Oregon doesn't have a state climatologist.

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

George_taylor_oregon_state_climatologistI had a college dormmate once who told everyone he knew that he was some sort of British royal - the "Seventeenth Duke of Sussex" or somesuchthing. We were freshmen, and a bunch of us believed him for a while. But just because he thought he was a "Lord Protector of the Crown" didn't make it so.

That guy was a troubled kid away from home for the first time. But George Taylor is an adult, and he should know better. You shouldn't go around calling yourself the "state climatologist" unless you're actually the state's official climatologist.

Here's the thing: The Oregon Legislature abolished the position in 1989. But that hasn't stopped George Taylor, who spouts crazy global-warming-denial BS from his post at Oregon State, from calling himself that.

From the Oregonian:

The governor last week questioned whether Taylor can legitimately call himself state climatologist since the position is not officially authorized in state law. "He's not the state climatologist," the governor said. "I never appointed him. I think I would know. He's not my weatherman."

Of course, it appears that Oregon State has bestowed the title upon him, despite the lack of any statutory authority to do so.

So... calling all legislators. Can we get a little one-liner tucked into some budget language somewhere? Maybe something like, "No state agency or state university shall bestow the title of 'state climatologist' unless such title is specifically authorized by statute."

Please? We can't stop the crazy people from spouting their weird theories, but they shouldn't go around pretending to have titles.

Or maybe I'll just appoint myself the State Blogger. And Lord Protector of the Internet Tubes.


[Hat tip to the OLCV Blog and Brian Hines. Brian would like you to email the responsible OSU Dean, Mark Abbott, and suggest politely that perhaps the title should go.]

Update: You can see George Taylor in action, debating the official Washington state climatologist at OMSI - free and open to the public - at 7 p.m. tonight.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Great post Kari! I read that story this morning, and asked myself "I wonder what a state climatologist is - is that an official position?"

    I was ready to brush that off as a little tinfoil hat moment…thanks for affirming my skepticism.

  • pat malach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The e-mail link to OSU Dean Mark Abbott isn't working on my browser.

  • (Show?)

    Thank you, Kari, for unraveling what has been a mystery to me. I've seen this guy quoted in the media for several years now, always as the "State Climatologist," and I never could figure out why he got the title, since his opinions ran contrary to every major scientific organization and bit of research on global warming.

    Now I hope reporters and editors everywhere stop quoting him and find a respected and credentialed researcher to interview about Oregon's climate.

  • (Show?)

    Pat, thanks, the link is working now. Sorry, late night blogging...

    Leslie, to be fair, it was the Big O that revealed it yesterday - though it was buried deep in the story.

  • (Show?)

    Hey Kari:

    I might have to arm wrestle you for that Official State Blogger title.

    Or maybe I'll send TJ.

  • Mike (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I just want to call dibs on being the Oregon State Ninja before someone else does.

  • (Show?)

    i have passed along this post to Rep Sara Gelser's office (OSU is in her district). i pointed out that Taylor's name is one i've been aware for years -- i thought he was the official state weatherman. i distinctly remember his talking about Oregon's "historical, natural" weather swings, 10-year cycles of cold/warm. hopefully this story will get the publicity it needs and Taylor's false science can finally be set aside.

  • Jonathan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Your ignorance is truley amazing. You liberals pride yourselves on being the ideology of aceptance and tolerance, unless of course it goes against your agenda. I plan on attending this evening and listening to both sides equally. You liberals are so full of crap.

    And for Kulo stating, "who is this guy, I did'nt appoint him, and I'm certinatly not going to listen to his advice" F@$K You Ted, I did'nt vote for you does that mean I can ignore you. Have some class a#$whole

  • Jonathan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Before I forget, If global warming is real... and not just a scare tactic of the left. Then why the hell are California and Florida's citrus crop industries set to lose voer 1 billion dollars this year follwing a Janurary freeze?

    anyone help me here?

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Yes, I certainly can help Jonathan here.

    "Climate" is about average conditions and trends, things like mean seasonal or annual temperature, mean seasonal or annual precipitation, and also about measures of variability from those means. Thus many global climate models (I'm a geoscientist but not a climate specialist) predict both mean warming and increased variability (deviation from the mean). Global climate models most emphatically are not what meteorologists use to try to predict the weather a few days from now. "Weather" is about day-to-day stuff.

    There is absolutely no incompatibility between an overall warming trend or an overall trend in precipitation, say, and any particular extreme storm event.

    If you don't like this or don't understand, talk to a meteorologist or take am inroductory course in meteorology.

    Climate science is neither liberal nor conservative. Those labels applied to scientific research are meaningless. The science is out there for your inspection. How you and your representatives in government decide to deal with the scientific conclusions is a separate matter entirely.

    But back to George Taylor. I believe that Mr. Chisholm is entirely correct that there is indeed no such thing as an Oregon state climatologist. It's also indisputable that Taylor's interpretation of the data is distinctly at odds with the interpretation of, oh, about 99% of the scientists who specialize in climate-change studies. But frankly, as a working scientist, I really resent the way Taylor is characterized in this posting and some of the comments above. Taylor is allowed to be a contrarian.

