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More lies from Wall Street?
June 23, 2005 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Who can you trust if you can't trust the Wall Street Journal? RealClimate debunks the latest junk science on climate change from the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
posted by all-seeing eye dog (35 comments total)

 
As I see it all this debate on whether or not climate change is naturally occuring or human caused consistantly delays the real issue: the world IS warming up and if it continues, there are going to be major climate changes and we need to figure out how to either slow it, or figure out how to adapt.
Satygraha
posted by thebestsophist at 10:32 AM on June 23, 2005


The Op-Ed pages of the WSJ are a writhing nest of conservative-wankery, or so I'm told. This is in contrast to the more accurate and subdued news pages.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2005


Does "debunking" mean anything other than arguing that your sources and ideas are clearly more right?
posted by dios at 10:52 AM on June 23, 2005


...arguing that your sources and ideas are clearly more right?
That's the WSJ (and dios') way of "debunking"... it's really tedious trying to keep to a higher standard...
posted by wendell at 11:00 AM on June 23, 2005


Actually, "debunk" means "to expose while ridiculing; especially of pretentious or false claims and ideas."
So this would not be "debunking." It would be a point-by-point refutation of the editorial.
posted by Floydd at 11:04 AM on June 23, 2005


Does "debunking" mean anything other than arguing that your sources and ideas are clearly more right?
posted by dios at 1:52 PM EST on June 23 [!]


Dios, the article actually links to numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:04 AM on June 23, 2005


Or is your problem with the scientific process? That would be an altogether different argument.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:06 AM on June 23, 2005


This is the best:

WSJ:
"Meanwhile, a review of about 200 different temperature studies was published in 2003 by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the journal Climate Research. It likewise reaffirmed the longstanding consensus that there have been large temperature variations over the past millennium."

RealClimate:
"The irony here could not be more striking, for if the editors of the WSJ were familiar with the news reported by the WSJ, they surely should have been aware that the Soon and Baliunas study was discredited on the pages of the Wall Street Journal itself. Indeed, as described in that previous WSJ article, a team of leading climate researchers detailed the numerous fundamental flaws in the Soon and Baliunas paper in in the American Geophysical Union journal "Eos". This matter has been discussed elsewhere at great length, including previously on RealClimate both here and here (see "Myth #2")."
posted by spaceviking at 11:09 AM on June 23, 2005


"Does "debunking" mean anything other than arguing that your sources and ideas are clearly more right?"

If by arguing that your 'sources and ideas are clearly more right' you mean demonstrating that a preponderance of the most current evidence and analysis made by people who actually specialize in a field of interest, then yes--that's exactly how I'd define debunking.

On a related note, you know, I was thinking the other day, why shouldn't Wall Street pundits be allowed to help design the failsafe mechanisms used in nuclear reactors anyway? I mean, it's all just theory and there's so much uncertainty and debate in the field of particle physics these days, I mean, heck, an english major or MBA's input on such things is as reliable as the next guy's... I mean, let's not be elitist. Let everyone contribute equally!
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 11:13 AM on June 23, 2005


At least the WSJ was smart enough (from what I can tell from the extracts provided in the link) not to mention the organizations from which they got their arguments.

Here is a more more typical article ("USA Today declared that "The debate’s over: Globe is Warming."That’s another headline you can ignore. ...") [ if this is not on the main page look in in the index for June 22]

That article admits it got its arguments from the Science and Environmental Policy Project, an "institute" that is funded by Philip Morris, Exxon, Shell, Unocal, ARCO. and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Deniers of global warming see it at a political question, not a scientific one. At battle are the Greens on the left vs corporate backed institutes on the right. There is no distinction between good science and hack science.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:13 AM on June 23, 2005


"Actually, "debunk" means "to expose while ridiculing; especially of pretentious or false claims and ideas."
So this would not be "debunking." It would be a point-by-point refutation of the editorial."


