People that provide counter-arguments to the theory of manmade global warming need to be far more careful than those that promote it. Otherwise it's far too easy to have one's argument shot to pieces just based on sloppiness.
Being one of those on the "con" side, it pains me when someone else points out that I've made a shaky assertion about global warming. It also hurts when I see an article for my side written by somebody with some scientific credentials turn out to have plenty of holes in it. And it's worse when I find the holes. It's still worse when the article is changed to reflect my suggestions but the changes make the whole thing laughable -- a Keystone Kops movie.
I brought to your attention the egregious math errors in an American Thinker article published on January 22nd. The article set out to demonstrate how Al Gore's claim that the sea level could rise by 20 feet by the end of the century due to manmade global warming was complete tosh. I certainly believe it is complete tosh, but it's better that the numbers be correct. I also brought it to the attention of the publisher and the author in a series of e-mails I detailed in my blog post.
Well, I went back to the American Thinker today just to see if anything's changed. It has! It's been corrected! But, alas!, it's worse than before
What I mean is, when I first saw the article, an editor's note said that the final conclusion of the article had dropped a decimal point from the original posting. Therefore, I concluded, the author must have said that Al Gore was off by a factor of 3000 times. The article, as I saw it, said 300 times with that little asterisk attached. (That number referred to the amount of heat predicted to be trapped in the earth's atmosphere by the end of the century... and amount woefully inadequate to melt enough ice at the poles to raise the sea levels by 20 feet.)
I provided the correct math to both the editor and the author: the number should actually be 30 times...two full orders of magnitude down from what I presumed was the original figure. Well, here's what I saw today in that American Thinker article:
There is a difference of 300* between these two figures. Even if I am wrong by an order of magnitude, there is still an enormous difference. This does NOT mean that ice caps have not melted in the distant past nor that ice-age glaciers have not grown to cover much of the northern hemisphere; it simply means that the time scales involved to move sufficient quantities of heat to effect such melting or freezing occur over what we scientists commonly call "geological" time scales, i.e. hundreds of thousands and millions of years.
"There is a difference of 30* between these two figures, by implication extending the time-horizon for sea-level rise from 100 to 3000 years at the earliest. This does NOT mean that ice caps have not melted in the distant past nor that ice-age glaciers have not grown to cover much of the northern hemisphere; it simply means that the time scales involved to move sufficient quantities of heat to effect such melting or freezing occur over what we scientists commonly call "geological" time scales, i.e. tens or hundreds of thousands of years.
You see correctly: two separate paragraphs at the end of the article saying just about the same thing except for the "difference": 300 vs. 30. The editor of the article must have given the revised paragraph to an underling and said, "Here, stick this in at the end of the article. We don't wanna look bad by publishing stupid math."
Gad! This does no good for my side.
[Update: I found a copy of the original text of the American Thinker article (ain't the Internet grand?). I only speculated that it said that Gore's figures were off by a factor of 3000. Nope: the original said "over ten orders of magnitude...10 billion" times. That was the stupendously wrong number that generated the asterisk, not 3000. - Ed.]