Climate Science & Sociology

by Johanna

The politicisation of climate science is perhaps best illustrated by the emerging role of the social sciences in placing interpretations on human perception of, and responses to, “the science.”

Social sciences, including sociology, psychology, economics and political science have been enthusiastic entrepreneurs in seeking to map the political and scientific battlefield that is climate science today. In many cases, mere mapping has moved into partisanship, such as where psychologists seek to identify personality traits or core beliefs which allegedly explain either an individual’s scientific convictions or their personal response to the climate wars (e.g. Lewandowsky et al).  For these social scientists, the starting point is that “the science is settled,” and damaging, human caused climate change is upon us. The big questions revolve around persuading the public and politicians to act in ways considered to be commensurate with their assessment of urgency.

Sociology, which can be defined as the study of the structure and functioning of society and human behaviour, has leapt enthusiastically into partisan mode.  My proposition is that this is a perversion of sociology for ideological ends.  Further, the work that comes out of this distortion of the aims of true sociology is typically shoddy and derivative, but that is beyond the scope of this post.

This is a huge and complex topic.  To focus the discussion to a manageable level, I have taken as my primary text “Science as a Vocation”, an address given by Max Weber at Munich University in 1918.  It may seem odd to choose an almost 100 year old paper for this discussion.  Let me explain.

German Max Weber (1864 – 1920) was one of the most influential thinkers of his era, and his ideas still permeate politics, economics, history, philosophy and sociology today.  He described and analysed Western culture and society, and its historical roots, with a breadth and depth that is truly staggering.  His best known work, “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” created a set of assumptions about how wealth is created in Western society which is still unconsciously adhered to by hundreds of millions of people today.  He wrote extensively about the interaction between religion (in the East and West), culture and economics.  He was respected by, and consulted with, great economists such as Schumpeter and von Mises.  He created the first systemic typology of bureaucracy.  His “Politics as a Vocation” included his characterisation of the State as as an entity which successfully claims a “monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.”

There is much, much more, but you get the idea. Weber was a giant of modern Western thought.  And, for the purposes of this discussion, he is regarded as possibly the most influential figure in the development of sociology – not just in the narrow sense, but also in terms of significant contributions to political economy and historical interpretation.  (For those interested in learning a bit more about Weber, his Wikipedia entry is in this instance a good starting point.)

Weber’s address to aspiring scientists (among others) at Munich University needs to be seen in the context of Germany being a powerhouse of scientific and intellectual achievement at the time.  He covers a wide range of topics, including the difference between German and US universities, the rationale for studying anything at all, the similarities and differences between great artists and great scientists, religious belief and science, and much more.  This post can only touch on a few of his points. For the most, I will let him speak for himself, with brief comments on the excerpts posted.  The excerpts are in chronological order.

“In the United States, where the bureaucratic system exists, the young academic man is paid from the very beginning. [German entry level academics could only claim fees from their students]  To be sure, his salary is modest; usually it is hardly as much as the wages of a semi-skilled laborer. Yet he begins with a seemingly secure position, for he draws a fixed salary. As a rule, however, notice may be given to him just as with German assistants, and frequently he definitely has to face this should he not come up to expectations.

These expectations are such that the young academic in America must draw large crowds of students. This cannot happen to a German docent; once one has him, one cannot get rid of him.  To be sure, he cannot raise any ‘claims.’ But he has the understandable notion that after years of work he has a sort of moral right to expect some consideration. ”

(Even in 1918, Weber identified the structure of American universities as essentially bureaucratic, in contrast to German (and other European) universities, which were more plutocratic.  While merit was important in both cases, US institutions expected their junior academics’ salaries to be repaid with certain levels of performance in attracting numbers of students.  German universities had junior staff who need not have large classes. But they needed enough money from elsewhere to support themselves.)

“As a rule, the full professor gives the ‘big’ courses and the docent confines himself to secondary ones. The advantage of these arrangements is that during his youth the academic man is free to do scientific work, although this restriction of the opportunity to teach is somewhat involuntary.

In America, the arrangement is different in principle. Precisely during the early years of his career the assistant is absolutely overburdened just because he is paid.”

(Since many scientists do their best work when they are young, the consequences of loading up young academic scientists with teaching can be perverse.)

“The large institutes of medicine or natural science are ‘state capitalist’ enterprises, which cannot be managed without very considerable funds. Here we encounter the same condition that is found wherever capitalist enterprise comes into operation: the ‘separation of the worker from his means of production.’ The worker, that is, the assistant, is dependent upon the implements that the state puts at his disposal; hence he is just as dependent upon the head of the institute as is the employee in a factory upon the management.”

(This passage refers to increasing “Americanisation” of German scientific institutions, because the resources required for scientific research were rapidly increasing.)

“It would be unfair to hold the personal inferiority of faculty members or educational ministries responsible for the fact that so many mediocrities undoubtedly play an eminent role at the universities. The predominance of mediocrity is rather due to the laws of human co-operation, especially of the co-operation of several bodies, and, in this case, co-operation of the faculties who recommend and of the ministries of education.

A counterpart are the events at the papal elections, which can be traced over many centuries and which are the most important controllable examples of a selection of the same nature as the academic selection. The cardinal who is said to be the ‘favorite’ only rarely has a chance to win out. The rule is rather that the Number Two cardinal or the Number Three wins out. The same holds for the President of the United States. Only exceptionally does the first-rate and most prominent man get the nomination of the convention. Mostly the Number Two and often the Number Three men are nominated and later run for election. The Americans have already formed technical sociological terms for these categories, and it would be quite interesting to enquire into the laws of selection by a collective will by studying these examples, but we shall not do so here.”

(Interesting comment on selection by structured bureaucratic process, whether in the academic, religious or political sphere.)

“In our time, the internal situation, in contrast to the organization of science as a vocation, is first of all conditioned by the facts that science has entered a phase of specialization previously unknown and that this will forever remain the case. Not only externally, but inwardly, matters stand at a point where the individual can acquire the sure consciousness of achieving something truly perfect in the field of science only in case he is a strict specialist.

All work that overlaps neighboring fields, such as we occasionally undertake and which the sociologists must necessarily undertake again and again, is burdened with the resigned realization that at best one provides the specialist with useful questions upon which he would not so easily hit from his own specialized point of view. One’s own work must inevitably remain highly imperfect.”

(This was a relatively new, and irrevocable, change in the nature of scientific careers in 1918.  Weber notes that social scientists are necessarily generalists, and the difference in the precision of their work as a consequence.)

“In the field of science, however, the man who makes himself the impresario of the subject to which he should be devoted, and steps upon the stage and seeks to legitimate himself through ‘experience,’ asking: How can I prove that I am something other than a mere ‘specialist’ and how can I manage to say something in form or in content that nobody else has ever said ?–such a man is no ‘personality.’ Today such conduct is a crowd phenomenon, and it always makes a petty impression and debases the one who is thus concerned. Instead of this, an inner devotion to the task, and that alone, should lift the scientist to the height and dignity of the subject he pretends to serve.”

(The words ‘experience’ and ‘personality’ here have very specific meanings in German which do not easily translate.  But the overall thrust is clear.)

“In science, each of us knows that what he has accomplished will be antiquated in ten, twenty, fifty years.

That is the fate to which science is subjected; it is the very meaning of scientific work, to which it is devoted in a quite specific sense, as compared with other spheres of culture for which in general the same holds. Every scientific ‘fulfilment’ raises new ‘questions'; it asks to be ‘surpassed’ and outdated. Whoever wishes to serve science has to resign himself to this fact.”

(Scientists should always be humble and keep a sense of perspective about their individual achievements.)

“To take a practical political stand is one thing, and to analyze political structures and party positions is another. When speaking in a political meeting about democracy, one does not hide one’s personal standpoint; indeed, to come out clearly and take a stand is one’s damned duty. The words one uses in such a meeting are not means of scientific analysis but means of canvassing votes and winning over others. They are not plowshares to loosen the soil of contemplative thought; they are swords against the enemies: such words are weapons. It would be an outrage, however, to use words in this fashion in a lecture or in the lecture-room. If, for instance, ‘democracy’ is under discussion, one considers its various forms, analyzes them in the way they function, determines what results for the conditions of life the one form has as compared with the other. Then one confronts the forms of democracy with non-democratic forms of political order and endeavors to come to a position where the student may find the point from which, in terms of his ultimate ideals, he can take a stand. But the true teacher will beware of imposing from the platform any political position upon the student, whether it is expressed or suggested.”

(His take on the difference between a professional practitioner and an advocate.)

“Thus far I have spoken only of practical reasons for avoiding the imposition of a personal point of view. But these are not the only reasons. The impossibility of ‘scientifically’ pleading for practical and interested stands–except in discussing the means for a firmly given and presupposed end–rests upon reasons that lie far deeper.

‘Scientific’ pleading is meaningless in principle because the various value spheres of the world stand in irreconcilable conflict with each other.”

(Beautifully and succinctly put.)

These are just a few snippets from a much longer work which is well worth reading.  In it, Weber illustrates and applies sociology as he originally conceived it – understanding society and social relations, in this case, the world of vocational science.

It is but a tiny fragment of his enormous intellectual output across several disciplines, but provides some insight into a great thinker’s sociological perspectives on some of the issues that are as relevant to climate science in 2013 as they were to science as a whole in 1918.

These include: the bureaucratisation of universities and scientific institutions and its consequences; the implications of increasing specialisation in science and the role of generalist disciplines; the requirement of scientists to expect that their work will become obsolete; the separate roles of the professional and the advocate (although they may be the same person); and the oxymoronic nature of scientific advocacy for personal opinions based on values.

This is broad-brush stuff, to be sure, although there is a good deal more explication in the full text.  Weber’s other work includes much more detailed and systematic analysis of sociology as a discipline, as well as detailed case studies.  But it exemplifies what the best of sociology can look like, even in the form of a single speech given at a university in 1918.

JC comment:  This is an invited guest post.  I invited Johanna to do a guest post on this topic based upon her comments on a previous thread.  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and on topic.

500 responses to “Climate Science & Sociology

  1. Chief Hydrologist

    Well done Johanna. I will take it on my laptop to a coffee shop and read it at leisure.

  2. Rumours of CG3. Where? Where?
    =============

  3. Well done Johanna. I’ll be back.

  4. How times have changed, I do not detect a single reference to women in science.

  5. ” the requirement of scientists to expect that their work will become obsolete.”

    That was said when the shelf life of science was a good bit longer.

    • Pissant Progressive

      this is true but please follow it through. I think it has interesting ramifications.

  6. Thx, Johanna, like yer said about Schumpeter on democracy
    mutating by political vote buying, the logic of the situation
    here operating in the academy.

    And a serf agrees concerning the social sciences:
    ” From mapping ter partisanship is but a step.’

    A serf-influenced- through-livin’-on-the-littoral.

  7. A very interesting post Johanna. You have illustrated how timeless Weber’s lifework has become and how the contrasting cultures of the universities of the US and continental Europe have given rise to some of the politicisation currently surrounding climate science. Food for much reflection.

  8. (Since many scientists do their best work when they are young, the consequences of loading up young academic scientists with teaching can be perverse.)

    Interesting viewpoint – that endeavoring to teach and learning how to teach well is “perverse.”

    But the true teacher will beware of imposing from the platform any political position upon the student, whether it is expressed or suggested.”

    The syntax is hard for me to follow. How does one “impose” something that is merely “expressed” or “suggested?”

    But as best as I can tell, this seems to manifest a very passive notion of a student – as a “blank slate.” not someone capable of sifting through the opinions of others as they establish their own viewpoint.

    “Beware of imposing?” Yes, indeed.

    Beware of “expressing” or “suggesting” a political position? An antiquated, and I would say counterproductive, view of education.

    • Academic scientists are teachers first and researchers second while non-academic scientists are researchers first and teachers second (especiually when endeavouring to develop commercially feasible applications).

      It appears that Johanna gives more importance to the research function rather than the teaching function when both are equally important in both academic and non-academic contexts.

      • …when both are equally important in both academic and non-academic contexts.

        I wish that view were more widely shared by academic institutions. As I think we all know, at least in the U.S., while academe pays lip service to the importance of teaching, it is quite clear that the main reason for “loading] up young academic scientists with teaching” is primarily economic. But then again, such is inevitable when education is embedded in a capitalistic social structure – so it’s not clear what the solution might be.

      • The European universities have been described in the head post as being more plutocratic than bureaucratic and it seems to me that their output is generally of a higher quality.

        In Australia, universities used to fully taxpayer funded, but in more recent times they have been forced to rely more heavily on private corporate sponsorships and on the payment of fees by the families of students. This has endemic problems of research bias in the case of the former and greater inequity of access to higher learning in the case of the latter.

      • At PhD granting institutions, they are researchers first, even the young ones (on the tenure track). At smaller schools, the mix can be 50:50 all the way to 100% teaching. I am at a smaller school where my mix is closer to 2/3 teaching: 1/3 research. But I must push to get that much research in.

    • Joshua,

      Her point was obvious. That at the prime of their intellectual contributions they may be loaded down with teaching and unable to spend much time on their research. This would be like taking an athlete in their prime and having them train others rather than play as starters.

      In the U.S. at least, at the “research” schools, the youngsters still focus mainly on research if they are in the natural sciences. I assume it is the same in the social sciences.

      Interesting that you are unable to understand how one can “impose” a political position. It is done by giving a one-sided presentation and not teaching critical thinking.

      • This would be like taking an athlete in their prime and having them train others rather than play as starters.

        Interesting that you don’t see the difference between the goals of athletic organizations and the goals of academic institutions. So you agree that teaching students and learning how to teach are “perverse” outcomes?

        Interesting that you are unable to understand how one can “impose” a political position. It is done by giving a one-sided presentation and not teaching critical thinking.

        You are a teacher, and you have such a limited view of students, apparently believing that they are not capable of independent thought?

        Let me ask you, as a student did you never attend a class where you thought the teacher gave a one-sided presentation? If so, did you walk away brainwashed, with that one perspective presented “imposed” on you, or did you walk away thinking that you just attended a class run by an ineffective teacher who did not do justice to the topic at hand?

        Sometimes it is telling, Bill, when people conceive of students as blank slates.

    • (Since many scientists do their best work when they are young, the consequences of loading up young academic scientists with teaching can be perverse.)

      It read to me that it was perverse to make them teach when young, not that teaching was perverse.

      • It read to me that it was perverse to make them teach when young, not that teaching was perverse.

        They are employed by academic institutions, which have varied goals. Some of those goals pertain to educating students and training researchers to be teachers.

        We might argue about whether the science of any given researcher inherently benefits from being given teaching responsibilities (I would suggest that it would be true on average if not in all cases). We might argue that there is a point of diminishing returns if the teaching responsibilities are too many. But the notion that the outcomes are “perverse,” in balance, seems odd to me as it seems to ignore the larger institutional goals and context.

        It is also interesting to watch as “skeptics” are arguing, in this thread, about the inherent value of the research of young scientists since often in these threads we find many “skeptics” arguing the exact opposite – that the correlation between age and “skepticism” is an indication of wisdom or the greater freedom enjoyed by experienced academics.

        Selective reasoning is selective.

      • Steven Mosher

        Yes Joshua,

        The case of the young Micheal Mann is rather interesting in this regard for skeptics.

    • Joshua,
      Suggested = implied/implicit
      Expressed = explicit

      • Tamara –

        How would a teacher, either implicitly or explicitly, expressing an opinion = imposing a position upon the student?

        I don’t think that teachers should impost positions on students. I also don’t see expressing or suggestion opinions as doing such. It seems to me that such a viewpoint implies that students are blank slates.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua, see Dr. Loo on “seepage”

      • ” Joshua
        How would a teacher, either implicitly or explicitly, expressing an opinion = imposing a position upon the student?”

        Why do you think grades their course work and final exams?

      • Doc –

        Why do you think grades their course work and final exams?

        You hint at a situation that may occur, provided you have unprofessional teachers and students motivated extrinsically.

        We can certainly find both, but…

        When we have unprofessional teachers and extrinsically motivated students, we have bigger problems than simply those produced when a teacher expresses an opinion. And besides, that wouldn’t really be “imposing” an opinion on the student, it would only be requiring that a student express an opinion in return for a grade.

        I have worked with many students who wrote opinions based on what they thought their teachers wanted to hear – but in the process of so doing, the students were not having incorporating the teacher’s opinion, in fact, if anything, those student were only less inclined to adopt the teacher’s opinion because they lost respect for the teacher.

        Education is not well-served by such cynical attempt to idiot-proof the system to try to prevent what you’re describing. First, it is based on a belief that idiot teachers and idiot students predominate. Second, it won’t work anyway. If you have idiot teachers and students, the fact of directing teachers not to express opinions will have negligible affects on the outcomes.

        Far more likely, you will be undermining the creativity and professionalism of professionals with a one-size-fits-all notion of education. Education involves a complex weave of variables – and as such, sometimes a good teacher might divulge a personal opinion to good advantage. In the end, you create conditions where good teachers and students can’t thrive, for the purpose of preventing something that will make no difference in the long run, anyway.

        Finally, keep in mind that some say that more than 50% of what we communicate travels through non-verbal routes. Would you have teachers spend years studying how to hide their non-verbal communication that might suggest their viewpoints? Otherwise, that would be another reason why directing teachers not to express their views would be pointless, if not actually counterproductive.

        In the end, what we have is an essay written in a time when students were more typically viewed as a blank slate or empty vessel. That isn’t really debatable. What is debatable is why, when most of society, and epistemology, educational psychology, developmental psychology have moved on, some hold-outs still hang on to an antiquated view of educational dynamics.

        Do you have any opinions on that, Doc, or are you afraid of “imposing” your opinions on me?

      • Steven Mosher

        Doc,

        if you want to see student heads explode teach the first half of the course as a liberal and the second half as a conservative.

      • if you want to see student heads explode teach the first half of the course as a liberal and the second half as a conservative.

        Explode in a good way. That would be excellent pedagogy, IMO. It would be a tool to teach much to students about the metacognitive processes of their own learning – and likely produce a far better outcome than following some ban against expressing opinions based on an antiquated view of education and learning.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        if you want to see student heads explode teach the first half of the course as a liberal and the second half as a conservative.

        I have, in fact, tried just that on many occasions.

        It makes no difference whatsoever to the delivery of physics or astronomy courses.

        And yet, student heads explode anyway.

  9. “This is broad brush stuff.”

    No, it is merely pompous and pretentious, and yes, antiquated–like so much of academic science (especially, sociology) today.

  10. I just found that Lewandowsky has now analyzed the response to his first paper in a follow-up 2013 study entitled “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”. In the first paper, they identified that many scientific ideas had conspiracy theories built up against them (not just climate science). In the second paper they examine the conspiracy theories in the blogosphere in response to the first paper, which shows typical signs of conspiracy ideation extending to actors outside the authors (the university, the media, etc.) for example. The climate blogosphere is an interesting petridish for sociologists, it appears. Needless to say, the link to this paper also has signs that there have been complaints.

    http://www.frontiersin.org/personality_science_and_individual_differences/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00073/abstract

    • Steven Mosher

      ya, there are serious issues with the accuracy of the paper and researcher ethics.

    • Well, I am not an expert, but this abstract does look like he is thumbing his nose at his critics.
      Having said that, there are many (some even here) who do view the whole of the international climate science community and the governments that support it as joined some global socialist conspiracy, and a sociology study of that thinking, properly done, would be a useful contribution, but we would also expect a backlash and threats for the authors anyway, because it is a hot button issue for some of the subjects of such a study.

      • JimD, the general goal of the IPCC appears to be redistribution of money through carbon credits/tax to accomplish something that has no clear goal other than redistribution money. So far the general technology push into solar, biofuels and wind have had much greater than expected negative impacts, the upper limit of impact is reducing while the “urgency” increases, China and India are stockpiling fossil fuels and importing more to retain reserves while the US and Canada, not committed to the UN plans, are making more progress than the EU and UK. Other than a few “typos”, the AR4 report was completely obsolete before it was published and the same is likely for AR5.

