Daily Archives: March 27, 2012

How fake skeptics fool themselves, part infinity: Sea Ice version

Suppose you were suffering from a serious illness which attacked many of your internal organs. It’s likely to be fatal, so your wife is very concerned about the results of your latest medical tests. They indicate that your heart, lungs, and liver are degrading rapidly, but that your spleen has actually improved. In fact your spleen didn’t show any signs of degradation, even over the long term. So you go home and tell your wife, “Great news, honey! My spleen is in better shape than it was before!”

That wouldn’t really be an honest report of your overall health, would it?

But that’s exactly what Anthony Watts has graced us — or should I say, disgraced himself — with, in his latest post about sea ice at WUWT. He crows about how much sea ice there is in the Arctic, and how it has reached “near normal” levels (remind you of anything?). But if Arctic sea ice is disappearing in a “death spiral,” how could one possibly do so? Well, if your heart, lungs, and liver are degrading rapidly, how could you possibly report that your health has improved? Talk about your spleen!

It’s easy. First, look only at a brief moment of time, quite ignoring what really matters, the trend. Second, look only at a small region of the Arctic, quite ignoring, well, most of it. Be sure to pick the one region that happens to show signs of improvement at this particular moment. It’s a classic strategy called “cherry-picking.” As for an overall survey of the state of Arctic sea ice and its statistically significant trends — we can’t have that! It would show just how dire the situation is.

Which goes to show that Anthony Watts is no skeptic. When he finds some excuse — any excuse — to blind himself to the obvious (that Arctic sea ice has been and continues to be one of the most compelling signs of global warming) Watts has no skepticism to apply. Instead he’ll bring his usual level of infinite gullibility. Honestly, it’s pathetic.

But it’s the same strategy that almost every fake skeptic has used (or should I say, abused) and many of them make their modus operandi. And well they should, because if you want to deceive the naive (including yourself), it works.

What has really been happening to sea ice lately that can tell us about the recent course of global warming?

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