Posted on January 12, 2012 by

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Watts Up With That?

By Don J. Easterbrook, Dept. of Geology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

The recent Portland State University study of glaciers on Mt. Adams by is a good example of bad science, i.e., how a dogmatic bias and selectively leaving out contrary factual data can lead to bad conclusions. As an exercise in critical thinking, I used to have my graduate students take a paper like this apart, piece by piece, to show any scientific errors. Here is an analysis of bad assumptions and errors in the Mt. Adams study.

First, what are the basic contentions in this study?

  1. Washington’s gradually warming temperatures have caused Mount Adams [glaciers] to shrink by nearly half since 1904.
  2. The Mt. Adams glaciers are receding faster than those of nearby sister volcanoes.
  3. The glacier recession is another sign of gradually warming temperatures.
  4. The study lends urgency to an earlier federal report that shows the water…

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