Scientists Take Issue With Joe Rogan Podcast Discussion

Experts label climate comments by guest Jordan Peterson as dangerous nonsense
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2022 8:00 AM CST
Scientists: Rogan Podcast Now Spouting Climate 'Anti-Science'
Comedian and and UFC host Joe Rogan performs at the South Beach Comedy Festival in Miami Beach, Fla. on Jan. 22, 2010.   (AP Photo/South Beach Comedy Festival, Mitchell Zachs)

More critics are accusing the Spotify-exclusive Joe Rogan Experience podcast of sharing dangerous misinformation after Tuesday's episode in which a guest spouted what one scientist calls a "word salad of nonsense" about climate science. Just days after 270 members of the US scientific and medical communities demanded Spotify address COVID-19 misinformation on the podcast, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson appeared as a guest, telling an estimated 11 million listeners that climate models get less reliable the further out you look, as with weather forecasts. "As you stretch out the models across time, the errors increase radically," said Peterson, who is not an expert in this field.

"And so maybe you can predict out a week or three weeks or a month or a year, but the farther out you predict, the more your model is in error," he said. "And that's a huge problem when you're trying to model over 100 years because the errors compound just like interest." Climate scientists immediately balked. "To say that climate model errors increase like compound interest is laughable," John Abraham, a climate scientist at Minnesota's University of St. Thomas, tells the Guardian. He likens the episode to "a word salad of nonsense spoken by people who have no sense when it comes to climate." Australian climate scientist Dr. Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick adds Peterson "seems to think we model the future climate the same way we do the weather. He sounds intelligent, but he’s completely wrong. He has no frickin' idea."

CNN points out that Dr. Zeke Hausfather, Director of Climate and Energy at California's Breakthrough Institute, shared a graph showing climate observations have generally matched predictions since the 1970s. Michael Mann, an atmospheric scientist at Penn State University, warned about the consequences of such a "dangerous ... anti-science" discussion. He tells CNN "the promotion of misinformation about climate change is in some ways even more dangerous" than that of COVID-19 misinformation given the lives that will "perish from extremely dangerous and deadly weather extremes if we fail to act on the climate crisis." (Spotify just removed Neil Young's music after he issued an ultimatum over the podcast.)

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