Anthony Watts want to make a case that rising ocean levels aren’t connected to human activities, there’s nothing we can do about it, there’s nothing we should do about it, or something. Looking for a touchstone in history, Watts said:
In 2002, the BBC reported that a submerged city was found off the coast of India, 36 meters below sea level. This was long before the Hummer or coal fired power plant was invented. It is quite likely that low lying coastal areas will continue to get submerged, just as they have been for the last 20,000 years.
Submerged city? Hmm. Not in the textbooks published since 2002. What’s up with that?
Oh, this is what’s up: Watts links to a BBC news story, not a science journal — one of the warning signs of Bogus Science and Bogus History, both. The news story talks about preliminary findings in 2002 that did not hold up to scrutiny. Measurement error was part of the problem — the pattern of the scanning radar sweep was mistaken for structures found on the sea floor. Natural formations were mistaken for artificial formations. When the news announcement was made, archaeologists and other experts in dating such things had not be consulted (and it’s unclear when or whether they were ever brought in). The follow-up didn’t support the story, notes Bad Archaeology. Terrible archaeology to support pseudo climate science? Why not?
This doesn’t deny Watts’ general claims in his post, but it is too indicative of the type of “find anything to support the favored claim of denial” mindset that goes on among denialists. (There is evidence of a much lower waterline in the area during the last ice age; water levels have risen, according to physical evidence, but probably not inundating the what would be the oldest civilization on Earth.)
It will be interesting to watch what happens. Will Watts note an oopsie and apologize, or will the entire group circle their Radio Super wagons around the issue and call it a mainstream science plot against them? Will Watts correct his citation, or will they move on to cite the disappearance of Atlantis as evidence that warming can’t be stopped?
Anybody want to wager?
What sort of irony is there in a guy’s complaining about a scientific consensus held by thousands of scientists with hundreds of publications supporting their claims, and his using one news report almost totally without any scientific corroboration in rebuttal?
- Serious analysis of the Cambay artifacts, from Paul V. Heinrich via Kris Hirst at Archaeology.About.com
- “When is a broken rock not an artifact,” from Kris Hirst
- Report on stone anchors found off the coast of India
- Wikipedia entry on archaeology in the Gulf of Cambay
- A good way to gauge whether an argument is based in science, the F/R ratio (facts-to-rage)
- India Today story on the Cambay find, February 2002 (photos of the undersea scans)