Global Warming & Climate Change Policy

  • #1
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Attention: These rules are deprecated as of 6/9/2014

PF is announcing its regrettable decision to ban all topics of global warming and climate change indefinitely. At this time we are unable to effectively moderate on the issue of climate change and global warming. We hope this ban will be temporary as we search for experts in the proper fields to assist us.

This ban will go into effect Monday Jan 11th. Members who are currently involved in global warming and or climate change threads, have until then to wrap up discussions. On Monday such threads will be locked.

Please note this is an issue the staff has been working on for the past couple of years and we do not take this action lightly. We have explored and tried many solutions. This was our last resort.

I will leave this thread open for comments and suggestions. However please note this policy is not open for debate.

Please refer to this page by NASA for information
http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Skyhunter


An Earth sciences forum that bans all topics related to global warming/climate change???

Here is a question...what part of Earth sciences is not related to global warming/climate change?

This is the only Earth sciences forum (to my knowledge) that has meaningful discussions of the published literature. The combination of members, moderators and guidelines have created a good environment for learning and discussion.

The Earth's climate is changing as the planet warms. These are scientific observations, facts.

If the best intermediate science forum on the internet cannot cope with the discussion of how these facts are interpreted by the scientific community... what does that say about our ability to cope with the physical reality!

Physics does not dither and gravity always wins.
 
  • #3
lisab
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One thing I liked about the old policy was that it presumed that PFers are adults, capable of hearing both sides of an issue without becoming 'tainted'. After all, who's afraid of a little data?

I understand this has been a hot debate among the mentors, whom I admire and respect, but I have to admit I'm disappointed in this decision.
 
  • #4
Evo
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If the best intermediate science forum on the internet cannot cope with the discussion of how these facts are interpreted by the scientific community... what does that say about our ability to cope with the physical reality!
What makes us the best is the fact that we have actual scientists working in the respective fields for the forums they moderate.

Unfortunately, we have no climate scientists at this time.

Discussions of geology, seismology, vulcanism, plate techtonics, oceanography, etc...can still be discussed as long as people stick to discussing the subject itself.
 
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  • #5
Astronuc
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. . . . , but I have to admit I'm disappointed in this decision.
Actually, so are we. This action wasn't taken lightly, but after careful consideration and much thought and discussion.
 
  • #6
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We will weather this one as best we can.:approve:
 
  • #7
drizzle
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:confused:... I agree with Lisab
 
  • #9
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Can we discuss the data (NCEP, ERA-40, etc.) from a "I'm working with X, having problems, help!" point of view?
 
  • #10
CRGreathouse
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I'm just glad I posted my Popper thread in time!
 
  • #11
Astronuc
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  • #12
sylas
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I don't like this decision, but I'm working with it for the moment. It is a mentor decision, and I've not been part of that discussion.

I will say one thing...

What makes us the best is the fact that we have actual scientists working in the respective fields for the forums they moderate.

Unfortunately, we have no climate scientists at this time.

Discussions of geology, seismology, vulcanism, plate techtonics, oceanography, etc...can still be discussed as long as people stick to discussing the subject itself.
I don't believe this is actually the problem, and have said so previously. After all, we don't have a vulcanoligist on staff either.

The real problem is that too many people just don't trust what the scientists say. I appreciate I have not been part of mentor discussions, but even so.... I think trying to address the matter by finding a single authority figure won't work well.

We get all kinds of strange assertions about scientists who are opposed to the mainstream of climate science; but in fact all actual working climate scientists, including those who have definite differences with the overwhelming majority of scientific opinion (Lindezen, Spencer, Christy, Svensmark, Douglass, etc), still do not have the same level of extreme skepticism of the fundamentals that pervades public discussion. It is not necessary to be a professional to follow this.

It has been really hard to try and give clear accessible accounts of even very uncontroversial basics, in response to a widespread level of skepticism that (in my opinion) merely debases the normal understanding of legitimate scientific skepticism. Skepticism is a good thing. A lot of what is called skepticism is better seen as credulous naivety. But how can you help people past that without causing offense?

This DOES make it very hard for the mentors, I acknowledge. But in my view the problem has been much worse than it needs to be; and having a working climate scientist to moderate discussions would not be at all well received by the people who are raising much of the ruckus. They don't trust climate scientists now.

Given the problem mentors have had finding a workable solution, I am for the time being content with this decision. I am hopeful this may be a break from what has been disruptive, rather than a final and complete finish to this topic; but we'll have to see. For the time being, the decision is to close debate, and I accept that.

At the same time, I think this topic is deeply rooted in basic physics, and there is a wide spread desire of many people to get a better educational introduction to the issues. It ought to be something physicsforums could help with; but it may be no bad thing to stop for a bit and take stock.

I think there is a wide spread desire by many forum members to have a way to continue to talk about this topic. Given this, I'm hoping the mentors will continue to be open to looking at ways to manage the debate, even though for the time being they are apparently burned out with it. I'll be continuing to try and work towards a way of handing this difficult topic, while submitting to the decision of the mentors for this new policy at the present time.

