I do not deny that Sir Paul McCartney is a great musician, songwriter and performer. I do, however, deny much of the evidence and reasoning of those who believe in anthropogenic (man-made) climate change.
Paul McCartney’s statement placing global warming skeptics like me on a par with Holocaust deniers shows a willingness on his part to try to silence critics of a challengeable theory. The attempt to place credentialed prominent atmospheric and climate scientists who have made legitimate criticisms of the theory with the likes of lunatic fringe Holocaust deniers may not be an accident. This can be seen as a deliberate attempt to silence credible scientists and others who find fault with the methods and procedures of those who believe in man made global warming or climate change and their methods.
What follows is my understanding of an article that appeared in American Thinker magazine at: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/understanding_climategates_hid.html
In the East Anglia emails, words like “hide the decline,” revealed that there was a discussion about discrepancies between actual temperature readings and those that are suggested by tree ring data. The researchers who used “hide the decline,” were not trying to hide lower temperatures in recent years. Modern temperature recording is a relatively new practice. Some of the data about how hot or cold the planet has been in the past is based on what are called proxy sources. Tree ring data is one proxy source and there are others like ice cores. From these proxy sources, computer models use algorithms to try to discern what the temperatures were in the past. Global warming believers use tree ring data to suggest that the world was cooler in the past than it may have actually been. Apparently discrepancies between actual temperature readings and tree ring data have been found. This would mean that temperatures used to determine how hot or cold the planet was in the past may not be reliable. The planet may have been hotter in the past than the computer modeling suggests. Some recent warming trends might not be so unusual if the actual temperatures in the past were hotter than those believed by the purveyors of global warming. There is much room for debate about man-made global warming.
Thomas Kuhn in “The Structure of Scientific Revolution” explained that science does not necessarily change in a linear fashion but through paradigm shifts in which older ideas are challenged and the prevailing orthodoxy is overturned. To place those presently engaged in criticism of the latest paradigm on a par with Holocaust deniers would be to place all those who helped science advance by challenging the orthodoxy of their day on a par with Holocaust deniers. I have no doubt that McCartney and his ilk would have scoffed at Louis Pasteur and Albert Einstein, both of whom also challenged prevailing scientific orthodoxy.
By making the comparison to Holocaust denial, McCartney actually trivializes the Holocaust. Much of the research for man-made global warming or climate change is based on computer models. These models have been used by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC). In some cases the IPCC uses words like “very likely” to support their conclusions. This, according to the IPCC summary translates into a numeric value of 90%. What this means is that according to their own conclusions, there is a 9 out of 10 chance that their assertions are correct given the particular set of circumstances they used to make their predictions and draw their conclusions. Would McCartney express the truth of the Holocaust as a 9 out of 10 or 90% chance that it happened? Would he use words like “very likely” to assert that the Holocaust occurred? This shows the absurdity of comparing a scientific dispute to denial of historical events like the Holocaust.
Many if not all of those who deny the Holocaust are motivated by anti-Semitism. McCartney and others of his ilk do not reveal the comparable ideology that would motivate those who deny anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.
There is much room for doubt concerning the exact causes for climate change. Solar activity is one possibility. The IPCC summary is a political document with a consensus that was reached by negotiation and compromise. This is not exactly the way scientists are supposed to make their conclusions. Science is not a consensus but is based on correct interpretation of observable phenomena and experiments. One researcher can be right while everything else that is believed by everyone else can turn out to be wrong. In this case there are literally hundreds of scientists who question man made global warming and to compare them to holocaust deniers is a statement by a talented but ignorant and foolish man.