Week in review 1/27/12

by Judith Curry

Here are a few things that caught my eye this past week.

An eclectic mix this week.

Legal defense fund for climate scientists

Andy Revkin reports on  A Legal Defense Fund for Climate Scientists:

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund set up last fall has taken on a formal affiliation withPublic Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an established nonprofit group offering aid and advice to government whistleblowers and scientists working on environmental issues.

JC memo to scientists who need legal defense:  read my previous post on integrity and responsibility.

Huffington Post on Climate Uncertainty

An interesting (and surprising!) article in the Huffington Post entitled “Climate Science Uncertainty Impacts Discourse

What do we actually know for sure about climate change?

We only know that the world is getting warmer; carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere are rising; and that the CO2 build-up is the fault of humankind, as a result of emissions from burning fossil fuels and deforestation.

Such human emissions are “very likely” (U.N. language) to be contributing to a strong global average warming trend since the late 1970s at nearly 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade (after removing the effects of natural variation).

Scientists argue risk is greater on the upside: the lower bound of warming has barely changed at an expected further 2 degrees Celsius warming this century, but the upper bound has if anything risen with scientific understanding, and is more open at 4 degrees or more.

But there’s the problem: it’s impossible to forecast just how much warming there will be because of complex, so-called feedback effects.

For example, climate change may itself alter cloud formation in a way which adds yet more warming, or less, scientists aren’t quite sure. And there are other feedback and non-linear effects (“tipping points”) which are poorly understood.

Even bigger uncertainties lurk behind the impact of warming: the question of when and where climate change will become dangerous, and to whom.

Estimating global impacts such as sea level rise adds a tangled planetary response on top of the estimated warming.

Narrowing further to regional impacts, such as expected temperature and rainfall changes in a particular region or country, and the scientific mist thickens in the most pressing and least understood research area.

Sounds about right to me.  Can someone remind me why we need the IPCC AR5?

Open access journals

John Carlos Baez takes on the issue open access for journals in this [post], with some excellent and practical recommendations.  Must read for those of you interested in the open knowledge movement.

Recommendations from the Defense Science Board

The Center for Climate and Security has a post Defense Science Board Report on Climate Security:  List of Recommendations.    This is a very comprehensive set of recommendations.  Full report can be downloaded [here].

Science and distortion – Stephen Schneider

There is an interesting 12 minute youtube video on Steve Schneider

A year in the making, this video pays tribute to a critical scientific and academic figure in postmodern history: Climatologist and Stanford Professor Stephen Schneider. Schneider explains the problems facing the public’s understanding of climate change and consequently the lack of action in Washington legislatively.

Teaching critical thinking

Stanford University is remaking their undergraduate curriculum to focus on critical thinking versus disciplinary content, says an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  I look forward to seeing what they come up with; I view this as a very good development in higher education.

Stanford University is unveiling on Thursday a set of 55 recommendations to place a priority on teaching undergraduates a set of skills in addition to requiring them to take courses in specific disciplines. The changes, which were drafted by a 17-member committee (chiefly from the faculty), are in a report that is being presented to the Faculty Senate for review. It is the first top-to-bottom revision to Stanford’s undergraduate curriculum since the 1993-94 academic year. The focus on core skills in addition to disciplinary content reflects the idea that Stanford should develop students’ abilities to continue learning throughout their lives and adapt to a changing world after their formal education has ended.

387 responses to “Week in review 1/27/12

  1. Ocean heat content isn’t recharging with this La Nina.

    H/t Bob Tisdale @ Wot’s Up?
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  2. ‘Critical thinking’. These words, they do not mean what you think they mean.
    ==============

    • I have yet to understand what critical thinking does mean. If it means not accepting authority, then they will find that it makes teaching difficult, if not impossible. Be careful what you wish for.

      • From the Wikipedia:

        Critical thinking is the process of thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, false; sometimes true, or partly true. The origins of critical thinking can be traced in Western thought to the Socratic method of Ancient Greece and in the East, to the Buddhist kalama sutta and Abhidharma. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions. It is a part of the education process and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduate education, although there is debate among educators about its precise meaning and scope.

      • David –

        I have less of an issue in understanding what it means than I have in establishing how it can be “taught.” That is a very tricky issue, IMO, and something that, to the extent critical thinking can be taught, requires a fundamental shakeup in the educational paradigm that prevails in most of our educational institutions – and certainly the paradigm that prevails in how most Americans view education.

      • It is a part of the education process and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduate education, although there is debate among educators about its precise meaning and scope.

        Again, I think that the debate about meaning an scope is less germane than a lack of understanding as to how it can be “taught,” and a resistance to the fundamental types of changes that would be entailed in doing so.

        The mention you make above about the tension between critical thinking and disciplinary content is unusually straight forward – but please note that it is somewhat subtly different than the statement from Stanford that you quote – which seems to suggest that they are not focusing on that tension.

      • So if I am teaching intro fluid mechanics, thermodynamics or differential equations, I want my students to question the assumptions underlying these disciplines? I don’t think so. Students begin to encounter disagreement as they approach the frontier, usually in grad school. At the masters level they catalog it and at the Ph.D. level they attack it. Generally speaking undergrads do not know enough to understand the assumptions behind the science and math. These are advanced topics.

      • David -

        Your thinking there echoes, almost exactly, the reaction that I’ve most encountered from academics (and teachers lower down the ladder) w/r/t the “teaching” of critical thinking. The higher up the ladder, the more resistance.

        It is unfortunate because what we know about how our society is changing (to the degree that there really are tends) suggests that such an approach is becoming increasingly counterproductive.

        Ironically, that’s actually something that J. Scott Armstrong is right about. Read some of what he has written about education. It’s too bad that he’s such an extremist libertarian – and as a consequence, fails to critically think through some of his conclusions (i.e., fails to control for his “motivated reasoning”)

      • Judith/David -

        The quote from Wikipedia is instructive but insufficient. Two of the important categories which critical thinking illuminates are “not true” and “not untrue”. These are ubiquitous in philosophy and it would help a great many scientists if they understood [or were able to understand] that a simplistic true/false dichotomy is only rarely the best structure in which to place our knowledge.

      • Anteros -

        These are ubiquitous in philosophy and it would help a great many scientists if they understood [or were able to understand] that a simplistic true/false dichotomy is only rarely the best structure in which to place our knowledge.

        In my experience, it is less that academics don’t understand that such a simplistic dichotomy is a false dichotomy, than that they run into difficulty in trying to structure their teaching in such a way that it reflects that understanding.

      • Critical thinking is the process of thinking that questions assumptions.
        That is what you stop doing after you reach consensus.

      • Joshua -

        You may have a point. But I wonder – if said academics understood that dichotomous thinking provides a limited way of interpreting the world, and the importance of that understanding, I would assume they would be making strenuous efforts to convey it. They would be trying to structure their teaching, attempting to find examples, striving to pass on this important addition to our critical thinking.

        I’m not sure I see any evidence of this. Outside of philosophy texts [and in some philosophy of science books] I’ve rarely seen this even mentioned. I don’t see trying and failing, but failing through not trying!

        It may not appear to be a great addition to the intellectual armoury of a climate scientist, but “not true” and “not untrue” would a least be a start.

      • Anteros -

        But I wonder – if said academics understood that dichotomous thinking provides a limited way of interpreting the world, and the importance of that understanding, I would assume they would be making strenuous efforts to convey it. They would be trying to structure their teaching, attempting to find examples, striving to pass on this important addition to our critical thinking.

        There are a couple of problems there, as I have experienced it.

        The first is that reaching the understanding that you’re talking about often takes place in spite of the dominate paradigm in how we educate students. When students reach graduate school, often they have to essentially unlearn the process of intellectual exploration that was typically practiced in their earlier educational experiences. For many students, the failure to unlearn those habits results in a failure to finish graduate school. But that unlearning is rarely taught in any explicit manner. Sometimes that is entirely unintentional in the sense that academics are not well-trained to be educators, and have little understanding of how to explicitly teach what they have come to understand intuitively. Also, the process of failing students who don’t understand what you’re referring to sometimes effectively, acts as a sorting criterion on which to move students along through the academic institution. Graduate students perform a financial role in many academic institutions, and failing some students after a certain point also has a financial benefit.

        Secondly, while academic institutions pay lip service to teaching – often it really is a secondary consideration in the day to day activities of teachers. It is enough to gain the benefits there are to be gained from those students who intuitively understand what you’re speaking to and fail those students who don’t and simply blame the failure on the students rather than accept the outcome as a failure on the part of academics in their role as teachers.

        Of course, all of that is a very categorical description, and there are many shades of the situation that are far more generous.

        Let me give you an example (based on things I have experienced) that isn’t precisely on point but I think gets my point across:

        A student hands in a paper, and the teacher recognizes that there are some real problems with the writing. So the teacher says to the student, “You have some good ideas there, but you need to be more concise in your writing.” The student says “But how can I be more concise,” and the teacher responds “Say the same thing with fewer words.”

        Now the teacher recognizes the problem with the student’s writing but is at a complete loss as to how to convey to the student the real nature of the problem, and even more than that, has no idea how to explain to the student in an explicit manner how to address the problem. Although that teacher may be able to write in a concise manner, he/she has no idea how to break down writing concisely into a series of explainable processes. Add to that, the fact that the teacher has a couple of hundred papers to grade, and even if s/he did have the skills to convey how to write more concisely, would have trouble rationalize taking that time to work with the student because the teacher is being evaluated on the number of papers s/he gets published during that semester.

        I think that is a more generous description than what I provided at the top of this comment – but sometimes teachers actually feel that such a process reflects exactly what the goal of education should be – to sort out those students who don’t know what to do from those who do know what to do. Unfortunately, much of our educational paradigm is based on a competitive model of judging one student in comparison to another rather than on helping each student to achieve their full academic potential.

        None of that is a direct reflection of whether the teacher him or herself understands the facile nature of the false dichotomy you describe,.

      • Anteros -

        Let me add something here:

        Unfortunately, much of our educational paradigm is based on a competitive model of judging one student in comparison to another rather than on helping each student to achieve their full academic potential. This is also a reflection that sometimes the only way that teachers know how to evaluate student performance is by judging a student relative to the performance of other students. Criterion-based evaluation is, unfortunately subjugated to a norm-referenced basis of evaluation, because the view of education as a competition is built into the very foundation of our predoinant educational paradigm.

      • And Anteros -

        Let me add a few more thoughts to my example.

        Many teachers might respond to that situation by saying “My role isn’t to teach writing. I am a biologist, and the teaching of writing is not part of my job.”

        There are a few problems there. First, the teacher doesn’t seem to understand that the process of writing is inherently related to the process of critical thinking. Viewing them as distinctly different domains is one of those false dichotomies you referred to – but a teacher may be able to recognize false dichotomies in their own field and not be able to generalize that understanding in all contexts – particularly in the context of teaching,, and even more in the process of the teaching of writing.

        Second, the teacher may not even be able to connect the writing they do that is intrinsic to their own work with the process of teaching writing as a part of teaching in their discipline. It’s odd, but it happens – and again, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t able to understand the false dichotomy you speak of as an abstracted concept.

        Look at what David W. has written in this thread. Obviously, he is able to understand the false dichotomy of which you speak – yet he is of the strong belief that “teaching” critical thinking would be a complete waste of time.

        I’m afraid, Anteros – that you’re thinking about a failure of “teaching” critical thinking as evidence that academics don’t understand the nature of your false dichotomy is, itself, based on a false dichotomy. :-)

      • Joshua -

        I agree. I think your portrayal of the whole set of circumstances is very convincing. Similar to how I’d attempt to portray it myself..

        I had an English Literature lecturer who at the beginning of the year apologised to us and said “I’d love to study literature with you, but we’re in the exam-passing business”. Fortunately, his skill and enthusiasm allowed us to do both, but I think that’s rarely the case.

        I even agree with your final point that all the constraints you mention don’t reflect on teachers understanding of ways of thinking beyond the facile. However, they don’t encourage any belief that the teachers in fact actually have such an understanding either.

        My original point may have been a little pedantic, but one of my reasons for reluctance in seeing science as a brilliant proxy for ‘truth’ is the very idea that the Universe is best understood [or always best understood] through the dichotomy of ‘true’ and ‘false’.

        Perhaps that’s why I retreat from the idea that climate and the future need to be understood as either ‘good’ or ‘terrible’.

      • Anteros -

        I had an English Literature lecturer who at the beginning of the year apologised to us and said “I’d love to study literature with you, but we’re in the exam-passing business”. Fortunately, his skill and enthusiasm allowed us to do both, but I think that’s rarely the case.

        That level of clarity and honesty is rare. I think that the clarity and honesty is not at all coincidental to the positive outcome. I would suggest that what your lecturer said shows a “meta-cognitive” approach to the process of teaching and learning that few teachers are aware of.

        It’s all about meta-cognition.

      • Another level of being awake, in fact

      • Anteros -

        However, they don’t encourage any belief that the teachers in fact actually have such an understanding either.

        Certainly, such an understanding is not a precondition for being a teacher.

        However, unfortunately, it is also not a precondition for being a “climate skeptic” either, :-) although it lies at the root of skepticism.

        I would suggest, however, that most academics do have some experience in dealing with analyzing false dichotomies on a regular basis. That would suggest, to me at least, that they have great potential for applying their understanding across different domains – although they also need experience in that process of “cross-application,” which, unfortunately, is not often an aspect of their training. My view in this regard seems precisely at a diametric orientation from David W.’s – and in my view unfortunately, in opposition to many academics and teachers I’ve encountered.

      • David Wojick: So if I am teaching intro fluid mechanics, thermodynamics or differential equations, I want my students to question the assumptions underlying these disciplines?

        From time to time you show (this is routine in mathematics) that different assumptions produce different results. From time to time you show (this is also routine in mathematics) that intuitive “definitions” produce paradoxes, so that you have to supply careful definitions. And from time to time you show that derived or computed solutions do not match the measured outcomes, so that a model result should not be relied on until it has been severely tested: a movie of the Tacoma Narrows bridge disintegrating in wind is a good example of how a factor assumed to be negligible may not conform to the assumption. It isn’t the only example, but it was dramatic and costly. Examples are plentiful.

      • It’s funny that those here, who must all be very familiar with Steve McIntyre’s critical thinking in relation to Michael Mann’s hockey-stick, haven’t mentioned the simple question with which Mr. McIntyre has said it all began, “How do they know that?” Surely “How do you know…” is the alpha and omega of critical thinking.

      • Many universities have been moving away from teaching only discipline content for quite some time. Much effort is being put into teaching general skills such as “analysis,” “synthesis,” “communicating,” etc. (to label them most broadly) that are transferable beyond the discipline. Academic programs are being revised to make sure that course contents align with the skills and that the the program covers all the skills. The assessment of student learning beyond final grades and continuous improvement of programs is a major part of the effort. Any school not started on this track is a decade behind the times.

        Critical thinking, again in broad terms, is the ability to approach a new subject area and judge the quality (accuracy, reliability, depth) of information you have been given about it and to find more information that can be synthesized and analyzed so that you can develop a supportable conclusion. It goes way beyond memorizing the textbook to applying knowledge to problem solving.

      • > I have yet to understand what critical thinking does mean.

        Obvious, it was obvious. Yeesssssss.

        Do or do not. No try there is.

      • It means having a BS detector. Children are born with it and ask lots of difficult questions. Tired, lazy or ignorant parents and primary school teachers will discourage this behavior in kids. It’s passivise-aggressive mental child abuse.

      • Do not teach critical thinking. Teach logical thinking. This social science is relatively well developed. Then teach, primarily through example, where the objective ends and the subjective begins. Where the subjective begins is where the logical arguments for and against end.

      • sort of related,t there is a great discussion (audio) of the Scientific Method on the BBC Radio 4 program “In Our Time” that your readers might enjoy.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01b1ljm/In_Our_Time_The_Scientific_Method/

        Only active until next Thursday.

        (the archives of this show stretch back many years and cover an unbelievable number and range of topics. Well worth looking through for those who enjoy learning new stuff from intelligent people)

      • “Critical thinking” is a redundancy. Thinking is critical. What is uncritical is: not thinking. You either think or not, or learn parrot style.
        How to teach thinking ? That is an art, but has to be done in every class, not in special “critical thinking” courses.

    • Inconceivable!

    • @MattStat;
      There’s another aspect to “understanding” math and science that is implicitly critical, too: “Reasonableness Testing”, as an internal mental process. The obvious examples of (lack of) it are the utter dependence of some students on calculators (or even pencil & paper ritual routines) for arithmetic. They are often unaware of flagrant discrepancies of the “answer” with the probable range or bracket it should fall into.

      The parallel for ex-scientist modellers is as described by Feynman: the preference for and belief in what Willis called CGR — Computer Generated Reality. Which has lead directly to the alarmist hypertrophied estimates of the impacts of CO2 &/or mild-to-moderate warming (vis-a-vis actual historical variation) being accepted as anything other than overblown nonsense.

    • Critical thinking is not new. I think it means “teaching student to question what they are told, as long as they don’t question what I tell them”.

      Possibly more important than “critical thinking” is history, where much of what was known before turns out to be wrong later – a pattern that will continue.

      So we have to use what knowledge we have knowing that it will be wrong later – which works fine as long as the impact of the decision is well inside the timeframe for the knowledge to change.

      Climate science on the other hand wants to use knowledge that may be wrong to try create an impact well outside the bounds of reasonableness – decades in the future. The beauty of this strategy is that if nothing was going to go wrong in the first place, then we will feel as if we did good by doing something which may be ineffectual, wrong or harmful.

      • A related topic to “critical thinking” is “reflection” – thinking about what we do so that we can change over time. This is also not new, see

        Educating the reflective practitioner : toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions
        Author: Donald A Schön
        Publisher: San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, 1987.

      • blouis79 -

        I think it means “teaching student to question what they are told, as long as they don’t question what I tell them”.

        I’m curious as to whether or not you have ever been involved in initiatives to work with students on increasing their “critical thinking skills.”

        if you haven’t, then I’m curious what you base your opinion on. If you have, then I’m wondering if you could elaborate on how what you experienced can be described as what I quoted from you above.

      • Simple question: Is there any true experimental evidence that teaching something called “critical thinking” (sufficiently well-contrasted with some other teaching method, the control treatment) produces people who do something (sufficiently well-defined to be measured) better?

        Just asking.

      • NW -

        It depends on a lot of variables – educational research has a lot of difficult to control for variables (controlling for the Hawthorne effect, controlling for SES variables, variability in teachers, etc.) – and it depends somewhat on how you define “critical thinking,” but the basic answer to your question is, yes.

        This might be a place for you to start:

        http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/research-from-the-center-for-critical-thinking/595

      • NW –

        And I’ll add that the really difficult task is determining whether those skills are generalizable across different domains.

      • Or perhaps I should say transferable.

      • Joshua, that’s pretty much what I thought: Generalizability and transferability of virtually all taught skills to other domains is usually weak.

        Most of the evidence I know of suggests this is true of almost all taught skills–critical thinking or otherwise.

      • NW -

        Sure. It isn’t easy, and the aspect of transfer needs to be an explicit component (one of the biggest misconceptions is that the skills always transfer automatically).

        Contrary to what many believe – it is key to start young.

        Think of kids who grow up in academically oriented families, where they are challenged to think problems through carefully and thoroughly, questioned about things such as false dichotomies, intellectually stimulated, and encouraged to endure in difficult cognitive tasks, try alternative approaches, etc. We can probably all think of such families and know, intuitively, that all of that interaction is building skills (and affecting physiologically related cognitive development in ways) that transfer across different domains – even if it isn’t necessarily “taught” in an explicit manner. Then think about what might be done if you break those interactions down into their component parts and examine how they might be approached systematically and sequentially. Does anyone really doubt that it would have a potentially beneficial impact?