        On the Science Front, there is a quite war between the forced and natural states of climate. Impacts of greater than 2C due solely to natural variability in an asymmetrical coupled atmospheric/ocean system that the current state of the art climate model can’t come close to emulating due to heavy tuning and slow as molasses in winter time dynamics. The Tropical Troposphere hot spot is a no show, the stratosphere baffles and the ohc heat uptake requires major squinting to see an impact possibly 500 years down the road.

        Other than that, your minions of the great and power Carbon, are kicking butt.

      • captd, despite what you say, I don’t think you are a conspiracy theorist. There are people with much more explicit ideas of backroom deals going on that you are skipping over, so I don’t think you count unless you have more detailed ideas on this that you can share.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Your conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories is simply incorrect. It is viewed more as a millennialist cult at all levels. This implies that you actually believe all the cr@p you spout.

      • JimD, “captd, despite what you say, I don’t think you are a conspiracy theorist.”

        I am not, but I do know a cluster f&ck when I see one.

      • CH, now we’re getting somewhere. Who leads this cult? Al Gore? :-)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Do you need a leader Jim?

        In groupthink terminology there are people known as ‘mindguards’.

        ‘Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.’ http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm

        I would suggest Jim Hansen is more clearly a leadership model – with Al Gore as a mindguard.

  11. Thank you for this post, Johanna.

    Basic human instincts and emotions overruled scientific principles after nuclear energy was used as a weapon of mass destruction in August 1945:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Creator_Destroyer_Sustainer_of_Life.pdf

  12. Steven Mosher

    Hmm.

    you started off with a unsupported slam

    “Further, the work that comes out of this distortion of the aims of true sociology is typically shoddy and derivative, but that is beyond the scope of this post.”

    basically throwing red meat to the Dr. Loo haters. I dont like his work, but you really didnt need to drag him in.

    Then:

    “This is a huge and complex topic”

    yup. Instead of spending time rehearsing what we all know ( Max was great ) you should have spent more time explicating his text, placing it in intellectual history and offering some sort of commentary other than parenthetical over simplifications.

    In short, its not even a good freshman paper.

    Let me paraphrase what you said.

    Dr Loo bad.
    Max mighty.
    read max.

    • Mosh

      Its easy to throw stones. Look forward to your article at Climate Etc. Was it going to be on cooling stations, the rise in temperatures over 350 years or did you have some rather more abstract subject in mind?

      tonyb

      • Steven Mosher

        Of course its easy to throw stones. Its easy to do plus ones as well.

        In the end ask yourself, do you understand Weber’s piece any better than you did before? Did the article illuminate his work? set it in intellectual history, tease out some internal contradiction or tension?

        No.
        First she slams sociology of today by picking a slimy practioner
        Then she says max great
        Then she uses the max club to prepare a beating for scientists of today.

        Loo is bad. max is great. use the max stick to beat somebody.

        A more interesting piece for example would select a single thought

        “Normally such an ‘idea’ is prepared only on the soil of very hard work, but certainly this is not always the
        case. Scientifically, a dilettante’s idea may have the very same or even a greater bearing for science than that
        of a specialist. Many of our very best hypotheses and insights are due precisely to dilettantes. The dilettante
        differs from the expert, as Helmholtz has said of Robert Mayer, only in that he lacks a firm and reliable work
        procedure. Consequently he is usually not in the position to control, to estimate, or to exploit the idea in its
        bearings. The idea is not a substitute for work; and work, in turn, cannot substitute for or compel an idea, just
        as little as enthusiasm can. Both, enthusiasm and work, and above all both of them jointly, can entice the
        idea.
        Ideas occur to us when they please, not when it pleases us. The best ideas do indeed occur to one’s mind in
        the way in which Ihering describes it: when smoking a cigar on the sofa; or as Helmholtz states of himself
        with scientific exactitude: when taking a walk on a slowly ascending street; or in a similar way. In any case,
        ideas come when we do not expect them, and not when we are brooding and searching at our desks. Yet
        ideas would certainly not come to mind had we not brooded at our desks and searched for answers with
        passionate devotion.”

        From this context, one could launch into a discussion of your work or Anthony’s work.

        or this

        ‘In science, each of us knows that what he has accomplished will be antiquated in ten, twenty, fifty years.
        That is the fate to which science is subjected; it is the very meaning of scientific work, to which it is devoted
        in a quite specific sense, as compared with other spheres of culture for which in general the same holds.
        Every scientific ‘fulfilment’ raises new ‘questions'; it asks to be ‘surpassed’ and outdated.”

        And here one could look at the irony of the claims made about Weber in the article in chief. That is, if what Weber says is true, then johanna might have looked for the ways in which Weber has been surpassed.
        or maybe sociology is more of an art.

        or this

        “The primary task of a useful teacher is to teach his students to recognize ‘inconvenient’ facts–I mean facts
        that are inconvenient for their party opinions. And for every party opinion there are facts that are extremely
        inconvenient, for my own opinion no less than for others. I believe the teacher accomplishes more than a
        mere intellectual task if he compels his audience to accustom itself to the existence of such facts. I would be
        so immodest as even to apply the expression ‘moral achievement,’ though perhaps this may sound too
        grandiose for something that should go without saying. ”

        One could ask: what are the facts that are inconvenient for folks who want to apply Weber to todays discussion. To the extent that the author is trying to teach us something about Weber, they forgot THE PRIMARY TASK espoused by Weber

        or this

        “The professor who feels
        called upon to act as a counselor of youth and enjoys their trust may prove himself a man in personal human
        relations with them. And if he feels called upon to intervene in the struggles of world views and party
        opinions, he may do so outside, in the market place, in the press, in meetings, in associations, wherever he
        wishes. But after all, it is somewhat too convenient to demonstrate one’s courage in taking a stand where the
        audience and possible opponents are condemned to silence.”

        Well, dont many of us complain when scientists do take to the market place. We are not content with keeping them from preaching in the classroom, but we also want to limit what they advocate ourside the lecture hall. Here one could use Weber to beat Judith.

        switching gears
        Cooling stations. we have just completed a major update of the data and methods.

        1. 2000 new stations
        2. improved scalpeling
        3. improved handling of seasonality.
        4. 25km gridded fields
        5. posting post scalpeled station data.

        So, my priorities tend to be driven by the requests of working scientists and not my own research desires. My own research topics would be

        A) more work on UHI, particularly the “population” question
        B) automating micro site classsification
        C) Recon work on early northamerica record
        D) collecting out of sample verification data
        E) cooling stations.

        thats about 3 years of work.
        D

      • For us unwashed, would you define “cooling station?”

        A) more work on UHI, particularly the “population” question
        B) automating micro site classsification
        C) Recon work on early northamerica record
        D) collecting out of sample verification data
        E) cooling stations.

        I like your list. I would add land use to A and throw out any thermometer sited on an airport. Just sayin’.

      • Jim2, “I like your list. I would add land use to A”
        Nope, can’t use land use. Clear cutting forests, other than in the tropics where it is not warming so much, is a cooling impact. Growing forests to increase carbon sink performance is not included in the proposed carbon credit system because we all know that causes warming. Restoring wet lands in and near urban areas in also not allowed because water vapor feed back is soooooo strong the cities will boil. Desertification, as long as the sand has a higher albedo than that energy sucking native grassland is also a major cooling impact. Using dyed liquid fertilizers, ash and peat to speed snow melt on millions of square kilometers of wheat fields also must not have an impact since the areal is only 1 percent of the global surface. Paving, roofing and other impervious surfaces also cannot have an impact because that is even a smaller percentage of the surface.

        Nope, gots to be the carbon

    • Seems ter me that Johanna gave reasons why she chose Weber to overview succinctly, here, Weber’s influence on the development of sociology, first systematic typology of bureaucracy. This latter would
      seem ter be relevant to discussions here at JC on advocacy in climate science re gatekeeping and data manipulation. In the current debate,
      the example of Lewandowsky’s survey can be referenced as a well
      aired example of distorted research related ter group-think.

      http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/tweet-your-permission-for-lewandowsky-to-out-you/

      • Steven Mosher

        ‘Weber’s influence on the development of sociology, first systematic typology of bureaucracy. This latter would
        seem ter be relevant to discussions here at JC on advocacy in climate science re gatekeeping and data manipulation. ”

        Except that Weber’s piece is about the scientist as teacher. he writes

        ‘The professor who feels
        called upon to act as a counselor of youth and enjoys their trust may prove himself a man in personal human
        relations with them. And if he feels called upon to intervene in the struggles of world views and party
        opinions, he may do so outside, in the market place, in the press, in meetings, in associations, wherever he
        wishes. ”

        A few points. We should note that Weber is talking about advocacy in the classroom and his proscription for professors is that they should not be advocates. In part this proscription rest on the notion that science can be cleanly separated from non science by looking at the kind of pre suppositions science has, and more broadly he appeals to the is/ought distinction. Beyond that he seems to ground his normative statement in the notion that students sit silent and cant talk back whereas in the marketplace people can talk back. I’m not convinced that Weber’s work here has any relevance to the issue of scientists advocating in public space or any relevance to the discussions we’ve had about scientists testifying before congress about things like tax policy. A smart person would ask the question: what does science say about the practice of advocating in the classroom? Not, what does a sociologist think we should do.
        Weber says dont do it. last I looked, he wasn’t the boss of me.

      • Steven Mosher, FWIIW, I agree with some your comments. The alternative quotes you suggested also leapt off the page to me, and I was sorely tempted to use them.

        the trouble is, the post is already 2000 words long, and going down that path would have made it even longer. I spent a lot of time thinking about which quotes to use.

        In the end, I took as my assumption that few readers would even have heard of Weber (hence the need to present a few key themes so that readers could begin to understand his way of thinking rather than attempting – and failing – to cover everything in a short post); and in addition, sticking closely to the education of scientists and the way universities work is something that is relevant today as well as easily grasped by denizens.

        Each of the quotes you mention was in my first draft. They’re good stuff, aren’t they? That’s why I encouraged people to read the whole thing.

        My central point is that sociology as originally conceived by greats like Weber has a great deal to offer science and scientists. The contemporary stuff, not so much.

        Thanks for reading.

      • hmmm. Something odd getting caught in the comment filter. Looks like I’ll have to break this into parts:

        Part 1:

        But after all, it is somewhat too convenient to demonstrate one’s courage in taking a stand where the audience and possible opponents are condemned to silence.”

        Certainly, in a classroom where students are “condemned to silence,” teachers should not be expressing opinions.

      • Part 2:

        But then again, students should be in such classrooms to begin with.

        The solution for that problem is not to prevent teachers from expressing opinions, but to not employ teachers that create such classroom environments.

    • Mosh

      . My point was, as you are fully aware, that immediately throwing stones at a solicited guest article is bad form;

      “JC comment: This is an invited guest post. I invited Johanna to do a guest post on this topic based upon her comments on a previous thread. As with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and on topic.”

      Johanna has taken the time and trouble to write a guest post and we can all respond accordingly in a suitable manner. Disparaging it from the word ‘go’ is not worthy of you.

      I am very glad that it looks as if you will be keeping out of trouble for the next three years or so by being engaged in a number of projects. As far as the North America recons go, I noticed printed copies of the US weather review to 1873 in the met office library. Doubtless these are also online and you are in any case probably looking for much older material, but it has been my experience that the vast majority of historic material has not been digitised.

      Therefore If you feel the Library might harbour some interesting (and strictly non anecdotal) material let me know and I will have a look.
      tonyb

      • Steven Mosher

        ““JC comment: This is an invited guest post. I invited Johanna to do a guest post on this topic based upon her comments on a previous thread. As with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and on topic.”

        Johanna has taken the time and trouble to write a guest post and we can all respond accordingly in a suitable manner. Disparaging it from the word ‘go’ is not worthy of you.

        1. you missed my exchange with johanna the other day when she brought up weber to disparage a woman who doesnt even aspire to being a scientist or scholar. And you missed her remarks questioning whether I even knew anything about Weber ( hint, I used to teach this essay .. hehe she didnt know ) And you missed my warning about how difficult it would be to make weber accessible in such a short space with such a diverse audience.

        2. we differ on notions of civilian. I consider Simon Cowell to be most civil to give you a sense.. or joan rivers on the red carpet. don rickles was also civil.

        this is not civil, except in springer

        #########################

        I am very glad that it looks as if you will be keeping out of trouble for the next three years or so by being engaged in a number of projects. As far as the North America recons go, I noticed printed copies of the US weather review to 1873 in the met office library. Doubtless these are also online and you are in any case probably looking for much older material, but it has been my experience that the vast majority of historic material has not been digitised.

        I have just started the search.

        Therefore If you feel the Library might harbour some interesting (and strictly non anecdotal) material let me know and I will have a look.
        tonyb

        Sure thing. lots of work ahead

      • Mosh

        Judging by some of their comments a number of denizens appear to view Simon Cowelll as a role model

        Tonyb

      • Full metal Jacket was one of the best half movies Hollywood made about the military and Viet Nam.

        We need an R. Lee Ermey to police the chat room rules.

      • Mosh said:

        “don rickles was also civil.

        this is not civil, except in springer”

        Rickles is an act. Springer desperately wants to control, pining to be a drill sergeant, getting his jollies by acting as a bouncer for that idiotic Intelligent Design blog, and now yearning to wield the same kind of control on this piddly comment blog.

        BTW, Mathew Modine runs the Card-Carrying Liberal organization. I have card #154. On the back of the card it says:

        “Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas of others. Archaic customs and laws hold no relevance unless those laws continue to hold empirical truth in the present. “

      • Steven Mosher

        Rickles is an act. Yes, that is why it is civil

        Some people act on blogs. sometimes they forget they are play acting.

  13. I think the first two sentences should be combined and tweaked a bit to give a little more insight into the issue of politicization.

    “The politicisation of climate science is perhaps best illustrated by the emerging role of the social sciences in placing interpretations on human perception of, and responses to, ‘the science.’

    Social sciences, including sociology, psychology, economics and political science have been enthusiastic entrepreneurs in seeking to map the political and scientific battlefield that is climate science today.”

    They would better read:

    “The politicisation of the social sciences, including sociology, psychology, economics and political science is perhaps best illustrated by the emerging role of the social sciences in placing interpretations on human perception of, and responses to, the politicized ‘science’ of climate change.'”

    Climate scientists, sociologists, psychologists economists and political scientists, especially in the academy, are overwhelmingly progressive.

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/24/survey-finds-professors-already-liberal-have-moved-further-left

    “In many cases, mere mapping has moved into partisanship, such as where psychologists seek to identify personality traits or core beliefs which allegedly explain either an individual’s scientific convictions or their personal response to the climate wars….”

    In many cases? Can anyone here point to a single study by any sociologist, psychologist of other social “scientist,” that turned this laser like gaze on consensus advocates (or their fellow sociologists)?

    Want to do some REALLY interesting sociology? Turn your gaze on those social “scientists” who are providing the fodder for consensus propaganda cannons. Not just the scientists, the sociologists, psychologists, et al., themselves.

    To borrow from the Gospel of Luke – Sociologist, analyze thy self.

    • Actually, Myanna Lahsen did some very interesting anthropological work with the climate modelers at NCAR, eliciting some fairly revealing quotations about their difficulties in remembering that their models aren’t reality and also describing their “circle the wagons” mentality against reporting to the public internal doubts about their science.

      • stevepostrel (with an assist to the cap’n for the link),

        Thanks for the response. A really interesting paper.

        So I stand corrected, there is at least one sociological paper turning an eye toward at least part of the consensus. Once you get into the rhythm of the turgid prose of academese, it seems a well thought out discussion with plenty of interviews. I didn’t really find anything there that I had not already surmised, but it was nice to see my bias confirmed nonetheless. :-)

        Out of curiosity I googled her name, and found she was the author of another paper that was made the subject of a post by Dr. Curry back in June, the one discussing “Mode 1″ and “Mode 2″ science.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/19/anatomy-of-dissent/

        Some actual critical analysis seeping out of the social “sciences.” This one bears watching. Or should I say reading.

  14. 1. Weber would’ve felt ashamed had he known people were going to consider his work “timeless” -that is, non-scientific

    2. We should all consider the terrible situation of Big University Dons, who after a hard career got to the top only to discover the worshipping they’re used to, disappears on the web

    3. Joshua 0 – Weber 1 at the first opportunity – match suspended for evident superiority

    4. Lew and his associates (including the Royal Society) have brought Sociology into disrepute

    The question to ask is why there isn’t a single sociology researcher who’s tried to describe the climate debate from a non-partizan (or even non-CAGW) point of view.

    • 3. Joshua 0 – Weber 1 at the first opportunity – match suspended for evident superiority

      Not that I would question his superiority, go for it, my brother. Take pity on me and elaborate so that I can understand my error. How was I wrong and he right?

      • one word : “perverse”

      • Well – first, it wasn’t Weber’s word, so if anything it would be Johanna 1- Joshua 0. But don’t stop now. So how was Johanna right and I wrong in that regard. She didn’t say that loading a young academic up with teaching can have adverse effects on their research (still debatable, I’d say), she said that the effect can be perverse. How is loading a young academic up with teaching – which means that students will be learning and the academic will be gaining skills in teaching – “perverse?”

    • Since I used the term “timeless” in my comment I would suggest that it no way signifies that Weber’s work was “scientific” or not.

      Philosophy has always provided concepts that stands up well in the passage of time IMO and there would be no shame in admitting this.

      • hmmm…so maybe Weber would’ve wondered why his work hasn’t been “rendered obsolete in 10, 20, 50 years”.

        Is Sociology where mediocrity really triumphs, even more than in psychoanalysis?

      • Philosophy seems to me to be more than a mere progression of ideas that are rendered obsolete by the introduction of new ones. s work to my mind is more in the mold of Kant and it follows through with the idea that human thinking is more intuitive/chaotic, rather than rational/scientific, and that the imposition of a bureaucratic structure in many US acadamic institutions have turned out to be too self serving to be of much use to society as a whole.

  15. I wonder whether this is the same Weber we honour by giving his name to the ubit of magnetic flux, If so, he need not think of oxer-specialization as a threat to his future reputation.

    Of course Weber must have lived long enough to have heard of the new theory of quantum nechanics, but the constancy of climate was not challenged in his day, so it is ublikely he would have made the connection.

    The contributions of German acadamics to scirnce are well known, but having worked in space science with them, I know how critical it was,

  16. The Lew is the exception, not the norm. Same goes for the lot of climate warriors in science and academia. They are dangerous, true, but in the same way terrorists are dangerous. It is not their numbers. It’s their method.

  17. If Max Weber were resurrected tomorrow, he would not recognize the U.S., Europe, and most particularly what passes for academe in our multi-cultural, dumbed down, government controlled education systems.

    Nor would he recognize the social ‘sciences,” which have been turned into primarily government funded PR machines.

    • Steven Mosher

      so much for the progress of science.

      Either science progresses and sociology as a science has progressed
      Or
      science progresses and sociology is not a science so we shouldnt be surprised

      Or science doesnt “progress”

      Folks might want to think about the latter. How do we measure and quantify the “progress” of science. In short, can we be scientific about statements about progress.

      • Steven Mosher

        Science does undoubtedly “progress” (and sociology is not, strictly speaking a “science”).

        But (like the global temperature, since we’ve started measuring it) science does so in “fits and spurts”.

        Three steps forward and one step backward.

        Unfortunately, the agenda driven “science” resulting from the politicized IPCC “consensus process” has arguably resulted in a step backward for climate science.

        But I’m convinced that it will move forward again as this process is discredited and abandoned (a process that is already underway today).

        Max

      • Steven Mosher

        max

        Science does undoubtedly “progress”???

        certain about that? what is the science that measures the progress of science. perhaps you can get jim cripwell to help you

        and what is the science that helps you separate sociology from other sciences.

      • Steven Mosher

        Yeah. I have concluded that “science does progress”.

