Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Climate skeptism not sexy to statisticians

William M. Briggs, Statistician, is at an American Mathematical Society (AMS)conference on climate change and has some interesting, but very dry, conference reports. One almost throw away comment in today's report (day 3) is quite shocking:

The rest of my talk went well, though I noticed that, for our session, we had only about one-quarter the number of people listening as listened to the people who were sympathetic to the idea that mankind causes increasing temperatures

This is worrying, because if dry old mathematicians are focusing on the pro climate change debate how can we every expect and full and balanced review of the data and debate on the subject?

There was a more heartwarming end to his report though:
I ran into Jim O’Brian, also from FSU, in the COAPS group. Jim tried to recruit me to that group last year: it was a good job, but circumstances would not let me move from New York City. Anyway, Jim was wearing his Nobel Peace Prize pin, somewhat ironically. He was, and is, one of the many 100s of scientists on the IPCC, but Jim is openly skeptical of man-made global warming. Which should give you pause next time you hear the word “consensus” used to describe scientific thought about the matter.

I suppose there is still hope that the catastrophists won't get it all there own way.

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