    I am hardly the first person to point out that science is a self-correcting enterprise, an enterprise that depends upon bit-by-bit unraveling of the truth. Science is not conducted in a court of law, where the intent too commonly is (in my opinion) not to arrive at the truth, but rather to bludgeon one's opponent. But what is happening in the "climate debates" being carried out in public--not those in the scientific literature--is that people are attacking the science as if it could be judged using courtroom norms. And because virtually all the science has concluded that there truly is human-caused climate change under way, the attacks are coming from those who want to disparage that conclusion.

    I am happy to forward to people copies of short articles, written for a general scientific audience, on various aspects of climate-change science. Write me at the address linked in this comment.

  • JAF (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jonathan,

    Please shut the hell up. I would almost have to think you were posing as a conservative to make conservatives look bad. When giving lessons on class perhaps you shouldn't refer to the Governor as an "a#$whole", whatever that is anyways, and say things like "F@$k you" in reference to him. You sound like an unbelievable moron, not to mention the fact that you either can't spell, or are simply too lazy to even try. Stop making yourself and conservatives look ridiculous.

  • (Show?)

    Jonathan: Before I forget, If global warming is real... and not just a scare tactic of the left. Then why the hell are California and Florida's citrus crop industries set to lose voer 1 billion dollars this year follwing a Janurary freeze? anyone help me here?

    Because climatologists - real climatologists - measure climate by its average temperature. Not by any one temporary extreme in one part of the globe.

    As most people learn as young children, basic logic is both fun and interesting. You should try it one of these days.

  • Brian Hines (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari, I just searched the Oregon Revised Statutes for "climatologist" and came up blank. The duties of the Oregon Climate Service can be found here (ORS 352.245): http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/352.html

    Gosh, no mention of a state climatologist. You got it just right: OSU and Taylor have crowned him with that title all on their own.

  • (Show?)

    The Willy Week did a nice article on Taylor a while back, outing him as an under-educated crank whose arguments about global warming were discredited.

    (Taylor: "Look, it's not that complicated," says Taylor, who, as head of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU, is known as the state climatologist. "It's not clear that we are seeing unprecedented warming, and it's definitely untrue that any warming trend can be assigned to human activities. Natural variations in climate are much more significant than any human activities.")

    At the very least, Oregon shouldn't be so hot to allowing him to use a fake title to bolster "controversial" claims. Oregon is a leader in all things green, and this guy doesn't do our nascent green economy any favors.

    As always, yours, Jeff Alworth, Prince of East Wales

  • Hold on a minute... (unverified)
    (Show?)

    If I was a climatologist that worked at Oregon State what would my title be?

    Would it be Oregon State Climatologist John Doe??

    I mean Oregon State History Professor John Doe isn't being picked on here.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    George Taylor is a faculty member in the Oregon State University College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. This news release from OSU does in fact refer to George Taylor as "the state climatologist employed at Oregon State University."

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The Willy Week did a nice article on Taylor a while back, outing him as an under-educated crank whose arguments about global warming were discredited.

    Sigh. "Under-educated crank". Nice demonstration of what I was referring to: attempting to discredit the science by ad hominem attacks on the scientist. Too bad this comes from "progressives" as well as Neanderthals.

    As I wrote above, Taylor's conclusion are at odds with nearly the entire climate-science community. But he still gets to express his opinion.

  • (Show?)

    Mr. Hold On... No, he'd be Oregon State University's climatologist. Or maybe, if they're misusing caps (like academics do all the time), maybe, the Oregon State University Climatologist.

    State Climatologist implies that he's the official one for the State. (Oregon is implied when you're in-state.)

  • (Show?)

    As for Carla, I might have to arm wrestle you for that Official State Blogger title -- nope, I've claimed it, and thus IT IS MINE. ALL MINE!

    No one, not even Oregon State University, can take it from me now! Bwah ha ha ha!

  • (Show?)

    And folks, let's not use this thread to debate global warming per se -- there have been MANY of those threads here. This discussion is about the title "State Climatologist" and it's use or misuse.

  • (Show?)

    lin qiao:

    When a "scientist" holds himself forth in such a way as to influence public opinion and policy, informed attacks on his credibility are perfectly justified. Unfortunately, this practice has become all too common in politically loaded issues like and global warming and evolution/"intelligent design."

    Calling this an ad hominem attack seems like a stretch - sure, the word "crank" might be a little inflammatory, but come on...it's not like anybody called him a poopyhead.

    Science has a rich tradition of peer review. The public has a right to know about those who try to get away with bypassing that system in order to win fame and influence.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    To be absolutely clear, The OSU College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (COAS) website lists George Taylor as "professional faculty", not "teaching and research faculty." I suspect this is a sort of courtesy appointment. Commonly land-grant universities like OSU host, and list as faculty affiliates, people from state geological surveys, water-resources bureaus, and such. The typical web page for COAS researchers includes a long list of research interests and publications; Taylor's COAS page does not.