        The problem is that often, however, such an explicit focus is pit against domain-specific content instruction with a zero sum game outlook. Unfortunately, such a perspective is basically encouraged by our dominant educational paradigm, and once that starts happening, important skepticism about issues such as transferability become stumbling blocks because people begin approaching the problem by employing some of that ol’ “motivated reasoning.”

        You know – if we don’t line those kids up and give them the ol’ 3 R’s we’re going to spoil them and wind up with a bunch of weak-minded, librul, namby-pambies on our hands.

      • My own basically silly opinion, based as it is on my own uncontrolled observations of my own teaching and my own students, follows. For informational purposes, I regularly get high ratings from students and have a couple of teaching awards, but that places me in a fairly large subset of faculty so not a huge big deal.

        For most students, a truly memorable class results from an excited teacher. Father Guido Sarducci is right: The only content remembered after 5 years will be five minutes of buzzwords and slogans, for instance “supply and demand.” As funny as that is, Guido misses the most important thing a good teacher does. She does not impart field content, nor does she teach any thinking style (“critical” or otherwise).

        Rather, the effective and memorable teacher leaves students with the long-lasting sense that X is exciting, fun and a challenge worth the coin. My most important job is not, therefore, to teach a canonical body of knowledge or a style of thought, but rather to convey a sense of excitement about a topic, and a sense that understanding that topic is a highway, I wanna drive it, all night long.

        Doing that… it is a mixture of thespian skills, and real knowledge of the cutting edge as a researcher, and an ability to communicate that cutting edge in simple elevator-time.

        Nowadays I teach mostly technical classes, but even so I couldn’t bear it without weaving my own experiences (and those of recent students) into the lectures about the techniques, and communicating our excitement and stuggle as much as possible.

        Yes knowledge is motivated, but by what? The notion that it is all motivated by material interests… I am sorry but this is not my experience of either my own research or what turns on my students. The motivation is something old and intrinsic at its best, and that flame can be passed from one generation to the next. But passing the flame is the big thing… neither a particular body of knowledge nor a particular way of thinking.

      • NW –

        I have to disagree. Yes, the motivational component is huge – but it is in no way mutually exclusive with teaching “critical thinking” in ways that can transfer.

        Again, I will go back to the concept of metacognition – which entails working with students to be deliberate about themselves as learners, and to be aware of themselves as learners and the techniques they use to learn, their areas of strength and weakness, the types of approaches and techniques that are most useful for them, how to employ alternate strategies and evaluate their effectiveness. One way to think of it is working with them to develop an “executive control” over their learning.

      • NW –

        FWIW, I think of it this way: If a student walks out of my classroom at the end of the semester without having a better understanding about him/herself as a learner, then I haven’t fully done my job. That might mean he/she has a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, or how to employ and evaluate strategies for their assessing and improving their learning, etc. Some of those skills should be domain-specific, and some should be non domain-specific.

      • Ah Josh,

        Boo.

  3. I predict that Stanford will get a lot of resistance from any effort to prioritize a focus on critical thinking – as it would necessitate a lowering in priority of discipline-specific focus in the classroom.

    In my experiences in dealing precisely with this issue at educational institutions at many levels, I have encountered a lot of resistance. Perhaps the most resistance can be found at “elite” institutions such as Stanford, where the educators have the most invested in the pedagogy and methodology of the educational processes that have led them to their achieved “elite” status.

    • They are correct and that is why they are elite (no quotes needed), that is, very good. The idea that we understand reasoning, much less something called critical thinking, well enough to teach it is mistaken. Every hour spent teaching this stuff is one less hour of knowledge in the students, and people already complain that the knowledge is too shallow.

      • Every hour spent teaching this stuff is one less hour of knowledge in the students, and people already complain that the knowledge is too shallow.

        There you go, Judith.

        This is what such efforts will regularly encounter – even if most often the resistance will be less categorical. There are many educators who agree with David’s perspective, but there are far more who don’t agree precisely but are stuck in practices that are deeply rooted in such a view of education.

        It’s a long slog, Judith – and unfortunately, the solution is far more complicated than a simple analysis that blames everything bad on those bad librul scientists.

      • The idea is not to have a formal course called critical thinking, but to incorporate critical thinking throughout the curriculum. The idea that content learned equals time spent in class on it is mistaken; students don’t retain everything they are taught, and students that are motivated and have the tools to learn on their own, which includes seeking out materials and understanding the controversy of conflicting materials and ideas and how to make (or reserve) judgment on them. Problem based learning, debates, etc. are types of classroom experience that can foster critical thinking, beyond passing a multiple choice test.

      • Excellent discussion so far (bravo Joshua, Anteros, and Dr. Curry). I’ve seen plenty to be critical of in educational trends, but the answer is not trying to spoon feed students and ever-increasing body of knowledge. Even if it weren’t an effort of Augean Stables proportions, motivations and interests differ. Learning about what has occurred is important, but learning the “why” behind it is critical to applying that knowledge in the future. I can understand David’s reservations to a point; moderating a third grade class debate on evolution would be pointless. By the same token, grad school is too far along for someone to begin to apply these types of skills.

      • David Wojick: The idea that we understand reasoning, much less something called critical thinking, well enough to teach it is mistaken.

        My high school teacher produced a proof that all triangles are isoceles, and my high school calculus teacher used the principle of induction to prove that all pencils are 6 inches long. The list of such examples is quite long, and can be used to show that incautious use of seemingly straightforward principles can lead to obvious falsehoods. In the first course in calculus-based probability theory you can learn the Borel paradox; or you can learn William Feller’s proof that the line you are standing in is always the slowest.

        Some critical thinking can be introduced in every subject matter, at every level of instruction, without impeding learning the main points, and surely without wasting time.

      • Gene -

        Flexibility and having a varied arsenal so as to match approach to the individual needs of students are key, no doubt. And yes, of course, moderation is an outgrowth of being flexible and having a knowledge of differing methodologies.

        That said, it’s hard to say when it might be “too early” to begin working from a metacognative, or if you prefer, “critical thinking” perspective. For example, asking students to memorize abstracted algorithms for multiplying 5 x 6 should not be viewed as a process that is mutually exclusive with having them “problem solve” how to multiply by counting the results of adding together five strings of six beads each.

        Teaching from a view of helping students with “critical thinking” has far more implications than those Judith described – and many of them are applicable at very early levels of childhood education.

      • Matt –

        Those are very nice examples. And part of what often gets lost in this discussion is that I would guess that you and your fellow students were very motivated by those exercises in critical thinking. My guess is that is why you remember those activities to this day.

        Motivation plays a huge role in the efficacy of teaching and learning. It cannot be overstated.

        Now, of course, different students are motivated by different things – but here’s some more conjecture on my part. For at least some students who might typically have been less motivated in your calculus and geometry classes – those activities stimulated their interest in learning. The point of such exercises is that in addition to being more efficacious (when coupled with other types of methodology), they reach a wider variety of students. To the extent that hone goal is to effectively use educational institutions as a social sorting mechanism – one that preserves the status quo – then such activities encounter a proportional resistance.

      • Joshua -

        To the extent that hone goal is to effectively use educational institutions as a social sorting mechanism – one that preserves the status quo – then such activities encounter a proportional resistance.

        I’m not sure where you’re coming from [going to?] with this – care to expand?
        *****
        This perhaps isn’t the thread (or even venue..) to go into it, but my observation is that much of what passes for ‘thinking’ on this subject – the climate – is actually better described as ‘feeling’. Very little of our pictures of the future climate being benign or problematic or truly worrying come from what we think of as cognitive processes – because they have an emotional content. They therefore have emotional energy – which leads to a disposition which finally generates some cognitive activity. This post-dispositional thinking is, what, 99 point-something-per cent confirming and justifying and making coherent and tribalising?

        A non-contentious example [I assume] – I have a certain number of facts concerning nuclear weapons. Much like everybody else. What I – and most people – would call my thinking on the subject is merely picturing, imagining, ‘seeing’ and feeling. Then, of course I start arguing, like everybody else, as to why nuclear war is worrying [or not]. We think we think our way to our expectations – I don’t believe we do.

        I mention this to you because you appear to me to be particularly concerned with reasoning. Paradoxically, as long as people are aware of their emotional dispositions, it is thinking that can confirm this understanding of our common self-misunderstanding – if it is such.

      • Anteros -

        I’ll get back to you. I need to do something useful now (and I want to give Don a chance to sling insults while I’m not around).

      • Joshua, I always suspected that you were flogging a specific theory of reasoning. Your comments tend to be set pieces. Do you have anything online on your theory? Given that you consistently use it to attack climate skeptics I am not optimistic. Your theory seems to be Lockean, that is that reasonable people should not disagree, or at least should not hold strong opinions in the face of disagreement. I disagree.

      • David W. -

        Joshua, I always suspected that you were flogging a specific theory of reasoning. Your comments tend to be set pieces. Do you have anything online on your theory? Given that you consistently use it to attack climate skeptics I am not optimistic. Your theory seems to be Lockean, that is that reasonable people should not disagree, or at least should not hold strong opinions in the face of disagreement. I disagree.

        I have a theory? Really? Who knew? And it’s Lockean no less? Wow! Since it’s Lockean, I wonder what that means?

        I’m particularly curious about what that means because In no way has anything I’ve ever said suggested that “reasonable people should not disagree, or at least should not hold strong opinions in the fact of disagreement.”

        In fact – I consider you to be reasonable, and I consider myself to be reasonable, and I disagree with you, very strongly.

        Back to the drawing board.

      • Anteros -

        I’m not sure where you’re coming from [going to?] with this – care to expand? </blockquote.

        I think that most of this is probably better left for other venues – as it's pretty political and comes from years of experience in observing the demographic variables in who is best served by our educational institutions. I don't want my conservative brothers at Climate Etc. to have aneurisms.

        That said, there is a self-reinforcing aspect of our predominant educational paradigm that I'm referring to and that isn't necessarily political:our educational institutions reward and promote students on the basis of how well the fit into a very limited model of what a good student "should" look like, which in turn leads those types of students to become teachers and administrators, which then cycles back again to reinforcing that limited model. Effectively, our educational system becomes a mechanism for perpetuating the status quo. In a sense, the often found "skeptical" critique of academia (found in venues such as this one) has some basic arguments right, IMO.

        This perhaps isn’t the thread (or even venue..) to go into it, but my observation is that much of what passes for ‘thinking’ on this subject – the climate – is actually better described as ‘feeling’. Very little of our pictures of the future climate being benign or problematic or truly worrying come from what we think of as cognitive processes – because they have an emotional content. They therefore have emotional energy – which leads to a disposition which finally generates some cognitive activity. This post-dispositional thinking is, what, 99 point-something-per cent confirming and justifying and making coherent and tribalising?

        ab-so-freakin’-lutely.

        I mention this to you because you appear to me to be particularly concerned with reasoning. Paradoxically, as long as people are aware of their emotional dispositions, it is thinking that can confirm this understanding of our common self-misunderstanding – if it is such .

        Yup. Again, I refer you to the concept of metacognition, which should include some self-awareness about the emotional, psychological, cultural, and social factors that affect how we “know.”

      • There are certain subjects that if taught correctly will lead to learning critical thinking. One of these is philosophy if taught say from Russell’s History of Western Philosophy or Kaufman’s Critique. These works focus on arguments and critical thinking and questioning of assumptions. I reject the dicotomy of teaching critical thinking or teaching content. It is possible to do both.

      • Judith Curry

        Your idea to “incorporate critical thinking throughout the curriculum” would appear to be the sensible way to go.

        It is a shame when science is being taught as spoon-fed pablum. It is true that basic concepts and tenets need to be understood (in all fields) – but especially in science it is important that rational (or scientific) skepticism is an integral part of the curriculum (as opposed to “consensus thinking” or rote memorization).

        This differentiates the western approach (particularly in the sciences) from that used in some eastern cultures (more toward philosophy), where the words of the “master” are never challenged or even questioned, but a scholar may, after reaching a certain age and seniority, interpret the master’s words slightly differently than has been done by earlier scholars.

        Max

    • Joshua,

      Calling someone a Lockean can either imply you hold some kind of tabula rasa theory of the mind, or freely convey learned superciliousness.

      The two possibilities are not incompatible.

      • So willard -

        Which do you think would be the case, or in David’s opinion the case, with w/r/t me?

        Perhaps the supercilious might apply. The tabula rasa theory couldn’t possibly be further from my own views.

        Oh uh.

    • David Y -

      There are certain subjects that if taught correctly will lead to learning critical thinking. One of these is philosophy if taught say from Russell’s History of Western Philosophy or Kaufman’s Critique.

      Actually, I guess say that isn’t true (depending on what you mean by “taught correctly). They used to think that teaching Latin would “train the mind” to think logically in the same sense that you train your body by certain physical activities. In point of fact, without a more explicit approach, the “skills” don’t transfer.

      “Teaching critical thinking” means much more than simply asking students to deal with subject that require critical thinking. It is an explicit approach that requires explicit instruction. That may very well be a useful context for “teaching critical thinking,” but it isn’t sufficient.

  4. Should science operate under transparency or secrecy?
    See: Another IPCC Demand for Secrecy
    IPCC’s lawyer writes:

    we kindly request you to remove this text and figure from your blog and refrain from such actions, which do not respect the terms of the IPCC review process. . . .
    in order to have access to the Chapters and to submit review comments for consideration by the authors, all prospective expert reviewers of the WGI AR5 FOD are required to agree to the terms of the review, which specify that all materials provided for the review, including the chapter drafts, are considered confidential and shall not be cited, quoted or distributed.

    Steve McIntyre responds:

    this change was deceptively included in a package described as “addressing” IAC recommendations, even though this language had nothing to do with IAC recommendations, but was designed to implement changes sought by Phil Jones and Thomas Stocker long before the IAC review. . . .
    you lack any moral authority to insist that reviewers comply with your request.

    Nor am I aware of any legal authority or case law under Canadian or international law that entitles you to require me to remove the discussion at Climate Audit. . . .
    It is my understanding that your email only asked politely that I remove the discussion and did not constitute a formal legal demand that I do so. Unless I am obligated under either Canadian or international law to remove the discussion from Climate Audit, I would prefer not to remove the discussion.

    IPCC appears to be abusing the public trust by acting directly contrary to their stated policy of being open and transparent. This coercive effort appears to be lead by Phil Jones and Thomas Stocker and “the Team”.

    • Are you sure this was written by IPCC’s lawyer? Pauline Midgley is an atmospheric chemist. There didn’t seem to be any legalese in this polite request to hold information marked confidential as confidential.

      • Louise
        Good question. The email was: “From: IPCC WGI TSU On Behalf Of Pauline Midgley” where TSU = The Technical Support Unit (TSU) for IPCC WGI. Considering the content, I presumed it had been drafted and reviewed by their counsel.

      • David, considering the content, I thought it was drafted from one professional making a polite request of another – there was no hint of legal speak. I think that saying it was a legal request implies some sort of strong arm tactics when it clearly wasn’t. Perhaps your (and my) perceptions were influenced by our expectations?

      • I doubt that the IPCC have any legal power to make McIntyre remove the text from his blog. They do have the right of course to remove McIntyre from the review process. I suspect that this outcome would not be entirely unsatisfactory for McIntyre.

      • Louise
        For the back story and the equivocation and slight of hand used to get the confidentiality language in place, see: Stocker’s Earmarks at ClimateAudit.org
        While it may appear to be “one professional making a polite request of another”, when taken in context of Thomas Stocker’s and Phil Jones’ shenanigans I see it as a deliberate attempt to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act, and the IPCC’s official policy of “openness and transparency”.
        Phil Jones and the Univ. East Anglia continue to try to prevent Jones’ emails from being provided at all cost even though UK law requires it. See their dogged retreat at: More Spurious East Anglia Arguments Rejected
        Contrast other universities providing immediate and full disclosure.

        For the context, see Ross McKitrick Understanding the Climategate Inquiries Especially:

        “The IAC was deeply critical of the way the IPCC, particularly Working Group II, handled and reported on uncertainty, especially in regards to statements about the impacts of climate change.”

    • McIntyre deserves praise, a good example of how wandering, feel-good generalites (IPCC stated policy or R&S respon II, the last thread) as reform lead nowhere.

      “Reform” the IPCC is generally a whitewash talking point, it should be annihilated and the records exposed.

    • The IPCC parasites sense the game is coming to an end and are desperately trying to suppress dissent. Instaed of responding in an ethical manner to the expose’s of IPCC corruption and internal conflict, they keep seeking new ways to hide, obfuscate, miselad and deceive.
      They implicitly depend on the weak minded true believers to reflexively defend them, as we see believers here doing.

      • Good grief – we hear this ‘coming to an end’ or ‘ nail in the coffin of AGW’ ever bloomin’ week, week in and week out. Problem for you is the science just doesn’t support your view, even if the (US) politics does.

        How long can you keep parrotting that AGW is dead without any evidence?

      • Louise, it’s only because you keep nailing it to the perch ;-)

      • Louise -

        To be fair, I hear the same cry in reverse at SkS – the death of scepticism. It’s sadly part of the tribal game.

      • McIntyre signed up to take part in a particular process and part of that process entails treating certain material as confidential. He did not keep his side of the bargin and is now wingeing like a big girl because he is being asked to do so.

        If the IPCC really wanted to “hide, obfuscate, mislead and deceive” they would not have let the likes of McIntyre sign up to be reviewers in the first place.

      • Andrew Adams -

        Instead of blindly ascribing motives to Steve McIntyre, you should actually read his post and the letters.

        He makes clear that he in fact agreed to nothing in the way of confidentiality, as he did not download the drafts from the IPCC website. As there was no agreement or bargain, he cannot be in any breach of one.

        As well, his reply to the IPCC request is hardly in a whinging tone. He is politely (and correctly) asking for the Canadian legal basis for their request before he considers complying with it. Is there a problem with that approach?

      • andrew adams @ 2:46 bravely asserts several things about Steve McIntyre. He’s now shown that he either didn’t read Steve’s post, or doesn’t understand it. Hengist McStone made the same silly mistake about confidentiality but at least had the courage to step in it on Steve’s blog.
        ========================

      • The IPCC directive is simply a request that people act in good faith.

        No surprise that McIntyre resorts to legalese to refuse.

        And don’t expect that he’ll get admonished by Judith for taking the low road.

      • Actually i’ve stated elsewhere that I think all of the draft and reviewer comments should be made publicly available as the Report progresses. I see no reason why reviewers shouldn’t discuss these issues among themselves, and with the tiny segment of the public that actively engages on the technical climate blogs. The argument against doing this is that this material might mislead the public. Well, the MSM and policy makers won’t be paying any attention to the drafts, they will wait for the final report. If there is misleading material in the drafts, then wider public scrutiny and discussion would improve the reports. This kind of transparency would go along way towards improving the credibility of the IPCC AR5.

        I’m not a reviewer, so I am not personally grappling with this issue. I haven’t followed closely what McIntyre is up to in this regard.

      • All well and good in theory Judith, but we know what will happen…..people operating in a political realm will pick over it and construct their fanciful tales of scientific perfidy, using fragments and misrepresentations to continue their pursuit of a fully formed narrative of a fraudulent scientific process

      • Much less opportunity for scientific tales of perfidy and fraudulent scientific process if everything is out in the open.

      • That’s just the point – nothing of substance is required.

        Draft zero said X, final draft said Y – fraud!

        The pre-existing political narrative fills in the details that reality can’t produce.