        It builds upon itself.

        Sure, there are blind alleys and old theories are overturned, etc. – but that is all part of the “progress” of “science”.

        The definition of “science” is a bit loosey-goosey, but I am referring to natural science, rather than the political or social sciences.

        1.The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

        So I would exclude “sociology” from my definition of “science”.

        You might have another opinion on this. So be it.

        Max

      • Science progresses like a drunk gets home. Usually. Somehow. Well, maybe not.

        The interesting thing is that technology takes a more direct route. The mystery is how do the technologists (engineers) manage to make steady progress building on the work of staggering drunks?

      • Serfs tend ter go fer aphorisms like, ‘Man is the measure of
        all things, even serfs attempt it.’ Say wasn’t it ‘science’ based
        technology put an end ter famine in the west, enabled vaccination
        fer deadly disease fer children that saved countless children’s
        lives. Some might think this surpasses even discoveries that
        allowed us to travel into space. Concluding aphorism:
        ‘Knowledge is preferable ter ignorance’ … isn’t it?
        bts

      • Steven Mosher

        Max

        Yeah. I have concluded that “science does progress”.

        It builds upon itself.
        ##############
        I didnt ask you if you concluded that. I asked you if you were certain.

        ######################
        Sure, there are blind alleys and old theories are overturned, etc. – but that is all part of the “progress” of “science”.

        The definition of “science” is a bit loosey-goosey, but I am referring to natural science, rather than the political or social sciences.

        I’m not talking about blind alleys. I’m talking about how you measure progress. How much progress? Do we know more true sentences?
        do we understand more? how do we measure that “more”

        hmm. read here.

        http://www.kernelmag.com/features/essay/635/fighting-futurism-why-progress-is-a-myth/

        #######################

        1.The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

        So I would exclude “sociology” from my definition of “science”.

        How? clearly sociologists study the natural world, clearly they observe
        and clearly they do experiments

        Max

      • I hereby object to my otherwise innocuous, reasonably unobjectionable comment being used to create yet another Mosherist semantic quagmire.

        Why would anyone want to “think about” the statement – “Or science doesn’t ‘progress'” – when there is no way of knowing what the hell is intended by the statement?

      • Steven

        I have concluded that “science does progress”.

        It builds upon itself.
        ##############
        I didnt ask you if you concluded that. I asked you if you were certain.

        “Certain” is a mighty big word, Mosh, but I’d say that I am “certain” that “science has progressed” in the past (and, with it the technology that has afforded us the very high quality of life and long life expectancy we now enjoy). So it is the “fruit” of this scientific and technological progress that tells me that we have progressed

        I’m not talking about blind alleys. I’m talking about how you measure progress. How much progress? Do we know more true sentences?
        do we understand more? how do we measure that “more”

        No doubt we “understand more” about many things than we did 100 years ago. But, again, I think we can measure the progress in “quality of life” we enjoy in the industrially and economically developed world. Per capita GDP could represent a measure of this.

        Another could be the average life expectancy.

        These have both increased significantly as compared to just 100 years ago. And this increase would not have been possible without the scientific and technological progress that accompanied it.

        [Science (natural science)] The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

        So I would exclude “sociology” from my definition of “science”.

        How? clearly sociologists study the natural world, clearly they observe
        and clearly they do experiments.

        As I understand it, sociologists study the development, structure, and functioning of human society or of social problems.

        Although humans are strictly speaking a part of “nature”, I’d make the distinction that the study of “human society” is not the same as the study of the “natural world”.. So, as I would interpret it, a sociologist (like a historian) would be a scholar, but is not a “scientist”.

        But Mosh, that’s just a matter of definition.

        I’d also say that a “social engineer” is not an “engineer”.

        “Experiments”?

        Everyone does them every day. Stockbrokers, real estate magnates, politicians, cooks, housewives, etc. – that doesn’t make these folks “scientists” by definition.

        But, hey, you and I probably have a different viewpoint on whether or not sociologists should be classified as “scientists”.

        Doesn’t make either one of us “right” or “wrong”.

        Max

      • Steven

        (reposted with corrected formatting – please delete earlier comment)

        I have concluded that “science does progress”.

        It builds upon itself.
        ##############
        I didnt ask you if you concluded that. I asked you if you were certain.

        “Certain” is a mighty big word, Mosh, but I’d say that I am “certain” that “science has progressed” in the past (and, with it the technology that has afforded us the very high quality of life and long life expectancy we now enjoy). So it is the “fruit” of this scientific and technological progress that tells me that we have progressed.

        I’m not talking about blind alleys. I’m talking about how you measure progress. How much progress? Do we know more true sentences?
        do we understand more? how do we measure that “more”?

        No doubt we “understand more” about many things than we did 100 years ago. But, again, I think we can measure the progress in “quality of life” we enjoy in the industrially and economically developed world. Per capita GDP could represent a measure of this.

        Another could be the average life expectancy.

        These have both increased significantly as compared to just 100 years ago. And this increase would not have been possible without the scientific and technological progress that accompanied it.

        [Science (natural science)] The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

        So I would exclude “sociology” from my definition of “science”.

        How? clearly sociologists study the natural world, clearly they observe
        and clearly they do experiments.

        As I understand it, sociologists study the development, structure, and functioning of human society or of social problems.

        Although humans are strictly speaking a part of “nature”, I’d make the distinction that the study of “human society” is not the same as the study of the “natural world”.. So, as I would interpret it, a sociologist (like a historian) would be a scholar, but is not a “scientist”.

        But Mosh, that’s just a matter of definition.

        I’d also say that a “social engineer” is not an “engineer”.

        “Experiments”?

        Everyone does them every day. Stockbrokers, real estate magnates, politicians, cooks, housewives, etc. – that doesn’t make these folks “scientists” by definition.

        But, hey, you and I probably have a different viewpoint on whether or not sociologists should be classified as “scientists”.

        Doesn’t make either one of us “right” or “wrong”.

        Max

      • Steven Mosher

        Mosherist semantic quagmire.

        I resemble that remark

        Quagmires are quite easy to create. Take a comment, any comment.
        Choose the sentence that seems most certain.
        Question it.
        State the exact opposite and see what would have to be re arranged in a system of thought for the opposite of the truism to be true.

        so

        Science progresses becomes
        Science doesnt progress.

        How do I make the second sentence true?

        I examine what we mean by science and what we mean by progress.
        well science doesnt progress. science, the method of making hypotheses and testing those sentences stays the same as it ever was. what changes is us. What changes is the body of knowledge.
        or one can attack the notion of progress.

        or one can ask, ( kinda a hegelian move ) about the science of progress.

        these are all games on can play with the sentence “science progresses”
        sometimes these games lead in interesting directions, sometimes not.

      • Steven Mosher,

        “Quagmires are quite easy to create. Take a comment, any comment.
        Choose the sentence that seems most certain.
        Question it.
        State the exact opposite and see what would have to be re arranged in a system of thought for the opposite of the truism to be true.
        so
        Science progresses becomes
        Science doesnt progress”

        Yeah…uh…no.

        Perhaps you meant to react to someone else’s comment elsewhere, but your comment is directly below mine above. And you will look in vain for the word “progress” in that comment, let alone the “sentence” “Science progresses.”

        in fact my comment suggests exactly the opposite when it comes to “social” science, or the “science” of education. Both of which my comment suggests have regressed, as least as far as being coherent, objective disciplines.

        And your subsequent quibbling on the meaning of the word progress? Well that’s just more obscurantist diversion from the CEOIC.

        (By the way, this is no defense of Weber, just using him as a baseline to show how far the “mighty” have fallen.)

  18. Thank you for providing such an erudite and stimulating post.

  19. How about a sociological study on the use of dead polar bears as icons for the progressive decarbonization movement?

    I posted comment and a link about the latest ursine casualty of thermageddon, reported in the Guardian.

    Now an inquisitive zoologist as a couple of, shall we say,. inconvenient questions.

    “How is it possible that this bear was healthy in April but dead by starvation less than 3 months later? Why was he even on land in April? Why was global warming photographer Ashley Cooper in Svalbard for 12 days in July, fortuitously available to take the bear’s picture?”

    This bear was doomed back in April by the simple act of leaving the ice so early and the biologists working the region (putting radio collars on bear) had to have known it.”

    “I suggest this is what really happened: the polar bear biologists working in Svalbard earlier this year knew this bear was going to die back in April when they captured him – they simply waited, with a photographer on hand, until he died. It was an orchestrated photo-op.”

    http://polarbearscience.com/2013/08/07/ian-stirlings-latest-howler-the-polar-bear-who-died-of-climate-change/#more-2526

    I have another take as well. These supposedly saintly CAGW advocates claim the risk to polar bears justifies decarbonizing the global economy. Yet they sit back and watch individual bears starve to death. Sounds a lot like progressive welfare policy.

    Progressives talk endlessly about the welfare of the poor, and children, and polar bears. But they only care in the abstract, as a means to an end.

    Now, why they are like that – THAT would make a fascinating sociological study.

  20. Wow. Er. Wow. Where to begin.

    1918 Germany, Max Weber’s classic address on the proletariat class in academe, one of the touchstones of social movements that later rose in Austria and Germany to embrace utter politicization of academics and foster propaganda and brainwashing of young children, as a romanticized nostalgic foundation for attacking workaday scientists around the world today?

    I have nothing whatever civil to say about that.

    • ‘politicization of academics and foster propaganda and brainwashing of young children’. That rings a bell. Quick, send to know for whom it tolls.
      =========================

      • Whew, good thing that doesn’t happen today, we would really be in a tight spot.

      • Joshua, If you and Springer are stupid enough to make such a wager I am certainly stupid enough to hold the cash. However, Springer has been known to engage in post proposed wager negotiations and have less than clear rules for victory/defeat. It could take sometime for the two of you to agree on the rules. I can set up an escrow that will require mutual agreement before the cash can be transferred and pocket the interest plus a small house fee while y’all come to terms.

      • That would work.

        Or, what I propose is that I send you a money order made out to Springer for 100k, and one to you made out for 10k, and he sends you a money order made out to me for 50k and you for 10k.

        Once you have verified who wins the bet, you send off the check to the winner, tear up the 10k check from the winner, and pocket the 10k check from the loser.

        The terms of the bet are simple. Springer is on record as believing, as the result of his supersluething, that I am some gym teacher with a fiance. If he’s right about that, he wins the bet. If he’s wrong, I win.

        So, Springer – there you have it. What do you say?

      • David Springer

        Joshua,

        Placing wagers online across state lines may be illegal. You may very well be soliciting CaptDallas to commit a crime as well.

      • Placing wagers online across state lines may be illegal.

        Keep ducking, Springer.

        The bet has been offered. If you have the conviction to stand behind your reasoning, your supersluething, and your words, then pony up and stop ducking. The terms and arrangements I offered are simple.

        Man up.

      • See, I told you the finance was happy, and is a devout fan of gymnastics.
        ==============

      • David Springer

        “Gym teacher” wasn’t literal. You may or may not be engaged to be wed at this time. I’m not willing to bet on either of those. I suspect the following person is you.

        http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joshua-brooks/8/804/479

        Let’s be clear your claim is that the person in the linkedin profile above is not you.

      • David, pls cease this.

      • Let’s be clear.

        That person is not me.

        I see that you walked back a bit, to “suspect.” Not quite the superslueth you thought you were, eh?

        Does that mean that you’re going to duck the bet? Or have you decided to man up?

        And Springer – do you not see that it is more than just a bit creepy that you are so focused on determining who I am, personal details about my life?

      • Its of no consequence who Joshua really is because its what he says on this blog that matters. I have a good idea of his identity and so do many others on CE and I will say that David S would be wiser not to bet on this. ;)

      • BTW – Springer –

        If you do continue to embarrass yourself by writing more posts where you try to duck accountability, please do so over at the open thread:

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/10/open-thread-weekend-27/#comment-363406

        Judith – sorry for diverting this thread.

      • This particular sub thread is not only silly it is unpleasant. Who cares who Joshua is? If he wants to retain his privacy that is his concern. There may be circumstances when it might be warranted to ‘unmask’ him but none that I have seen so far fit that bill.

        Might it be more constructive to spend time commenting instead on Johanna’s piece that she spent a lot of time writing especially for this blog? I would have thought it was right up Joshua’s street whatever his real job is.

        Josh, sincerely hope you have as long and as happy a marriage as I have.

        tonyb

      • Agreed, pls cease with trying to smoke out people’s identities. I’ve been on travel this weekend so haven’t had time to monitor as closely as I would like.

      • David Springer

        I’m not backing off on anything Joshua. Here is what I wrote that has you hot and bothered months later.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/22/the-coming-arctic-boom/#comment-336134

        David Springer | June 23, 2013 at 7:18 am | Reply

        http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joshua-brooks/8/804/479

        Probably our boy as I recall him mentioning being a teacher but I’d want more confirmation.

        Is there some part of that you don’t understand?

      • “Placing bets over state lines may be illegal.” Then I wouldn’t tell anybody you placed the bet. Opps! The cat may be out of the bag.

      • That linkedin profile does not mention anti-Christian bigot, incessantly annoying putz, or skeptic hater. So it can’t be our joshie.

      • I forgot the idiotic joshie quotation marks “skeptic”. There.

      • David Springer

        curryja | August 12, 2013 at 10:03 am |

        “Agreed, pls cease with trying to smoke out people’s identities. I’ve been on travel this weekend so haven’t had time to monitor as closely as I would like.”

        I can’t promise that but I can promise not to bring it up on your blog. May I suggest adding it to the blog rules?

        http://judithcurry.com/blog-rules-and-netiquette/

        The following will not be tolerated here:
        1.Comments using offensive words will be flagged by the spam filter.
        2.No ad hominem attacks, slurs or personal insults. Do not attribute motives to another participant.
        3.Snarkiness is not appreciated here; nastiness and excessive rudeness are not allowed.
        4.Don’t grind your personal axes by filling up the comments with extensive posts that are not deemed relevant or interesting in the context of blog objectives.

        While I don’t think anyone would argue that these rules aren’t bent, broken, spindled, and mutilated many times daily at least pay lip service with a rule about preservation of anonymity.

        I would also like to point out that Joshua is repeatedly in violation of rules 2 and 3. I find it distasteful when anonymous commenters are allowed to get away being asshats. Since I can’t pull the plug on the comments I’m left with ignoring it or possibly pulling the plug on the anonymity.

    • What does the first sentance mean??

    • Steven Mosher

      +1

      i probably should have kept my mouth shut as well.

  21. Pingback: Advocacy follies fuelling fossilized furies and fears | The View From Here

  22. Chief Hydrologist

    Psychology seems more appropriate than sociology.

    ‘Janis has documented eight symptoms of groupthink:

    Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
    Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
    Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
    Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
    Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
    Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
    Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
    Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.’

    http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm

    • In the Pre-WWI period promotion was slow and one of the criteria that a captain was judged by was ship appearance, basically how clean and how freshly painted ones ship was.
      When the main guns were fired much of a ships paintwork would be damaged. Many captains cut down the amount of practice rounds they fired, some only using their main battery one a year. One of the results of this was that the RN came to believe their their ships main armament lacked accuracy at range and that the best way for the RN Battleships to win a fight was to get in close and fire as rapidly as possible.
      This philosophy also affected ship design, with the RN building very fast ships, with Battleship armament, but with very little armor.
      Just prior to the Battle of Jutland the RN ships prepared for their encounter with the German Navy, they removed the interlocks between the gun turrets and the magazines to increase the rate that shells and propellent charges could be shifted from the bowels of the ship to the guns, they stacked both shells and charges inside the turrets and even in unarmored passages leading to the turrets; all designed to all the ships to fire as many shells against the German Fleet as possible.
      The outcome was that a single shell splinter could ignite the cordite charges, laying outside the ready to use armored/vented lockers, this would ignite all the rounds and charges nearby, the fireball would then race down the ammunition hoists, where the interlocks designed to stop this eventuality being removed, and finally the cordite in the armored magazines would explode.
      So when the RN fast cats began exploding all around him Admiral Beatty famously turned to his flag captain and said
      “Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.”

      only there was nothing wrong with the ships, the problem was with the institution, and the perverse incentives that offered people rewards for actions that would stop them performing their actual function, to destroy enemy ships and not be destroyed.
      Judging officers by how smart their ship or ship station was, rather than judging it by its functionality, almost lost the RN its war.

      • David Springer

        Wikipedia account of Beatty quote doesn’t jibe well with yours.

        Here’s an edit link to it and quote below that.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Jutland&action=edit&section=12

        “Something wrong with our bloody ships”[edit source]

        Shortly after 16:26, a salvo struck on or around HMS Princess Royal, which was obscured by spray and smoke from shell bursts. A signalman promptly leapt on to the bridge of Lion and announced “Princess Royal’s blown up, Sir.” Beatty famously turned to his flag captain, saying “Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.” (In popular legend, Beatty also immediately ordered his ships to “turn two points to port”, i.e., two points nearer the enemy, but there is no official record of any such command or course change.)[46] Princess Royal, as it turned out, was still afloat after the spray cleared.

  23. Johanna

    I know little of sociology but see it much practised in Climate science mostly, it appears, to discredit sceptics as mentally deficient, anti science or anti society.

    Perhaps you can tell me whether sociology is such a prominent aspect of other branches of science or whether it focuses on climate to build influence because it is so new, rather fuzzy and has a number of prominent scientists who seem to need this sort of support I order to gain credence.
    tonyb

    • Hi Tony

      It is certainly true that climate science gets more than its fair share of attention from sociologists, especially compared the attention paid to the other sciences. Fashion and the availability of funding have a part to play in this.

      But what I find disturbing (and a looked at quite a few recent papers while writing this piece) is that the focus is almost invariably on figuring out why people don’t agree with “the consensus” or finding ways to bring them around to it. This is about as far from sociology as conceived by Weber as it can get. It is not dispassionate analysis, it is advocacy.

      • Johanna

        Yes, you can see from the comments here that carbon cultists think sceptics are mentally deficient . It suggests to me that the science is weak if a prime way of pushing ‘consensus’ is through the use of fuzzy methods of disparagement of those who disagree.
        tonyb

      • +1

    • Steven Mosher

      tony

      “to discredit sceptics as mentally deficient, anti science or anti society.”

      if your referring to dr. Loo he is a COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGIST, not exactly the same thing as a sociology, but If you want to swing the big max club indiscrimately, I suppose its close enough

  24. Herewith a serf’s response tony, though serf’s be but
    intel-leck-chual minnows whose opinions don’t count (
    Serfs are a bit suss about Soc-i-ology … as of Scientism
    in History, findin’ “laws” of historical development, Hegel
    / Marx and “laws” of Soc-i-ology human group behaviour
    or mis-behaviour-as-the-case-may-be. :)
    Bts

    • Don’t worry, serf. We toffs have similar misgivings. Sociology types are always looking for the utility in people. It’s hard enough being upper class without having to be useful. But if we’re to have sociologists, let ‘em be earnest German protestants with free market leanings. (By “free” I mean the market where you sell what the punters want, not where everybody is free to make compulsory investment in a fraction of thin air through brokers who don’t own the goods – but who get to skim the money on its way to god-knows-where.)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Moso,

        You are neither nouveau nor riche and yet you pretend to be a sceptic. It is all just talk with you. You disdain half crazed girls in rags and feathers. It has been a while but I recall it involved lots of drinking, dancing and trips to the emergency room for pretty gross things like stomach pumping. A high energy lifestyle by any measure – although I have to admit personally to being a bit of a wimp. You want me to stick that in my arm? I don’t think so. I did once overdose on Marella Jubes and I was in love with Janis Joplin.

        You bloviate on the evils of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee. The true sceptic attitude is stuff the food miles – I’ll have 2.5kg please. I even voluntarily paid 2.5% for that extra warm inner glow that comes from lame arse charity to those less fortunate. I keep going back to the fridge to smell today’s roast and swoon with pleasure. Thanks for that by the way. A girl in rags and feathers introduced me to real coffee. Beautiful, brown eyed Sarah with the broad and steady gaze that took everything in with love and compassion. I ran everywhere that day and have been addicted ever since.

