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Climate Change 

July 30, 2012

Thank you Dr. Muller?

“Call me a converted sceptic.”

That quote from a recent piece by UC Berkeley physicist, Richard Muller, in the New York Times. Muller should be congratulated for his objective and scientific approach, and now agrees that the overwhelming majority of ongoing warming is attributable to human activities. HOWEVER, Dr. Muller should not be congratulated for the great disservice that he did to the scientific community when he initially expressed, very publicly, his skepticism for original studies on warming. It is fine, in fact essential, to be skeptical as a scientist. But the proper course of action is to re-examine the study(ies) of which you are skeptical, in scientific and peer-reviewed venues. That is how we test and verify or reject our hypotheses and conclusions. Opinions, no matter how expert, are still merely opinions until tested. Nevertheless, the proper course has been followed, and we should all look forward to the results of Dr. Muller and co-authors’ latest effort. It is, after all, a test of the repeatability and reliability of previous studies. I think that we all need to be careful of not falling into the unqualified and inexpert morass characterized by vessels like Anthony Watts.

The New York Times piece may be found here, and here is an article about that article from the BBC. And a preprint of the study is online here.

Filed under: Climate Change — Peter @ 10:19 am


  1. If Muller was such a dope before as to deny something so obvious to the rest of the community as global warming, why are we paying any attention to him now? Did he get smart all of a sudden?

    Comment by Mark Wilden — August 2, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

  2. Well, I wouldn’t call Muller a dope, since I think that he is a smart physicist, but I do question his approach to doing science. He received a lot of attention because he was a UC Berkeley physicist vocal in his skepticism of warming, no matter that he had not performed any studies nor analyzed any of the data. Now that he has, and has reversed his position, he’s getting a lot of attention again. This is not the first time that he has engaged in this sort of thing, it’s simply the “hottest” topic.

    Comment by Peter — August 2, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  3. It’s become very evident that the deniers have moved to Phase 2. They can’t deny man-made warming any more effectively, so they have shifted to claiming that we can adapt. Muller continues to misrepresent the work of others, especially Michael Mann, and Mann has provided a point by point rebuttal on his Facebook page. More that one online climate blogger is now referring to Muller as a Trojan Horse, set up to pose as an expert and then deny the extent of harmful impacts from uncontrolled warming. Keep this in mind.

    Comment by Wes — August 5, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

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