‘Consensus’ by exhaustion

by Judith Curry

Regarding the consensus-seeking process for the IPCC SAR:

It is diplomacy by exhaustion. And then it becomes consensus by exhaustion as we shall see. – Bernie Lewin

At Enthusiasm, Skepticism and Science, Bernie Lewin has completed his 5 part series on Madrid 1995: The last day of climate science.  Part 5 is [here].   If you have ever wondered about the sausage making that goes into the IPCC consensus process, read the entire series.  Lewin lays out a comprehensive and well documented analysis of the issues surrounding detection and attribution in the IPCC SAR.

I’m not going to make any attempt to summarize these posts by providing excerpts here, the context and overall chain of events is important, and I encourage you to read Lewin’s articles.  Here I provide some commentary on two key topics that are of particular interest to me:  detection and attribution and the perils of an explicit scientific consensus seeking process.

Detection and attribution

A paper by Barnett et al. was of primary importance to the SAR deliberations.  From the abstract:

Estimates of the spectrum of natural variability are critical to the problem of detecting an anthropo genic signal in global climate observations. Without such information it is impossible to say that current climate change is different or unique from changes that have happened in the past and, therefore, potentially due to man-induced causes. We have estimated the spectrum of natural variability from a globally distributed set of palaeo-temperature proxies and compared it with comparable estimates from two long control integrations of coupled general circulation models – the type used to predict anthropogenic change due to greenhouse gases. None of the three estimates of the natural variability spectrum agree with each other on the low-frequency, near-global time/space scales. Until this dichotomy is resolved, it will be hard to say, with confidence, that an anthropogenic climate signal has or has not been detected.

Lewin writes:

The push for positive attribution had always been vigorously challenged within the research community, and Asheville was no exception. There it was met with ‘spirited’ debate, and even after the progress to a bottom line statement, still its retention remained tenuous. At that stage in proceedings it was not only about winning over the room. There was the legacy of the already drafted chapter to deal with. The version of the chapter they were working with was the one sent out to hundreds of scientific experts and government delegates [18Apr95]. In this version, the powerful criticisms emanating from the Barnett et al investigation was not only powerfully re-stated in the conclusion but also fully integrated into every section of the Chapter. Even if every sailor onboard were to agreed, it was almost too late to turn this ship around. But they did not agree. While we know this, and that there were extensive heated debates at Asheville, precious little detail has yet been obtained. One hint to what was going on came when the controversy broke the following spring.

In strengthening its attribution statement, the SAR ended up concluding a ‘discernible’ impact of humans on the warming.  I have to say that I haven’t previously encountered the Barnett et al. paper.  I did a google scholar search to see what recent research had been done that addresses the issues raised by Barnett et al.    The paper has been cited 62 times, primarily by IPCC authors such as Hegerl, Jones, Mann.  By the time we reach the TAR, there seems to be the assumption that natural internal variability modeled by global climate models is appropriately used in detection and attribution arguments, without addressing the underlying concerns raised by Barnett et al.
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Consensus-seeking
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So how and why did this happen in the IPCC assessments?  There is a combination of political spiking (which Lewin describes in detail) and scientific bias generated by the consensus building process itself.  I address this latter issue in my draft paper No consensus on consensus, in the section entitled Consensus and bias.  An excerpt:

Kelly (2008) provides some insight into confirmation bias, arguing that “a belief held at earlier times can skew the total evidence that is available at later times, via characteristic biasing mechanisms, in a direction that is favorable to itself.” 

Kelly (2005) describes an additional source of confirmation bias in the consensus building process: “As more and more peers weigh in on a given issue, the proportion of the total evidence which consists of higher order psychological evidence [of what other people believe] increases, and the proportion of the total evidence which consists of first order evidence decreases . . . At some point, when the number of peers grows large enough, the higher order psychological evidence will swamp the first order evidence into virtual insignificance.” Kelly (2005) concludes: “Over time, this invisible hand process tends to bestow a certain competitive advantage to our prior beliefs with respect to confirmation and disconfirmation.”

Believing what other people believe

Kelly’s idea of the higher order psychological evidence of the ‘consensus’ swamping the first order evidence seems particularly apt.  The IPCC’s detection and attribution argument is at the heart of the debate.  I would like to propose a little survey for scientists (climate and otherwise) and other denizens to assess why you believe (or do not believe) in the IPCC’s attribution statement.

  1. I have read the IPCC AR4 WGI report in its entirety  YES   NO
  2. I have an understanding of paleoclimate proxies in the sense that I have read at least 6 journal articles on this topic and am aware of the arguments that have criticized interpretations of these proxies  YES NO
  3. I have a first order understanding of how global climate models work, in the sense that I have contributed to some aspect of model development, have conducted experiments using a global or regional climate model, and/or have read the manual for one of the global climate models or some of the primarily literature describing the construction and validation of climate models. YES NO
  4. I am aware of the uncertainties surrounding the external forcing for 20th century climate model simulations (e.g. solar, volcanoes, aerosol etc) and have read at least some journal articles on this topic.  YES NO
  5. I have read at least 6 papers on the subject of natural internal variability and am aware of the controversies surrounding the LIA and MWP.  YES NO

If you answer YES to at least 3 of these, I would argue that you are sufficiently informed to make an independent judgement rather than parrot the consensus.  Prior to 2009, I would have answered NO to #2, and a borderline NO on #4.  I am now up to speed on #4, and more informed but somewhat shaky on #2.    I suspect that there are many climate scientists (as classified by Anderegg et al.) that do not pass this test.  I think this is a much better test than what Anderegg et al. used, whereby someone who published 20 papers on the impact of climate change on ecosystems qualifies as having a legitimate expert opinion on the detection and attribution problem.

Verdict on ‘consensus’

I suspect that any scientist who reads Lewin’s series will be concerned about the politicization of the consensus seeking process.  In summary, I’ll close with the final paragraph from the submitted version of my No consensus on consensus paper:

The climate community has worked for more than 20 years to establish a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.  The IPCC consensus building process arguably played a useful role in the early synthesis of the scientific knowledge and in building political will to act. We have presented perspectives from multiple disciplines that support the inference that the scientific consensus seeking process used by the IPCC has had the unintended consequence of introducing biases into the both the science and related decision making processes. The IPCC scientific consensus has become convoluted with consensus decision making through a ‘speaking consensus to power’ approach.  The growing implications of the messy wickedness of the climate change problem have become increasingly apparent, highlighting the inadequacies of the ‘consensus to power’ approach for decision making on the complex issues associated with climate change. Further, research from the field of science and technology studies are finding that manufacturing a consensus in the context of the IPCC has acted to hyper-politicize the scientific and policy debates, to the detriment of both.  Arguments are increasingly being made to abandon the scientific consensus seeking approach in favor of open debate of the arguments themselves and discussion of a broad range of policy options that stimulate local and regional solutions to the multifaceted and interrelated issues of climate change, land use, resource management, cost effective clean energy solutions, and developing technologies to expand energy access efficiently. 

508 responses to “‘Consensus’ by exhaustion

  1. Amgen and Bayer showed us that 80-90% of papers published in top journals in cancer and biotech research were badly flawed (despite peer review and everything!). McIntyre and friends who have managed to get enough transparency to take a look have shown that a remarkable number of studies aren’t just flawed, but badly so. A whole lot of work looks mighty sloppy.

    So even if a scientist has read a lot of published studies in climate, how much of the purported findings that he reads are really BS?

  2. Above you write, “I am no up to speed on #4, and more…” Did you mean now or not? Makes a difference.

    • thanks for catching this, i’ve changed it to ‘now’

      • The list of questions is a very nice technical qualifier. Except I am not sure 6 journal articles suffice. Depends on journal and article, since ther is so much ‘pal reviewed’ provable nonsense being published. The directional survey has to be right.

  3. andrew adams

    Without such information it is impossible to say that current climate change is different or unique from changes that have happened in the past and, therefore, potentially due to man-induced causes.

    Why is it necessary for current climate change to be different or unique from changes in the past for it to be potentially due to man-induced causes?

    • It’s not necessary, but it’s an important step. Many people believe it’s unprecedented. There’s no logic in it, but that’s how it was presented and indoctrinated.

      • andrew adams

        “Unprecedented” doesn’t really mean much unless you specify a timescale. The earth is four billion years old – I expect there is very little that could happen to our climate which has no precedent within the lifetime of our planet.

      • Agree. The thing is, and that’s my take from the evidence, that the warming like in the late 20th century (the alleged AGW) happened MANY times in this interglacial only (the last ~10 ka, the Holocene). The overall trend since the peak is cooling.

        In general, any claim of warming (or cooling) requires a specified time scale.

      • andrew adams

        The thing is, and that’s my take from the evidence, that the warming like in the late 20th century (the alleged AGW) happened MANY times in this interglacial only (the last ~10 ka, the Holocene).

        I’m not sure we have enough information to be able make that claim about temperatures on a global scale and over periods as short as half a century or a century for most of the Holocene. I think it is likely that over the past couple of thousand years both the current level of temperatures and the rate of increase are somewhat unusual.

        The overall trend since the peak is cooling.

        I think this may well be the case up until the beginning of the last century. Things have changed somewhat since then.

        But this is getting away from my original point, which is that even if we could confidently identify similar changes in the past it would not logically follow that CO2 could not be considered potentially responsible for the current warming. The case for that comes primarily from the known radiative properties of CO2 – past climate change may provide further context but it is not central to the argument.

      • peterdavies252

        Absolutely true. The trajectory of climate over the last 10 thousand years cannot be extrapolated with 20th century data. There simply isn’t enough data to able to draw any conclusions.

      • “could not potentially be considered” is worthless, however. The Null (which means, let me remind you, the operating and assumed explanation until decisively refuted) is natural variability. That current conditions do not exceed its bounds rules out alternate explanations as more than faint speculation.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        andrew adams,
        I agree, it’s not necessary to show, so we would then be led to ask “why did they take that considered approach to arguing the case ?”
        It could be to ward off anticipated arguments that the trends are not known to be unusual, and there have been all these things before man could have done much.
        I would argue against the idea that all conditions we now have, were ever all in place together before ( plus man’s influence ). However, common knowledge from older generations still alive allows the public to remember what we were taught about prior warmer and colder periods in human history.

        This might be whence came the push to show it never happened in human history.

        Thusly, to diminish historical extremes, diminishes opposition to the powerplay

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Those of us skeptical, who have encountered arguments against prior periods being as warm as now or warmer, and that the climb out of the LIA also was not steep, know the significance this line of approach assumed for the faithful proselytisers with scientific advisor backup (e;g;”Climate Crock of the Week” Peter Sinclair) .

        It was a main thrust. Upon any further questioning, the answer has been that any warmerness was very regional. And the southern hemisphere cooled correspondingly.

        That was their story and they stuck to it.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Why is it necessary for current climate change to be different or unique from changes in the past for it to be potentially due to man-induced causes?”

      It’s not. I think the unprecedented argument is horribly misdirected.

      • I agree, but RC made it clear long ago that it does not really matter.

      • Actually, it matters a lot. To RC, unforced variations are a joke, they “know” all there is to know is the impression that provides. Not a very comforting thought with the number of shocks and surprises they have and will have to deal with in a complex system. Remember that 33C is an estimate with +/- a degree or two depending on the ratio of atmospheric to surface albedo.

        Speaking of which, even the uncertainly in the energy budget indicates a larger range of possible natural variability.

      • > Actually, it matters a lot.

        Citation needed.

      • If his research showed unequivocally that the MWP was warmer than the present, why would he hide the data or the code? First, he would be famous. Second, if you think we spend a lot on climate science now, look out.

      • JCH, by the way. RC and others have also made it very clear that surface station data is the cat’s ass. There is uncertainty in all the data.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/08/plain-vanilla-troposphere.html

        \
        Considering that once you get rid of the weighting difference between UAH and RSS, they tend to back up Anthony Watts’s claim that there is some land use thermal pollution, they might want to start thinking about what data should really be believed :)

        Imagine that Watts comes up with 1.55C per decade in the US and the RSS plain old troposphere indicates 0.168C per decade. Unless I screwed up, Watts paper might just cause a little tremor.

      • > RC and others have also made it very clear that surface station data is the cat’s ass.

        Citation needed.

      • Michael Mann has studied the MWP extensively. Probably still is. If he did research that proved the MWP was warmer on a global basis than the late 20th Century, he would immediately publish his findings.

        It changes not a damn thing if the MWP was warmer globally.

      • JCH, the MWP not being warmer globally does change things if you consider what might have changed that, land use. We are not dealing with a linear system. The northern hemisphere oscillations are out of sequence with the southern hemisphere. So comparing the NH to Global temperature is apples and oranges.

        https://picasaweb.google.com/118214947668992946731/July302012#5771047964156295506

        If you look at paleo from the tropics and southern hemisphere you get a better picture of the longer term ocean oscillations. Climate is a non-ergodic system with self organizing criticality. The cyclomaniacs can find links to anything from LOD to cosmic rays because all non-ergodic system have similar pseudo cyclic frequencies. No cycle will ever perfectly repeat though, there are just tendencies toward behaviors near different attractors like in the graph above.

        Pretty interesting actually, makes it hard as hell to figure out what causes what because sensitivity to certain things change with separation from the attractors.

      • JCH | August 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
        If [Michael Mann] did research that proved the MWP was warmer on a global basis than the late 20th Century, he would immediately publish his findings.

        Sure he would. He’d never do anything like hide the data or code for it, or try and sabotage/redefine the peer-review process.

        It changes not a damn thing if the MWP was warmer globally.

        Except perhaps to Hockey Stickists.

      • Citation?

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/06/dragon-kings-and-swans-of-another-color.html

        A complex bi-stable system will provide plenty of citations in the future if you are foolish enough to discount natural variability.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/strangely-attractive.html

        Bi-stable systems are strangely attracted to pseudo-stable operating points. The trick is to find the main influence. With a world covered mainly by water, it might make more sense to focus on water, ice and water vapor instead of 30% of the system. Especially when the data for that 30% of the system might be contaminated by other confounding influences, like land use.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/08/plain-vanilla-troposphere.html

        Now averaging the lower troposphere and mid troposphere might sound odd, but sometimes trying to get too much out of data causes problems. If that is right though, land use has a very significant impact on climate and the surface station measurements of climate change. Most of the natural changes in the past appear to also be land use related. Like mother nature deciding to store snow and ice where there are now people and surface stations. That is something that should be considered at least as much as aerosols.

      • Cap’n,

        Aye, you can graph!

        Now quote and cite.

      • No one good to cite yet Willard. Tsonis and Douglas have some reasonable stuff, but both missed the 1995 shift because of Pinatubu. A.M. Selvam has more good stuff, but tends to wander into super string theory. But in general, a solid non-equilibrium thermodynamic approach hasn’t been made.

        http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/polvani+solomon-JGR-2012-inpress.pdf

        Solomon and Polvani are picking out parts of the puzzle. I do believe they haven’t weighted the sea surface temperature influence enough though. RayPierre may have something soon. The stratosphere and SST both moving to a stable range is a little too much to not notice.

        Once the BEST/Watts thing shakes out, there may be some interesting new stuff :)

      • Cap’n,

        I was asking citations for two of your jabs at RC.

        But please send more herrings my way.

        The redder the merrier,

        Arrr!

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        Steven Mosher,
        The “unprecedented’ argument is the core of the climate consensus.
        Who is misdirecting it and at whom are they misdirecting it, in your opinion?
        And why is it misdirected in the first place?

      • Steve: IMO, you are correct that the case for CAGW doesn’t depend on whether >50% of 20th century warming can be accurately attributed to man. It doesn’t depend on whether or not the current warm period is warmer than the MWP. It doesn’t depend on whether multi-decadal “unforced” natural variability is +/-1 degC (or greater) or far less (as in GCMs). As best I can tell, CAGW depends solely on whether or not climate sensitivity for 2X CO2 is around 1-1.5 degC or 3+ degC. In 2100, when our descendants examine the history of global warming, they will probably wonder why so much emphasis was placed on the uniqueness of today’s warmer climate instead of climate sensitivity. (They may also look back on decades of successful geo-engineering of climate or alternative energy and laugh at our idiotic attempts to predict what problems will be important a century from now.)

        The debate over the uniqueness of today’s climate may turn out to be a form of over-hyped scientific trivia, but the TACTICS used by the IPCC activists to misrepresent uniqueness ARE important. If the IPCC can’t be trusted to analyze current climate with appropriate scientific rigor and honesty, why should anyone trust them on the big issue: climate sensitivity?

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      andrew adams: Why is it necessary for current climate change to be different or unique from changes in the past for it to be potentially due to man-induced causes?

      The key in your sentence is “potentially”. We have known from the studies of the absorption and emission spectra of CO2, H2O et al that warming induced by anthropogenic CO2 is a potential problem. What we need is reasonable evidence that some of what we have observed since the end of the LIA is “actually” not due to other causes, and how much it might continue in the future. If what has been measured in the last 150 years is well within the range of natural variability, then we do not have such “reasonable evidence”; all we have is the same old stuff humans have previously endured.

      People will dispute whether some particular line of evidence is “reasonable”, but there has to be some evidence.

      • What we need is reasonable evidence that some of what we have observed since the end of the LIA is “actually” not due to other causes

        Actually, if you leave off torturing reason and grammar for a moment, you will see that what you need, simply stated, is reasonable evidence of what the “other cause” you allude to is, where it comes from, how it works, and so on.

        In short, you need a theory, and that theory needs to be supported by data. Then that theory can be compared with the existing theory and the evidence for the two weighed.

        “Prove that there is not some other force doing it somehow” is the definition of the fallacy of demanding proof of a negative.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Robert: “Prove that there is not some other force doing it somehow” is the definition of the fallacy of demanding proof of a negative.

        The key in science is evidence. As in: there is no evidence for N-Rays or the luminiferous aether, though in both cases there was believable theory. There is no fallacy in showing that there is no evidence to support the existence of something hypothesized. According to you, the scientific focus on the Higgs boson ought to have to prove that it did not exist, given that a theory supported its existence.

      • andrew adams

        But the hypothesis does not require that warming caused by GHGs must necessarily be outside the range of past climate change which has occurred for other reasons.
        Another problem is that you are arguing as if the GHG argument is merely a post-hoc explanation for the observed warming when in fact it was predicted in advance that increased levels of GHGs in the atmosphere would cause warming. The fact that warming has actually ocurred is evidence, as are the known radiative properties of GHGs and the observed existence of the greenhouse effect.
        If people want to put forward “natural variability” as an alternative theory then they need to provide evidence to support it.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Andrew Adams: Another problem is that you are arguing as if the GHG argument is merely a post-hoc explanation for the observed warming when in fact it was predicted in advance that increased levels of GHGs in the atmosphere would cause warming.

        I have never argued that AGW was merely a post-hoc explanation: it’s based on the absorption and emission spectra of CO2; I have argued that the theory is full of inadequacies and has never been shown to make accurate enough predictions that it can be used for planning purposes. I have argued that we can’t tell, on present evidence, whether any of the warming of the post WWII era is due to GHGs. And I have argued that the theory does not predict how increases in CO2 will change the processes of heat transfer within the atmosphere. I have argued that evidence that efforts to reduce CO2 should be shown to be efficacious before they are adopted on a wide scale. I have argued that claims that recent and near-term increases in mean Earth surface temperature are “unprecedented” are without foundation. And I have argued that the inadequacies of the theory are documented plentifully in standard texts and peer-reviewed publications. I have also argued that investments in alternative energy sources should be continued for at least the next 20 years to reduce their costs.

        Today I began with the comment that evidence is required; I further have claimed that more evidence than what we have now will be required if we are to commit to some program other than research and development.

        If people want to put forward “natural variability” as an alternative theory then they need to provide evidence to support it.

        There is lots of evidence for natural variability. Whether the rise in temperature of the last 50 years is due to something never present in sufficient quantities before WWII is what we have to find out. Another thing we need to learn, and shall learn, is whether we experience net cooling or net warming over the next 20 years. The evidence of the next 20 years should provide “severe tests” of a bunch of extant theories.

      • Wall Street is full of spent wizards who had their 15 minutes when they made a prediction that came true. But over all, the index funds do better than the managed funds. So much for the predictive power of experts. The fact that a prediction came true, in and of itself, means bupkis.

      • andrew adams

        PE,

        Indeed, you have to demonstrate a specific link between the prediction and the outcome. Luckily in the case of AGW we have one – the known radiative properties of CO2 and the observed effect of the presence of GHGs in the atmosphere.

      • andrew adams

        MattStat,

        What is your evidence for the warming in recent decades being caused by non-human factors?

        As for evidence of post WWII warming being due to GHGs, the well known and observed radiative properties of GHGs are themselves evidence. Even if someone provides evidence that some natural mechanism could have plausibly produced the amount of warming we have seen in recent decades that doesn’t make the argument for AGW just go away – we would still have to account for the warming effect of increased levels of GHGs.
        Which is not to say there are not other lines of evidence. How about changes to observed levels of outgoing infrared radiation.

        http://www.eumetsat.int/Home/Main/Publications/Conference_and_Workshop_Proceedings/groups/cps/documents/document/pdf_conf_p50_s9_01_harries_v.pdf

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Andrew Adams: Even if someone provides evidence that some natural mechanism could have plausibly produced the amount of warming we have seen in recent decades that doesn’t make the argument for AGW just go away

        I agree with that statement. At present we have insufficient evidence to decide among theories and provide a foundation for planning. So we continue to do research on climate and R&D on energy technologies.

        Lots of evidence supports the idea that the climate is always changing due to a variety of partially understood processes. Unless those processes stopped operation following WWII they continued, and if they continued they contributed one way or another to post WWII climate change.

      • MattStat – you think just like my father’s Rear Admiral. Waiting for more information before deciding to shoot, he very nearly got everybody killed.

      • “There is no fallacy in showing that there is no evidence to support the existence of something hypothesized.”

        That is the opposite of what you did. There is massive empirical evidence for AGW, and none at all for your undefined, aether-like “natural variability.”

        You have shown no evidence that “natural variability” is the cause of the present warming. Nor can you say what you mean by “natural variability.” What kind? What mechanism?

        “I have argued that the theory is full of inadequacies”

        No, you asserted that. You haven’t made the argument. The way you make that argument is by showing another theory better fits the facts. You haven’t done that.

        “Another thing we need to learn, and shall learn, is whether we experience net cooling or net warming over the next 20 years.”

        Who is “we” in this sentence? The science literate know the answer to this question. If you don’t, I wish you all the best in your educational process. But how did you conclude that your ignorance was a general state of affairs?

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        JCH: Waiting for more information before deciding to shoot, he very nearly got everybody killed.

        Sounds about right. He also avoided killing by “friendly fire”.

        Reminds me of the Battle of Midway when Admiral Spruance tried everyone’s patience, repeatedly requiring more information before ordering the strike. I mean, as long as you are going to mention military analogies. There is always an important historical analogy to support any point of view.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Robert: The way you make that argument is by showing another theory better fits the facts.

        Historically, theories have been shown to be inadequate before there being a better theory. The classic example might be Newton’s theory for the precession of the perihelion of Mars.

        I think that you have become intentionally nonsensical.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        oops, I mean Mercury for Mars.

      • @Robert

        “Prove that there is not some other force doing it somehow” is the definition of the fallacy of demanding proof of a negative.

        Yes, and the suggestion that this is what is happening, is the definition of the fallacy of a strawman.

        What is demanded though, are accounts of natural forcings.

      • “Yes, and the suggestion that this is what is happening, is the definition of the fallacy of a strawman.”

        No, V, that is what he did.

        “What is demanded though, are accounts of natural forcings.”

        Why don’t you take your demands to a freshman survey course where they belong?

        Or are you unaware of the vast literature on various “natural forcings”?

    • RE andrew adams | August 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm
      “Why is it necessary for current climate change to be different or unique from changes in the past for it to be potentially due to man-induced causes?”
      ____

      It’s necessary for those who want to dispute man-induced causes. Otherwise, how can they argue?

      BTW, I think you can delete”potential” from that sentence.

      ‘It’s not. I think the unprecedented argument is horribly misdirected.

      • Delete the last sentence from my previous post. It’s Mosher’s.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Max_OK: It’s necessary for those who want to dispute man-induced causes.

        It’s also necessary to substantiate a claim that reducing CO2 emissions will make a difference.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Robert: How so?

        A clarification please: are you asserting that there is no need to show that an effort to reduce CO2 will work as intended?

      • There is no need to show that “current climate change [is] different or unique from changes in the past for it to be potentially due to man-induced causes.”

        By your logic, we could argue that there is no reason to fear nuclear war, because even the largest nuclear explosion is far smaller than the damage caused by major meteor impacts in the geologic past.

        The earth has been around for billions of years, and many things have happen to it in the slow unfolding of the eons that are not at all safe for us to do to ourselves.

        Say a change is unique, or not, tells you nothing about:

        1. What is causing it.
        2. What kind of threat is represents.
        3. How to deal with that threat.

      • andrew adams

        Max OK,

        They can dispute it by showing that our understanding of the radiative properties of CO2 and/or climate sensitivity are incorrect.

        I agree WRT the word “potential” – I only incuded it as it was used by the OP.

      • “They can dispute it by showing that our understanding of the radiative properties of CO2″

        Like the sky dragons did already!!

    • I don’t think anyone has answered Andrew Adams directly in terms of the historical situation in 1995….

      At the time there were two main grounds for proposing human attribution. The first was on global mean temp and the other was through analysis of the pattern of the warming across the latitudial zones. In terms of GMT it is hard to make a case without first establishing the uniqueness of recent warming in terms of rate and magnitude — that is why the hockey stick was so important to TAR. Barnett et al makes it marvellously clear that this cannot be established, not on proxy nor instrimental evidence (see also the Barnett et al 1999 ‘Status Report’ which deals directly with the proto-hockey sticks).

      Pattern analysis does not require uniqueness in terms of rate and magnitude, but in terms of matching the pattern. The widely used nickname ‘fingerprint’ is good marketing because the characteristic of fingerprint matching is all about uniqueness. However Barnett et al makes a joke of that nickname by pointing out that we have no real evidence on what natural warming looks like (whether internal variability or external volcanic or solar forcing — not in instriment data, not in proxy data). Nor do we have real evidence as to what emissions-warming looks like (whether CO2 or CO2+SO2 or CO2+SO2+Ozone+Soot+…).

      We can only make guesses by modelling. Pattern studies compare model guesses with recent real data (during the proposed AGW effected period). Barnett et al says that we cannot get off first base because we dont know what normally happens and by what cause. We dont know what is different let alone unique. As Plato said, making distinctions (in our shared experience) is the fundimental practice of science, and Barnett informed Ch 8 that here we can make no distinction that we can call ‘AGW’ and so that is why it was sceptical…before the changes.

      For more info in this section:

      http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/madrid-1995-and-the-quest-for-the-mirror-in-the-sky-part-ii/#FalseDawn

      BTW, have we noted here that Barnett was a lead author of FAR and SAR Ch 8? And have we noted that the ‘et al’ of Barnett et al 1996 includes Santer?

      • Indeed, it is not that the changes recent have to be unique, just that natural variability has to be ruled out. But this requires an understanding of natural variability which we do not yet have. Nor are we pursuing it, as most research is focused on internal AGW questions.

        I think the uniqueness argument is there for two reasons. First, there was an early assumption that climate was naturally stable, not naturally oscillating on large scales. The latter view only emerged in the later 1990’s. Second it is a simple argument that summarizes the basic ideology of environmentalism, which permeates the debate. Thus we see it everywhere. Today it is drought and heat, just because we are having a hot drought.

      • David,
        Let me just correct one matter here. You say ‘there was an early assumption that climate was naturally stable, not naturally oscillating on large scales. The latter view only emerged in the later 1990′s.’
        If you are referring to views within Scientific discourse then this is a common missunderstanding of the history of climate science that, in itself, is interesting to explore. See my discussion here:

        http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/civilisation-and-climate/

        Not long after oscillations were estabished on a geological scale (ice ages) they were proposed in the holocene, and even in historical times.
        Brockner (from 1889) believed he had discovered an oscillation that varied considerably but averaged 35 years.
        The pulse in Huntington’s ‘Pulse of Asia’ (1907) refers to climate pulses on a centenial scale. Before him there was De Geers and after him there was Brookes, Lamb and so forth. But also there was the IPCC First Assessment – this makes very clear statements about natural variability including oscillations. And this is precisely why it’s Chapter 8 was sceptical.
        As for: “Second it is a simple argument that summarizes the basic ideology of environmentalism” – if you mean a presumption of a natural static or dynamic equilibrium, then I agree, and there has been much written on this and it has influenced environmental science to its peril.