  • (Show?)

    Just to be clear about what is at issue here:

    (1) The Oregonian published an official-sounding title on a hot-button issue apparently without checking their facts. Thus if anyone is getting "picked on" here, it's the Oregonian. We have a right to expect more from professional reporters and copy editors.

    (2) If Taylor did anything to mislead the Oregonian - and it kinda looks like he might have, but nobody's offered any proof beyond the news release quoted by lin qiao - then he would be a worthy target of outrage as well.

    The Willamette Week story mentioned above contains plenty of reasons to be outraged at Taylor's behavior - and at whatever political forces put this…er, crank on the public payroll where his primary duty is to educate Oregonian students (not lobby congress and get his name in the paper.)

    But today, the primary problem is sloppy journalism.

  • (Show?)

    Pete -- Well, usually fact-checking on something like this involves asking the guy "Hey, what's yer title?" There's no reason to think the guy is lying. In this case, he's not even really lying -- it appears that Oregon State is the one that bestowed an illegitimate title.

    Of course, knowing a bit about how the academy works, titles get tossed around quite a bit. If he asked for it, OSU would have almost certainly granted it. In fact, it was likely one of those 'round the water cooler conversations, "Hey, I think I should call myself..." "Yeah, sure, why not?"

  • TR (unverified)
    (Show?)

    About 15,000 years ago the last ice age was melting due to a millennia of early cave dweller climatologists test firing their volcanoes and traversing the countryside on fire breathing sport utility dinosaurs, the volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range left lava and mudflows two miles thick. Because of global warming from the volcanoes and the SUDs, the Columbia River then cut a deep canyon through the lava, ash and mud. Gigantic floods up to 1,200 feet deep swept down the river corridor and scoured its cliffs. This created one of the world’s greatest disasters leaving tributary streams hanging high above the river’s bed out of the reach of spawning salmon, and a gorge that appears to have scarred the region forever.

    It is time for the self identified climatologists, Inconvenient Truth supporters and green political forces of today who want to reverse the affects of global warming to pick up their pick axes and shovels, start another millennia of reversing the actions of those early climatologists who test fired the volcanoes and fill in that dastardly ditch called the Columbia River Gorge, thereby returning the planet to pre-global warming status.

    Back to the future of reality, the true point of this tread was far more not to recognize and bring down the opinion of an expert in the field of climatology rather than to challenge the title this person claims to have.

  • jim karlock (unverified)
    (Show?)

    lin qiao It's also indisputable that Taylor's interpretation of the data is distinctly at odds with the interpretation of, oh, about 99% of the scientists who specialize in climate-change studies. JK: Lin, you rally need to personally look at the data instead of relying of supposedly informed friends. A good starting point would be the recent NAS report which debunks much of the current climate science. Here’s a good start: “Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” From:

    National Academy of Sciences Report on global climate change ( Report is at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11676.html )

    The below is cut and pasted from the report with our comments in [brackets]

    Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years Committee on Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years, National Research Council From Page 111 (sheet 126) bold added:

    OVERALL FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

    Based on its deliberations and the materials presented in Chapters 1-11 and elsewhere, the committee draws the following overall conclusions regarding large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years: * The instrumentally measured warming of about 0.6̊C during the 20th century is also reflected in borehole temperature measurements, the retreat of glaciers, and other observational evidence, and can be simulated with climate models. .......[This verifies that there was about a 0.6̊C temperature increase during the 20th century (see below)] * Large-scale surface temperature reconstructions yield a generally consistent picture of temperature trends during the preceding millennium, including relatively warm conditions centered around A.D. 1000 (identified by some as the “Medieval Warm Period”) and a relatively cold period (or “Little Ice Age”) centered around 1700. The existence and extent of a Little Ice Age from roughly 1500 to 1850 is supported by a wide variety of evidence including ice cores, tree rings, borehole temperatures, glacier length records, and historical documents. ......[This re-affirms the existence of a “little ice age”] Evidence for regional warmth during medieval times can be found in a diverse but more limited set of records including ice cores, tree rings, marine sediments, and historical sources from Europe and Asia, but the exact timing and duration of warm periods may have varied from region to region, and the magnitude and geographic extent of the warmth are uncertain. ....[This re-affirms the existence of a “medieval warm period”] ....[Remember the famous “hockey stick” chart? It DOES NOT show either the “little ice age” or “medieval warm period”. This omission disproves the “hockey stick” chart and the data/methods used to create it. Much of the climate field uses similar data and methods.] * It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries. This statement is justified by the consistency of the evidence from a wide variety of geographically diverse proxies. ....[This is the headline for many newspapers. Most forgot to mention that the “preceding four centuries” started in the middle of the “little ice age (above). In other words, we are warming up after the little ice age.] * Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified. * Very little confidence can be assigned to statements concerning the hemispheric mean or global mean surface temperature prior to about A.D. 900 because of sparse data coverage and because the uncertainties associated with proxy data and the methods used to analyze and combine them are larger than during more recent time periods. .....[ This says that we really don’t know enough about climate before A.D 900. This suggests that we are incapable of judging today’s climate in a proper historical context, considering that there has been 12,000 years of ups and downs since the last ice age. We only know about 10% of this time span to a sufficient degree.]

