Your Paper. The assignment is really about logic and the evaluation of information, not purely about writing

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1 Your Paper The assignment is really about logic and the evaluation of information, not purely about writing You are to write a paper on the general topic of global warming. The first challenge is to keep your logic crisp. Most discussions of this topic mix up science, politics, economics, and other approaches into an incoherent mess. To avoid doing this, divide your thinking into the following steps (your paper may not need to include all of them, depending on your particular topic and emphasis) 1. Is global warming occurring? purely in the realm of observation 2. Do humans contribute to it? pretty close to straight observation 3. Is the human contribution important? more complex, because now one has to make quantitative relative estimates 4. How will things change in the future? still science, but now rather uncertain science; because weather is so complex, our predictions are not very precise 5. What, if anything, should we do about it? now we have left science altogether and are in the realm of politics and economics

2 Global Warming: The Cartoon

3 Detailed instructions for the paper: Your grade will depend on how well you evaluate and use reliable information. In addition to the material in a normal bibliography, each source of information must by analyzed for the quality of the information. For this reason, there is no page limit on the bibliography. We do not care what stand you take on the topic. However, whatever the stand, it must be backed up with good information and logic. You should be careful to cite your sources in the paper and to avoid any hint of plagiarism. For good logic, start by reviewing the five-step breakdown given on the first slide. Be careful NOT to mix steps in an illogical way. The mark of a good scientific paper is that it does not just reinforce your previous beliefs, but that it is written in a way that might cause you to change your mind! That means good sources of information and tight logic. With those two advantages, you can let the topic take its own direction to a new conclusion!

4 Evaluating Information Books: Tend to be relatively reliable, but you still can t assume that. You can test a book by reading reviews of it. You can also check out the author, as we will show soon. Articles: In science, the most reliable research articles are peer-reviewed. This means that one or more independent (of the research) scientists read the manuscript and evaluate whether it is correct, uses valid methods, is clearly written, and so forth. Although not totally fool-proof, peer review tends to make the article as reliable as possible. Articles that are not peer-reviewed can also be valuable and reliable, but more checking is needed. 1. If they are news articles in a reliable source, they are probably OK. 2. Otherwise (opinion columns, articles in a source that is not known to be reliable and to stand behind the accuracy of its material, etc.), they need careful checking. Article needs to have: 1.) clearly identified author; 2.) listing of sources of information in a bibliography; 3.) publication medium stands behind the accuracy; 4.) no hidden ulterior motives (sales, politics, etc.); 5.) good logic, no hokum

5 Three examples of detailed analysis of information quality: 1. Global Warming: A Convenient Lie 2. BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change 3. the Global Warming Petition Project

6 Analysis of Global Warming: A convenient Lie web site by Andrew Marshall at The web site looks professional to my eyes. The qualifications of the author might be an issue: Andrew Marshall is a 19 year old political science student at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). If you explore on the web, you will find he has strong and non-mainstream political views. Bibliography? Some information is given in links, some is very difficult to track down. The site does not stand behind the accuracy of its content: Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article. If you are suspicious, try the advanced feature in Google that lets you see what sites link to this one.

7 More Analysis of A Convenient Lie Claude Allegre : Wikipedia is helpful. Very prominent geochemist, but with a tendency to take contrarian positions on issues outside that field. SCI shows very successful career in geochemistry, no academic contributions in climate. Vaclav Klaus: Wikipedia says is an economist and politician. SCI shows some papers by a V. Klaus, but when analyzed by country none are from Czech Republic. Nigel Calder: SCI comes up with a number of articles by N. Calder. Analyze to get only those from the UK, then look at titles. We still don t have the right Nigel Calder, but nonetheless there are no papers anywhere near climate-related subjects. The right Nigel Calder was a very successful popular science book writer, as well as editor for a brief period of New Scientist, but not an expert at all on climate. Al Gore: Qualifications not very different from Vaclav Klaus Timothy Ball: Wikipedia indicates he has relevant background, although it may be dated since he retired in SCI comes up with a huge number of hits. Analyze for Canadian, then for articles/reivews, then for topic and you will quickly get down to only five candidate papers to be relevant. The newest one seems a bit different and might be a different T. Ball. Click on this name and you will find other papers by the same T. Ball, and if you click on the one where he is first author you will find he is Tom Ball in Scotland. Click on Create Citation Report, then remove the Tom Ball one and renew. You will find that Timothy Ball s work has been cited 25 times, 24 of which are for work prior to 1987.