  5. Here is what I noticed:

    Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse.

    http://on.wsj.com/yqTUBR

    And the GMT for 2011 is out.

    It is ONLY 0.34 deg C, 0.26 deg C below IPCC projection of 0.6 deg C.

    • Girma -

      many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse.

      Do you have some verified evidence to support that statement?

      • Joshua

        An indirect evidence:

        If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted.

        http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=2101

      • Yes, I’m sure the Bureau of Disinformation at the Climate Empire would love to have names, addresses, family members and financial statements.

      • You mean peer reviewed evidence by the Soviet….I mean IPCC standards Joshua??

        Talk about having your head in the sand Joshua. “Sand” may not be the best analogy in your case.

      • I haven’t looked for, and don’t intend to look for, my name in the CRU emails, but one of my colleagues did alert me to an email written by Wigley in which he suggested that, if I were a climate skeptic, then steps should be taken to get me “ousted.” Wigley’s suggestion stems, I believe, from the publication of a GRL paper (by McIntyre and McKitrick) that criticized certain elements of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick paper. This paper caused a bit of a stir and because I oversaw the peer review of this paper, I assume that Wigley inferred (incorrectly) that I was a climate-change skeptic. I stepped down as GRL editor at the end of my three-year term, long after the excitement over the McIntyre and McKitrick paper had passed. My departure had nothing to do with attempts by Wigley or anyone else to have me sacked. … – Professor Saiers

      • Nice:

        Don Keiller says:
        January 27, 2012 at 6:08 am

        “Shooting the Messenger” appears to be standard operating procedure for climate “scientists”.

        In the recently released email, (1625.txt) we find Phil Jones discussing with senior University of East Anglia (UEA) staff, the idea of giving Professor Jonathan Jones (not to be confused with Phil Jones!) and I the same treatment as he (Phil Jones) gave another UK academic, for us having the temerity to send a FOI request to UEA.

        Subsequently (1812.txt) Phil Jones asks the Head of Communications at UEA “The thought is whether we should follow the same course with these two”

        Fortunately wiser council prevailed with UEA Head of Communications replying on the same day “Do you know the heads of department at (their universities). Are you sure that they would dissociate themselves from their colleagues who have written? We want to avoid any accusation that you are trying to get people fired because they disagree with you. This (Keiller) chap appears to be deputy head of department and could, I think, cause a huge stir if he got wind of it.

        As it happens I did.

    • what is this, GISS?

      • I think it’s Hadcrut3. The Dec figure is obviously out too … 0.252.
        But of course, when Hadcrut4 is released that figure will be 7.252 and the world will be about to end.

      • No, it will be a measurement of a planet called earth. Nobody even knows what galaxy to which HadCrutch3 applies.

  6. “Schneider explains the problems facing the public’s understanding of climate change and consequently the lack of action in Washington legislatively.”

    So Schneider has recognized a correlation between Climate Change and Politics?

    I must admit I didn’t see it either for the longest time. Who else didn’t catch this subtle connection? I guess it takes a brainy scientist to find out what is really going on, huh?

    Andrew

  7. “JC memo to scientists who need legal defense: read my previous post on integrity and responsibility.”

    Michael memo to Judith; defamation and vexatious legal proceedings cannot be resolved in the scientific arena.

  8. There’s no thinking that ain’t critical.

    It’d be like saying none’s a skeptic because they’d have to be skeptical about their skepticism.

    In real life common sense ought to prevail. All you need to be able to think is discernment tools between the sublime and the baloney. A semester in history of failed scientific theories should suffice.

    • A semester in history of failed scientific theories should suffice.

      That is very good!

    • Common sense is sooo common! That is only for use by the hoi polloi. You surely don’t expect the elites to use it do you?

    • Judith -

      Are you beginning to see some correlation between some of your “denizens” views on critical thinking and their reasoning as “skeptics.”

      Would that we could quantify that correlation. I wonder what we’d find out about your “extended peer review community?”

      • Don, your obsession with Joshua is far creepier than the posts Joshua asks Dr Curry to respond to directly. It seems to me that you have a ‘thing’ about Joshua – professionally speaking (I am a psychologist by trade), I suggest you seek help.

      • Please don’t discourage him, Louise

        I recognize that you have a professional obligation, but his obsession serves a very useful purpose.

      • Louise -
        Are you sure that focusing on Don’s alleged ‘thing’ for Joshua isn’t a displacing projection for your own ‘thing’ re Judith? (I am a counsellor for psychologists by trade)

      • Anteros -

        Are you sure that your “thing” about Loise’s “thing” about focusing on Don’s “thing” isn’t a projection on your part for your “thing” about the doom-saying of “realists?”

        Just sayin’

        At any rate, I discourage anyone from discouraging Don. He is very useful and I wouldn’t want anyone to tell him otherwise.

      • Anteros – Yes, I am sure

        I do address posts directly to Dr Curry. I also address posts directly to hunter, Don, David, etc. I address posts to the person whose comment I am responding to. That you think this is indicative of a ‘thing’ says much more about you than it does me.

      • I am keeping my store of the Funky Cold Medina away from all of you mutts.

      • Louise,

        I don’t like josh, even more dislike than the rest of the board that don’t like him either. Are you fond of josh? If so, you are in a very small crowd. Even his mom says, “Joshy, such a coward.”

      • Anteros,

        My wife is a psychologist. I have been looking for someone like you. How much do you charge, or is it a professional courtesy?

      • “It seems to me that you have a ‘thing’ about Joshua – professionally speaking (I am a psychologist by trade), I suggest you seek help.”
        Sorry to butt in Louise, but would that be the first “thing” or the second “thing” LOL

    • Omnologos -

      Do you think a semester would be sufficient? Perhaps you mean to get a basic idea – a rough idea of the phenomenon..
      And for those that wish, please allocate a decade to collect the data.

  9. JC memo to scientists who need legal defense: read my previous post on integrity and responsibility.

    Ouch…that’s going to leave a mark.

    • Ouch indeed!

    • Whatever happened to the concept of innocent until proven guilty? Instead Dr Curry seems to believe in the saying ‘no smoke without fire’ i.e. if you need legal defence it’s your own fault – what a lovely philosophy.

      • Ya ya, I’ll await in my Hell the cold day when PEER defends our Glorious Leaker.
        ==========

      • Louise,
        Stonewalling is not part of innocent untilproven guilty.
        But you knew that.

      • hunter – so every scientist who seeks legal advice is guilty up front?

        That’s what Dr Curry implies

      • That is certainly the implication.

        She is also implying that any climate scientist who has come under attack has only come under attack because of a lack of integrity and/or responsibility.

        It remains unfortunate (IMO) that Judith continuously fails to acknowledge the political/partisan dimensions on both sides of the climate debate.

      • If I’m a University scientist, I would think my employer has some obligation to help with my legal defense, unless they think they should fire me. And as a private citizen, if I need legal defense, I’m pretty much on my own. So why the need for a legal defense fund? Give the money to some people in the prison system who really need it.

      • Louise,
        Now you are asking questions in bad faith.
        Scientists using the courts to intimdate critics are not acting in good faith.
        Scientists claiming to be a party to suits they arein fact not part of are not in good faith. Scientists hiding declines, hiding their work related ocmmunications and such behind legal shams are not in good faith.
        But you know this.

      • From Mandia: “The fund is designed to help scientists like Professor Michael Mann.” Too bad he’s gonna need more help than he can get.
        ====================

      • Louise: Whatever happened to the concept of innocent until proven guilty?

        This applies to criminal court, and is a mechanism to curtail what might otherwise be (and sometimes is) abuse of criminal law to control political opposition.

        Scientific ethics requires something more subtle; plagiarism that requires retraction of an article, for example, or fudging data, may not be crimes, yet suspicion requires an active defense by the accused. The community at large decides responsibility — we do not have a formally selected jury of peers deciding criminal guilt. Fudging data might, on the other hand, be breach of contract, or tortious.

      • Mattstat – Dr Curry implies that those seeking legal advice/defense are the ones at fault without any examination of the evidence. Do you agree with this sentiment?

      • Lousie,

        Is it robert the idiot tractor’s day off? Your turn to help little josh stalk Judith? You little twits are just jealous of her stature and courage.

      • Louise: Dr Curry implies that those seeking legal advice/defense are the ones at fault without any examination of the evidence.

        I don’t think that your inference follows.

      • “if you need legal defence it’s your own fault”

        don’t you remember tallblokes little legal foray?

        obviously tallbloke needs to read up on Judiths notes on integrity and responsibility

  10. I found the Stephen Schneider video extremely interesting. I admire his thinking – immensely – and his ability to convey his understanding. I also agree with his observation that much of the ‘information’ foisted on the public is better called ‘disinformation’ and is motivated almost solely by money, an agenda or an ideology.

    I found it striking that the video [which obviously did not have Schneider's blessing, him being deceased..] focused on disinformation from one particular direction. There were sops to Schneider’s own neutral statements, but the clumsy attempt to make a persuasive analogy with the smoking debate showed the bias of the programme-makers.

    I think given the recent series of threads on Climate Etc, it was fitting that one of Schneider’s most perceptive arguments was that decisions about how to characterise risk and the variable nature of the unknown future was a value judgement beyond or above the reach of climate science.

    I would go further, because we know a great deal more about human beings than we do about the future of the climate. We know that when we look into the dark and the unknown, and are faced with something that has ‘change’ or ‘different’ written on it, we invariably use our imaginations to picture disaster, and catastrophe. Our beliefs about what things will be ‘bad’ bear precious little relation to reality. Doom-saying is ubiquitous throughout the whole of the history of humanity.

    Three degrees of warming ago [or four, or six] the outlook for a warming [ie changing] climate would have looked worrying, even terrible. But of course we now understand the present as just fine and dandy – and yet, another three degrees as likely the end of existence. Through fear and imagination about change…

    The flip flop, flip flop of the doom-endian catastrophological armaggenonologist will immediately say “Ah, but it is the speed of the change that will kill us all off”.

    Garbage. If the speed of change is an issue, why is it that we have to be told that the planet is warming rather than, you know, actually noticing? I’m yet to see a shred of evidence that the speed of change [if change is enough to be meaningful] will produce an observable adaptation, let alone an interesting or exciting one.

    • Anteros, if you think we know more about human beings than we do about climate, then you do not understand the state of the sciences involved.

      • Anteros: I would go further, because we know a great deal more about human beings than we do about the future of the climate.

        I think that you would be hard pressed to support that claim.

        In both cases we know lots of details at several levels of explanation, but we are hard pressed to predict anything. Small fractions of all newborns, to take one example, grow up to be r schizophrenic but we can’t tell at age 4; likewise, we know that temperature and rainfall records will be broken in 2012, be we can’t predict where or when. It’s hard to tell whether mercury from coal burning changes the schizophrenia rates, or increased CO2 will increase rainfall extremes. Also, in both cases, the variability challenges our ability to think clearly.

      • David W -

        It surprises me you say that. I would suggest, actually it is a fruitless task to even compare them – where would you start? Neuroscience and fundamental thermodynamics?

        I was making the observation that there is a level of predictability in human responses to set circumstances that doesn’t have a useful parallel when we’re trying to predict important aspects of the future of the climate.

        Take a thousand people, turn the lights off [or ask them to 'imagine' a changed climate] and you’ll have the best part of a thousand scared people. Take an atmosphere, add 150ppm Co2, mix for 50 years – any idea what’s going to pop out of the oven? From the point of view of, well, someone in 50 years time?

        We can be sure that in those 50 years time there will be a lot of people saying the end of the world is nigh, some others saying it is an environmentalist plot and a few repeating sentences like this hoping to sidestep self-reference

    • Stephen Schneider was an environmental activist before he went to study and became a scientist. His opinions were prior to his science.

      • Interesting.
        I think even if the environmentalism came later, it would still be underneath, prior, in front of, modulating, and overpowering his ‘science’.

    • Anteros
      (sorry about the CAPS, I’m no good at italics)

      “…. invariably use our imaginations to picture disaster, and catastrophe.”

      Up to a point. Firstly, we don’t ALL do this – as this blog shows. Rather, there seems to be a certain percentage of any generation that fixes on the belief that the present is the best of all possible worlds, that the innate turpitude of man threatens that perfection, and that it is their duty to protect it by formulating all sorts of rules for their fellow citizens to live by.

      Secondly, it’s not true fear. When we go to see a scary movie, we are paying to experience emotions that closely resemble fear, but are not true fear. Likewise the “fear” you see in climate catastrophists is no more true fear than the “fright” administered (to the gratification of the viewer) when the hideous creature rises for the nth time from the swamp. Ask yourself, as someone familiar with psychology, are the warmists behaving like REALLY frightened people? And their fear is just as deliberately self-administered – its purpose no less self-indulgent, than when we buy a ticket to a scary movie.

      Until the 20th C most of our need to be moderately scared ALL THE TIME was taken care of by things that were, um, authentically scary, and it was dealt with by propitiatory worship of deities. If the emerging field of science happened to dispel the mystery, it was a marvelous thing. There is much less inexplicable scary stuff around these days, and what there is we expect “science” to apply itself to, and “solve”. One consequence is that we have an “alarm deficit” and, in secular Western societies, next-to-no means of dealing with the fear of the future through overt propitiation of deities. So the alarmists meet the scare deficit by manufacturing scares based on abstruse and unparsimonious scientism, and then supply the full range of propitiatory behaviour (forgo this, cut down on that, but ABOVE ALL DO AS WE SAY!) to go with them. And unlike the propitiatory behaviour of 14th century plague-ridden Europe, the modern offering is HIGHLY-GEARED. In the 14th C you had to flay the skin off your back to get a leave pass JUST FOR YOURSELF. Now we are told that, as individuals we only, have to do a little bit to save the planet. But that only works if EVERYBODY engages in the prescribed propitiatory behaviour, so coercion is justified. This has been going on sine at least the time of Eugenics. It turned its misanthropic attention to the environment with the publication of Rachel Carson’s mendacious “Silent Spring”, and has been going strong ever since.

      You know the rest.

  11. HADCRUT3.

    .35C warming since 1878.

    ,026C per decade. Assuming perfect data uncontaminated by UHI. (Snicker)

    http://www.real-science.com/shock-news-hadcrut-2011-0-3-degrees-warmer

    • There is no longer a season for cherry-picking. Just invent some cherries and pick them.

      • The definition of cherry picking …

        Start measuring during the coldest period in the last 10,000 years. If it warms up a small amount, proclaim that it is man’s fault.

        “Jørgen Peder Steffensen is an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen and one of the world’s leading experts on ice cores. Using ice cores from sites in Greenland, he has been able to reconstruct temperatures there for the last 10000 years. So what are his conclusions?

        - Temperatures in Greenland were about 1.5 C warmer 1000 years ago than now.

        - It was perhaps 2.5 C warmer 4000 years ago.

        - The period around 1875, at the lowest point of the Little Ice Age, marked the coldest point in the last 10,000 years.

        - Other evidence from elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere confirms this picture.

        His final comment is particularly telling :-

        I agree totally we have had a global temperature increase in the 20thC – but an increase from what? ..Probably an increase from the lowest point in the last 10,000 years.

        We started to observe meteorology at the coldest point in the last 10,000 years.”

        http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/we-live-in-the-coldest-period-of-the-last-10-000-years/

      • webbie,

        Do you really think we know precisely what the average global temp was in 1878, or 1876, 1922, 1936? If the same thermometers that were in place in 1878 were still in place and were all you had to go by in 2011, would you get the same anomaly that has been reported by the temperature authorities? Aren’t we really guessing about what the average global temp is now, and isn’t it a much wilder guess about what it was like in 1878? -0.014? Come on, webbie.

      • Another cherry picking example.

        Satellite data started in 1978 or 1979.

        Guess which was the coldest winter in US history and 7th coldest and 11th coldest?

        1977 30.67 11 11
        1912 30.17 10 10
        1918 29.87 8 8
        1917 29.87 8 8
        1978 29.68 7 7
        1929 29.53 6 6
        1905 29.44 5 5
        1910 29.00 4 4
        1899 28.66 3 3
        1936 28.53 2 2
        1979 27.29 1 1

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

      • “The definition of cherry picking …

        Start measuring during the coldest period in the last 10,000 years. If it warms up a small amount, proclaim that it is man’s fault.”

        Man isn’t being fingered because it’s warmed. Man is being fingered because man has raised CO2 levels in the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate in perhaps Earth’s entire history – and those levels now sit at highs for millions of years.

        And CO2 is a strong greenhouse gas.

      • “Temperatures in Greenland were about 1.5 C warmer 1000 years ago than now.”

        Or maybe they were 1.5C cooler than today:
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/c4u-chart7.png

      • lolwot, if the 1800s were the coldest period in the last 10,000 years, then 9900 years or so (out of the last 10,000) were warmer. Of those 9900 years, 9800 were warmer without a change in CO2.

        The odds are really high that temperature rises without CO2 changes. Therefore our tiny little temperature rise very likely was just natural variation.

      • lolwot; skeptical science is not skeptical or science.

      • The data was taken from a table, and the years surrounding 1878 were colder. If the table was in better form I would have charted it, as you probably should have, if you took some initiative.

      • I got your cherries :)

        http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o252/captdallas2/taymyr.png

        Taymyr, Siberia Jacoby et. al 2006. HADCRU4 added some new Russian stuff recently. I say the ruskies done it!

        Web, what do you think?

      • Bruce:
        “The odds are really high that temperature rises without CO2 changes. Therefore our tiny little temperature rise very likely was just natural variation.”

        Completely illogical.

        Also you haven’t even defended your premise – that is very much in doubt- that it was 1.5C warmer 1000 years ago in Greenland.

      • “and the years surrounding 1878 were colder”

        But how did the temperatures rise .4C without a change in CO2?

      • http://vimeo.com/14366077

        “our thermometer records started at the coldest point in the last 10000 years.”

      • ““our thermometer records started at the coldest point in the last 10000 years.””

        But how much have we warmed up since then?
        This graphs shows over 2 degrees C warming:
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/c4u-chart7.png

      • “The result is a 50,000-year-long temperature history at GRIP and a 7000-year history at Dye 3. The Last Glacial Maximum, the Climatic Optimum, the Medieval Warmth, the Little Ice Age, and a warm period at 1930 A.D. are resolved from the GRIP reconstruction with the amplitudes –23 kelvin, +2.5 kelvin, +1 kelvin, –1 kelvin, and +0.5 kelvin, respectively.”

        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/282/5387/268.abstract

        Translation

        1930 = .5
        LIA = -1
        MWP = +1
        Holocene Optimum = + 2.5

        So …
        The LIA was 1.5C colder than 1930
        The MWP was 2.5C warmer than the LIA.

        If we aren’t 2.5C warmer than the LIA, then we aren’t as warm as the MWP.

        The LIA was the coldest period in 10,000 years and thats when modern temperature records like HADCRUT start.

      • Bruce the key thing from your comment is *1930*

        We aren’t in 1930. We are in 2012.

        Your comment shows the Greenland summit warmed up 1.5C between the little ice age and 1930. Taking it just 0.5C below the MWP. We’ve had 80 years of warming since then.

        How much has it warmed up since 1930? That’s what this graph is showing:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/c4u-chart7.png
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/crux-of-a-core3.html

        That shows more than 2C warming since 1930. If correct that means we’ve very likely passed the medieval warm period. It even suggests we may have passed the holocene optimum.

        Your argument and the argument of the guy in the video is that the warming is kind of expected because we were at a low point. But no, the warming is very unusual there’s no reason why it should happen right now. The vast majority of centuries do not show a temperature rise like this.