    ---------------------------------- From page 21 (sheet36) Bold Added ------------------------------------ Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium. .....[Note that this claim is only “plausible”, not likely or probable or “supported by a wide variety of evidence” (see above)] The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods, and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales. ....[Here is the often heard statement that we are the warmest in 1000 years. It is given “less confidence” than “plausable” (see above). Effectively, it is shown to be baseless.]

    --------------------------------- Some Thoughts About the Above Report ------------------------------

    We believe that the two most gripping claims about global warming have been shown to be wrong. The other major claim, that we are the warmest in 400 years is essentially a statement that we are warming after the “little ice age.” Is that bad?

    ------------------------------ Are you being lied to? ------------------------------

    Stephen Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research described the scientists' dilemma this way: "On the one hand, as scientists, we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but-which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but; human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This `double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both."
    From: DISCOVER, OCTOBER 1989, Page 47, bold added (Note: Stephen Schneider is founder and editor of the scientific journal Climate Change.)
    ------------------------------Further reading ------------------------------

    The whole NAP report: www.nap.edu/catalog/11676.html The Wegman factsheet: http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_fact_sheet.pdf The Wegman report: http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf Website run by Mann: www.RealClimate.org Website run by critic of the hockeystick: www.ClimateAudit.org

  • (Show?)

    Kari:

    On what basis do you make your claim about the practice of fact checking? I've worked at a number of newspapers (not as a journalist), and that doesn't sound right to me at all.

    Copy editors tend to pride themselves on noting the significance of a capital letter. Reporters tend to pride themselves on knowing the government structure relating to what they're writing about.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Dear Mr. Karlock,

    We've corresponded before, haven't we? I very much recall being led down the primrose path, thinking you were serious instead of playing debate-team tricks. The publication from which you selectively cut and pasted is indeed familiar to me. While I am impressed with your talents with the cut and paste functions, your credentials for commenting on the contents of what you cut and paste are arguable. I just did a search for your name using the Google Scholar function; this returned, amongst other things, a patent application by one James A. Karlock of NE Portland for "Method and apparatus for modifying a video signal," as well as various other patents for video technology applications. Tell you what, if you've subsequently trained yourself in any geophysical discipline, kindly post your CV on this website, detailing where you were trained.

    BTW, the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due out in a few days. A friend of mine happens to be on the panel.

  • jim karlock (unverified)
    (Show?)

    lin qiao JK: I am serious and my training is more general than just electronics. However, lets try to stick to the facts of climate.

    What are you claiming is wrong with the OVERALL FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS section of National Academy of Sciences Report on global climate change or my reading of it?

    Also don’t miss the Wegman (sp?) report that showed the flaws in Mann’s statistics.

    Thanks JK

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The Google Scholar function can also be used to check on George Taylor's scholarly publications. I just did this, in fact. It returned a few articles in refereed journals and a few other reports, but nothing at all related to analysis of whether or not human-induced climate change might actually be occurring.

  • (Show?)

    Jim Karlock, Lin Qiao, and TR -- One more time, knock it off. Take your global warming debate somewhere else. There's enough to discuss here without taking it way off-kilter to discussions of volcanic dust, ice ages, and other scientific debates.

  • (Show?)

    On what basis do you make your claim about the practice of fact checking? I've worked at a number of newspapers (not as a journalist), and that doesn't sound right to me at all.

    Sure... but in this case, I'm guessing that once the guy has been identified this way for a few years, people stop checking. Especially when the subject makes the claim repeatedly.

    Don't get me wrong, I think they could do a better job -- and now that they've figured it out, I expect that folks will flag it... but I don't blame the copy editors for this one. I blame George Taylor.

  • Tim in DC (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Whoa... when scientists tangle, next on Blue Oregon!

    To be fair, I don't think one needs to be a trained climatologist to interpret and form an opinion on climate change studies, although I suspect it certainly helps. I do not, however, believe that any argument that includes, "you listen to 99% of the scientists too much and need to think for yourself" is very very persuasive. Today's hearings held by Rep. Waxman's committee were instructive on the topic...

    As to the Oregon State (c)limatologist, at the very least he and/or OSU uses the term in a deceptive manner to, in my opinion, enhance his standing with the media. It strikes me as unprofessional, at minimum.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Dear Mr. Chisholm,

    Actually, I haven't engaged the topic of climate change in any technical manner here at all. It's not the place, and I'm not going to honor Karlock's debate-team tactics. But I sincerely urge you to think carefully about what you write. The fact is, you wrote:

    We can't stop the crazy people from spouting their weird theories, but they shouldn't go around pretending to have titles.