      • andrew adams

        berniel,

        Thanks for your reply. However, I still have to take issue with your claim that “In terms of GMT it is hard to make a case without first establishing the uniqueness of recent warming in terms of rate and magnitude”.

        The case for attributing the recent rise in GMT to human activity is primarily due to the known radiative properties of CO2 and the fact that human activity has caused levels CO2 to increase substantially. That case exists regardless of whether the recent warming is similar in extent to warming that has occurred in the past.

        As for “fingerprinting”, it is necessarily going to based largely on our understanding of atmospheric physics, in other words the results of models – the kind of phenomena involved are not things which are going to show up in proxy records. That doesn’t mean we can’t have confidence in our understanding of what such fingerprints should look like – the “it’s just models” argument just doesn’t cut it. No doubt there were limitations to our ability to identify them when Barnet et al was published, but then that was 16 years ago.

      • Latimer Alder

        @andrew adams

        Fine. You have presented a plausible case. It might even be good enough to persuade the CPS to consider bringing charges.

        But presenting a case is emphatically not the same as being proven. Seems to me that all of climatology and their camp followers have artfully omitted that essential part.

        ‘M’lud, the defendant must be guilty because we haven’t thought of anybody else it could be. Nor have we looked. And anyway we know he’s an evil evil bastard sponsored by Big Oil and the Koch Brothers. So there’

        is not really a very persuasive closing speech by the prosecution.

        Especially when the defenc pops up with:

        ‘M’lud there have been many occasions in the past when similar acts have been committed and we know that the defendant cannot have been present. While those remain unexplained there is reasonable cause to doubt my client’s guilt’

        M’lud: ‘Case dismissed. And I’d urge the prosecuting counsel to produce a much better case next time and not to waste the time of this court nor to underestimate its intelligence next time’

      • Latimer

        ‘M’lud, the defendant must be guilty because we haven’t thought of anybody else it could be.

        That’s not the argument I was making, in fact it’s pretty much the opposite. My point is that the case for AGW stands in its own right, regardless of what other factors could potentially have influenced climate during that time.

        ‘M’lud there have been many occasions in the past when similar acts have been committed and we know that the defendant cannot have been present. While those remain unexplained there is reasonable cause to doubt my client’s guilt’

        Well if I’m ever on trial I will make sure I don’t hire you as my defence lawyer because based on that argument I would find myself behind bars in no time.

      • there have been many occasions in the past when similar acts have been committed and we know that the defendant cannot have been present. While those remain unexplained there is reasonable cause to doubt my client’s guilt

        Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey!

      • “But presenting a case is emphatically not the same as being proven. Seems to me that all of climatology and their camp followers have artfully omitted that essential part.”

        That’s just another way of saying you’re ignorant of the science.

        Study the science, and you’ll see that the case has been proven.

        Your not knowing the proof does not make it magically not exist.

      • Latimer Alder

        @robert

        I started my attempt to understand climatology exactly because I wanted to see where the case for AGW has been proven. Since you have obviously found this Holy Grail, you will be doing usa ll a favour by pointing out where it is located.

        Just saying ‘study the science and you’ll see that the case has been proven’ helps nobody. And gives the impression that you are just whistling to keep your spirits up. Or that you haven’t a f….g clue where this so-called ‘proof’ is, but you’d like to try the arrogant putdown tactic in the hope that I’d roll over an dagree with your supposedly superior intellect

        So – direct question. Where is the proof that you assert? A non answer or an evasive answer or a stupid answer will just lead me and others to conclude that you are just blowing smoke out of your arse. It is absolutely central to the alarmist case, so you should know its whereabouts as easily as a Christian should be able to recite the Lords Prayer.

        Point us to it!

      • Latimer Alder

        Three days after challenging the alarmist denizens here to show me where the ‘proof’ of AGW is located there has been not a peep from them.

        Not one word. Not even an assertion that I am a ‘denier’ or ‘too stupid to understand’ or ‘funded by the Big Oil Burn The Babies Conspiracy’

        C’mon guys…surely you can do better than this!

        Without this proof, then we are just dealing with hypothetical speculation and circumstantial evidence. The cynics/sceptics among us might suspect that you are all just blowing smoke and hoping against hope that we won’t notice this major lacuna in your argument. Or maybe you are just the useful idiots who have been fooled by the conmen at the top of climatology….

        Last chance…Where is the proof?

  4. andrew adams

    If you answer YES to at least 3 of these, I would argue that you are sufficiently informed to make an independent judgement rather than parrot the consensus.

    Or to challenge it presumably?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Excellent point Andrew Adams!   :)   :)   :)

      And your point has multiple variations:

      Judith Curry argues: “If you answer YES to at least 3 of these, I would argue that you are sufficiently informed to make an independent judgement rather than parrot the consensus.”

      Or to reject it reflexively?

      Andrew Adams’ point (AFAICT) is that the way a person completes this sentence: “If you answer YES to at least 3 of these, I would argue that you are sufficiently informed to make an independent judgement rather than parrot [the consensus] / [the skeptics] is (unintentionally?) revealing of what group that person considers to be opposed to “independent judgment”.

      The present draft of Judith Curry’s essay presupposes that “the consensus” is opposed to “independent judgement.” The contrary implication — that it is “the skeptics” are opposed to “independent judgement” — would of course be just as sensible!   :)   :)   :)

      Judith, that is why your essay requires considerable (and thoughtful) revisions, before it can be reasonably be regarded as an objectively dispassionate analysis.   :)   :)   :)

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Fan,
        What is truly hilarious is that if you perform your academic job the way you push climate extremism, you would be fired for cause.

      • A fan of *MORE* discord

        We hope…

      • Latimer Alder

        Fan is an academic? I always imagined he was a clever clever snotty 14 year old with attitude.

        I used to have some reflexive respect for academic types. But recent prolonged exposure has considerably reduced that. This latest bombshell has further diminished it.

      • Clever?

      • Latimer Alder

        @edim.

        No. Not ‘clever’. But ‘clever clever’. Different thing..at least in British English. And it is not generally thought of as being a compliment.

      • Misread, but didn’t know about ‘clever clever’ anyway. Learning never stops.

      • andrew adams

        Fan,

        I don’t think there is much doubt what each side thinks about the “independent judgement” of the other. But I was curious to see whether Judith is even handed on this question, partly because she tends to give much more leeway to the “skeptics” than the consensus side on this kind of question and I wanted to see if she was prepared to follow the logic of her argument, and partly because it actually makes a difference to the point she is putting across. Is it about objective judgement or is it about what qualifies someone to make judgements on scientific questions in general?

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        AFOMD

        Agreed, that following the leader ( or a consensus of leaders ) is a human trait which would be seen in believer or unbeliever. It makes Dr. Curry’s sentence interesting, as andrew and you found.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Andrew Adams, your remarks are well-considered (IMHO). Like you — and like many Climate Etc folks — I too am very interested in Judith’s evolving perspectives as to what constitutes “independent judgment.” Hopefully we have not seen the last of Judith’s well-reasoned musings upon this key subject!   :)   :)   :)

        “Discord”, “lurker”, and Dave Springer, the examples that you three posters so consistently provide, here on Climate Etc, of a characteristically abusive style of cognition and public discourse, are sufficiently paradigmatic as to be pathognomonic.

        For which lesson freely provided, this appreciation too is extended, oh “discord”, “lurker”, and Dave Springer!   :)   :)   :)

      • Steven Mosher

        +1 on the demagoguery scorecard.
        see how you characterize outsiders?

      • Sorry, Steve, but truth is an absolute defense against charges of libel.

        Nor can the behavior of three specific people be honestly construed as an indictment of all “outsiders.”

        In general you seem not to be very honest or careful in your use of the “scorecard.” Perhaps you are deliberately courting the irony of twisting it to serve your own demagoguery?

      • Steven Mosher

        “Sorry, Steve, but truth is an absolute defense against charges of libel.”

        except I didnt charge him with libel. So, I’m not sure what you are referring to. “fan” posted a list of criteria by which we can identify demagoguery. he continues to score points on that scorecard. he supplied the scorecard, I merely apply it to his discourse. Which is different than calling him a sick individual

        he could of course stop. He could just discuss the science. We all could. But we don’t. We may start the discussion that way, but sooner or later…

        Noting this behavior, doesn’t imply that one is free from it. If I wanted to suggest that I would say so clearly. So, you are free to consult his criteria for demagoguery, and when you see anyone engage in that behavior, you can make a note: +1 demagoguery. If you do that I would not accuse you of engaging in demagoguery, I would say that you were making notes about behavior.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven Mosher, is it not hugely preferable, the we regard posters like “discord”, “lurker”, and Dave Springer, not as outsiders but insiders: insiders whose thinking still is evolving?   ;)   ;)   ;)

        The rationale being, that because Nature shows us AGW more clearly with each passing day, the more politely we respond to posters like “discord”, “lurker”, and Dave Springer, the more rationally receptive these posters will prove — in the long run — to ongoing advances in climate change science?

        After all many smokers who were vehemently skeptical of the tobacco-cancer connection in the 1950s and 1960s, quietly quit smoking in the 1970s and 1980s.

        Isn’t that correct, Steven Mosher?   ;)   ;)   ;)

        As present climate-change strengthen and accelerates, the same will prove true of AGW skeptics in general and — in the long run — to posters like “discord”, “lurker”, and Dave Springer in particular,

        Who knows, perhaps even Anthony Watts and Willis Eschenbach will be converted, by the plain weight of Nature.

        And that will be GOOD, eh Steven Mosher?   :)   :)   :)

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        The fixation of consensus extremists with smoking is entertaining.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Steven Mosher, is it not hugely preferable, the we regard posters like “discord”, “lurker”, and Dave Springer, not as outsiders but insiders: insiders whose thinking still is evolving?”

        I’d suggest that after looking at discourse for inside/outside tropes, it is interesting to drop the notion altogether or question the concept.

        I’d also suggested that the term “evolving” is loaded with connotations that you might want to consider.

        “Who knows, perhaps even Anthony Watts and Willis Eschenbach will be converted, by the plain weight of Nature.’

        I think it’s also interesting to note how the discourse around “converted” relies upon the same kinds of constructs; good:evil. damned;saved.

        In 2006 Willis Echenbach argued that up to 30% of the warming we have seen was human caused. Since the IPPC put the figure at over 50%, I’m not sure I would call that a conversion, UNLESS I wanted to deliver a connotation about his current spiritual state. Anthony, as well, believes that C02 is a GHG, he happens to believe that the effect is smaller than the IPCC suggests. You should also note that there is a very acrimonious relationship between Springer and Willis which means that it would be somewhat difficult to define a category that contains them both

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        fan,
        My views are evolving. I started as a committed believer in the consensus and its alarmism. I moved past it to realizing that like so many other social movements involving apocalyptic punishments and the world at risk, is crap.
        Your lack evolution should make you wonder what the alternative to evolution is.

      • Are you saying that Fan was created by a giant turtle? Sounds as scientific to me as his Hansen groupieism.

    • There is a lot of rational skepticism which is based not on a good grasp of the actual consensus science that is presented, but on the process that produced it – a process that is patently obviously politicized and otherwise corrupt.

      With the odd exception like Muller, this process is quite undisturbed by systemic, unrepentant professional malpractice by the IPCC cadre, as evidenced eg in Climategate. And until such time as such practices are censured and punished, only a fool would place any trust in the results of this tainted process.

    • Hmm. I think I can answer Yes to 3 of those, but I do not feel sufficiently informed to make independent judgements on all of the matters discussed. Some, certainly. But not all, and not some of the most important ones.

  5. As to a ‘discernible’ impact of humans on the warming the conclusion is pretty clear. Take Western academia out of the equation and global warming is a big zero, e.g., “The historic evidence of the natural cycle includes the 5000-year record of Nile floods, 1st-century Roman wine production in Britain, and thousands of museum paintings that portrayed sunnier skies during the Medieval Warming and more cloudiness during the Little Ice Age…”

    http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/climatologists-playing-childrens-games-to-scare-each-other/

  6. ” Without such information it is impossible to say that current climate change is different or unique from changes that have happened in the past and, therefore, potentially due to man-induced causes.”

    Well. Let us, for the sake of the argument, assume that current temperature rise is not unnatural (that is the word I will try to use for “not different” from the past) than that fact in itself leaves to questions unanswered:

    1) Is it dangerous? I mean, suppose, again for the sake of the argument, that this has happened before with consequences that we wouldn’t be able to withstand than I would like to know, frankly..

    2) Does that fact in itself unequivocally mean that current temperature rise is not man-induced? I mean, we do not experience a large temperature rise. But let’s assume that is we find ALL forcings that affect the climate and we manage to completely predict their effects, it could be (sake of the argument time again, bear with me) we found that world temperatures should have been stable for a while, and rise at the end of the century with one whole degree. If that would be the case current temperature rise may look harmless and natural, but after being superimposed on the coming natural increase may become too large to be not dangerous.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      peeke: If that would be the case current temperature rise may look harmless and natural, but after being superimposed on the coming natural increase may become too large to be not dangerous.

      This is what we would like to find out.

      • “This is what we would like to find out.”

        Then get yourself a college degree and a plan and start investigating.

        Drop me a line when the first paper passes peer review.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Robert: Then get yourself a college degree and a plan and start investigating.

        How droll. Are you asserting that I have not done those?

      • Just going by the general level of your contributions.

        If you have already made a start, good for you. That brings us to Stage III:

        Drop me a line when the first paper passes peer review.

        Good luck!

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Robert: Drop me a line when the first paper passes peer review.

        You mean first in climate science, right, not first in statistics or time series analysis?

      • John Carpenter

        Matt, just ask Robert for his peer reviewed contributions thus far and see what you get. I’ll tell ya… zero, because if he did he would have to reveal his secret identity. Not gonna happen. So as a consequence of his own logic, one has to question whether Robert ever made it out of high school himself.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        John Carpenter, to the extent that I am able to avoid getting irritated, I try to address the arguments, not the people. I find Robert shifting his ground, or so it seems to me, but I don’t care what his credentials are.

      • John Carpenter

        Matt, Robert has no credentials… so when I see him suggest to those he disagrees with that they should obtain them prior to making comments he apparently feels is outside their expertise, I like to rub it in his contradictory nose. It’s the price he pays for anonymity, besides not being taken seriously.

  7. Seems to me that apart from offering a fascinating and very thoroughly documented account of this particular issue, BernieL has also provided an excellent example of the actual (and very limited) extent of the IPCC’s much-vaunted “transparency”.

    A key paragraph (from my perspective) was that in which Bernie described the power of the “Side group” in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of “consensus” building:

    on the final day when the Detection and Attribution (D&A) Side Group reports back to the Working Group 1 Plenary in Madrid with a new bottom line statement. The text of this statement was the product of the extensive discussions by this Side Group established ad hoc on the first day […] some minority opposition was expected and the formation of a side group at these conferences is a strategy to avoid unwieldy debates crippling the plenary discussion by allowing vexing issues of conflict to be thrashed out and resolved in less formal and more intimate exchanges. They are also seen as a way to short-circuit the blocking strategies of those intent against the conference proceeding to some positive resolution. [emphasis added -hro]

    Much ado is often made in the press releases of the so-called IPCC “approval” process … so that the general reader is left with the distinct (but erroneous) impression that all 194 countries have “approved” the report. Not only is this “line-by-line” approval process limited to the wording of the SPM, but the “plenary” is not that of the IPCC, but of the WG which produced the report.

    The IPCC plenary does not get to “approve” these reports but merely to “accept” the actions of the WG Plenary (in which IPPC delegates are invited to participate). When I looked into this a year ago wrt to the approval/acceptance of the SRREN report, I found that (by the IPCC’s very own numbers):

    there were only 188 names in 91 “national delegations” who participated in the 11th Session of Working Group III at which the SPM for the SSREN was actually “approved”, i.e. “subjected to detailed, line by line discussion and agreement”. Not only is this a far cry from being “approved by government representatives from 194 nations” (as falsely “advertised” on May 9), it doesn’t even constitute 50% of the Panel’s “government membership”!

    If there is any record of how many “government members” were actually present for each part of the discussions (not to mention might have participated in the Side Groups), I’m not sure where one might find it.

    Of IPCC reports … and press releases in which they “hide the declines”

    With Bernie’s exposé of the power of the Side Groups, YMMV, but I can only conclude that … well … it’s worse than we thought!

  8. While I recommend skeptics should read the thousand pages of the AR4 WG1 report, because it answers a lot of the questions we see here all the time, I doubt anyone has read it cover to cover.
    We also need to distinguish between reading papers and understanding them. For the latter, you would normally have had an education to graduate level in the relevant areas, or want to research the references yourself. Merely reading them doesn’t qualify you to judge them, so I find this quantification flawed. The measures should be related to quality of understanding, not quantity of reading.

    • By the same token one should have read and understood a thousand pages of counter arguments as well. But this sort of qualifying game quickly becomes impossible, because the scope of expertise includes a dozen different disciplines. There is no such thing as having expert knowledge of all the big issues.

      • This is why i focused specifically on detection and attribution, which in itself is a very complex multi-disciplinary problem

      • When Darwin and Wallace presented their ideas on evolution there was much opposition and enthusiastic support.
        Ernst Haeckel was professor of comparative anatomy at the University of Jena, and was particularly impressed with the theory of evolution. It must be remembered that the units of inheritance, in the form of Mendelian inheritance, were only popularized in 1900.
        Haeckel wanted to ‘prove’ evolution, by examining and drawing embryos.
        Haeckel formulated a theory known as “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”, also known as the recapitulation theory. Recapitulation theory claimed that the development of advanced species passes through stages represented by adult organisms of more primitive species. By observing the development of embryos, one could observe the evolutionary root, as the embryos looked like the adult form of some evolutionary ancestor.

        Here are some of Haeckel’s drawings:-

        http://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/haeckel_anthropogenie_1874.jpg?w=500&h=348

        The whole point of this post is that all of Haeckel’s ideas were wrong. Moreover, although is was a fine artiest and illustrator, there is a huge amount of bias in his renderings. He drew what he thought he was seeing; his drawings are similar to, but not the same as high resolution images of embryos.
        Here is a comparison of Haeckel’s drawings and line drawings of photographic images:-

        Now that we, and all living things past and present, evolved is the truth. However, that Haeckel’s ideas and his misleading, biased, images are still around is very sad. Good science does not need researchers to place a fake cherry on the cake.

  9. Dave Springer

    Curry, I think what you believe about climate change isn’t half as important as understanding the risk/reward scenario. Few climate scientists know or are willing to admit that a warmer planet is a huge net benefit. We have to count the winners and losers. If there are more winners than losers then the “the greatest good for the greatest number” should be the road most traveled.

    I HOPE the alarmists are right. The earth without ice caps is a verdant paradise that is green from pole to pole. Life thrives on this planet when CO2 is high and there’s no permanent snow cover. Will there be some losers? Sure. But there will be far more winners and we are obliged to weigh the one against the other. Sacrificing the many for the good of the few is not noble it’s just stupid.

    • Robert Austin

      And may mean that mankind can delay/prevent the next ice age! With Hansen’s vaunted tipping points, ice age prevention should be a piece of cake. Too bad it’s just fantasy.

  10. 1) YES
    2) NO
    3) N0
    4) YES
    5) YES

    However, over the past 5 years, my reading of journal articles has been influenced by what cites I have visited. Early on, particularly blog posts which supported catastrophic climate change, I would read the links to articles and read the discussions about the content and conclusions. Being a lay person to climate science, I had to bring along my math, physics and particularly language skills to be able to understand what was being reported and commented upon. Towards the end of my warming journey I was reading RealClimate and began to sparingly comment. Much to my chagrin, I was immediately identified as a dweeb and not worth listening to.

    My turn to the Dark Side.

    Hurt feelings led to my furtive glancing at contrarian cites, encountering the usual rants but episodically reading someone who seemed to have a grasp of terminology, concepts, and more than rudimentary statistical skills. I fell into the Bart Verhenncgan (?sp) blog March 2010 and the 1000+ dialogue of VS handling of the temperature record 1880 to 2008. I became aware of another side, truly a dark side of vitriol hurled at VS (I don’t know who this person was) as he plowed his way through the temperature records and time series.

    I had fallen into a crevasse. I would be here and ever after entombed in the skeptical side of climate science. I may emerge when all the ice melts.

    In another venue, I had observed the phenomenon of higher order psychological evidence of the consensus swamping first order evidence.

    I was not there in the early years of IPCC as you seem to have been, yet your comment that consensus building was a proper function of science I have never seen, and I take issue with. I have seen the outcomes of consensus science, lived and worked under its tyranny as consensus science has violated the admonition: ” First, do no harm.”

  11. Hank Zentgraf

    I will join this debate when I read enough journal papers that:
    1.0 comprehensively explain the climate physics and metrics of clouds, water vapor, precipitation, aerosols and cosmic rays, and
    2.0 explain and calibrate the various natural thermostatic stabilizing climate forces and
    3.0 describe a computer model which characterizes the climate system so accurately that three month predictions are as accurate as 10 day weather predictions are today.

    • Hank,

      It ain’t gonna happen!
      Current consensus knows everything about their models and absolutely nothing about real parameters of complexity in a motion environment.
      Observed science NEVER includes motion as it was/in unseen except from a distance…
      Certainly never looked at the vastly different velocities at each latitude of planetary surface.

  12. Imo the term “consensus” is very much over utilized in the field of climate science. People frequently claim that there is a consensus among climate scientists regarding global warming, but imo those who make such a claim frequently seem to be only superficially knowledgeable about the key issues on the topic and where reasonable people agree or disagree.

    1. I have read the IPCC AR4 WGI report in its entirety YES
    2. I have an understanding of paleoclimate proxies in the sense that I have read at least 6 journal articles on this topic and am aware of the arguments that have criticized interpretations of these proxies YES
    3. I have a first order understanding of how global climate models work, in the sense that I have contributed to some aspect of model development, have conducted experiments using a global or regional climate model, and/or have read the manual for one of the global climate models or some of the primarily literature describing the construction and validation of climate models. YES, but only to the extent of having read some of the primary literature describing the construction and validation of climate models and have significant experience in the development of complex simulation models
    4.I am aware of the uncertainties surrounding the external forcing for 20th century climate model simulations (e.g. solar, volcanoes, aerosol etc) and have read at least some journal articles on this topic. YES
    5. I have read at least 6 papers on the subject of natural internal variability and am aware of the controversies surrounding the LIA and MWP. YES

    Imo, the key issues which will determine what is/should be done in response to the issue is the determination on two basic points
    1. Climate sensitivity- For clarity I’ll define this as how much the earth will warm as a result of a doubling of CO2. There is no consensus on sensitivity at this time within a margin of error that is meaningful to make decisions. If the sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is 1.0C the actions in response are quite different than if the sensitivity is 4.0C
    2. Improved modeling that will be able to more accurately determine what will happen at a regional or local level to the weather as a function of more CO2. We need to better understand the impact of more CO2 on the regional or local weather 1 to 4 decades into the future. The amount of change in annual rainfall is probably the most import consideration that needs to be understood. It is key to determining whether a warmer world is a net harm or a net benefit.

  13. > The IPCC’s detection and attribution argument is at the heart of the debate.

    Identifying the debate would make the attribution clearer to detect, since the previous occurrences of “debate” refer to many debates.

    Clarifying which debate is the debate should be welcome.

    Furthermore, it’s not clear how Lewin’s work squares with the topic of “scientific bias generated by the consensus building process itself.” The connection has not been established in the blog post, and this could come itself as confirmation bias, something I could be accused myself, I’ve been told not to get Judy. In any case, some clarification may be needed of other readers as well.

    ***

    If I wished to express a strategical point, I would point at this:

    > I have to say that I haven’t previously encountered the Barnett et al. paper.

    and that would be all.

    • willard

      Clarifying which debate is the debate should be welcome.

      Here’s how I understand it.

      The “debate” refers to the ongoing scientific debate surrounding the IPCC attribution claim, i.e. the most recent AR4 claim is that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”

      Furthermore, it’s not clear how Lewin’s work squares with the topic of “scientific bias generated by the consensus building process itself.”

      To me, after reading Lewin’s articles, this is very clear. He points out that the creation of the IPCC “consensus process” spawned the corruption of climate science by introducing the scientific bias required to support that process.

      Seems rather clear to me, Willard.

      Max

      • Steven Mosher

        “The IPCC’s detection and attribution argument is at the heart of the debate.”

        probably cant be parsed as you want to

        Via substitution your approach yeilds:

        “The IPCC’s detection and attribution argument is at the heart of the ongoing scientific debate surrounding the IPCC attribution claim”

        More likely is

        “The IPCC’s detection and attribution argument is at the heart of the debate over the existence of anthropogenic warming”

      • manacker,

        Here’s the sentence:

        > The IPCC’s detection and attribution argument is at the heart of the debate.

        Here’s your interpretation:

        > The IPCC’s detection and attribution argument is at the heart of the debate around the claim that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.

        Two observations come to mind:

        First, we now have an explicit claim which ties a specific debate with an argument.

        Second, this claim takes four lines to be unpacked, and thus takes some background knowledge which is best compensated with some description and references.

        Clarifying with more descriptions and references should not be difficult to do if we’re talking about the debate.

        ***

        Please also note that in the above blog post, the expression “the scientific bias” refers to Judy’s own work, and not to Lewin’s. This scientific bias, which is not to be conflated with corruption, should be spelled out here, and not come as an epiphany “after reading Lewin’s articles.” Until that’s done, I’m afraid that we’ll witness some more confirmation bias all over again.

        The problem is not the bias itself, but its self-sealing property: dogwhistling a relationship renders the construction unassailable. In a political game, it’s not a bad move. In the scientific game, it’s a losing move.

        Judy has to decide which game she plays.

  14. Dave Springer

    We need to fix the problems in academia before we fix the climate. But I have a strong suspicion once we fix the problem in academia we’ll discover the climate didn’t need fixing after all. ;-)

    • Considerate thinker

      Plus one on that too Dave.

    • No confirmation bias there at all…………….

    • Latimer Alder

      That’s a lot of fixing.

      Perhaps we could start by wondering if it really is a good use of public money for hordes of grunt academics to labour for three years to produce papers that few read, fewer care about and are rapidly thrown on the junk heap of history.

      And the best people to judge the ‘worth’ of such a funding system are emphatically not its immediate beneficiaries.

      • Joe's World(evolutionary progress)

        Latimer,

        Do you think the rich are paying for this?
        Or is it another burden of passing taxes onto the poor for this?

      • Dave Springer

        State taxpayers and state university students are footing the bill.

        Generally speaking the latter are usually quite poor hence the trite expression “Starving College Student” and the national scandal with college loan debt and the mediocre quality of the education compared with other nations.

        State taxpayers on average certainly aren’t rich.

        So when you see information like is contained here:

        http://lbloom.net/

        where average professors who teach a few classes and have no other responsibilities get paid over $200,000 per year one wonders what got broken in the academic compensation scheme and when it happened. The current theory is it’s basically a collusion between government and academia. The government provides low interest high risk loans to individuals who desire a university degree. The easy money available to students raises the number of them and the cost that the market will bear. The public academic institutions take advantage of this all this and raise their own compensation. It’s a vicious circle and resulted in the most expensive university system in the world that produces only mediocre results at best. In a fair world this would be prosecuted as racketeering.

      • Dave Springer

        We sometimes hear the excuse, well these professors could be making so much in the private sector we have to compensate them at this level to keep them here.

        That is bullsh!t. The private sector generally doesn’t specifically hire PhDs and they don’t pay much more for an advanced degree. The private sector is performance oriented. What they pay top dollar for is a track record of productivity.

      • There are lots of PhDs in the oil business, and they make very good money. Lee Raymond retired with 100s of well-deserved millions. He represents the upper end.

      • I expect that $200k is a starting salary at the Wall Street casino, and those people aren’t helping any lives except their own.