        In fact we know the holocene optimum was warm because of the Earth’s tilt 10,000 years ago faced the arctic region towards the Sun more. The same explanation does not exist for the recent warmth.

      • “In fact we know…”

        lolwot, your facts are just speculations, some of them pretty wild. Nothing unusual is happening. You have been misled.
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/best-upper/plot/best-lower/plot/rss

      • strawman edim

      • lolwot, it is no warmer than the 1930s.

        Go here:

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

        Pick Annual, Table, Rank

        1934 is the 3rd warmest year in US history and the warmest is only .25F warmer. 1931 was 10th warmest.

        1934 was warmer than every year this century except for 2006.
        1934,1931,1930 and 1938 were warmer than 2011.
        1934,1931,1930, 1938 and 1933 were warmer than 2010.

      • And if you sort by year, with 116 being the hottest year, 2011,2010,2009 and 2008 didn’t even break 100.

        The 1930s had 4 years ranked 100 or above.
        The 1950s had 2 years ranked 100 or above.
        1921 was ranked 113 – the 4th warmest ever.

        This is a pretty average decade.

      • Bruce that’s the united states, not the greenland summit.

        I am not convinced it’s wise to compare a single location anyway, but if we are talking about GISP2 style ice cores from the greenland summit that only go up to about 1930 we have to compare them with instrumental temperatures measured at the greenland summit since 1930 if we want to compare current temperatures there with the full last 10,000 years.

      • Now that the evidence is against you, proxies are out?

        By the way, why did happen the last 4 years? Brrrrr.

      • Wha are you talking about? You started by citing GRIP which is an ice core proxy of temperature at Greenland summit.

        But it ends in 1930. Instrumental data in Greenland shows that Greenland has warmed since then.

        So much so that it cannot be asserted the MWP was warmer than present there.

        But instead of addressing that you switch to US temperatures for no apparent reason.

      • ” Instrumental data in Greenland shows that Greenland has warmed since then.”

        If you look at Greenlands temperature record, all the long reporting station records for warmth were set in 1929.

        http://www.real-science.com/80-years-temperature-decline-greenland

  12. k scott denison

    Prof. Curry, you missed a very significant item from this week, the letter published in today’s Wall Street Journal from Lindzen et al.

    I think you should add this to the list.

    ksd

    • ksd –

      Any link for us Brits who don’t have access to ‘foreign’ newspapers?
      Anybody?

    • Try:
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html
      or perhaps this blog posting:
      http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/2012/01/scientists-no-need-to-panic-about-global-warming/

      Note that it is almost explicitly addressed to politicians, intended as a “toolkit” of concepts and names for those contemplating political heresy by opposing “decarbonization”.

      • Indeed. A “toolkit” using analogies to Lysenko.

        Like I said before (and no doubt will say again) it speaks volumes.

    • Editor’s Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:
      . . . a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed. . . .
      Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. . . . Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2. . . .
      The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. . . .This is not the way science is supposed to work, . . .
      Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. . . .
      There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question “cui bono?” Or the modern update, “Follow the money.”
      Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. . . .
      Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of “incontrovertible” evidence.

      I endorse these brave scientists clear warning.

      • “I endorse these brave scientists clear warning”

        Just how many of these are actual currently practising scientists?

    • Wow Lindzen signed that misleading pile of BS? sad. very sad. I thought it was just aging crackpots who signed it, but I had given Lindzen more credit.

      Perhaps though he’s just pushing denial of the risk of climate change in an effort for balance?

    • Webbie said;

      “The data was taken from a table, and the years surrounding 1878 were colder. If the table was in better form I would have charted it, as you probably should have, if you took some initiative.”

      Hmm, sounds suspiciously anecdotal to me. Were you being ironic?

      tonyb

  13. I’m always wary of a single quote used to misrepresent an author or a view point….
    However…

    One of the claims made about a ‘warming climate’ is that it will be more variable, with more extremes which is the reason we should fear it and why we can characterise it as bad.
    Warming=greater climate variability=bad news.

    I wonder. I was reading Stephen Schneider’s Wiki page and came across a quote where he is describing why we should be worried about climate change [in '76 when he was still concerned about cooling]

    climatic variability, which is the bane of reliable food production, can be expected to increase along with the cooling.

    Funny that.

    • well it still goes to the ‘rapid change is bad’ theme. Is that consistency?

      FWIW, I would subscribe to a “rapid change is worse than BAU” philosophy, but pinning down the speed at which it matters is the hard part, as you said above.

    • Anteros,
      You are far too kind to Schneider.
      My take of his work and efforts, along with his close pal Ehrlich, is that they were not operating in good faith. Part of ood faith is when you admit you are wrong.
      They were both spectacularly wrong and have yet to admit it.
      Schneider’s infamous call to scientific lying is difficult to reconcile with good faith as well.

      • And I thought I was giving him a hard time!!

        I’ve never seen him in the same light {or dark?} as Ehrlich, but I’m willing to re-assess. I suppose I’m focused on the nutters who are still alive (and talking gibberish) like the Doomians Hansen and Mann..

      • Anteros,
        Believe it or not, Ehrlich is still alive and kicking.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_R._Ehrlich
        He came to mind as I tarted reading, after long delay, a copy of “World War Z”, about a general war on the undead.
        It is just as scary as any of the bs Ehrlich writes, but the author is honest and calls it fiction. And WWZ is much better written.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_Z

      • Yeah -
        I’m painfully aware that Eek!lich is still spouting the same old lunacy. I was thinking of the recently departed Schneider (who I actually think was very sincere, if very wrong)

      • hunter and Anteros

        Believe it or not, Ehrlich is still alive and kicking.

        Amazing!

        According to his OWN forecast, he should’ve been dead (along with most of us) back in 2000!

        At heart-warming survival story…

        Max

    • Anteros -

      W/r/t doom-saying from climate scientists – what say you about leading climate scientists analogizing the climate debate to imprisonment in gulags and sentencing to death – and publishing their speculation in and editorial in a leading American newspaper?

      Methinks that your “degrees” of asymmetry are evaporating at a very fast rate?

      • Joshua -
        Nope – plenty of symmetry there!

        If there is some asymmetry, it is that guff about gulags and especially how scientists are afraid of speaking against the consensus [though some, of course may well be] is the sort of stuff that is prevalent throughout the debate. Normal, if unedifying.

        Whereas the spectre of a threat to

        Civilisation and all life on earth

        Is contrasted usually by alarmism about economic matters. Remember, those who are really paranoid about enviro world governments aren’t actually in a climate debate – they’re gatecrashers just as many are on the other side.

        I think a small amount of the rhetoric in the article is overblown, unpleasant, unnecessary and mostly counter-productive. But I think you maybe see that and little else – and obviously I’ll note it and move on to the substantive, of which I think there’s actually quite a lot.

        If pushed, I’ll remember that I don’t have much in common with that group of people – except sharing a view about climate futures. So, if they display some alarmism it isn’t important unless you want to be tribal about it. I don’t think my opposition to climate alarmism is alarmist, and don’t feel a need to defend those whose opposition is/can be.

        I think there is symmetry in the human beings, but not in the human beings relationship with the future of the climate. We’re back to the difference between a climate-bad belief [strong, motivating, mind-filling] and a climate-not bad-belief, which is profoundly different, and for many people, an absence of something.

        Of course, as we’ve both agreed on numerous occasions, by the time this gets to manifesting in behaviour, arguing, being in opposition to another group of people, and writing provocative op-eds, the human beings ,despite the original asymmetry, look identical. There are no goodies or baddies. All the traits you like to observe in dissenters, are universal.

      • J -
        And I thought I had blockquotes sussed…

      • The asymmetry is in power.
        Like Jones contemplating getting other professors in trouble with their institutions because they sent him FOI.

  14. From Baez’s referenced post:

    “There is really no good reason for us to donate our work to profit-making corporations who sell it back to us at exorbitant prices! Indeed in climate science this has a terrible effect: crackpot bloggers distribute their misinformation free of charge, while lots of important serious climate science papers are hidden, available only to people who work at institutions with expensive subscriptions.”

    That’s from the guy who understands crackpots, having moderated the sci.physics Usenet group and gained recognition as one of the pioneering scientific bloggers.

    This is the wild west and the layman can no longer tell who is and is not a crank. I have joined the open access community with my regular research and self-publish with my sideline research. Where this will go is anyone’s guess, but self-policing will have to be involved. I know that people’s feelings will get hurt, but open-access peer review will turn brutal because it will all be in the open.

    That’s my guess where it ends up.

    • WHT

      the layman can no longer tell who is and is not a crank.

      It is not easy, to be true, but there are some simple ground rules one can follow:

      Beware of the (self-proclaimed?) “expert” who:
      - uses fear mongering to warn of doomsday scenarios far enough in the future that they cannot be refuted
      - hides his/her source data from scrutiny
      - appears arrogant or too certain of his/her own knowledge
      - cannot say “I do not know”
      - uses voluminous, convoluted verbiage to fog up the details
      - uses “ad hominem” argumentation, arguments from authority or arguments from ignorance – rather than arguments from evidence
      - avoids direct debates with those skeptical of his/her claims
      - has a hidden agenda involving very large sums of money

      There may be others, but these should help out.

      Max

      • - claims the science has ‘spoken’
        - thinks the matter is settled so no more thinking is needed
        - believes everybody who dissents is an evil, oil-funded, ideologue
        - prays the natural world will behave in such a way as to ‘wipe the smile off the faces of disbelievers’
        - is called the ‘idiot’

      • “the layman can no longer tell who is and is not a crank.”

        Here’s some more tips for spotting cranks.

        -Anyone who writes a post on WUWT claiming to have found a new theory.
        -Anyone who posts on WUWT fullstop. You’ll have a staggering hit rate of spotting cranks this way.

      • Prof Baez put together his Crackpot List to judge the credibility of a claim. From years of moderating groups, he could score the claims based on a list of criteria.

        It is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but his list is suggested reading for people that want to publish something as open access. Since they don’t necessarily get the best peer review, this can help them determine whether they have gone over the top. Unfortunately, some of these people are delusional and don’t understand the idea of self-reflection and introspection. Nothing will help in this case and one of the unwritten rules of the internet is to ignore them in the hope that they will go away.

  15. I don’t see the peer review process changing to any great extent. People have busy lives and don’t want to have to check every fact in a paper themselves to make sure fundamental errors aren’t present. Granted the peer review process doesn’t always prevent this, but some form of quality control is better than none. I’ll be very suprised if things change in any dramatic way.

  16. For the AGW Team, “guilty until proven innocent” is only fair recompense for their attempt to execute the Trenberth Twist: “right until proven wrong”.

    • and that applies to all climate scientists (as Dr Curry’s comment suggests)?

      • “At some point you need to engage the consistency argument. Well, if you want to be seen as a fair minded person you do”

        Wise words Stephen, and you can reflect on your consistency with me.

    • Ah yes. “Mommy, mommy, they did it fiiiirirrrssst”

      Now where have I seen that before?

      • Joshua,

        Why do you act like a child when someone points out an inconsistency within Establishment Climate Science?

        Andrew

      • Andrew -

        I consider a “Mommy, mommy” argument to be childish.

        Now maybe you think that pointing out that form of argumentation when employed by “skeptics” is childish. You may be right about that.

        But please don’t confuse my point. I have no objection to pointing out “inconsistency within Establishment Climate Science?” My objection is to do so using facile reasoning.

        BTW – why do you sign your posts at the bottom when your name appears at the top?

      • J – Andrew may have his own reasons but sometimes I wish you, Anteros, Fred and others would, for reasons you can probably guess ;)

      • billc -
        Spot on!
        I don’t know how to respond [except briefly..] other than to say I wish I could say what I want to say in half the number of words.

        Anteros ;)

      • billc -

        Briefer!

        Anteros

      • Joshua,

        Bad Andrew is my ‘handle’. Andrew is my ‘name’. I provide both so you know it’s ‘me’. ;)

        Andrew

      • BA,
        Joshua acts like a baby when he is losing for the same reson he pretends he is not a partisan troll:
        He thinks it works.
        I like when he does it because it is as close to watching a naked emperor strut around in his non-existant clothes as I hope to get.

      • Josh,
        Pssstt….when you invoke the Mommy scam, the only person it makes look childish is you.
        Please continue.

      • I you really wanted him to continue using it you wouldn’t have posted a comment warning him off…

      • It’s not a matter of them doing it first. It’s a matter of those in power using one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for their opponents. There isnt an authority like mommy that people are apealling to. What they are appealing to is a concept like consistency. If you want to complain about name calling, you better not call names. If you want to complain about skeptics hiding lines on graphs, you better not.
        It’s more about the poor rhetorical strategy of accusing other people of flaws that you have, then it is about complaining to an external authority about who did it first.

        At some point you need to engage the consistency argument. Well, if you want to be seen as a fair minded person you do.

      • As sure as day becomes night.

        It is you who will call, “mommy, mommy please protect me.”

  17. Judith, you might consider this op-ed piece signed by the following for inclusion in this thread:
    Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris; J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting; Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University; Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society; Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences; William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.; William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT; James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University; Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne; Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator; Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service; Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

    • Thank god that “skeptics” renounce any attempts at “appeal to authority.”

      If only the “realists” could follow suit – we’d all be so much better off.

      • Louise,

        Three points should be obvious from what I wrote:

        1) I don’t know how current they are.
        2) I think it’s a bit prejudicial to assume that because of their age, they are no longer up to date.
        3) Calling out one instance of potential bias while engaging in a blatant example of bias isn’t very consistent.

      • Joshua

        “Appeal to authority?”

        Did you read the statement?

        Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.

        The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause.

        Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere

        There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to “decarbonize” the world’s economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

        A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls.

        Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. And it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet.

        Joshua, this appears to me to be a compelling argument from reason, based on evidence that:

        - it has stopped warming over more than a decade despite CO2 increasing to record level

        - the IPCC projections of warming have been grossly exaggerated

        - plants – including crops – thrive at higher CO2 levels

        - slightly warmer temperatures will benefit us all

        - there is no compelling scientific argument for “decarbonizing” the economy

        - the negative impacts of “decarbonizing” far outweigh any postulated benefits

        How do you interpret this apparently very logical line of reasoning as an “appeal to authority”?

        (Just curious how your mind works.)

        Max

      • max -

        I don’t dismiss the “scientific” arguments the authors make. They all seem fairly reasonable to me. On the other hand, I also know that the opposite sides of those arguments seem reasonable, and are held to be valid by a far greater % of the experts who have studied the issue in depth.

        I happen to think that imbalance is relevant, but not dispositive. However, I am told by “skeptics” that attributing relevance to the imbalance is a logical fallacy, one they often get very animated about: “appeal to authority.”

        That is why I find it rather ironic when I see “skeptics,” on a regular basis, use the very same sort of argumentation – as was done by RagG above when he didn’t even mention the “scientific” arguments, but only listed the authors who signed the statement.

        In fact, I consider it relevant that brilliant and knowledgeable scientists hold a “skeptical” position in the debate. However, my consideration of the weight of their pedigree is diminished when they also sign off to tribalistic nonsense like the Lysenko analogy. Same goes when I see tribalism on the other side. It’s all information.

        And btw – I consider Louise’s thinking above, where she implied that there is some deeper meaning to the age of the signees on that editorial, to be no better than what I often see among “skeptics” at Climate Etc. Is there some relevance that many of them aren’t actively publishing in the field? Well, again, I think that has some relevance, but it certainly isn’t dispositive.

        That’s how my mind works, bro.

    • Edward Emil David Jr. (born 1925)
      Antonino Zichichi (DOB 1929)
      Harrison Hagan “Jack” Schmitt (DOB 1935)
      Hendrik (Henk) Tennekes (DOB 1936)
      J. Scott Armstrong (DOB 1937)
      Claude (Jean) Allègre (DOB 1937)
      Richard Siegmund Lindzen (DOB, 1940)

      How recent/current do you think their research is?

      • James E Hansen 3/29/1941
        must’ve just made the cut

      • TBH, I nearly cut off at Lindzen but so I couldn’t find the DOBs of the others and I wanted to include 50% of the 16. I suspect that many of the rest of the 16 are not spring chickens.

        There may be some truth behind the ‘gone emeritus’ tag.

      • Age is relevant, but perhaps not the way you think.

        These guys aren’t worried anymore about punitive measures which might affect their careers.

      • There may be some truth behind the ‘gone emeritus’ tag.

        Louise,

        Interesting that you would jump on the “presumed innocent until proven guilty” theme above, then make such a blatantly presumptious statement below (doubling down from the “how recent/current…” to “…gone emeritus”).

      • Gene – how many of those signatories do you think are current in their scientific research?

      • Louise, you write “How recent/current do you think their research is?”

        I was born in 1925, and my question is, how up to date does their research need to be to know that CAG is a hoax? I learned all the physics I needed to know that CAGW is a hoax, in undergraduate studies. My professors hammered into my head that physics is based on observed, measured, independently replicated data. Of which there is virtually none to support CGAW; certainly not enough to be sure that it is anything more than a hoax..

      • Jim, you say “I learned all the physics I needed to know that CAGW is a hoax, in undergraduate studies.” As you were born in 1925 should we assume your undergrad days were complete by 1950?

        Physics has moved on a little since then.

      • Luise,
        So of course old people who disagree with you are wrong until proven innocent by way of agreement.
        If this were a pool party you would be relegated to the kiddie pool, and then only under strict adult supervision.

      • Louise, you write “Physics has moved on a little since then.”

        This is the whole point. Basic physics has not changed since the time of Galileo and Newton. They laid down the fundamentals of how physics is done, and nothing has changed since then. If you read what Richard Feynman writes, this is precisely his message.

        I am sure undergraduates at Cavendish Labs are learning precisely what I was taught over 60 years ago. They still do practical physics labs, just as I did, and if they produce a measured answer that does not have a +/-, they will receive 0 marks, just as I did.

        Tell you what. You produce a value for climate sensitivity that was measured since 1950, and I will concede you are right.

      • As a psychologist you must know how fluid and ever changing neuroscience is. It seems every few years the theories of the mind change (the reason I stopped my studies in the 1960s since I ran out of erasures). What was learned then in many ways are out of date with current research and theories. I am not sure you can make the same assumptions about physics or the other hard sciences.

      • Dennis – do you believe there have been no advances in the field of physics in 50 years? What do all those geezers earning PhDs do all day?

      • Luoise,
        You are drowning in the shallow end of the pool. Would you like a lifeline?

      • “Louise | January 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
        As you were born in 1925 should we assume your undergrad days were complete by 1950?
        “Physics has moved on a little since then.”

        But, not the physics of atmosphere.

      • Louise, you write “Dennis – do you believe there have been no advances in the field of physics in 50 years? What do all those geezers earning PhDs do all day?”

        Of course there have been advances in the field of physics. They happen all the time. But the way the physics is done has not changed in over 300 years. Any advances are based on hard, measured, independently replicated data. Anything else that claims to be physics, and is not based on measured data, is a hoax.

      • i think you’ve lost it somewhere along the way

      • Do “spring chickens” know more about what’s going on out there than “old hens or roosters”?

        Evidence, please (and not simply a list of recent publications – that is meaningless).

        PS Do I smell the pungent odor of “age discrimination” or the even more disgusting stench of “argument ad hominem” – for shame!

      • Louise
        For an example of the current scientific scientific evidence compiled by an “emeritus professor” see Don Easterbrook‘s new book, Evidence-Based Climate Science: Data opposing CO2 emissions as the primary source of global warming, 416 pages, Elsevier 2011
        You can review it online.
        Those advocating anthropogenic global warming have the burden of proof to show quantitative statistics differentiating that from the null hypothesis of natural cycles. To date I find that evidence “Not Proven”.