        You want a turbo diesel Landcruiser and I suppose your first question would be about mileage. Truly you need at least a 1996 Ford Falcon ‘Classic’ in Le Mans red with a big spoiler for the yobbo effect – teamed with a 3 door Pajero if you ever want to pretend you’re in the Paris-Dakar on outback roads. Anything less in Queensland and you are automatically classified as a pissant progressive. No car and you’re probably a communist.

        I suspect you are only growing bamboo for the carbon credits and just don’t want the neighbors to find out. There are obvious links between the British and German wannabe neo-feudalist classes and neither group are conspicuously free market orientated. It is an utter sham. Now the Austrians are another story. Just for the Americans – Austria is in Europe and Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere. We have kangaroos.

        True sceptics drive across America in a Shelby Mustang with a six shooter and a bottle of JD under the front seat – looking for Elvis, Janis, the Big Bopper, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac in Graceland. It’s a wild ride but were not looking for the exit lane just yet and the alternative is the sort of humorless drone found in sociology departments in Western Australia.

        Kind regards
        Robert I Ellison
        Chief Hydrologist

      • Moso, the brokers would never skim and the system is 110% efficient at redistribution of wealth to the truly needy. All investments in technologies of the future will pan out and the world be saved after the cleansing of non believing Coke drinkers that won’t recycle their cans in the middle of the desert. And China will not have a housing bubble.

      • Please, no more caffeine or red lollies for the Queenslander.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        So obviously the bamboo carbon credits is true.

      • David Springer

        @Ellison

        I’d give that an A in a creative writing class. Read it aloud at your next AA meeting to maybe inspire others on their road to recovery.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Not knowing anything about sociology – except that Stephan Lewandowsky comes from Western Australia – it is a bit difficult to have an opinion. That’s never stopped you Jabberwock on any subject. As webby might say – you’re such a Debbie Downer. He is such a dork and so are you.

        Drinking is not so much fun. As they say – I like alcohol but alcohol doesn’t like me. But whatever gets you through the day.

      • David Springer

        I pay you a compliment and you call me a dork. Nice. Exactly the kind of behavior we’ve all come to expect from you.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You called me an alcoholic – dork.

      • David Springer

        Yes. For you that was a compliment.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Your insults are juvenile and your science is about the same level of sophistication.

  25. Thank you Johanna for this though provoking post and I would suggest that you pay little heed to the some of the pompous comments and especially the one that your post is no better than the work of a Freshman.
    Before the release of the Climate gate emails the full extent of the advocacy of The Hockey Team and their acolytes was not fully appreciated.
    A joke:
    What did the inflatable Headmaster of the inflatable school say to the naughty inflatable boy?
    Not only have you let yourself down, you’ve let me down and the school down.
    The advocating climate scientist is so full of hot air that they let us all down.
    The type of advocacy now prevalent in this field will and has a simple effect, many people will be distrustful of the scientist and their work and indubitably they and their views will not prevail.
    Einstein when in the US met the President and urged him to set up a nuclear programme was this advocacy, yes, but it was patently the correct thing to do as it in no way perverted his future work or cast doubt on the significant contribution he made to science an the creation of a modern technological age.

    • Steven Mosher

      What did Weber say about advocacy outside the classroom?

      Consider the topic for your freshman paper.

      here is the kind of essay I might ask you to write

      In his 1918 address, Weber advocated to an audience that could not respond that teachers should not advocate to their pupils who could not respond. However he carved out an exception in the case of advocating outside the classroom in the market place.

      “The professor who feels
      called upon to act as a counselor of youth and enjoys their trust may prove himself a man in personal human
      relations with them. And if he feels called upon to intervene in the struggles of world views and party
      opinions, he may do so outside, in the market place, in the press, in meetings, in associations, wherever he
      wishes. But after all, it is somewhat too convenient to demonstrate one’s courage in taking a stand where the
      audience and possible opponents are condemned to silence.”

      Here are your choices for you next argument paper.

      1. Discuss the irony in Weber’s address, specifically relating to the problem he seems to have with people advocating to an audience that cannot respond in the classroom while he advocates to an audience that cannot respond.

      2. Argue for or against advocacy inside the classroom.

      3. Argue for or against scientists advocated outside the classroom.

      5 pages, double spaced.

  26. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Max Weber remarks: “The large institutes of medicine or natural science are ‘state capitalist’ enterprises”

    Because he wrote a century ago, we can excuse Max Weber’s parochial ignorance regarding the roots of modern academic medicine and science … Johanna’s willful complicity in Weber’s parochial ignorance, not so much.

    As a remedy to historical parochialism, please let me commend to the attention of Climate Etc readers recent surveys like:

    • AC Miller, “Jundi-Shapur, bimaristans, and the rise of academic medical centres” (2006)

    • Benjamin Z. Kedar, “A Note on Jerusalem’s Bimaristan and Jerusalem’s hospital” (2007)

    • HD Modanlou, “Historical evidence for the origin of teaching hospital, medical school and the rise of academic medicine” (2011)

    • RE Herzlinger and R Parsa-Parsi, “Consumer-driven health care: lessons from Switzerland” (2004)

    Conclusions 

    ▶  It is concerning that the Weber/Johanna essay shows no knowledge of history more recent than one century ago.

    ▶  It is concerning too, that the Weber/Johanna essay shows no knowledge of history more ancient than one century ago.

    ▶  The fundamental values and traditions of academic science and medicine were synthesized very largely in the Persian city of Gondi-Shapur and its academy during the Sasanian dynasty (226-652 AD) these ideas were borrowed (without essential change) by Max Weber’s European institutions, but scarcely originated there!

    ▶  Morally and economically, as well as scientifically, modern medicine (Swiss-care, Britain-care, Romney-care, Obama-care, etc.) nowadays embraces the values and traditions of Gondi-Shapur’s bimaristans.

    ▶  The science and economics of energy-production and climate-change are evolving to reflect the tradition established in Gondi-Shapur: free scientific inquiry, responsible economic action, and moral respect for the individual.

    Summary  Johanna’s cherry-picked selections from Max Weber’s obsolete and dismally parochial views contribute little to the climate-chance debate. In contrast, the values and methods of the Gondi-Shapur academies and bimaristans have (literally!) stood the test of time, and are central to the modern Enlightenment, both broadly in regard to science and medicine, and specifically in regard to climate-change (and ObamaCare too!).

    Aye, Climate Etc lassies and laddies, history’s fun, eh?

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  27. David Wojick

    It is not surprising that the social sciences are just as politicized as the physical sciences. What is interesting is that when the skeptics point out the politicization their action is called a conspiracy theory by their opponents. A political movement is not a conspiracy.

    • Is conflict of interest a conspiracy?

      • David Wojick

        Only if it is premeditated.

      • David Wojick

        Plus it requires several people working together.

      • Groupthink is basically a conspiracy, more or less conscious. There are subconscious conspiracies.

      • When you have corporations having more rights than the citizen, leadership around the world burdening their people & national resources with long term paper debts. Do you think they would still use the word slave when they would rather just call us all residents… They own this world and we are in truth no more than what ancient Helots were to Sparta. They ask the questions, you answer their polls. They hate our freedom too. One way-
        or the highway.

      • David Wojick

        Edim: The term “conspiracy” being used here (as in conspiracy theory) means planning secretly to do wrong. Groupthink is just the behavior of groups of like minded people. The concept is ethically neutral so there is no conspiracy. Of course such groups can spawn conspiracies but that is a different matter. Same for political movements. Some are good, some bad. Environmentalism is a bad one, especially the climate change wing.

    • I think you got that backward. The ‘social’ sciences were politicized long before the natural sciences were. Natural sciences were more-or-less apolitical until maybe 10 or 20 years ago, the occasional eccentric professor notwithstanding. The ‘social’ sciences were flaming pits of activism pretty much from the beginning.

  28. There have been a number of studies in the states that conservatives have diminished mental capacity.

    The politicization of this is obvious.

  29. And then you get:

    “What Global Warming Movement?”

    Look Warmers, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean we can’t.
    Perhaps if we turned it into a squiggly line for you?

    Andrew

  30. Interesting, if angry, take on social science and the “nudge” movement. Apparently the science says “nudging” (such as forcing chain restaurants to post calorie counts) doesn’t work. In fact, it backfires. But politically it’s so darn lovely that a subset of scientists push it hard.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/nudge_off_VIU0WQzeDw2DwAoy27T5HO/0

    Some interesting excerpts:
    Nudging science isn’t very scientific, but as a general rule, whenever you hear politicians talk about science, you should just mentally substitute in the word “politics.”
    “This is why this idea has caught on, because it’s selling a very attractive proposition,” Cambridge Professor Marteau told Pacific Standard magazine.
    “It’s a political philosophy rather than behavioral science.”

  31. In the spirit of anti-Science

    1) Is the vaccination of infants against childhood disease beneficial?

    2) Does childhood vaccination lead to permanent injury in some children?

    • Give every cop a cleaver…

      http://cleavercompany.com/index.php/cleaver-expertise/profiling/

      make it public and we might see a pattern too.

    • Pissant Progressive

      1) Yes

      2) Yes but very few

      ?

    • 1) mainly, but give me some measles vaccination studies and asthma statistic and I can change that.
      2) Yes, small percentage though, about the same as exposure to radon in your home.

    • Is fluoridation of water:

      a) a communist conspiracy?
      b) a corporate conspiracy?
      c) dental hygiene?

      I’ve heard all three.

    • Is the long term herd immunity of the human race to be better with vaccination or the native virus?
      ==============

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Kim asks (rhetorically): “Is the long term herd immunity of the human race to be better with vaccination or the native virus?”

        Gosh Kim, how about a follow-up essay on the harm to human herd immunity caused by vaccines for measles, mumps, smallpox, tetanus, rabies, and yellow fever? Or the efficacy of the herd immunity associated to those no-vaccine scourges tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and bubonic plague?

        Meanwhile … thank you for providing Climate Etc readers with yet another example of ideology-driven non-rational denialist cognition, Kim!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Koldie is a crank….big surprise.

        AGW denialism, anti-vaccine crankism……can Koldie go for the big three?………ID Koldie?

      • Hmmm. You don’t answer the question.
        =============

      • Hmmm, Koldie doesn’t answer the question.

        I’d say yes – ID crank too.

      • A vaccination is training a human lifeform to manage and live with encountering a “native virus [s]”.
        It’s analogous to physical exercise or military training.

      • Nice viewpoint, G. Baikie, and one I’d not thought of.

        If disease resistance has been the primary selective mechanism since we domesticated animals, and if we remove that mechanism, what happens if your steroided athletes can no longer get the drug?
        ==============================

      • Cranks do immunology.

        Awesome.

      • Heh, you certainly don’t. You do crankiness.
        ============

      • Koldie will be very worried should we ever have a vaccine for malaria.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        kim wrote:

        If disease resistance has been the primary selective mechanism since we domesticated animals, and if we remove that mechanism, what happens if your steroided athletes can no longer get the drug?

        I suppose we should stop setting broken bones, stop removing infected tonsils, and stop doing Caesarean sections – – I mean what if, someday, there isn’t a doctor in the house?

        And I was half-joking only yesterday…

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/11/climate-science-sociology/#comment-364078

      • I’d be worried for you if you think malaria is a virus. We developed some resistance to malaria long before we domesticated animals, but the method still sacrifices a quarter of all births. I’m optimistic that technology will improve that, but I’m asking you to consider a scenario in which technological progress has been hampered, perhaps by a technocracy gone mad over models, or an Ice Age.

        Your attacks are primitive and lack imagination.
        =======================

      • Long term, Very Reversed; consider regression in human society, either by a foolish technocracy or an Ice Age.

        In this day and age, I support universal vaccination. So please take your strawmen and blow to Hell.
        ================

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        I’m asking you to consider a scenario in which technological progress has been hampered, perhaps by a technocracy gone mad over models, or an Ice Age.
        Your attacks are primitive and lack imagination.

        Well, then…

        I’m asking you to imagine a scenario in which technological progress is hampered by the fact that the earth is finite, and in which Sparkly Rainbows come out of my butt.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        In this day and age, I support universal vaccination.

        In this day and age! How brave!
        I’ll alert the media.

      • “I’d be worried for you if you think malaria is a virus.”

        Koldie is just spluttering now.

      • When I was a kid my dad used to vaccinate hogs for cholera. Big business. There were vets in Iowa and Nebraska who earned a substantial annual income from this one line of business.

        Then they decided to stop. Basically they killed infected animals. It was a worldwide effort, and now the global incidence of hog cholera is very low.

        I’ve seen 1000s of pigs killed by hog cholera. It was extremely lethal. A modern farm kid has probably never heard of the disease.

        Dad hated live virus vaccines. Also, one of the lucky Pacific warriors, he survived malignant tertian malaria.

      • Cholera is also not a virus, though it did come after domestication of animals. Interestingly, though, that short term has also produced a partial resistance, also sacrificing a quarter of births. Note, there is a lot of speculation in that last sentence.
        ===============

      • Heh, Michael just splattered his credibility; your turn, Very Reversed.
        =================

      • Maybe we should just celebrate the fact that Koldie has at least grasped the idea that there are viruses, and other things that aren’t viruses.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        Heh, Michael just splattered his credibility; your turn, Very Reversed.

        It always cracks me up when cranks commenting on a silly blog suddenly pretend to be concerned with credibility.

      • Though it is becoming clear why Koldie usually sticks to vacuous one-liners; comments attempting to engage with reality are a train-wreck.

      • kim there is no advantage in getting sick before your immune system has time to build up immunity; indeed the opposite is the case, the healthier your childhood the healthier and longer lived you are likely to be. All that immunization gives you is a jump start on identifying dangerous epitopes.
        Having general health actually gives one a robust immune system.
        The special case is in immunology-nieve animal models that are born aseptically and then allowed to grow in the absence of any pathogens. As the immune system isn’t being challenged it tends to wither on the vine.
        Many people think Western hygiene practices, in homes with infants, is causing problems with autoimmune disease in childhood and beyond; asthma and eczema. My parental rule was that when the rug-rats begin to chew their shoes its time to stop bothering with sterilizing stuff.

      • Nice insights and thanks, Doc. We can surely hope that the human race will never have to face the prospect of loss of vaccination and decreased native resistance.
        =====================

      • Haemophilus influenzae type B almost killed my son when he was just one week short of his 2nd birthday and vaccination. It’s caused by a bacteria. At some point they apparently thought it was a viral disease. Possibly because of the speed with which it attacks. My son went from normal to life support in about 6 hours.

        In April he will become an MD.

        Hog cholera was apparently once thought to be a bacterial disease because of its cholera-like presentation. It’s a viral disease.

  32. Hi Johanna. Your comment –

    “Since many scientists do their best work when they are young, the consequences of loading up young academic scientists with teaching can be perverse.”

    is very true, especially in fields like mathematics, where if you haven’t come up with something stunningly innovative by your early twenties, you’re unlikely to do so thereafter. But it has a follow on thought not explored in the original article.

    There is a modern and mistaken belief that the big ideas can only come from big organised science or academia but this has a poor track record of being true. One has only to consider the effect a patent clerk’s amateur work in the evenings had on physics. Not being bright enough to get into university, he went to teacher training college but got such poor passing out grades, he became a clerk.

    Going a bit further back to the grand example, Newton, who lived for years of his life as a virtual hermit, revolutionised Mathematics, Optics and Celestial Mechanics. He also studied Alchemy and had a least three mental breakdowns that we know of.

    They were simply out of the organised group think, so they could really think.

    It’s such a pity an interesting topic is being subsumed by the usual noise to signal radio.

    Pointman

    • pointman

      interesting comment. The examples you cite are historic. In the modern world can an amateur have the same effect? They are constrained by lack of resources but empowered by the Internet. They are constrained by group think and a belied that ‘only’ bona fide phd’s can come up with anything useful. Is there a corresponding empowerment that can overcome this?
      tonyb

      • Hi ClimateReason. There’s no reason to suppose that such a phenomenon is confined to history. After all, it only takes one person to have a good idea and their peer group to squash it. The Earth revolving about the Sun? Nonsense! Things pulled to Earth rather than dropping because of their weight? Nonsense. Space bending? Utter nonsense.

        Only a difficult and slightly odd personality can persevere against such opposition.

        “You see, it’s actually okay to be a bit awkward, to be different. It’s your nature, and as you mature, you learn it can be an asset rather than a hindrance. It’s not as if you’re some sort of homicidal maniac, but you do take your own view on things, whether right or wrong. That’s the one sneaking doubt I’ve got about my woman’s work – it’s that strange oddness in perhaps one or two of the special needs kid which might produce the grand unified theory and she might be inadvertently hoovering that out of them. Some of their topsy turvey daydreams might just prove to be useful.”

        http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/the-difficult-kind/

        Pointman

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Pointman:

        They were simply out of the organised group think, so they could really think.

        Ah – the good ol’ Galileo gambit. Never gets old, eh?

        For every Copernicus or Galileo or Newton or Einstein there are ten thousand Velikovskys, Danikens, and Lysenkos.

        You see – Einstein wasn’t right because he is regarded as a scientific rebel – He is regarded as a scientific rebel because he was right.

        The real trick is being right.

        Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein all believed in and argued for claims that were later determined to be demonstrably wrong.

        As Carl Sagan put it:

        But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

        BTW – Nice site – but your bandpass filters may still require some tweaking.

      • Hello Rev. To my eternal shame, I’ve always thought most sonics from a pulpit were noise anyway. Niceish though rather obvious strawman though.

        Thank you for your advice, which I won’t waste a moment doing something about …

        Pointman

      • “There’s no reason to suppose that such a phenomenon is confined to history. ”

        Yes there is. Things are more complicated now. The big simple questions like explain the motions of the planets or explain the diversity of species have all been answered.

    • There is a modern and mistaken belief that the big ideas can only come from big organised science or academia ..

      Who has that belief, outside of your imaginings? Is it widespread, or just a belief held by very few? If it is held by very few, then why do you think it is a particularly significant phenomenon?

      • Noise.

        Well, either that or you were arguing with a strawman.

        But in a moment of weakness, if you decide to condescend from your elevated status, do go ahead and provide some evidence that any significant number of people believe “that the big ideas can only come from big organised science or academia ..” as you argued.

      • More noise.

        Pointman

      • Here – I’ll even lower the bar for you. You don’t even have to show that what you describe is a particularly significant phenomenon.

        Just show one or two examples – to confirm whether or not you’re just fantasizing. One or two examples of the “mistaken belief that the big ideas can only come from big organized science or academia.”

        Go for it, pointman. Contribute to the noise. You’ll feel liberated.

      • Yet more noise.

        Pointman

      • Stop ducking, pointman.

        You made an assertion. I say it is far more fantasy than reality. I say you described a phenomenon that for all practical purposes, doesn’t exist – because you are motivated to justify your sense of victimization.

        Show me wrong. I’m challenging you. Take the challenge. It should be difficult for someone perched so high.

        You’ve already posted three times now that this discussion is noise. Well, if you really feel that way then you are clearly contributing to the nose – so you’re being hypocritical.

        But actually, what I think is going is that you simply can’t provide evidence for your assertion, and thus, you need to distance yourself from that reality.

        Go for it, my brother. Support your assertion with some evidence. How about if I lower the bar even further?

      • David L. Hagen

        (Un)Reverend
        The “hard science” of Physics of elementary particles requires a 5 sigma uncertainty standard of proof. i.e., 1 part in 1.7 million.

        Global Climate Models by “climate science” have now “drifted” “2 sigma” away from the evidence.
        i.e., models are now ~ 97% wrong.
        How can you call that “science” or “settled”?
        Back to upholding the standard for science set by Richard Feynman.

      • And yet more noise.

        Pointman

      • You’re ducking pointman – and in doing so you’re contributing to the noise. Looks like your “concern” about noise may be a faux as your “concern” about the term “denier.”