      • That’s why they love trading carbon credits – easy money, and those people aren’t helping any lives except their own.

      • Except the lives of all the people who voluntarily choose to use them – which indirectly involves the greater part of the entire population.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        As a concrete example of the key role that “exhaustive efforts to achieve consensus” play in climate-change discourse, please allow me to appreciate and commend Nick Stokes’ patient efforts this week to help Anthony Watts learn better data analysis techniques (here and here).

        It’s true that Anthony Watts (along with the numerous WUWT posters who follow Anthony’s lead) repays Nick’s collegiality with mockery and personal abuse, and yet we may none-the-less hope, that slowly (over a period of years?) skeptics like Anthony Watts, and weblogs like WUWT, will gain a better appreciation of the vital role that good manners and collegiality play in science!   :)   :)   :)

        Nick Stokes, we hope that your much-appreciated patience never is exhausted! Thank you, Nick Stokes!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        The response to Nick’s kind offers were based on the spirit in which they were made. And certainly not as paranoic and convoluted as demonstrated by climategate.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Climate Etc readers are invited to verify that Nick Stokes’ comments on WUWT are scrupulously respectful, concrete, factual, clear, informative, and actionable.

        The essence of rational skepticism is to reply in kind (of course). “Lurker” (and Anthony) take notes!   :)   :)   :)

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Fan,
        Your smiley faces remind me of how the creepy folks in Brazil worked

      • Robin Melville

        Great film!

      • Robin Melville

        Lurker — Brazil (Wordpessary, sigh)

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        On reflection, it appears from comments on this forum that Judith Curry’s five-element criteria have two loopholes that have not been mentioned so far: it is assumed that persons participating in climate-change discourse are (1) rationally dispassionate and (2) have social discount rates under 0.5%.

        The former case amounts to this: participants in public discourse must not *fear* climate change so much that they are unable to contemplate it rationally.

        The latter case amounts to this: participants in public discourse must not discount the long-term future (of order two centuries) so heavily that greed is an effective incentive to denialism.

        In recent decades, both paths have led to denialism, as described by historian Naomi Oreskes beginning at minute 3:00 of this lecture, for economic reasons that are well-described by David Good and Rafael Reuveny’s “On the Collapse of Historical Civilizations” (American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 1998)

        Suggestion  Professor Curry should add a sixth criterion requiring of participants: “I certify that my reasoning powers relating to climate-change are unimpaired by fear, religion, political ideology, selfishness, or greed.”

        That oughtta fix it!   :)   :)   :)

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Oh boy! The USCG icebreaker Healy has just left Alaska’s Dutch Harbor, bound for the fast-melting Arctic ice-pack. This will provide live coverage (via the Healy’s mast camera) of 2012’s incredible Arctic typhoon/ice-melt.

      • Fan

        Why is that ship an “icebreaker”?

        It’s August and I thought the late summer Arctic sea ice was fast disappearing.

        Can you “explain”?

        Max

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        manacker inquires “It’s August and I thought the late summer Arctic sea ice was fast disappearing.”

        Manacker, your understanding is correct.

        Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice weblog is a vibrant yet polite and respectful forum at which your climate understanding can increase, as fast as Arctic ice decreases!   :)   :)   :)

        The climate news is breaking faster than the ice, so don’t delay.   ;)   ;)   ;)

        Good luck, manacker!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Fan,
        It sounds like a great idea.
        Of course that would mean we would hear nothing more from you and the smiley faces that increasingly seem to be a desperate cry for help.

      • You can tell Watts hasn’t the faintest interest in discovering something about the science. The entire article is entirely motivated by smearing NOAA. Even when he’s shown to have made an incorrect comparison he still twists things to blame NOAA for his own mistake.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Sometimes telling the truth requires smearing complacent and incorrect schlock.
        This is twice in one season that NOAA has published utter crap.
        Instead of attributing motives to those who point this out, perhaps one should ask why involvement with the climate consensus seems to correalte very strongly with selling bullsh*t.
        But the evasiveness and cowardliness of the true believers is always good for a laugh, so thanks for the chuckle.

      • Latimer Alder

        @A fan

        Why don’t you express your support for Stokes over at WUWT? I can see very little point in posting it here. It will not influence either Anthony Watts nor his readership.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer, Posters who wish to remain anonymous cannot post on WUWT as if they disagree with Anthony, their IP addresses may be published.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        Your argument fails at the first hurdle

        ‘A fan of more discourse’ is not anonymous. His name is widely known.

        And judging on the number of psuedonym posters on WUWT who do not agree with Watts, I find it hard to believe in your second point about IP addresses either.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Latimer Alder asserts “A fan of *MORE* discourse” is not anonymous. Her name is widely known.

        Yes, but whenever I post on Climate Etc. under my real name “Carly Rae”, there are some folks who don’t think my posts are serious!   :)   :)   :)

        That’s why I’m thinking of switching to just plain “Bob”!   :grin:   :grin:  

        Thank you for being my loyal fan, Latimer Alder!   :lol:   :lol:   :lol:

      • Latimer Alder

        @A Fan

        Whatever persona you post under and whatever gender you choose to adopt, we can at least agree that very few here ever take your posts seriously.

        If they rise above the truly inane it is only to arrive on Mount Triviality. But just the lower slopes…not the summit. Such an achievement would be an overreach.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        LOL … Latimer Alder you are wise!   :)   :)   :)

        • Folks who don’t take “A fan of *MORE* discourse” seriously as a person simply show good judgment!   :)   :)   :)

        • Folks who don’t take web-log posts seriously show maturity.   :)   :)   :)

        • Folks who enjoy links to beautiful math, science, and history are life-long learners.

        • Folks who wholly reject personal abuse, sloganeering, enemy-listing, and willful ignorance are simply good citizens, eh?

        • Folks who know when to laugh are happiest of all!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

        Latimer Alder, you are learning! Congratulations Latimer Alder!   :)   :)   :)

      • Robin Melville

        Is there something wrong with your browser? I seem to see endlessly repeated teenage emoticons after each of your fatuous comments.

      • … I seem to see endlessly repeated teenage emoticons after each of [Fan’s] fatuous comments

        Yes, he is our resident fatuous teenager. Or maybe a consensus professor of climate science.

      • David Springer

        Wall Street employees aren’t funded by tax dollars or tuition payments by starving college students. I’m not defending Wall Street practices in any case. Straw man. Pfffffffffffffffffffffft.

    • Robin Melville

      I’m not sure that the problem *is* academia, per se.

      My own field is Public Health, so these phenomena are wearisomely familiar. Where science meets public policy the trend since the 1980’s (in the UK — I can’t speak to elsewhere) is for axe-grinding civil servants to commission pieces of work from academic departments which are pointedly, but not necessarily explicitly expected to come up with results that support preexisting arguments.

      Now that University department heads are driven by managerialist senates to bring in the dosh at all costs, they are under a lot of pressure to please the customer. This corruption has destroyed any credibility in departments of Public Health, Climate Science, Criminology, etc. Medicine and Pharmacology are similarly corrupted by drug company largesse.

      Journal paper publishing has become more about getting noticed and punting for the gravy. Get a good headline in, oh, let’s say New Scientist, or the Guardian, and you’re on your way — provided, always, that your findings get with the programme.

      The politics of “big science” are rather different — dependent on reputation and Fellowship of the Royal Societies, membership of funding bodies.

      Call me a cynic, if you like!

      • The only hope of breaking such a defensive laager around those fields is persistent critiquing by qualified scientists around whom other forces may coalesce. But I immediately have to wonder if any such can exist, or survive. How can they gain a livelihood, much less a platform from which to be heard, or resources to do challenging research?

    • tragic part is that: when the society realizes that is no such a thing as GLOBAL warming; they will lose trust in the honest / normal / essential science. That’s why, scientist from the normal / essential professions should step in; so that people will know that: ”climatology” has become the Organized Crime, nothing to do with science.

      One confusing constant climatic changes with phony GLOBAL warmings, has nothing to do with science. b] confusing LOCALIZED warmings as GLOBAL,was for the last 150 years, and is into the mother of all lies /crimes http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/7-mother-of-all-lies/

  15. Bernie Lewin gives a detailed account of how the corruption of climate science began at Madrid in 1995 with the birth of the IPCC consensus seeking process and how this continued to the corruption of the political leadership of the Royal Society.

    It is a fascinating story, which will undoubtedly occupy science historians long after the current climate hysteria has become a thing of the past.

    Max

  16. Dave Springer

    JC snip – this material is not relevant on this blog.

    • Dave Springer

      I do believe that’s the first time I’ve seen a Curry snip.

      I don’t know what was snipped, actually, so don’t blame me if I repeat the offense. Was it the link to public records showing the salaries of state employees? I think it’s very relevant to this debate for taxpayers to know how much of their money goes to academic advocates of anthropogenic climate change. Extremely relevant. Ever heard the phrase “Follow the money?” Sure you have. Yet you won’t allow it. Hits a little too close to home would be my guess.

      Or maybe that wasn’t what got snipped. I don’t really know.

      • Dave Springer

        Yes, I confirmed the snip. This link, which I posted twice, is gone:

        http://lbloom.net/

        Of all the crap that gets posted here that truly isn’t relevant, like Oliver O. “Chester” Manuel’s 1945 iron sun conspiracy, it beggars belief that Curry would single out a post to public records of academic climate change advocates seeking to enlighten others on exactly how much the taxpayers and college students funding those people are actually paying them.

        Yeah, Iron Sun relevant, taxpayer funding of climate change academics not relevant.

        You’re amazing sometimes, Curry.

      • Your post was targeted at attacking an individual, who chooses to remain anonymous

      • If you’re unhappy with the way Dr Curry moderates her blog, please leave. You’ll save yourself the frustration, and us the wasted space.

      • I have said before that science and engineering professors earn every dime they make when they have to go through the unpleasant task of flunking out those students that can’t handle the course material.

        Too bad we can’t do the same thing when it comes to the lightweight contrarians who populate the blogosphere.

      • Web
        You will let us know when/if you eventually manage to string an argument together won’t you ? Otherwise most people are just going to lump you with the craven consensus cretins (aka the climate ‘scientists’), and so never read it.

      • Let us know when you can lift a finger Alekseyev.

      • Web’s curious version of “lift a finger” seems to exclude discussion shortcomings with the fake climate science known as the Consensus, that does little more than curve fitting, unless you have a whole alternative theory.

        IOW, his provisional recommendation is accept known BS is as gospel.

      • To not “Lift a finger” means that you haven’t contributed anything to advancing knowledge.

      • Your personal attacks on Fan are in violation of blog rules. I don’t catch all of them, but delete when I spot them, and snipped one message to leave a comment to to you. Several people have emailed me complaining about your attacks on Fan.

  17. Tom Choularton

    Well returning to Judith’s five points. If you have read and understood the material in at least 3 of them then I agree you are in a position to agree with or challenge the consensus. Frankly though though that rules out 90 % of people who debate the issue. It returns discussion of the science to the right place, the peer reviewed literature and away from blogs

    • Well actually I have found that there are a number of scientists outside the field of climate science (and participating on blogs) that are more familiar with this literature than many so called climate scientists of the WG2 variety and also meteorologists and oceanographers, who are vocal in their opinions on this subject, sign petitions, etc. The issue is making an assessment of the diverse sources of information that contribute to detection and attribution arguments.

      • Agree. I have only been researching this area for about a year. But is more ripe for picking than the obscure materials science area related to energy storage systems that has now let to five seperate issued patents in countries as far flung as the US, Russia, Japan, India, and China.
        The ‘experts’ inthis area were blinkered. Swiss nation lab said progress had halted at ‘120’. Two years later we had made 160.
        There are many thoughtful non-experts who can ‘grok’ the jumbo-jumbo with a bit of effort. High climate science priests had best look after their academic robes. Like the legendary King, they might find themselves naked.

      • Robin Melville

        Don’t forget, though, that the little boy in this story had no PhD in textile science or wardrobe organisation. So his observation of the emperor’s nudity would be strongly challenged by some contributors to this discussion.

  18. Continuing in the line of Steven Mosher’s argument, it’s not the deadlines per se which lead to PNS, it is the rush to judgement and especially the push for consensus. “Normal” science is the piling on of bits of evidence. In a trial in the legal system, there would be a conclusion. That is a deadline; usually any evidence after that point is no longer of interest. In normal science, any and all conclusions are open to revision, forever. That is what gives science the unusual attribute of being potentially self-correcting. If you want a definitive answer now, don’t call it science, and don’t insist that it is correct. Instead of insisting on a consensus, publish the both the main conclusions and the minority report. And don’t call it a consensus unless it actually is one.

    • That seems to be a good description of the problem.

      And of course is wasting time and the public’s investment of tax dollars.

  19. Stan points out that “…even if a scientist has read a lot of published studies in climate, how much of the purported findings that he reads are really BS?”
    Much of it is likely to be trash, considering that thousands of papers are published by effectively technician-level authors beholden to the consensus view. Not much independent thought is possible if anything opposing the consensus view is suppressed, and this is what is wrong. The scientific societies and journals are all controlled by consensusists and the result is not just suppression but vilification of opposing views. A caricature of denialism is pushed by activists and scientifically uneducated public is pulled in by their constant propaganda. All in the name of saving us from global warming that is a total fantasy. There is no science to prove that any warming within the last 100 years was caused by the greenhouse effect. Not omly that but temperature curves purporting to show global warming are faked. This is specifically true of Gistemp, the premier temperature curve from NASA GISS that shows a fake warming in the eighties and nineties that does not even exist. There is more but this is enough for now.

    • Good thoughts. Many mid level researchers (especially at government labs) are handed their research projects and must stay within their funded scopes. Senior managers are not kind to rebels that challenge or disprove the theory behind the reason the research was funded to begin with. Any theory, not just climate change, once it becomes popular (read funded) is difficult to officially disprove.

      In their defense, senior managers are tasked with bringing in funds. If they have to toe the party line to keep their people employed, so be it. It is not dishonesty on their part; it is being realistic. They exist within an unforgiviing system where survival depends on concensus funding. We are seeing some of this playing out a GISS and NOAA now. If you disagree with Hansen, it is hard to get your point of view discussed and even harder to get funds to support proving it. Expecting fair treatment in the news media is out of the question.

      • Have you seen Bart R’s taxonomy of propaganda?

      • I’ve read Bart R’s post on this topic, but I can’t make heads or tails of them. Do you have a link?

      • There were a couple of posts. Not sure where to go for the links. Basically, however, my point is that you fall into some propagandistic traps in your comment.

        I really can’t do Bart’s taxonomy justice, but from my perspective – just to pick a couple of the things you said:

        Many mid level researchers (especially at government labs) are handed their research projects and must stay within their funded scopes. Senior managers are not kind to rebels that challenge or disprove the theory behind the reason the research was funded to begin with. Any theory, not just climate change, once it becomes popular (read funded) is difficult to officially disprove.

        “Many….not kind to rebels….any theory…..is difficult to……”

        These terms (and the overall syntax more generally) seem deliberately vague and overly generalized so as to create an effect that it seems to me is outsized relative to the actual phenomena they describe. (Note, I’m not saying that they don’t exist). All of our posts are propagandistic (attempts to use rhetoric to convince someone of something) – but there is a question of degree. I’m sure that if Bart chooses to do so, he could break it down for you much more explicitly.

      • Sorry, meant to supply these links to help out:

        http://library.thinkquest.org/C0111500/proptech.htm

        http://mason.gmu.edu/~amcdonal/Propaganda%20Techniques.html (I love the honest way GMU deals with teaching propaganda techniques so openly. No wonder Koch family funding of GMU are so high.)

        And, from the Left side of the brain: http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1964:fourteen-propaganda-techniques-fox-news-uses-to-brainwash-americans

        Or, for a self-starter: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Propaganda+Technique

        Good luck and best wishes.

  20. Consensus on scientific matters is chiefly a political process to stiffel dissent and minority opinion. Once Consensus is reached in writing, it is the moral high ground and contrary opinion can be ridiculed, suppressed, and silenced.

    1616-1642+: The consensus is the Earth is the center of the universe. Heliocentric systems can only be discussed as mathematical fictions. Defending heliocentric systems will result in house arrest. (At least in Italy).

    What if the consensus on any matter is wrong? Sometimes in some places it is wrong. Only a system that accepts minority opinions can preserve the real understanding and capture the real uncertainty that exists in our knowledge of the world.

      • The Galileo_Gambit is the erroneous belief “that anyone who objects to authority will be found right in the end, just as Galileo was.”

        The Galileo_Gambit_Gambit that you just employed is the erroneous belief that “anyone who objects to a view held by an authority or consensus must be wrong because minority viewpoints usually turn out to be wrong. Therefore stifling dissent and minority viewpoints is quite proper so as not to confuse the message of the consensus.”

        Galileo is a cherry pick. His was one of the minority of minority viewpoint that ultimately is accepted in a new consensus. So is Alfred Wegener, though he only suffered ridicule not house arrest. Cherry Picking is ok when the object is to disprove a universal theory.

        Hypothesis: “Minority Opinions counter to the Consensus are always wrong. It is therefore proper for a Consensus to suppress them.” Galileo and Wegener disprove the hypothesis: not always.

        It should be noted that Wegener was wrong, too. He was not correct in the understand the mechanism or speed of his “Continental Drift”. But from the viewpoint of today, he was less wrong, or more correct, than his detractors.

  21. ‘Communities of practice may become static in terms of their knowledge base and resistant to change. Knowledge that is aligned with the specific predispositions of a community and supports the identity and current practices of its members is likely to be adopted more readily than knowledge that challenges current identity and practices.’ (Roberts, 2006)

    Trying to get the academics within the climate community to recognise this let alone deal with it may well be another thing! Cue Festinger’s cognitive dissonance.

    Roberts, J (2006) Limits to communities of practice; Journal of Management Studies, Blackwell publishing.

    You might also want to read Beyond Communities of Practice (eds) Barton D and Tusting K.

  22. “…there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school — we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards.

    For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked — to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can — if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong — to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

    I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”

    — Richard Feynman, excerpts from his Caltech commencement address (1974)

    http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm

  23. Hello Dr. Curry et alia. I’ve been away for awhile due to medical events beyond my comprehension.

    At any rate, Dr. C, I have missed a month of posts and entertaining commentary but you might like to look at the notion of “information cascades” as an alternative model of the propogation of a consensus. It is kind of cool in that it is wholly Bayesian, so not grounded in any sort of individual-level psychological bias. Here’s an Ur-paper on the theory:

    Sushil Bikhchandani, David Hirshleifer and Ivo Welch. 1992. A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change as Informational Cascades.
    The Journal of Political Economy, 100(5):992-1026.

    http://www.dklevine.com/archive/refs41193.pdf

    This is the Ur-paper on the experimental examination of cascades:

    Lisa Anderson and Charles Holt. 1997. Information Cascades in the Laboratory. American Economic Review 87(5):847-862.
    .
    …unfortunately, I can’t find a non-paywalled download.

    • Here’s a relevant taste of the reasoning, from the introduction of the theory paper:

      “An informational cascade occurs when it is optimal for an individual,
      having observed the actions of those ahead of him, to follow
      the behavior of the preceding individual without regard to his own
      information. Consider the submission of this paper to a journal. The
      referee will read the paper, assess its quality, and accept or reject it.
      Suppose that a referee at a second journal learns that the paper was
      previously rejected. Under the assumption that the referee cannot
      assess the paper’s quality perfectly, knowledge of the prior rejection
      should tilt him toward rejection. Suppose now that the second journal
      also rejects and that when the paper is submitted to a third journal,
      the third referee learns that the paper was rejected at two previous
      journals. Clearly, this further raises the chance of rejection.

      In a fairly general setting with sequential choices, we show that at
      some stage a decision maker will ignore his private information and
      act only on the information obtained from previous decisions. Once
      this stage is reached, his decision is uninformative to others. Therefore,
      the next individual draws the same inference from the history
      of past decisions; thus if his signal is drawn independently from the
      same distribution as previous individuals’, this individual also ignores
      his own information and takes the same action as the previous individual.
      In the absence of external disturbances, so do all later individuals.”

      • NW,

        Funny thing about carbon is that it does have a history. It does not show up in the billions of years but only in the millions of years records as it has to be generated.
        Science is an individual appetite and can be cherry picked from many bias sources. This then generates referencing circles of enclosing theories that are extremely bad at creating models.
        There are vastly many resources of information but dominance of bad theories has limited many discoveries to be shelved and NEVER incorporated into our knowledge base.
        Our planet through evolution is 1000 times more complex than current scientists can conceive in their individual boxes.
        Stationary laboratories doing observed science missed a vast many areas unobserved and many of them include motion, mechanics and evolutionary progress.
        Complexity is many areas interacting together. Models are individual bad data based on bad theories and ignoring actual evidence.

        There are many bad mathematical formulas and outright errors.
        Begs to differ who has the authority to show errors or correct errors in calculations…certainly not any individual outside the consensus.

    • NW welcome back and thanks for the link

  24. Alex Heyworth

    the unintended consequence of introducing biases into the both the science and related decision making processes.

    Strike out second “the”.

  25. David L. Hagen

    Judith
    Excellent challenge on understanding the science/debate.
    1 “No” – helped review NIPCC 2009
    2 ~Yes
    3 “No” – Understand, and used reactive CFD and have written an engineering dynamics program.
    4 ~Yes
    5 ~Yes

  26. “If you answer YES to at least 3 of these, I would argue that you are sufficiently informed to make an independent judgement rather than parrot the consensus.”

    Seems to leave the innumerate hoi polloi like myself, high and dry. And yet I would argue that there’s more than one way to approach complex problems. There’d better be because this is ultimately a political issue, hence it’s to be at least indirectly resolved by a population some 99.999 percent of whom would fail Judith’s test.

    After 3-4 years of my brand of essentially scientifically illiterate ‘research,” consisting almost entirely of following the debate on climate blogs like this one. I’ve come to conclusions that I believe are perfectly valid.

    1: Co2 does warm the atmosphere

    2: The extent of this warming is in great doubt

    3: The IPCC’s statements of near certainty of dangerous warming are unwarranted.

    4: There’s a huge built in, “structural” bias in the so-called climate community in favor of AGW alarmism for reasons that should be apparent to anyone with an IQ over 85 (whew, just made it :-).

    5: Even if the alarmist case is correct, there’s not much that can be done about it. The “cure” is likely worse than the disease.

    6: The obvious positives inherent in a warmer world, have been willfully ignored by the IPCC and climate scientists in general.

    • + 1.

    • Joe's World(evolutionary progress)

      CO2 itself has no energy. It reacts to other stimulus.
      Heat generation is NOT included by our scientists…just trying to get rid of it without understanding how much we generate.
      But…our drying planet will keep progress of generating more and more heat(unless we get hit by a massive hunk of ice in space).

  27. lurker passing through, laughing

    What is over looked in the list is the fact that even people who do not understand physics know when they are being bs’d, even by a sincere physicist.
    Also, as was nicely demonstrated by skeptical inquirer, scientists are actually rather easy to fool.
    It is the stench emanating from the climate consensus that tells people something is rotten in the climate-crisis industry.

    • So, you are not really swayed by wiki listings that show the Australian-American Society of Chemical Society of IPA Drinkers are worried about AGW?

    • “What is over looked in the list is the fact that even people who do not understand physics know when they are being bs’d, even by a sincere physicist…..
      It is the stench emanating from the climate consensus that tells people something is rotten in the climate-crisis industry.”

      Looks like a bunch more confirmation bias to me……….

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Not so fast, Michael.
        Some BS is not out of detection range for the ordinary person.

        e.g. The pronouncements about no more snow for the children in UK. Sounds like alarmist BS… and is just that.

      • Latimer Alder

        The coldest and wettest June in and July in living memory (and in some places for a century), probably ensured that nobody – except those paid to do so – listens to any climate change propaganda in the UK any more. And even fewer believe it.

        Like TINGTG says – we’ve heard enough BS that isn’t borne out by experience from these guys to stop believing it. Failed prophets go from hero to zero very very quickly. And ‘climate change’ is plummeting down the slope of public concern to only a small minority interest. Just the bearded loonies who would have been hippies thirty years ago.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Also, as was nicely demonstrated by skeptical inquirer, scientists are actually rather easy to fool.

        It may be easy to fool one or two carefully selected finding-driven scientists for one or two years. Keeping it up for 40 years and thousands of scientists in a wide range of fields is a little harder.

        As it happens, James Randi whose work with the Skeptical Enquirer you appear to refer to has stated that as a non-expert:

        I do not deny the finding of GW. AGW, to me, is less clear, though I accept that it is likely true.

        http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/806-i-am-not-qdenyingq-anything.html

      • “As it happens, James Randi whose work with the Skeptical Enquirer you appear to refer to has stated that as a non-expert:”

        Same goes for Michael Shermer and his http://www.skeptic.com outfit. He has never shown skepticism over AGW and actually has hosted confirming pieces at his site and published in his magazine. Similarly, Shermer has never been skeptical over oil depletion and peak oil ideas.

        All Shermer has is his credibility in making the right calls, whereas your typical fake climate skeptic is agenda-driven and couldn’t care less about being wrong. All that the fake skeptic wants to do is to create FUD or rationalize or (pick your favorite fallacious argument) to sway the gullible passerby.

        This holds because the skeptical climate science team has never proposed an alternate theory that has any weight at all. If that ever develops, then I am sure Shermer will consider the current theory worthy of skepticism. That’s the way a professional skeptic, in the tradition of Martin Gardner and other greats, think about these things.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        “Same goes for Michael Shermer and his http://www.skeptic.com outfit. He has never shown skepticism over AGW and actually has hosted confirming pieces at his site and published in his magazine.”

        Shermer’s Damascus … it’s so fitting, once again.

        “My attention was piqued on February 8 when 86 leading evangelical Christians–the last cohort I expected to get on the environmental bandwagon–issued the Evangelical Climate Initiative calling for “national legislation requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions” in carbon emissions.

        Then I attended the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Monterey, Calif., where former vice president Al Gore delivered the single finest summation of the evidence for global warming I have ever heard, based on the recent documentary film about his work in this area, An Inconvenient Truth. The striking before-and-after photographs showing the disappearance of glaciers around the world shocked me out of my doubting stance. ..”

        Lonnie Thompson’s Thermometer might as well have been the dog’s thermometer as far as Shermer knew, until he checked for tooth marks.

        Not going to make that mistake twice.

      • “pronouncements about no more snow for the children in UK.” tisgtg

        Let’s get a cite on that.

      • A warming world is better. Haven’t you heard? Don’t quite know why it’s suddenly alarmist.

      • I was recently told that the “pronouncement” mentioned is responsible for the variance in public opinion about climate change.

        Not short-term weather patterns. Not media influence. Not motivated reasoning. Not political influence. Nope.

      • “Professor Jarich Oosten, an anthropologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, says that even if we no longer see snow, it will remain culturally important.”

        Cultural snow?

        “David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually “feel” virtual cold.”

        Virtual snow and cold?

        Feynman comes to mind…

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Michael, from the article Steve showed, where David Viner is quoted:

        “However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

        “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        You only have to make a public berk of yourself once for all the ‘trust me I’m a climate scientist’ bollocks to fall apart. And the no more snow guy did that.

        And look what happened to Michael Fish. ‘Trust me, there isn’t going to be a hurricane’ just before the biggest storm in 200 years is still remembered 25 years later.

        Seems to me that climatologists might get a little bit more sympathy if they dropped the faux infallibility and tried a bit of humility instead.

      • Latimer Alder

        @joshua

        ‘I was recently told that the “pronouncement” mentioned is responsible for the variance in public opinion about climate change’

        Not entirely. But, boy, did it contribute to a general public perception that some self-proclaimed ‘climate scientists’ couldn’t find their arse with both hands in a dark room.

        The idea of the mad scientist away with the fairies is never far away from the public’s mind and dumb pronouncements like this bring ridicule upon them. One more nail in the coffin of the pathetic bleat ‘trust me I’m a climate scientist’

        Maybe its different in the US, but in the UK respect has to be earnt, not demanded ex officio.

      • Latimer –

        Not entirely.

        I’d like to commend you there, for being enough of a skeptic to qualify the phenomenon. If only more “skeptics” would follow your lead, we might get somewhere. Unfortunately, however, you felt compelled to not just stop there:

        But, boy, did it contribute to a general public perception that some self-proclaimed ‘climate scientists’ couldn’t find their arse with both hands in a dark room.