      • Older, more experienced people are harder to fool with fashionable theories. They are better at smelling rats.
        A theory doesn’t get extra credibility points for being “recent/current”.
        And the warmist hypothesis goes back to Tyndal and Ahrenius, hardly new theories that the old farts would be ignorant of.

    • The opinion article is reckless and incompetent. It is comprised of half truths and omissions about the scientific facts. It covers up the danger of the CO2 rise and is designed to trick the causal reader into taking their eye off the ball. It’s almost criminal in it’s formulation. Dismissing the danger like this is far worse than exaggerating it.

      • lolwot

        Thanks for your unsolicited personal opinion on this. To me it sounds rather emotional rather than rational.

        Your claims are so absurd that they hardly merit any response at all, but here goes, anyway:

        the…”article is reckless and incompetent”

        Huh? It is simply advising “policy makers” not to fall for the IPCC line, but to check out the evidence at hand. The scientists making this recommendation are certainly more “competent” to do so than you or I.

        “It is comprised of half truths and omissions about the scientific facts”

        Get specific, lolwot. The facts presented looked pretty realistic to me. If you have conflicting facts (i.e. based on empirical evidence), please bring them.

        “It covers up the danger of the CO2 rise”

        What danger? Get specific with some empirical data to back your claims.

        [it is] “designed to trick the causal reader into taking their eye off the ball”

        Duh! What ball, lolwot? The panic-based self-destruct ball? Get it into your head that the fear-mongering approach has not worked with the “casual reader”. There is no “ball”.

        “It’s almost criminal in it’s formulation. “

        Yikes! Sound like something James E. Hansen might write. Since when is it “criminal” to disagree with lolwot? (Or James E. Hansen, for that matter.)

        “Dismissing the danger like this is far worse than exaggerating it.”

        Sez who? Fear mongering to sell a bill of goods is a lousy policy. It appears to be backfiring in this case.

        The scientists involved have simply stated their opinions on why a) increased CO2 might be a boon for agriculture, b) slightly warmer temperature might also be a good thing, c) IPCC warming estimates have been grossly exaggerated, d) it has not warned for over a decade despite increasing CO2 levels and e) rushing to implement “decarbonizing” the economy will have more negative than positive effects.

        Seems to me like a reasonable argument, lolwot.

        Max

      • It’s bad enough to downplay the risks, but what they’ve done is to recklessly fail to mention any of the substantial risks. They present absolutely no indication that there is any threat at all from rising CO2, to the contrary they mislead the reader into thinking there is no risk at all – only benefit.

        They know that climate sensitivity could be high (if they don’t they are incompetent) but have chosen not to mention that possibility at all.

        They don’t mention the unprecedented rate at which CO2 is rising in the atmosphere.

        They don’t mention ocean acidification.

        A whole bunch of other stuff too. They just don’t mention it. They completely avoid giving worst-case-scenarios, or even bad scenarios.

        The stuff they do mention is all conveniently going to mislead the reader into thinking there are great reasons why there is no threat.

        For example they make the claim “…plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today.”

        But of course that doesn’t mean a jump in CO2 today will be fine. They don’t point out how very long ago CO2 concentrations were higher, nor do they properly compare the recent rate of increase in CO2. The reader would be excused for thinking that single sentence above means the current CO2 rise is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.

      • Polluted of minds, are the greatest risk to me.

      • lolwot

        Thanks for explaining your opinion.

        It still doesn’t make sense to me, as a rational person.

        It appears to me that you are totally frightened, i.e. suffering under one of the strongest and most primeval of all emotions: FEAR.

        Fear of a virtual, computer created threat, which you have been unable to define in any detail, i.e. fear of an imagined horrible unknown.

        This would explain to me why you are so emotional in discussing the open letter by the scientists, who were apparently not as emotional about this perceived threat as you appear to be.

        I’m personally not moved principally by emotion in this ongoing scientific and political debate – instead by rational skepticism.

        So I can accept the open letter as the rational conclusion of a group of pretty intelligent individuals on the potential risks and benefits of AGW, itself, as well as of proposed actions to drastically reduce carbon emissions globally.

        Their conclusion is simply that the cures that are being proposed would certainly be far more disruptive to our society, in particular to the least affluent among us, than the postulated threat might possibly be in the future, even in its worst incarnation.

        As a rational skeptic, this position makes good sense to me, as I have seen no empirical evidence to support the postulation that there is a serious potential threat to human society or to our environment from AGW.

        Since you have not stated specifically WHAT future threat you are afraid of, I must assume that it is simply a virtual, imagined hobgoblin in your mind, which causes you this strong emotion of fear.

        My suggestion to you:

        - List the specific threats you fear (i.e. 6 meter waves suddenly inundating coastal areas, severe droughts or deadly floods, dreadful hurricanes occurring with increasing frequency and severity, deadly killer heat waves, etc.)

        - Then, one by one, look at why you think these horrible, imagined threats are going to happen if humans continue to use the remaining fossil fuel reserves of our planet over the next couple of hundred years until they essentially run out and are replaced with new, as yet undeveloped, technologies.

        - In doing so, insist on empirical scientific evidence, based on real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation to support the individual threats you fear; if there is no such empirical evidence, then free yourself of the fear in your mind.

        You’ll be a happier person, lolwot.

        Max

      • My emotion is not aimed towards the danger itself, but towards the signers of that WSJ article who would see themselves as thinkers in society. These are the people who should be conveying the danger of what we are doing to the public, not the ones who are downplaying it.

        As for the danger itself, the CO2 molecule has significant impacts on at least 3 fundamental aspects of the natural world. This everyone can agree on. A good place to start:

        -Greenhouse effect (temperature)
        -Plant fertilization
        -Ocean pH

        Significantly changing these three will impact a whole chain of other dependencies in turn, including feedbacks. A significant CO2 rise essentially becomes a shakeup of the natural world.

        Essentially then what we are doing by elevating CO2 level is ego-engineering. And when people talk about just continuing emissions like the WSJ signers are doing they are essentially advocating a geo-engineering project.

        I think that any engineering project should require safety tests. Enough should be known of the implications to know that it’s safe to proceed. Without such assurance there is inherent danger. Danger that should be recognized, not downplayed. That danger should be conveyed to the public.

        Our CO2 geo-engineering project is on a massive scale. CO2 is rising at an unprecedented rate in Earth’s history. This threatens a significant shakeup of the natural world. There are no reassurances from the past because of this meaning we have to produce our own tests for safety.

        Just because I don’t know specifically what will happen doesn’t absolve the engineers from the responsibility of having to demonstrate safety of the project. Yet instead of requiring proof of safety to balance inherent danger everyone talks about a need to prove danger. It’s the wrong way round. People get confused about the “null hypothesis” thinking that this i just some scientific theory that needs to follow a “prove it” model.

        People don’t realize that actually this is an engineering project that is actually happening rather than a scientific theory and that safety measures have been neglected.

      • continues:

        As for safety tests all available techniques should be used to try and determine the safety of the project. The project should only be considered safe if all of these techniques support that. If any technique shows danger then that should be a red flag providing sufficient doubt to abandon the project.

        If for example one of the techniques – computer modeling – show significant impact from the CO2 rise – that should be taken as a FAILED safety test.

        And a failed safety test is a big deal. It means the project is not only inherently dangerous but now we have a slice of substantiation for that danger. It’s a serious piece of ammo for putting the brakes on the project.

      • lolwot -
        I get where you’re coming from. Really

        But your characterisation of the ‘engineering project’ is just false. You misrepresent it as something done deliberately. You’re talking about the way people’s lives – billions of them – are allowed to be the way they are.

        You could easily take your analogy the other way round – this ‘engineering project’ to decarbonise the world’. Don’t you want to see if it is safe? If economies will collapse? If the industry and food production that is essential to most peoples lives was recklessly abandoned, do you not think some serious consequences would ensue?

        It strikes me that if anyone is keen to replace fossil fuel energy, the first thing to do would be to invest heavily in nuclear projects, but that seems strangely uncomfortable for most CAGW believers – another thing to be worried about?

        I agree with Max that I’d like to see some ‘evidence’ of negative aspects to Co2 – that are more than, say, a tenth of the impact of de-carbonisation. What I always hear is the product of imagination – what could, conceivably happen. That’s fine, but the human imagination is limitless – particularly when contemplating terrible catastrophes in the unknown future.

        Why not think of the consequences of the last six degrees of warming and see how life has ‘coped’ with that? Has it not been a mixture of effortlessness and benefit?

        I understand the worry about the future, and the prospect that it might, possibly be different in some perhaps noticeable way. What I don’t get is a way to that worry through the process of reasoning – only through imagination. And when I find myself doing that – which I do – I remember that imagining terrible futures is simply part of the human condition, and doesn’t bear any relation to the real world around us.

      • Anteros:
        ” this ‘engineering project’ to decarbonise the world’.”
        It’s not an engineering project to decarbonise the world. It’s much worse than that. It’s a project to spend massively in building useless and harmful contraptions (wind and solar) that are supposed to “decarbonize” but in fact do nothing of the sort.
        It’s an anti-engineering project. It’s make believe insanity. (Engineering projects usually achieve what they are meant to do, this one doesn’t and can’t).

      • Solar “harmful”?

        Do tell.

      • “But your characterisation of the ‘engineering project’ is just false. You misrepresent it as something done deliberately.”

        I meant to mention that, but along the lines that I think it’s =worse= because it’s unintentional. At least an intentional project could be scrapped quickly and would start off with the right mindset – having to prove it’s safe rather than the burden of proof being on people to prove it’s dangerous.

        “You could easily take your analogy the other way round – this ‘engineering project’ to decarbonise the world’. Don’t you want to see if it is safe?”

        I’ve considered that, but de-carbonizing the world is under our control and can be done gradually and can always be slowed/down sped up or even reversed fairly rapidly. Additionally there are supposedly a number of controls on the economy like interest rates and the like that can be used to nudge it. These are used all the time.

        “Why not think of the consequences of the last six degrees of warming and see how life has ‘coped’ with that? Has it not been a mixture of effortlessness and benefit?”

        The past doesn’t offer a parallel to what’s happening now. The last 6 degrees of warming were out of a glacial period, not starting from an interglacial. There hasn’t been a doubling of CO2 in Earth’s history for a long time, in the space of a few centuries potentially never in earth’s history.

        “I agree with Max that I’d like to see some ‘evidence’ of negative aspects to Co2 – that are more than, say, a tenth of the impact of de-carbonisation. What I always hear is the product of imagination – what could, conceivably happen. That’s fine, but the human imagination is limitless – particularly when contemplating terrible catastrophes in the unknown future.”

        I think the most important negative aspect has already been proven – we are making an unprecedented change to a gas in the planet’s atmosphere that has significant links to the environment (radiative, fertilization, ocean pH).

        That’s negative enough. Shaking everything in nature up in a very short period of time and seeing how it settles is a recipe for disaster.

        I can’t predict specifically what will go wrong, only comment that there are so many things that will be affected that it seems chance alone dictates a lot of them will. I can’t predict exactly what will go wrong anymore than I can predict what part of a machine will break if someone throws a wrench into it. I can only point out that the act itself is dangerous and uncertainty shouldn’t be used as a reason for it being safe.

        I think everyone recognizes this. I have even seen die hard climate skeptics talk up the dangers when someone suggests loading the ocean with iron or dumping huge quantities of aerosols into the stratosphere. Even though of those skeptics don’t have any proven specific negative effects of dumping iron in the ocean, they will use their imagination and appeal to the law of unintended consequences. It’s acknowledgement of the danger of doing something unprecedented (therefore without tried-and-tested parallel) that will significantly alter a natural system but we don’t know precisely what will happen.

        Yet even the mention of this danger is not given in the WSJ article.

  18. The Huffington Post couldn’t even get their first paragraph right. “We only know that the world is getting warmer; carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere are rising; and that the CO2 build-up is the fault of humankind, as a result of emissions from burning fossil fuels and deforestation.”

    Actually, they started off OK with it getting warmer, and they got the increase in CO2 right. But we also know that not all of that CO2 is the result of human activity. Quite a bit of the increase is due to the oceans warming up while recovering from the last ice age. We don’t precisely know how much of the increase in CO2 is from that or from human activity. We kinda know but that’s not the same as knowing now is it?

    • “We don’t precisely know how much of the increase in CO2 is from that or from human activity.”

      We know that most of it is. The vast bulk.

  19. For Don Monfort, if he happens by. IR emitting gases can also cool surface temperatures.

  20. Climate scientists actually believed the Sun revolved around the Earth.

    They called it a Hot House when it was hotter on the outside. Man could not survive the direct heat on the moon without atmosphere, what made them think the earth could be hotter with atmosphere?

    As wrong, as the consensus in Galileo’s time.

    The atmosphere protects us by cooling the heat from the Sun, not warming it.

    Markus Fitzhenry.

    • crackpottery

    • Of course, AGW didn’t make it, it’s DOA. It is deceased for this very reason:

      They added a new invalid principal to greenhouse, Co2 forcing, but,

      They could not, even with that, explain how physics, models greenhouses, when it’s hotter on the outside.

      You cannot match the Science of Physics, to an incorrect philosophical perception of greenhouse.

      We are to back where we started;

      “Why wouldn’t a man, think and analogy, could correlate to the creation of life on Earth, it’s vessel, the atmosphere?”

      The inconvenient truth of the certainty of man to err.

      Markus Fitzhenry.

      • They should have left their bias at the door, of the scientific hall.

        They can not predict, no more than a biased wit.

        Do you know volcano eruptions, warm Earth?

        Markus Fitzhenry

        http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/greenhouse-gases-cool-planets-volcanos-warm-them/#comments

      • they should not call themselves a scientist, if they are so biased, that it completely blinds them to truth of fact. There is nothing to proselytise in science, nothing at all. They really are a disgrace to their profession. And right now I really don’t care if they end up being lampooned.

        They kept pushing crap into the face of my fellows, They will be held up to ridicule in front of their peers.

        There has been enough destruction in our society, over the rubbish the greens have been trying to push down out throats, and it is going to stop. They are delusional, they have harmed my countrymen greatly.

        You tell me what peace has been over our lands during the last 3 – 4 years. One lesson that will be learned from all of this is the disgusting manner in which climate scientists appealed to authority as their reasoning. Academics my bum. Idiots that cause disquiet amongst men.

        I do do want children being taught incorrect paths of reasoning. Lefto academia, have infiltrated learning, and they are the greatest pollution facing us. I want my brothers children, free of rhetoric.

        I want them taught to think for themselves, so they can solve the great mysteries of the universe, and have freedom of thought, to love mankind.

        Damn them, and their entitlement.

        Markus Fitzhenry.

      • markus, you believe in pseudo-scientific twaddle. We get the point. You only needed the one post to make that clear.

      • I’ll tell ya what. I’ll tie half my mind behind my back, and let you have a go.

  21. A topic potentially more interesting to discuss is the recent report out of the UK on climate change.

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climate/government/risk-assessment/

    Upon what data do the readers believe the assessment was based?

  22. Of interest to those who write or read blogs – does that apply to anyone here? – is this article in PhysicsWorld asking: Will the scientific paper always be the gold standard for sharing new results? (in this internet age)

    http://physicsworld.com/blog/2012/01/will_the_scientific_paper_alwa.html

  23. I think the best exercise we ever did at undergraduate level was to ‘reconstruct’ a paper.
    We were given the figures from a published manuscript, with some of the real names of enzymes relabeled Enzyme A, e.t.c.
    We had to write what was being presented in each figure and to write the conclusion; based only on the data.
    I examined the data-set and wrote an explanation. Couple of days later the Department Head came an saw me and stated that my explanation was completely wrong, but was supported by all the evidence, and that he liked my wrong answer more than boring reality.

  24. Dr. Curry asks:

    Can someone remind me why we need the IPCC AR5?

    Good question! As noted a few six (where does the time go?!) weeks ago, the UNFCCC doesn’t seem to think so. Nor, it would appear, do the powers that be behind the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD aka Rio+20 aka the Earth Summit) – if the content of their zero-draft outcome document is any indication. Pls. see:

    On the road to Rio: Sustainability swamps climate change [in which I also note an interesting comparison between their concept of "open, transparent and inclusive process" and that of the IPCC.]

    As for the video homage to Schneider … sorry, but while he may have been a “great communicator”, IMHO, one requires a willing suspension of critical thinking skills in order to consider his “arguments” as anything other than a recitation of appeals to his own authority – and willful denigration of those who have the temerity to question the tenets of his belief system. His arsenal of advocacy rhetoric includes all the familiar (and over-worn) tropes: tobacco, cancer, precautionary principle, big oil, children and grandchildren, insurance – and of course scary (e.g. Greenland) stories.

    Further, his sponsorship of the shoddy Anderegg paper and (as recently came to light in CG2) his utterly dishonest “critique“>of a 2003 McKitrick Op Ed leave me with little doubt as to his commitment to “the cause” (cf his signing on to the WWF’s highly dubious “Science Advisory Panel”), but with considerable doubt as to the soundness of the so-called science he espoused.

    • We need IPCC AR5 because climate scientists don’t believe that the most demonstrably reliable predictor of anything is a straight line linear regression through all available historical data.

  25. Huffington Post
    And there are other feedback and non-linear effects (“tipping points”) which are poorly understood.

    Over at Jo Nova’s this quote seems apposite

    memoryvault
    The human body is capable of some 8,000 processes, and all of them, except two, are negative feedback loops. The two exceptions are heart attacks and orgasms. Try sustaining either for any length of time.

  26. Surely we need the IPCC AR5 because of the uncertainty, as you keep telling us?

    • Phil Glynn

      IMO the greatest “uncertainty” is whether or not we need the IPCC AR5 at all.

      If it is simply a rehash of AR4, with a few “likely” probability guesses replaced with “very likely”,/em>, some rationalizations for projections that did not materialize and some fear-mongering mush about things being worse than we thought in AR4, it will be a total waste of time and money.

      If, on the other hand, it provides convincing empirical evidence to support its conclusions and presents conflicting alternate scientific opinions to the mainstream “consensus” view without discounting them as irrelevant or controversial, it could be worthwhile.

      Steven Mosher (for one) has stated that he thinks it will be a better report.

      Let’s see.

      Max

      • steven mosher

        to be precise I would say that the chapter I am focusing on is a vast improvement on Ar4. I have interests in other chapters but I dont think Im qualified to remark on them in a substantive way.

  27. In the land of the free, they coward and scorned, with a big red dragon, to ward of the horns.

    Markus Fitzhenry.

  28. One thing creationists and climate skeptics have in common are a small number of generic anti-science arguments.

    I am looking through the Index of Creationist Claims (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html) to make a list of them. Here’s one for starters:

    CA321.1. Scientists’ conclusions are motivated by money.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA321_1.html

    The response includes:
    “-Scientists get rewarded for overthrowing currently accepted ideas (if they can do so with evidence) and for proposing new theories that lead to new research. Any bias from material gain would be against the accepted theory of evolution.

    -Many research scientists could make more money in industry. They do science because they enjoy it.

    -The complaint applies equally to anti-evolutionists.”

    Some more common arguments:

    CA325. Creationists are prevented from publishing in science journals.
    CA340. Evolutionists do not accept debate challenges.
    CA320. Scientists are pressured not to challenge established dogma.
    CA110. Evolution will soon be widely rejected.
    CA111. Many current scientists reject evolution.
    CA041. Teach the controversy.
    CA211. Evolution can not be falsified.

    A cited example of claim CA211 is particularly familiar:
    “Any fact can be fit into the theory of evolution. Therefore, evolution is not falsifiable and is not a proper scientific theory.”

