The title is of course a reference to Alice in Wonderland, and particularily to the quote about believing 6 impossible things before breakfast (which Eli Rabbet upped to ten) and, again, of course applies so nicely to the climate contrarian community.
But I guess it is not quite a perfect fit for what I am posting about now, which is rather believing contradictory things, before, during or even after breakfast.
[Note: we could make this cartoon a perfect fit for Monckton just by adding another panel where the scientist suddenly turns to the Galileo-wannabe saying “WTF!? I never said that!” ala Monckton’s misuderstanding of Rachel Pinker’s work among others)
The thing about science, and especially a very multi-disciplinary science like climate science, is that above all else it must deliver internally consistent theories, concepts and numerical models. You can not have one set of ideas that explains glacial-interglacial cycles, one that explains (as best as murky and ancient data sources allow) snowball earth and yet another that explains today’s anthropogenic climate change.
For me, this is truly exhibit A when it comes to evaluating the “climate sceptic” camp. There is no over-arching explanation of atmospheric dynamics, no computer model that can explain what is happening today and what happened 20K years ago without CO2 forcing and strong positive feedbacks and there are many self contradictory mini-explanations of system subparts. Many poplular denialist memes display complete misunderstandings of very basic physics and with others, if they were right then much existing technology would simply not work!
An interesting excercise in debunking climate, or any science, denialism is identifying contradictory pairs of arguments. For example, at the highest level we have the the upbiquitous “there is no warming” nicely matched with “the warming is naturally occuring” (and not only that, the naturally occuring non-warming will be beneficial!). The denialist blogs like WUWT will one day post that warming is caused by ocean cycles and the next day by cosmic rays. Another fine example is how the overwhelming consensus among experts is evidence of conspiracy and political control of the science industry, yet somehow new peer reviewed paper after peer reviewed paper is the latest “final nail in the coffin” of the IPCC (more often than not, a severely misunderstood paper). We have confident predictions of cooling over the next thirty years together with moaning about how the system is simply too complex for anyone to understand let alone predict.
John Cook of Skeptical Science has a user editable page devoted to such mutually exclusive arguments that I encourage all to contribute to.
What are your favorite pairs of conflicting “sceptical” attacks on climate science? Bonus points for ones that come from the same source!