Donna Laframboise, the time traveller: paper of ’69!

About a week and a half ago, Ms. Laframboise decided to attack climate science in a style that mirrors one of the favourite used by creationists against evolution; debunk outdated science.

In a post titled, 1969 Climate Predictions Miss by a Mile, Donna “debunks” climate change on a report written by the presidential advisory 40 yrs ago. She mentions how predictions made in the 60′s were off by 1200% for temperature and a whopping 2950% for sea level rise. Oh, how embarrassing for scientists not to have had all the answers (and certainly not the computer power for detailed models) back then! We should give up on science all together – indeed there was a time that most learned men would have told you that heavier-than-air-crafts would never work and even further back, that the world was flat…

This is the beauty of science, and without a doubt something that Donna has no idea about; that it is a process of research and refinement. It’s ever improving and the assertions made by scientists are strengthened over time by this processes. Sure, the scientists behind the 1969 report may have got the exact values wrong, but they go the direction right. Since then a lot of work has been done and the forecasts made can be trusted with greater certainty.

Telling me on my doorstep on a lazy weekend that the theory of evolution is flawed because such-and-such in a 1955 paper said something which has been proven wrong is not a scientific debate. It is weak and it looks at our understanding from the wrong direction. It’s like telling me I failed in life because I said, when I was 8, that I’d grow up to build rocket cars (I drew hundreds of diagrams incidentally).

She makes the point that the climate change so far is quite small. From our perspective, it may seem small, however, as I mentioned in the Innovation series (chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 being most notable) and in a comment to a familiar denier of science (I paraphrased some papers in this comment and also the following), the reality is, this apparently small change is already having impacts on ecological systems observed through many bio-physical indicators. I also highlighted the reality of climate change and direct evidence of our contributions to this in a recent post looking at both Jo Nova’s Skeptics Handbook and John Cook’s rebuttal.

Without a doubt, Donna Laframboise is really off the mark, or in her words, has missed the science by miles. Either she has no understanding of climate science (which I would suggest as much by looking at her global warming theory 101 page) or she is intentionally misleading her readers (which could also be likely as she is currently working on a related book – “Decoding the Climate Bible”…. Catchy title… remind anyone else of another biblical code book that was a smash hit?).

She states that, “Climate skepticism is free speech.”

True Donna, climate scepticism is free-speech, but climate science isn’t; it’s the result of millions of hours of related research and debate. Just because you don’t want to believe it, doesn’t make it so. Alternative points of view don’t change the reality of the situation.

She ends the post with words from Bob Carter’s book, “we can take sensible steps to protect ourselves from hazards we’re dead certain to encounter.”

Retrospect is poor wisdom. I don’t know how he can claim half of those events as any more certain than climate change. We make predictions (ie. models) based on many geo-physical assumptions to come to conclusions of frequency and intensity of those events (ie. droughts, landslides, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes…). The same is true with climate change.

Climate change is not hypothetical Donna Laframboise, no matter what your particular point of view or agenda is. Argue against modern science, not dusty old reports from the back of a library.

I personally feel that people like Laframboise, Nova, Bolt, Monckton etc should be held accountable for the misinformation that they propagate. They do it at the expense of countless species and standard of living of future generations by provoking inaction.

For more on Donna Laframboise, see Donna Laframboise and Cloud screaming

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2 responses to “Donna Laframboise, the time traveller: paper of ’69!

  1. Henry S. Cole, Ph.D.

    Dear Aussie Pen Pal, Thanks for debunking Laframboise and the “evolution deniers.” Your explanation of the scientific method is important — science is ever changing and always attempting to accommodate new information and evidence. On the other hand, ideologically based (and well funded) commentators have no such motivation or patience. Your cartoon makes the point.

    Isaac Asimov wrote a wonderful short sci-fi story called Nightfall which depicts the clash between scientists and “true believers.” Good plot summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightfall_(Asimov)

    Henry S. Cole, Ph.D. Publisher Ekos-squared,
    http://ecosquared.wordpress.com/

    • Sounds like an interesting book. I tried reading reading Asimov years ago but found his language rather difficult (but I love H. G. Wells books, so go figure!). No doubt however, that he was a very clever man – like Arthur C. Clark, I like how they use realistic futuristic ideas to discuss ideas largely of sociology. In the RAMA series, for instance, there was an excellent part that is really relevant to current events; the human population were told not use wood fires in their habitat because the smoke messes with the computer’s weather algorithms (the weather in the enclosure didn’t really even require fires), yet the humans continued to use wood fires. Ultimately they broke out of their enclosure, hacked into the computer to control the weather (poorly I might add) and eventually captured another enclosure, killing the locals.
      I really hope people like Laframboise, Nova and Bolt are thoroughly debunked in the wider community… Their rubbish should not be allowed to confuse the general public.

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