Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Wikipedia and global warming betting

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia with the amazing function that anyone can edit it by posting new entries or editing existing ones. For example, two years ago I created the first entry for Denali National Park, where I used to work. My entry was a four-sentence post with no links to other subjects. Now it's four paragraphs, forty-plus links, two pictures and a stats column, developed over the years by a dozen people whom I know nothing about.

Richard Lindzen is the most prominent global warming denialist, one of the few with scientific credibility, and he has declined to accept a reasonable bet over global warming. He also has an entry in Wikipedia. I've now modified the entry to include the global warming bet issue. Another little step to get the word out. The added section reads:

Attempted betting on global warming, 2004-2005

The November 10, 2004 online version of Reason magazine reported that Lindzen is "willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now."[15] Climatologist James Annan,[16] who has offered multiple bets that global temperatures will increase,[17] contacted Lindzen to arrange a bet.[18] Annan offered to pay 2:1 odds in Lindzen's favor if temperatures declined, but Lindzen would only accept a bet if the payout was 50:1 or better in his favor, so no bet occurred.

We'll see what happens with this - Lindzen's entry in Wikipedia appears to be defended by global warming denialists, but they'd have to be pretty bold to remove a straight factual addition like this.

UPDATE: corrected the odds that Annan offerred from 3:1 to 2:1.

keywords: science, global warming, bet

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