Burt Rutan is Full of Hot Air

At the Experimental Aircraft Association "Airventure" in Oshkosh on 29 July 2009 and 01 Aug 2009, aerospace engineer and X Prize winner Burt Rutan gave a presentation on the Anthropogenic Global Warming "hoax". It's available at http://rps3.com/Files/AGW/Rutan.AGWdataAnalysis%20v11.pdf. It's full of the usual climate change denialist nonsense.

The first part of the presentation lays out Rutan's qualifications. I won't challenge those. (Likewise, I will not challenge his ad-hominem attacks on professional climate scientists, his love affair with the petroleum industry, his lies about meteorologists, and even his nonsense about the ozone hole being a hoax.) I will challenge his statements where they are in error, I will argue with his interpretations where his facts are correct and I will point out his "selective use" of facts in the climate change debate.

What is astonishing is that he attacks the "cherry picking" of data by climate scientists, yet never cites his sources or methods.

What follows are links to pages on "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic", a set of tutorials created by professional climate scientists which demolish each of his arguments one by one. For each slide where he makes one of the usual arguments, I'll provide the link to the refutation by climate scientists. You should read his presentation, and then the data in the links.
It's late now, and I have to get to bed. I'll continue with the refutation of slides 33-66 another time.

I don't mean to belittle Rutan, but he's clearly out of his depth here and relying on arguments which have been refuted for years. It's common for experts in one field to think that carries over to other fields.

There are climate scientists who have made searching for the truth their life's work. Who have been giving each a hard time about the data and its interpretation for the last hundred years, ever since "Svante Arrhenius first calculated that emissions from human industry might someday bring a global warming".

When the fate of the planet is at stake, I'll go with them.


Alex Horovitz said...

It seems like the people (like me) who always have the hardest time just accepting the point of view that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a serious problem are usually people trainined in statistics. When we things like a hokey stick, we tend to want to know a good deal more about the data in question. When we look into it sometimes we fnd things that don't make sense about the way the data was collected or analyzed. It doesn't make us "deniers" it makes us (rightfully so) skeptical.

jk said...

I was trained as a physicist and as an engineer. I still have my copy of Bevington, the standard data analysis manual. I would suppose that as a "working scientist" for a few years I can claim as much credential hoo-hah as you can.

But that's besides the point. Look at the one thing you posted in your blog, the criticism of the tree ring data. A statistical argument demolished over at Real Climate.


If this doesn't mirror the evolution denialism debate, I'm a monkey's uncle.

By the way, did you know the ACC denialism was first funded by the tobacco industry in an attempt to destroy the reputation of legitimate science in one area so they could attack the science linking tobacco with cancer? It's true...... Read More


You have been manipulated by a cynical and well-funded media campaign which put the profits of tobacco companies ahead of the welfare of the planet.

Peter said...

I don't know what else you've written, but I just became a huge fan of your blog. Came across this researching Ratan for a Tedx talk I'll be giving in a week. I was disappointed that such a brilliant guy could so easily fall for the same old denier nonsense.