Naysayers, you’re on. If you’re convinced that climate change isn't man-made, a physicist in Texas wants to hear from you. Bring your virtual chalk, polish up your math, hone your argument and prove your point. Your time won’t be misspent: If you can irrefutably prove your hypothesis, he’ll pay you $10,000.
Dr. Christopher Keating, author of "Undeniable: Dialogues on Global Warming," has offered the challenge to anyone who can “prove, via the scientific method, that man-made global climate change is not occurring.” Keating, who is well versed in climate change research, has taught at the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
He’ll also pay $1,000 “to the first person to show there is any scientific evidence that refutes the conclusion of man made climate change.”
He posted the first submission to the two challenges this week on his blog, Dialogues on Global Warming. The competition entry, which was posted initially as a comment by an anonymous poster, received a full-page analysis by Keating – and an in-depth explanation (which must have been excruciating for the candidate) for why it didn’t pass muster for either category.
In two words: “cherry-picking.”
“Cherry-picking is invalid science,” Keating explains, “no matter which way you go. I cannot do it any more than Mr. Anonymous can. It is still invalid and only serves to provide someone with a false argument.”
It isn’t hard to see that the submissions Keating receives serve more purpose than to prove his premise that man-made climate change is indeed true. In the process of analyzing each submission, he’s teaching his readers how to analyze scientific data, and hopefully, to be discerning of what’s true and what’s not (in other words: real science).
And those who feel they do indeed have a chance to prove climate change and global warming are not man-made will be happy to hear the qualifications for entering this competition are fairly simple and straightforward.
“If it is so easy, just cut and paste the proof from somewhere. Provide the scientific evidence and prove your point, and the $10,000 is yours!” says Keating.
But he says he is sure that will never happen “because it can’t be proven. The scientific evidence for global warming is overwhelming and no one can prove otherwise.”
But, alas, where does this monetary challenge leave those who already have a strong, steady conviction that man-made climate change really does exist? Are there no opportunities for proving your point (or at least ones where you can be monetarily compensated)?
The Ultimate Global Warming Challenge takes the cake when it comes to earning potential – if you can meet the criteria of the judge(s), that is. Keating says he’s already entered the challenge and lost. The competition offers a $500,000 award for anyone that can “prove, in a scientific manner, that humans are causing harmful global warming.” The argument will be required to reject two hypotheses cited by UGWC.
Before you start making a list of all of your irrefutable sources and mapping out your award-winning argument, you may wish to take note of No. 2 and No. 4 of the competition rules, which specify that, “Entrants acknowledge that the concepts and terms mentioned and referred to in the UGWC hypotheses are inherently and necessarily vague, and involve subjective judgment,” and that the website has the sole discretion to determine “the meaning and application of such concepts and terms in order to facilitate the purpose of the contest.” It also admits that there’s no guarantee that the $500,000 will ever be awarded.
The competition began in 2007. That alone may suggest that the judge is a hard audience to impress (Keating asserts that it is only one person judging the entries). It also highlights the fact that there is still a wide breadth in opinion when it comes to just how important science is in defining climate change, as well as our role in global stewardship.
Image of Earth: Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center
Image of pollinating bee: Michael Gil
Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.