        Prove otherwise.

      • Geräusch.

        Punktmann

      • What’s the word for duck sounds in German? quak?

        Keep quakin’, pointman.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Pointman:

        A man with a well-defined position, but zero magnitude.

      • Pointman.

        Someone who says little but lets people keep digging a hole. I suppose I might have a morbid interest in the type of slightly pathological interpersonal behaviour on display here. Is it merely a territorial display by some beta males against a stranger or are there deeper darker reasons?

        We’ll have to observe further. Keep going lads, it’s highly amusing.

        Pointman

      • Pointman

        I followed your name and enjoyed your Berlin article. If you want to see interesting interpersonal behaviour I suggest you have a look at the weekend thread immediately before this one. It would keep a whole army of professionals busy for a month analysing the comments made there.

        Tonyb

      • Hi TonyB. With apologies to Johanna, I’m finding both the on topic and wildly off the edge of reason comments interesting.

        In trying to drag it back to some sort of sociological or more accurately, a psychological area, there is a phenomenon loosely called the persistence of identity, which can be useful if you’re looking for someone who’s decided to change their name for some nefarious reason.

        About 70% of the time, the new name they choose for themselves subconsciously has the same initial as their real name.

        For instance, someone called John might hit on an alter ego of Joshua or even Jebediah …

        Pointman

      • A man with a well-defined position, but zero magnitude.

        That is interesting as the argument you have presented has enormous magnitude, but zero definition.+

        Yes, if any significant number of people felt as you said, it would be a problem of significant magnitude. The only problem is that your vision is created whole cloth out of your imagination. No one, or at least hardly anyone, feels as you described.

        Of course, if you have evidence otherwise…

        Oh, and BTW – I linked your Berlin article, as it served as an excellent example of “skeptical” thinking.

        http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/8/11/what-climate-skeptics-have-in-common-with-believers-a-stubbo.html#comments

        Careful – I have contributed a lot of noise there. You’ll have to descend from your lofty perch if you want to enjoy the noise.

      • Oh, and BTW Pointman, you’re still ducking.

      • Compare and contrast “is noise” with “is asinine”.

      • Stereo noise.

        Pointman

      • Is it merely a territorial display by some beta males against a stranger or are there deeper darker reasons?

        Interesting.

        So I point out to pointman that he has identified a phenomenon, for which he has not provided supporting evidence, and which is likely a straw man manifest by his imagination, and instead of providing some evidence and showing me wrong, he concludes that there is something going on related to male territoriality, or perhaps even something more bizarre?

        No, pointman, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

        I was highlighting your evidence free, free-association masquerading as a coherent argument – not challenging your manhood.

        Lighten up, dude.

      • I’m getting the distinct feeling he doesn’t like me. Perhaps he won’t talk to me anymore. Je suis désolé …

        Pointman

      • So you move from projecting male identity issues to projecting feelings of rejection?

        No, pointman, I don’t know you. I have no opinions about you, personally.

        I do have an opinion about that argument you made, however. I think it was a strawman argument (of a sort that often seem to be formulated to justify a sense of victimhood).

        Of course, if you deign to climb down off your lofty perch, and make some noise, you could show me how I’m wrong.

        What’s particularly amusing is that you seem to think that your arbitrary criterion for distinguishing between noise and signal categorizes your posts about your male identity issues and personal feelings as “signal.” Join me in the noise, pointman. Climb down off your pedestal. You’re here anyway, it is only in your subjective construction that you are somehow above it. This is all noise here. They’re freakin’ blog comments, for god’s sake.

      • Interesting noise. John turns out to be Jane with some heavy issues with Daddies. Why am I not surprised. Keep talking.

        Pointman

      • Don’t worry about it girl, ole Pointy knows how to keep a secret.

    • Heretical Thoughts about Science and Society – an essay
      by Freeman Dyson.
      ‘The prevailing dogmas may be right, but they still need to be
      challenged. I am proud to be a heretic.The world always needs
      heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy.’

      http://edge.org/conversation/heretical-thoughts-about-science-and-society

      • Hi Beth, it’s a wonderful essay I’ve revisited on a number occasions in despair at the parlous state of a certain branch of science. I’ve always thought the take away from it is a big intellect humble enough to be telling us mere mortals via some embarrassing person experiences, not to be so cock sure of what we think is certain eg there’s no such thing as settled science. If you want things to be finally settled, become an accountant, not a scientist.

        Pointman

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        …there’s no such thing as settled science.

        Keep that in mind the next time you step into a passenger aircraft or next time you visit an epidemiologist.

        A subtle point, man:
        Some science is more settled than other science.

        Anyway – If you want to pretend that you’re an informed expert and spout opinions all day long – become a blogger, not a scientist.

      • “Some science is more settled than other science.”

        Oh dear, that’s right up there with being half pregnant.

        Pointman.

      • epidemiologist????

      • “epidemiologist???????”

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Pointman:

        Do try to keep up with the times – linguistically, if not scientifically.

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=half%20pregnant

        phatboy:

        Point taken.
        Actually, I was going to go with “etiologist” – but then I thought better of it.

      • Pointman,

        If you want things to be finally settled, become an accountant, not a scientist.

        Do you think that anybody would disagree on that?

      • Nobody but accountants. However, I knew a bank accountant once who confessed she’d spent days settling a disparity of a penny.
        ========

      • There still are debates in accounting:

        Corporate social and environmental reporting: a review of the literature and a longitudinal study of UK disclosure

        > Abstract

        Takes as its departure point the criticism of Guthrie and Parker by Arnold and the Tinker et al. critique of Gray et al. Following an extensive review of the corporate social reporting literature, its major theoretical preoccupations and empirical conclusions, attempts to re-examine the theoretical tensions that exist between “classical” political economy interpretations of social disclosure and those from more “bourgeois” perspectives. Argues that political economy, legitimacy theory and stakeholder theory need not be competitor theories but may, if analysed appropriately, be seen as alternative and mutually enriching theories from alternative levels of resolution. Offers evidence from 13 years of social disclosure by UK companies and attempts to interpret this from different levels of resolution. There is little doubt that social disclosure practice has changed dramatically in the period. The theoretical perspectives prove to offer different, but mutually enhancing, interpretations of these phenomena.

        http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0951-3574&volume=8&issue=2&articleid=869644&show=html

      • “Settled” as an unqualified adjective is a binary state; something is or is not settled, a 1 or a 0. It’s like people styling themselves clerics; they’re someone either stealing someone else’s hard-earned authority and insulting other peoples religious beliefs or they’re not.

        Three or so intelligent replies to a rather innocent observation, all flooded out by hyper-aggressive comments. Noise to signal, as I said …

        Pointman

      • That settles the debate on “settled”, I guess.

        It’s the “yes, but denier” discussion all over again.

        Self-pitying leads nowhere.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        “Settled” as an unqualified adjective is a binary state; something is or is not settled, a 1 or a 0.

        Differences of degree seem to escape some linguists.

        It’s unsettling, but true.

      • Pointman: ““Settled” as an unqualified adjective is a binary state; something is or is not settled, a 1 or a 0.”

        That is correct, but I think where climate skeptics tend to go wrong is they think “settled” is a permanent state.

        But really there is no reason why something that is settled cannot later become unsettled. A leaf can fall from a tree to settle on the ground, only for it later to be unsettled by a breeze.

        So settled science does not imply that the science will remain settled forever, it just means that for now it’s settled down, it differs substantially from a hotly debated science where there is a lot of movement. For example it’s settled science that the Earth orbits the Sun. There has been no credible doubt about that for hundreds of years, no movement on the issue. It’s settled down. It’s also settled science that human greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet.

      • Some settled for Acadie.
        Then for Louisiana.

      • I’m obviously dealing with a reading skills issue here – focus on the “unqualified” word. I know it’s one of those tricky adjectives and it’s an exact usage of language, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out in the end.

        Pointman

      • Gold futures settled higher at $1328.40 on Monday, as investors turned their attention to a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.

      • What’s the point in discussing the use of “settled” as an unqualified word?

        Has anybody used it without implied qualifications (in climate science context)? Surely no scientist.

        Should a use by an activist or a politician be ever considered unqualified?

      • Eek, the signal has now disappeared completely. We’re well into a world of the linguistic 5th dimension. It’s sort of one random word following another governed by nothing more than a drunkard’s walk of synaptic firing. Noam would love it.

        Pointman

      • There was not much signal to start with. The “yes, but no settled science” rests on a caricature and claiming that accounting is settled in that caricatural sense is false.

      • I once saw a film called Willard or mebbe it was it Ben, and as far as I can recollect, he was a rodent. Or mebbe his owner was. Anyway, using nothing more than rather cute non-verbal communication and the odd squeak, he got his message across to the audience loud and clear.

        Having given up trying to track how you arrived at whatever you’re trying to communicate, never mind actually being able to make head nor tail of it, I can only suggest that as a matter of urgency, you catch the movie to pick up some of his skills.

        Till then, squeak, squeak.

        Right, cheerio O and thanks for all the fish and Funkspiel. I’m off to see the big fireworks display in the sky.

        Pointman

      • Here was how it starts:

        > I’ve always thought the take away from it is a big intellect humble enough to be telling us mere mortals via some embarrassing person experiences, not to be so cock sure of what we think is certain eg there’s no such thing as settled science.

        In Weber’s lies the justification for “Yes, but no settled science”, a claim so objective and dispassionate that it has become one of the most common claptraps among ClimateBallers.

        Johanna says Weber, Punktmann responds “Yes, but no settled science”.

        Some secret handshake must be at work here.

        ***

        This “Yes, but no settled science” rests on a caricature. Commenters explain that it’s quite possible to say that there are things we can believe settled in science without implying that it’s settled forever and ever. The caricature conveys the idea that anyone who’d claim that there are settled matters in science is not a true, objective, dispassionate scientist. Or whatnot.

        But it gets better. Because it works like an on/off switch, we’re supposed to dig that this caricature is plausible.

        Even better yet, we’re supposed to look at accounting for an example of a discipline where the caricature applies. A cursory glance at the lichuchur suffices to show otherwise. The caricature of “Yes but settled science” rests on a caricature of accounting.

        Incidentally, global warming is basically an accounting problem.

        ***

        Meanwhile, all Punktmann has to show for his caricature are variations over “you make no sense”, channeling the famous Chewbacca defense.

        A claptrap. Two caricatures. Many Chewbaccas.

        Weber’s posterity is safe and sound.

      • And a whole bunch of ‘em settled for Texas after Katrina (which we all know from Al Gore was caused by human CO2 emissions).

        Sort of a “Drang nach Westen”.

      • “Here was how it starts:” – for God’s sake Laddie, that was your stab at a proper opening sentence? It went downhill from there.

        Why not just give squeak, squeak and a wiggle of your whiskers a try?

        Pointman

      • Hi Pointman,

        Yes it’s a wonderful essay. I lenjoyed the part where Freeman
        Dyson recalls offerinng (bad) career to a young Francis Crick.
        Like Nassim Taleb says, we jest ain’t good at prediction …
        especially about the future. )

        Beth the serf.

      • Tsk! I meant ter say ‘offering career advice .’

      • So much the worse for Verstehen

        > [T]he problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem of land management, not a problem of meteorology.

        Dyson might appreciate what accountants have to say on land management. He even might appreciate heretic opinions of some of them on that matter.

        ***

        It would be interesting to know what Weber said of contrarian thinking, the tendency to systematically challenge both authority and norms.

        Must have something to do with objectivity and desinterest.

      • Hi Beth,

        There’s always a flavour of self-deprecating humour I really enjoy in his occasional essays. Such a multi-talented man. He even invented a great hoover.

        Pointman

    • Steven Mosher

      Weber starts down the path of trying to understand creativity, where ideas come from. Like many he mystifies the origins of new ideas. because creativity is mysterious, people use it to valorize anything they feel wont to.
      In this case ‘big ideas come from or do not come from big organizations”
      However isolation of any kind can give rise to new ideas and big organizations very often isolate their most creative thinkers.

      If folks want to talk about creativity they can start here

      “…since the criterion of creativity cannot distinguish between the artist and the nonartist, anyone who calls himself an artist is an artist, and anyone who calls himself creative is creative.
      Innovation is the norm of human behavior. The human brain is so constructed that nobody ever gets anything right. Innovation which is validated by the culture or by some subculture within the culture is called creativity; innovation which is invalidated is called error. Creativity is validated error; error is invalidated creativity. (Morse Peckham)”

      Progress beyond Weber

  33. Photon torpedoes

  34. If someone proved that AGW was absolutely not occurring, how long would it take for AGW to go away?

  35. I find the strings of comments about this posting both amusing and dismaying. It appears we have competing conspiracies. Catastrophic Warming folks are claiming a non-Catastrophic Warming conspiracy funded by “Big Oil.” Non-Catastrophic Warming are claiming a conspiracy among university and government agencies. And both sides are claiming the other is perverting the scientific method.

    What is dismaying is that since I am apparently not part of the Catastrophic Warming group, I am therefore assumed to be a co-conspirator in the pay of some sort of fossil fuel secret agency. Perhaps worse, is a claim that my decades of experience in the fields of instrumentation, computer engineering, and system analysis do not qualify me to evaluate the quality and implications of climate instrument data simply because I do not have the title ‘Climate Scientist’ on my old business cards.

    I suspect that I am a typical member of that “Big Oil” conspiracy. The only contact I have had with the fossil fuel industry was years ago at family gatherings at which an uncle who worked on drilling rigs occasionally attended. I have never met in person, or even exchanged e-mails or phone calls, with any other supposed co-conspirators.

    However, I suppose both sides of the climate change issue qualify as conspirators if you include the concept “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That is a false qualification. It may appear that a coordinated effort is in place when you are facing attacks from multiple directions but that need not be true. You may simply be confronted with multiple small independent attackers. Furthermore, there may be no single motivation for their attacks. Each may have a separate and valid issue.

    So, sociologist and psychologists pay attention. Chasing conspiracy ideologies is a bogus effort unless you are examining what gives people a impression that a conspiracy exists. When you assume skeptics of catastrophic global climate change are both conspiracy nuts and part of a conspiracy, you are expressing your own conspiracy theory.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      Perhaps worse, is a claim that my decades of experience in the fields of instrumentation, computer engineering, and system analysis do not qualify me to evaluate the quality and implications of climate instrument data simply because I do not have the title ‘Climate Scientist’ on my old business cards.

      I’m not so sure that anyone really makes any claim whatsoever about your decades of experience.

      You infer disqualification and take offense, when the truth is simply that no one is asking for your opinion. Happens all the time.

      If you want people to pay attention to your evaluations – then it’s up to you to move on from victim-card blog-comments to something more, I don’t know, scientific.

      • Sorry Rev, I thought folks would understand the generalization intended. I guess it was a little too subtle.

      • GaryW

        The “good Reverend” isn’t into subtleties.

        But he does know how to gab.

        Max

  36. Joanna, a most interesting and thought provoking post. It is unfortunate that a lot of the comments on it say more about what social ‘tribe’ the commenter belongs to than the ideas you highlight.
    Some personal takeaways.
    Weber points to underlying institutional differences producing possibly different results. The ‘governmentalization’ of climate research funding seems to have had consequences like he pointed to back then in medicine. Food for though on structure being strategy.
    Similar social dynamics to climate science seem to be playing out in related spheres of inquiry. Two that come readily to mind are the debate over human carrying capacity (see Judith’s recent Ehrlich&Ehrlich post), and the more analyzable subset concerning liquid fossil fuels ( a couple of my not so recent guest posts here). All the alarmist and denialist name calling, for example. All the oversimplification, data selection, data distortion, misuse of common words, lack of mutually agreed definitions…
    What you have gotten me thinking about are some of the underlying structural and social similarities in these and other big policy issues. Almost as if there is a ‘metadynamic’ to such policy questions about the future, which do involve sharply differing choices in the present based on the intersections of facts and values. Facts just exist; values are usually in some social context so different values can co-exist. Maybe it is the differing ‘social’ values more than the factual uncertainty monster that makes such issues so wicked.

    • Rud, thanks for your comment. One of the things that attracted me to using this essay was that Weber highlighted two important things which still apply today – the importance of institutional structures and the inevitability of clashing values, as determinants of outcomes. The combination of these is part of what we call “culture” – and he was the inventor of the concept of the Protestant work ethic and how it affects economics, along the same lines.

      He believed that there was a kind of social meta-dynamic which could be identified in different societies. I think that he is right. That is why Americans, Canadians, Australians and Brits have distinct political and social cultures, despite many superficial similarities and common origins.

      Unfortunately, modern sociology is, for the most, operating many steps down in the hierarchy of ideas.

      • [Sir Rud] All the oversimplification, data selection, data distortion, misuse of common words, lack of mutually agreed definitions…

        [Johanna] Unfortunately, modern sociology is, for the most, operating many steps down in the hierarchy of ideas.

      • Johanna
        I have been reading Joel Mokyr’s The Enlightened Economy – An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300124552 “He argues that Britain led the rest of Europe into the Industrial Revolution because it was there that the optimal intersection of ideas, culture, institutions, and technology existed to make rapid economic growth achievable.”

        Moykyr’s focus on the ability of Britain’s institutions to adapt hit home for me. You might enjoy how Moykr strings together various facts on the role of the Enlightenment to answer “Was the Enlightenment as defined here a “cause” of the British Industrial Revolution? It surely was not the cause. Other factors…. played a role….(pg 487)”

      • Steven Mosher

        Johanna.

        no modern sociology is filling in the details down the hierarchy. making progress just as weber argued all science does.
        Yes, Weber laid out a framework, as you say “the importance of institutional structure” Today, there is no need to revisit this insight, rather one fills out the details. More importantly the social science of today has to co exist with cognitive science. Tell me johanna what was the state of cognitive psychology in 1918? can you say missing from the scene?

        And, perhaps when discussing Weber lecturing to people about the role of the professor, one should take notice of the immense difficulty Weber had as a professor, his own struggles with mental illness, and the fact that he resigned his professorship early in his career. And finally you neglect to mention that this scientist was a political organizer. In the end when he failed at politics he returned to academia.

    • It is unfortunate that a lot of the comments on it say more about what social ‘tribe’ the commenter belongs to than the ideas you highlight..

      Do you not think it would be possible to determine your “social tribe” from your comment, sir?

  37. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    Johanna wrote:

    For these social scientists, the starting point is that “the science is settled,” and damaging, human caused climate change is upon us. The big questions revolve around persuading the public and politicians to act in ways considered to be commensurate with their assessment of urgency.

    Most social scientists would be far too busy defending their contextualized partial-narrative definition of “the science” to determine what the asserted condition “is settled” could possibly entail.

    At least – that’s the way my intersubjectivitist cookie crumbles.

  38. Ah, students choosing teachers. Now there’s a radical idea.
    ==============

  39. Joanna

    A very timely and interesting post – thanks.

    As it relates to the ongoing debate surrounding “climate change”, you observe that most sociologists who write about this topic have already concluded (for one reason or another that arguably have little to do with any empirical scientific evidence) that “the science is settled”.

    So now the sociologist ponders the psycho-sociological reasons why anyone would reject the obviously “settled science”.

    A flawed starting point for an argument IMO.

    Thanks again.

    Max

  40. Aldous Huxley

    http://publicintelligence.net/aldous-huxley-1962-u-c-berkeley-speech-on-the-ultimate-revolution/

    Aldous Huxley 1962 U.C. Berkeley Speech on “The Ultimate Revolution”

    Transcript – The Ultimate Revolution
    March 20, 1962 Berkeley Language Center – Speech Archive SA 0269
    It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. This is the, it seems to me, the ultimate in malevolent revolutions shall we say, and this is a problem which has interested me many years and about which I wrote thirty years ago, a fable, Brave New World, which is an account of society making use of all the devices available and some of the devices which I imagined to be possible making use of them in order to, first of all, to standardize the population, to iron out inconvenient human differences, to create, to say, mass produced models of human beings arranged in some sort of scientific caste system. Since then, I have continued to be extremely interested in this problem and I have noticed with increasing dismay a number of the predictions which were purely fantastic when I made them thirty years ago have come true or seem in process of coming true.
    A number of techniques about which I talked seem to be here already. And there seems to be a general movement in the direction of this kind of ultimate revolution, a method of control by which a people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs by which any decent standard they ought not to enjoy. This, the enjoyment of servitude, Well this process is, as I say, has gone on for over the years, and I have become more and more interested in what is happening.