Floydd--you're right, of course. I should have said "demolishes."
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 11:17 AM on June 23, 2005


Breaking News: dios derails discussion with baseless supposition. More on this, plus traffic and your AccuWeather forecast, at the top of the hour.
posted by gompa at 11:17 AM on June 23, 2005


I'm sorry -- someone actually trusts WSJ?

I always assumed that corporate drones could at least admit to themselves that WSJ was just a propaganda tool.
posted by bshock at 11:18 AM on June 23, 2005


Well certainly the WSJ is no RealClimate.

But then again, who is?
posted by dsquid at 11:29 AM on June 23, 2005


"I was thinking the other day, why shouldn't Wall Street pundits be allowed to help design the failsafe mechanisms used in nuclear reactors anyway? I mean, it's all just theory and there's so much uncertainty and debate in the field of particle physics these days, I mean, heck, an english major or MBA's input on such things is as reliable as the next guy's" - Indeed. Even a boy-scout can build a nuclear reactor

Me - Well, I've learned home surgery from online courses, if y'all need a quick, cheap fix - like a brain tumor removal. Brain surgery ? Bah ! Anybody can do it. I keep my surgical tools real clean by running them through the dishwasher every so often.

All this professional elitism from so-called "experts" drives me up the wall.
posted by troutfishing at 11:40 AM on June 23, 2005


I was just asking a question regarding the word which I rarely ever saw pre-net days, and now I see it every time someone puts forth a counterargument. I was wondering if debunking had taken on a special meaning. If it means putting forth a counterargument, then I understand.

Oh yeah, I don't understand what "fisking" means either. Would this be considered a fisking?
posted by dios at 11:43 AM on June 23, 2005


Sure, I think "fisking" would be an accurate description.

Anybody know how they make string?
posted by Floydd at 11:55 AM on June 23, 2005


Who can you trust if you can't trust the Wall Street Journal?

I'm sorry -- someone actually trusts WSJ?

Heh! My sentiments exactly!

Well, there's always Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy! I trust them, don't you?
posted by nofundy at 12:25 PM on June 23, 2005


dios: "The sky is orange"
mefi: "The sky is blue-ish"
dios: "No, orange"
mefi: "It's not orange! Everyone can see that. Here's a spectrometer and a dictionary. It no way shape or form is the sky 'orange'."
dios: "Dur, what's 'debunk' mean? You've merely presented a counterargument."

Excerpted from Dialogs with dios: the Disingenuousnessifying, Chapter 51
posted by fleacircus at 12:44 PM on June 23, 2005


fleacircus, wtf are you talking about? Where did I argue against the article? I was merely asking a question if there is considered some form when debunking/fisking someone. Some of you guys are real assholes when someone asks a question.
posted by dios at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2005


I think I should be in meta but, anyway, isn't this dios bashing crowd getting a little ridiculous? Let us read the comment:

dios writes "Does 'debunking' mean anything other than arguing that your sources and ideas are clearly more right?"

What I read here is dios arguing against the FPP's wording, not its content (this is confirmed by further comments). Why must people automatically rise to answer as if he had questioned the linked article? For his comments alone he hasn't even read the article, and I haven't seem his opinion about it yet. So why derail the discussion? Just for the sake of "dios bashing"?
posted by nkyad at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2005


and the man himself beats me by a second or two... :)
posted by nkyad at 1:22 PM on June 23, 2005


There's a big difference between trusting the WSJ's editorial/opinion page and trusting the rest of the paper.

Many who subscribe to the WSJ in order to get information necessary to make business decisions regard the op/ed page as entertainment only, nothing more.
posted by pitchblende at 1:26 PM on June 23, 2005


The WSJ lost all credibility with me when they decided to openly side with Rick "Santorum" Santorum when that latter equated homosexuality with pedophilia, bigamy and bestiality.

