Climate change deniers continue to be wrong, science words with friends, and support science in the classroom

The bliggityblogsphere has been abuzz with recent finding by the Berkeley Earth Project that independently confirm that global climate change is real. From the BBC:

The Earth’s surface really is getting warmer, a new analysis by a US scientific group set up in the wake of the “Climategate” affair has concluded.

The Berkeley Earth Project has used new methods and some new data, but finds the same warming trend seen by groups such as the UK Met Office and Nasa.


Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, has a nice, in depth write-up, that provides some caveats missing from most of the press releases: New independent climate study confirms global warming is real.

On the home front, earlier this week we posted a list of scientific terms that have multiple meaning depending on the audience and created an open spreadsheet for readers to add more. The response has been overwhelming and the list currently numbers over 100 terms. Thanks especially go to Maggie Koerth Baker, who promoted our project on BoingBoing. We will keep the list open to editing until sometime next week, after which we will initiate a system of pseudo-‘peer review’ by vetting the list through several science journalists and senior science communicators (but don’t worry, we’ll always have an editable spreadsheet active for more terms to be added).

I should add, since this sentiment has been appearing in various comment threads, that this list is not about the public being uneducated or one group using words wrong. These are terms that legitimately have multiple, non-overlapping meanings, and that, as scientists, it’s our responsibility when communicating with a non-specialist audience to use language that both parties will understand.

Finally, you may have noticed the Donor’s Choose widget on the right sidebar. This year, for the Donor’s Choose Science Bloggers Initiative, we’re focusing on science and mathematics projects in high poverty North Carolina schools, especially those in my and Bluegrass Blue Crabs home county, Carteret. Click on the widget and take a look at some of the projects you can fund. Many of these projects need less than $200, so please consider giving.

experiment: every time we mention climate change, a large number of commenters appear from the denial side who leave comments that make no reference to the post. If you read this far and want to comment, please make reference to which style of NC barbecue is superior.


  1. WhySharksMatter · October 21, 2011

    Eastern BBQ!

  2. Jon Flatley · October 26, 2011

    I believe that it becomes a “law of diminishing returns” to put forth more effort in providing evidence for the folks who think global warming is hogwash. There are people who believe that putting the man on the moon was a hoax, that witches exist, that 9-11 was a government conspiracy, etc.

    Why not put more energy into making sure policy makers are well informed and society proceeds forward sensibly with the best information available from science. Speaking of which it is an imperfect one with all the variables involved in causes, effects, superimposed on various atmospherical cycles of varying degrees of magnitude and time scales.

    Just my thoughts…

  3. Nikki · October 26, 2011

    I think it’s great that this study has been done; though it likely won’t decrease the number of naysayers who are particularly adamant about their views, at least it’s more evidence of global climate change to the general public. I don’t think it references that the source is anthropogenic though… we’ll see what happens once the paper gets through peer review. I hope at least information about this project gets more media attention.

    That list of scientific terms is awesome, by the way.

    And I can’t say much about NC barbecue styles because I’ve never had any…

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