    Perhaps Taylor truly has arrogated unto himself his nifty title; or perhaps OSU has improperly assigned him this title. The validity of that point is independent of whether or not you think Taylor is "crazy" or his interpretations are "weird".

  • (Show?)

    Sigh. "Under-educated crank". Nice demonstration of what I was referring to: attempting to discredit the science by ad hominem attacks on the scientist.

    It's not an ad hom attack: it's fact. His papers are commonly used to refute peer-reviewed, university-sponsored research. I think it's worth mentioning that he has a habit of burnishing the old resume. He's got a BA in Math and an MS in meteorology. If he's going to call himself the state climatologist, he's opening himself up to charges that he's exaggerating his accomplishment to bolster his arguments.

    I know of what I speak: although I'm a university researcher, I only have an MA. Having bailed on my (unrelated) Ph.D. program, I am well aware of the difference between an MA and a Ph.D. I think of myself as undereducated--so how is it an ad hom attack to charge the "state climatologist" with the same?

  • ignore the troll (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Lin Qiao, please stop getting sucked into discussions that take otherwise interesting discussion way off course. Most of us have been tempted to get into it with these attention-seekers, but please ... ignore the troll.

    As an email beginner, I forwarded virus warnings to large groups of people. Someone wrote back and said, "just so you know, that annoys everyone." I'm glad he did. So ... there you go.

  • (Show?)

    Lin Qiao and others,

    As a high school dropout, I'm disinclined to confer status on anyone based on the number of capital letters and periods following their names.

    My personal experience leads me to conclude that boneheads bereft of critical thinking skills are equally likely to be found among tenured professors, high tech geniuses, and investment bankers as they are behind the counter at McDonald's.

    The ability to internalize and regurgitate appropriate dogma in any discipline does not indicate a greater ability to provide relevant facts in any given debate.

    In the end, the reason that we have specific research standards and peer review, is precisely to weed the "cold fusion" guys out.

    Mr. Taylor, whether due to avarice or ignorance, seems to fit this category nicely.

    Commenters on this thread who truly believe that hearing "both sides" of a debate in a public forum are neglecting a basic tenant of human behavior that's way too common these days:

    People will often select their "facts" to achieve the desired result, while ignoring the facts that contradict their position. Liberals and Conservatives are guilty of this behavior, but there are not two sides to many questions. (Some have multiple sides and some have only one side)

    The earth is a sphere, alleging that it is flat doesn't make it so, even if you can get some court astrologer to say it is.

    For the most part we've forgotten that the first rule of debate is to be able to convincingly argue your opponent's position. If debate participants make a good faith effort to argue the other side, they will either change some of their arguments based on new knowledge, will understand how to unequivocally refute their opponents, or will find enough areas unresolved to be forced into a neutral position.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I work in a fairly large scientific organization, a government agency, with people who have no PhD and who still do very valuable work. Nothing magical about letters after one's name. Nonetheless, Mr. Alworth is almost certainly correct about George Taylor inflating his resume, and if so, Taylor ought to be called out for it. As I suggested after my Google Scholar search, Taylor obviously does not have much of a research track record at all.

    My fundamental objection is to the nastiness of some of the rhetoric. Sorry, in my book calling someone crazy or an undereducated crank in a forum like this is not OK. To borrow a Buddhist metaphor, there's already enough greed, hatred and delusion in the world without adding another dollop.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pat Ryan: The ability to internalize and regurgitate appropriate dogma in any discipline does not indicate a greater ability to provide relevant facts in any given debate.

    Geez Louise, if that's what the layman thinks scientific research is, we're screwed.

  • Tina (unverified)
    (Show?)

    We are all going to burn (or chill, pretty cold outside just now) thus I claim the official title: Oregon Queen of Fire and Ice. I will give a sheriff candidate from our recent election a call (if he is still in town) and see if I can get a diploma to go with my new title, then OSU can confer it upon me as well. How special.

  • (Show?)

    Nothing like a little witch hunt to get the juices flowing I guess.

    Lin qiao, I thank you for being the voice of scientific reason here even if all it's gotten you is yelled at.

    As far as I can tell the situation is that in Oregon there is currently no official government-bestowed title "state climatologist". As head of the Oregon Climate Service, George Taylor does what state climatologists do whether or not they have an official government title. So he and Oregon State call him the state climatologist. What a scandal.

    Yeah, Oregon climate and weather is Taylor's expertise, not global warming. Yeah, I cringe every time I see him quoted on the latter subject. On the other hand, according to the interviews in the WW, he's good at his real job managing the OCS.

    Science has moved on and left him behind on the subject of global warming. Is there a word for beating a guy who's beating a dead horse?

  • JIm (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Y'all are so full of crap. Look, George Taylor's predecessor at OSU had the official title of State Climatologist. While the State eliminated the title, OSU did not. That's what his job is as defined by OSU. He's not making claims to a title which are unfounded.

