Climate Denier Tip: Cherry Blossom Pick Your Way to Success

Cherry pick like a pro with my patented cherry blossom pick technique!
Cherry pick like a pro with my patented cherry blossom pick technique!

If you follow me to any degree, you know I love to cherry pick data. It’s the oldest trick in the book for fooling the legions of dupes who happen by my blog or Twitter feed. In this post, I’ll show you the art of what I call the “cherry blossom” pick. Read on to learn.

Cherry picking, as every good denier knows, is the art of presenting a very small, incomplete subset of data and leading your audience to draw the wrong conclusion about the entire data set with the smaller pool of data. It’s like convincing someone all the playing cards in a standard deck of cards are queens by showing them only the four queens. Of course, if you showed them the entire deck of cards, it would be easy for them to falsify your cherry picked claim. Accordingly, it’s important to keep your marks in the dark about the existence of all the data and hope they have no knowledge of it (which covers most of your readership).

Anyway, back to the cherry blossom pick. Careful scientific observation tells us that nature is exquisitely sensitive to changes in temperature and that we are seeing many changes in nature as a result of a warming planet. One clear change has been a lengthening of the growing season; as the planet warms, flowers, plants and crops are blooming and sprouting earlier and earlier in the year. This is sometimes referred to as “season creep.” Many folks in the public may have heard mention of this problem in mainstream news accounts. Deniers should take care to nip this evidence of global warming in the bud. Confusing people with claims that temperature records are falsified is not enough. There are many other indications that global warming is real. We have to be sure to muddy and confuse the debate in all areas, including lengthened growing seasons. This is where the cherry blossom pick comes to the rescue.

So what is the cherry blossom pick and how does it work?

As we all know, 99.99% of the population will never read the scientific literature. So we can safely ignore tackling the actual science about lengthening growing seasons head on. And thank God, because getting a peer-reviewed paper published is a lot of work. Not only that, people who actually know what they are talking about will pick your work apart and probably prove you wrong. Who needs all that stress?

So what I do instead is take something just about everyone is familiar with—the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC—and then add a superficial sheen of data to the event that even a 4th grader could grasp. Ouila! Instant denier bullshit ready for mass consumption. This trick will have just about all of your readers convinced they’ve learned something new and that cherry blossoms are just another nail in the global warming theory coffin. It has a nice side benefit of making readers feel smug.

Here is the cherry blossom pick in action:

How, exactly, do I execute the cherry blossom pick? Simple. Instead of showing the complete peak cherry blossom bloom dates over the last 95 years or so, I just show the dates from the last couple of decades. As you can see from the chart, there’s a huge spike to the end of the chart and it looks like bloom dates for cherry blossoms are recovering nicely. In other tweets about the cherry blossoms (see examples below), I’m quick to point out that winters in Washington have been very cold the last few years which accounts for why the bloom dates have been coming later in the season for the most recent years. This adds to the impression that the planet is not getting warmer.

This sleight of the data hand obscures the truth we don’t want people to know: that if you look at the entire record of bloom dates, cherry blossoms are blooming about 5 days earlier than they used to.

I also never mention that Washington, DC is just a very, very tiny part of the globe. While the eastern part of the US may have experienced very cold winters the last three years, the vast majority of the planet is warming. And I also never bother to point out that cherry blossoms are but one kind of plant growing on the planet. It would be silly for anyone to infer that growing seasons aren’t lengthening by looking solely at one kind of plant growing in one tiny corner of the planet. But knowing the vast majority of people don’t think like scientists, they’ll arrive at the conclusion I want: that global warming isn’t happening.

So there you have it, the cherry blossom pick. Feel free to use it in your own denier work. As you can see from my examples below, if you are creative, you can get a lot of mileage out of this trick. I’m still employing it here in August, long after the blooms have fallen and withered. You’ll also want to note how I expertly cherry pick a particularly anomalous year from long ago, 1946, and compare it to today. Also notice how I didn’t start to mention cherry blossoms until 2014, the second consecutive year the bloom date increased after a huge jump in 2013. And I certainly didn’t go near the topic in 2012 when the blossoms bloomed very early and the overall trend for the past few years was clearly down.

4 thoughts on “Climate Denier Tip: Cherry Blossom Pick Your Way to Success

  1. Wow.. u r a total fuktard…

    Instead of a debate… lets schedule a fight.. u game asshole?? Where can we meet… u game? Lets settle the science with a fight… loser shuts up for a year.. game?


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