Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sean Hannity: I am Junk Science

On Friday's Sean Hannity radio show, a caller named Terri brought a huge revelation to listeners concerning global warming. Or she may have thought. Here's the exchange (all emphasis mine, scan the bold parts if you're ADHD):

SEAN: Terri is next. Virginia Beach. Hey, Terri. How are you?

TERRI: Hi. I'm fine. Um, I teach meteorology at a university, and I'd rather not say which one, and, um, when you talk about the greenhouse theory of global warming, the theory is that we' re putting CO2 into the atmosphere and it's making the planet warm. That's the theory. And when you look at the data, and you see that, in the middle ages, they had the medieval warm period, where the planet was warmer than it is today, and they know that because England supported a grape - they grew grapes in England and they, uh, produced wine. So the middle ages was warmer. If it's the CO2 that is driving the warming, what made the CO2 go up in the middle ages? And no one has answered that. And when you look at the data, you see it's been warmer, it's been colder, and there is a correlation with the carbon dioxide But no one can say - except for right now - we're burning fossil fuels and we're putting CO2 into the atmosphere and that's making it get warmer. But no one can say what made CO2 go up and down in the past.

SEAN: I - B-boy, I'm listening to you and I'm thinking you need to write a book on this.

TERRI: And so It's really frightening that people - And, and if we stop all fossil fuels tomorrow, I personally don't think it would make a difference. What is very scary is that people are starting to talk about: let's sequester CO2, let's build mechanisms to take CO2 out of the atmosphere. And that's really scary. 'Cause that's messing with the climate.

SEAN: You know what, that's very, very well said, uh, I hope you'll write the definitive book on global warming hysteria. Would you do that for me?

TERRI: I actually sent you an email about a week ago. I was listening to you on the way home and I got so angry about the global warming discussion. And so I wrote you a, a pretty detailed email, and there's something called Milankovitch Cycles, which you probably haven't heard about unless you've actually looked into global warming. And what Milankovitch Cycles say, is that the sun, the intensity of solar radiation changes over time. And if you think about the Earth, the Earth is what, three-quarters water? And if you think back to you fre- to your high school chemistry, the gas laws tell you that cold liquid holds more gas than warm liquid. That's why your Coke goes flat if it gets warm, because the CO2 goes out of -

SEAN: Yeah, I hate that, by the way, when that happens. I want you to know that.

TERRI: Well, if our Earth is covered with three quarters water, and if the, what's making our Earth go up and down in temperature is changes in solar radiation, then wouldn't it make sense that CO2 goes into and out of a solution? And perhaps the warming that you see, if it truly is warming right now, is because of solar radiation, and that the CO2 is just following suit because it's going into and out of solution.

SEAN: You know what, Terri? I am a lucky host. You wanna know why? 'Cause I have smart people like you and others in this audience that really just, you said it so well, I, I could never, ever even venture that I could ever get that close to being that articulate and knowledgeable. So thank you. And, and write this book.

Serenity now (not the Seinfeld episode, the ship.)! Take me away.

No, don't punch the screen. Let's hit some points, shall we?

Medieval Warm Period
Yes, grapes were grown in southern Britan during the Medieval Warm Period, but it was not their (or Europe's) greatest time of wine-making. They make wine in Alaska now. Climate is only one of the considerations to good wine.

Yes, it was warm then, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change disagrees that the MWP was actually warmer, world-wide, than it is right now.

CO2 went up in the Middle Ages? It did not. Just the temperature. Check the graphs.

Milankovitch Cycles
Acutally, "Milankovitch studied changes in the eccentricity, obliquity, and precession of Earth's movements." These do not correlate with the changes we can predict (outside of the 100K ice age) and have nothing to do with the last decade. The NOAA says "While Milankovitch cycles have tremendous value as a theory to explain ice-ages and long-term changes in the climate, they are unlikely to have very much impact on the decade-century timescale."

'Cause that's messing with the climate
Pumping as much CO2 as we are into the atmosphere is messing with the climate. Trying to capture and "undo" that is not.

This is why your Coke goes flat
Admitted Nitpick: Your Coke goes flat because you leave it out too long. The CO2 escapes. If you leave it out in the heat, it happens faster. If you open it at room temperature, or even in the heat, it is not flat when you open it. (clarify)

I Am a Lucky Host
Sean Hannity has a large audience of ignorant people who already think him an expert on everything. When he verbally bows to a caller who waves around the tag "college meteorology teacher," the listenership is being inoculated from reality by something bordering on papal infallibility. And don't get me started on papal infallibility.

What happened in this exchange was junk science, well propagated. Today, thousands more people are not only misinformed, but have the "proof" they heard on the radio, even if they can't remember how to pronounce "Milankovitch."

This is ignorance. This is grabbing onto pieces of handholds on the discarded scat of what any informed person calls science. It is not research. It is not credible. It is uninformed opinion. It is the goiter on the body conservative that is threatening to take over the organism. Run.

Our caller admitted to not wanting to identify her university affiliation. Neither would I. If I said the things she did, it would not be from an unbelief in global warming that I might be fired, but a public statement of disbelief and lack of faith in the field in which I claimed to teach. Or just plain ignorance.

"Ignorance is easy to fix. That's just not knowing. Not like stupid. There's no fixin' stupid."


pissed off patricia said...

Well, I managed to get through reading that transcript without doing any damage to anyone or anything here in the house.

First of all why the heck are you listening to this stuff? Aren't you afraid of catching brain rot or something from this tripe? :)

I found your site via the link at Crooks and Liars today in Mike's Roundup. Congratulations!

Rusty P. Shackelford said...

I saw this and didn't know if I should laugh or puke!

SEAN: You know what, Terri? I am a lucky host. You wanna know why? 'Cause I have smart people like you

Pretty soon he'll have those "smart" people explaining how the world is only 6,000 years old.......

frederickroyceperez said...

The wiki piece on Milankovitch Cycles had figures running from about ten thousand to one half million years . Very little comprehensible to a fifty year period .

JuneGray said...

"I teach meteorology at a university, and I'd rather not say which one ..."

That's like the scene in "The Terminator" where the guy who returns from the future (not Arnold S, but the other guy) has his time machine destroyed on re-entry so he can't go back. Then of course he makes the claims he's from the future, but can't prove it. He could be caller into Hannity. Hannity could be the lucky host again.

You know, come to think of it, I too, am a professor at a large mid-western university and an expert on time travel. In fact I have done a bit of time travel myself. I'd say what university I work at, but I rather not for fear of a change to the time space continuim...

WILLRAY said...

Pat Robertson's Regent University is located in Virginia Beach and offers a class titled "PHYS 213 Meteorology with Laboratory" Need I write more?

Ricky Shambles said...

pissed off patricia
Thanks for the comments!

Rotting my brain is the least of my problems. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is infective, and I handle the virus with trepidation, lest I become...Brains! I usually catch about 45 minutes a day while I'm driving just to get fired up. Really, I just like yelling at the radio.

After I heard this little gem, I was physically shaking. Had to purchase a scrip on his site to get access to the mp3's and properly transcribe it, but I think the blogs and catharsis that'll come out of it will be well worth it.

I started pulling some interweb detective stuff to try to find our "Terri." Ran into limited faculty lists (Patty's school), name androgyny, etc. Nice catch!

Anonymous said...

Oh... you think that was bad - today (and yes, I also listen just to piss myself off..) he actually said that IF global warming is happening, well, that is just the way God wants it, and there's nothing we can do. He actually implied that those who are concerned are somehow ungodly. Or lack faith. I almost drove into a tree...