2015 is the hottest year ever recorded.
Or, as deniers prefer to say, it was “the beginning of the next ‘pause’.”
If there’s one thing you should take away from an introductory-level philosophy class, it is the insight that we are often blind to our own cognitive mistakes. From Socrates pointing out the importance of knowing what you don’t know, all the way down to contemporary discussions of the Dunning-Kruger effect, we find that most people fool themselves most of the time.
If we’re going to be exceptions to this rule, it’s going to take some effort. You’ve probably also noticed that it isn’t easy to analyze arguments, weigh evidence, and assess the epistemic situation of yourself and others. Being rational can be difficult work.
All of this applies to professional philosophers as well. Which is one reason that I like to run occasional rationality checks on myself. Nothing profound, and I get nothing but a cookie if I pass, but I still see it as a way of trying to keep my own foolishness in check.
One exercise I recommend is that of honestly comparing your opinions to those of someone smarter than you. But that’s not as easy as it sounds: Continue reading
This isn’t going to be full accounting of the Hockey Stick controversy. You can read the post at the American Institute of Phsyics or Wikipedia if you want more gory details, or Mann’s book if you want a first-hand account.
I am instead going to look a one “skeptical” account of the controversy and point out a few places where it goes wrong. (I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it should be considered an example of denialism.)
This account can be found on an anonymously authored blog called The Skeptical Mind. I can find no indication of when the piece was posted, so when I point out below that the piece fails to discuss various subsequent developments, I can’t say whether this is because those papers hadn’t yet been published, or because the author simply ignored them. But this is irrelevant for deciding whether we should accept his account (though it presumably is relevant for deciding whether the author should be considered a “skeptic” or a “denier.”) Continue reading
Here’s a very nice animation that gives you a good sense of how much arctic sea ice we’ve lost in the past few decades.
It’s useful because it makes it intuitively clear (in a way mere graphs often don’t) that short-term “recoveries” are irrelevant to the overall trend.