Update: Science! (Climate Change) and Violence

Time covers the same research that NBC covered yesterday, but without acknowledging critics at all.  Score: NBC 1, Time 0. This metastudy of studies concludes that as climate is inevitably disrupted, human violence will increase.  Over the next 37 years, we’ll be looking at significantly more human violence as global warming kicks in big time.

I’ve noticed a pattern and pointed it out a couple times: when Science! stories making dramatic yet dubious claims are first reported, they tend to contain the seeds of their of their own refutation or at least acknowledge that there are questions, but as time (or Time, in this case) goes on, further reporting refines the message to keep it on point – the counterarguments are either ignored or mocked away. Funny, that.

Let’s dig deeper: Anecdotally, hotter temperatures have long been connected with finding a girl and dancing all night:

On a more serious note, here are two graphs. Graphs, in the pecking order of talismans of Science! are only beneath statistical significance and standard deviations are harbingers of TRVTH*:

File:Violent crime rates by gender 1973-2003.jpg
Seems crime in the US has been going down just as temperatures have been going up. Odd, that.



Now, it may very well be that the studies themselves completely explain away how it is that, during the period that includes the hockey-stick (such as it was) of temperature increase, violence, as measured in wars around the globe and as violent crime in the US, has fallen rather remarkably. Maybe these graphs are outliers that mask what’s really going on – sort of like how dropping a feather isn’t going to give you a simple view of acceleration under gravity.  BUT: if that’s the case, it sure would behoove the authors to point that out right up front. Because, otherwise, your less generously inclined readers are going to conclude that you’re blowing smoke.

* graphs displaying standard deviations of statistically significant relationships are freakin’ GOSPEL!


Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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