What’s wrong with ‘alternative facts’?

Dear Tom, I love alternative facts…

Climate Etc.

by Kip Hansen

‘Alternative facts’ is a term in law to describe inconsistent sets of facts put forth in a court given that there is plausible evidence to support both alternatives. The term is also used to describe competing facts for the two sides of the case.Wikipedia

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14 thoughts on “What’s wrong with ‘alternative facts’?

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    There are no ‘alternative facts’ to the fact that the last three years have been the hottest in recorded history. There are no ‘alternative facts’ to the fact that the polar ice cap is melting, and huge amounts of Antarctica are being exposed by icebergs calving and melting ice – for the first time since they’ve been measured.

    And there are no ‘alternative facts’ when the same measurement techniques are applied to two crowds in different years but at the same time of day – and one is bigger than another by an order of magnitude. Unless everyone in the crowd was wearing a hoop skirt, the statistics are well established.

    Some things are just facts.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Alicia, agree to disagree. That hottest year on record stuff? You have to read about where the temps were measured. It’s a bunch of shit. Sorry to be so blunt but yeah, it’s a bunch of shit. The most accurate temperature measurements come from satellite data, not the middle of an inner city. Calving in Antarctica is normal. Every single year. It’s normal. Glaciers wax and wane and have for millions of years. The statistics are not well established. The statistics are chosen to promote certain points of view or tweaked to promote a certain agenda. They are not accurate. Science is not settled. If science was settled (if the facts were settled) the world would still be considered flat. There would be nothing new under the sun.
      And we’ve only been studying temps for a hundred years. Ice cores are far more accurate in terms of climate science.
      All one has to do is study history. Civilizations waxed and waned, often because of changing climates – droughts, mini glacial periods, warming periods.
      Climate is always changing. We happen to have been in an interglacial period. Temperatures have been dropping since 1999, but you won’t read that in the popular press.

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      1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        We will have to disagree. It’s okay – neither of us is involved in the data collection, etc. My husband HAS deliberately studied the deniers’ best books, and concluded they’re full of BS, but that won’t satisfy you. Me, I trust him – and don’t feel like mawling my way through the data. Especially not since the CFS.
        I’m okay if you are.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. juliabarrett Post author

        I trust Judith Curry and the late Bob Carter and several other climatologists and acheo-climatologists who have varied theories but yes, we can indeed agree to disagree.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Diana Stevan

    Yes, Julia, climate is always changing but we humans have speeded it up with our reliance on fossil fuels.

    Science is science and I find it very disturbing that the new head of your EPA disputes what your country’s leading scientists are saying. Not only American scientists, but the world over.

    I was also shocked to see your president getting more coal miners back to work. That’s a backward step for your nation. I appreciate that they have lost their livelihood through the loss of these jobs, but this is where we humans can be more creative. Come up with work that is not dangerous to the environment or their health. It may mean re-training or moving to where there is work. Unless we all take responsibility, our children and grandchildren will be the ones to pay for our mistakes. For example, Bolivia is now in a drought due to the melting of their glaciers (global warming). They’re all gone. First time in history.

    As for alternative facts, that’s in Wikipedia, a resource that relies on anyone posting. Alternative facts are not facts. They’re lies.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Nope, Diana. I used to feel the same way. No longer. We should conserve and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels however nobody talks about the enormous footprint needed for wind and solar nor the toxins released with the mining of minerals for solar cells (and what happens when they end up in landfills) nor the massive scale of bird, bat and insect kills by wind turbines. Not to mention the limitations and the cost. There are many facts about global warming. Alternative facts are not lies. They are other theories as to why the earth is warming. In our own human history it has been far warmer than it is today. Jeez! In today’s world Galileo, Newton and Copernicus would be burned at the stake because they challenged conventional wisdom.

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      1. juliabarrett Post author

        Well, Roberta, I think climate is always changing. So that, in itself, isn’t a hoax. However panic is unnecessary and it is stoked by the media and groups with a particular agenda.

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  3. Greta van der Rol

    You’re aware I agree with you on climate change. The article itself is interesting – I would simply wonder why the term ‘alternative’ fact is used at all. A fact is a fact. An hypothesis (alternative views on climate change) use facts. The FACT that evidence of sophisticated human habitation has been found in the Amazon jungle immediately puts paid to the suggestion that the jungle is untouched and pristine. That ‘fact’ must now be qualified with something like ‘for two thousand years’. (I hope that all made sense)

    We must always test facts and hypotheses and theories – that is what makes science work. On the subject of climate change, you might like to read this. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/rapid-cooling-threatens-north-atlantic-170225075850709.html

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Yes, you and I do agree, Greta. I often get much more accurate news- reporting of alternate theories and facts- from journals and news organizations outside of the U.S. Australia is quite interesting. Dr. Bob Carter (of Australia) and I were pen pals for many years.

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  4. Roberta Hunter

    While George Carlin was a comedian and not a scientist I still find this to be more truthful about Global Warming than anything else I have read ~~~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB0aFPXr4n4
    Further more the earth has been here much longer than humans! The earth and solar system is going to do what it wants to do as it has for eons and eons and eons! It is the height of hubris to think man (humans) are the reason the earth warms and cools. Latest thought is that Mars may have a role in ‘global warming.’

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      The earth has many feedback mechanisms. We haven’t overwhelmed them yet. All one has to do is look at the disappearance of the Anasazi- due to a prolonged drought in the Southwest, the ruins under the ocean off the coast of Turkey and Egypt (we didn’t do that!) and the history of Greenland- Norse settlements during a warm period when the glaciers had retreated which were then covered by the same glaciers during a cold period.

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