Marshall Shepherd: Slaying the “Zombies” of Climate Science

Published on May 29, 2013 About This TalkOne of the nation’s […]

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Climate State

Date Posted:

March 7, 2014

Published on May 29, 2013


About This Talk
One of the nation’s leading climate scientists explains how he goes about knocking down the “zombie theories” that plague our discussions about climate change. What is a zombie theory? Says Shepherd: “It’s one of those theories that scientists have refuted or disproven time and time again, but they live on like zombies in the blogs and on the radio stations.”

About This Speaker
As the 2013 president of the American Meteorological Society, Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather, climate and atmospheric sciences, and recently briefed the U.S. Senate on climate and extreme weather. A professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia, Shepherd is director of the University’s Atmospheric Sciences Program. Shepherd spent 12 years as a research meteorologist in the Earth-Sun Division at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. Shepherd was recently named the UGA Athletic Association Professor in Geography and 2004 was honored at the White House by President Bush with a PECASE award as one of the top young scientists and engineers
in the country.

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70 Comments

  1. Justin Templer May 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Zombie theories, drought was caused by global warming, cherry picked graphs
    that start right after 30 years of global cooling, the discredited Marcott
    et al hockey stick, cherry picked arctic sea ice graph that starts in 79,
    it was cooling from 1945-1977, new normal, thinking that when the sun
    activity drops off, that temps respond immediately, the idea that the
    billions of dollars don’t corrupt climate science, the idea you can trust
    the UHI polluted temperature record, energy renaissance.

  2. LauraLee Dooley May 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    One of the nation’s leading climate scientists explains how he goes about
    knocking down the “zombie theories” that plague our discussions about
    climate change. What is a zombie theory? Says Dr. Marshall Shepherd: “It’s
    one of those theories that scientists have refuted or disproven time and
    time again, but they live on like zombies in the blogs and on the radio
    stations.” #TEDxAtlanta

  3. Justin Templer May 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    I’m disappointed in you, I thought you were smarter than that. Guess not.

  4. Ashley Wilson May 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    One of the nation’s leading climate scientists explains how he goes about
    knocking down the “zombie theories” that plague our discussions about
    climate change. What is a zombie theory? Says Dr. Marshall Shepherd: “It’s
    one of those theories that scientists have refuted or disproven time and
    time again, but they live on like zombies in the blogs and on the radio
    stations.” #TEDxAtlanta

  5. MrFlyduckfly May 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I would like to see all the climate scientists who believe in climate
    change line up opposite those who don’t on the National Mall. That would be
    a powerful visual/demonstration.

  6. Justin Templer May 30, 2013 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    You’re asking the wrong question. We know climate changes, we even know CO2
    is a GHC and has an effect on climate. What you really want to ask climate
    scientists if they believe man made CO2 is a major cause of climate change.

  7. Justin Templer May 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    You didn’t point out anything Mr. G-R-A-V-I-T-Y. I’m not offended by the
    groundless assertions in the least.

  8. Ralph Gauthier May 31, 2013 at 6:04 am - Reply
  9. MrCoffeeFiend June 1, 2013 at 1:30 am - Reply

    I am not overly impressed by credentials. I am only impressed by what a
    person says.

  10. MrCoffeeFiend June 1, 2013 at 6:15 am - Reply

    Glad to see you agree with me. “Dr. Shepherd’s opinion is based on
    science.” When he gets around to the science let me know. “what data? what
    studies? what reports?” I am not going to bring up all the data I have been
    going through for the last 12 years. I am not here to educate you. Go learn
    some things on your own first.

  11. Jason Major June 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    The president of the American Meteorological Society attacks undying
    “zombie” arguments of climate change: Slaying the “Zombies” of Climate
    Science: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at TEDxAtlanta

  12. kaewonf8 June 7, 2013 at 1:07 am - Reply

    So. Zombies on steroids. Got it. Ted’s in great hands.

  13. Gran Dan June 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    via Phil Plait.
    Slaying the “Zombies” of Climate Science: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  14. Shawn DeLuca June 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Good talk!