    There are a few other overlaps from other sections too:
    CF001. The second law of thermodynamics prohibits evolution.
    and these zany “alternative theories” seem familiarly bizarre and blog-science-ish:
    CH401. Flood from vapor canopy.
    CH410. Flood from comet.
    CH420. Hydroplate theory.
    CH430. Runaway subduction.

  29. Anyone interested in the WSJ article on a lack of need for alarmism?
    http://on.wsj.com/zrLZiP

    • Yes. I was disappointed that Dr. Judith Curry’s name as not among those who signed the letter. Had this been the case, the letter would have had far more impact.

    • “Princeton physics professor William Happer on why a large number of scientists don’t believe that carbon dioxide is causing global warming.”

      I would like to see a poll. How many scientists don’t believe that CO2 is causing (significant) warming? Tthat number should increase in the next decades.

  30. The troposphere is the condenser, the tropopause is the separation device and the stratosphere is the fridge cabinet of outgoing heat, cooling incoming rays, as they warm to the gravitational pressure of the atmosphere, after preceding through the thermostat of the mesopause, and then onto the thermostat of the tropopause, before again heating closer as pressure increases at the Earths surface, until the force of pressure on the thermodynamics of the enhanced potential energy completes the system back to the separation device of the tropopause.

    I predict no warming by greenhouse, but certainty of cooling by refrigeration.

    “Markus, you are but a troubador, why do you think you can relate Philosophy to the Science of Physics?”

    I can’t, but it seems, neither can they.

    Markus Fitzhenry.

    • Good thing you never became a HVAC contractor, you would go broke wasting thermostats like that :) I think you can stop at the tropopause, it is the conductive heat sink. Above that, CO2 mainly plays with itself until water vapor overruns the tropopause. Also the Atmospheric heat pipe is a better analogy since it is passive not mechanically driven.

      • It is the force of pressure on mass in the mesosphere, from changes to height of the tropopause, that acts as a natural regulator for the thermostat of the mesospause, that determines radiation, and therefor, heat.

      • The heat stratification of the earths surface is uniform, regardless of its composition, as are, the oceans and atmosphere.

        Markus Fitzhenry.

  31. Judith -

    Any comments?:

    • Joshua

      “Crock of the Week” started off with Newt Gingrich responding to a question by an Iowa primary voter that he would not include in a new book a chapter on “climate change” written by “climate scientist”, Katherine Hayhoe.

      The interview of Hayhoe rapidly switched to the theme that “much of this is intended to intimidate”, without providing the bridge for this strange shift.

      The “Grist” interviewer asked Hayhoe if this move by Gingrich had intimidated her.

      Hayhoe, a very appealing young lady, explained that she had spent quite a bit of time on this chapter, which she regretted was now wasted time.

      She stated that in science there are “standards of truth and decency”, which should be followed, but that much of the climate debate was “outside of science”.

      She stated that, in this debate, the approach was often to “discredit the messenger” rather than the science. To scientists this is shocking, since facts are what is important

      Most attacks on her are from men, according to Hayhoe, and this makes them more “threatening and intimidating”

      The interviewer then switched to Hayhoe’s faith (she is an Enagelical Christian). and asked how her beliefs contrasted with those of what he referred to as the “climate denial machine”.

      Hayhoe stated that as a Christian she believed in conserving our resources and our planet and in loving God and our global neighbors.

      The conversation then switched to her specific area of scientific research. She mentioned the Great Lakes region, where she feels that global warming will result in “increased risk of heavy rainfall”. The US southwest on the other hand, which is withdrawing water from aquifers more rapidly than this can be replenished for agricultural use, is “facing warmer temperatures” (= more water needed for irrigation)” and increased droughts due to global warming. Although the droughts themselves are physically caused by La Ninas, the natural variability will in the future be superimposed on the climate change extremes to exacerbate the situation, according to Hayhoe.

      The intimidation part of the interview was weak (and contrived, in my opinion).

      The young scientist being interviewed is a very pleasant person, who is convinced that global warming will cause problems to the regions she has studied and who is operating with a Christian belief system that reinforces her idealized desire to do the right thing for her global neighbors and for the planet.

      She opposes the political baggage attached to the global warming controversy and finds it shocking that personal attacks are used in this debate, especially attacks on scientists.

      I can accept that this lady is for real, while she may have been used a bit for political reasons by both Gingrich and Grist in the interview.

      Max

      • Max, you say “The intimidation part of the interview was weak (and contrived, in my opinion).”

        The original news story was reported in the Toronto Globe and Mail http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/canadian-climate-scientist-finds-fame-hate-mail-in-us/article2297802/

        For example:
        “She was prepared to deal with emotional, unfriendly reactions. But she wasn’t expecting what came with the name recognition, she said.

        “There’s a well-organized campaign, primarily in the United States but also in other countries, including Canada and Australia, of bloggers, of people in the media, of basically professional climate deniers whose main goal is to abuse, to harass and to threaten anybody who stands up and says climate change is real – especially anybody who’s trying to take that message to audiences that are more traditionally skeptical of this issue.”

        It was even more shocking because she didn’t see herself as a “Godless, tree-hugging activist” but a scientist who also happened to be a member of an evangelical Bible church. She is also married to a pastor.

        “The attacks’ virulence, the hatred and the nastiness of the text have escalated exponentially. I’ve gotten so many hate mail in the last few weeks I can’t even count them.”

        On one occasion, after appearing on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox TV, she received nearly 200 hate e-mails the next day.”

        I wonder, if she were to seek legal advice regarding these threats, whether Dr Curry would imply it’s her own fault for some perceived lack of “integrity and responsibility”?

      • Also from http://www.rtcc.org/policy/katharine-hayhoe-qa-climate-scientists-in-usa-under-attack/

        “Over the last six months – I’ve always had a low level of hate mail – that’s what goes with the game, but ever since I had an interview in the Guardian – how to talk to a climate sceptic…and another article in the LA Times – ever since those pieces came out my hate-mail has increased exponentially.

        I open up my mail in the morning and delete 10, read one, delete 10 more, read one. There are blogs that are devoted to blogging about how I’ve lied about X, Y and Z. Somebody filed a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission in the UK stating I had lied, by saying that winter temperatures in Texas are getting warmer, which they certainly are.

        The abuse, the virulence, the hatred is astonishing. And much of it is coming from people who share much of the same values as I do, and that’s what is so hurtful about it. It’s a wholestyle rejection – you can be right for 99/100, but if you differ on point 100 you deserve anything that people give you.

        I mean I got an email the other day so obscene I had to file a police report. They mentioned my child. It had all kinds of sexual perversions in it – it just makes your skin crawl, but I take heart from the fact that my colleagues have gone before me – this is not unusual.”

      • filing a police report?

        Sounds like Hayhoe needs to read JCs post on integrity and responsibility.

      • John Costigane

        Louise,

        The phrase ‘professional climate deniers’ should inform your views in this matter. Such language suggests an extreme position on the contested issue of global warming/climate change/climate disruption (take your pick).

        If your interest is the US political/election process, it is a great watch and so different from the UK.

        To form a balanced view on ‘climate’ you could read blogs on both sides of the arguments.

      • The abuse, the virulence, the hatred is astonishing

        That’s also one of the prominent characteristics of warmista comments in the Guardian.

      • max -

        I wasn’t particularly interested in reading your summary of what was said (I watched the clip myself) or whether you think that the interviewee seems to be a “very pleasant person.”

        But given that, I found this part rather interesting:

        The intimidation part of the interview was weak (and contrived, in my opinion).

        Now I perhaps here you comment is limited in that you are saying that it was “contrived” on the part of the interviewer to ask her whether or not she felt that the intent of attacks was to intimidate? Well – I guess I could see why you feel that way, although I don’t agree in the slightest. But this also seems like you’re passing judgement over whether or not the feeling of threat and intimidation on her part is “contrived?”

        Listen to what she says again, and the question she poses about the possible motivation of someone who sits down to write an email to someone they’ve never met, and calls that person a liar, and tells that person that he/she hates them, and that the recipient of the email is a disgusting person.

    • “our dialogues have a standard of decency?”

      she did not read the mails.

    • It can definitely be unpleasant when you insert yourself into (or otherwise land in) a highly politicized debate. Behavior of extremists on both sides can be highly inappropriate and even perceived as threatening. Hate emails are extremely ugly, and are disgraceful behavior. Catherine Hayhoe seems to be a well meaning person and an effective communicator. I have no idea how critically she has evaluated the evidence for climate change attribution; this does not seem to be a focus of her research expertise.

      The issue of the aggressors being male is an interesting one, I’m not sure how she can tell the emailers are male. Aggressors in a political debate are not only males; watch out for progressive feminists, etc. One of the (female) graduates from U. Colorado Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in the 1990′s is now in jail for ecoterrorism (blowing up buildings doing research she didn’t like).

      The extremists in the debate (on both sides) are providing noise at this point. It can be unpleasant for individual scientists when they land on the media “hot seat.” But I don’t regard this as of much significance in the overall debate.

      • Dr Curry, you said “I’m not sure how she can tell the emailers are male.” Perhaps the author of the message referred to below mentioned physical acts that only the gender equiped with the necessary equipment could carry out?

        “I mean I got an email the other day so obscene I had to file a police report. They mentioned my child. It had all kinds of sexual perversions in it – it just makes your skin crawl”

      • Judith -

        I’m wondering if you could possibly make a weaker statement of condemnation of what Hayhoe has been subjected to without actually condoning it.

      • Joshua, several dozens of scientists (on both sides) have complained about similar treatments (last week it was threats against Kerry Emanuel’s wife). Ben Santer had a dead animal left on his doorstep, etc. It is all reprehensible, and I have condemned this kind of behavior several times in public statements on this blog and elsewhere. I don’t see anything exceptional in the treatment of Hayhoe relative to say Emanuel’s treatment. The issue of interest to me here is the gender angle. I’m not sure if Susan Solomon or other high profile female climate scientists have been subject to this kind of treatment (I received nasty emails in the heyday of the hurricane debate, but nothing that i felt threatened the personal safety of myself or my family). I would be interested in a study of the sociology of who is getting threatening emails and in response to what media trigger, and the content of the threats.

      • And Judith -

        Do you think that it’s significant that a number of your denizens have weighed in with very strong opinions about the teaching of “critical thinking” even though they have never been directly involved with the teaching of “critical thinking,” are very much unaware of what it even means, and are completely unaware of any research on the topic?

        Also, Judith, FWIW, this is also a fairly shallow description of “teaching critical thinking.”

        Problem based learning, debates, etc. are types of classroom experience that can foster critical thinking, beyond passing a multiple choice test.

        While it is true that those types of activities can “foster critical thinking, the “teaching of critical thinking” involves much more than just asking students to engage in activities that involve “critical thinking.”

      • “several dozens of scientists (on both sides) have complained about similar treatments (last week it was threats against Kerry Emanuel’s wife)” – JC

        What are these “both sides”, the sides of??

      • Judith -

        It is all reprehensible, and I have condemned this kind of behavior several times in public statements on this blog and elsewhere.

        Thank you.

        I can see from a sociological perspective why the gender aspect would be interesting, but I see it as mostly irrelevant w/r/t the politics of the debate.

        The issue of the aggressors being male is an interesting one, I’m not sure how she can tell the emailers are male. Aggressors in a political debate are not only males;

        It certainly makes sense to me that she would have reason – even if she didn’t have solid evidence – to think that the majority of her attackers are male. Certainly, if this type of website is any indication, we can see that the vast majority of those who get extremely animated about this issue are male. Of course, the vast majority of jello-slingers in the blogosphere in general tends to be male, and surely we can’t categorically assumed that people who get overly emotional about any of these types of issues – to the point that they send threatening emails – would be male, but hers is a reasonable speculation (if it is speculation) given that: (a) the vast discrepancies we see by gender in proclivity .to engage in intimidating or aggressive behavior (of which I think sending threatening emails qualifies) and, (2) that there is likely some correlation between the large gender discrepancies we see in those who express very strong opinions on this issue on the Internet and the gender discrepancies in those who would be more likely to send those kinds of emails.

        But regardless, I hope that you are not questioning – whether or not if it is true that the majority of people who sent her emails were male – that, in fact, if she perceived that to be the case it would lead to her feeling more threatened or intimidated?

        But I don’t regard this as of much significance in the overall debate.

        Can you explain what you mean by “this” there?

      • “this” means hate emails sent to climate scientists or others representing climate science.

      • Joshua, I would like to see more critical thinking used by the critical thinking advocates. You teach, I teach, you are certified to teach, I have to or my mates will continue to be brain dead warm bodies. So to say that denizens are commenting on teaching when they are not teachers, is not an indication that your critical thinking skills are all that well honed. You do have the critical down though :)

        Vaughan Pratt showed his critical thinking limits with his response to my, “Sure, teach creationism.” It was a knee jerk reaction on his part, but he is well aware that teaching our culture, right, wrong or indifferent, is part of critical thinking. You have to know the options before you can critique them.

        Vaughan agreed with my limits on accuracy and precision. That is a part of critical thinking, how well can you trust the information?

        So perhaps, what actually is proper critical thinking should be the subject? Then, who actually teaches it?

      • cap’n -

        So to say that denizens are commenting on teaching when they are not teachers,

        What I said was that they were commenting on the “teaching of critical thinking.”

        I completely agree that not being a “teacher,” in a formal sense, does not disqualify someone from having useful insight about teaching and learning. My experiences as a carpenter very much shaped how I view educational processes (try to teach someone how to saw a piece of wood by explaining to them the geometry as opposed to handing them a saw and a piece of wood).

        But if people weigh in on the subject of “teaching critical thinking” without any experience in attempting to do so, and without any familiarity with the research on the subject – it is instructive.

        Look, weighing in on things you don’t know much about is something I do very frequently! I think that doing so is a great way to learn. However, my point was that the comments of “denizens” on issues should always be viewed in context. They are valuable, but their value should be quantified appropriately, and I don’t feel that Judith always does that.

      • cap’n -

        So to say that denizens are commenting on teaching when they are not teachers, is not an indication that your critical thinking skills are all that well honed. You do have the critical down though :)

        You have been assessed yet another penalty, for saying that I said something that I didn’t say. Pretty soon, the league officials are going to start handing down fines and suspensions, my friend.

        So perhaps, what actually is proper critical thinking should be the subject? Then, who actually teaches it?

        I would suggest that often, although not always, it would be best taught by people who have given the subject serious thought and applied some critical analysis to the task.

      • On the gender issue, “misogynist” and “nazi” and “racist” seem to be used as debate-stoppers when logic and facts aren’t working. In far too many cases. Should be classed as “hate” in that context. But ONLY in that context.

      • Joshua, I think Judith does a fine job myself. I thought the psycho babble was nonsense at first, then after reading comments on her choice of topics, it made perfect sense :)

        As for having opinions on things that are not in your field, that is perfectly fine. Being sensitive about being called some name after doing that, is a bit naive. I wear “Crackpot” with pride myself :-O

        There are great critical thinking tools that have been used for generations, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy for kids, the sky hook or gravity belt in construction, I am sure you have a few in education, like ” Who is buried in Grant’s tomb” and the classic, “read the entire exam before starting.” So critical thinking should start “with are they pulling my leg” and end with “am I pulling my own leg?”

        You have your field, why not a post on how critical thinking really is taught?

      • cap’n -

        Being sensitive about being called some name after doing that, is a bit naive.

        Not sure if that was in reference to me – but I’m not the least bit sensitive about someone in the blogosphere calling me names. In fact, I find it quite instructive when someone calls me a name.

        The sky hook was the most used tool in my toolbelt – I kept it right next to the left-handed hammer and my wood stretcher.

        “read the entire exam before starting.”

        I absolutely love that one. Great for a laugh – although I don’t think that either it or “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?” are particularly useful for teaching “critical thinking.”

      • “this” means hate emails sent to climate scientists or others representing climate science.

        Thanks, Judith. I don’t think that any one particular example of tribalism or partisan rancor is, in itself, significant. But I do think that these examples in aggregate are instructive when viewed as evidence in the context of the overall dimensions of the debate – and it may not come as a surprise to you but it seems to me that you have a skewed perspective on where the overall balance rests.

      • Joshua, “I absolutely love that one. Great for a laugh – although I don’t think that either it or “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?” are particularly useful for teaching “critical thinking.”

        Think about it. What happened after class? Does a debate have to be in a formal setting? Those were lesson that kept on teaching after class.

      • Joshua, here is another good one, on a multiple choice test have no right answer with the answers given being equally wrong for a question in the middle of the test. :) Always great for the 4.0 crowd.

      • cap’n -

        Those were lesson that kept on teaching after class.

        That wasn’t my point. Paying attention to details and following instructions carefully are an important part of “critical thinking,” but students tend to hear about those areas of focus disproportionately.

        Are those two examples useful in the sense that they get students to examine what they’re taking for granted as they approach a task? Sure. And in that sense they are high impact exercises that get students to think about biased assumptions after they’ve left the classroom. And it really is all about what they are thinking about (on their own) after they’ve left the classroom, isn’t it?

        But there are other high impact ways to get those points across (about the mistaken assumption we make when approaching a task) that don’t stress the “lower-order” aspects of “critical thinking” to the same level as those activities. Sure – they’re good – just not “particularly useful,” IMO.

        But if they work for you, then they work for you. That is the bottom line.

      • cap’n -

        Joshua, here is another good one, on a multiple choice test have no right answer with the answers given being equally wrong for a question in the middle of the test. :) Always great for the 4.0 crowd.

        Now that one I really like. A lot. I’ll use it.

        I like it because it stresses the question of what to do when a learning task requires more than the typical regurgitation of what you’ve been told to learn. And yes, it does seem like it would be particularly useful for the 4.0-types. Great!

      • cap’n -

        Why do you specify the middle of the test? To see how it affects their test-taking skills?

      • Joshua, bits and pieces. Critical thinking developed naturally, a well rounded education promotes critical thinking. Well rounded is at home, in school, on the job, so a course in “critical thinking” is attempting to make up for lack of life experience. When I was in school, evolution was taught and there was an invocation on the PA system every morning. Parents had heartburn about one or the other, but the kids, me at least, listened to both and realized there were competing theories, one simple and one a bit more detailed.

        Climate science to some is a simple theory, CO2 done it, or a more complex theory. I ain’t scared of complexity. So is critical thinking wrt climate science the simple theory or the more complex?

      • cap’n -

        Joshua, bits and pieces. Critical thinking developed naturally, a well rounded education promotes critical thinking. Well rounded is at home, in school, on the job, so a course in “critical thinking” is attempting to make up for lack of life experience.

        While many people do develop critical thinking through a series of life experiences, it is rarely the subject of explicit focus in life experiences inside or outside of school. The question becomes whether there is a differential advantage from explicit focus, an in particular an explicit focus that is informed by an empirical analysis.

        You are, in a sense correct, when you say that it is attempting to make up for a lack of life experience, but your comments suggests to me that you’re over-attributing the existence of “critical thinking” among the public to a generalized “life experience” where “critical thinking skills” just -happen by virtue of being alive.

        When I was in school, evolution was taught and there was an invocation on the PA system every morning. Parents had heartburn about one or the other, but the kids, me at least, listened to both and realized there were competing theories, one simple and one a bit more detailed.

        Great. Now the question is whether there would be some benefit in breaking down the processes of critical analysis you undertook to understand that debate and creating a curriculum that focuses, explicitly, on exploring those processes with students. It’s like the comment I made above to Judith: The “teaching of critical thinking” means more than just having students engage in debates.

        So is critical thinking wrt climate science the simple theory or the more complex?