    Crispin Tickell (One of Principal Godfathers of the CAGW Scam )

    Huxley family tree (partial)

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

    Welcome to the website of Sir Crispin Tickell. This website has been created as an archive of his many writings – essays, book reviews, articles, lectures and speeches, on subjects ranging from climate change to global governance.
    We are now delighted to have on this website the full text of Climatic Change and World Affairs, one of the first books to highlight the dangers of human-induced global climate change. The book was first published in 1977, and republished in a revised and extended second edition in 1986. Both editions are to our knowledge out-of-print.

    http://www.crispintickell.com/

    Crispin Tickell (Belief)

    Now you come from an Anglo-Irish family. Your great, great grandfather was T H Huxley – Aldous Huxley was in your background too. Now this is a legacy of seriously thoughtful, intellectual address, isn’t it?

    Well T H Huxley was in many respects one of my heroes. Aldous was as well. In fact I think if anybody had any influence on me during my adolescence, it was Aldous Huxley. And I remember going to lunch with him and he asked me what essay I was writing that day for my history teacher. And I replied it was about the relations between the Pope and the Emperor. And he sort of took a deep breath, and for about 15 minutes he spoke about the secular versus the spiritual power. And I really sat back, staggered by what I heard, because he illuminated every aspect of this immensely complicated and still continuing problem, and I found it fascinating. When I sat down afterwards to try and write my essay, I was hardly able to write a word
    Snip

    Well while you were leading this high profile life, you were also already concerned with the planet, and your book ‘Climatic Change and World Affairs’ was published in 1977, and really was seminal in both I think perhaps shaping up everything you’ve done since, and also in shaping up the political responses to climate change both in Britain, Europe, America and the United Nations. So where did this book come from?

    When I went to Harvard on a sabbatical fellowship for a year off after struggling with East-West relations at the end of the Cold War, I wanted to do something completely different. And so I had before me two choices. One was to look into the question of human genetics, and whether there was anything in the way in which élites everywhere were formed, and the other was to look at climate. And the reason I was provoked into looking at climate was I had sight of some CIA papers, which showed that at that time the CIA were considering whether they should try and induce or withhold rainfall as a weapon of foreign policy. And I thought this was deeply shocking, so I thought it was worth looking at. And the more I looked at it, the more interested I became, so I underwent a course in meteorology at MIT, I went through a series of lectures on Astronomy at Harvard, I read all the literature that was available, and in those days it could be done in 3 months, and then I sat down to write my lectures and book, as it later became. And I think what is really quite interesting is that I did call for a Climate Change Convention. It came in fact, less than 20 years on, but it didn’t quite take the form which I hoped it would take, although it did take some of the forms I hoped it would. And I still hope that some of the things that I was looking at in 1977 will come about. but we’re still a long way off that.

    http://www.crispintickell.com/page65.html

    Nigel Lawson: Global warming has turned into religion

    Lawson was Chancellor when Crispin Tickell, then British Ambassador to the UN, convinced Prime Minister Thatcher that man-made global warming was a problem. Despite Tickell lacking any scientific background (he read history at university) Mrs Thatcher took the population campaigner’s views seriously enough to make a landmark speech on global warming. This led to the foundation of a branch of the Met Office, the Hadley Centre at Exeter, to study the issue. It remains one of the three leading climate institutes.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/nigel-lawson-climate-science-has-turned-into-religion/

    Richard Lindzen: The Perversion Of Science
    Foreword to Andrew Montford’s Nullius in Verba: The Royal Society and Climate Change

    Andrew Montford provides a straightforward and unembellished chronology of the perversion not only of The Royal Society but of science itself, wherein the legitimate role of science as a powerful mode of inquiry is replaced by the pretence of science to a position of political authority.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/richard-lindzen-the-perversion-of-science/

    Religion and the Environment
    Lecture delivered to “The Earth our destiny” conference, Portsmouth Cathedral, 2002-11-30

    Environment is the stuff of religion, and religion is the stuff of the environment. Their relationship once went without saying. Yet we live at a time when they are being prised apart
    snip
    This may be enough for some people. It was not enough for T. H. Huxley’s grandson Julian, who embarked on a search for religion without revelation, or E. O. Wilson who has since developed the concepts of scientific materialism and the evolutionary epic as substitutes for religion. Others have made similar efforts in the same direction. But none has reached anywhere near the human core. Some people may not believe in God, but most people want to believe in something.
    The present collectivity of life on earth cannot be distinguished from the present collectivity of its physical surroundings. The animate and the inanimate shade into each other. This is the environment. As I have suggested, it was – and in some cases still is – the stuff of religion. But it has also been the stuff of science. James Hutton, the geologist, recognized it as long ago as 1785. T. H. Huxley did likewise in 1877. Almost a century later James Lovelock developed ideas on the same subject which, on the advice of the novelist William Golding, he called Gaia. In a paper written with Lynn Margulis in 1974, he wrote
    “Gaia theory is about the evolution of a tightly coupled system whose constituents are the biota and their natural environment, which comprises the atmosphere, the oceans and the surface rocks”.

    http://www.crispintickell.com/page18.html

  41. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘I published my first climate-related paper in 1974 (Chylek and Coakley, Aerosol and Climate, Science 183, 75-77). I was privileged to supervise Ph. D. theses of some exceptional scientists – people like J. Kiehl, V.Ramaswamy and J. Li among others. I have published well over 100 peer-reviewed papers, and I am a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Optical Society of America, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Within the last few years I was also honored to be included in Wikipedia’s blacklist of “climate skeptics”.

    For me, science is the search for truth, the never-ending path towards finding out how things are arranged in this world so that they can work as they do. That search is never finished.

    It seems that the climate research community has betrayed that mighty goal in science. They have substituted the search for truth with an attempt at proving one point of view. It seems that some of the most prominent leaders of the climate research community, like prophets of Old Israel, believed that they could see the future of humankind and that the only remaining task was to convince or force all others to accept and follow. They have almost succeeded in that effort.

    Yes, there have been cases of misbehavior and direct fraud committed by scientists in other fields: physics, medicine, and biology to name a few. However, it was misbehavior of individuals, not of a considerable part of the scientific community.’ http://www.thegwpf.org/petr-chylek-open-letter-to-the-climate-research-community/

    A sociological enterprise built on unsound foundations.

    • For me, science is the search for truth, the never-ending path towards finding out how things are arranged in this world so that they can work as they do. That search is never finished.
      That would be research. It’s the teaching part which is problematic. Are you teaching “truth” or are you teaching how to find truth? Usually it’s the first, especially for the masses. Then from there it is so easy to teach dogma. Academia is an outgrowth of religious institutions, even if there were philosophical debates about dogma, it was still dogma. No person today should claim to be a scientist because he or she is an academic. Many academic fields are not scientific. It is interesting to follow the history of important scientists; the students of great scientists often became great scientists. I suggest that it was not the subject matter that was taught, but rather the attitude and processes which were mentored. Less teaching, more mentoring.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        My old professor of Environmental Science actually did know everything. I just pretend to. Even when directly challenged by me to give a personal view – he would not. The reluctance goes to expression of a view from a position of authority – and thereby potentially skewing free inquiry critically important in any level of academic setting. In most learning experiences – and I probably exclude algebra – the answer is less important than asking the right questions and formally investigating. Even with algebra the answers are less important than understanding the axioms.

        I once sat a survey methods exam and forgot all the formula. Total blank. I spent the entire exam deriving the formulas from first principles – and got a credit.

        Giving ‘the answer’ from on high is a disservice to students.

      • Today the combined forces of world governments are losing the battle to hide the “Creator, Destroyer and Sustainer of Life”:

        http://theinternetpost.net/2013/08/12/the-creator-destroyer-sustainer-of-life/

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Sorry Chief –

        This belongs here, and I know you wouldn’t want to miss it.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/11/climate-science-sociology/#comment-364183

    • All that matters about Chylek is that his recent time series analysis of ice core data showing a 20 yeartime scale is speculative. There is way too much noise in the data. This shows how speculation is ok if you are skeptic.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘So why is it that the CET and Greenland ice cores show a dominant 20–30-yr variability while the basin-wide SST variability is suggested to have a dominant 50–70-yr variability (Schlesinger and Ramankutty 1994; Enfield et al. 2001)? To explain this we consider so-called latitudinal AMO indices, where the 10-yr running mean of the North Atlantic SST anomaly in 10° latitude bands is determined (Fig. 3) using SSTs from version 2 of the Hadley Centre Sea Surface Temperature (HadSST2) dataset (Rayner et al. 2006). Before about 1900, the variability at low latitudes appears to be out of phase with the variability at midlatitudes, so that the basin-wide-averaged variability (solid black curve in Fig. 3) is very small. This may also be due to the scarcity of data during this period. After 1900 the variability is much more coherent over latitude, with the cooler period around 1950 being much more pronounced at lower latitudes than at higher latitudes. The 20–30-yr component is dominant in each individual latitudinal band, but although it remains visible in the basin-wide AMO index (AMOI), it appears to be overwhelmed by the 50–70-yr component. Further signatures of the 20–30-yr variability were found from the analysis of subsurface temperature (XBT) data in Frankcombe et al. (2008). Although there are only subsurface data from 1960 to 2000, it was suggested that the dominant period of variability is 20–30 yr. In Frankcombe and Dijkstra (2009), it is shown that tide gauge data around the North Atlantic also support the notion of a dominant time scale of 20–30 yr.’ http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/2010JCLI3471.1

        Webby’s ignorance notwithstanding – the interaction between the 20 to 30 year mode before 1900 and the dominant 50 to 70 mode since 1900 is critical to understanding AMO influences on climate.

      • Chylek’s time series analysis of ice core data from Greenland is objectively deficient in skill.

        He overanalyzed the data via Fourier analysis and found phantom periodicities in the noise.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The phenomenon likely involves thermohaline circulation variability in the Atlantic Ocean. As described in refs. 30 and 31, the oscillation is the result of negative feedbacks between the strength of the thermohaline circulation that brings warm SST to the North Atlantic and the Arctic ice melt in response to the warm SST. With reduced deep-water formation, the latter then slows the thermohaline circulation after a delay of 20 y. Recently a 55- to 80-y AMO has been model-simulated as arising from the variability of the meridional overturning circulation in the Atlantic (32).’ http://depts.washington.edu/amath/research/articles/Tung/journals/Tung_and_Zhou_2013_PNAS.pdf

        Chylek finds 20 year patterns that are actually in the record and webby finds noise. Does this say something about webby?

        And I guess this suggests more ice in the Arctic for a few decades.

      • Chylek found the 20 year cycle because he WANTED to find that particular cycle. If one looks at the data objectively it isn’t there.
        This is raw data

        The Fourier transform is essentially red noise

        However if one cherry-picks the data, all kinds of cycles can be found.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Especially if it is actually there. We have a hugely high powered climate scientist on the one hand – and other papers who cite and confirm Chylek. One the other we have the hugely incompetent math and physics of webby. I don’t even bother to open the links anymore.

      • Chief said:


        Chief Hydrologist | August 13, 2013 at 1:21 am |

        Especially if it is actually there. We have a hugely high powered climate scientist on the one hand – and other papers who cite and confirm Chylek. One the other we have the hugely incompetent math and physics of webby. I don’t even bother to open the links anymore.

        Note how the Chief cherry-picks. What is a “hugely high powered climate scientist” ? Is that defined as a guy who doesn’t know what he is doing when it comes to trying to separate a signal from the noise?

        This criticism is fair because Chylek is the author of the open-letter which criticizes those that do science as poorly as he shown recently. Projection has an unwanted payback.

      • David Springer

        Petr Chylek is a top shelf atmospheric physicist. You aren’t even remotely qualified to critique one of his papers Pukite. Who the phuck do you think you are?

      • The following paper is pretty shoddy work by Chylek because of the amount of uncertainty in the results:
        P. Chylek, C. Folland, L. Frankcombe, H. Dijkstra, G. Lesins, and M. Dubey, “Greenland ice core evidence for spatial and temporal variability of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation,” Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 39, no. 9, 2012.

        If there was a 20 year periodic signal in the data, it should be somewhat visible to the eye.

        If you want to see more debunking of this particular analysis, go to Tamino

        http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/nothin-but-noise/

        He doesn’t see anything but red noise either.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Dweeb boy cant eyeball a 20 year signal that is in the record – so it isn’t there?


      • Chief Hydrologist | August 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

        Dweeb boy cant eyeball a 20 year signal that is in the record – so it isn’t there?

        Chief can’t seem to see that I already linked to a Fourier transform that I applied to the data:

        This transform over the entire record reveals that there is no interesting pattern, apart from a general spectral trend which follows a red noise profile, shown as the blue line.

        But that’s the way that the Chief rolls — never showing any facility to do any of the technical analysis on his own, he is left to lash out against those people that can actually do the work.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Webby cant seem to get that I linked to a number of actual scientific – as opposed to his incompetent blog science – articles which discussed the 20 periodicity in the AMO.

        Here’s another – http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2012GL051241.shtml

        Dweebboy seems immune to reality.


      • Chief Hydrologist | August 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm |

        Webby cant seem to get that I linked to a number of actual scientific – as opposed to his incompetent blog science – articles which discussed the 20 periodicity in the AMO.

        Here’s another – http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2012GL051241.shtml

        That is the same paper that I have been referring to since Chylek’s name was invoked. With the Chief, it’s like arguing with a 3-year-old.

        I took the Dye3 Greenland ice core data referenced in that paper and could find no hint of a 20 year periodicity. Tamino also took that same Dye3 Greenland ice core and also questioned the strength of that 20-year periodicity.

        http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/nothin-but-noise/

        Chylek is seeing phantoms because that is what he wanted to see. When a spuriously random spectral peak appeared with a 20 year period appeared in the data, he got a paper out of it. That is pathetic.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        This idiot references the Chylek paper saying there is a 20 year period and ‘proves’ there isn’t a 20 year period with incompetent ‘blog science’.

        Usually when referencing a paper it is in support of something – not saying it’s wrong.

        Meanwhile I reference 5 papers saying there is a 20 year periodicity.

        How do you get so moronic?

    • Even when directly challenged by me to give a personal view – he would not.

      Two things interesting about that. The first is that intelligent students that are paying attention can often (usually) discern a teacher’s personal viewpoints even when the teacher tries to obscure them. In stating an opinion a teacher is not obliged to therefore not present alternate views in good faith and comprehensively.

      When teachers express their own opinions to students, the students have a number of options. Those who are not intellectually curious could try to ape that teacher’s opinion to curry favor. Students who have such a passive view of education are not suddenly transformed into intrinsically-motivated students by virtue of the teacher not expressing an opinion. Those who are intellectually curious can engage with the teacher and other source material to explore the topic at hand from deeper, multiple perspectives. The condition of a good educational interaction is not in anyway binary, contingent in whether a teacher expresses an opinion or not.

      The second is that you, apparently, embrace the blank slate notion of passive students who are incapable of evaluating opinions of different stripes as they determine their own. It is good that such an antiquated views of epistemology, cognition, and pedagogy are slowly losing favor – even if the progress is very slow.

      The reluctance goes to expression of a view from a position of authority – and thereby potentially skewing free inquiry critically important in any level of academic setting.

      Interesting notion, that hearing from a teacher what their perspective is on an issue, would “skew free inquiry.” Perhaps another “conservative” with authority issues?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The topic was nuclear power which we were discussing informally before lectures. All grist for the mill for environmental science but usually technically orientated. Unlike you it was such a fun group. We discussed in depth many topics – and challenged each other frequently. I doubt if any of us had any but the greatest respect for John and certainly his humour and forbearance for uppity little students was never strained. Although we did advise one particular guy that dating his daughter was probably not the optimal academic move.

        The objective as I say is not to have an answer provided on a plate – but to develop the tools of inquiry. Something in which you seem sadly lacking. Humour as well. Evidence of the failure of your academic method?

      • The objective as I say is not to have an answer provided on a plate…

        How odd that you would equate expressing a viewpoint with “an answer provided on a plate.”

        Again, confusing those two seems tied to an antiquated and overly-didactic, top-down, view of education that doesn’t prepare students effectively for today’s world and that fortunately, is slowly falling out of favor.

      • Teaching is, obviously, a complicated profession.

        It isn’t well-served by cookie-cutter directives, whether they be from Max Weber or Max Anacker.

        A professional teacher has the skills to help determine whether, at a give moment, discussing a personal opinion might be advantageous or a hindrance to a student’s learning.

        Certainly, a teacher’s craft should be informed by the views of society generally, by parents and students, by a study of epistemology, developmental psychology, pedagogy, and methodology and by philosophers and scientists – but I’m not sure that we should give an inordinate amount of weight to your opinions based on an inspirational experience you had some 150 years ago.

        And certainly we shouldn’t lower the bar by dictating to teacher’s that they shouldn’t express opinions in the classroom because we’re trying to prevent a situation where opinions are “imposed” or students are “condemned to silence.” In my experience, it is mostly people who have had dysfunctional educational experiences, or who know much less about education than they think they know, who are so limited in their aspirations for what is likely and possible in classrooms.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        There are understandable and conservative limits on the right of teachers to express personal opinions. There is an ongoing public discourse in the US on just what is allowed.

        http://aclu-wa.org/news/free-speech-rights-public-school-teachers

        There is obviously a asynchronous power relationship. Educators need to be aware of the potential to distort learning. Ethical and pedagogical considerations suggest a conservative line.

        As usual you drill down to one tendentiously interpreted sentence with no clue as to the big picture. As usual you seem to have no sense of appropriate boundaries.

      • Joshua, you should know better than to write longer than five pages today.
        Bye now

      • Joshua

        Sho’ ’nuff.

        Teaching is “a complicated profession”.

        No one would disagree with you on that.

        Max

      • [MiniMax] Please tell us more, J.
        [Tom] You’ve said enough today, J.

        One of these interlocutors is bound to be unsatisfied.
        Perhaps both.

  42. Chief

    Don’t expect Willard or Joshua to understand Petr Chylek’s open statement, which you quoted.

    Willard probably has the intellectual prowess to understand it, if he wanted to.

    Joshua – who knows?

    Max

    • Dear MiniMax,

      Please keep my name out of your comedy of menace.

      Thank you for your concerns.

    • Thanks Chief: “….like prophets of Old Israel, believed that they could see the future of humankind and that the only remaining task was to convince or force all others to accept and follow. They have almost succeeded in that effort.

      Yes, there have been cases of misbehavior and direct fraud committed by scientists in other fields: physics, medicine, and biology to name a few. However, it was misbehavior of individuals, not of a considerable part of the scientific community.

      This is wonderfully expressed. That alarmists seem blind and deaf to what’s so patently obvious to the skeptics is something I don’t think I’ll ever understand…

      • Easy, pg, motivated reasoning.
        =====================

      • Pokerguy,and Joanna
        I agree with your (PG) comments about medicine. Thank you Joanna for this interesting post.
        Medicine has been a major source of quackery and still is today (coffee enemas anybody?)
        Several things transformed it:
        1) The advent of the clinical trial during the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries. This has developed into a reasonably hard principle based on hypothesis and falsification. Naturally, it doesn’t work perfectly and one can generally argue about patient selection, application of statistical methods and end points. However, Medicine, as an institution, has generally accepted the propective clinical trial as a cornerstone of research methods because it brings a degree of objectivity to decision making and treatment.
        2) The Nuremburg Doctors’ Trial. The completely shocking revelations about the experimental work performed in concentration camps and the judgement on the perpetrators’ practically useless research focussed minds on the ethics of medical research. This resulted in the “Nuremburg Code” of ethics in medical research. Again, no system is perfect, but the institution of ethics committees and review boards offer some protection to patients who are investigated using experimental proceedures. This uses the collective wisdom, if you like, of both medics and non-medics in balancing the risks and benefits of medical research. It has been the subject of a large body of socialogical comment, some of it helpful..