I wouldn't even use their paper to wipe my arse now.
posted by clevershark at 2:18 PM on June 23, 2005


I think the WSJ has - overall - some damn good reporting. The problem is it's only pretty much business and business related news and those limits are determined by the editors (some of whom also write op-eds).
While I recognize business and evironment are sometimes at odd, this is a crucial piece of information - obviously for a wide variety of interests - but for business as well.

Perhaps I'm thinking of investing early in a Manhattan water taxi service.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:21 PM on June 23, 2005


Fuck business. Last word on the subject.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 2:33 PM on June 23, 2005


Another thread derailed by Dios, yawn.
posted by Saddo at 3:53 PM on June 23, 2005


dios: I assumed you knew perfectly well what 'debunk' means and were saying in a particularly disingenuous way: "this isn't 'debunking', but rather a mere counterargument with no great weight of facts on its side but rather only the desire that some people wish it to be true -- which I now slyly posit with no actual discussion of the argument itself."

If this wasn't your meaning I humbly apologize.
posted by fleacircus at 4:54 PM on June 23, 2005


Via Quark Soup:
The article is full of exaggerations, half-truths, and mischaracterizations. Steve McIntyre, a minerals investor who happened to major in math in college, is elevated to the status of a "mathematician." (By that definition I'm a "mathematician" too.) The editorial does not mention that mainstream scientists seem to place no faith in McIntyre and McKitrick's work--I've asked several of them, and no one had told me anything good about the article. As far as I'm aware neither of M&M's papers (Energy & Environment or GRL) have been cited by any other scientific paper. Nor do they acknowledge the work of Amman and Wahl.

The WSJ piece even tries to resurrect the 2003 work of Soon and Baliunas, which a close look found to be full of errors, fallacies, and misdirections. It was also partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute.

Then, in their piece de resistance, the one graphic accompanying the WSJ editorial is a graph of temperature change over the last 1000 years as presented in the 1990 report of the IPCC. As if scientific knowledge has not moved on in 15 years. Absolutely remarkable.



Via Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science:
See David Appell [Quark Soup] and especially Real Climate for devastating critiques of the Journal's truly pathetic editorial from Tuesday denying virtually everything we know about global warming. This editorial was so bad, so outrageous, that I myself am also going to have more to say about it....
posted by highsignal at 5:35 PM on June 23, 2005


We're gonna need plenty of suntan lotion at the Rapture.
posted by bardic at 9:15 PM on June 23, 2005


Asking the WSJ about the environment is sort of like asking Metafilter for financial advice. Also, the WSJ editorial page is best avoided. Even the cartoon is rarely funny.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:35 PM on June 23, 2005


"Fuck business. Last word on the subject.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 2:33 PM PST on June 23 [!] "

Er...what is it you do all-seeing eye dog ?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:55 AM on June 24, 2005


Whatever it is, he does it doggy style.
posted by Floydd at 1:41 PM on June 24, 2005


all-seeing - thank you, this was a great post. I sent the link to several friends.

fleacircus - you're right, the way dios worded his question certainly sounded like a backhanded swipe at RealClimate.

I have had a subscription to the WSJ for many years (I need it for my business). I typically don't look at the editorial page at all. I have seen some really, really wild things there when I have looked.

The best one I remember was an editorial in the mid-to-late 90's extolling the virtues of DDT (I swear to God) and decrying its prohibition in the developed world.

What really fascinates me is the total disconnect from reality that occurs for fanatics and ideologues like the editors of the WSJ.
posted by joedharma at 3:09 AM on June 25, 2005


"Er...what is it you do all-seeing eye dog ?"

I'm a self-hating tech consultant/failed poet/semi-pro musician and songwriter. But the fact of my being a consultant doesn't mean I can't hate the business world, particularly since I know its ins-and-outs intimately and am therefore in a better position to see what's wrong with it.

But wait a minute--I did say, "Last word on the subject" didn't I?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 8:03 AM on June 27, 2005


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