        The more complex, of course. The “non-critical thinking” part of the climate debate mostly happens when people mis-attribute the analysis of those they disagree with to facile thinking. Or, perhaps more often, when they assume that their own conclusions are, merely, the product of “critical thinking.”

      • Bit of a pattern here:

        The hive determines conservative, old, white men are the “problem” and the “cause” is in desperate need of a boost.

        Then, just before a key eco-vote in Australia or, let’s say, a U. S. Presidential campaign season, CLIMATE SCIENTISTS GET HATE MAIL!

        Practically no details provided. No reports of police investigations and arrests. But lots of hype of the matter in friendly press outlets along the lines of Robert’s “deniers want to kill/rape climate scientists and their families”. Protestations by “deniers” that, of course, they don’t approve of hate mail threats are brushed aside. “Denier” rejoinders that point out comparable treatment of “denier-friendly” public figures are treated with indignant, dismissive contempt.

        Now for some critical thinking: Google “hate crime hoaxes” Then imagine this scenario.

        Dr. Hayhoe, an “evangelist” and suddenly a darling of the lefties, who normally detests “evangelists”, supports the CAGW scam.

        Some of the more “professional greenshirts” among the lefties sense an opportunity. They decide to send a probably unwitting Dr. Hayhoe a bunch of “hate mail” posing as false-flag deniers. And having previously consulted with a psychologist of Louise’s skill, the false-flaggers (all hard-core lefty females, curiously) learn that by using sexual metaphors and imagery involving the male sex-organ, the letters will be perceived as written by men.

        The intrigue is launched, Dr. Hayhoe obliges with a interview that speculates she is being menanced by “MEN!” (read, of course, “denier” men–we are sure of that, because any mail she receives from “MEN!” who confine their expressions of scorn, abuse, and contempt to her evangelists beliefs, merely reflect the views of moderate, “thinking” people, don’cha know) .

        Next step–the false-flag hype leaps from friendly MSM outlets, to the more free-wheeling blogosphere for further exploitation. That’s where we are now.

        Is the above hypothetical scenario descriptive of what’s going on in the Hayhoe case? Don’t know–there’s never enough info in these stories to determine. Just hype. Hype with the predictable “cause” enjoying the benefit and the “conservative, old, white, men “deniers” demonized.

        A little too good to be true, I’d say. I’d recommend “critical thinking” caution. We are dealing with lefties after all.

        But don’t take my word for it. Ask Louise. Pose the question to her as a respected psychologist–could ideologically obsessed women, using Louise’s insights into the conventional analysis of texts for likely sexual identity of the sender, fabricate convincing false-flag, hate-mail, calumnies against “men”, And, with sufficient dog-whistle, code-word context to make it clear that the “men” in question are those darn ol’ conservative-elderly-white-men “deniers.”

        Wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see much more of this same sort of thing. Either hyped false-flags or selectively-hyped actual events. Watch for it!

      • mike -

        They decide to send a probably unwitting Dr. Hayhoe a bunch of “hate mail” posing as false-flag deniers.

        I seriously love it when self-described “skeptics” create elaborate conspiracy theories without a shred of supporting evidence.

      • Josh,

        Let’s see now, lefties are on a roll on the Hayhoe case. And you, Josh, as Climate etc.’s alpha greenshirt leg-humper, are in the forefront of that “big-move” in your (hump! hump!) leg-humping best form. .

        Let’s unpack your little lefty (hump! hump!) tactics here, Josh: Someone (moi) introduces a cautionary thought. That is, someone (again, moi) introduces a hypothesis consistent with all the known facts of the Hayhoe case (at least those known to you Josh and moi). And that alternative hypothesis is a plausible one that takes into account the lefty propensity for engaging in deception, as little boys and girls of the left have shown in matters of love, war, and politics since the stone-age. For that, someone (once again, moi) gets the standard lefty, close-minded, uncritically thought-out bum’s-rush (hump! hump!): CONSPIRACY THEORY!

        Think about it, Josh, are there no lefty “false-flags”, no lefty used-car salesmen who mis-represent their wares, no lefty politicians who pretend one thing while doing another, no lefty, wannabe lover-boys on the make with a (wannabe hump! hump!) “line”? In your world Josh, apparently not. Everything lefty is to be taken at face value. Every lefty “false-flag” is to be uncritically received as presented. But not in my world. When an event becomes an adopted pet-booger of the left and is then lavished with solicitous lefty hype in service of the “cause”, in the manner of the Hayhoe case, then I get suspicious. Sergei Kirov-suspicious. And the lavish state-funeral doesn’t impress me or cause me to abandon my caution, either.

        Again, Josh, the “facts” in the Hayhoe case that support your “cut” (which you’ve accepted with the uncritical, zealous enthusiasm of a true-believer) equally support my speculative, alternative, “conspiracy-theory” hypothesis. The only difference between the two of us? I keep a critical-thinking, open mind in the matter and am not “hard-over” on either or any hypothesis until I get a better investigation of the matter. But then–whatever the truth of the Hayhoe matter–my speculative hypothesis just happens to distract from one of your hive’s group-think, solidarity-test, hyped propaganda campaigns–and a good, lefty like you, Josh, dare not be seen having any critical, open-minded thoughts at such a time. Right, Josh? .

        So, again, I say. Watch for more of this “DENIERS SEND DEATH THREATS/HATE MAIL TO CLIMATE SCIENTISTS” agit-prop. All well-timed and well-targed to promote the cause and demonize it’s “enemy-list.” And look for Josh to lead the pack-attack on this blog, uncritically pumping his pom-poms and at his hyped-up, (hump! hump!) leg-humping best.

      • Shorter mike = “You got me on that one, Josh. My bad. But I just can’t admit it. You understand why, right?”

      • Joshua, “Great. Now the question is whether there would be some benefit in breaking down the processes of critical analysis you undertook to understand that debate and creating a curriculum that focuses, explicitly, on exploring those processes with students.” :)

        Wouldn’t placing the students in situations where they have to break down their own analysis be better? They are the blank pages, some blanker than others :) Everyone has to build their own BS detectors, theirs may be better than yours or mine, so don’t teach it, let them learn it.

      • cap’n -

        Wouldn’t placing the students in situations where they have to break down their own analysis be better?

        Yes, IMO. Now we’re getting down to it.

        When students do that on their own it has a great deal more value. It’s more “organic,” they remember it better, it reflects intrinsic motivation and so they “own” the results more.

        Ideally, you create a didactic environment that helps students to construct their own analytical process in a way that is “metacognitive” (it’s not as valuable, IMO, for them just to do it without being metacognitive). Creating an environment that encourages students to internalize what you’re hoping they’ll internalize is the best route, IMO. You want to enhance what is ideally their “natural” developmental trajectory – as opposed to impose an external trajectory upon them. Some of this is very close to what Piaget had to say about didactic educational methodologies, and their inherent flaws.

        But the question is then what happens with students, who for one reason or another, don’t do it on their own. I think that there’s always a trade-off in that there is likely some loss from an externally created system being, at some level, “imposed” onto the student. As such, it is often the case that students experience a related loss in “ownership” over their own process. That’s where the “art” of teaching comes into play, IMO – where you can recognize that trade-off and try to take compensatory action – ideally by helping students to take ownership over the process. Sometimes that means saying to a student, “It seems to me that right now you’re not engaged with taking ownership over your own learning process, and as such there is a limited return for me to try to impose a process onto you. When you’re ready to take ownership over this process, get back to me and I’ll help you to do so. My door is always open, I think that you have a lot of potential to be realized, and I’m fully confident that I can aid you when you’re ready.”

      • Note – what I said above is not mutually exclusive with sometimes needing to say to students “I don’t think that your assessment over whether you gain benefit from this experience is accurate, and I’m going to hold you to these standards even if you don’t think it’s “fair” or “important.”

        I’m a little concerned that someone might interpret what I wrote above to be too “namby-pamby,” kumbaya, “Whatever you want to do honey is OK with me, just so long as you feel good about yourself,” not-manly-enough-approach-to education that is so often found among “The left.”

        Supposedly.

      • Josh,

        Your Jan 28, 12:54 pm comment was quite a nice little (hump! hump!) concentrated bit of leg humping, guy. And a further proof you are this blog’s master leg-humper. And, your “shorter mike” hump-booger, I note, is a hump-zinger drawn from the very “cream” of the leg-humper’s erotic art. So good, in fact, that I’d bet it even cost you a gummed-up, hoplessly ruined keyboard. But enough with the pleasantries.

        Your last comment, Josh, while a little cryptic, but seemed to be a reference to the “leg-humper” thread, you and I participated in on this blog’s “Questions on Research Integrity and Scientific Reponsibility: Part II” post. That was an interesting exchange, Josh. You started the whole exchange–as a goof, I took it–with the aim of having some good fun at my expense. Fair enough. But when the “joke” blew up in your face and you became the unexpected butt of your own jest, your hectoring sense of humor suddenly disappeared and what replaced it revealed things about you that sent me, this time, before the mirror to intone “STOOOPID! STOOPID! etc.” while striking myself on the forehead.

        Because, you see, Josh, I had stupidly–STOOIDLY!–erred in my estimate of you. In particular, Josh, you have a certain “stand-up” quality that I both like and admire. And my experience, Josh, is that those with your “stand-up” quality also share a cluster of other qualities to go with it: coolness in a stressful, mano-a-mano exchange, an ability to laugh at oneself, a good-sportsmanship graciousness in a loss-situation, and a forthright, manly ability to admit a mistake. But what did I find in you, Josh? A “stand-up” guy who is also a contemptible, slippery little weasel with a humorless mean streak.

        Like I say, made me feel stupid for not detecting your gross imperfections sooner, Josh. But then it’s been a while since I’ve dealt with your type of lefty, Josh. Brought back some old memories, though. I’ll be more careful next time, you can be sure.

      • cap’n -

        Some anecdotal rambling for you to consider:

        Sometimes I’ve worked with graduate students on breaking down their processes of reasoning through writing, and organizing their thoughts into a coherent discourse, and as we’ve talked about what was implicit about the processes they already employed, they felt empowered by the very act of making them more explicit and better able to maximize those implicit instincts that they were already utilizing to a lesser degree.

        But on the other hand, sometimes I’ve worked with graduate students on breaking down their processes of reasoning through writing, and organizing their thoughts into a coherent discourse, only to have them tell me that they never realized that there even existed a system of explicit steps that one can take towards reaching those goals. Assuming that they are open to taking ownership over integrating that series of steps into their own process, they can be very appreciative of gaining some insight into how to better proceed through a process they had done many times, blindly, and with very limited success or investment.

      • mike -

        …your hectoring sense of humor suddenly disappeared

        I think that is the root of a misunderstanding. I viewed the entire exchange as a complete joke. At no point was I viewing it seriously.

        Now I suppose I should take some responsibility for not making the humorous connotation of my comments clear enough. After all, I have had evidence in the past for how dense you can be and how difficult it can be for you to pick up on the completely freakin’ obvious. As such, mea culpa. I’m sorry that I didn’t make it more completely obvious that I was ridiculing you in all of my comment rather than taking the question of ownership over the expression “leg-humping” seriously.

        And anyway, who could possibly have taken your ludicrous claims of ownership seriously?

        BTW – I do hope you saw my comment to tonyb on the subject? I thought it was quite a zinger – if I do say so myself.

      • Josh,

        I invite anyone reading this last comment of yours and your further slicko, weasley (hump! hump!) efforts to retrieve a situation in which you made yourself look the the ass to read the actual exchange between us. On that basis, I further invite others to decide for themselves who maintained their sense of humor in the exchange. And who, mid-exchange, suddenly took the matter seriously and who did not. And, also, what all that says about you, Josh.

        And that you would try to put a belated, face-saving spin on the exchange between us with a self-serving comment addressed to “tonyb” is, now that I have your measure, to be expected and entirely in character. That’s my Josh.

        But again, I don’t ask anyone to take my word for it, and most certainly not yours, Josh, but to read the exchange and decide for themselves. Not the lefty way, I know, but don’t you agree, Josh?

      • mike -

        Classic. You can’t make a coherent case on your own, and instead of just standing up and calling me your daddy, instead you make a weak appeal to the reader to decide for themselves. It almost might make one think that being unable to validate your analysis on your own, instead you make a laughably thinly-veiled appeal for some sycophantic lapdog – (no names need be mentioned) – to jump up validate you from the outside.

        Hilarious. But I have to say, mike, I expected more of a challenge from you.

      • mike -

        Gotta go. But for now I’ll just take your pathetic plea for some toady to say “You won, mike!” as a tacit and oblivious admission of defeat on your part.

        I look forward to more humorous efforts on your part to deny the obvious.

      • Josh,

        I just read your so-called “zinger” to tonyb. Again, I invite others to read the “leg-humper” exchange, previously referenced, and see if my “leg-humper” claims weren’t, as indeed they were, a satirical effort to keep the initial humor of the thread alive. Note the comical extravagance of my claims and the deliberate hyperbole. Indeed, I “stole” some of the legal-sounding words from an especially brain-dead post and commentary addressing the Wegman brouhaha on the Deltoid blog. And modeled my satire on the sort of greenshirt stuff the vat-boys take seriously, all the time.

        But, Josh, your weasel qualities are now in the open. Your attempt to pretend, long after the fact, that you were “just joking”, while clueless, li’ll ol’ me “took it all seriously” transparently belongs in the “leg-humper” hall-of-(hump! hump!) shame. Any thinking person reading the exchange will see that the matter is exactly the opposite–you getting bent out of shape and taking it all seriously when you started losing, because your little “joke” backfired, and me having the time of my life pushing the buttons of your creep-out character and personality flaws.

        And, oh by the way, Josh, you don’t mind me calling out in public your manipulative, deceitful, little (hump! hump!) lefty tricks do you? I hope not, because I would really hate to think my firm intention to do more of the same in the future, might not set well with you.

        Josh, dude, you just can’t stop digging a leg-humpin’ hole for yourself, can you?. Truly fascinating. And, if you can’t tell, I’m really enjoying screwing with you.

      • Mike, was your comment “Some of the more “professional greenshirts” among the lefties sense an opportunity. They decide to send a probably unwitting Dr. Hayhoe a bunch of “hate mail” posing as false-flag deniers.” also an indication of your fantastic sense of humour?

        You come across as a die hard extreme right wing nutter (to use a profession term). I don’t see any humour in either your leg-humping comments or your rants against ecofascist greenshirts. To be honest, I’d avoid sitting next to you on the bus.

        http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/F23417?thread=22884

      • Louise,

        You know, Louise, it’s funny business, this “coming across” to other people. For example, you come across to me as committed “greenshirt” of such irrational zeal (despite your obvious analytical intelligence) that I’ve always put you down as someone with a vested (probably make-a-buck) interest in the deal.

        And it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you’ve hit me with the best your school-marmish snark has to offer in retaliation for my “messing” with the “CLIMATE SCIENTISTS RECEIVE DEATH THREATS/HATE MAIL” outrage-booger being pumped in this thread for a maximum greenshirt agit-prop benefit. Comes with the territory when one calls out the CAGW scam’s many twists and turns.

        And, finally, Louise, while no one in the blogosphere is better at mean-and-nasty than you (and I say that sincerely as a compliment), the sense-of-humor business has been one of your strong points. And, especially, when the humor gores your greenshirt ox.

      • Louise,

        Of course, my last should read “…the sense-of-humor business has NEVER been one of your strong points…” Sorry for the error.

        And, oh by the way, Louise, if I ever did by happenstance sit by you on a bus, I would move without a moment’s thought if you asked me to move since I do not impose myself on ladies. Indeed, now knowing your “buss-sitting” views on me, I’ll make a considerate point of it not to sit by you, if I ever find out who you are by sight. I hope this puts you at your ease, Louise.

        But I do consider your comment “hate mail” and somehow it’s so much worse getting that sort of abuse from women.

      • Mike, had you clicked on the link I gave you would have found this:

        “I have devised what I consider to be the best strategy for ensuring that the nutter on the bus does not sit beside you. It is essential to have a strategy for this, as if the nutter on the bus does sit beside you, you are by association (in the minds of others) also a nutter. So……

        Here Goes…..

        The best strategy for ensuring that the nutter on the bus does not sit beside you is……

        Be THE nutter on the bus. Go For It. Let loose and enjoy the journey. Safe in the knowledge that the nutter on the bus will not be sitting beside you (or, if possible, anyone else).

        Never mind about pride, or your travelling associates opinions who your probably never going to take the time out of your hectic schedule to want to develop as friends anyway. That’s a tough sentence by the way, but I think it makes sense.

        In fact, under the above strategy, maybe all the nutters on the buses are really the most intelligent individuals amongst us.”

        But I guess you left your sense of humour on the bus.

      • Louise,

        Thank you, Louise, for a sample of what awaits me if I make the mistake-of-my-life and accidentally take a seat beside you on the bus. But be assured I will bear your good company in any future ride with a gentlemanly courtesy and equanimity as befits a conservative old-white-male. Though, I’ll no doubt bolt the conveyance at the next bus-stop whether that was my original destination or not. And thank you for the pleasant conversation as I do so.

        You know, of course, Louise, that you last comment is yet another example of “hate mail”, don’t you? And you know how sensitive I am to abuse of this sort, especially when it comes from a woman.

        Isn’t there a professional code of ethics that protects me from you cruel, hot-shot, greenshirt, trap-me-on-a-bus-and-make-my-life-a-living-hell! psychologists of the fair sex? Should be if there isn’t.

      • Why do so many scientists sound like they would break into a thousand pieces if someone so much as yelled “boo” at them? Hayhoe writes a chapter for a Presidential candidate’s book and now expresses surprise and is hurt for being hated on. I don’t buy it.

  32. For purity of science, can we please refer to trace gases in our atmosphere, by their correct name. That is;

    Atmospheric regulation gasses. Please, no more GHG’s, as there is no greenhouse.

    Markus Fitzhenry.

  33. Following on some of the exchanges above…

    One of my formative experiences as teenager was encountering “The Propaganda Game” from the WFF ‘n’ PROOF group. It was a listing of classic logical fallacies with examples. The objective of the game was to recognize the fallacies in newspaper and magazine articles.

    Just knowing basic fallacies like “Ad Hominem,” “Straw Man,” and “Excluded Middle” can make a big difference. In my experience most college graduates don’t and that’s a shame. It’s not that hard to learn.

    David Woljick seems concerned that teaching critical thinking means that freshmen will waste time questioning everything their instructors present. I suppose critical thinking could go that far, but what I have in mind, and perhaps Dr. Curry as well, is the capacity of a student to recognize basic flaws in an argument.

  34. Hi Judith

    Thanks for highlighting the Huffington Post article – I agree it’s a good article.

    You ask “Can someone remind me why we need the IPCC AR5?”

    Later in the article you have the answer:

    “the uncertainties need to be spelled out, if not resolved, and especially those elusive feedback effects which account for the wide range in estimated warming this century.”

    The IAC noted that AR4 could have done a better job in spelling out the uncertainties, at least in WG2. There is a real effort going in to this in AR5 – and indeed you can already see early evidence of this in the recent SREX report, which had more nuanced messages on droughts and hurricanes than AR5, including a more careful application of likelihood estimates (only using them when confidence was high enough, hence the downgrade of the drought statement).

    At the WG2 lead authors’ meeting last month, one of the TSU members gave us a great talk on care in assessment writing – basically being very precise about what the literature is actually saying, what the evidence actually is and how well it agrees, and being careful on reflecting the scope of literature sources accurately (region, timescale, etc etc). I can see the WG2 leadership making a real concerted effort to avoid the problems of AR4.