    And anyone reading his position on GW would also know that he's not spouting BS. Questioning the scientific consensus does not make one an idiot and does not mean that one is wrong. There is still plenty of debate among scientists all over the world as to whether GW is ongoing, whether it's a treat to our existance, whether and how much man is responsible, and what, if anything, can be done.

    GW is NOT a scientific issue - it's a political issue. Period.

  • (Show?)

    This also demonstrates a serious conflict of interest, and one that further contributes to a lack of confidence in George Taylor:

    Taylor's background is in meteorology, and other scientists say much of his work on climate change has not gone through the full scrutiny of peer review by independent researchers. He has written on the subject for Web sites financed in part by the oil industry. Taylor is listed as a scientific adviser for a group that receives money from ExxonMobil and says on its Web site that escalating greenhouse gases are good for the Earth, promoting plant life and bringing "growth and prosperity to man and nature alike."

    Did anyone happen to go to the debate last night?

  • (Show?)

    That's what his job is as defined by OSU. He's not making claims to a title which are unfounded.

    Yeah, but OSU doesn't get to give away that title. If you're the State Climatologist, that implies that you're the climatologist for the State of Oregon. Which he's not.

  • (Show?)

    "This also demonstrates a serious conflict of interest, and one that further contributes to a lack of confidence in George Taylor..."

    Many university faculty not only publish on industry-sponsored web sites or act as advisors for industry-sponsored groups they get lots of money directly from industry. Are you up for firing or shutting up all of them? What exactly do we hope to win here?

    In my opinion, anyone who has confidence in George Taylor's pronouncements on global warming is ignorant or has ulterior motives. It's not true that global warming is only a political and not a scientific subject. It certainly is both of those things. Given the way he goes about what he does with it, however, it's clear that for Taylor it's mostly a political activity not a scientific one. Pontificating on global warming is his hobby, not his profession.

    It muddies the waters that his profession makes him sound as though he has expertise that he doesn't have but, again, even his detractors say he's good at his profession--running the Oregon Climate Service. Kari has made a mountain out of less than a molehill here. The guy running the [name of state here] Climate Service is normally called the "state climatologist" of that state. We want to make an exception for Mr. Taylor because he's a bit of a nut?

    How will fighting this battle with politically-based repression get us anyplace we want to go? Even crackpot scientists are covered by the first amendment.

    Science is a peer-policed endeavor for good reasons, most important of those being that it is the best way to ensure the truth will eventually out.

  • torridjoe (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "There is still plenty of debate among scientists all over the world as to whether GW is ongoing, whether it's a treat to our existance, whether and how much man is responsible, and what, if anything, can be done. "

    Hogwash, for everything except the last two of those (and only how much, not whether).

  • (Show?)

    Doretta wrote, Kari has made a mountain out of less than a molehill here.

    Um, well, I've got some strong opinions here - but this ain't my crusade. I'll refer you to Governor Kulongoski's comments:

    "He's not the state climatologist," the governor said. "I never appointed him. I think I would know. He's not my weatherman."

  • Lee (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Well, the Oregonian again, today, labled Taylor the "State Climatologist". And they even referred to Washington's "State Climatologist". This is a big issue, I want it resolved. Could even the liberal Oregonian be wrong?

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'd love to hear commentary from anyone from actually heard the "debate". Not that a debate format is appropriate for hashing out scientific matters (which is why Karlock tries to force all discussion about climate into this format...one also greatly favored by the creation "science" crowd).

  • jim karlock (unverified)
    (Show?)

    lin qiao: (which is why Karlock tries to force all discussion about climate into this format...one also greatly favored by the creation "science" crowd). JK: Trying a little "guilt by association " are we? When I hear this crap, I know that the other guy has no facts, and has to hope to cover up by diverting the attention to some other subject.

    (Feel free to privately email me a valid criticism of my take on the NAS conclusions, but please don't give me stuff from your friends.)

    Thanks JK

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Readers of this thread may be interested to know that the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is just about to be released in Paris. A friend of mine happens to be on the panel. A summary news story is at this BBC link, which leads off as follows:

    "Climatic changes seen around the world are 'very likely' to have a human cause, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will conclude.

    "By 'very likely', the IPCC means greater than 90% probability.

    "This is a stronger position than the global organisation took in its last major report in 2001."

    "IPCC scientists have yet to finalise other elements - including forecasts of sea level rise - in their report due to be published on Friday."

    Mr. Karlock is of course free to critique this latest IPCC report as he wishes. The IPCC website is here.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    By the way, I owe Karlock an apology for the guilt by association. I kind of doubt he's a fan of creation "science".

  • (Show?)

    Well, the Oregonian again, today, labled Taylor the "State Climatologist".

    No they didn't. They labelled him the "state climatologist".

    And they even referred to Washington's "State Climatologist".

    They also referred to him as Washington's "state climatologist".

