WSJ: "When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail"

WSJ Online

Some wonderful letters in the Wall Street Journal in response to Trenberth et al‘s response to that letter:

As for Mr. Trenberth’s heart-surgeon analogy: You might be better off consulting an intelligent generalist, probably not a dentist, but a primary-care physician who could recommend exercise and diet change before undergoing unnecessary and potentially dangerous surgery. Heart surgeons tend to recommend surgery more often than nonsurgeons because specialists are easily biased by their specialization. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

The letter from Kevin Trenberth and his colleagues is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook: Marginalize your opponents by demeaning them (“dentists practicing cardiology”); state your position without definitive support (“observations show unequivocally” and computer models show); explain away statements that compromise your position by claiming they were taken out of context; restate your position in such a manner that it looks as if the issue is settled, even when it isn’t (“the science is clear: The world is heating up and humans are primarily responsible”) and then restate it again because if you say it often enough, people just might believe it (“climate change is real and human caused”); and, finally; call for federal funding to remedy the apparent impending crisis (“investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy . . . [is] just what the doctor ordered”). No thanks. I’m glad we got a second opinion, even if it was from a dentist.

The Trenberth letter is little more than an appeal to authority masquerading as a scientific argument. It casts no light, therefore, on the actual substance of the issues, particularly given the corruption of the peer-review process made clear by the East Anglia University emails. The most revealing sentence in the Trenberth letter is the statement that computer models show that smaller increases in surface temperatures are accompanied by warming “elsewhere in the climate system.” Sorry, computer models do not “show” anything. They make predictions that must be tested against the evidence, which in the global-warming context is deeply problematic. Mr. Trenberth’s models may be a magnet for government grants, but their usefulness for policy is far from clear.

Great stuff. Read them all here.


  1. Rick Bradford says:

    Can it be true that The Great Delusion is beginning to unravel at last?

    Another take on this

  2. As a dentist managing gum disease, is extremely relevant to heart health especially heart attack and stroke so there!!!

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