        Really? Please, show me some data, any data, that it in any way significantly attributed to “general public perception,” or any data, in any way, that validate your claim about “a general public perception.”

        Tell me something, Latimer — what you do think about arguments from assertion? Do they seem skeptical to you? Because to me they aren’t particularly “skeptical.” They seem more likely to be “skeptical” to me.

        Remember, climate combatants in the “skeptosphere” are a very unrepresentative sample set for making generalizations about the general public. I have seen this claim (about no snow in the UK) mentioned many, many, many times in the “skeptosphere,” – but precious little evidence that it has had any significant impact in the wider public.

        Please, provide just some of the data on which you base your opinion. You do have some, don’t you?

        (PS – congratulations on making WHT’s list.)

      • Latimer Alder

        @joshua

        Webbie has a list? Wow! What is it of?

        Perhaps it is this..

        Failed predictions of WHT:

        1. Peak Oil and the inminent collapse of the petro-industrial complex?

        It must be mortifying to spend so much of one’s intellectual life predicting something and being proved wrong in one’s own lifetime. Which, presumably is why climatologists restrict themselves to shroud waving for future, rather than current, generations.No chance of them being shown to be wrong while they are still breathing. Nice work if you can get it.

        …….

      • Latimer,
        I have never predicted a collapse, preferring instead to develop models and mathematics to help analysts project resource availability. For your Team GB, I think I did a good job of predicting the decline of North Sea crude oil.

        It’s important information for policy decision making.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Joshua,
        I don’t know if anyone has studied the matter, but my appraisal is that “no more snow” hahaha got wide play in popular blogs such as WUWT and in comments sections of newspapers and so on.
        My impression is that criticism of this kind of alarmist BS, and criticism of the MET Office, were intertwined and together they caused not insubstantial damage
        I took my kid the the museum ( we’re in Canada ) way back when it came out and the greeter at the door struck up a conversation as we waited for tickets. He was overcome with fear about C change and expressed it with ” ‘no more snow in UK’ this is the effect”. He looked at my kid and said he was afraid her generation will not survive it.

      • I don’t know if anyone has studied the matter, but my appraisal is that “no more snow” hahaha got wide play in popular blogs such as WUWT and in comments sections of newspapers and so on.

        How many people read “popular blogs” (let alone with any regularity) relative to the general population?

        I don’t doubt that inaccurate claims have had some impact. My problem is when “skeptics,” habitually, over-evaluate that impact, or at least offer no validated data to support their assertions. As in none. Zilch. Nada. Zippo. Niente. Bupkis. Kinda makes you question how they define skepticism, doesn’t it?

        And no, one ticket-taker does not qualify as validated data.

      • Latimer Alder

        @joshua

        Sorry to hear about your problem. But no doubt you will learn to live with it.

        Belief in climate alarmism is certainly reduced in the UK. At least three of the mainstream newspapers are now openly sceptical, (with a combined circulation nine times greater than the remaining alarmist one) as is one of the smaller political parties. The major partner in the governing coalition has a large number of openly sceptical MPs. A few years ago to be openly sceptical was considered a social sin, now it is the norm and the fervent alarmists are perceived as the weirdos.

        Of course I cannot give exact percentages of which of the many follies thatthe alarmists have committed have contributed the most . But arrogantly treating the general public as if they are idiots (for example blaming the last two unusually cold winters on global warming) hasn’t helped. We know when people talk BS to us, and we remember it.

        Nor has the climate’s refusal to behave according to the theory. Many here would be very grateful for some global warming…ours is not a notably hot climate, but we haven’t noticed any such effect. 25 years ago we were promised that Southern England would now have the pleasant climate of the Loire Valley. No such luck. It hasn’t happened. We know when people talk BS to us and we remember it.

        For those of us who follow such things, Climategate was a profound insight into just what a deceitful, inadequate and pathetic bunch some climatologists really are. We know when people talk BS to us and we remember it.

        For the wider circulation AIT was such a bunch of crap that even those poor schoolchildren who were obliged to watch it don’t believe much of it. Surveys show that after 11 years of full-on climate propaganda they have no greater belief in climate alarmism than the general public, They know when people talk BS to them and they remember it.

        So all these factors ..and more.. have added up to present the UK public with an alarmist proposition that they fundamentally do not believe. Many who were taken in by the original publicity in the last twenty years fee that they were fooled. And there’s an old saying that we won’t get fooled again. Because whatever the next line of alarmism is going to be is just going to come from the same bunch of discredited voices and talking heads as last time…..it ain’t going to work.

      • Latimer Alder

        @web hub telescope

        I’m sure Team GB will thank you in their own way. Without your work it would never have occurred to anybody on these islands that there might come a time when the production would start to fall off.

        And we all truly believe in The Tooth Fairy, Mary Poppins, Santa Claus, and ‘Trust Me, I’m a Climatologist’

        /sarc

        PS. Breaking news….new gas field to be developed….did you predict this one?

        http://www.supplymanagement.com/2012/gas-field-contracts-set-to-create-1200-supply-chain-jobs/

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Well, Joshua.
        It’s well that I did not propose that my inclusion of anecdote was to be viewed as validated data, ain’t it ?

        “And no, one ticket-taker does not qualify as validated data.”

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Joshua…as a quick and dirty … I googled “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is” and “Third Assessment Report”
        23.5 million vs 11.7

      • Latimer, Can you guess that this is probably an important policy consideration?

        “In recent years, there’s been a view in Washington that we should simply “let the market work” by taking a hands-off approach, rather than adopt a proactive and comprehensive set of energy policies. That prescription is exactly the right one in most economic sectors, but it falls short when it comes to energy. And it ignores the fact that we have policies in place right now that distort how the energy markets function.”
        “Our own policies interfere with free-market mechanisms. We subsidize domestic oil and gas production with generous tax breaks, penalize sugar-based ethanol from Brazil, and block investment in nuclear energy. Our navy assumes the prime responsibility for securing the oil routes from the Middle East, effectively subsidizing its cost. Thus, we don’t pay the full cost of Middle East oil, either at the oil-company level or at the pump.”
        “Market economists also identify a number of externalities – real costs that aren’t captured in the price of fuel – the most frequently cited of which are the health-care costs of pollution and the climate costs of greenhouse gases. There is a further externality: potentially leaving the next generation in the lurch by using so much oil and energy ourselves – domestic and imported – that our children face severe oil shortages, prohibitively expensive fuel, a crippled economy, and dominion of energy by Russia and other oil-rich states. No matter how you price it, oil is expensive to use; we should be encouraging our citizens to use less of it, our scientists to find alternatives for it, and our producers to find more of it here at home.”
        “Many analysts predict that the world’s production of oil will peak in the next ten to twenty years, but oil expert Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, presents a compelling case that Middle Eastern oil production may have already reached its peak. Simmons bases his contention on his investigation into the highly secretive matter of the level of reserves in the Saudi oil fields. But whether the peak is already past or will be reached within a few years, world oil supply will decline at some point, and no one predicts a corresponding decline in demand. If we want America to remain strong and wish to ensure that future generations have secure and prosperous lives, we must consider our current energy policies in the light of how these policies will affect our grandchildren.”

        Everyone knows who wrote this. It was Mitt Romney in his 2010 book, pp 232-233.

      • Latimer Alder

        @webbie

        You ask if I can guess about some writings by Milt Rommey – who I understand to be a US politician? But not in power.

        I read them, and if the predictions were going a planned, I can see that they might be. But the predictions aren’t going as planned – quite the opposite – so your question is entirely hypothetical.

        He was also, I think, the guy who a couple of weeks ago said that the London Olympics were going to be a badly organised PR disaster, so I’d take his pronouncements as a soothsayer with a big pinch of salt. LIke I do yours.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        No matter how you price it, oil is expensive to use;

        I said precisely this to Peter Lang the other day. I have to now worry about my logical thinking process if I’m thinking like a US Republican presidential candidate.

      • Steve Milesworthy | August 13, 2012 at 5:52 am |

        No matter how you price it, oil is expensive to use;

        I said precisely this to Peter Lang the other day. I have to now worry about my logical thinking process if I’m thinking like a US Republican presidential candidate.

        It’s utter drivel of course. And Yes, the sort of thing only Democrats would tend to say.

      • Steve Milesworth said:

        I said precisely this to Peter Lang the other day. I have to now worry about my logical thinking process if I’m thinking like a US Republican presidential candidate.

        So you’ve confirmed what has been obvious all along. Your beliefs about CAGW, global temperatures, energy, and economics are not based on ‘science’ or objective research at all, are they? They are based on what supports your ideological beliefs, right?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Peter Lang

        So you’ve confirmed what has been obvious all along. Your beliefs about CAGW, global temperatures, energy, and economics are not based on ‘science’ or objective research at all, are they? They are based on what supports your ideological beliefs, right?

        What are my “beliefs about CAGW, global temperatures, energy, and economics”? Reflecting on ones opponents’ positions contributes to constructive discussions. Your statement above and previous accusations of “alarmism” suggests you are unable to reflect on mine.

        The statements I have made (and the ones Mitt Romney’s ghost writer made) are based on the same common sense that laughed at the Golgafrinchams for choosing the leaf as the unit of currency and then destroyed trees to solve the deflation problem.

        The market economy is lauded for its ability to frequently allocate capital efficiently. But there is no principle I’m aware of that says that the market economy cannot use up a large chunk of high value irreplaceable capital in a huge unsustainable spending splurge that benefits a minority.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Michael,
        Nice dodge on your part. +10 for bathos on your part.
        walk through a feed lot and we can discuss confirmation bias.

  28. Now that we know how powerful the drive for consensus was in the IPCC, we can more readily understand how the anomalous climate situation in 1940 came to be labelled as ‘normal’ by the IPCC and so escaped the diagnosis it otherwise deserved. That mistake led in turn to predictions of dire global warming from higher concentration of CO2 by the IPCC.

  29. “I suspect that any scientist who reads Lewin’s series will be concerned about the politicization of the consensus seeking process. ”

    I think that is one of the more naive comments I have read lately. Jones, Mann, Trenberth, Steig, Schmidt, Lacis, et al. will read that paper and bemoan the politicization of the science? On what planet? I doubt there is a “consensus” scientist anywhere who will admit the IPCC process, and the consensus, were and are politicized.

    Certainly none of the progressive drone denizens here have shown any inclination to say so.

  30. Left to their own devices, climate scientists have a variety of ideas of what is going on. Forced through the IPCC – a political body – an artificial consensus emerges.

    So why not just scrap the IPCC?

  31. I think we have to examine the word ‘presumption’.

    Estimates of the spectrum of natural variability are critical to the problem of detecting an anthropo genic signal in global climate observations. Without such information it is impossible to say that current climate change is different or unique from changes that have happened in the past and, therefore, potentially due to man-induced causes.

    The authors here make an elementary error.

    One learns to distrust any conclusion based on the phrase “impossible to say”.

    Were the color of the sky to suddenly begin changing to match the flag of the gold medal winning nation in the most recent Olympic event, and this could be traced to some heretofore unknown principle of Physics, we could say this was a unique, different change than had ever happened in the history of the world, given that the modern Olympics are a distinct cultural phenomenon of such complexity and specificity, and history would certainly have noted the sudden shifting of the color of the sky before.

    We wouldn’t need proxy measures. We wouldn’t need understanding of the natural variability of sky color. We’d be able to say flags and Olympic games are so distinct in and of themselves as to provide us with clear signals obviating the need for comparison to the past.

    (Discounting new evidence of dinosaur Olympics, and fossil photographs of blue-mauve-chartreuse skylines.)

    Sure, if we’re completionists, we’d want to go out of our way to exhaust the proxy record, just in case, but patent evidence of a distinct human fingerprint would stand as sufficient proof to the reasonable person.

    It is false presumption to conclude, “Until this dichotomy is resolved, it will be hard to say, with confidence, that an anthropogenic climate signal has or has not been detected.”

    Admirable though the zeal of the authors to entertain every possibility, trying to obtain data that just isn’t there to confirm something more easily proven other ways is pointless.

    Were the logic of Barnett followed to its logical conclusion, every fingerprint of every person on the planet, ever, would need to be entered into the court record to eliminate the chance that the fingerprint evidence were showing the fingerprints of just one of the people with identical fingerprints. (Which is true. Every set of people with identical fingerprints contains one member.)

    Hence, the controversy arising from Barnett is a red herring. Why uphold an “impossible” standard, when possible ones are attainable? Though in 1995, it apparently never occurred to Climatologists to just improve the data collection and the statistical methods to the point that positive statements of attribution could be made. Maybe no one in the room had studied sufficient Statistical Methods? Or enough people in the room were sheltered from Stats and didn’t want to admit their ignorance?

    1.I have read the IPCC AR4 WGI report in its entirety YES NO

    Yes, but I’m not so impressed by it as to discount the views of a knowledgeable or interesting thinker who has not. Why are you?

    2.I have an understanding of paleoclimate proxies in the sense that I have read at least 6 journal articles on this topic and am aware of the arguments that have criticized interpretations of these proxies YES NO

    Education by journal articles is.. a chancey proposition. I know, I’ve read tens of thousands of journal articles. Do I seem thousands of times wiser than you, to you? Hundreds? Scores? Dozens? Tens? Half?

    I see no reason to base any judgement on this credential. Would one weekend seminar equate to more, or less, than 6 journal articles? A postgrad program of studies is more or less than 6? How about an undergraduate degree in Physical Anthropology including concentration in paleo reconstruction? What if not the whole degree but just the courses, or course? Read a textbook? Read a textbook by Salsby? Read six chapters? Read a blog? Read the best science blog on the Internet? It’s a strange standard to use.

    3.I have a first order understanding of how global climate models work, in the sense that I have contributed to some aspect of model development, have conducted experiments using a global or regional climate model, and/or have read the manual for one of the global climate models or some of the primarily literature describing the construction and validation of climate models. YES NO

    Wow. I know dozens of people who have written software used to model phenomena that couldn’t be said to be climate. Does this qualify as first order understanding? And construction and validation of computer models and simulations, does it have to be climate models only? Seems an arbitrary standard. In the profession, there are other standards of competency that are held to be more reliable than exposure to a manual.

    4.I am aware of the uncertainties surrounding the external forcing for 20th century climate model simulations (e.g. solar, volcanoes, aerosol etc) and have read at least some journal articles on this topic. YES NO

    Again with the journal articles. What if I’ve done no reading in Chaos Theory, have never studied mathematics, don’t know how Statistics and Probability work, but have been ‘aware’ of uncertainties from MSM and trying to digest journal articles?

    5.I have read at least 6 papers on the subject of natural internal variability and am aware of the controversies surrounding the LIA and MWP. YES NO

    I’m all for surveys to quantify expertise or informedness of opinion, however I have to point out that Dunning-Kruger will tend to lead those with the least qualification to overestimate their own competency most. Do you have much qualification in setting survey questions?

    • > Why uphold an “impossible” standard, when possible ones are attainable?

      There are many reasons, among them perfectionism, mandarinism, and political inactivism.

      • I assume you meant political activism rather than political inactivism is a motive for upholding impossible standards.

      • Tomcat,

        No, I really meant inactivism. If you want nothing to get done, all you need to do is ask for more data, more transparency, or more certainty. Of course, it’s better to be coy about it, if we surmise that libertarian clap traps are tougher to sell than righteous hindsight.

        Let’s take the specific case of Doug Keenan, whose research amounts to show other papers are wrong. Richard Muller considers that Keenan relies on Statistical Pedantry to make his schtick work:

        > What [Keenan] is saying is that statistical methods are unable to be used to show that there is global warming or cooling or anything else. That is a very strong conclusion, and it reflects, in my mind, his exaggerated pedantry for statistical methods. He can and will criticize every paper published in the past and the future on the same grounds. We might as well give up in our attempts to evaluate global warming until we find a “model” that Keenan will approve — but he offers no help in doing that.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/11763136868

        I believe that Keenan’s modus operandi serves inactivism quite well, don’t you think?

      • Pedantry is big in the climate debate. Climate combatants love them some pedantry.

      • Keenan’s approach serves to frustrate groundless activism, yes. For people who want political action no matter what, yes, this is a problem.

      • Keenan’s approach serves to frustrate groundless activism, yes.

        Because Keenan’s biases determine what is “groundless?”

      • Please clarify groundless, Tomcat.

        I assume you meant that Keenan’s approach serves political inactivism.

        Not that Keenan’s pedantry is in any way activist. Unless he promotes it in op-eds, of course, for if we assume, like Judy does, that writing an op-ed is a political act, we have not much choice but to assume that Keenan has his activist moments.

        Speaking of which:

        > We have already seen that the authors of the IPCC report have made one fundamental mistake in how they analyze their data, drawing conclusions based on an insupportable basic assumption. But they commit another error as well—the same one, in fact, that hindered the scientists working to verify Milankovitch’s hypothesis. Nowhere in the IPCC report is any testing done on the changes in global temperatures; only the temperatures themselves are considered. The alternative assumption I tested does make use of the changes in global temperatures and obtains a better fit with the data.

        http://www.informath.org/media/a41.htm

        Among other tricks, Keenan’s uses the random walk trick. This is a good trick: VS once could pull many readers’ leg for more than a month at Bart’s.

        But it’s just a trick.

      • (Anyway perhaps political inactivity better describes your point)

      • Perhaps, but inactivism has entered the vernacular.

        (In other words, I’m not using inactivism as a descriptor, but as a noun.)

    • we could say this was a unique, different change than had ever happened in the history of the world, given that the modern Olympics are a distinct cultural phenomenon of such complexity and specificity, and history would certainly have noted the sudden shifting of the color of the sky before.

      Hold on just one second there, partner. Haven’t you heard of multiverses?

      • Joshua | August 9, 2012 at 7:18 am |

        I’ve also heard of Vibranium, Gamma Evolution, The Hoary Eye of Hoggoth, Mjolnir and Kryptonite.

    • David L. Hagen

      Bart R.
      Re Do you have much qualification in setting survey questions?
      Yes – Judith has been specializing in understanding the full range of uncertainties involved, which are universally underestimated – as evidenced by Christy showing the model projections going way hotter than the data.

      See my response to your earlier query.

      • David L. Hagen | August 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |

        “It doesn’t take a great actor to recognize a bad one.” Tim Allen, Galaxy Quest

        I really wasn’t going to dignify your earlier screed with any comment at all. It’s self-lampooning use of holy scripture as a cudgel to make religious attacks on science in the best traditions of the Spanish Inquisition against Galileo and the Scopes Monkey trial against Darwin, so outdatedly bizarre and out of place on a 21st century web blog — you do know, the intertubes aren’t really tubes, right? — merit no response.

        But yes, I’ve had some training and experience in setting survey questions, thanks for asking. It appears Dr. Curry lacks same.

        While Steven Mosher makes an adequate point about the intended use — and Mosher would have some expertise in this area from his Marketing background — the survey questions are barely adequate for separating parrots mouthing untested and unskeptical ideas uncritically. I’m sure with a few moments, he could come up with a better test that more adequately illustrated to the participants with clarity the intended message.

    • Steven Mosher

      the survey seeks to sort parrots from non parrots. judge it on its intended use

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      It is not the parrot test that should be applied.
      It is the smell test that should be applied.
      We are not looking for parrots, we are looking cow pies.

  32. Latimer Alder

    Now I understand!

    ‘The Science is Settled’ should read

    ‘The Science was Stitched Up’

    Thought so……….

    • Joe's World(evolutionary progress)

      Latimer,

      Science was/is bent to whatever conclusion wants to be presented by the cherry picking method.
      You can also have a circle jerk of referencing off of each other and never allowing our knowledge base to grow due to the shelving of many discoveries NEVER incorporated INTO science.

  33. The big mistake the IPCC did in their narrative to be successful was not to remove the oscillation from the global mean temperature data. People believe what they see.

    They said the oscillation is man made with the cooling due to aerosols and the warming due to greenhouse gases. According to the data, this is just unbelievable as the cooling lasted for about 30 years and the warming for the same 30 years.

    The AGW king has no clothes.

  34. The IPCC was set up to inform governments about science. The main reports were to be written by scientists to summarize what has been learned. Writing such a report using normal practices of scientific writing will unavoidably result in a report unaccessible to lay readers. Thus extra effort had to be put in making the reports more accessible.

    One part of that is searching for appropriate ways to express the conclusions. Lay readers (and even scientists of other fields) do read many formulations differently from scientists of the field in question. That applies in particular to listing of caveats. In a scientific text the caveats should be listed very extensively (it’s not always done, but it should be done). The scientists who read the text can make reasonable personal judgments on the significance of the caveats and can appreciates a result even when the list is very long. Presenting the same formulation to a lay person is likely to give the impression that the conclusion is totally in doubt and lacks any real support.

    The requirements set to the IPCC reports are contradictory and cannot all be satisfied well. Different people are expected to have different views on the best compromise when facing contradictory requirements. Bernie Lewin looks at this process from one side and sees it as it appears from that side. Some other people knowledgeable of the same events are sure to have very different views. The most polarized views are the easiest to formulate, giving proper value for all conflicting arguments is the difficult question. Adding some scattered comments from the alternative views may lead to the most deceptive outcome.

    Another problem with this history is that by now very few people can recreate in their mind the situation of 1995. Therefore even claims that had been totally ridiculous at the time may now be readily accepted. Writing as objective accounts as possible of history is well known to require a lot of research and comparative analysis of multiple sources.

    • Latimer Alder

      I was almost in tears as I read just what a difficult job the poor downtrodden much put upon scientists have in trying to explain what they’ve done with all our money to the ‘lay’ audience. How they must struggle and toil to imagine how ignorant we must be. It n=must be like sking a Derby winner to pull a milk float.

      Perish the thought that we might expect some of our self-proclaimed ‘brightest and best’ to be capable of producing a reasonable and readable precis of their work suitable for the great unwashed in a few hours at most.

      If, that is, they can bring themselves down from the heights of Mount Arrogance long enough to sully their so-sensitive hands with such demeaning work.

      I believe that the priests had much the same horrified reaction when it was suggested that the Bible be translated into languages other than Latin, and hence be directly accessible to the layman.

      • Joe's World(evolutionary progress)

        Laaaayman…laaaayman…laaayman, layman, layman…

        Let’s sing it Latimer!
        Considering, it will be the layman that will show the errors of the scientists ways…

      • it will be the layman that will show the errors of the scientists ways…

        Right, let’s make a start with a few very simple items that are apparently way, way beyond the ken of the average climate science professor :

        1. Don’t hide data
        2. Don’t hide code
        3. Don’t hide the decline
        4. Don’t try and redefine the peer-review process
        5. Don’t try and cover up (4)
        6. Don’t let misconducts such as 1-5 committed by others, go unpunished

      • > I believe that the priests had much the same horrified reaction when it was suggested that the Bible be translated into languages other than Latin, and hence be directly accessible to the layman.

        Indeed, that’s why so many priests translated it.

      • Flash… willard believes… scientists should now read Ethics For Dummies while on their knees, before trying to do ‘good’ science for the good of the hole world. PNS; Smoke & Mirrors for the 21st century.
        And we have bought it for long enough, don’t you think?

      • Tom,

        Another random bit on the Luther Bible:

        A large part of Luther’s significance was his influence on the emergence of the German language and national identity. This stemmed predominantly from his translation of the Bible into the vernacular, which was potentially as revolutionary as canon law and the burning of the papal bull.[24] Luther’s goal was to equip every German-speaking Christian with the ability to hear the Word of God, and his completing his translation of the Old and New Testaments from Hebrew and Greek into the vernacular by 1534 was one of the most significant acts of the Reformation.[25] Although Luther was not the first to attempt such a translation, his was superior to all its predecessors. Previous translations had contained poor German, and had been from the Vulgate Latin translation, i.e. translations of a translation rather than a direct translation into German from the originals.[24] Luther sought to translate as closely to the original text as possible, but at the same time his translation was guided by how people spoke in the home, on the street and in the marketplace.[26] Luther’s faithfulness to the language spoken by the common people was to produce a work which they could relate to.[27] This led German writers such as Goethe and Nietzsche to praise Luther’s Bible.[28] Moreover, the fact that the vernacular Bible was printed also enabled it to spread rapidly and be read by all. Hans Lufft, the Bible printer in Wittenberg, printed over one hundred thousand copies between 1534 and 1574, which went on to be read by millions.[29] Luther’s vernacular Bible was present in virtually every German-speaking Protestant’s home; and there can be no doubts regarding the Biblical knowledge attained by the German common masses.[30] Luther even had large-print Bibles made for those who had failing eyesight.[28] German humanist Johann Cochlaeus complained that

        Luther’s New Testament was so much multiplied and spread by printers that even tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons who had accepted this new Lutheran gospel, and could read a little German, studied it with the greatest avidity as the fountain of all truth. Some committed it to memory, and carried it about in their bosom. In a few months such people deemed themselves so learned that they were not ashamed to dispute about faith and the gospel not only with Catholic laymen, but even with priests and monks and doctors of divinity.”[31]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Bible

        Emphasis added.

      • In Spirt, Amen.
        Thank you willard.

      • Did “so many” priests translate the bible from Latin, even though it undermined their power? Or just a few skeptic rebels ?

      • I’m not sure how making their promotion material available undermines their “power” or how many “few” it took to translate the Bible, Vassily, but it’s a very good rhetorical question.

        On a random note, it seems that among translation theorists, Eugène Nida and Henri Meschonnic were Bible scholars.

        It’s not exactly a random note, but it should hint at the fact that you’re now entering a theorical minefield.

      • Yes, I also can’t see how it can undermine their “power”. Those religious types were no different than the fake climate skeptics of today. They realized that Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt (FUD), as exemplified by religious writings, could keep the populace under control. The fake skeptics have dozens of their own wild theories to add to the FUD; there are over a dozen promulgated by crackpots that contribute to this site alone, never mind others out there.

        The real skeptics operate under different principles — see elsewhere in this thread.

      • I think Judith left “consensus-building through sockpuppets” off her list of criticisms of consensus. Did you offer that revision to her?

      • Steven Mosher

        it undermined their power through disintermediating the relationship with the ultimate power.

        in theory.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Steven Mosher.

        No, freeing the literature ( The Word ) did not disintermediate hte relationship with “the ultimate power”.

        That is the role of the risen Jesus. Sitting on the right. The play with “The Word”, is an interesting study in The New Testament of a pivotal. stroke of genius.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Steven Mosher, this reminds me of the word play with “science”

        John 1:1
        In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
        John 1:14
        And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
        John 6:63
        It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
        John 6:68
        Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
        John 8:31
        Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
        John 15:3
        Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

      • Speaking of the Word (for which I prefer verb, as it makes the first act vibrate), the sola Scriptura doctrine leads to an interesting debate in hermeneutics:

        > If God does not open and explain Holy Writ,’ declares Luther, ‘none else can understand it; it will remain a closed book, enveloped in darkness.

        http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_luther_s-wood.html

        Thus Luther presumes two interesting tricks for the epoch:

        (1) One does not need any interpretative authority to understand the Bible.

        (2) One has access to the Bible through some kind of Reading Revelation.

        These two presumptions echo two myths entertained among the Denizens (go Team!): one can understand science (or just about anyhting) all by himself, and one’s understanding is optimal and objective, once we let go of any kind of peer pressure.

        Both of these presumptions have merits, insofar as critical thinking and common sense should be seen as necessary to become a reliable epistemic agent.

        But both of these presumptions are no silver bullets: Reality does not share everyone’s biases. (It has a sharp liberal bias, after all.) Nature bats last and the Human Team can’t expect to bat more than .350, if baseball serves as a faithful decision model.

        As Luther before them, the Denizens’ reactionary ways might be going a bridge too far in our Field of second life dreams.

        Let’s wonder who will become their Erasmus.

      • But the bible was not the priesthood’s promotional material. It was more their mystical authority, so, much like modern-day fake climate scientists of the consensus, they tried to hide it lest the McIntyres of the day (Luther et al?) audit it.

        A big difference even now between Catholicism and Protestantism, is that the former places imbues the priest with the power to say what god’s will is, whereas the Protestants speak of a direct access to by laypeople, using the bible.