        Does this have parallels in climate science? Yes, I believe it does because climate mitigation has major implications for society. Are there ethical issues in climate science and, if so, how can these be policed? What constitutes sufficient certainty to make major changes in energy use? In a democracy, how can this debated without retreat into unchallengeable authority?

        These seem to me to be major socialogical issues that should be researched and discussed objectively.

      • Hi Kim, I get that when it comes to the self-serving careerists of whatever stripe, Kim. But the rest? Guys like lolwot with somewhere near average intelligence…does ideology explain it sufficiently? Here I have trouble, in that I was a fairly passionate liberal myself at one time. But the naked facts comes bonking you over the head like the hammer of truth enough times, how does one remain so oblivious…

      • The Nuremburg Doctors’ Trial has interesting parallels with climate science?

        Very interesting, RC.

        Please continue.

    • Manacker –

      Since, as we know, intelligence is an innate attribute within certain parameters, I had to come to grips with my lack of intelligence a long time ago.

      What that means is that when smart people like you and Chief feel compelled to point out your superiority (for whatever you feel compelled to do so I’m not smart enough to figure out), it doesn’t faze me. You aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know, so I don’t feel intimidated by intellectual giants such as yourself.

      • Joshua

        Glad to hear it.

        Makes me feel a whole lot better, it does.

        Max

      • What an odd post of yours I just accidentally read, Joshua. Because the truth is, your raison d’etre on this blog, and for all I know out in the world, is to find ways to demonstrate how intelligent you are. Since as we all know, including you, that your intellect is pedestrian at best, you can only do this by certain disingenuous stratagems, such as purposeful distortion, incredibly tedious nitpicking, and a faux arrogance.
        The irony is you’ve have done better to pick on the other side, as the alarmists are generally much easier to show up.

      • pokerguy,

        Joshua’s comment you accidently read was in response to MiniMax':

        Don’t expect […] Joshua to understand Petr Chylek’s open statement, which you quoted.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/11/climate-science-sociology/#comment-364134

        The trick is to mix a challenge with some provocation.

        Think of this provocation as a way to raise the stakes: by attacking J’s competence, MinMax adds a personal dimension to the challenge. Now, J has some decisions to make:

        If J declines to comment, MiniMax could continue to taunt Joshua this way or any other until he responds. If J responds, he can either accept or decline MiniMax’ challenge. Sooner or later, J will have to face this provocation.

        If J accepts, then a discussion over Chylek would ensue instead of a discussion over Weber, which fulfills the main objective behind MiniMax’ bait. The stakes would also be raised by the personal attack, which always spices up showdowns like this.

        If J declines, then J has to do so in a way to acknowledge the personal attack without being subdued.

        Hence J’s humble response, which contains enough zest to parry MiniMax’ domineering stance.

        ***

        The same thing happens in Poker. Sometimes, you need to keep bidding when you have an empty hand:

        Sometimes, you just lose.

        ***

        Now, what kind of cards do you think MiniMax has to keep raising against Joshua?

      • Steven Mosher

        the kid is great

      • PG –

        Since as we all know, including you, that your intellect is pedestrian at best, you can only do this by certain disingenuous stratagems, such as purposeful distortion, incredibly tedious nitpicking, and a faux arrogance.

        I take deep offense from that comment of yours. It is abusive, rude, and ad hominemish.

        But all of that isn’t nearly as important as the basic inaccuracy of your attack: there is nothing faux about my arrogance.

        I “demand” a retraction.

      • Steven Mosher

      • Steven Mosher

        I think willard wrote this

  43. So I am walking out of biology class 2nd semester, and having a conversation with a fellow student who does not buy climate change or global warming or whatever we want to call it..and not only that but he is not buying Darwin either, Now I am not saying that there is any correlation here, but – he also isn’t buying into any Geology or any hocus pocus about the earth being older than 7,500 years or that the Biblical flood and Noah’s Ark is anything but pure literal truth. I would love to see a study done by real scientists, not social scientists, because they obviously are not real scientists, but a study by real scientists – make them fundamentalist Christian Scientists…any way I would like to see a study which will show what percentage of the American public who do not believe the climate is not changing – also believe that the earth is only 7,500 years old, and that we are soon going to get chips under our skin put in by the anti-Christ. I know it doesn’t prove anything about anything but that kind of stuff is so fun to know…..How bout you folks, any of you scientists out there also believe in the rapture? Can someone give me the percentages of you out there?

    It’s the strangest thing to be on a University campus and run into these people – especially in a science class – but it happens all the time.

    • Heh, so strange it happens all the time.
      ==========

    • Do you think they really believe it or are they just saying it because they have a superstitious fear of going to hell if they don’t?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Nevertheless, however much models improve, there will always be an irreducible level of uncertainty—‘flap of the seagull’s wings’—because of the chaotic nature of the system. Even the climate we have observed over the past century or so is only one realization of what the real system might produce.’ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

      Let me know when you have solved nonequilibrium climate thermodynamics and nonlinear equations of fluid motion. Then I might believe that you have some actual understanding of science and are not simply prattling away in faith based ignorance.

      • Some day what will the seagull do without any need of an oceanographer?
        A flight of fancy or an new field for scientists, what’s the bet again?

    • Little joshie has done that study, in his mind. Ask him. I am sure he will confirm your bigoted suspicions. I really wonder what kind of people raised you characters.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Indeed, many people who say they “believe” in evolution don’t have the foggiest idea how the modern synthesis hangs together. Those who say they “disbelieve” are not any less likely to understand evolutionary theory–but they aren’t any more more likely to either.

      That so few members of the public have a meaningful understanding of the workings of genetic variance, random mutation, and natural selection (the core elements of the modern synthesis) is a shame, and definitely a matter of concern for the teaching of science education.

      But it’s a problem about what people “know” and not what they say they “believe.” What people say they “believe” and what they “know” about evolution are vastly different things. That’s what the ample scientific evidence on public understandings of science show.’

      What people ‘believe’ is a sign of cultural allegiance. What they know about climate science is pathetically inadequate.

      • Chief

        That so few members of the public have a meaningful understanding of the workings of genetic variance, random mutation, and natural selection (the core elements of the modern synthesis) is a shame, and definitely a matter of concern for the teaching of science education.

        Indeed.

        But that does not mean that someone who does NOT understand all the complex theoretical workings of evolution cannot accept that the theory of evolution itself is correct.

        There is enough empirical scientific evidence supporting this theory, which is understandable in popular form for most everyone.

        This is the key difference between the theory of evolution and the hypothesis leading to the CAGW premise, as outlined in detail by IPCC in its AR4 report.

        Vive la difference, as they say.

        Max

    • I will re-post something I put on the open thread yesterday. It seems relevant that some whole states have this in their curriculum, so I wouldn’t necessarily blame that person, only their education system.
      Kentucky is trying to decide whether to teach climate change and evolution to their children. They passed one hurdle apparently, now on to the state house.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/09/kentucky-science-standards_n_3732650.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

    • David Springer

      If God created the heavens and the earth 10,000 years ago He did a perfect job at making it appear to be billions of years old. In any case we find ourselves in an orderly universe governed by precise interdependent laws of nature. The law of entropy states that in a closed system the amount of order decreases over time. Therefore the universe, at the instant of the big bang, was in its most ordered state. All order we observe today, including things like the Library of Congress, and seven billion human minds, must have been woven into the fabric of the universe 14 billion years ago when the universe emerged from a singularity. It does not seem unreasonable to me to presume there must be an author for the order we see today. Or at least it seem less unreasonable to presume an author than to presume it’s just some sort of accident. In my experience accidents don’t produce order especially order of that magnitude.

      • The Book, He has written, will say the same thing tomorrow too.

      • And your point is what exactly?

        People use applied math all the time without getting into the kind of frozen stasis that results from thinking too hard about the origins of the universe.

        In engineering design they call this separation of concerns. People that litter the discussion with misplaced concerns are deemed impediments.

        Others go on their way, apply the math and put the impediments out of their mind. Science is built up from a foundation, and that foundation is not critical on the nature of the big bang.

        There you go, I have just wasted my time on a meta issue. I never commented on ID issues in the past for just that reason.

      • David Springer

        You bring up my involvement with Dembski from time to time. If not an “ID issue” what is it you are bringing up when you do that?


      • David Springer | August 14, 2013 at 4:59 am |

        You bring up my involvement with Dembski from time to time. If not an “ID issue” what is it you are bringing up when you do that?

        By that I meant that I recall never having commenting on your Uncommon Descent blog, even though I was actively commenting elsewhere during that time.

        This is how I treated Intelligent Design in the past and why I have always dismissed it as being a circular argument:

        http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2005/02/im-trying-asbestos-i-can.html

        I momentarily pondered the question: Who designed the Intelligent Designer? After asking that, you realize the whole issue is pointless to pursue.

      • David Springer

        It’s not pointless to everyone. Many people would like to have a better idea of whether the universe has a purpose or not. Design detection boils down to probabilities like any other forensic science. I admit it’s probably not a practical matter but neither is gazing into telescopes looking at celestial objects we can never effect and which can never effect us. What’s the big deal? It’s not about science it’s about religion. Anti-religionists and religionists alike mostly don’t want more guidance from math and science into origins because it might not go their way and it would be difficult to dismiss as mere narrative. I’m unbiased. I admire the result that Christian culture produced in America and support it for that reason and that reason alone. I neither believe nor disbelieve in the divine aspect. In the nonce, I’ve examined quite deeply the inner workings of cellular machinery especially at the information processing level and have determined to my own satisfaction the molecular machinery inside every living cell is indeed complex machinery driven by abstract codes not much unlike Morse in principle. In all my experience, and in all experiences I know about, whenever a machine or an abstract code is encountered and its origin is unambiguous its origin is intelligent agency. For any objective observer then design should be the null hypothesis and for reasons I consider bullschist anti-religious ideology this is not the case in science today.

      • David, it is all about the Holy One & his plan for you. Wrote that down for us all.

    • I’m wondering how many of you have become Disciples of Scientism just because you don’t like people of faith, and you see Scientism as your own Protestantism?

      In other words, you’ve mistaken your opposition to organized religion for science.

      Thoughts?

      Andrew

  44. Max Weber: “In science, each of us knows that what he has accomplished will be antiquated in ten, twenty, fifty years.” This truism need not worry “climate scientists,” because in analyzing the complex behavior of nonequilibrium thermodynamic systems they start at least fifty years behind the scientific state-of-the art–with unreliable data to boot.

  45. ideology to dictate movements of the tides, clouds and rivers flow… they are the things that regulate the climate – any connections to Warmist ideology / sociology?

  46. Johanna,

    What I would love to see from you (and Faustino) are posts to educate us on the policy analysis and policy advice process. How is it done in the real world. Tell us some examples from your experience. Suggest how policy analysis for the climate change issue could be done better than it has been to date. I approach this from the perspective of recognising it is a genuine political issue. So how, in your experience, should policy analysis be conducted and policy advice presented?

    I’d like to see a post which addresses the readership as if we are professionals coming from other disciplines with a great deal of knowledge about our own areas of expertise and now you are preparing us for a new role of providing sound policy advice. What would you tell us?

  47. Bonding/Building a common culture via Storytelling ( I.E. Climate Mythology)

    Climate training with Al Gore: learning from the best

    Al Gore is a mesmerizing speaker. As a participant of the Climate Reality Project, I saw how people like Gore use stories to build common ground with thousands of people and convince them to care about climate change.

    The importance of narrative telling a story

    The theme of the three days of climate leadership training was “narrative” – the stories we tell each other that create culture and bind us together. We all tell stories, and stories are what we remember and relate to.

    http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/earthmatters/climate-training-al-gore-learning-best

    Lindzen quotes from Mike Hulme’s book “Why We Disagree about Climate Change”

    http://www.viddler.com/v/79d667f3

    As follows:

    “The Idea of Climate Change should be seen as an intellectual resource around which our collective and personal identities and projects can form and take shape. We need to ask not what we can do for climate change but what climate change can do for us”

    “Because the idea of climate change is so plastic, it can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve many of our psychological, ethical and spiritual needs”

    “we will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilize them in support of our projects”

    “These myths transcend the scientific categories of true and false”

  48. When I first saw the title of this piece I misread it as “Climate Science and Scientology”.
    Nuff said.

  49. My son and daughter had two friends. They had a daughter, about 4 years old. This child was one of the most annoying children I have ever met, and I love kids. Whine. Cry. Demand. Insult. Whine some more. Spoiled rotten.

    Every conversation when they were around got diverted or ended entirely by the parents’ need to pay attention to this child. Which is, of course, exactly what she wanted. At some point, the behavior of the parents who should know better becomes more annoying than the misbehavior of the child.

    My son and daughter later complained about what a brat she was. I told them the child was only doing what she was taught to do, by her parents’ responses to her bad behavior.

    Blaming someone who is annoying for being annoying, while encouraging that behavior at every turn, brings to mind the definition of insanity commonly attributed to Einstein.

  50. What do the sociologists say about the trend on the chart here:

    http://climatechange.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin/topic?

    Scroll down to the “Activity Timeline”.

    Eyeballing the trend through 2013, it seems to me the ‘climate change’, as a matter of public interest, will be all over in 2014.

    I’d be interested to hear how the sociologists interpret the trend on this chart. What is their projection?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Peter Lang asks (rhetorically): “What do the sociologists say about the trend on the chart”

      Yah mean charts like this, Peter Lang?

      What sociologists say is simply this: “Denialist cognition seeks out cherry-picked and/or abusive ideology-driven nut-jobbery!

      Or a little more formally

      “Unfettered belief in free markets seems to make deniers skeptical of any scientific consensus involving the government, no matter what the field of study or the level of rigor. Simply put, ideology trumps facts.”

      Thank you, Peter Lang, for supplying Climate Etc readers with multiple examples of how ideology-driven denialism works to sustain ignorance of sobering scientific facts.

      Summary  It’s good that the sobering reality of climate-change is leavened by the comedic cognition of its deniers.

      Ain’t that right, Peter Lang?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • This week congressman Dana Rohrabacher said:

        “ROHRABACHER: Just so you know, global warming is a total fraud and it is being designed by — what you’ve got is you’ve got liberals who get elected at the local level want state government to do the work and let them make the decisions. Then, at the state level, they want the federal government to do it. And at the federal government, they want to create global government to control all of our lives. That’s what the game plan is. It’s step by step by step, more and bigger control over our lives by higher levels of government. And global warming is that strategy in spades…. Our freedom to make our choices on transportation and everything else? No, that’s gotta be done by a government official who, by the way, probably comes from Nigeria because he’s a UN government official, not a US government official.”

        This is not isolated — in the past Dana also said when questioning research on climate change that occurred 55 million years ago:

        “We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?”

      • WHT – I’ve got a better one than that:

        “What about God’s creation called a fetus?” Limbaugh asked on Monday. “See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming.”

        “You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create,” he continued. “The vanity! These people — on the one hand, ‘We’re no different than a mouse or a rat.’ If you listen to the animal rights activists, we are the pollutants of this planet. If it weren’t for humanity — the military environmentalist wackos — the Earth would be pristine and wonderful and beautiful, and nobody would see it. According to them we are not as entitled to life on this planet as other creatures because we destroy it. But how can we destroy it when we’re no different from the lowest life forms?”

        Now don’t forget folks, “most skeptics” don’t doubt that ACO2 affects the climate, they only question the magnitude of the effect.

      • Joshua, “Now don’t forget folks, “most skeptics” don’t doubt that ACO2 affects the climate, they only question the magnitude of the effect.”

        right. and if “sensitivity” to ACO2 is low, ACO2 can be over whelmed by other, including natural forces. In that case there would be more regional impacts than “global” impacts.

        You pick Rush as a whacko right winger but how about a whacko left winger that screams, “at 35C all die!” or another that uses the “China Syndrome” movie as a reference for the need for urgent action?

      • “You pick Rush as a whacko right winger but how about a whacko left winger that screams, “at 35C all die!” or another that uses the “China Syndrome” movie as a reference for the need for urgent action?”

        Yes, but Rush is the one with millions of listeners and the assertion that he has ” talent on loan from God”.

      • Video of Rohrabacher saying this here. World government, ice caps of Mars, government/scientist conspiracy. A tour de force. He is on the Science committee. This kind of joined-up thinking makes for a very interesting sociological study.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/13/dana-rohrabacher-barbara-boxer_n_3749695.html

      • I think that the next poster boy for the fright-wing will be Art Robinson, who was just elected to chair the Oregon Republican Party and will once again run for US congress the next cycle.

        Read the comments here:

        http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/08/art_robinson_elected_to_chair.html

        Robinson writes a newsletter called “Access to Energy” yet denies everything that he has written in it, perhaps because it illustrates the 3% of krackpots that he hopes to represent.

    • The warm believe this problem is bad enough to waste billions on windmills, tax increases and regulations that won’t solve the problem, but fit the political narrative.
      The warm do not believe this problem is bad enough to issue permits to nuke plants and gas drilling that will solve the problem, but are politically inconvenient.
      The warm are frauds.
      The luke warm, Dana Rohrabacher and Rush Limbaugh would issue the permits.
      Let’s examine your plan for promoting fraud over substance: attempt to shame Dana Rohrabacher and Rush Limbaugh into becoming liberals by trumpeting the accuracy of inaccurate GCMs, a high climate sensitivity that no longer exists, and paleo reconstructions that are embarassing even to warming advocates.
      I got news for you, Dana and Rush love your plan. Love it.

      • Only on the face of it.

      • “The warm”

        Is that like in “the stupid, it hurts”?
        You mention gas drilling.
        Why don’t you mention oil drilling?

        Is it because you know secretly that those days are numbered, and you want to keep up the charade of business as usual?

        That’s what Rohrabacher and Limbaugh are all about — taking reactionary stances that will pad their pockets while the pickings still exist, and screw the future.

        Dog whistle : windmills
        Dog whistle : regulations

      • Hi Web
        “Is it because you know secretly that those days are numbered, and you want to keep up the charade of business as usual?”
        No, it’s because natural gas is being used as a substitute for coal. Oil isn’t. Although I read that the UK plans on using diesel fuel to avoid green policy blackouts.
        I mention windmills because natural gas is lowering emissions. Windmills aren’t.
        It’s not surprising to me that you think “big coal” and “big oil” are more afraid of windmills than nukes. I remember reading your posts on TOD. How’s the campfire? Nice to relax by a fire with a beverage after moving goalposts all day, ain’t it?

      • A cornucopian. So you probably realize that a country such as Saudi Arabia uses .5 million barrels of oil a day for power generation?
        You didn’t realize that the fortunes of UK natural gas follow that of offshore North Sea oil?
        Never had to move the goalposts on that projection.
        The UK thinks fracking might succeed but just look to Poland, which had the largest potential but has since been deemed not the goldmine anticipated.

        Everywhere you look, nations are constrained by natural resources that they don’t have, and if they have them, they face their inevitable decline.

        Windmills are the confluence of inevitable fossil fuel depletion and a mitigation against climate change. Your Limbaughs can not deal with this, but others can.

      • Saudi Arabia is your counterpoint- your proof that oil represents a significant portion of power-generation? Exxon is paying AGW deniers to cast doubt on AGW to protect their lucrative Saudi electricity market?
        Please.
        The wind/solar “skydragons” were losing handily to the pro nuke crowd on TOD even before you guys moved the goal posts beyond the horizon (and lost all the preppers).
        Nukes have those on the left actually concerned (Monbiot, Lynas, BTI, and too many to name), honest Peak Oilers (see TOD), intelligent AGW advocates (Hansen, Revkin), and have always had Limbaugh and Rohrabacher.
        Wind/solar have wind/solar investors, WHT, hard-core partisans (Romm) and binders full of failed production figures and fleeing subsidy supporters.
        Gas is a bridge fuel to nuclear. Spend all the time you want demanding radical action for a doomsday future. Time is something we have.