    Slaying the “Zombies” of Climate Science: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  15. Sean Mclendon June 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm - Reply
  16. TEDx June 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  17. Scott Jordan June 11, 2013 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  18. Lauren Egan June 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  19. Dan J June 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  20. Pedro Pampolim June 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  21. Phil Stracchino June 11, 2013 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Dr. Marshall Shepherd talks about “climate science zombies”, by which he
    means allegedly-scientific arguments against climate change that have been
    completely and categorically refuted, but which denialists still regularly
    trot out and represent as contrary science.

    A point to note right out of the gate — you remember this “scientific
    controversy” over climate change we keep hearing about? Well, here’s the
    extent of the “controversy” : 3% of climate scientists describe themselves
    as merely ‘cautious’. The other 97% describe themselves as ‘concerned’ or
    ‘alarmed’.

    Some “controversy”, huh?

    Remember, according to young-earth creationists, there is a “controversy”
    about *evolution*. I hate to break it to you guys, but your evolution
    “controversy” is spelled D-E-N-I-A-L.

    +Stan Warren, recall the debunking article you reposted the other day, on
    which I pointed out that the guy was cherry-picking his data? Look at the
    global temperature animation in this talk. It illustrates the point
    perfectly. Sure, the *tropics* have scarcely changed; but look at what’s
    been happening in the arctic and the upper latitudes.

  22. Carlos Ochoa June 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  23. EcoChoices.com June 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Slaying the “Zombies” of Climate Science: Dr. Marshall Shepherd Slaying the
    “Zombies” of Climate Science: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at TEDxAtlanta

  24. EcoChoices June 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Slaying the “Zombies” of Climate Science: Dr. Marshall Shepherd Slaying the
    “Zombies” of Climate Science: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at TEDxAtlanta

  25. juan escalante June 12, 2013 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  26. Balkar Bawa June 12, 2013 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  27. frogjg2003 June 12, 2013 at 2:24 am - Reply

    Show me then. Show me scientific evidence that all this data is wrong. As
    for money, who has the most to loose if climate legislation gets through?
    Oil companies! Who has a lot of money to fight climate legislation? Oil
    companies! Who pays millions to politicians to stop such legislation? Oil
    companies! Name three lobbying sources that combined have more money than
    Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP, or any of the other big oil companies.

  28. Teo Tayobobayo June 12, 2013 at 2:50 am - Reply

    *What is a zombie theory?*
    Says Shepherd: *”It’s one of those theories that scientists have refuted or
    disproven time and time again, but they live on like zombies in the blogs
    and on the radio stations.”*

    h/t to +Gran Dan big time

  29. Mark Gillican June 12, 2013 at 4:52 am - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  30. Raleigh D June 12, 2013 at 7:45 am - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  31. 夢露露 June 12, 2013 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  32. Sueezedtight June 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    It is the data that is showing the CAGW “theory” to be wrong. (Just as
    Feynman stated.) CO2 as a problem is all model-generated and those models
    are unable to predict ANYTHING that has yet to be verified. Totally useless
    yet that is what the whole meme is based on. Check your numbers. Greenpeace
    and other “green” organizations spend thousands of times more than oil
    companies on lobbying efforts in this sector. Big oil is making a mint from
    the new paradigm so why would they not support it?

  33. Sueezedtight June 13, 2013 at 4:42 am - Reply

    Feynman cautioned against “believing” a theory in the face of experimental,
    measured data that refuted it. See the evaluation of models vs. reality at
    Dr. Roy Spencer’s site. “STILL Epic Fail: 73 Climate Models vs.
    Measurements, Running 5-Year Means” Since 1998 the US government has spent
    almost a 100 billion on science and technology research, administration,
    education campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks related to “climate
    change”. That is one big trough and none of that went to auditing .