      • Steven Mosher

        And in some variants the Bible is even disintermediated, such that the direct personal relationship with the ultimate authority takes precedence over scripture itself.

        having access to the actual data and source was a revolution.

      • It’s a boring week in climate science. Bible discussions on Climate Etc. *b*rt**n at the Blackboard (I think that word blocks posts here)

      • “It’s a boring week in climate science.”

        Only for deniers, whose peace of mind will not tolerate looking outside their windows just now for fear of seeing record heat waves, corn-killing droughts, Arctic cyclones shredding the sea ice, melting over 96% of Greenland with record-low albedo, ozone-eating derechos and so on.

        There’s lots of climate science news out there if your cognitive filters will let it through.

      • > But the bible was not the priesthood’s promotional material.

        Of course it was. Why do you think there’s at least one biblical theme in any sermon?

        > [Christianism] imbues the priest with the power to say what god’s will is.

        Citation needed.

        ***

        Look, I understand that there are theorical differences between Catholics and Protestants. But I’d pay due diligence of common preconceptions about this. What Rome can think is far away from the mundane preoccupations of a Latin American priest trying to help his community come through its hardships.

        The difference between theory and practice is wider in practice than in theory.

      • steven mosher

        willard

        ‘Why do you think there’s at least one biblical theme in any sermon?”

        you need to get out more and visit a variety of churches.
        My favorite pastor used Nietzsche as his main text.
        I went for the music and to hear beyond good and evil taught from the pulpit.

        here is another favorite. Werner Herzog liked him as well

        I met Dr Scott years later in northern california. He was riding around in a classic caddy with what appeared to be his daughter or grand daughter. ahem. As I talked to him and explained that while I wasnt a believer I watched him years before as a grad student. I liked the way he took a text apart. I could not stop looking at the young woman in the car, he smiled and winked.
        Gods been good to me kid. That’s when I realized it was his wife.

      • Moshpit,

        Yeah, now that pastors can assume that their audiences have heard about more than one book, they can use more material. But if these pastors don’t fall back on the Book, they’re not doing their job properly and have to face the consequences from their peers and their bosses. So my point still stands: the Book remains their main playbook.

        Besides, Nietzsche was a philologist. If you can’t dig the relationship between his work and the gospel, there maybe you should stop daydream, listen to these sermons, and pay due diligence to their messages.

        Better yet, open a book from time to time from that philosopher. In German, of course. That’s all the code you need, after all, to dig Friedrich, at least in principle…

        BTW, here’s the film why I know a bit about Luther:

        My best buddy’s dad played in that film.

      • Steven Mosher

        willard.
        i’m well aware of Neitzsche’s entire works. Google Erich Heller and Nietzsche. whose office do you think I sat in ? He was a great and kind man. generous with his time and insights. Somewhere around here I have tapes of all his lectures. The one’s on faust through the ages are wonderful. but everything I know about Neitzsche I learned from him.
        Nice memories

      • Moshpit,

        Thank you for mentioning Erich Heller. I find this kind of breadcrumbs more nourishing than most of the food fights that are happening hereunder.

        The Lutherian way to read Nietzsche would not be to stand on the shoulders of giants like Heller, but to connect to the text by the immediacy of its spirit.

        If Nietzche was a Lutheran God, his corpus would bring its own divine authority, clarity, efficacy, and sufficiency:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheran#Divine_authority

      • So still the elite priest who paid no taxes of the past but was supported by the heavily taxed oiks, is still the elite priest of the present supported by taxes on the oiks?

        Steve Mosher – I’ve been meaning to ask you about this:

        My favorite pastor used Nietzsche as his main text.
        I went for the music and to hear beyond good and evil taught from the pulpit.”

        “Nietzsche, the romantic anti-capitalist, was appalled by the notion that the ‘common man’ (bourgeois and proletarian alike) should enjoy democratic rights. He attacked the ‘the raving stupidity and the noisy yapping of the democratic bourgeois.’ ‘Oh Voltaire! Oh humanity! Oh imbecility!’ He spat at ‘the French Revolution, that gruesome and, closely considered, superfluous farce.’ He sneered at ‘the levellers, these falsely named ‘free spirits’ – eloquent and tirelessly scribbling slaves of the democratic taste and its ‘modern ideas’.’ He poured scorn on the Enlightenment and humanism: ‘Man’, said Nietzsche, ‘is something to be overcome.’ He said ‘The democratic movement is a form assumed by man in decay’ … ‘that darkening and uglification of Europe which has now been going on for a hundred years.’

        For German reactionaries like Nietzsche, the abolition of serfdom was a tragedy.”

        &

        “Nietzsche’s whole work was defiant attack on democratic, levelling effects of capitalism. He insisted, ‘there exists an order of rank between man and man.’ He spoke of ‘the incarnate differences of classes.’ ‘The noble caste’, he said are ‘the more complete human beings’. As for the newly liberated serfs, he called them, ‘the grumbling, oppressed, rebellious slave classes who aspire after domination – they call it “freedom”’. They were, ‘ponderous herd animals’ and ‘multifarious, garrulous, weak-willed and highly employable workers who need a master … worthy clumsy mechanicals … with their plebeian ambition.’ He reviled the common masses: ‘Life is a fountain of delight; but where the rabble also drinks, all wells are poisoned.’”

        From: http://www.martindurkin.com/blogs/nazi-greens-inconvenient-history

        See also:

        http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Commentary/Nietzsche.htm

        “Academia’s love affair with Nietzsche continues and shows little sign of abating. Yet, a reexamination of Nietzsche’s character and philosophy is long overdue. It is time for Nietzsche enthusiasts to acknowledge the ominous parallels between their idol and one the worst mass murderers of the twentieth century. For some, Nietzsche shall remain a “misunderstood” and “distorted” philosopher. For those who recognize the ideational continuity between Nietzsche and Hitler, the man is little more than a syphilitic proto-fascist.”

        So your priest denounced Nietzche? Taught instead Christ’s anarchic message of equality in which we’re all gods…?

        Turning the other cheek is presented as promoting abject enslaved humiliation by the elite priests, but by turning the other cheek the backhanded disdainful slap across the face by the ruling Roman elites, couldn’t be repeated..

        Same with the offer to carry the Roman soldier’s load for an extra mile – law was then that a soldier could only commandeer a passing oik to carry his equipment for one mile..

        Sad the great sense of humour and intelligence of these teachings is lost in order to continue subjugation of the serfs for the benefit of the few who think themselves superior..

      • Latimer Alder

        Follow up remark:

        If ‘the science’ is so obvious as to be settled, why do you need a socking great conference and all sorts of dodgy political manoeuvrings to ‘agree’ what it is? If it is settled then it should be obvious. If it is still in dispute, it is not settled.

        Sounds exactly like the ‘settled’ part of ‘the science is settled’ is just politics, not science.

        Climatologists cannot have it both ways. Either they are independent and disinterested objective seekers after the truth of Mother Nature’s behaviour. Or they are committed activists advancing a political agenda. But they cannot be the latter while flying under the false flag of the former.

        We know when people talk BS to us. And we remember.

    • Laymen are expected to understand pretty complicated disclaimers on financial agreements and in pharmaceutical advertisements. I don’t think the barriers in climate science are insuperable. In fact, if the findings in climate science really were clear then the translation problem wouldn’t be very hard.

      Lewin’s writing on the subject of Madrid is hardly a partisan screed, even though he clearly has a point of view. It’s an interesting analysis of how the real uncertainties got sanded off for public consumption and how the science got overstated by someone who thinks that’s that’s what happened. Someone with a different point of view could read Lewin’s account and disagree with the interpretation while accepting the basic narrative of events.

      • Latimer Alder

        @stevepostrel

        You forget that somewhere along the way ‘climatologists’ must undergo some hidden ritual that turns them from just another run of the mill graduate or doctoral student into intellectual supermen.

        Up until that point they were just ‘Freddy no mates’ – the nerdy one who obsesses about climate change. But afterwards their pronouncements suddenly become so infallible, so deeply insightful and so uniquely correct that mere laymen could not possibly be allowed near them. Lest perhaps the intensity of the brilliance should blind the hoi polloi to their true significance. Like the Ark hidden behind the curtain or the Mass celebrated behind the screen, these are for initiates only.

        The only people allowed to even assess their work are fellow inductees. And only after prolonged discussion among the cognoscenti are laymen’s interpretations released. They are called ‘papers’. We can identify these because – whatever the content – they all start with ‘It is much worse than we thought’ and finish with ‘More research is needed’. These are the genuine seals of the true climatologist. Approved as doctrinally clean.

        But though I have often asked I have been unable to determine exactly what the ritual consists of. It must be very powerful academic magic to transform mediocre and undistinguished students into these magnificent thinking machines. We know that it is not examination based since there are few such exams, and none of the Dear and/or Great and/or Beloved and/or Divine Leaders have passed them. Perhaps it is purely ritualistic involving trying to chop down a (suitably selected) pine tree with a hockey stick? Preferably with both trouser legs rolled up and a strange handshake…………

        In the interests of my own academic research, I;d be grateful if any apostate could give just a clue about what the process of becoming ‘A Climatologist’ consisted of. And, of course, how it felt!

  35. Tomas Milanovic

    Well actually I have found that there are a number of scientists outside the field of climate science (and participating on blogs) that are more familiar with this literature than many so called climate scientists of the WG2 variety

    This is very true and corresponds to my own observations. It is for that reason that I consider that blogging plays a similar role as classical publishing.
    The advantage is the unlimited space and time as well as the freedom to “get out of the box” while the symmetrical disadvantage is that it may take time to sort relevant posts from irrelevant ones.
    But with experience everybody learns fast which poster is generally interesting and which isn’t what accelerates significantly the reading of even 100+ comments topics.

  36. If you answer YES to at least 3 of these, I would argue that you are sufficiently informed to make an independent judgement rather than parrot the consensus.

    I am beginning to believe in Intelligent Design.

    Here we have Judith, who has argued quite frequently against an “appeal to authority” that comes in the form of “you aren’t experienced/credentialed in the specifics of climate science” when used to discount the critique of non-expert “skeptics.”

    Notably, Judith has told us that Freeman Dyson’s self-acknowledged lack of field-specific expertise should most certainly not limit the value of his input into the debate about the validity of perspective among field-specific experts.

    I have to say, I’m not sure that the depth of irony to be found in the climate debate could be the product of a long sequence of random events. Maybe it really is true that only an intelligent-designer could fabricate such a site to behold.

    Either way, however, intelligently designed or not, the climate debate is certainly a thing of beauty.

    • Steven Mosher

      I think Judith’s argument isn’t an appeal to authority. It’s really pretty simple.
      Long ago in climate debates there used to be a constant question. Have you read the literature? What judith is saying is that if you havent read the literature, then your opinion really isnt independent. If you read what somebody said the literature said, and are repeating what you think they said about what somebody else wrote, then your opinion isnt really independent. I wouldnt call it parrotting the consensus, if you dont read the literature.. something less pejorative is closer to the truth.
      WRT dyson. it’s interesting to listen to what smart people say even when they have no expertise in the field. its good to take that in. whether or not it changes your view of things is another matter.

      For example, I would listen to what you have to say about the science.
      For a variety of reasons. I would listen to dyson, for other reasons.
      In the end, i’d read the literature and check those things within my abilities to check.

      • Steven –

        Actually, I think that Judith’s argument makes some sense.

        (1) As a general rule, more information used to support an opinion (mixing opinion reached independently with listening to others) , there is certainly the possibility of a better considered opinion.

        (2) I think that being more independently informed – and therefore at least theoretically more able to reach an opinion controlled for a bias (or influence) from the opinion of others – offers a positive benefit.

        On the other hand:

        What judith is saying is that if you havent read the literature, then your opinion really isnt independent.

        Reading the literature is certainly no guarantee of independence, and listening to the opinion of others (particularly listening to multiple opinions), and evaluating the predominance of opinions – can help us to gain better insight on our own evaluation of evidence (to the extent that we have evaluated evidence). At some point (at least potentially) you could reach diminishing returns if you prioritize independent evaluation of the evidence over forming opinions via careful analysis of the opinions of others. I know most of what I know about climate science (admittedly pitifully little) from evaluating the flaws in the arguments of more-informed combatants.

        And we know that there is also a tendency to use more information simply to deepen a confirmation of bias.

        So it’s kind of a mess, not something that easily bends to a simplistic algorithm. We need a mixture of independence, valuing expertise, valuing the preponderance of expert opinion, valuing opinions that are reached from outside the bubble.

        I think that the “appeal to authority” meme as used in the blogosphere is mostly bogus – used selectively by people seeking to discount expertise on the other side of the fence even as they prioritize expertise on their own side of the debate. It’s like when someone learning a language learns a general rule and then runs around applying it in appropriately (I ated the apple).

        We can see that an “appeal to authority” can be twisted one way or the other, depending on how we want to use it. I have absolutely no problem with Judith saying: (1) scientists who read more of the relevant information are potentially better positioned to draw conclusions or, (2) more scientists who weigh in on the issue should do more reading.

        My problem is with the selectivity in how she applies the principles she uses to evaluate the debate.

        I wouldnt call it parrotting the consensus, if you dont read the literature.. something less pejorative is closer to the truth.

        And here I completely agree. It is Judith’s tendency to be pejorative – and even more so selectively pejorative – in a way that ignores the complexity of a phenomena, that reflects bias in my view.

        Assuming a direct correlation (or causality) between independence and reading the literature is facile – and use of a pejorative based on a facile conclusion seems problematic to me. That isn’t to say that reading the literature isn’t desirable.

        The same would apply to denigrating opinions reached by consensus without recognizing the value of consensus. The same would apply to denigrating the process of peer review without recognizing the value of peer review.

        We can find flaws in much of life, can’t we? Where do we selectively focus on flaws, or selectively ignore them?

      • What makes you think that Dyson hasn’t read the literature? He has stated that he was studying the greenhouse effect long before most people paid attention and he’s maintained an interest in the subject. Moreover, given his milieu, most of the second-hand opinions he’s heard would probably have been “mainstream” ones. It’s not like he’s some kind of narrow specialist–he’s been a wide-ranging omnivore for most of his career.

        None of this says he’s right about climate or anything else. I find myself disagreeing with him on various topics quite often, but his views are always intelligent and well-expressed and he’s scary smart. (Also, if you want to read a really good explanation of the occasional problems with big science, check out his essay on Plan A and Plan B in Eros and Gaia.)

      • Robin Melville

        Not often I feel the need to respond to the great Mosh, but here goes.

        The centrality of this whole debate is that these digests are designed to inform policy-makers. Consequently, lacking the mathematical and scientific knowledge, policy-makers — and the informed general public — have to make a judgement based upon the persuasiveness of the case which is made.

        By analogy, a senior guy at RBS has one technician telling him that outsourcing his transaction IT to India will be catastrophic, another telling him it’ll save money. Whose advice does he take? If the catastrophist has a vested interest because his department will shrink and the outsourcer will benefit from a higher bonus, how does that effect the decision?

        It seems to me that it’s not enough to say “go get your own PhD in Math/Physics/Hydrology”. Arguments have to be authoritative and convincing. I’m increasingly alarmed that, far from seeking to get objective advice on these difficult questions, Governments are commissioning academics to provide them with the bullets to fire to make a pre-agreed case. It doesn’t help the lay, but engaged, public when the supposed objective protagonists in the debate are self-proclaimed activists on one side or the other.

        To summarise, Judy’s list is ok if you want to make a primary intervention in the debate, but it’s elitist to suggest that the rest of us can’t make some kind of stab at making a judgement.

      • Robin Melville

        As a rider to this comment I’d add that — in line with the biblical scholasticism discussion earlier — that most of the mainstream climate science papers I have dipped into seem to be written in the most extreme obfuscatory style. I’m always suspicious of this, as I suspect that by writing papers to make them more “difficult”, authors are attempting to obscure a somewhat flimsy basis in actual science.

  37. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry’s admirable cognitive survey has five criteria, thus each carries criterion carries 20% of the weight. Unsurprisingly, and in accord with the “80%-20%” rule, we have seen here on Climate Etc that one of these 20%-weighted criteria is responsible for 80% of the controversy.

    The troublemaker is Criterion 1: “I have read the IPCC AR4 WGI report in its entirety.” Trouble comes because:

    • IPCC AR4 WGI is immensely long: 3,000+ pages long, with 6,000+ references, and was produced by a gigantic committee of 450 lead authors, 800 contributing authors, and 1500 reviewers.

    • IPCC AR4 WGI is reactive, not creative. There are several reasons for this, but a main one is, the larger the committee, and the more deeply-layered the review process, the less creative thought survives the gantlet.

    • IPCC AR4 WGI was created by a political process. There are several reasons for this, but a main one is, the larger the committee, the more its decision-making is dominated by politics.

    To mitigate these problems, here is a concrete suggestion, for amending Judit Curry’s Criterion 1, that has sufficient sensitivity and specificity to preserve 97% of its diagnostic virtue, and requires reading only 3% of its length.

    ————

    Criterion A: Hansen et al. 1981: “Climate impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide” (10 pages)  Did Hansen et al. get the key physical ideas of AGW right?

    Criterion B: Hansen et al. 2011a: “Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications” (32 pages)  Did Hansen et al. get the observational verification and validation of AGW right?

    Criterion C: Hansen et al. 2011a: “Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature” (39 pages)  Did Hansen et al. reasonably appreciate observational the moral and social implations of AGW?

    Recommendation  Replace Criterion 1 with “I have read the articles Hansen 1981a, 2011a, and 2011b in their entirety.”

    ————–

    Main Conclusion  For purposes of diagnostic cognitive assessment, three Hansen articles adequately capture the substance of the IPCC AR4 WGI reports, and are only 3% of the length.

    The savings in effort are *TREMENDOUS*, eh?   :)   :)   :)

    ————–

    Bonus Confection  For details of the unprecedented summer Arctic typhoon that is presently wreaking havoc on the Arctic ice-pack, visit Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Blog.

    Aye lassies and laddies, this is climate-change history in the making! So enjoy the flood of real-time data & the well-informed comments!   :)   :)   :)

    • I would add
      Criterion D: Hansen et al. (2012). Perception of climate change (9 pages, lots of graphics, PNAS paper). Did Hansen get the changing statistics of extreme temperature events right?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Jim D, that article is indeed a very good addition to the list of canonical Hansen articles. Thank you!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

        Let me mention also that Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Blog has posted a fascinating new update on the ongoing Arctic typhoon. Very well done Neven!   :)   :)   :)

        Dave Springer, you are a multiple-time Climate Etc. Gold Medalist for vividly abusive erotic imaginings. Have you considered that the production of such imagery may be your true calling?   :lol:   :lol:   :lol:

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Oops … here’s a (hopefully) working link: Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Blog has posted a fascinating new update on the ongoing Arctic typhoon.

        Thank you again for a thoughtful, respectful, and informative post, JimD!   :)   :)   :)

      • I am also a fan of the 1981 paper, which is ahead of its time. I especially like the touch of labeling the higher projected temperature range at 2100 as Mesozoic. It is a point not raised enough that the CO2 levels will be Mesozoic (like 100 million years ago) by the end of the century, and the temperature projections stand up 30 years later too, remembering that in 1981 warming had not been occurring for a decade or two, so this was a prediction of a change, not extrapolation of the existing trend.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        fan,
        You win the unintended irony award of the day.
        Someone pretending to be a scientist (like urself) calling a science paper “canonical” is the bestest bit of bs.
        Please tell us you are not tenured.

      • http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/temperature-variability-part-2/#more-5421

        I don’t thinks so, but then Best has issues, Watts has issues, Gertis has issues. There will continue being issues because it is a complex problem with serious non-linearity.

        Climate science is a lot like taking a knife to a gunfight.

      • It’s really a shame that papers based evidently on a really stupid error in statistical analysis are written by well known scientists and then get even published.

        As a scientific paper the error appears to make the paper totally worthless.

        It’s certainly true that increases in average temperature do lead also to more very hot days, but that paper does not confirm even that as the results are influenced so strongly by other effects, i.e. the error and locally high temperatures that are not really extreme by more significant measures.

        Making errors is human but the result is so extreme that it should have raised suspicion and led to extra checking by both the original authors and the referees. That should have led to the observations that Tamino and John N-G made probably exactly for this reason.

      • As before, I am disagreeing. The shifting of the histogram is a real effect, and the amplification of the 3-sigma probability and its areal extent is a real consequence from it, and demonstrated about as clearly as it can be.
        The paper is supplemented by some interesting animations of climate change.

        http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/warming-links.html

      • When the analysis is seriously in error the paper is scientifically worthless. As I wrote: Letting trough a paper that should have raised suspicion is even worse.

        For activist other issues may be more important than scientific value but publishing an erroneous paper has a negative overall effect also from that point of view.

      • Of course you are disagreeing. There is approximately a 16% greater trend in the surface temperatures than the satellites and approximately a 17% natural variability. By selecting a relatively low baseline and neglecting “other” information sources, you can get some “unprecedented” results.

        If you include natural variability, that would be considering the 1910 to 1940 baseline, you get somewhat less “unprecedented” but useful results.

        Or you could pull a Watts, change the baseline and the selection criterion and get different results, without cheating BTW.

        A well written paper would consider all of those possibilities and provide a realistic range of uncertainty.

      • Pekka –

        …but publishing an erroneous paper has a negative overall effect also from that point of view.

        Obviously, the reviewers disagree with your assessment.

        Perhaps they are in error, but disagreements about which papers should or shouldn’t be published are inevitable.

        In the end, the best we (collectively) can do is make a calculated guess based on the predominance (noting stated uncertainty) of expert opinion – with a concerted effort to understand the views in dissent.

        In my view, if someone impugns the system in some categorical fashion, because (in their view) flawed papers getting through, then they most likely have an ax to grind and their true goal is merely to confirm their biases. You can’t stop someone else from confirming biases. It is a logical impossibility.

      • To me the findings of Tamino seem really strong. I have followed his site and on last check those findings have not been conflicted. I understand his point and consider it very strong. Thus I’m almost certain that the paper is based on an erroneous analysis. It’s also clear that the error affects most of the paper, not only that one graph.

        I already wrote that it is a shame if a so badly erroneous paper gets published as this appears to be.

        There’s certainly a risk that Tamino, John N-G and we all others who agree with them are wrong but right now I consider this very unlikely and much more likely that Hansen and the referees made such a mistake that they should not make.

      • Pekka, Tamino is wrongly focusing on a hypothetical effect on the change in variability rather than shift in the mean. The shift in the mean alone accounts for the increase in 3-sigma events relative to the baseline. The variance also increases globally because of the trend which is present globally, so his made-up case of a trend in one place and not the other is flawed relative to the real case. Whether the trend’s effect on variance should be removed or not is tested in the paper too. Tamino shows that if you remove the trend at all stations, the variance won’t increase, indicating that the trend is indeed increasing the variance. It should not be surprising that a changing climate is more prone to extremes when it is changing faster than the baseline period, because the variance is affected by the rate of change.

      • Again – if you believe that in balance, the system of peer review is valid, then in the end an opposing viewpoint (say to Hansen’s conclusion) will predominate in the literature over time. Predominance does not equal invalidation, but it the risk of error either way takes on a clearer quantification of probabilities.

        The same type of process (at least from my perspective) is reflected in the opinions of people like you, Tamino, and John N-G. Judith is correct, IMO, about the broad value of “extended peer review” (I believe that’s the term she uses). Of course, I disagree with her in that I think that her assessment of that extended peer review reflects rather obvious biases.

        If you think that in balance the system of peer review is invalid, then it really is irrelevant whether a particular article gets published or not. This is the logical inconsistency imbedded in the arguments of many “skeptics” w/r/t peer review specifically (or w/r/t issues such as discounting the validity of measures of warming even while claiming they have no doubt that the Earth is warming).

      • Joshua,

        And if someone does not accepts the system in some categorical fashion, because (in their view) no flawed papers getting through, then they most likely have an ax to grind and their true goal is merely to confirm their biases.

      • Correction:

        And if someone accepts the system in some broad fashion, because (in their view) flawed papers are not getting through, then they most likely have an ax to grind, and their true goal is merely to confirm their biases.

      • Joshua, “In my view, if someone impugns the system in some categorical fashion, because (in their view) flawed papers getting through, then they most likely have an ax to grind and their true goal is merely to confirm their biases. You can’t stop someone else from confirming biases. It is a logical impossibility.”

        You can point it out though. Like this,

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/unprecedented-warming-in-lake-tanganyika-and-its-impact-on-humanity.html

        Scary right? That plot is from Tierney et al. 2010.

        The thin orange line is the mean. That is the same mean as the skeptical science plot.

        That adds Cook et al. Tasmania at the end in burgundy. Guess where the sst goes?

        So ignore natural variability, pick the scariest looking time frame you can find, voila!, you be a climate scientist :)

      • Vassily –

        And if someone does not accepts the system in some categorical fashion, because (in their view) no flawed papers getting through, then they most likely have an ax to grind and their true goal is merely to confirm their biases.

        If I can parse your syntax correctly (it seemed a bit unclear to me) I would agree. Are you referring to anyone in particular?

      • Jim,

        You obviously don’t understand the seriousness of the error (assuming as I do that Tamino is right).

        One example of how it affects the result is seen by reversing the analysis using the most recent decade as the basis for normal temperature and looking backwards. Doing that it’s expected to give the result that the early decades show wider distributions, i.e. the direction of widening would be reversed.

        Hansen et al compare with a variety of variances based on different decades but they don’t correct for the effect caused by the different rates of warming in different areas. The error is here as far as the available information tells.

      • Cap’n

        I’ll read the link, but here’s my off-the-cuff response to your post.

        It’s always interesting to read one side of a debate. Ultimately, however, it is usually less instructive than reading both sides.

        How would the folks at SS counter your point? What flaws do you think they would find in your argument? Should I assume your argument to be flawless in opposition to theirs?

        Along those lines, when I read something like this:

        So ignore natural variability, pick the scariest looking time frame you can find, voila!, you be a climate scientist

        My skeptical side says that you have overstate certainty: (1) “Ignore” natural variability? (2) A broad smearing of climate scientists based on what, at best, is a specific error?

        An assertion based on speculation (1) and overgeneralization are telltale signs of confirmation bias in my book.

        How ’bouts yours?

      • Pekka, my sense of it is that the width of the variance for a given baseline depends in part on how quickly climate changed during it. Faster changing periods lead to more variance. The last ten years didn’t change rapidly, so its variance would not be expect to be as large as in the 90’s, for example, when the change was faster, but 30-year periods should be chosen for the baseline anyway.

      • Joshua, “My skeptical side says that you have overstate certainty: (1) “Ignore” natural variability? ” That plot specifically ignored the natural variability of that reconstruction. There are 1500 year pseudo cycles called Bond events that are poorly understood, but that is no reason to ignore their existence.

        “(2) A broad smearing of climate scientists based on what, at best, is a specific error?” Preponderance of “specific errors”.

        “An assertion based on speculation (1) and overgeneralization are telltale signs of confirmation bias in my book.” Not based on speculation but observation.

        “How ’bouts yours?”

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/there-are-no-steps-it-is-constant.html I am convinced, not biased.

      • I’ll respond below – so as to not further interfere between the technical discussion between Jim and Pekka.

      • Jim,

        The effect that you mention came to my mind first when I looked at the paper but I realized immediately that this effect might explain some widening for the decades of clear intradecadal trend but not that of the latest decade. This is, however, not the effect that Tamino realized.

        The effect that Tamino brought up would lead to a similar broadening also in a situation where the global average is unchanged but some regions have been warming and some others cooling. Such regional variability is always present over periods of a few decades but they have probably been stronger in the warming world in the way that the cold regions have warmed more and nights more than days. Actually the changes that have reduced the regional differences are possibly the main reason for the spurious effect.

        Paradoxically one might perhaps find out that a reduction in regional variability shows up as increased variability in that figure. This is speculation but might well be true.