Ideally, I would like to keep a forum where we can discuss the open questions which are raised within the body of working scientists, which does include ideas at some variance with the majority view. Science has always had this tolerance of minority views and dissent, as long as they continue to work within the normal scientific process. Some views are merely silly, and it would be nice to avoid distraction from the extremes. Some views are legitimate minority alternatives, and still science in good standing.

The main task of physicsforums is education in the process of science, as it is practiced. Obviously, physicsforums will continue to provide that service, in all kinds of fields. This one topic has presented difficulties, and I gather no-one really likes what it has come to.

Cheers -- sylas
 
  • #13
mheslep
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  • #14
Evo
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I don't believe this is actually the problem, and have said so previously. After all, we don't have a vulcanoligist on staff either.
We don't have to, it's not a highly charged, overly emotional topic that is being hotly debated. If a member had a question, it would be fairly easy to find an answer or refer them to sources of information.

Not to mention that my niece is a planetary geophysicist and could answer any questions or send them to the right paper if needed.
 
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  • #15
sylas
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Professor Pelto is very new to the forums. Let's not overload the poor guy with expectations! I sent him a welcome PM myself a little while ago, and it would have been great to have him on board earlier, particularly in discussions of glaciers. He teaches a unit on "global warming", which looks great; designed to help students "to critically read global warming material and an ability to search, analyze and report key information".

Cheers -- sylas
 
  • #16
sylas
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We don't have to, it's not a highly charged, overly emotional topic that is being hotly debated. If a member had a question, it would be fairly easy to find an answer or refer him to sources of information.
Exactly. That is, the problem is the emotions and heat of debate, not the access to good information.

There would be no problem at all doing for climate what we can do for vulcanology; we don't need professional expertise to identify and refer people to good sources of information.

The problem is that the sources of information themselves are disputed... and of course the same would apply for the authors of the available information sources: that is, for the climate scientists. This is why having a climate scientist is not the main problem.

The problem is the emotions and the heat of debate, and also the refusal to admit the authority of good information and sources already available from climate scientists.

Cheers -- sylas
 
  • #17
Evo
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The problem is that there are two equally legitimate camps within climate science. Some people choose one explanation, some choose another.

Greg has made a good decision on this and I fully aqree with it.
 
  • #18
DaveC426913
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Here is a question...what part of Earth sciences is not related to global warming/climate change?
Uh, well, prior to about 20 years ago ... all of them.

To us old codgers, climate change is very new. Yet we still managed to somehow fill our days with Earth sceince stuff.
 
  • #19
Kurdt
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I'm not sure there are enough people that are interested in discussing climate change to warrant moderating it. There aren't a great deal of members that discuss it actively and regularly. Thats before the fact that its incredibly difficult to moderate anyway. The whole subject seems set up to create perpetual arguments.
 
  • #20
Ivan Seeking
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The problem is that there are two equally legitimate camps within climate science.
At least, that is the fallacy that has been perpetuated here.

I would rather lose the topic than see it continually compromised from an academic perspective.
 
  • #21
CRGreathouse
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The problem is that there are two equally legitimate camps within climate science.
Is there any good survey information on this? I remember being surprised by the "P vs. NP" poll in TCS that showed a significant minority are unsure of the resolution of the problem.
 
  • #22
DaveC426913
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The problem is that there are two equally legitimate camps within climate science.
At least, that is the fallacy that has been perpetuated here.
You feel that there is really only one correct side of the issue. If I may ask: which side?
 
  • #23
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You feel that there is really only one correct side of the issue. If I may ask: which side?
This thread will not be turned into a debate. Comments and suggestions about the policy please.
 
  • #24
sylas
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You feel that there is really only one correct side of the issue. If I may ask: which side?
I agree with Ivan, because I think there are MANY sides, and they are not equally legitimate.

In particular, many of the most contentious issues in public debate have no credible scientific basis at all. However, since Greg has said -- rightly -- this thread is not for debating the science questions, I won't list any of them.

Suffice to say that before anyone could answer "which side", we'd have to say "which question?". Some questions have three or four sides of comparable legitimacy or have no good solutions available as yet. Some questions are resolved insofar as science can resolve anything. Others fall along a spectrum of confidence between these extremes.

I don't believe the problem of climate discussion is unmanageable at all; but on the other hand, there are two things Greg has made clear and which I shall accept.
  • The new policy is regrettable, and he hopes it will be temporary. I agree on both points. (No time limit is given, so the closure should be taken as indefinite for the time being.)
  • The new policy is not up for debate. (... or is it? ...)

I'm glad to have the chance to comment, and I can accept this closure with regret, and with the understanding that I for one will be continuing to explore ways that the topic can be managed better when and if it is ever open again.

Cheers -- sylas
 
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  • #25
DaveC426913
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This thread will not be turned into a debate. Comments and suggestions about the policy please.
Fair enough. (But for the record, it was not a loaded question, nor do I have any agenda in asking. I actually have no idea what camp he's in.)
 

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