Let me start by saying I hold no particular malice for Mel Martin of TUAW for his review of Skeptical Science, an iPhone application written with the goal of countering the arguments of global warming skeptics. He at least shows enough awareness to note that his side of the argument, supposedly the one based on science and reason, has a highly unfortunate tendency to devolve into emotional arguments when confronted.
I guess what I am trying to say that when the time comes to hand out amnesty as Rush outlined today, I would be happy to give Mr. Martin as much of a free pass as he could bring himself to accept.
No, my goal here is to take on the implicit challenge the app itself poses. Can I, as one of those AGW skeptics for which Mr. Martin disavows sympathy, rise to the challenge and face up to the rebuttals? Can I counter the counterarguments? If I can, then I know I can feel safe in my position. If not, then there may yet be things for me to learn.
As of this writing I have not yet downloaded the app, but if the screen shot is any indication I can already see deficiencies in it. Specifically, while the selection of “most used” arguments does not appear to be, on its face, a poor list, it does include some major omissions, most notably the Climategate email leaks and what they have revealed about the “science” behind AGW advocacy.
But by way of possible mitigation of that, events have been happening so quickly in this area that any static source of information has a very short shelf life. It’s possible that the top ten list featured in the screenshot may have been reflective of the AGW skeptic arguments even as recently as less than a year ago. Indeed, I suspect Mr. Martin may be feeling ever so slightly sheepish today that argument #7, “It hasn’t gotten warmer since 1998″ was actually revealed to be an understatement of the truth.
So at any rate, this is my plan for my next several diary entries, to download the app, give it a good once-over, then, hopefully, dismantle the counterarguments that lie within the ironically-named Skeptical Science app.
We’ll see how it goes.