    "State Climatologist" is a title; "state climatologist" is a job.

    This is a big issue, I want it resolved. Could even the liberal Oregonian be wrong?

    No, in this case, even the liberal governor can be wrong. The state is bigger than either George Taylor or Ted Kulongoski.

    The fact is, George Taylor has the job in Oregon normally referred to as the "state climatologist" whether or not it is an official title. Did you all miss the part in his bio where he's past president of "The American Association of State Climatologists". Do you think his (presumably 49) colleagues just didn't notice he wasn't really the state climatologist in Oregon?

    The governor is right, he didn't appoint him. He was hired by OSU to run the Oregon Climate Service--once again, something that even his colleagues who consider his pronouncements on global warming to be hogwash say he is good at.

    Um, well, I've got some strong opinions here - but this ain't my crusade.

    BS, Kari. The governor is understandably, if somewhat erroneously, trying to distance himself from George Taylor's pronouncements on global warming. You are the one calling for the legislature to pass a statute aimed at keeping George Taylor from calling himself the "state climatologist" even if he's doing the job of the state climatologist. Unless you are claiming the governor asked you to call for that, it's your crusade.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    IMHO kind of boils down to whether or not George Taylor is violating his contract, say. Geez Louise, there are tenured academicians out there who've abandoned, say, aeronautical engineering for research into psychic phenomena, and still have their jobs. But Taylor's not a guy in a tenured position doing "frontier science", is he?

    Also, consider whether a crusade against George Taylor will just turn him into a martyr.

  • (Show?)

    Unless you are claiming the governor asked you to call for that, it's your crusade.

    No, he didn't. As always, I speak only for myself.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This seems pertinent to the nature of the debate here.

  • gl (unverified)
    (Show?)

    concensus and policy do not make good science.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Well, which comes first, the consensus, the policy, or the science? Arguably good science does help make policy.

    Several gifted minds in varying disciplines were posed with the following question: What is 2 times 2? The engineer of the group whipped out his slide rule, shuffled it back and forth, and announced that the answer was 3.99. The physicist consulted his technical references, set up the problem on his laptop computer, and announced "it lies between 3.98 and 4.02". The mathematician cogitated for a while, oblivious to the rest of the world, then announced, "I don't know what the answer is, but I can prove an answer exists!" The philosopher asked, "What do you mean by 2 times 2?" The accountant closed the doors and windows, looked around carefully, and then asked, "What do you want the answer to be?"

  • Lee (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Doretta, is is. I am glad you clarified the difference between a capital and not. And I am also glad to know that a person is only significant if he is "appointed" by Ted.

  • Apprentice to Darth Holden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The fact of the matter seems to be that this guy from OSU is using a title that would lead a reasonable person to assume he holds an official state government position.

    This is fraudlent in my opinion, and I don't blame Kitzhaber for taking exception to this.

  • tortdog (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This article is wrong. Taylor heads the "Oregon Climate Service," which was established in 1991 by the legislature to "disseminate and interpret climate data and information for the state." But now that the head of the Oregon Climate Service has scientific findings that differ from the governor's, the governor wants to change the rules.

    Get your facts straight.

    352.245. Establishment of the Oregon Climate Service; duties Laws 1991, c. 727, § 1.

  • John Taylor (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari Chisholm is fostering one of the great red herrings, pretending the issue is about a title when the objective is to discredit a view.

    The fact the service has existed for over 15 years and no one objected to what the person running it was called, UNTIL, it conflicted with what they believed, is quite telling.

    Kari Chisholm is fostering one of the great red herrings, pretending the issue is about a title when the objective is to discredit a view.

    The fact the service has existed for over 15 years and no one objected to what the person running it was called, UNTIL, it conflicted with what they believed, is quite telling.

  • weez (unverified)
    (Show?)

    George may have gone too far in accepting the title the university purportedly bestowed upon him, but Kari, don't be a lemming. George isn't alone in the sea of scientists. Check out this letter:

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/canadianPMletter06.html

    His are not "weird theories." Those theories are shared by many scientists who're specialized in climatology (as opposed to the many zoologists and geologists that get thrown into the "most scientists agree that global warming is man's fault" argument. Perhaps you should spend some time studying the theories.

  • (Show?)

    No, his theories are "weird." They are not based on science, they are based on fancy and ideology. The actual science, as the IPCC report revealed, shows utter consensus on the question of whether man contributes significantly to global warming--he does.

  • weez (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Fancy and idiology"? So the hundreds of climatologist who disagree with IPCC's report are relying on fancy and idiology? So the IPCC's theories are based on crystal balls and tarot cards? I trust there's a more rational explanation.

    As a professional (in an admittedly unrelated science) who's worked for decades to disprove the professed benefits of the "accepted practice of the industry" (and finally being proven right), I have a hard time dismissing George and his peer's work.

  • (Show?)