      • Pekka, I now see that capt. dallas has posted that Cliff Mass also doesn’t like the Hansen analysis (thanks, captain), so I am in minority (perhaps of one) here, but I am still of the opinion it is useful what Hansen shows.
        Let’s take one grid point to avoid confusion. He uses the 1951-1980 climatology of the summer mean temperature to define a standard deviation and mean for that point. He defines 3-sigma as an extreme event in that climatology, having a probability of less than 0.5%. In the case of Texas one sigma is about 1 C (from his map), and so 3 sigma is 3 C. He says that 2011 was an extreme event by this definition at that point. So far, I don’t see anything wrong with using this definition for extreme events. A 3 C perturbation at that Texas point was very rare in 1951-1980. He then maps points that meet his point-by-point extreme criterion and the area more recently became 10% when it was less than 0.5% in the past. The odds against the 2011 Texas anomaly map in 1951-1980 climate are astronomical. It seems perhaps too obvious to say this Texas map is therefore a situation we only see because the climate has changed, and it can be said with great confidence, as you could not have sampled such a map in the 1950-1981 climate by even small random chance. I believe people are overthinking this simple statement that can be made using point-by-point climatology, and doesn’t need the global histogram where the confusion arises. Similarly Russia in 2010, and western Europe in 2003 have anomaly maps that are so much against the odds in 1951-1980 that they can be attributed to a changed climate with great confidence.

      • Jim,

        Cliff Mass mentioned almost in passing that the paper is demonstrably wrong. What he discussed more is how systematically and certainly intentionally Hansen distorts the facts.

        My view is that Hansen may have been important in raising attention on climate change, but presently he is a burden and his net influence on getting anything done has turned to negative. He is one of the main reasons for the doubts that very many people have on climate science. Other arrogantly behaving climate scientists appear to make their best in strengthening this negative influence. I don’t tell whom I list among the arrogant but definitely not all those attacked by skeptics, only a few of them.

      • Pekka, Cliff Mass just pointed out the obvious.

      • I defend Hansen in this case because people, including Mass, have attributed to him things he did not say. He did not say that the Texas 2011 heat wave was caused by AGW with great certainty. His message was a much more subtle one that the observed average summer temperature in Texas in 2011 could not have been seen in his baseline period of 1951-1980, and he make make that statement with great certainty. This is as far as he goes in the paper. The ‘dice’ part says that what was in the top 33% of summer temperatures in the baseline period, now occurs in 75% of the summers. Another useful observation, that I don’t think has been disputed.

      • Dallas,
        I agree.

        Jim,
        It’s often more important what people are led to believe that you said than what you really said when all words and formulations are checked carefully. By the first alternative I don’t refer so much to real misinterpretation than to the impression that the actual statements give for a casual reader.

        Writing something that’s almost certain to be interpreted more strongly than it formally means is a standard trick used to exaggerate but to have a formal excuse that allows one to claim that I didn’t say that. That trick is certainly used heavily also by the skeptical side and the scientists on that side, in particular.

      • When it comes to droughts such as the current US one, there is a lot of sensitivity on both sides to even a perception that an attribution is being made. Mass and Nielsen-Gammon, both AGWers and qualified scientists, are aware that misleading people harms the case which is probably why they are so vocal here. Hansen could have helped prevent such negative views on both sides by making an explicit statement that this work does not mean extreme events are due to climate change, only the extremeness of events that would have occurred anyway.

      • Jim,
        If all climate scientist would have chosen the same style as Nielsen-Gammon and Mass we would not have the same type of controversy we have now. There might still be a major controversy on policies but the argument might be more on the issues where the controversies are better understood by politicians and we would have a better change of concentrating on real issues.

        Without any activists at the early stage our present knowledge about the climate system might be significantly even more lacking than it’s now as there has certainly been more climate research as a outcome of the activism. If the scientists had been able to work under more normal conditions some parts of the science might have proceeded better but not so much better that it would have compensated for the change in resources.

      • Pekka, yes activism draws attention, which is a benefit if it is done properly, but is negative if not. The majority of AGW scientists are like Mass and Nielsen-Gammon, who only occasionally if ever put forwards opinions on the policy, but usually stay out of it and are not activist. This silent majority just want to get the science right and are happy to just communicate within their community via papers and conferences rather than in public forums, and I think there is even a negative view of too much publicity seeking in that community. Press releases on the science are fine, but talking about policy is not unless you make it clear you are doing so as a private citizen, but Hansen still likes to add policy opinions to the end of his scientific papers, which is the exception rather than the rule. It is a problem that 99% of these scientists are never heard from outside their labs, because if numbers count to the public this would show the majority opinion more clearly than the IPCC can.

      • Steven Mosher

        JimD.

        His results are not robust

      • Neither were Rahmstorf’s, and now the consensus on SLR is one meter, and probably rising again soon.

      • Steven Mosher

        Hmm. I got about halfway through turning their matlab into R and got distracted by other stuff. SteveF ( or maybe PaulS) has a nice post on their approach over at Lucia’s. i don’t understand the word consensus. Not in my lexicon. there are things I have checked and can speak about.
        and things I haven’t checked which I suspend judgement about.

      • i don’t understand the word consensus. Not in my lexicon.

        Perhaps there is some sort of adult-learning vocabulary builder you could use?

        Perhaps a word of the day calender?

        Whether you know what the word means or not, you make use of consensus all of time. It is impossible outside of an extremely narrow field of expertise to investigate every finding down to base premises.

        Perhaps you “suspend judgement” about these findings in some abstract philosophical sense, but in practice, you make use of them all the time.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven Mosher, perhaps it is appropriate to regard James Hansen’s most recent work as a scientific prediction to the effect that (in Hansen’s words):

        Seasonal-mean temperature anomalies have changed dramatically. … The probability distribution for temperature anomalies has shifted more than one standard deviation toward higher values. In addition, the distribution has broadened, the shift being greater at the high temperature tail of the distribution. … A perceptive person old enough to remember the climate of 1951–1980 should recognize the existence of climate change, especially in summer.

        The verification and validation of Hansen’s prediction no doubt will inspire much further work. After all, the IPCC reports all can be regarded as (in essence) the ongoing verification and validation of the (outstandingly influential) Hansen et al. 1981 article “The Climate Impact of Increasing Carbon Dioxide.”

        In this regard, we can all appreciate Nick Stokes’ patient efforts this week to help Anthony Watts learn better data analysis techniques, that hopefully (in the long run) will allow the Watts/WUWT community to independently verify and validate James Hansen’s predictions.

        Well done, James Hansen and Nick Stokes!   :)   :)   :)

      • Scientific papers should be kept scientific and major errors make them irrelevant (until corrected if that’s possible without losing the effect).

        That kind of effect you discuss is possible but verifying it empirically is likely to take much longer than it takes to get a essentially improved estimate of climate sensitivity. This is due to methodological limitations of statistical analysis. A very strong and easily discernible effect as claimed by Hansen et al is really unlikely.

        Another essential issue is that while some types of weather extremes relative to “new normal” may get more common it’s likely that some other types get less frequent. As there are no natural scales to compare different weather extremes it may be impossible to tell unequivocally whether the total number or total severity of extremes has increased or decreased. The trend of some specific overall index may ultimately become clear but for the indexes that compare with “new normals” even that may take very long.

        The situation is totally different for fixed scales. With warming it’s obvious that also temperatures that were once exceptionally high will typically get much more common in future.

      • Steven Mosher

        Nick and I are friends and we share code and have authored a few things together. I was going to weigh in on Anthony’s latest analytical blunder, as I did with his last attempt, but Nick beat me to it. there are other problems with Anthony’s approach. I have to pick my battles.

        With regard to hansen’s latest, I can confirm that there are substantial problems in his methodology. I won’t detail them here, but I will be sure to update you when the criticism is complete. In short, is it getting warmer?
        yes. Is the best explanation AGW? yes. should one expect more extreme events in a warming climate. yes.

        Has the distribution changed shape? Hansen’s method for answering this question is flawed. The easiest way to see that is that he does not benchmark his method or validate his method with synthetic data. neither does he show that his method is invariant WRT selection of a base period. But stand by.

        You should also note that he doesnt do a very good literature review. Still, I think its good that he puts his stuff out there prior to acceptance. It would be good if he posted data and code.

      • “In short, is it getting warmer? yes. Is the best explanation AGW? yes. should one expect more extreme events in a warming climate. yes.”

        cargo cult science. an illustrative example.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven Mosher, please let me say that your post (above) is outstanding (IMHO).

        To it might be added this observation: it is commonplace in mathematics and physics that correct conjectures/predictions/answers are first obtained by flawed reasoning from imperfect evidence. Only subsequently are these conjectures/predictions/answers verified by rigorous reasoning and/or definitive observations.

        Over the past 3+ decades, James Hansen has demonstrated a talent — amounting almost to genius — for consistently starting with imperfect evidence, proceeding by imperfect reasoning, and arriving (first!) at right answers.

        So like many folks, I am neither surprised nor dismayed by technical criticisms of Hansen’s methods. What is mainly important is that the associated predictions will be thoroughly tested, and that they will catalyze further good research … and for this undoubted service Hansen’s research deserves our appreciation.

        Thank you again for your lively, thoughtful, well-expressed post, Steven Mosher!   :)   :)   :)

      • “Is the best explanation AGW? yes.”

        Bare Assertion

        “expect more extreme events in a warming climate. yes.”

        Canned Lingo

        Andrew

      • Steven Mosher

        Thank you fan.
        I see no problem with publishing exploratory work. I dont rely on the peer review system to imprint “truth” on a paper. At best reviewers can catch
        1. gross failures to cite or consider relevant literature
        2. gross errors in logic.

        Purists, of course, would like to demand more of peer review and some think that the imprint of peer review carries some epistemic weight.
        It doesn’t. It merely implies that 3 or 4 smart guys found no glaring holes and that the result is interesting and noteworthy.

        The topic of extreme events is interesting I expect a lot of people will be building on hansen, improving methods, drilling down.. etc. that’s good.
        I’d be very surprised to see the distribution widen.. I’d be less surprised to see it narrow ( but cant say why, just a hunch) and disappointed if it didnt change at all.

      • Steven, you might find this presentation interesting:

        At its heart is this slide:

        I found it a good explanation of why we can expect more extreme weather in North America as a result of the Arctic melt-out.

      • Steven Mosher

        Bad Andrew.

        1. best explanation. Well, it is warming. one thing people try to do in science behavior is explain one set of phenomena ( cancer) in terms of another set of phenomena ( smoking). So, what explains the warming that we see? The best explanation, the explanation that is consistent with know physics, suggests that GHGs can explain the warming. No other explanation has been offered. one could exists. it could be grelims.
        Best explanation doesnt mean “true”. it doesnt mean ‘only’. it does not mean ‘perfect’. it means.. best. And we when we reason, we reason to the best explanation. You can choose to ignore the best explanation. You can choose to throw up your hands and say, we dont need to explain it.
        but when you choose to reason you reason to the best explanation, limited though it may be.

        2. I suggest you work with some data

      • At best reviewers can catch
        1. gross failures to cite or consider relevant literature
        2. gross errors in logic.

        I would probably agree that those are the most common benefits of peer review, and there are certainly detriments from peer review (i.e., someone protecting their own academic work), but they are far from the “best” gains from peer review.

        Often, the strength of an argument is enhanced or fine-tuned, subtle ambiguities are clarified – particularly in work that is corrected to address the comments of reviewers (although, no doubt, often responses to comments of reviewers result in fudging to just get something published).

        Purists, of course, would like to demand more of peer review and some think that the imprint of peer review carries some epistemic weight.

        I don’t think it guarantees epistemic weight in some absolute sense, but it does often confer epistemic weight in a relative sense for individual studies. Viewed as a system, a little more epistemic weight here, a little more epistemic weight there, and you probably get some kind of absolute improvement. We’re probably better off with it than without it.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes, robert i’m familar with that.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven Mosher posts  “At best reviewers can catch: 1. gross failures to cite or consider relevant literature, and 2. gross errors in logic.”

        Steven Mosher, please let me say that your last several posts express my own conceptions so accurately, that it would be moot for me to praise their correctness.

        So let me say instead — without any regard for agreement-in-substance — that *everyone* on Climate Etc can appreciate the clarity, and the generous spirit, and the scrupulous respectfulness of your posts.

        For which clarity, generosity, and respect, this appreciation and thanks are extended to Steven Mosher!   :)   :)   :)

      • Mosh

        You say that we Should we expect more extreme events in a warming climate . Is that right? Surely the energy potential for extreme events is built up when there is great difference between hot and cold weather?

        Certainly reading through the historic record there appear to be many more extreme events during the lia than at other times. In the lia you had very hot weather and very cold weather, at other times the temperature difference was more moderate
        Tonyb

      • Robin Melville

        Also, since we’re in Hansen canonisation mode — how clever was he to start his series in the rather quiet 1950’s rather than include the data from the 1930’s and earlier where extremes were more extreme than now! It’s as if Steinbeck never existed!

        I could also make a case to say warlike behaviour by humans is unprecedented today, based on battle mortality statistics from 1946 to the present.

        Now that’s what I call activist science. Real “progressive” — and obviously authoritative.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Robin Melville, you are entirely correct that appreciation of James Hansen’s scientific merits is increasing year-by-year.

        For example Hansen and his colleagues have been proven wonderfully foresighted in predicting in 1981 opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.

        Just today, Neven on his Arctic Sea Ice weblog — along with a very passionate crew of climate scientists — are reporting about this summer’s unprecedented Arctic ice-melt/typhoon event … a startling climate event that is impressively in accord with Hansen’s 1981 predictions, eh?

        If Hansen’s present predictions — perhaps most notably “an acceleration of sea-level rise this decade” — continue to be verified and validated in coming years, as impressively as his 1981 predictions have already been verified and validated … then James Hansen will (deservedly) be recognized as one of the most foresighted scientists in human history.

        Isn’t that plainly evident, Robin Melville?   :)   :)   :)

      • Robin Melville

        So, my point stands?

      • David Springer

        How will your grandchildren know of just how heroic your efforts to save the world from global warming really were if you do not sign your comments with your real name, John Sidles?

        Oh wait… you don’t want them to know their grandfather was a lunatic.

        Nevermind…

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Robin Melville, regarding the above three posts:

        A fan of *MORE* discourse posted seriously,

        Robin Melville responded sardonically, then

        Dave Springer spewed abusively, and finally

        Mother Nature spoke up clearly.

        And so, Robin Melville, all of the voices of the climate-change debate were heard. Which is good, eh?   :)   :)   :)

      • Robin Melville

        No, Mr Troll. You had no answer to my original post about James Hansen’s obvious ploy to avoid inevitable comparisons with the life-memories of thousands, if not millions of midwest Americans who suffered through the 1930s, let alone the literary record.

        I’m appreciative of the commentator who posted a link about changes to agricultural methodologies which would help mitigate dust-bowl destruction of the plains. Provided that multi-year drought should again afflict the American grain belt.

        I suspect you are a sock-puppet belonging to anti-AGW forces designed to intervene in such a way as to invite ridicule to serious and committed proponents of climate alarmism.

        Life really is too short to respond to you further, so farewell.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Robin Melville, it’s good that you are growing to appreciate that personal abuse is an utterly futile pursuit.

        And as for the scientific *ideas* that are expressed in James Hansen’s 1981 article Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, there too I must agree with you, Robin Melville, that life is too short for either of us to see these ideas refuted.

        For the evident reason, that Hansen’s ideas are correct, eh?

        And with Nature on his side, isn’t Hansen’s triumph inevitable?

        Isn’t that simple, Robin Melville?   :)   :)   :)

      • If Hansen’s … impressive 1981 predictions have already been verified and validated … then James Hansen will (deservedly) be recognized as one of the most foresighted scientists in human history.

        And all done by basic curve-fitting. Most foresighted indeed.

      • The all science is curve fitting. Measured data is a set of points, and the more points that you can fit your model to, the more confident you can be in your results.

        Hansen worked some sophisticated models back then, diffusion models for transient sensitivity and others. He was not just a trendologist as exemplified by Girma..

    • HANSEN VS OBSERVATION => http://orssengo.com/GlobalWarming/Hansen1988Fig3b.PNG

      Hansen’s projections are completely wrong.

      • In 1981 his model had a sensitivity near 2.8 C per doubling which is closer to the current consensus, so that projection is not shown much by skeptics for obvious reasons.

      • And of course you can bet the observations chosen by “skeptics” ignore GISTEMP, which has the best coverage of any of the global temp indices.

        They cherry pick on both ends.

      • GisTemp actually runs colder than the satellites, once natural variation is removed. I’ve read that GisTemp has a slight cold bias.

      • JCH,

        do you know what the supposed source of the cold bias is?

      • You seem incapable of acknowledging that Hansen was wrong in 1998 as a minimum. If you can not be truthful, how can a meaningful exchange continue?

      • “Wrong in 1998″? You can’t even get your dates right.

        No, Rob, your faith-based premise is not accepted. Show me how Hansen was wrong in 1981 or 1988. Please make the argument and show your work.

      • Jim

        I believe you are wrong to state there is a consensus that temperature will rise by 2.8C as a result of a doubling of CO2. What makes you believe there is such a consensus?

      • He said “closer to the current consensus.”

        The 1988 testimony used 4C/doubling model. 1981 used 2.8C/doubling. Current consensus is in the neighborhood of 3C, which is closer to 2.8 than 4 is.

        Of course, there remain wide error bars on climate sensitivity, which is not at all contrary to Hansen’s estimates at any time. Closer, here, means closer to the middle of the range of credible estimates.

      • Robert says ” Current consensus is in the neighborhood of 3C” I disagree that there is any such consensus. Please show evidence of why you believe such a consensus has been established. Now if you write that the consensus is 3C +/- 2C I would agree, but such a figure with that margin of error is virtuall meaningless.

      • “Robert says ” Current consensus is in the neighborhood of 3C” I disagree that there is any such consensus.”

        That’s fine. Just explain what you mean.

        When I say consensus I mean consensus among climate scientists. I suggest you review the AR4. Money quote:

        The equilibrium climate sensitivity is a measure of the climate system response to sustained radiative forcing. It is not a projection but is defined as the global average surface warming following a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations. It is likely to be in the range 2°C to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C.

        http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ipcc.ch%2Fpdf%2Fassessment-report%2Far4%2Fwg1%2Far4-wg1-spm.pdf&ei=rQ0kUJvkA-rH6gG5-YGgBw&usg=AFQjCNH3kgAs4cAqOcmHrYLSRHIUIbkouw&sig2=6HpIyuilDqlBPPKhgdCIdA

        When you disagree that there is a consensus, are you:

        * Talking about a different group?
        * Claiming the consensus is in a different range?, or
        * Claiming that the consensus does not exist?

        When you have clarified your position, please provide links supporting your assertions.

      • Now if you write that the consensus is 3C +/- 2C I would agree, but such a figure with that margin of error is virtuall meaningless.

        Also, please provide evidence that such a range is “meaningless.”

        Please explain why you feel a range with a central estimate of 3C is not “in the neighborhood of 3C.” Your argument seems to hinge on the claim that “in the neighborhood of” means “almost exactly 3C,” which of course is nonsense.

      • Robert
        It is rather silly to claim there is currently a consensus regarding sensitivity and then to reference 2007’s AR4. This is 2012 and not 2007 and people’s opinions have changed as more information has become available. You know this and it is an example of why having exchanges with you seems pointless.

        In order to accurately claim there is a consensus today, imo it would be necessary to provide evidence of who was surveyed and specifically what question was agreed that there was a consensus regarding.

        Regarding why a figure of 3C +/- 2C is meaningless is because the margin of error is so large that it allows virtually any outcome to develop and to still be within the margin of error. A sensitivity of 5C if accurate would change most people’s opinion of what needed to occur from a government policy perspective. A sensitivity of 1C would result in business as usual. In order for a forecast to have meaning it needs to be specific enough to be actionable.

      • Robert

        The 1988 testimony [by Hansen] used 4C/doubling model. 1981 used 2.8C/doubling. Current consensus is in the neighborhood of 3C, which is closer to 2.8 than 4 is.

        Yeah.

        And the actual temperature increase followed Hansen’s forecast for Case C (no further increase in CO2), while the actual CO2 increase was slightly higher than that assumed by Hansen for Case A (business as usual).

        Problem was, Hansen assumed a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity that was too high by a factor of 3 (IOW it was actually around 1C/doubling)

        It may well be that the “current consensus” is somewhat lower than Hansen’s 1988 guess, but still making the same mistake as Hansen made – i.e. assuming an exaggerated 2xCO2 climate sensitivity.

        Seems pretty simple to me. The record seems to show a 2xCO2 CS of less than 1C.

        Max

      • Rob, we can wait for AR5, but I am fairly sure 3 C will still be within the consensus range. Back in 1979, the Charney report put the center at 3 C. Predictions based on that at that time would have got today’s warming quite well, given the CO2 increase since then, since transient sensitivity is smaller than equilibrium sensitivity.

      • Girma

        Your graph tells the story of how exaggerated Hansen’s forecast was.

        His Case A assumed that CO2 would grow at an annual rate equal to 1.5% of 1980s emissions.

        It actually grew at a slightly higher growth rate (1.63%), yet the temperature only grew at the rate projected for no further CO2 increase (Case C).

        So much for the validity of Hansen’s assumed CO2 climate sensitivity!

        Max

  38. Jest a late comer ter the debate and haven’t read the comments,so fergive me if i echo other posters

    “Consensus by exhaustion:”

    P Propoganda … hockey stick rules. ‘The science is settled.’
    R Reiteration … ad infinitum. Keep that message in the main stream media.
    E Erosion, constant dripping wears away a stone. They’ll succumb
    in the end. ( From exhaustion.)
    S Shock and awe! OMG, the glaciers are melting. No snow on Kilimanjaro!
    S Spin, the seas are not only rising, they’re acidic!

    G Gaia, our *mother* is under threat. Matricide!!
    A Apocalypse now. Tipping point! Red Alert!
    N Never let up… exhaustion will set in.
    G Green Politics are yer *only* hope.

  39. JC

    You should have included point 6 for those who have done data analysis of the observed data.

    IPCC projection is for a constant warming rate of about 0.2 deg C per decade for the next two decades.

    Analysis of the observed data shows a cyclic global mean surface temperature trend pattern. => http://orssengo.com/GlobalWarming/GmstTrends.png

    As a result, you cannot have a constant warming rate of 0.2 deg C per decade in a cyclic global mean surface temperature trend pattern.

  40. The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

    Judith Curry wrote:

    I suspect that any scientist who reads Lewin’s series will be concerned about the politicization of the consensus seeking process.

    So much fiddling while Rome burns.

    Let’s have a look at some recent scientifc results, shall we?

    According to the U.S.’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Aug. 8.

    – July 2012 was the hottest month ever in the US.
    – The January-July period was the hottest ever.
    – August 2011 to July 2012 was the hottest 12 months ever, with every state except Washington warmer than average.
    – The U.S. Climate Extremes Index, which tracks extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones, set its record for the most extreme January-July period, with over twice the average value.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/

    I’m guessing that the “politicization of the consensus seeking process” is mostly irrelevant to Mid-Western farmers. When the price of food skyrockets in the coming months, the hand-wringing “concern” over political ‘debate’ is going to seem very quaint.

    Dave Springer sez:

    We need to fix the problems in academia before we fix the climate.

    Socrates, meet hemlock.

    • Watts is claiming that the record temperatures are only records because NOAA refuses to use the higher-quality network they spent 5 years and millions of dollars cleaning up. (After the poor siting, etc, of their existing network was pointed out to them by skeptics.) They did all of that work because they knew and admitted that there were problems, but then they don’t use that network in determining what is or is not a record, because… well because those temperatures would not indicate that it’s a record.

      Once you you can only say, “We’re pretty hot, but it was worse in the 1930’s”, it sort of kills the “fiddling while Rome burns” analogy.

      • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Yawn.

        Once Tony gets around to fixing all the mistakes, and eventually publishing his opus magnum, and the data and the methodology, maybe he will have a point.

        Apply a little more skepticism, please.

        Meanwhile:

        http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

        Let me guess:
        “OK – So the arctic ice is melting – But it’s not as bad as 2007″.

        Yet.

    • David L. Hagen

      Bart R
      Listen to a developing country management specialist.

      Abstract
      It is said that markets are ruthless. In a brutal world of capitalist agriculture, some people are making alternative uses of food and are even destroying that because prices are too low and others are dying of hunger and literally eating dirt because food prices are too high. In some countries the starving masses are going to the streets and becoming militants out of desperation when they find it impossible to feed their hungry children. Skyrocketing food prices are threatening stability of many governments around the world. International food prices remain volatile and high with the 2011 annual index 24 percent higher than its average in 2010. Prices of certain foods remain dangerously high in many countries, leaving millions of people at risk of malnutrition and hunger. As per “Price Volatility in Food and Agricultural Markets: Policy Responses” (2 June 2011) estimates, numbers of hungry people in the world rose from 820 million in 2007 to more than a billion in 2009. Though the numbers of hungry people have since dropped to about 900 million but these events have increased the number of chronically under-nourished, even during periods of relatively normal prices and low volatility.

      Global Food Crisis: Policy Lapses or Market Failure? Ojha Ruby Advances in Management Vol. 5 (7) July 2012

      According to the World Bank, global maize production increased by 51 million tonnes between 2004 and 2007. During that time, bio-fuels use in the US alone (mostly ethanol) rose by 50 million tonnes, soaking up almost the entire global increase. According to International Food Policy Research Institute, producing fuel from crops accounts for 25% to 33% increase in global commodity prices. . . .
      American cars now burn enough corn to cover all the import needs of the 82 nations classed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as “low-income food-deficit countries”. There could scarcely be a better way to starve the poor.

      I lay that increased starvation and hunger at the feet of “green” climate alarmists.

      • David L. Hagen | August 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

        Earlier, you accused me baselessly of an ad hominem. Allow me to take this opportunity to demonstrate what is, and what is not, ad hominem, by a hypothetical example. Suppose I said in reply to your point, “With all due respect, if you’re for instance a bible-thumping oil industry insider whose net experience in the developing world is exploiting its oil resources, then your citing of Dr. Ojha would be a mere transparent contrivance, then, wouldnt’ it?”

        By the way, you’ve never said in the Denizens thread what your background is, so of course I have no way of making any ad hominem references to you; I can only speak to the points you raise here, the ideas you express. I’m purely sheltered from charges of ad hominem by the conduct of anonymity you’ve carried on.

        So, onto your ideas in a non-ad hom way. While it’s true that the Archer Daniels Midland lobby and politicians from corn producing states have promoted a biofuel scam and perpetrated a multibillion-dollar subsidy program in the USA, copied by other world powers including some developing countries, to produce ‘cheap fuel’ out of the neobullionist credo that ‘cheap energy’ can be created by subsidizing the fuel (a lie any competent Economist can see through), and that some greens fell for this scam perpetrated by its beneficiaries like the corn monopoly and its cronies, hook-line-and-sinker, let’s face it, this is only a small part of the puzzle. There was plenty of bioethanol produced before 2007, and plenty has been produced since, shamefully. But what made the time around 2008 special?

        The price spike in Food, Fuel and Fertilizer between 2007-2009 is a well-known phenomenon. Globally, a few crop failures always happen; from time-to-time, those crop failures cluster, to form a global crop crisis. When such a crisis hits, farmers are forced to buy much more nitrogen fertilizer; fertilizer demand draws natural gas (and even some fractionate from petroleum) into ammonia production, to make fertilizer from, which curtails the supply of natural gas and oil (which has always been enough in the past to turn natural gas glut into natural gas shortage; it’s yet to be seen if the massive fracking efforts of industry will keep pace for the next crop crisis). And the shipping of food longer distances, of much more fertilizer, application of fertilizer by heavy farm machinery over massive acreage, on top of the already constricted fuel supply causes fuel, too, to spike in price, in a vicious circle.

        And guess what? We have scientific proof that extreme weather such as leads to increased crop failures is up to twenty times more likely due to the carbon dioxide contaminant produced by the heavy oil and coal industry over the last five decades. Well done, fossil fuel commerce. You’ve produced mass famines of biblical proportion. You’re now on equal footing with God from the Old Testament. You must be proud as Nimrod.

      • David L. Hagen

        Bart R.
        Your assertion of “baseless” is meaningless without rebuttal.
        You analysis is illogical using base assertions.
        You commit the transparent rhetorical ruse of raising a hypothetical example. Your example is illogical by:
        abusive ad hominem: “bible-thumping”
        guilt by association ad hominem: “oil industry insider”
        ad hominem Ecological fallacy : net experience”
        abusive ad hominem byequivocation on “exploit” in “exploiting its oil reserves”.
        The rest of your post is equally falacious.
        Can you not rise to professional civil discourse?