  34. frogjg2003 June 13, 2013 at 6:09 am - Reply

    He is one out of thousands of climate scientists. He is also of the opinion
    that Earth was “created by God’s intelligent design,” thus is “robust,
    resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human
    flourishing.” That is dangerous thinking for a scientist to have. As for
    data, the 9/10 of the hottest years on record have been in the last decade,
    Arctic ice is near the lowest it’s been in decades; it was at it’s lowest
    in 06/07. C02 is the highest it’s been in millennia.

  35. Nicolas Ockier June 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Today’s TEDxTalk: Climate change is happening now: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  36. pseudotruth June 14, 2013 at 8:24 am - Reply

    The Bishop Hill web site is climate denier zombie central.

  37. frogjg2003 June 15, 2013 at 1:36 am - Reply

    An ad hominem is stating that a person is stupid, therefore their argument
    is invalid. My argument was that he holds a belief specifically about the
    environment that is stupid, therefore his argument should be taken with a
    grain of salt. That is not ad hominem and it is a legitimate argument.

  38. mike williams June 15, 2013 at 5:47 am - Reply

    Hi Mate “exonerated” is a legal term McIntyre, Stephen; McKitrick, Ross
    (2003). “Corrections to the Mann et. al. (1998)McIntyre, Stephen;
    McKitrick, Ross (2005). “The M&M Critique of the MBH98 Northern Hemisphere
    Climate Index.Its dead scientifically.You did not touch my other correction
    for good reason.

  39. mike williams June 15, 2013 at 5:48 am - Reply

    The 97% canard One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate
    change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to
    warm. re the 97% canard,,again science by polls..which was crap anyway..not
    sure your trying that.In fact, only 33.6 per cent of the 12,000 papers (
    roughly 1/3 of the 12,000, or about 4,000 papers) referred to anthropogenic
    global warming. It was 97% of that one-third who agreed that “human
    activities are causing the planet to warm.”

  40. frogjg2003 June 15, 2013 at 6:57 am - Reply

    The reason I didn’t touch your other correction was because I am unfamiliar
    with it, not because I had good reason to avoid it. After a quick look, the
    only criticism I see are from the deniers with little scientific merit. I
    understand what exonerate means. My point was that at no point was Mann or
    his colleagues ever found to have committed scientific misconduct. As for
    the scientific validity of his, his colleague’s and others’ findings, there
    are still models being made and they still agree.

  41. nol smit June 15, 2013 at 7:05 am - Reply

    lol u are stupid

  42. Sónia Silva June 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    #imoocac13

  43. vjt9 July 18, 2013 at 6:11 am - Reply

    i could answer that one for you ..But …It is difficult to get a man to
    understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,
    so you probably wouldn’t understand. By the way, what data are you guys
    talking about …he didn’t present any data ….pictures of cartoon zombies
    is NOT DATA!

  44. Jonas Kölker August 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Excellent talk. I think Dr. Shepherd’s argument against “Scientists want
    grant money” at 12:20 was probably the weakest part of his presentation. He
    argued “[if a scientist wants more money, report ‘dunno’]”. This builds on
    the assumption that money is granted to those who say ‘dunno’, rather than
    to those who say what the money-hander-outers want to hear, which might be
    an answer in one direction rather than the other. That may be true, but all
    Dr. Shepherd said was “I don’t understand”.

  45. John Lemieux August 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    “You are assuming that what he is saying is reality” No, thats not an
    assumption, it’s observed fact.

  46. MrCoffeeFiend August 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Reality is relative to the observer. Take off your blinders and step into
    the light so that you can see better.

  47. psychotronik13 September 25, 2013 at 8:37 am - Reply

    If you do not believe in climate change, I wonder if you believe in
    pollution.

  48. psychotronik13 September 25, 2013 at 8:42 am - Reply

    6:50 I think they ask that question because they are used to people
    thinking God causes weather in order to punish sinners.

  49. IlluminatedMasses November 3, 2013 at 3:00 am - Reply

    Yeah.. the climate changes… no one is arguing that the climate is not
    changing. This is a political scheme to create a global tax that will fund
    global government and begin systematic global de-population. Google:
    Georgia Guidestones for proof.

