[permaculture] An interesting view of global warming...

Mitra mitra_lists at earth.path.net
Mon Dec 13 00:49:02 EST 2004

Here are a couple of items from another mailing list I'm on, i.e. 
"Junk Science" has little credibility even though it gets widely 
quoted (including a few  minutes ago on Australian Radio National).

- Mitra

From: Allan A Friedman <allan at sccs.swarthmore.edu>
Subject: Re: [IP] Junk Science Awards...
Reply-To: allan at friedmans.org

I feel compelled to note that most of the studies Milloy sites have
rebutted his criticism, or noted that his attacks are slightly less than
honest.  While I agree with a few of his points, I do find it a trifle
annoying that some one who uses "science" in such a blatantly partisan
manner tries to couch it in his rhetoric.

A cursory search reveals that there are many people who are not terribly
fond of "junk science": http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/junkscience.html

From: Rod Van Meter <rdv at tera.ics.keio.ac.jp>

Steve Milloy, the man behind JunkScience.com, is an adjunct scholar at
the Cato Institute, and a commentator for Fox.  This does not make him
automatically wrong about any individual point; indeed, some of the
possible ethical conflicts he discusses seem particularly relevant, and
he's often right about anti-science hysteria on e.g. cell phones.
However, it is well worth noting that there is a strong bias in the
topics he chooses to highlight.

He is a strong opponent of almost any form of regulation.  No
opportunity to criticize the science behind mercury or arsenic poisoning
or artificial estrogens disrupting biosystems is passed up, though any
supporting science he can't think of a way to criticize goes

Most especially, he is a skeptic of global warming, both whether it is
happening at all and whether humans are at fault.  He will cite, for
example, that 2003 was a cold year in Japan, after a several-year
warming trend, but 2004 having broken numerous records will pass
unremarked.  The IPCC and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment come in
for particularly strong criticism.  On his page of links, you won't find
a single one supporting global warming, but a dozen or so dissing it
(many supported directly by the fossil fuels industry).

His definition of "junk science" seems to include whatever he doesn't
like; he is not in particular after scientific fraud (e.g., Schon at
Bell Labs, who seems to have totally escaped Milloy's attention) or
faith healers/dietary supplements and the like.  He seems to have a
particular dislike of the J. American Medical Association, the CDC, and
researchers from Harvard.  Harvard appears 187 times in a search of his

By all means, read his stuff; I do.  He cloaks himself in the rhetoric
of skeptics such as James Randi.  I would suggest that applying a
healthy dose of skepticism to Milloy's own rantings is appropriate.


At 9:02 AM -0500 11/12/04, Marimike6 at cs.com wrote:
>David Neeley wrote:
>>I have not yet studied the data presented, but there is an interesting
>>site I ran upon yesterday that has some fascinating takes on the issue
>>of global warming.
>>I cannot vouch for the site nor do I yet know who is behind it...but
>>you may find it interesting at least.
>Junk is of course in the eye of the beholder. I'm only just now glancing at
>this site, but my quick impression is that it probably contains as 
>much junk as
>do the issues it attempts to debunk. I'll want to look at it more closely.
>Still, even if it's way off base the site has its uses. It informs us as to
>the existence and nature of current controversies. Thus it suggests to us that
>we look more deeply into them, and discover for ourselves what we take to be
>the truth of the matter.
>I think there's a good principle at work here: you should never "consider the
>source" exclusive of any other consideration. Once you start uncritically
>believing what certain people or certain sites have to say, and disbelieving
>others on principle, all science flies out the window and you're 
>just reinforcing
>your articles of belief.
>When we read more we learn more. Read "the enemy" occasionally to see whether
>you can debunk their claims. If you can't, maybe that's telling you
>something. If you can-- well then, now you know. You don't just have 
>to take it on
>someone else's opinion.
>Just my suggestion.
>M. Elvin
>permaculture mailing list
>permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org

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