Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Personality Profiles and Global Warming

There have been studies where a group of volunteers was given a personality profile that was generated specifically for them based on their horoscope. Most people said that it described them very well. The trick was that everyone was given the same profile. They were sure that it was correct so they paid attention to the parts that were correct and ignored the rest.

You can see this happening with Global Warming. True believers keep seeing signs that warming has already happened and ignore the rest. Most of the country had warmer than normal weather from mid-December through mid-January. Respected columnists insisted that this proved global warming was already an accomplished fact. Thomas Freidman quoted his wife as needing a new "global warming wardrobe" - summer weight clothes in winter colors.

For the last two weeks, most of the country has had colder than normal weather. By the logic quoted above we must be heading for a new ice age. Friedman's wife had better order a new wardrobe of winter weight clothes in summer colors.

What actually happened is that a mild El Nino deflected the cold arctic air that normally dominates our weather. The El Nino has dissipated and the bottled up cold air i making itself felt.

A corollary of this effect is also happening - rejecting a document that does not meet prior expectations. It is a matter of faith among global warming believers that warming will be catastrophic. The upcoming IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) report is expected to downgrade projected sea level rise. Previous projections had been for a rise of 20-55 inches. The new report is planning on cutting this to 5-23 inches. The previous low end projection is now the high end projection.

Since this does not match expectations, people are upset.

Of course, when a global warming disbeliever questions the true faith he is told that the IPCC is all-knowing. Suddenly the IPCC is as fail able as any other institution.

It is obvious that when Al Gore said that the debate on global warming is over, what he meant is that he is closing the debate. It has passed from scientific debate to religious orthodoxy.

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