      • Bart –

        I’m guessing that your exercise in teaching by example went a little wide of the mark.

      • Joshua | August 10, 2012 at 9:54 am |

        Not unexpected; many bible-thumpers have trouble distinguishing hypothetical teaching cases and other forms of fiction from reality.

        It is impressive, however, that NIPCC reviewer Mr. Hagen was able to so keenly spot several of the fallacies I exploited; he must have some background or training in their methodology. One wonders just what teaching materials the CHOA (http://www.choa.ab.ca/) uses on its weekend retreats and local evening meetings to achieve such acumen, and yet for patented fracker Mr. Hagen to so speciously misidentify the definition of “Ad Hominem”?

        I note I’m not the first victim of his treacherous misuse of this term. Poor stephanthedenier and Robert fell afoul of Mr. Hagen’s same form of attack for comments that were also not Ad Hominem just last week. Judge for yourself the quality of Mr. Hagen’s hypocrisy in David L. Hagen | August 7, 2012 at 8:31 am | (http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/04/the-irresistable-story-of-richard-muller/#comment-226743), where he is the only one carrying on Ad Hominem activities. It’s well-known I disagree with both Robert and stephan quite often, but I’ll defend their right to speak unfettered by such illegitimate and tyrannical attacks.

        Indeed, Mr. Hagen’s gimmick of calling everything Ad Hom, then citing some bible phrases he clearly does not embrace himself then tossing in a few cites either he does not understand or he uses because they were manufactured by Singerist spinmeisters.. sometimes spiced up with bullying threats of libel action to silence free speech, is so trite and oft-repeated by now as to deserve a special term for it. I’ll call it Haggravated Assault.

      • I don’t know – David has always been pleasant enough to me (as far as I can recall).

        But it does seem that perhaps, he’s not inclined to other cheek turning – and I wonder if that would explain why he missed the teachable moment you offered. I think that cheek-turning proclivity is probably related to being introspective.

      • David L. Hagen

        Thanks Joshua
        Some people are teachable, and others not. Accusers of “bible thumping” apparently are unfamiliar with or deliberately ignore the evidence, or place “fairness” above law and truth.

    • Robin Melville

      Oh, please! “… hottest ever …” (ibid) have you seen *any* palaeoclimate estimates? Are you suggesting that 2012 is hotter and drier that the 1930’s dustbowl? Or that large areas of the midwest are covered by ancient sand-dune structures?

      This is supposed to be an intelligent blog. If I want to read this kind of stuff I’ll go to desmog.

      • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Here’s a suggesion, Robin Melville…
        Why don’t you follow the that link I supplied to NCDC – and thereby discover that I am not “suggesting” anything.

        Here –

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/

        You will note that “hotest ever” means “since records have been kept” or since 1895.


        This is supposed to be an intelligent blog.

        Right.
        I’ll remember that next time I encounter someone here who can’t be bothered to read a scientific report before they object to it.

      • Robin Melville

        @Very Reverend Hyper-teneuse

        Here’s a suggesion, Robin Melville…
        Why don’t you follow the that link I supplied to NCDC – and thereby discover that I am not “suggesting” anything.

        I explicitly wasn’t objecting to the report — although there are many things that might be said about it — but to your characterisation of it. Note that “ever” often seems to mean “very recently” in your (and many similar thinkers’) lexicon (just like “unprecedented” means “since 1980-ish”)

        Just, as a matter of courtesy, re-read your actual comment without green spec’s on… Can you see the OMG!!!! (multiple exclamation points intentional) and also the slightly gleeful subtext (“that’ll show ‘em”) which accompanies it and similar pronouncements.

        This whole thing is more serious than this — “My made-up stats trump your crocodile tears over starvation in Africa”. The constant churn of hysterical tabloid-style factoids (is perhaps intended to) drown out any kind of sensible discussion.

      • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Please, save your tone-trolling psycho-babble for someone who cares.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Robin,
        The irony of course is that the extremist trols like Dr. Hype are demonstrating how to achieve consensus by exhaustion: People simply go silent as the weight of the bs piles up.

      • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse


        People simply go silent as the weight of the bs piles up.

        Yeah – the weight of all those broken temperature records, the weight of the melting sea-ice, the weight of ocean acidification.

        The real irony is that you think that ignorant bloggers choosing to “going silent” is a bad thing.

    • Hypotenuse

      What do this year’s midwestern heat waves have to do with AGW?

      [Nada. Nichts. Rien. Zilch.]

      Max

      • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Max,

        You are obviously a polyglot climate oracle. Cool.

        [Or maybe you just want to believe whatever helps you sleep at night.]

  41. That plot specifically ignored the natural variability of that reconstruction. There are 1500 year pseudo cycles called Bond events that are poorly understood, but that is no reason to ignore their existence.

    Are there “natural” variables that are known to have differentially affected prior changes as opposed to recent changes?

    Not taking the time to read all the comments…was your point raised in the comments? If so, what was their response? (That isn’t to say that your point shouldn’t have been mentioned, explicitly, in the original post).

    You still haven’t explained how your charge of “ignored” (which implies an intent) is anything other than argument by assertion.

    And you haven’t explained your extrapolation from that post to climate scientists generally (which would require some quantification, and control through comparisons to other samples).

    I am convinced, not biased.

    Another telltale sign of confirmation bias is when someone denies any biases.

    • That particular went back to an earlier conversation with JimD. I used the 60,000 year Tierney with southern hemisphere reconstruction to illustrate the range of natural variability. He returned the 1500 year plot. As usual, he ignore the inconvenient details.

      Being nearly human, I am sure I have some tendency toward confirmation bias, but I generally used various approaches to see if that may be effecting my decisions. The one thing I see missing in climate science is that effort to refute yourself.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/08/more-cartoon-craziness.html

      The best I can tell there is 10 to 20 Wm-2 of uncertainty that is likely related to the natural variability mechanisms. This is not a Ein=Eout thermo problem unless you consider time scales of 100,000s of years. The current approach is woefully inadequate to predict anything. That is my point.

      • Being nearly human,…

        I consider that acknowledgement from you a concession of a point to me. What is the latest count, 2021 – 21, or 2022 – 21?

        Too much technical mumbo-jumbo in there for this poor brain to follow.

        I agree with the comment about the missing element of self-refutation.
        Completely.

        (IOW, re-read my comments to you in this thread :-) ).

        But while it is the most apt of all descriptions for the climate debate writ large, I’m not convinced that it is any more apt for climate science than another science, or plumbing (or HVAC engineering). Perhaps a consideration of “PNS” might come into play.

        The only thing I can think of that is not subject to confirmation bias is bacon-loving.

      • “Too much technical mumbo-jumbo in there for this poor brain to follow.”

        Unfortunately, the technical mumbo jumbo is the import part :) When the is an uncertainty of 10 something and someones says they have it down to +/-0.18 something, your BS detector should sound the alarm.

      • Dear Captain, if a band is radiating 214W/m2 upward, it must also radiate 214 W/m2 downward; IF it is in thermal equilibrium.
        However, your little flow diagram misses the rotation of the Earth and the ability of the planet to radiate heat when the sun is down.

  42. Good manners and collegiality are nothing without the truth (reality, what is). The truth will come out.

  43. For anyone who remembers the USSR, the phrase “consensus by exhaustion” rings a special bell. In particular, I remember trying to settle things with Ceausescu’s Romanians. We weren’t negotiating. We were discussing facts of their construction. They didn’t see it that way. To them everything was a negotiation, and there were only two possible outcomes: our capitulation or impasse. After seven months of this, we went home, with the project incomplete.

    When “no” ceases to be an option, they win. They were going for consensus by exhaustion. They ended up getting nothing. This whole climate affair reminds me of that waste of seven months (which fortunately they paid for).

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      P.E.,
      You remind me of a negotiation cycle that began in the lovely port city of Constanza on the Romanian Black Sea coast and finished in China, with the Romanian and Chinese negotiators never actually doing anything they promised, and enforcing that by going to court and having a judge rule that either the bills of lading got signed or a special stay in the Romanian jail system would be arranged….

    • Robin Melville

      Agreed. A classic Stalinist tactic, powerful and repeatedly used in Trades Union committees by the Communist Part of GB right through the 1940s-70s (when they collapsed).

  44. After following the climate discussions for many months, I find that the term CAGW brings together the four issues that keep coming up.
    1. Is there warming around us?
    2. Is the warming global (everywhere)?
    3. Is warming caused by human activity?
    4. Is warming catastrophic now or likely to become so?

    Here’s my take of the state of the consensus:

    1. The instrumental records show a pattern of warming, with accelerating and decelerating phases. The amount of warming depends upon the time periods selected for comparisons. The measurements are in decimals of degrees, with error ranges of a size to significantly impact on the results. The records have been subjected to various adjustments for various reasons, and not all of these have been verified to prove the adjusted numbers are more reliable. Many people accept that we are in a modern warming period, though there are uncertainties with the measurements. There is considerable disagreement about whether any warming has occurred this century, and whether any lack of warming is significant.

    2. Global averages have been produced and they show a warming trend. These are averages of anomalies, since the actual temperatures vary greatly according to both place and time. Again the selection of the baseline (normal) for comparison affects the results. There is great diversity of warming and cooling patterns around the average; for example, at least 1/3 of US land surface stations showed cooling trends over the same period that the average was rising. Also, patterns in the mostly oceanic Southern Hemisphere (SH) are quite different and the average lower than the NH, where most of the land is. Often, two microclimates differ significantly even when a few KM apart, so that the selection of stations affects greatly the results. This issue is open to debate and is currently subject to extensive investigation.

    3. Human activity directly impacts the environment and climate through land and water use: the effects of urban settlements, forest clearing, water extraction, damming of rivers, etc. appear to cause changes and often warming the places where they occur. The major debate is over the claim that burning of fossil fuels causes global warming by the increasing presence of CO2 in the atmosphere. Many issues are involved: Does rising CO2 cause rising temperatures, or the other way around? How much does the radiative effect of 400ppm CO2 affect the climate, considering the effects of convection, evapotranspiration, multi-decadal ocean heat oscillations, cloud patterns, among other factors?

    4. How dangerous is the present pattern of climate change, defined by IPCC as manmade global warming? The extent of human contribution to observed warming is uncertain. Even so, the modern warming period was preceded by the Medieval, the Roman, and the Minoan warming periods–each was cooler than the previous, and all of them warmer than the present. The last 1.5C of warming has been a boon to human agriculture and civilization, and the next 1.5C is likely to also be beneficial. Yet numerous studies are funded to examine any and all negative consequences that could result from increases in temperature. The funding monopoly dedicated to climate change ensures a steady drumbeat of warnings. The public’s concern is required for governments to impose carbon-pricing regimes as the proposed means of reducing CO2 emissions. Many doubt whether these regimes will reduce either CO2 or warming. Some believe that natural forces are already beginning to cool the climate, in spite of emissions. This is a battle for public opinion waged daily in the media and the blogger sphere.

    • Good discussion Ron C. Refreshing to see a new voice. Reasonable too. Some perspective on medieval warm period and drought in Lake Tahoe basin California is in “Duration and severity of Medieval drought in the Lake Tahoe Basin” Quarternary Science Reviews by JA Kleppen, UNvReno, DS Brothers, Woods, Hole, etal of Sep 16 2011 on the dry period from 900 to 1250 AD. Tony B, if you are still listening, how does this period compare to your data on CET temps in that time period? Tony B often has data not adjusted and modified that casts the certainty of modern “unprecedented” warmth in doubt. One wonders what CAGW people blamed that warm and dry period on? Still too much uncertainty in the causes for attribution but this warm period had to be natural. This paper shows drowned 100 year old trees that grew on the shore at the bottom of 60 m lake beds. Trees are 36 m deep in modern lake levels. This drought did in SW indian farmers and maybe the Mayan civilization.

      • Scott

        It is exactly the period -900 to 1250 – I am currently researching and extending that to 1350 to try to see the transition to the episodic LIA. To carry out original research I have been to the Met ffice Archives, The Met Office Library, the Devon Records Office and Studies Centre and also the Records of the Medieval Exter Cathedral. I hope to do an interim post soon.

        Much of the marerial is on original hide scrolls with much of the wording in Latin-fortunately some was translated.

        It is a great privilege to hold a scroll perhps 800 years old, on say the minutes of a Town councl meeting and humbling to see that their concerns were our concerns; a supply of fresh water , adequate food (they were farming at heights we don’t reach today) and the weather. What was very striking are the recurring incidencence of plague

        Two extracts ;

        “It is also striking to find that by the middle of the 11th century the devon farmer was getting a living at heights we have not exceeded since from which we have even retreated. . one finds in west Dartmoor at 900 foot high, farmlands with pastures and fields for ploughing. On the eastern side (with half the rainfall of the west) there were small farms up to 1000-1200 foot high . at Natsworthy one Edward was farming 1200 foot up by the middle of the 11th century and even growng grain, according to domesday book he had 2 ploughs.”

        This entry puts our current problems into historical perspective;

        “Recession in 1450’s and 60‘s. but expansion started again and the period 1480-1510 saw an unprecedented boom in the local economy.”

        There is also much interesting stuff on the Romans coming to the local area, showing clear signs of a warming then a cooling period.

        tonyb

  45. Ron C.,
    Well put. The closest we have to a consensus is that the planet has warmed since some time in the 19th century – generally about 0.8C (give or take a few tenth). The contribution of mankind to this rise is uncertain, especially with regards to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Much of the predicted catastrophy appears to contradict history, as the greatest growths in human civilizations occurred during the time of greatest warmth. Then again, maybe those trumpeting CAGW consider the growth of human civilizations the catastrophy.

  46. Exhibit A of why progressives should never be given control of the energy economy.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/world/asia/incentive-to-slow-climate-change-drives-output-of-harmful-gases.html?pagewanted=all

    “So since 2005 the 19 plants receiving the waste gas payments have profited handsomely from an unlikely business: churning out more harmful coolant gas so they can be paid to destroy its waste byproduct. The high output keeps the prices of the coolant gas irresistibly low, discouraging air-conditioning companies from switching to less-damaging alternative gases. That means, critics say, that United Nations subsidies intended to improve the environment are instead creating their own damage.”

    All I can say is

    A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…

    • And that GaryM, thank you very much…. not that there’s anything wrong with being a fary.

    • I saw this, unbelievable

      • Dr. Curry

        Hypothesis:
        Rise in the CO2 concentration increases intensity of the extreme weather events.
        Mechanism:
        CO2 absorbs infrared radiation, warming mid/upper troposphere, when absorption is saturated, the infrared radiation energy is transformed into kinetic, causing rapid atmospheric movements. Atmosphere expands and launches hot air into the stratosphere. Rising hot air collides with cold downward currents. Since there is no temperature exchange between two, this initiates strong anti / cyclonic activity.
        Result of the above is that storms, tornados and hurricanes strength would increase in intensity as the CO2 concentration raises.
        Please do correct as necessary.

      • Vuc, it is much more fun than that :)

        http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/polvani+solomon-JGR-2012-inpress.pdf

        Not only does mid tropospheric warming induct more convection/advection, entrainment of water vapor produces ice crystals that react with ozone. So there is additional atmospheric chemistry to ponder.

      • The paper you quote is only two days old, it states:
        …. the next question must be: what is causing the increased upwelling?
        There is growing evidence that increased greenhouse gases are responsible for increased
        upwelling, via an accelerated Brewer-Dobson circulation.

        Well, well, didn’t expect that.

      • Vuc,

        Total shock isn’t it :) Who would have thought that more energy at a higher altitude in the atmosphere might stimulate upper level convection? You know, it is almost like a latent heat pipe, pumping energy. The way the upper level winds spread that energy out would make it hard to see any change in the lapse rate.

        You know what is really crazy? If the tropics have a normal 2 to 3 C temperature range that cycles every so often, that could be natural.

        It is almost like a non-ergodic system with two strange attractors.

      • Hi Capt
        Didn’t expect an immediate confirmation, thanks for the earlier link.
        The idea was to put forward a ‘controversial’ post, to get some science discussion going, since the blog has lost some of its initial scientific sparkle.

      • Not that unbelievable. I used to work for one of the big four CFC replacement companies. We saw this kind of thing going on before anybody ever heard of global warming. Any time you start paying to destroy something, you can expect them to make more of it.

        This is nothing new.

    • Steven Mosher

      You dont need to frame this in terms of “progressives” Anyone who thinks they can set rules up to govern this sort of thing is in for some wicked surprises.

      • Aren’t progressives more likely to attempt to govern that sort of thing leading to the wicked problems?

      • captdallas,

        Progressives are not just more likely to try to govern that sort of thing, that is the essence of progressivism. If you want to regulate the minutiae of the economy, you are not a conservative.

        Conservatives respond to the law of unintended consequences by avoiding interference in the economy as much as possible. Progressives have adopted it as an excuse for even more detailed control, Which is how you get a “healthcare” bill in excess of 2000 pages that no one on earth had read before its passage.

  47. tony b it’s my understanding also that warmer weather news shows has fewer extreme events.

  48. I wonder what ‘side’ of the consensus’ Prof Richard Muller is on this week, he may be a converted ‘sceptic’ but he still sounds pretty sceptical about, CRU, UEA, Mann, climategate, Al Gore etc (from an interview he gave last week)

    Interviewer: “…in the Climategate matter, is it fair to say, once and for all, that that is a settled matter, that should be all be [inaudible] and set aside?”

    Prof Richard Muller: “No, no, no. Just the opposite. Actually, that’s not really accurate at all.

    Prof Richard Muller:
    “What they did was, I think, shameful. And it was scientific malpractice.”

    “If they were licensed scientists, they should have to lose their licence.”

    Richard Muller: “… The standards held over there at the University of East Anglia are just not up to what we consider standard scientific methods….”

    And later on in the interview:

    Richard Muller: “What’s wrong is what they said. The conclusions that Michael Mann drew, that it’s the warmest it’s been in a thousand years – I was on an international academy review panel that looked at that. Our conclusion was: he could not draw those conclusions.”

    by me at Watts Up With That:

    ttp://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/a-fascinating-new-interview-with-prof-richard-muller-quote-on-climategate-what-they-did-was-i-think-shameful-and-it-was-scientific-malpractice/#comments

    • Barry, thanks for pulling that together.

      • Yeah – because it is so useful, isn’t it?

        Because everyone cares about the opinions of someone routinely criticized as being irrelevant, from all sides of the debate.

        Except when they don’t.

        Because we would be so much worse off without meaningless arguments about meaningless determinations (whether he is or isn’t or was or wasn’t a “skeptics – even though no one can even define what a “skeptic” is).

        Barry’s “concern” about Muller’s opinions is duly noted.

      • BTW, Judith –

        Did you happen to notice maybe just a tinge of selectivity in which of Muller’s statements Barry selected for his list?

        Just a smidgeon?

      • Joshua

        I would like to see you visit a site like Scientific American and criticize the bias there the claims almost any problem can be linked to potential warming.

      • I would like to see you visit a site like Scientific American and criticize the bias there the claims almost any problem can be linked to potential warming.

        Steven Mosher – would you like to step in?

      • I said it was my own opinion…
        I linked to the blog of one of the interviewers, who expressed his own opinion.

        I also INCLUDED a FULL transcript at the end of the article.. to let everyone be able to form ther own opinions..

        fair enough?

      • Steven Mosher

        opps wrong thread. sure Joshua.. what do want an opinion on

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Joshua,
        You are like the class clown of irrelevant bs.
        You always find a long winded content-free way to avoid the point and blame skeptics in the process.

      • Steven Mosher

        Sure Joshua, what would like an opinion on.

        Richard is a complex character. At least as complex as Judith.

      • Steven Mosher

        The other interesting interview is at the commonwealth club here in SF.

        what I find fascinating is the interviewers reaction when they hit Mullers scepticism about Mann and gore.

        It’s as if there is this unwritten bible of views you need to hold on tangential issues.. the center of the debate is vacant. That is, we start by occupying the center of the debate but very quickly our positions about the central issue get displaced by discussions about tangential issues.
        Issues which are only thinly connected to the central issue. we cannot discuss what is important. we must only talk at the margins and fight over things that dont matter. Loosing or winning these fights has no consequences. Put another way, the stakes at the core are so high, that we veer away from that argument as quickly as possible.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven Mosher, the mathematics literature supplies the quotations that you are looking for:

        “The boundary of the true is not the false, it is the insignificant.”
            —  Rene Thom

        “To be afraid of error and to be afraid of truth is one and the same thing.”
            —  Alexander Grothendieck

        Thus according to Grothendieck, the nit-picking and cherry-picking of climate skepticism, that often justifies itself as the search for error-free certainty, is in fact a retreat from truth that is induced by fear.

        Conversely according to Thom, when we eliminate the possibility of error, we arrive not at truth, but at insignificance.

        These two mathematical aphorisms explain why James Hansen is so widely admired: he dares to risk error in pursuit of truth, and by accepting that risk his research achieves significance.

        So understanding James Hansen is simple, Steven Mosher!   :)   :)   :)

      • A fan of *MORE* discord

        Fanny, you really need to see a health care provider about that ‘thing’ you have for Hansen. That kind of teeny-bopper crush just ain’t right.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        LOL … little “discord”, please reflect that (like everyone) I read a James Hansen article perhaps once-per-month at most … whereas you read-and-respond to me twice-a-day at least!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

        Your ardor astonishes, little “discord”!   :lol:   :lol:   :lol:

      • Steven Mosher

        Yes, in philosophy there are those who understand/ criticize the quest for certainty as a fear based enterprise. They tend to valorize metaphysics over epistemology. Thom as far as I read him is pretty much of a platonist and didn’t have much regard for people like me who have constructivist leanings.

        The other thing I would note is that while we all engage in the genetic fallacy at times, you seem to have refined it to an art.

        The science of understanding why people believe things is less certain than climate science. Using the former to settle the latter, is a house built on epistemic quicksand.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy

        http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/genetic-fallacy.html

        http://secularoutpost.infidels.org/2009/01/theism-and-genetic-fallacy.html

        Once could just as easily argue that Hansen’s motivation for taking risks is personal agrandizement. It may well be. But I would argue that we are more certain that his argument is wrong than we are about the causes of his behavior. So, trying to settle the truth of a matter by referring to philosophy or psychology is really a diversion from the issue. So, ask yourself, why do I divert from the issue at hand? Can you know why you act the way you do? Good question. For now its better to stick with just a description of the behavior.

      • John Carpenter

        Your two quotes don’t support your argument the way you might have intended. 1) Skeptical thought is not driven by the quest for error-free certainty. Skepticism exposes what you are not certain about. If you are not employing skepticism toward your work, you are in fact avoiding possible truths you would rather not surface in order to claim a higher certainty about your knowledge of the subject matter at hand. 2) Error is not something skeptical thinking tries to eliminate. Skeptical thinking accepts there will always be error… skeptical thinking looks to evaluate the significance of possible errors to the subject matter. Possible errors that could have significant impact to understanding should be investigated further. 3) Your fawning over James Hansen is totally irrelevant to Moshers comment. The long drawn out debate about Mann’s work is largely a side show to the central debate of AGW. Whether you see Al Gore as a dolt or a savior is a side show to the central debate of AGW. Arguments over either of those two sideshows really don’t address the central argument of AGW and what we should do about it.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        John Carpenter, your thoughtful post makes some excellent points. Thank you!   :)   :)   :)

        In response, I hereby amend my original comment to alter one word:

        A fan of *MORE* discourse originally posted  “Thus according to Grothendieck, the nit-picking and cherry-picking of climate skepticism denialism, that often justifies itself as the search for error-free certainty, is in fact a retreat from truth that is induced by fear.”

        In particular, John Carpenter, your post is correct to assert that the following are wholly irrelevant to rational skepticism of AGW: hockey sticks, Al Gore, and Michael Mann.

        We all appreciate that obsession over these restricted topics (which are essentially irrelevant as you say) has become pathognomonic of denialism as contrasted with rational skepticism.

        And yet the question “Did the 1981 article ‘Climate impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide’ by Hansen, Johnson, Lacis, Lebedeff, Lee, Rind, and Russell, get the physics of AGW basically right?” remains seminal.

        The reason is simple: 30+ years later, the 1981 article of Hansen et al. *still* poses the key question of the climate-change debate.

        Thank you for a well-phrased, respectfully constructed, thought-provoking comment, John Carpenter!   :)   :)   :)

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Steven Mosher.
        The terms were never defined, just as you refused.
        A purpose can be served by defining something in different ways.
        Take for example Dawkins definitions of “gene” vs some molecular biologists. Dawkins defines a virtual “gene”, refusing to be pinned down.

        It has worked out so that the function his annoying proposals (always accompanied by much handwaving and pleading) serve, is that differing fields can cross check to see if what works for them works for the other viewpoint too.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Q/ What is Science ?
        A/ What she blinded me with.

  49. It really is a fascinating interview, Prof Muller, right or wrong about many things, above all sounds like a scientist throughout it. and that is the important thing.

    Prof Richard Muller: “..And in global warming theory, you expect the temperature difference to decrease, because the Poles warm more than the Equator. So it’s plausible that storms will go up, plausible that they will go down, but Hurricane Katrina was just – a place – a hurricane that hit a city that was unprepared. It was not an extremely intense storm.

    D.R. Tucker: Okay, so from that perspective, I want to bring up a piece that Bill McKibben wrote last fall. “We know that Hurricane Irene’s middle name was Global Warming”. Was that an accurate statement [Richard Muller is laughing] or –

    Richard Muller: Oh, you know, this is really unfortunate, because right after Katrina, 2005, people said “We can now expect a whole bunch of more storms”. In the next year, not a single hurricane hit the U.S.

    Prof Muller: “When people exaggerate, they try to come up with dramatic examples to convince the public. That’s the wrong way to go. You have to respect the public. You have to give them the honest truth and not the exaggerated truth.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/a-fascinating-new-interview-with-prof-richard-muller-quote-on-climategate-what-they-did-was-i-think-shameful-and-it-was-scientific-malpractice/#comments

    Full transcript (repeated here) for those who don’t like to read WUWT

    https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/home/20120801_rm

    audio: (from 10 mins in)

    http://prn.fm/2012/08/01/green-front-dr-richard-muller-080112/#axzz22R4YezCa

    Where does he fit in the ‘consensus’ ie as critical (or more so) as ever of Mann, CRU, UEA and climategate.

    Richard Muller: “They withheld the data, as they said in their emails – by the way, most people don’t believe those emails were hacked, they were leaked by a member of the team – they hoped [?] the data -”

    D.R. Tucker: “Which member? Which member? Wait a second – which member?”

    Betsy Rosenberg: “Why would they do that?”

    Richard Muller [laughing]: “I think some of the members of the team were pretty upset with the exaggerations that they were reporting.”

  50. YOU ARE IGNORANT

    ON THE GREENHOUSE GAS QUESTION

    Is the Assumption of Global Warming Alarmist Carpetbaggers

  51. Having been unable to sit at a keyboard for some weeks (hi, NW!), and finding it difficult to use when lying prone (as now), I’m just dipping in to comment on a Mosh-post.

    At August 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm Steven wrote:
    “And in some variants the Bible is even disintermediated, such that the direct personal relationship with the ultimate authority takes precedence over scripture itself.
    “having access to the actual data and source was a revolution.”

    The “ultimate authority” is direct experience of reality, as it is. This can’t be intermediated, anyone who claims that it can demonstrates their ignorance. Personal experience must always take precedence over scripture. If scripture (from any religion) has a valid role, it is to inspire the reader to pursue his or her own search for truth. Unfortunately, scripture is rarely used in this way.

  52. Faustino, 10th August, 2.04 am, hope you make a speedy recovery. I read your excellent letter in The Australian newspaper a couple of weeks ago.
    Take care.

  53. Ron C and Scott +1 on the importance of the long term historical record, CET and pre CET mixed proxy global temperature record, ( omitting suspect tree ring data.) Tony b ‘s studies are insightful on climate variation.

  54. Don’t yer like the phrase ‘wicked surprise?’ )

  55. Fan

    Are you suggesting that Naomi Oreskes may be motivated by “fear, religion, political ideology, selfishness, or greed”?