    • Dear Richard,

      I’m hope I’m not being rude by addressing you directly, But, I’ve noticed a rather large Mammuthus has entered the room.

      Do you think Ar5 should possibly address some of the science that has, unexpectedly, created it, before the stampede arrives.

    • Richard Betts

      Eminently reasonable as ever..

      I wonder if you think changes to the reviewing process have helped improve AR5. I hear some muttering about disclosure and ‘leaks’ but apart from that is the effort to make the reviewing wider having a beneficial effect?

      Talking of reviews, is it guaranteed that Hadcrut4 will get through peer review and published in time for the cut off date, or am I behind the times? I suspect it might be embarrassing for some agendas if it doesn’t…..But then again I suppose the same could be asked of the UAH version 6. Swings and roundabouts?

      • Richard betts

        There is a lot of speculation and assertion and assumptions in ar5. Perhaps you can tell me where the assertion concerning abyssal warming comes from as there are no citations and geneva refuses to divulge the sources. Appreciate you may not want to discuss ar5 matters in open forum but clicking on my name will provide my email
        Tonyb

      • @Tonyb

        There is a lot of speculation and assertion and assumptions in ar5.

        No there isn’t, because AR5 does not exist yet!

        However, if you think you have found deficiencies in the First Order Drafts of WG1 then the way to address this is to send your review comments in by 10th Feb. Sign up here.

        If you are referring to the Zeroth Order Drafts (either WG1 or WG2) then you first need to check the First Order Drafts to see whether there is sufficient information to answer your question, and if not, review the FODs as recommended above.

        It’s far better to raise these matters within the review process rather than outside of it, because then there’s an obligation for authors to respond and also an audit trail of comments and responses.

        I recommend that you be specific in review comments, saying exactly where you think changes need to be made, and backing it up with evidence (e.g.: papers). General comments like “too much speculation” are not particularly helpful and will only elicit responses like “no specific change suggested” and/or “no evidence provided”.

        And whatever you do, don’t do what one reviewer did in AR4 and simply go through the report saying “insert ‘not’ here” for no apparent reason :-)

        Cheers

        Richard

      • Paul Matthews

        Anteros, yes, Hadcrut4 will be out in time. Crutem4 is already out at J Geophys Res.
        Conveniently, Crutem4 shows that Jones and his team have magically discovered the 21st century warming that previously hadn’t been seen.
        Equally conveniently, the timing of the papers is such that any critique won’t be published in time for AR5.

    • Richard, all this sounds good, if the IPCC is taking uncertainty more seriously. I agree that SREX was uncharacteristically (for the IPCC) good in this regard. While there have been serious problems with the WG2, there have been more important, albeit more subtle, issues related to uncertainty in WG1. From anecdotes I have heard from various lead authors, there remains a struggle for the soul of WG1, between the newcomers who want to do the job correctly and are serious about uncertainty vs the oldtimers that are mainly worried that they not provide fodder for deniers and feel the need to show ever higher levels of certainty with each Report. Kudos to WG2 if they are taking more seriously the complex issue of uncertainty.

  35. HuffPo has a v. interesting article by Bill Chameides “State of the Union’s Climate Education.” The article is about what K-12 teachers are actually teaching in the classroom, and why.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-chameides/the-state-of-the-unions-c_b_1236998.html

  36. I agree with Joshua and Gary :-)

    Great conversation. I would add only that critical thinking is the core skill set for theoreticians and also for the discipline of philosophy i.e. modern analytic philosophy. Instead of philosophers doing the work for other disciplines, disciplines are now being called on to do their own theoretical work and critical thinking from within their fields. It is indeed a ‘shift’, but as Joshua and Gary suggest, it has been going on for several decades — David W missing the whole thing, notwithstanding. :-)

    It may or may not result in the collapse of ‘disciplines’. I think I have seen resistance, especially perhaps from the discipline of philosophy. However, in science and social science… not so much. Maybe the opposite, actually.

    I think sometimes the new demands on unskilled academics results in weak or bad analysis, but this can now be challenged better from within, without and across disciplines. I think it’s overall an improvement on the previous insulation of theory-making. Students and academics are increasing their individual thinking skills as well as their skills for working together. I’m especially impressed with the new social science.

    The critical thinking and reflection skills of the public is also something to discuss. Despite new media and radical opportunities presented by e.g. the internet, access to information, individual reflection skills seem to be going downhill rather than uphill. I don’t know. :-(

    Still I am hopeful it is all part of a learning curve and will improve with opportunties for practice. Sort of like the referendum thing — you lose some, because of how inexperienced the public can be in actually participating in decision-making.

    Modern democracy depends on the ability of citizens to think both critically and creatively. Wouldn’t hurt if academics are learning to do the same. ;-)

    • Good comment Martha, more of this please :)

    • Martha -

      However, in science and social science… not so much. Maybe the opposite, actually.

      I have seen a lot of resistance in science, which never ceases to amaze me because you’d think that any scientists worth his salt would prioritize the teaching of “critical thinking” to his/her students. But discipline-specific material tends to reign supreme in education, and it is a hard prejudice to shake for people who have built their lives around a focus on discipline-specific material. In my experience, sometimes the phenomenon gets worse the more “prestigious” the academic institution – although it happens everywhere.

      At lower levels of education, in my experience often math seems to be the worst discipline for resistance to increasing the prioritization of “critical thinking,” to some degree, over the teaching of facts (which is also to me a counterintuitive phenomenon). People are very welded to the importance of teaching abstracted facts in a specific sequence in math.

      My favorite manifestation of the misunderstanding of “facts” vs “thinking” in early math instruction is that often students are taught to do something as abstract and rarely useful as dividing fractions, three or four years in succession, because someone, somewhere, determined that the sequence must be that you first teach the addition and subtraction of fractions and then the multiplication and division of fractions.

      Kids often don’t get it be because they haven’t worked on building the concrete foundations (including “critical thinking skills) that would enable them to understand “why” you “invert and multiply.” Kids not particularly good at memorization, or not particularly motivated to do things that they don’t understand simply because they’ve been told to do it, forget that algorithm and then need to be taught it again the following year, and the following year, and the following year. It’s great evidence of a lack of “critical thinking” on the part of educators when they have to teach the same thing to students year after year and never put it together why they have to do so.

      • …sorry – “any scientists worth his/her salt….”

        It’s important not to allow gender bias to affect which scientists I suggest aren’t worth their salt.

      • Joshua: Let me be more specific. According to you there is this thing called critical reasoning, according to which we should teach multiplication of fractions before addition, or something. Is this critical reasoning theory a procedure, or a body of findings, or what? Where is it? What does it look like? Or is it just what you happen to think?

  37. Martha re “Modern democracy depends on the ability of citizens to think both critically and creatively”.

    I encourage you to explore how the Western Judeo-Christian civilization was founded on the Bible. In “The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization”, Vishal Mangalwadi documents how all major areas of modern civilization ( including education, law, commerce etc) and the Rule of Law are grounded on principles in the Bible. See Revelation Movement. http://www.revelationmovement.com/

  38. Admirable case of citizens acting knowledgeably to improve their environment.
    Activists Crack China’s Wall of Denial About Air Pollution

    Weary of waiting for the authorities to alert residents to the city’s most pernicious air pollutant, citizen activists last May took matters here into their own hands: they bought their own $4,000 air-quality monitor and posted its daily readings on the Internet. . . .
    While China has made gains on some other airborne toxins, the PM 2.5 data is far from reassuring in a country that annually has hundreds of thousands of premature deaths related to air pollution. In an unreleased December report relying on government data, the World Bank said average annual PM 2.5 concentrations in northern Chinese cities exceeded American limits by five to six times as much, and two to four times as much in southern Chinese cities.

    Nine of 13 major cities failed more than half the time to meet even the initial annual mean target for developing countries set by the World Health Organization.

  39. Judith – this caught my eye this week. IMO it is worth reading and following the comments from Paul Homewood to the end:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/25/another-giss-miss-this-time-in-iceland/

  40. Judith –

    An article that I would imagine you’d find quite interesting:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/30/120130fa_fact_lehrer

    It’s about the positive effect of debate and criticism on creativity and analysis, and various influences on the quality of the product from collaboration in scientific and creative endeavors.

    As an added bonus, there’s quite a bit there for some “skeptics” to take out of context to support facile conclusions w/r/t the climate debate.

  41. MET OFFFICE PREDICTIONS

    Met Office predicted that at least half of the years after 2009 will be warmer than 1998, the warmest year on record.
    http://tgr.ph/wPxcZ8

    1998 Record => 0.548 deg C

    2009=> 0.443
    2010=> 0.478
    2011=> 0.340
    2012=>
    2013=>
    2014=>
    http://bit.ly/55TKj6

    So for the Met Office prediction to be correct, the global mean temperature must exceed the previous record in the years 2012, 2013 & 2014.

    Here is what was written about this model prediction:

    The new model developed by a team led by Dr Doug Smith can make these shorter term predictions significantly more accurately because it incorporates information about the actual state of the ocean and the atmosphere today, so it is possible to predict both the effects of natural factors, such as changes in ocean circulation, and those caused by burning fossil fuels.

    We will check on the validity of these significantly more accurate predictions!

    So far, the predictions are inaccurate.

    • Rare opportunity to see HadCrutch3 in action. Okay, not so rare. Kind of the opposite of rare.

    • MET OFFICE

      Over the 10-year period as a whole, climate continues to warm and 2014 is likely to be 0.3 deg C warmer than 2004.

      http://bit.ly/zhfjrp
      0.3 deg C per decade warming prediction by Met office (Blue Line)
      -0.1 deg C per decade cooling observation (Green Line)

      How useless are the models?????????

      • The trend/detrend number of -0.3 seems reliable. Just multiply the model numbers by that and you get a good prediction!

      • Girma -

        Don’t forget the Met office have already had a look [had a hand in] Had crut4. 2014 may be exactly what they want it to be..

    • The Met has lots of room for “significant improvement” before its projections reach the 50:50 mark. As it is, its strong negative correlation with reality is a useful tool. Much more improvement and it will be no better than flipping a coin. Long live Met inaccuracy!

  42. There is a story in the Mail On Line, today.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2093264/Forget-global-warming–Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html

    This states “Meanwhile, one of America’s most eminent climate experts, Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she found the Met Office’s confident prediction of a ‘negligible’ impact difficult to understand.
    ‘The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun,’ said Professor Curry. As for the warming pause, she said that many scientists ‘are not surprised’.

    She argued it is becoming evident that factors other than CO2 play an important role in rising or falling warmth, such as the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
    ‘They have insufficiently been appreciated in terms of global climate,’ said Prof Curry. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years .”

    Anyone have a reference as to when and where out hostess made these statements.

    • Thanks JC for that.

      Follow the data, the truth, the science, accepting the data is correct.

    • If the quote is correct, JC now agrees with me:

      When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years .

      http://bit.ly/pxXK4j

  43. ‘The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun

    A slightly more succinct and equally pertinent statement would be the same sentence without the last nine words :)

    • Anteros

      Elsewhere you talked about England’s humiliation at cricket.
      It just shows there are broader lessons to be learnt, as the ‘experts’ Vaughan and Boycott told us confidently it would be over in the third day with an easy England win, but being a sceptic i didn’t believe them.

      However I am pleased to report that following certain unspecified ‘adjustments’ it appears that England actually had a resounding win. :)
      tonyb

    • Anteros

      People really shouldn’t rely on modeldotal evidence should they
      tonyb

  44. With regards to the Daily Mail Article, I spoke with David Rose on the phone a few days ago. With the regards to the statements attributed to me:

    “Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she found the Met Office’s confident prediction of a ‘negligible’ impact difficult to understand. ‘The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun,’ said Professor Curry. As for the warming pause, she said that many scientists ‘are not surprised’.”

    I said something like this.

    “She argued it is becoming evident that factors other than CO2 play an important role in rising or falling warmth, such as the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. ‘They have insufficiently been appreciated in terms of global climate,’ said Prof Curry. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years .”

    I said something related to this. I don’t use the word cycles (but use oscillations), so i would be surprised if cycles slipped out. The last sentence is not directly attributed to me, although it appears in the same paragraph. I spoke extensively about the period 1940-1970, but I note here most of this period included the warm phase of the AMO. I spoke about a climate shift that people seem to think occurred 2001/2002, and the transition to the cool phase of the PDO. So this last sentence is an attempt to summarize. WIth regards to the AMO returning to the cool phase, i did not say the next few years, but possibly in the next two decades.

    I received an email from David Rose this morning pointing me to the article. It seems the 2nd para was not written by him (about mini ice age).

    I think this article, while not perfect from a scientific perspective, raises some important issues that should be discussed publicly. We don’t know what the climate will be for the next several decades, there are a number of reasons to expect the continue flat trend for the next several decades. In terms of when global warming will come “roaring back”, it is possible that this may not happen for the first half of the 21st century.

    Climate scientists need to acknowledge this possibility; otherwise the credibility of our science and our models will all but be destroyed if we don’t see much or any warming for the first half of the century. Peter Stott’s statement “This would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.8C’ is going way out on a limb, but hard to know if he provided caveats that were not reported.

    The main point of my comments is that the next few decades provide an exciting opportunity to test our understanding of the complex mix of solar variability, greenhouse warming, and natural internal oscillations combine to determine global climate, since the “mix” is changing.

    • Dr Curry – do you support the article’s opening paragraphs?

      “The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.
      The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.
      Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997″

      Specifically, do you agreed that “the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997″?

      • My understanding of the situation is that we saw a climate shift ca 2001/2002, which is associated with a flatter temperature trend, among other things (incl more frequent la ninas). There is alot of year to year variability, so picking an arbitrary year like 1997 or 1998 isn’t too meaningful in terms of statistics or mechanisms.

    • Judith- Thank you for the clarification. I read your quote in the Daily Mail article yesterday and wondered how accurate it was. The solar influence is of great interest to me and I hope in the coming months we can see more scientific information that clarifies what the issues are in this field. It is often portrayed as quasi-quackery so I never know how much credence to put into claims that the sun influences our climate to the extent that some claim it does.,

    • Thank you, Dr. Curry, for your lengthy response. Let me select just one part of a discourse that I think goes to the very core of what is happening.

      “Climate scientists need to acknowledge this possibility; otherwise the credibility of our science and our models will all but be destroyed if we don’t see much or any warming for the first half of the century”

      I am intrigued by what the IPCC is going to produce when the AR5 finally becomes public. My reading leads me to believe that the IPCC has painted itself into a corner. On the one hand, you have the extreme statements of the TAR and AR4, which amount to little more than “the science is settled”. On the other hand, we have the information that has become available since the AR4, and which casts very considerable doubt on the certainty expressed in the earlier IPCC reports. So far as I can see, the IPCC has either to explicitly acknowledge that it’s previous reports were just plain wrong in the certainty that they portrayed; or the IPCC must ignore much of the science that has been produced since the AR4; including much of what Dr. Curry has written.

      Now we have Dr. Curry stating that, in her opinion, we may not see much warming for the first half of the 21st century. The implications of this cannot be understated. There will always be the question as to how long global temperatures do not start rising again, before the general public, and the politicians give up on CAGW, and the world simply uses as much in the way of fossil fuels which produce CO2 as it needs.

      On the other hand, we have the predictions of the climate models, as exemplified by Smith et al in Science, and Keenleyside el al in Nature. If Dr. Curry is right, then these predicitons will be seen to be just plain wrong. I have always felt that hindcasting models will never give them any sort of predicitive capability. One can only validate models by having them predicit the future accurately sufficiently often that the result could not have happend by chance. Climate models fail this test miserably.

      But if the climate models cannot predict the future, then where does this leave the TAR and AR4, which are written on the basis that these predicitons are `very likely` to occur. And what can the AR5 say, if the IPCC cannot use any of these predicitons.

      I agree with Judith that the next decade will prove to be ìnteresting“. I predict that the AR5 will start this process off with a bang.

      • “Now we have Dr. Curry stating that, in her opinion, we may not see much warming for the first half of the 21st century. The implications of this cannot be understated.”

        I wish Dr. Curry had attached a likelihood to that statement. Already I feel what she described as a “possibility” is being pushed up towards 50% likelihood.

    • Judith said

      ‘ In terms of when global warming will come “roaring back”, it is possible that this may not happen for the first half of the 21st century.’

      There seems to have been many periods in our past of of a drop in temperatures, or at least a hiatus, before global warming came ‘roaring back’. The 1550′s and early 1700′s being two cases in point. Why would the first half of the 21st century be any different to the past?
      tonyb

      • We don’t get given the possibility that global warming will suddenly accelerate to 0.5C/decade over the first half of the 21st century. But that’s a possibility too isn’t it?

        It’s interesting to contemplate why all the disclaimers go one way. Fear?

    • JC: “In terms of when global warming will come “roaring back”, it is possible that this may not happen for the first half of the 21st century.

      Climate scientists need to acknowledge this possibility; otherwise the credibility of our science and our models will all but be destroyed if we don’t see much or any warming for the first half of the century.”

      Acknowledging the possibility that the science and models are wrong is not going to save the credibility of the science and models if they do indeed turn out wrong. Nor should it. If they turn out wrong their credibility should be destroyed.

      Acknowledging the possibility that the science may be wrong is fine, but it’s quite clear that what David Rose’s audience really need most of all is to be informed that science still expects the world to warm.

      David Rose’s article fails to convey how confident the science is of warming in coming decades. If you were reading his article you’d be mistaken for thinking scientists had changed their minds. In fact I saw one or two comments under The Rose article to the effect of “first global warming – now they are predicting an ice age!”. The “they” are you, the climate scientists. Of course climate scientists haven’t all of a sudden switched to predicting an ice age, but David Rose nevertheless successfully conveys that impression to the public anyway.

      Then again I imagine if you had told Rose that warming in the next few decades is by far more likely than cooling he’d have omitted that part.

      • Of course warming will come “roaring back”. Then, it will diminish again. Then, it will increase again. Then… The half cycle period is roughly 30-35 years.

        It is a repeating natural cycle, due most likely to a randomly excited, lightly damped resonant mode in the Earth’s land/water/atmospheric system.

        Temperatures will go below the long term trend until sometime in the 2030′s, then rise above it again, then decline, then rise, and on and on and on. At some point, the long term trend likely will taper off, and an abrupt transition to a new ice age may ensue. These cycles have been going on for eons.

    • Apres moi le deluge
      The Daily Mail has spoken! The tabloids will now lead us into “global cooling” – as from the 1940s to the 1970s.
      James Dillingpole reviews the status of: Children just aren’t going to know what sun is

      If global temperatures are influenced by the 60 year PDO cycle, then the 2000 to 2030s may well be cooler than the 1970s to 2000s. A number of scientists have been proposing such oscillating temperature models.

      In the larger perspective: Patterns and Perspectives in Environmental Science the National Science Board addressed cyclical climate behavior and acknowledging that the planet was entering a phase of cooling. (p 55)

      “Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end, to be followed by a long period of considerably colder temperatures leading into the next glacial age some 20,000 years from now. However, it is possible or even likely that human interference has already altered the environment so much that the climatic pattern of the near future will follow a different path.”

      Will the IPCC models ever incorporate decadal ocean, cloud and solar oscillations sufficiently accurately to quantitatively distinguish natural from anthropogenic variations?

    • Dr Curry – the Met Office has responded to the misrepresentation in the Daily Mail piece.

      “Today the Mail on Sunday published a story written by David Rose entitled “Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about”.
      This article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the last 15 years is entirely misleading.” ”

      http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/met-office-in-the-media-29-january-2012/?tw_p=twt

  45. Children just aren’t going to know what sun is
    http://tgr.ph/wEm2uZ

  46. Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of
    the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.