    I know of no "hundreds of climatologists" who disagree with the overall conclusion of the IPCC report, and others. In fact, I don't know of a SINGLE peer-reviewed climatologist who disagrees with it--perhaps because the science is so overwhelming.

    I don't have a hard time dismissing George's work; it's not been validated by anyone, and for good reason--it's a giant load of unscientific crap.

  • Mike W (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So...Oregon doesn't have a State Climatologist...hell, Oregon doesn't even have a Governor!!

  • weez (unverified)
    (Show?)

    torridjoe:

    Your ignorance of the subject is what's overwhelming. Nobody is arguing whether there's a consensus in the scientific community. What George and his peers are questioning is the validity of the science behind the conclusions. When he makes the argument that the climate models used to "prove" global warming had to be fitted to match historical climate patterns, you have to question the science. Simply put, the data doesn't support the hypothesis. I've read nothing that credibly disputes what George is claiming.

    Don't be a lemming... do the research yourself!

  • Alex (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This comes from Oregon State University Press's Webpage. Apparently the university thinks his title is offical.

    http://oregonstate.edu/dept/press/c-d/ClimateOR.html

    George H. Taylor is the State Climatologist for Oregon. A faculty member of Oregon State University's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Science, he is Director of the Oregon Climate Service, the state's official repository for weather and climate information. He lives in Corvallis.

  • Mike W. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    torridjoe:

    Go to: http://www.oism.org/pproject/pproject.html#36 and http://lavoisier/articles/CanadianPMLetter06/html. Perhaps these will help assuage your unfounded, and leftist politically motivated, fears of "global warming".

  • (Show?)

    weez said: "Your ignorance of the subject is what's overwhelming. Nobody is arguing whether there's a consensus in the scientific community. What George and his peers are questioning is the validity of the science behind the conclusions. When he makes the argument that the climate models used to "prove" global warming had to be fitted to match historical climate patterns, you have to question the science. Simply put, the data doesn't support the hypothesis. I've read nothing that credibly disputes what George is claiming."

    This makes no sense--

    1) "George and his peers" are not climatologists, and are not questioning the validity of the science by using science themselves. In other words, they offer no evidence to support their own conclusions.

    2) Climate models are not necessary to prove global warming. A model is a view of the future. If you're trying to say that the surety with which certain predicted outcomes of warming is not a given, I wouldn't necessarily disagree. But you don't need models to assess warming patterns, you need data. And the data are overwhelmingly indicative of a warming trend.

    3) You may not have read anything that credibly disputes George, but that's not the standard. You haven't read anything that credibly supports him, either. Galileo fought the consensus with data. Taylor has none; he simply calls the consensus into question without the science to back him up.

  • (Show?)

    Mike,

    You could also cite The Onion as a source. At least they are pretty openly a parody site.

    <hr/>

    I always look for contrarian research too, but in order for it to be worth more than warm spit, you need to know the history and goals of the folks that you reference.

    Here's a link about your favorite energy industry pets:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oregon_Institute_of_Science_and_Medicine

  • (Show?)

    and Mike W--get serious. The OISM? They have no credibility whatsoever. They are run by a protein Chemist and fundamentalist Christian who puts out homeschooling materials to bring us back to the days before "socialism in education." He is the only paid staff person, and he's not even an atmospheric scientist! But he does have some great friends, like Frederick Seitz, the nut who was fired by his tobacco company employer in the 80s for no longer being capable of rational thought, and who works with the Scaife-funded Marshall Institute.

    As for the Canadian letter, it was put out by the NRSP, a Canadian front group whose top leaders (like Tim Ball) are fossil fuel industry lobbyists--not to mention Ball's false claim that was a climatology professor, when in fact he was a geography professor.

    No matter how many cranks and crackpots you throw at the screen, it cannot change the fact that all available scientific evidence done by climatologists verifies anthropogenic warming, to probability standards of 90% or more.

  • Mike W. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Didn't pay much attention until recently...don't have a lot of time. Have done "a lot" of reading and here are my conclusions. 1) The research and conclusions are based upon very questionable "models" (obviously a "shot-in-the-dark") and not upon pure and objective science, 2) Too many written criticisms by those who have been direcly involved with IPCC, 3) Vague language in the synopsis (or summary) of the research, not to be followed by defensible support for months... and, by past history, (Chapter or Paragraph 8) obviously to be politically/socially corrected (corrupted) by the editors, 4) too many political agendas in the direction of desired results(Gore, Kerry, et al). In conclusion...there is no conclusion...only the question!.

  • Mike W. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "The president of the Czech Republic says global warming is a false alarm. Vaclav Klaus tells a Czech newspaper that environmentalism is, "a new incarnation of modern leftism" and a "metaphysical ideology" that has nothing to do with natural sciences or with the climate. He is critical of the U.N. panel that recently issued a summary report blaming humans for climate change: "IPCC is not a scientific institution. It's a political body." And when asked if humans are ruining the planet, Klaus says, "Perhaps Al Gore may be saying something along these lines -- a sane person can't."

connect with blueoregon