8 Richard Lindzen: From Wikipedia, is well qualified to comment on global warming. SCI shows many relevant publications. Many publications, about 8000 citations, and current publications, so everything is positive an example of a credible scientist with useful things to say. To get more perspective, look at Profile: A Climate of Alarm, click on article, search on Lindzen, bring up the article. It is a very interesting account of responsible scientific skepticism on man-made climate change. German and Swiss scientists claim that it is increasing radiation from the sun that is resulting in our current climate change. This can be tracked down by going to the London Telegraph website, searching on global warming sun, bringing up the article to see that it was written by a Sami Solanki. It was based on a COSPAR meeting, followed by an article whose abstract states: Here we report a reconstruction of the sunspot number covering the past 11,400 years, based on dendrochronologically dated radiocarbon concentrations. According to our reconstruction, the level of solar activity during the past 70 years is exceptional, and the previous period of equally high activity occurred more than 8,000 years ago. Although the rarity of the current episode of high average sunspot numbers may indicate that the Sun has contributed to the unusual climate change during the twentieth century, we point out that solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades. Solanki et al. 2004, Nature, 431, 1084

9 Analysis of BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Science Magazine, Naomi Oreskes Professional looking site Qualifications of author? The author is in the Department of History and Science Studies Program, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA. Bibliography? Yes, rather detailed. Science is a mainstream journal/magazine: It is the main publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Most of its content is peer-reviewed, although it is not clear if this article was. The article is based on an invited talk at a major meeting, which means the credentials of the author are strongly endorsed. The article is linked by 146 other web sites that cover a broad range of views.

10 Naomi Oreskes: Wikipedia indicates Oreskes is a well qualified scientist in the areas of geology and history of science. The SCI shows 28 articles, mostly on science methods. These articles have been cited bout 1300 times. We can conclude that she is well-qualified to comment on the methods used in climate research, but not so well qualified on climate change itself. The Science article is basically one about methods other than requiring the ability to judge whether the position an article takes with regard to human-caused global warming, it requires no deep expertise on climate. It is therefore within the author s realm of expertise. There are some criticisms of the article, however: 1.) Are we sure that Oreskes decisions about the global warming stance in the works are correct? It might have been better to have 2 or 3 independent readings to be sure. 2.) The emphasis on not one article questioning human-caused warming is an overly strong test. The conclusions we would have to draw would be similar even if there were a few articles that disagreed. 3.) She did not say how many of the articles explicitly stated that humans were causing warming, how many assumed it by studying the process, and how many took no stand at all. She corrected this omission in another article, which is good reading on the topic (if a bit long):

11 Analysis of the Global Warming Petition Project web site, Summary of peer-reviewed research: This section is very controversial because of its inclusion of an article that looks like it has been peer-reviewed and is implied to be peer-reviewed, but is not. Frederick Seitz: The Wikipedia article describes his major accomplishments in solid state physics, he was president of the National Academy of Science, clearly a very accomplished scientist. By the time he reviewed and approved the not-peer-reviewed article, he was 96 years old raising a question of whether he was current on the issues. We use the SCI to investigate him. After narrowing to US Seitzes and articles, we analyze for subject there are no papers in the SCI relevant to climate or environment. Thus, his expertise to review the article is suspect.

12 Qualifications of Signers Signatories are approved for inclusion in the Petition Project list if they have obtained formal educational degrees at the level of Bachelor of Science or higher in appropriate scientific fields. All of the listed signers have formal educations in fields of specialization that suitably qualify them to evaluate the research data related to the petition statement. Many of the signers currently work in climatological, meteorological, atmospheric, environmental, geophysical, astronomical, and biological fields directly involved in the climate change controversy. We will test this statement with the Ph.D. signers from California, using the SCI: Earl Aagaard: expertise in medicine, no papers on climate or environment Ursula Abbott: expertise in food studies, no papers on climate or environment Ahmed E. Aburahmah: no records George Baker Adams: Wow! 2556 records. To narrow, use analyze on country, article, then institution name. Eliminate all the non-california institutions and try again. After a number of cycles, analyze for subject you will find no papers on climate or environment So unless it gets better fast as you go down the list, the claim about the qualifications of the signers are questionable.

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