The Inquisition of Climate Science

Overview

Modern science is under the greatest and most successful attack in recent history. An industry of denial, abetted by news media and "info-tainment" broadcasters more interested in selling controversy than presenting facts, has duped half the American public into rejecting the facts of climate science — an overwhelming body of rigorously vetted scientific evidence showing that human-caused, carbon-based emissions are linked to warming the Earth. The industry of climate science denial is succeeding: public ...

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The Inquisition of Climate Science

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Overview

Modern science is under the greatest and most successful attack in recent history. An industry of denial, abetted by news media and "info-tainment" broadcasters more interested in selling controversy than presenting facts, has duped half the American public into rejecting the facts of climate science — an overwhelming body of rigorously vetted scientific evidence showing that human-caused, carbon-based emissions are linked to warming the Earth. The industry of climate science denial is succeeding: public acceptance has declined even as the scientific evidence for global warming has increased. It is vital that the public understand how anti-science ideologues, pseudo-scientists, and non-scientists have bamboozled them. We cannot afford to get global warming wrong — yet we are, thanks to deniers and their methods.

The Inquisition of Climate Science is the first book to comprehensively take on the climate science denial movement and the deniers themselves, exposing their lack of credentials, their extensive industry funding, and their failure to provide any alternative theory to explain the observed evidence of warming. In this book, readers meet the most prominent deniers while dissecting their credentials, arguments, and lack of objectivity. James Lawrence Powell shows that the deniers use a wide variety of deceptive rhetorical techniques, many stretching back to ancient Greece. Carefully researched, fully referenced, and compellingly written, his book clearly reveals that the evidence of global warming is real and that an industry of denial has deceived the American public, putting them and their grandchildren at risk.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Irish Times
… this is a highly authoritative and accessible book that should be read by everyone who has any doubts about the reality of climate change.
Science Progress
A clear antidote to the evolving national viral infection of antiscience. Get it. Read it. Tell others about it.

— John Atcheson

Skeptic Blog
A masterful compilation of nearly all the evidence, not only for the reality of anthropogenic global warming, but especially answering point-by-point the ridiculous attempts by climate deniers to cloud and distort the issues by raising one bogus charge after another.

— Donald R. Prothero

1895
Books like 'The Inquisition' offer a clear antidote to the evolving national viral infection of antiscience. Get it. Read it. Tell others about it.

— John Atcheson

Choice

A rare look at the politicalization of an important science.... Recommended.

Physics Today
...succinctly summarizes the entire disinheartening story.

— Naomi Oreskes

Environmental Philosophy
...a worthwhile read...an invaluable tool for those of us that are committed to fighting against the assault on climate science, be it the writers, the teachers, the activists, the politicians, or the scientists.

— Sarah Kenehan

Orrin Pilkey
This book is a winner, written in an easy, logical style with thorough and fascinating discussions of major deniers.
Spencer Weart
With the evidence for global warming so strong, why, Powell asks, does half the American public doubt it? His answer is a history of the campaign of denial, the most comprehensive and up-to-date history available. It is well written and well worth reading: this is the most important issue facing our generation.
Richard Somerville
This courageous and well-researched book exposes how ideologues and money combined to attack sound climate science.
Peter D. Ward
Powell consistently brings the sharp insight of a knowledgeable insider melded with the skepticism of a critical outsider to the most important issues in science. In his latest book — his best yet — he shows us the path to understanding climate change.
Joseph Romm
James Lawrence Powell's must-read book is a welcome addition to the growing literature debunking fossil fuel-funded, anti-science disinformation. As Powell makes clear, it is time for scientists to stand up and be counted.
1895 - John Atcheson
A clear antidote to the evolving national viral infection of antiscience. Get it. Read it. Tell others about it.
Skeptic Blog - Donald R. Prothero
A masterful compilation of nearly all the evidence, not only for the reality of anthropogenic global warming, but especially answering point-by-point the ridiculous attempts by climate deniers to cloud and distort the issues by raising one bogus charge after another.
Physics Today - Naomi Oreskes
...succinctly summarizes the entire disinheartening story.
Environmental Philosophy - Sarah Kenehan
...a worthwhile read...an invaluable tool for those of us that are committed to fighting against the assault on climate science, be it the writers, the teachers, the activists, the politicians, or the scientists.
Choice
A rare look at the politicalization of an important science.... Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231157186
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

James Lawrence Powell was born and raised in Kentucky and graduated from Berea College. He received his Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has had a distinguished career as a college teacher, college president, museum director, and author of books on earth science for general audiences. He serves as executive director of the National Physical Science Consortium, a partnership among government agencies and laboratories, industry, and higher education dedicated to increasing the number of American citizens with graduate degrees in the physical sciences and related engineering fields, emphasizing recruitment of a diverse applicant pool that includes women and minorities. He has taught at Oberlin College and has served as its acting president. He has also been president of Franklin and Marshall College, Reed College, the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointed Powell to the National Science Board.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Introduction 1

Not Skeptics, Deniers 4

1 Science and Potemkin Science 7

Never a Crisis 9

A Political Movement 10

A Cheap Tuxedo 11

Better Than Scientists 14

2 Adventures in Denierland 15

Urban Myth? 17

Cave Junction 20

3 The Evidence for Consensus 24

Spam Filter 24

Newton's Second Law 28

Polling Scientists 31

An Extremely Pernicious Development 33

4 Discovery of Global Warming 36

One of the Oldest Theories 36

A Large-Scale Geophysical Experiment 40

5 The Greenhouse Effect: From Curiosity to Threat 43

Models Predict Warming 44

Globetrotters 45

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 47

6 Global Warming: All You Really Need to Know in One Chart 51

7 Tobacco Tactics: The Scientist-Deniers 54

All of Those People Are Wrong 54

With All Due Respect, Dr. Michaels 58

The $45 Million Man 60

If Science Doesn't Have Integrity 63

Blue Marble 65

Nuke Vietnam? 67

Foot Soldier 71

8 Fear of State: The Nonscientists 73

Aren't You Embarrassed, Mr. Will? 73

Once Again 78

The Lomborg Deception 83

Bed-Wetting, Messianic, Moaning-Minnies 88

9 Toxic Tanks 93

Harry and Louise 94

Tale from the Crypt 96

Please Don't Poop in My Salad 97

Embarrassing General Marshall 101

Push Down on the Accelerator 103

10 An Industry to Trust 110

Most Profitable Company in History 110

An Industry That Cannot Afford Denial 116

11 Balance as Bias: How the Media Missed 121

"The Story of the Century" 121

The Prestige Press 122

Plumes of Smoke from China 124

Carbongate 126

End of Objectivity ? 128

Systemic Failure 130

12 Science Under Attack 133

It's the Sun, Ozone, Volcanoes, Sulfates 133

Testosterone 135

Watts Up with That? 136

Slap Shot 137

The Medieval Warm Period 140

Do Climate Models Work? 141

Did Global Warming End in 1998? 142

Chicken or Egg? 143

GRACE 145

Tropospheric Cooling? 146

13 Greatest Hoax in History? 148

Who's to Blame? Liberals, of Course 149

To Command Spring 150

Funding Research 152

Traitors 155

14 Climategate: Much Ado About Nothing 159

One Million Words 162

Innocent of All Charges 163

Gates and More Gates 167

15 Anatomy of Denial 170

To Roll Back Industrial Society 177

16 Escalating Tactics 180

Monkey Trials 182

Old Virginia Home 183

17 Earning Trust 188

Appendix 191

Notes 193

Bibliography 213

Acknowledgments 221

Index 223

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