  50. Velimir Krha November 15, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Someone who says that you can not cherry pick the data, is to often picking
    that last cherry.

  51. Turitea December 4, 2013 at 4:45 am - Reply

    From Bishop Hill
    This TED talk by American Meteorological Society president Marshall
    Shepherd is hilarious. You might have expected the big man to marshal some
    of the most powerful and incisive arguments around. Instead, El Pres cites
    what he calls “The Hockey Stick”, but is actually the Marcott paper: you
    remember, the one with what the authors diplomatically call a “non-robust”
    blade (critics are much, much ruder). We get The Day After Tomorrow cited,
    apparently in all scientific seriousness, we get biofuels lauded as core to
    an “energy renaissance”. I’m completely bemused as to how he thinks that
    saying “climate and weather are different” slays an argument that you can’t
    trust climate models.

  52. drfredb1 December 9, 2013 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Many of the comments here display how seriously infected by zombie theories
    the commenters are. This speaker is one of our leading meteorology
    professors and climate scientists. His peers have elected him to lead the
    American Meteorological Society. People who choose to laugh and echo the
    zombie theories he debunks here need to pay attention to him instead.

  53. Leslie Smith January 10, 2014 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Slay those Climate Zombies

    Slaying the “Zombies” of Climate Science: Dr. Marshall Shepherd at
    TEDxAtlanta

  54. KJamesMellick January 13, 2014 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Um… brontosauruses? Maybe we should work on paleontological literacy as
    well…

  55. Azza Nine January 15, 2014 at 11:37 am - Reply

    I think people who deny climate change are those who do not want to
    relinquish the benefits that cause the climate changes in the 1st place. IF
    climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and
    biofuel (it has emissions like any other combustible fuel.) then to reverse
    that hypothetical damage we have to totaly stop those things and replace
    them with technology that allows us to continue this level of wasteful
    energy usage, nuclear is the best bet atm. Otherwise we would have to make
    a fair few sacrifices as wind and solar are mainly a supplemental power
    supply and just can’t support our current usage.

    Also I wonder if tectonic forces have been factored in to that climate
    model or even volcanic activity it’s self. If a mere 1 degree can affect
    climate then maybe a tectonic shift of mere centimeters could affect
    climate too.

  56. Stacy Clarkson January 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    If we stopped using fossil fuels today,we would starve in the dark…Think
    slow motion Apocalypse ….The world would grind to a halt…

  57. ClarksonsinUSA January 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    I suppose you guys have not heard the founder of the weather channel and
    30,000 climate scientist are suing Al Gore for fraud for his climate
    change claims…Its time to to take this to court and prove it.. :)

  58. ClarksonsinUSA January 15, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Can any one here tell what the perfect global temp is????The climate has
    never been static and never will,the sun drives climate….Solar
    activity/storms affect cloud formation,that’s what the latest study’s
    say…Does everyone here know all animals for example produce co2,plants
    produce oxygen…Funny how that works,any one see a pattern???We give the
    plants what they need and they gives us what they need…

  59. Matthew Wal February 6, 2014 at 5:44 am - Reply

    Cold weather-global warming
    Hot weather-global warming
    Record Arctic ice-global warming
    Decrease in Arctic ice-global warming
    Increase in hurricans-global warming
    Decrease in hurricans-global warming
    Increase in tornados-global warming
    Decrease in tornados-global warming

    See a pattern here? It was 10 degrees warmer in the 1800’s than today, and
    Co2 levels were lower.. The “consensus” or the “settled science” they talk
    about, consists of 300 or so paid, nutball scientists who will fudge and
    cherry pick data for grant $$.
    Our government, who invade countries for resources, spy on its citizens and
    destroy the constitution should be our real cause for worry.. People can
    barely afford to heat their homes or buy food and they want more money??
    GTFO!