    (I’d vote for “political ideology” in her case, but what would you think?)

    Max

    • Is Naomi Oreskes motivated by political ideology ?

      Surely, along with most other Merchants of Credulousness.

  56. David Springer

    re; Hottest July Evah

    Not according to NOAA’s new super-accurate CRN surface instrument network shows CONUS as 2F lower than the July record temp.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/

    Write to NOAA and ask them why they don’t publish CONUS average temperatures from the new multi-million dollar CRN network. Anthony Watts had to take the raw data and compute the average himself and discovered, just as we all suspected, that USHCN is not up to the task of accurately measuring average temperatures over large regions. CRN is capable of that but since it shows just how badly USHCN data really is NOAA continues to use the temperature-inflated USHCN data for public scare-mongering.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/08/an-incovenient-result-july-2012-not-a-record-breaker-according-to-the-new-noaancdc-national-climate-reference-network/

  57. The HFC-23 scam? Yes, well, industrial polluters are a powerful constituency there… and here.

    The story is not new.

    A similarly abused tax shelter system for the industrial complex in the United States operates similarly.

    And ‘progressives’ tend to recommend limiting GHG’s, not paying polluters for offsets. ;-)

    • Wouldn’t it be accurate to write that “progressives” believe it is the role of government to control the behavior of individuals and/or to reduce individual freedoms if they feel the individual’s actions are not consistent with their view of how people should behave.

      • I’m a progressive, Rob. That’s not how I feel.

        Perhaps you should consider reevaluating your reasoning.

      • Josh

        Do you support high taxes on cigerettes as a means of discouraging people from smoking? Maybe because it increases the health care costs of the government?

      • Rob –

        I believe in the right of an electorate in a Democracy to decide, via its representatives, taxation. It’s an imperfect process. And my belief is far from reflective of your little description. Just because you might work tirelessly to squeeze other people’s beliefs into a little box of your making doesn’t make it accurate.

        Consider, for example, the “concern” about the “tyranny” of the HCR mandate. Before it was tyrannical, it was the recommended policy of many of those very same people who call it tyrannical.

        Your characterization is based on an inaccurate stereotype.

        Let me offer a little koan for your consideration:

        If Romney pledged to repeal RomneyCare, would conservatives like him more?

      • Unfortunately, you intentionally reply in an obtuse manner that fails to answer my simple direct question.

        I do not know how “conservatives” would feel about Romney and his position on MA’s healthcare laws.

      • Was

        > Maybe because it increases the health care costs of the government?

        the simple question?

      • Unfortunately, you intentionally reply in an obtuse manner that fails to answer my simple direct question.

        I don’t think that you could possibly have written a better response, Rob. In fact, it suggests another koan:

        What is a direct answer to a simplistic question?

      • Rob, josh is apparently one of those libertarian-progressives. He is also an anti-religion-Jew. A little confused puppy. When he is not arguing with someone on line, he is sitting on the toilet arguing with himself.

      • He is also an anti-religion-Jew.

        Well, that’s one of the nastiest things I’ve seen on this site in a long time.. and that’s saying a lot for the Mos Eisley of the climate blogosphere.

        Kudos, Don. A little blood libel for your follow-up, perhaps?

      • PDA –

        FYI –

        “…josh repeatedly ridicule the intelligent design folks.”

        Not true

        ” He is Jewish and anti-religion”

        The last part of that is untrue.

        You can do what you want, of course, but don’t waste your time following-up with Don on this on my behalf, anyway. I can assure you that he will repeat these untrue statements no matter.

      • PDA,

        Haven’t you seen josh repeatedly ridicule the intelligent design folks? He has stated that he is Jewish. He is Jewish and anti-religion. Ask him. And grow up.

      • What does his Jewishness have to do with anything, Don? Have the courage of your convictions and say what you mean.

      • It’s got something to do with hypocrisy, PDA. Ask josh if his tribe’s particular brand of religious beliefs render them dumb and irrational.

      • I’m asking you. What are you so afraid of saying openly, Don?

      • What do you want me to say, PDA? That I hate Jews? That is your dumb kneejerk assumption. Why don’t you just say it? Now you can carry on without me.

      • I want you to say what you mean. I asked you why you brought up Joshua’s Jewishness. I’m just wondering why that question seems so hard for you to answer.

      • Tell us again what you think of the intelligent design folks, josh. Are they smart? Rational? How are they similar to CAGW deniers? Remind us, again.

      • Yes, Don, Joshua Makes You Do It.

  58. David Springer

    http://capita.wustl.edu/namaerosol/Dust%20Bowl%20map.htm

    Wake me when the “hottest decade on record” even begins to reproduce the dryest decade on record.

    Unfortunately for NOAA no amount of adjustment to raw data will influence the real world. No dust bowl yet. Not even close. And even if we have another dust bowl then it will still only be a repeat of something that has happened before so there’s no basis for blaming it on CO2.

  59. The War of Attribution.

    “We may not win the first battle
    but we will win the long war.
    Not through attrition
    but through
    manoeuvre and exhaustion.”

    General Sun Tzu of the IPCC.

  60. A post by Tim Ball provides a case in point:

    http://drtimball.com/2012/nasa-scientist-out-of-control/

    Consider the comment by German physicist and meteorologist and Klaus-Eckard Plus;

    “Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it. The CO2-climate hysteria in Germany is propagated by people who are in it for lots of money, attention and power.”

    • Great link

    • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Tim Ball linking to a German denialist whose name he can’t even spell correctly?

      Amazing. How do you find these scientific gems?

      Can I get a Inhofe page with a link to Monckton?

    • Now Judith – that is absolutely fascinating.

      Remember when you described who you do and don’t listen to? Well, it seems your listening is quite selective now, doesn’t it?

      There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob.

      Please square that comment from Klaus-Eckard Plus with your statement that no one you listen to questions whether ACO2 has the potential to change our climate.

      How can you quote people if you don’t listen to them?

      I’m all ears, Judith. I’m listening.

      • Joshua
        You seem to have issues with two statements:

        “There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob.” and

        “no one you listen to questions whether ACO2 has the potential to change our climate.”

        Joshua—I do not understand why you feel the two statements are in conflict. Yes, additional CO2 will warm the planet. There is debate regarding what the rate of warming will be in the actual system and this is a key issue. It idoes seem absurd to believe that in the real planet’s governmental system that a plan could be implemented that would achieve some specific atmospheric CO2 level, or that we understand that any specific level of CO2 will have better or worse weather.

      • Rob –

        First, let me point out that I wasn’t quoting Judith (as suggested by your use of quotes), but paraphrasing her. I should have been more accurate.

        If ACO2 has the potential to warm the planet, then eliminating ACO2 has the potential to eliminate that warming.

        Saying that “There’s nothing we can do to stop it” implies that only natural variables, beyond the control of humans, affect climate change.

        The “nice climate” straw man is also an indication that Judith is, once again, turning a blind eye to a climate warrior simply because he stands on one particular side of the battle line.

        As to policy considerations, and are the probabilities involved, and what are the best policy options give trade-offs — those are all, obviously, legitimate questions in my book.

        Selective “appeal to authority” on Judith’s part, particularly when that “authority” is a climate warrior, doesn’t help to advance discussion of those questions.

      • Joshua

        Do you believe it is realistic to believe that that a plan could be implemented that would achieve some specific atmospheric CO2 level, or that we understand that any specific level of CO2 will have better or worse weather?

      • Rob –

        Do you believe it is realistic to believe that that a plan could be implemented that would achieve some specific atmospheric CO2 level,

        I think it is possible, but a very difficult question to answer. IMV, it can only be approached by considering the probabilities of different cause-and-effect scenarios.

        I don’t agree with Puls that it is an “absurdity” that by changing levels of ACO2 we could affect the climate.

        or that we understand that any specific level of CO2 will have better or worse weather?

        Again – I think this is a question of probabilities. I think that it is probable that our climate significantly influenced by ACO2 will crate worse (from a human-centric perspective) weather.

      • Joshua

        I suggest that it is not possible to implement a plan that will achieve some specific atmospheric CO2 level given the worldwide realities of politics and economics. Imo the observed results support my conclusion. I would like to understand why someone can support an alternative position.

      • I suggest that it is not possible to implement a plan that will achieve some specific atmospheric CO2 level given the worldwide realities of politics and economics.

        So what’s your evidence for the argument that it is not possible to reduce global CO2 emissions?

        You say you feel current conditions support this, but you don’t say which conditions or in what way.

      • Tim Ball would also get a fail grade by stating as though it is a fact that IPCC did not let climate models take solar changes into account. He probably parroted that from some blog he read, or made it up for effect, not from a paper for sure. The specified forcings include solar and volcanic effects, and I know some skeptics here would have seen that error too.

      • The problem is that the IPCC experimental design does not address uncertainties in these forcings. In CMIP3/AR4, modelers could select from a range of solar and volcanic forcings. In CMIP5/AR5, all were to use a single specified forcing data set. Further, a number of known/suspected solar indirect effects are not included in the models.

      • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

        I was not aware that the IPCC designed experiments.

        Is this an example of ‘problematizing by exhaustion’?

      • That alone make Tim Ball’s statement wrong as it was worded.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Dr.Curry, with sincere respect, isn’t the name spelt “Klaus-Eckart Puls”, and not “Klaus-Eckard Plus”?

      I was surprised to find that apparently no one named “Klaus-Eckart Puls” has ever published any scientific analysis upon climate change (or indeed upon any subject whatsoever). Is this correct?

      Haven’t we learned, from the disastrous recent examples provided by Anthony Watts, of the ludicrously wrong conclusions that so commonly result, when training and the discipline of peer-review both are absent?

      Dr. Curry, does Klaus-Eckart Puls possess *any* qualifications relating to climate change science, aside from opinions that suit some folks’ preconceptions?

      The world wonders!   :)   :)   :)

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Fan,
        Do you possess any qualification to your opinion other than echolalia?
        Typical believer drivel: dismiss someone whose position evolves from believer to skeptic.

      • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse


        Typical believer drivel: dismiss someone whose position evolves from believer to skeptic.

        The Road to Damascus is paved with good inventions.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        fan,
        Only someone who is an over employed faux academic like yourself would confuse the issue of evolution of naive true believer into skeptic with some little bigotry like ‘denialist’.
        And yes, your smile faces are sad plea help.
        Sort of like a clown’s make up.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        dismiss someone whose position evolves from believer to skeptic.

        I think he is being dismissed because he is clearly deluded today. The fact that he *may* have been a “believer” (no evidence that he was) is neither here nor there given that he appears to have no judgement whatsoever today and who claims he did not use his judgement when he “parroted” the IPCC in the past.

        I would never put my reputation (my real life reputation, I don’t have an internet reputation) behind the opinions of other people without checking out first whether the opinions were reasonable.

      • No idea, I’m throwing this out for discussion

      • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

        First it was a “case in point” – Now it is “no idea”.

        This blog gets better every day.

      • I referred to the statement as an example of what I was talking about in the main post. Personally, I have never heard of this particular person prior to today.

      • She didn’t read what he said before she determined it was a “case in point.”

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Who is Klaus-Eckard Puls (not Plus)? So famous Tim can’t get his name right.

      German physicist and meteorologist

      I could find a couple of papers on mugwort pollen flight and pollen emission, so this appeal to authority fails on me – better published than Tim Ball though. He appears to have been saying these things since 2008, but I couldn’t find evidence of his participation in climate debates apart from a CFACT sponsored “conference” in 2011

      Klaus-Eckart Puls sez in 2012:

      Of arctic sea ice melting: “That also happened twice already in the last 150 years. The low point was reached in 2007 and the ice has since begun to recover.”

      “there hasn’t been any warming since 1998. In fact the IPCC suppliers of data even show a slight cooling.”

      “Sea level rise has slowed down. Moreover, it has dropped a half centimeter over the last 2 years.”

      So still parroting, then.

    • curryja | August 10, 2012 at 10:04 am |

      One must take special care with Dr. Ball’s citation of sources to independently verify them, I have found.

      Sometimes, his source is apparently a tape recorder he carries concealed in his backpack when striking up conversations with grad students in university hallways. Oftimes his citations cannot be confirmed by any means at all.

      Just sayin’, be skeptical.

  61. Max is very good at foreign languages, you should hear him speak Latin! )

  62. AGW theory is not hard to understand—i.e., it is a desperate conjecture that skips right over science from speculation to fact that America’s emission of the mother of all gases — carbon dioxide – is causing the entire globe to warm with disastrous consequences for all life on Earth. The null hypothesis of AGW theory is not hard to understand either. Has the Earth not warmed before? For example, has 20th Century warming really been quantitatively different than has ever happened on Earth before the age of industrialization?

  63. For those who don’t get the joke of the title; it’s a play on words.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=%22by+exhaustion%22

    ‘Proof by exhaustion’ is also called the ‘brute force’ method, implying a good deal of ignorance or lack of finesse in a proof. Which would be something ludicrously along the lines of claiming you need to have perfect paleo reconstruction of all of Earth’s climate ever in order to prove the start of the Anthropocene, when the high form of the art of proof is to come up with a solution that is a simplification generalizable to the entire domain of the problem space without exhausting it.

    Which is to say, climatologists who can’t agree on a proof short of the brute force method exhibit too little skill to call their field a science. Those who exhibit the skill to produce simplifications that are generally applicable get to stay climatologists. The rest are merely meteorologists.

    As for negotiating consensus, that is not part of science. The consensus that validly emerges from science it the process of convergent evolution of understanding and acceptance of the observed data and inferences of logic to a common agreeable set of explanations, not of a negotiated pact. Consensus doesn’t help science, especially, other than on the standards of weights and measures and use of terminology and safety methods, and can be detrimental to innovation and independent verification; consensus is for the non-scientists who parrot the knowledge produced by science for use in policy or to grasp the underlying concepts that regulate the physical world.

    Let the parrots hold the conferences and create the consensus, and leave the scientists alone to work.

    see also ‘The Organization of Global Negotiations’ p190-193 Chpt. 12: Time Management on ‘Negotiation by Exhaustion’ “http://books.google.ca/books?id=E6P9GFU4gxAC&pg=PA190&lpg=PA190&dq=%22by+exhaustion%22+negotiation&source=bl&ots=3t7D2Rhynu&sig=xpS4om6GMmuaWZJW9IfQI7kYYlg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=B3glUM7VIOP9iwLQw4GADA&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22by%20exhaustion%22%20negotiation&f=false”

    And, for commentary on Negotiation Fatique Syndrome, http://mediate.com/articles/weissj4.cfm

    cf. “Intellectual Property Rights Exhaustion”

  64. Robin Melville

    I feel sorry for Dr. Curry. This was supposed to be a non-partisan place for discussion, preferably scientific — or at least reasonably well informed. About 60% of the posts on this thread seems to be “usual suspects” having a, presumably interminable, ping-pong argument. Point scoring, logic chopping, pointless put-downs and accusations. I even got drawn into this myself. For which, apologies.

    What to make of it? I suppose I’m as guilty as anybody of pontificating. Is the “debate” just this? Intelligent people in an interminable stasis of “my expert’s better than yours”. Where’s the cut and thrust? Where is the forensic analysis? Why is it all so predictable?

    Steve MacIntyre’s blog has pages of impenetrable but sometimes illuminating high-level scientific debate. Is that because the moderators are more fascistic? Or because the pro-AGW intellectuals don’t bother there?

    I’ve been accused here of “psycho-babble”. Not sure that’s true, but I think there’s more to all this than the trite put-downs which constitute “debate” in this blog.

    • > Steve MacIntyre’s blog has pages of impenetrable but sometimes illuminating high-level scientific debate.

      Let’s see for ourselves.

      On the 10th of August 2012, Steve announces a speaking engagement:

      > I’m speaking in London on August 16 […] The talk is public. It is hosted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

      http://climateaudit.org/2012/08/10/london-august-16/

      On the 8th of August 2012, Steve rehearses YesButClimategate:

      > The main target of Phil Jones’ notorious email deletion campaign was Eugene Wahl’s surreptitious correspondence with Briffa in summer 2006, in which Wahl changed the IPCC assessment of the Mann controversy from that which had been sent out for external review.

      http://climateaudit.org/2012/08/10/uea-cant-find-wahl-attachments/

      On the 3rd of August 2012, Steve mentions a secret letter:

      > On Feb 26, 2010, as part of their first response to Climategate, Thomas Stocker, a Climategate correspondent of Phil Jones and by then Co-Chair of AR5 WG1, sent a still secret letter to all AR4 Lead Authors, Coordinating Lead Authors and Review Editors under the letterhead of WG1, purporting, it seems, to represent the parent IPCC organization. The existence of this secret email came to light as a result of David Holland’s persistence in trying to cut through IPCC authoritarianism and secrecy.

      http://climateaudit.org/2012/08/03/ipccs-secret-letter/

      On the 2nd of August 2012, Steve announces some publication delay:

      > According to information from the University of Melbourne, Gergis et al was not re-submitted by the end of July, but has been delayed until the end of September.

      http://climateaudit.org/2012/08/02/gergis-and-watts-delayed/

      On the first of August 2012, Steve becomes Junior’s megaphone:

      > Pielke Jr asserts, using unvarnished words, that WG2 Co-Chair Christopher Field, an ecology professor at Stanford, “misled” Congress.

      http://climateaudit.org/2012/08/01/hide-the-megadroughts/

      As we can see, lots of high-level scientific debate during the month of august on CA.

      Is the action of speaking for the GWPF a polical act, or just business-as-usual move under the auditing sciences?

      So much to do, so little time.

      • Robin Melville

        I can’t disagree. However his posts on Law Dome palaeo temps and “amal FOI Sheds New Light on Flawed Data” — to take a very limited sample — attracted some serious comment upon current issues from a wider commentariat than is normal in this cauldron.

        This, fundamentally, is the problem. By restricting the valid commentariat universe to activist pseudo-scientists and politico contrarians you automatically exclude those of us who are engaged but not ideoligised.

      • > By restricting the valid commentariat universe to activist pseudo-scientists and politico contrarians you automatically exclude those of us who are engaged but not ideoligised.

        I can’t disagree either.

        This might be correlated with our new inability to listen, as Julian Treasure explains:

      • Embedding does not seem to work. Here’s via Youtube:

      • Hey Willard –

        Any links to data that back up his claim that there is some societal trend w/r/t listening? Doesn’t seem very plausible to me.

      • Joshua,

        Here’s something I just found:

        Although much prized in daily conversation, good listening has been almost completely ignored in that form of political conversation we know as democracy. Practically all the attention has been paid to speaking, both in terms of the skills to be developed and the ways in which we should understand what enhancing ‘inclusion’ might mean (i.e. getting more people to speak). The argument here is that both democratic theory and democratic practice would be reinvigorated by attention to listening. To ask why listening has been ignored is to inquire into the very nature of politics, and to suggest a range of ways in which listening could both improve political processes (particularly democratic ones) and enhance our understanding of them – including where they do not always work as well as we might want them to. Four ways in which good listening can help achieve democratic objectives are outlined: enhancing legitimacy, helping to deal with deep disagreements, improving understanding and increasing empowerment. This leads to a discussion of the difference between good and bad political listening, before the question of ‘political noise’ is broached (i.e. what we should be listening for). Finally, the listening lacuna in Habermas’ theory of communicative rationality is pointed out, leading to a discussion of the potential analytic power of listening in relation to deliberative democracy in general and one citizens’ jury case in particular.

        The most effective and insidious way to silence others in politics is a refusal to listen (Dryzek, 2000, p. 149).

        Although much prized in daily conversation, good listening has been almost completely ignored in that form of political conversation we know as democracy. Practically all the attention has been paid to speaking, both in terms of the skills to be developed and the ways in which we should understand what enhancing ‘inclusion’ might mean (i.e. getting more people to speak). Once we ask why listening has been so systematically ignored we find ourselves inquiring into the very nature of politics, and there is discussion here in this context of the enduring influence of Aristotle’s view that what makes ‘man’ a political animal is his capacity to speak.

        The overall intention of this article is to establish that both democratic theory and democratic practice would be reinvigorated by attention to listening. A case for this is made through considering four ways in which good listening can help achieve democratic objectives: enhancing legitimacy, helping to deal with deep disagreements, improving understanding and increasing empowerment. This leads to a discussion of the difference between good and bad political listening, with the latter being introduced through an examination of the nature of rhetoric. Some of the issues at stake in deciding what good political listening is are then discussed, before the question of ‘political noise’ is broached (i.e. what we should be listening for). Finally, the listening lacuna in Habermas’ theory of communicative rationality is pointed out, leading to a discussion of the potential analytic power of listening in relation to deliberative democracy in general and one citizens’ jury case in particular.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00944.x/full

        I’m not sure it counts as data, but I believe this touches a topic that you might like.

        Julian Treasure had in mind the fact that (social) media made so much noise nowadays that “listeners” are now treating about everything as “noise”.

        This could explain why we stop hearing shouts and shrieks.

        In fact, everytime I show some extracts from climate bloglands to my buddies, their first comment underlines the overall violence of the exchanges.

        It takes time to adapt to such communication.

        Anywho, if you wish to pursue on that topic, you can try to dig around media studies about the radicalisation of op-eds, for instance.

        Time’s up for now for me.

        Bye,

        w

      • Steven Mosher

        +1 willard

      • Willard –

        There certainly is a stunning amount of shouting that goes on in blogs (and yes, the violence of the shouting is stunning also). Also interesting is that technically, that shouting occurs in the silence of the virtual sphere.

        It does certainly seem like shouting that takes place with a poverty of listening. I think a contributing factor is that when we communicate through direct interaction, we have so much additional information available – they say that only some 30% of what we usually communicate is explicitly communicated through the words we use. Perhaps the deficit we feel from the inability to use pitch, facial or hand expressions, etc., causes us to futilely try to compensate by shouting virtually.

        So yeah – I think that much of that shouting that takes place is related to a lack of listening. So much would be accomplished with more listening. The bad faith, categorizing people’s values based on their positions, straw men (an obvious form of not listening) – all so ubiquitous in the blogosphere. It all reminds me of kids sticking fingers in their ears and shouting “La, la, la, I caaaaaant heaaarr youuuuu.”

        I don’t think I’ve found any blog comment section were people “listen” much… Logically, much of that communicative garbage, virtual noise, would be diminished with more listening.

        I just doubt that there is any societal trend. Maybe interactive virtual communication increases the amount of noise in some absolute sense. It is much easier to generate noise.

        I think of when I first started using a word processor – the roots of my infamous verbosity. I would be much more concise if I had to write by hand or correct errors with white-out…. More words, more noise, more shouting….. sure.

        But I doubt that as a society we have become any worse at listening any more than we’ve gotten worse at writing because of word processors.

      • Joshua,

        Thanks for this.

        I believe it’s mainly a matter of words.

        Suppose you have to keep up with an area of expertise. What do you do? You read the periodicals where you get the best from what’s done in your field. Then, you skim abstracts. Then, perhaps you search by keywords. Then, you start to read.

        Then, you follow the citations. Then, you read again.

        And again. And again. And again.

        After a while, you become immune to anything that is not directly relevant to your own research.

        And even then, you know who you won’t bother to read.

        Sometimes, because you know it’s junk. Sometimes, because it’s way above your head. Sometimes, because your eyes glaze over it.

        Meanwhile, you can always decide to delimit your area of expertise.

        So we can say that the more words there are, the more you have to filter out.

        But what you **do** read, you try your best to understand. That is, you try to render justice to it. I never understood why I should take time to criticize something I can’t appreciate, at least enough to spend time on it.

        Anywho, here’s why I’m here:

        http://blog.seattlepi.com/olympics/2012/08/10/costa-rican-triathlete’s-inspiring-message-goes-viral-after-crash-with-defending-olympic-champ/

        Please read that message.

        This kind of events is the only reason I’m only a part-time cynic, as Robin Melville seems to be.

      • Steven Mosher

        willard, you cant do due diligence on the claim
        ‘steve has pages of inpenetrable math” by
        detailing pages that dont have it.

        if the claim were ‘ALL of steves pages…” or MOST of steves pages.

        Still, it would be good for you to count pages. That way you could say 30% of steves pages meet this description.
        THAT would be due diligence.

      • Moshpit,

        If I was a fan of Parsomatics, I’d proceed like you offer.

        That would be a fool’s errand.

        Instead of biting at your fake comment, I’d rather settle to “illuminate” the myth about CA, according to which is first and foremost about stats.

        CA is about reformation [1], if we’re to connect with a recent exchange we had:

        > [T]he institutions are the primary issue.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/922087397

        ***

        But if you really wish to have a number, here’s a first approximation:

        > I will go approximately 50-50 for a while on posting statistical and non-statistical notes.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/387219624

        According to Steve, it was 50-50 already by August 2005.

        ***

        You should concede that one. Any response from you provide me an excuse to expose the myth. For instance:

        > It’s hard not to transpose the conclusions of the Penn State Climategate “investigation” into Penn State’s attitude towards misconduct charges in their profitable football program.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/28121457962

        ***

        In any case, please continue to throw these spitballs.

        Speaking of which:

        > With this in mind, let’s turn to spitballs from the confused Arthur Smith.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/922148074

        Due diligence has nothing to do with parsomatics.

      • Steven Mosher

        I would have guessed 30% dedicated to mathy stuff.

        There are examples of the “myth” and I love that you stand to debunk that myth. That is good solid work. Attention to detail. I like that.
        in this case, you saw an opportunity to slip your debunking in. however, the myth wasnt invoked in its usual manner.

        Still, it would be nice to have the actual figure. It’s the kind of evidence that folks like Joshua would find interesting. And for good reason.

        One sentence would fix your comment.

      • Moshpit,

        I agree that the CA myth I’m alluding to has not been invoked in the usual manner. Here’s the usual way to do:

        > It’s all about the technical details of the science and the analysis of the data.

        This statement has been made by PaulM, a guy whom we should expect better reading skills.

        I believe this statement can be proven false by reading about any month of CA’s post. Here’s a previous analysis, dating from last May:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/22653303758

        To prove the falsity of such claims, it does not suffice to count topics and posts. Aboutness is a tough concept to define in precise discourse. Since I like Nelson Goodman’s style, here’s his famous paper on the subject:

        http://www.jstor.org/stable/2252149

        Topicality is even tougher to do when the diarisation meanders from tree rings to 24 episodes.

        I believe it’s the same here. My comment to Robin Melville seems relevant to his overall point, even if I don’t directly contradict the claim I underline. While I understand his overall sentiment, I believe that the connotation that CA’s a technical blog is indeed a myth.

        Both Steve’s and Judy’s should be recognized as political weapons.

        ***

        Thus I would gladly correct many sentences from my comment. I try to keep my typing time down and keep the conversation congenial.

        Besides, Najdorf players know that, sometimes, you have to play sub-optimal moves that create more lively games and increase your winning chances…

      • Climate Audit Etc are indeed more politics than science. Some accuse me of concentrating on statistics at the expense of physics — au contraire, there is no gap between statistical mechanics and physics. McIntyre wouldn’t know statistical mechanics if it bit him in the rear, yet he does the victory dance whenever someone muffs up some data processing ledger. I guess someone has to do it, but science won’t wait for McIntyre.

    • Well it definitely gets partisan here, with partisans from both sides. In principle i would like to delete any post that only has a put down of somebody else with no other content, but i don’t always manage to spot these.

    • John Carpenter

      Robin, this is what it says in the ‘About’ section of CE,

      “Climate Etc. provides a forum for climate researchers, academics and technical experts from other fields, citizen scientists, and the interested public to engage in a discussion on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface.”

      bringing the ‘science-policy interface’ aspect of the climate debate to the table certainly should bring no surprise to you that partisan discussions will erupt from time to time. Some commenters like to get personal, others don’t. Either way, I wouldn’t feel sorry for JC, she intended this to be a forum for all points of view to be aired with little moderation and that’s what we have. I think it works to expose how the extremes of the discussion are out of touch with reality which in turn helps inform those with more rational thought on what doesn’t/isn’t working wrt doing something (if anything) about AGW.

  65. As you yourself indicate, JC, “a useful role in the early synthesis of the scientific knowledge and in building political will to act” is indeed “useful” only if you assume the goals of the “will to act” are constructive.

  66. Consensus by bribes and arm-twisting. What percentage of those agreeing / conceding are on the taxpayer’s life-support?