." -- This quote explodes the blatant falsehood from the article that, "The 'hockey stick' is, of course, the fundamental DNA of the global warming argument."

"On the basis of satellite-based monitoring, which began in the late 1970s, it is clear that the rapid global warming of the last few decades is not attributable to an increase in the Sun's emission."

"Surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years are consistent with other evidence of global climate change and can be considered as additional supporting evidence. In particular, the numerous indications that recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia, in combination with estimates of external climate forcing variations over the same period, supports the conclusion that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming."

Mann "hockey stick":
"The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during the last 1000 years. The conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on icecaps and the retreat of glaciers around the world."

Wow, what an indictment of global warming that NAS study is, eh. I guess one could say that I used "Precision-guided Logic Bombs to Destroy Biased Purveyors of Rep-rehensible Falsehoods".


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