  60. Fudog1138 February 14, 2014 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    I saw the data and agreed that the planet was warming. I was on the fence
    on its true causes. So I took a free online class offered from the
    University of BC on climate literacy from coursera. I was convinced
    throughout the course of our contributions. I shared some of what I had
    learned with friends and family. I’ve now become a “liberal” sell out in
    their eyes. I asked them to read the data. No they said, the numbers are
    fake and I’m gullible.

    So they won’t educate themselves and any numbers are faked except the ones
    that prove their point. I think there is a deeper psychological mechanism
    at work than just simple denial in some people.

  61. Raymond Pinsonneault February 25, 2014 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Illuminated masses …. bravo glad to see that someone is keen to this
    global taxation scam created for the next ( after the fed reserve’s )
    massive rape of our global economy …
    Dr. Marshall, if u r a Doctor ??? shame on you paid to mislead your people
    into global slavery. Wonder who signed your last check for this puppet
    show.

  62. Peter Pigott February 26, 2014 at 12:09 am - Reply

    “Turner”? Is that ‘Ted Turner’? If so you already know the tenor and
    prejudice of this presentation. Thanks. From Canada.

  63. Robert Frapples March 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Zombies? That’s the best you can come up with? What a total farce! Even if
    we were causing the MINUTE uptick in the global temperature, what
    difference do you think it would make if we shut down 100% of America’s
    “greenhouse gas” output? It would be insignificant, to say the least. What
    would we do then? FORCE the rest of the world stop producing theirs? Go pet
    a unicorn, you rainbow farting, blinder-wearing liberal jackass! “Climate
    Scientist”, my ASS! Get a real fucking job, not some contrived, bullshit
    position created to help make Obammy’s unemployment figures look better.
    BTW, why is it so goddamned cold, MR. CLIMATE SCIENTIST?

  64. John Gammeter March 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Very very interesting video. Something definitely worth sharing.

  65. Grey Line April 13, 2014 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Science shows that every 10,000 yrs the climate changes abruptly, well over
    the course of 50yrs, which is pretty quick. In saying that, householders
    are penilised for not recycling their rubbish but the fat cats still travel
    spewing fuel over the atmosphere. We still use fossil fuels when 90% of the
    world knows we don’t need to. But the profits are to big to give up. So
    don’t bother me with this nonsense.

  66. IThinkWithMy Liver April 18, 2014 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    +CPsycho77 Because conservatives & righties are psychopathic hypocrites.
    They LOVE & WORSHIP war, but only if it’s a war to murder poor people &
    steal their oil & other resources so the conservatives can use them.
    Conservatives are 1000x worse than a vegan antinatalist rapist. Unlike a
    rapist, who is violently forced to pay for his political activity (rape),
    righties get away with eating meat & fucking & breeding. They preach
    against all government, but then they hypocritically cheer when anarchists
    such as Dr Theodore Kaczynski are imprisoned, or Occupy Wall Street (OWS).

    They love & want big government to protect the top 0.01% rich who freeload
    off the rest of society.

  67. IThinkWithMy Liver April 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    +Tom Ulcak Well said!
    These fucking deniers have NOTHING at all to “teach” anybody about
    anything, least of all climate science & how the economy works.

  68. 3MonkeesInDenial May 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    As far as income climate scientists remain at the more poorly paid end of
    the spectrum of professionals. It’s the lobbyists who get all the Oil
    money.

  69. kingkobra1978 May 25, 2014 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    My applaud to all the Americans who are trying to convince the deniers in
    their country,as the rest of the world is busy constructing important
    infrastructure to mitigate climate change you brave souls are still trying
    to convince your less bright and/or greedy countrymen,they are idiots with
    inflated ego’s who are blaming Climate change for their countries downfall
    but they fail to understand that the very people they are trying to protect
    (oil barons) and republicans are the one’s who destroyed America.They will
    blame others by concocting conspiracy theories and keeping Zombie theories
    alive.If Obama leads the world in mitigating Climate change,we will all
    love USA again and forgive these deniers for almost killing humanity for
    their inflated egos and tiny minds.

  70. timobrienwells June 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    97% of climate scientists are alarmed?? What a liar!

See also  Bush's Climate Of Fear (2006)

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