      • No, you were the one implying this when you mentioned the UK was considering burning imported diesel. You use the fuels you have, and since the UK supply of crude oil and natural gas is dwindling and coal past its prime long ago, they have few options left.

        I am a believer in fractional diversity. Provide a list of all sorts of alternative and renewable sources of energy, assign a small percentage to each, and start adding it up. Then add in James Hansen’s vote for nuclear. You have something that will make a difference, regardless of the naysaying of Limbaugh.

        And what this has to do with greens, I have no idea. This is technological progress in the face of diminishing fossil fuel resources.

      • The UK supply of natural gas is not dwindling. They’re picking diesel not out of necessity, but out of choice- they built windmills that didn’t work and politically refused nuclear, gas and coal. Now they face blackouts and, not surprisingly, they don’t want them.
        “Provide a list of all sorts of alternative and renewable sources of energy, assign a small percentage to each, and start adding it up.”
        For what purpose? Building stuff that doesn’t function (like rooftop solar amongst the trees of Germany) just to put a check box next to the word diversity doesn’t make sense. The mix must be based on an engineering examination of what works where, reliably and cost effectively. If wind and solar ever meet that requirement, they’ll appear and I won’t care one way or the other (neither will Rush Limbaugh). They don’t meet that requirement. Gas and nukes do.
        Too often, the wind/solar skydragons leave the important caveat out – it will “work” only if you accept a “radical transformation” to a low-power future where we simply do without the things we have in the west and prevent the consumption of these things in developing nations. Of course with a little light depopulation thrown in.
        The verdict is in on that. Ain’t gonna happen. If you care about AGW, move on. If you don’t, don’t bust Rohrabacher’s balls for agreeing with you.

      • I will address the main lie that jeffn is pushing. I said that oil and natural gas in the UK is dwindling. This is factually true as crude oil production is down 50% from a peak in the late 1990’s. Since natural gas is drawn from the same locations as the crude, NG is experiencing the same decline.

        Mearns posted a stacked bar chart of all the energy sources in a recent blog post at http://theoildrum.com, look for the chart UK primary energy production.

        Limbaugh and his ilk hate the facts, because facts interfere with their version of unreality.

      • I said nothing about oil in the UK, I said gas is not dwindling which is factually true if you count shale gas. Number 10 Downing st counts shale gas, why shouldn’t you?
        My bet is that the UK will drill for shale gas and build nukes rather than turn off the lights. Your bet seems to be that they will maintain the fiction of effective wind powere by running diesel generators. Using oil that you say doesn’t exist.
        It’s a pity. I think your position is based on a theory of total resources dwindling, for which a high energy future of economic growth would be a disaster. That’s an interesting theory, worthy of discussion. Why hide it behind inaccurate claims about wind/solar and a bizarre claim that the shale gas in the UK doesn’t really exist?
        My proposition is that you face a different “sustainability” problem. The modern welfare state without population growth is unsustainable without economic growth that includes productivity growth. Hard to redistribute wealth without wealth. Imagine bailing out Greece after doubling the price of energy in Germany and making it unreliable. Growth requires reliable, cheap energy. It also requires, in a largely demilitarized Europe, energy independence. The UK and Germany thought wind and solar would fit that bill, they learned otherwise and are adapting.
        Limbaugh is straightforward- there will be economic growth. Europe is agreeing. Luckily for the warm, nukes prove you can have growth and green energy.
        You wait for your radical transformation, I’ll wait for nukes. We seem to agree that we have time to wait.

      • You are totally ignorant about the state of fossil fuels in the UK

        This is a chart of all the energy production levels in the UK which Euan Mearns posted yesterday

        This is a model I did of projecting UK oil back in 2005:

        http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2005/10/uk-north-sea-simulation.html

        This is an update:

        See how I did not move any goalposts?

        You also apparently have this idea that there is a supply of natural gas inhabiting the shale around Blackpool which has not yet been extracted. That’s why I mentioned Poland, as it provides a speculative case study. When the major energy companies decided to check out Poland, it was a fraction of what they expected. See

        http://theautomaticearth.com/Energy/shale-is-a-pipedream-sold-to-greater-fools.html

        It is people like you that are the impediment to moving forward. You will do everything you can to cover up the reality of a situation. But what is really amusing about your little dance is that this discussion started by your suggesting that the “warm are frauds”. Yet, I spun you completely around and now you are trying to encourage fracking for natural gas in the UK to make up for a deficit in conventional fossil fuels, neglecting to mention that fracking success also happens to be completely speculative at this point. So, exactly what happened to all the frauds?

        Are they really frauds, or are they just good citizens who essentially want people to admit the reality of the situation? Which is to get off of fossil fuel because you cannot depend on it for any length of time. You were the one that made “the warm” into your own personal whipping boy, because you can’t own up to the fact that resources are finite.

        Limbaugh and Rohrabacher are no different. Jeez, there is a guy that runs the Oregon Republican party, Art Robinson, who runs a newsletter called Access to Energy that was originally conceived to debunk Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. This is “the stupid” that we are faced with.

      • Don’t worry, I still think you are a fraud. As I said above, you think AGW is bad enough for windmills that won’t work, but not bad enough for nukes that will. You are willing to wait around for something you’ll never get while bellowing at us all that you truly believe there is an urgent need to act. That is the fraud.
        You don’t believe there is shale gas in the UK. Fine, the UK disagrees and your track record on the matter is not good. The TOD folks said that about Bakken and The US shale. In fact, you peak oilers say that about every discovery. Did you finally get one right in Poland? Not sure, if I have time later I’ll look. Call heads every time and you’ll win a coin toss sometimes. The history of peak oil is a laugh riot- it was supposed to be the 80s, then the 90s, then the mid 2000s and now, what, 2030-2050?
        What competent government official would base near-term policy on peak oiler predictions?
        I said it above, I’ll say it again, gas can be a bridge fuel to nuclear. No country is going to opt to power down, there is both a conservative and liberal reason for that. Some countries tried renewables and learned that all the allegedly stupid critiques were right- it’s absurdly expensive and unreliable.
        I am surprised that somebody posted on TOD yesterday, that site announced it was closing its doors in July.

      • Oh, hoo hoo. That was some chutzpah linking to slide in a presentation that declared peak oilers were wrong. The title of the presentation? 3nails in the coffin of peak oil.
        And you link to one slide in it to bolster your argument that peak oil is alive and well!
        Take the advice of your guru in the presentation: ” All scientists should update their views and theories when new facts come to light.”

      • jeffn said:

        “I said it above, I’ll say it again, gas can be a bridge fuel to nuclear.”

        You are really starting to embarrass yourself. Why are you so adamant about pushing for a “bridge fuel” unless there is a rationale for going there?

        Unless you know something that I and everyone else does not know, you have two reasons for doing so, both of which you have denied to my face.

        The rationale could be the concept of peak oil and the reality of finite fossil fuel reserves, which you seem to scoff at and call a “fraud”, — or the rationale could be global warming mitigation, which you also call a “fraud” .

        So if you don’t believe in either of these two rationales, why are you pushing for a “bridge fuel”? Why not continue on with the route we are on? Why do you continue to believe we need a “bridge fuel”? Where I am from, natural gas has been used for as long as I can remember for home and water heating, maybe since the late 1940’s. That doesn’t sound like a “bridge fuel” to me.

        This is the way the right argues, logically inconsistent all the way, hoping to convince the clueless that using bluster ala Limbaugh and Rohrabacher are all that is needed.

        Again, you said:

        “The warm do not believe this problem is bad enough to issue permits to nuke plants and gas drilling that will solve the problem, but are politically inconvenient.”

        Yet you say the problem is a fraud, but you offer up a solution anyways. Do you not have the courage of your convictions to tell us what you think the real “problem” is?

      • If you actually read the piece by Euan Mearns at The Oil Drum and then read his response to my comments and others you will realize he was being sarcastic.

        What the coffin metaphor was about was that is how the mass media is presenting it, and the 3 nails are the viewpoints that the media use to rationalize why they think peak oil theory is dead. Mearns used a comment to elaborate that it is merely “buried alive”, and the nails are not enough to hold it back.

        Read the end of his piece as well where he thinks nuclear is an option. I have never said anything against nuclear on my blog apart from the fact that it doesn’t fly airplanes too well.

      • What an odd reply. I’ve said all along that this is your fraud not mine. I don’t care if we’re majority nuke by 2020 or 2060 or use a bridge fuel in the meantime. Nuclear is inevitable IMO.
        You insist on policies that even your friend Euan admits have done nothing to reduce emissions in Europe. A person who insists there is an imminent threat and insists on doing nothing about it other than furthering their own agenda is a fraud.
        A person who sees no imminent threat and is willing to wait for the next technology is not a fraud.
        If you believed in AGW, you’d want to use gas as a bridge fuel. You don’t but you pretend to believe in both AGW and now nukes.
        What possible excuse do you have for attacking Rorabacher and Limbaugh if you believe in nukes? Neither is standing in the way of that. But your tribe is.

      • Talking about moving the goalposts. Now jeffn says the move to nuclear is inevitable. Why is that exactly? Isn’t the  status quo of what we have right now good enough?

        Or maybe you can admit that this move is related to the fact that fossil fuels are finite, otherwise known as the phenomenon of peak oil.

        You also insist I am a fraud because I have done nothing to counter the imminent threat that I have pointed out. Well, you don’t know what I have done. My book The Oil Conundrum is split into two parts. The first part analyzes the decline of oil via models of fossil fuel resources. The second part analyzes the environment using similar math models, and it illustrates how we can harness the environment in other ways to accommodate potential energy shortfalls.

        I am so optimistic that I am putting together an environmental model focussed semantic web server described at http://ContextEarth.com

        This is not focussed at the Limbaugh and Rohrabacker crowd, but at scientists and engineers that can put the knowledge to good use.

      • “Why is that exactly? Isn’t the status quo of what we have right now good enough?”
        There are lots of problems with coal other than CO2- soot, dangerous mines, and yes, even cost. There are lots of benefits to nukes other than to satisfy a resource depletion guess- reliable, no soot, cost, don’t have to run trains to it all day long.
        Hence inevitable. We didn’t switch to cars because we ran out of horses.
        When you care enough about global warming to summarize your thoughts into some action items (something other than “hate Republicans!”), I’ll take a look. The engineers have already looked at the energy needs of modern societies- they’ve concluded that gas and nukes are alternatives to coal that work, wind and solar are not. In other words, I’m not seeing that your two-volume set has convinced engineers.

      • Jeff N has admitted that the peak oil transition is upon us and that we will have to start using nuclear energy to produce (at a low efficiency) the equivalent of jet fuel which will allow us to continue using airliners.

        If that is not the scenario, perhaps the price of oil will continue to rise due to ever increasing scarcity, which will make air travel too expensive except for the people that can passably afford it.

        I am sure Limbaugh and Rohrabacher will never talk about these scenarios — after all it was Rohrabacher that I quoted above “Our freedom to make our choices on transportation and everything else “. The choice will be made by people depending on costs and availability of liquid fuel, which I don’t imagine what he was referring to.

        And all this has nothing to do with AGW mitigation except as an ancillary benefit.

        The way this all plays out is in anticipation of your statement that “The engineers have already looked at the energy needs of modern societies”. I suppose these are the engineers that work at world-wide organizations such as the United Nations. Get hopping folks.

    • Cap’n –

      The problem is that Rush isn’t just some wack-o. He is a “conservative” thought leader. Undoubtedly one of the most influential conservatives in the country. His views are not representative of some lonely extreme.

      As for your mommymommyism, – no, the extremeness of Rush’s beliefs would not justify extreme beliefs among those who disagree with him.

      Of course not.

      But my point stands. We often read “skeptics” say that “most skeptics” don’t doubt that ACO2 warms the climate, they only doubt the magnitude of the effect,” and I am providing evidence of the selective reasoning that underpins that characterization of “skeptics.”

      • Joshua, and you interpreted Rush’s quote as meaning he denies any impact on climate. Rush could easily mean that global warming is no more manmade than a fetus. The left wing whacko thinks man is in charge of every thing since there is no higher power, unless of course the left winger needs a few extra votes. Right wingers do the same thing btw.

        The real issue though is not the semantics, but the odds. Rush thinks man hasn’t the ability to control climate and the at 35C all die! guy “knows” that man can control climate, what are the odds?

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-are-odds.html

      • Rush is more than right above 97% all of the time. You are the scientist of today how is he able to do this? The world needs to know Joshua.

  51. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Chief Hydrologist asks (rhetorically): “Let me know when you have solved nonequilibrium climate thermodynamics and nonlinear equations of fluid motion.”

    James Hansen has good news for you, Chief Hydrologist!

    Nonequilibrium climate thermodynamics and nonlinear equations of fluid motion:

    ▶ Conserve energy exactly, and

    ▶ Increase entropy strictly.

    So if we

    ▶ monitor the Earth’s planetary energy Imbalance carefully, and

    ▶ appreciate that rising sea-level is a integrative measure of rising oceanic entropy

    then we arrive at a simple understanding

    Proposition  We’ll know that global warming is over when sea levels stop rising.

    It’s not complicated, eh Chief Hydrologist?

    Corollary  Denialist claims that “global warming is over” are pure ideology-driven non-scientific nut-jobbery.

    Yeah James Hansen! Yeah Science! … for all you Breaking Bad fans!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Fan, you appear to be on a sea level rise proves warming kick. A simple question, which one of the following graphs are wrong?

    • Fan, so your position is that despite the fact that temperatures went down to approximately what they were 12,000 years ago on one graph before we started warming the world up and sea level continued to rise on the other graph, that that in no way makes neither graph nor your claim that sea levels are a good indication of temperature levels on a decadal basis invalid. Are you on drugs?

      • He’s maddened by his fiance. Maybe it’s his finance.
        ================

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven asserts (wrongly): “You claim that sea levels are a good indication of temperature levels on a decadal basis.”

        No no no, Steven! The key point of Hansen’s and colleagues is that sea-level is a (relatively) tightly-coupled proxy for global energy imbalance. Whereas surface temperatures are much less tightly coupled!

        Denialists love to squabble about surface temperature measurements precisely *because* they are a noisy data set that is amenable to cherry-picking.

        Conclusion  Hansen and colleagues have been scientifically right all along, to emphasize the role of sustained sea-level rise as a (relatively) low-noise global proxy for sustained energy imbalance.

        Hopefully that is now more clear to you, Steven?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Hi Fan

        So how is that dramatically accelerating sea level rise going?

        When will it reach the levels of the Roman Optimum and Late Medieval period?

        What rate does it now need to rise at per annum in order to meet James Hansen’s top of the range estimate for 2100?

        tonyb

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        tonyb asks: “How is that dramatically accelerating sea level rise going?”

        The present sea-level rise-rate (3–10 mm/year) is 25–80X the paleoclimate sea-level rise-rate rate for the last 6,000 years.

        That’s why Hansen and colleagues have been scientifically right all along, to emphasize the role of sustained sea-level rise as a (relatively) low-noise global proxy for sustained energy imbalance.

        Proposition  We’ll know that global warming is over when sea levels stop rising.

        So, when’s the water gonna stop risin`, TonyB?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan, sea levels are an accurate proxy for global energy imbalances? I refer you again to the two graphs. Before the end of the LIA the Marcott study had temperature at approximately the same value as 12,000 years ago when the sea level was 60m lower according to the other graph. Your contention is now that all that extra energy was added to the system yet it cooled for thousands of years anyway?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven asks: “Fan, sea levels are an accurate proxy for global energy imbalances?”

        Hansen’s Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications works through all these matters very carefully, Steven. The ultra-short story is:

        ▶  JASON altimetry tells us the seas are rising, and

        ▶  GRACE gravimetry tells us the rise (mostly) ain’t ice-melt, and

        ▶  ARGO thermometry tells us the rise is (mostly) thermal expansion.

        Conclusion: the seas are rising because the Earth is in a sustained state of energy imbalance. And hence by rigorous scientific logic:

        Proposition  We’ll know that global warming is over when sea levels stop rising.

        Yeah GRACE and JASON and ARGO! Yeah SCIENCE!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan

        As usual you didn’t answer my questions. There were four. Here they are.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/11/climate-science-sociology/#comment-364434

        The present rate of sea level increase is up to 80 times that of the past?
        Where do you get this stuff from?
        Proper answers to my four questions for a change would be nice
        Tonyb

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        TonyB asks: “Where do you get this stuff from?”

        Anyone can eyeball a sea-level rise of order 1-2 meters over the last 4000 years. Which is a rise-rate of 0.25-0.50 mm/year. Whereas over the last two years, the rise-rate (of order 10 mm/year) has been 20X-40X times greater.

        Proposition 1  Recent sea-level data are consistent with Hansen’s “accelerated sea-level rise” being already underway.

        Proposition 2  We’ll know that global warming is over when sea levels stop rising.

        There’s no sense dancing around the Cash/Hanson question, TonyB … when’s the water gonna stop risin`?

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      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Oh and TonyB … your four questions attributed opinions to Hansen that were unsupported by any reference to his recent published articles! Concrete references to peer-reviewed articles are best, don’cha think? The more recent, the better! Recent multi-author survey articles are best of all!

        Ain’t that common sense, TonyB?

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      • Fan

        You are shameless.

        Right next to your graph is the reason why the sea level fell . The rise is not 10mm a year. If I had said two years ago’look, sea level is falling’ what reply would you have given me?

        Sea levels rise and fall in an oscillation of around a metre or so in partial response to glacial action. The glaciers started to melt around 1750 this followed the locking up of water from around 1560 in the main episodes of the lia. Prior to that the glaciers had been melting from around 850 to 1200AD.

        Sea levels Peaked in the late medieval period and prior to that the roman period .there is no sign of rapid acceleration other than in your fevered imagination.

        Tonyb

      • Fan, the ultra long story is sea levels have been going up for thousands of years during the same time period many claim the world has been cooling. That is why you are sticking with the ultra short story.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Tonyb asks: “If I had said two years ago ’look, sea level is falling’ what reply would you have given me?”

        TonyB, if I were as good and foresighted a scientist as Hansen, then I would have fearlessly and publicly predicted acceleration of the rate of sea-level rise this decade.

        And so far, Hansen’s fearless and public prediction is looking pretty good, eh?

        Are you as fearless and foresighted a scientist as Hansen, TonyB? Do you have any predictions to offer?

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      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven asks: “Fan, the ultra long story is sea levels have been going up for thousands of years.”

        Steven, the data from GRACE and JASON and ARGO are telling us plainly that the present sea-level rise is not (yet) from melting ice, but rather from the sustained increase in oceanic entropy that is associated to a sustained imbalance in Earth’s energy budget.

        That is why we can assert with confidence:

        Proposition  We’ll know that global warming is over when sea levels stop rising.

        Hansen’s scientific reasoning is straightforward and robust, eh Steven?

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      • Fan, I understand completely. 8000 years of rising sea levels meant nothing but the last 20 years of rising sea levels does. You can’t possibly make it any plainer.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        LOL … when did’ja say this slope was gonna go negative, steven?

        And we appreciate (by GRACE) that the observed sea-rise acceleration slope is mostly thermal expansion … once the Greenland and Antarctic caps start melting, all bets are off!!!

        It appears that Hansen’s science is pretty much right, don’cha think steven?

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      • Fan., in all honestly I think talking to you is a waste of time because you never really address the other person’s argument. I am pleased to see you have increased the time period of your perspective to over 100 years but what about the sea level rise graph and the Marcott reconstruction I linked? If you can’t admit that one or the other must be wrong then you have to admit that sea level rise is not a good indicator of whether the world is warming or cooling at any particular time. Perhaps you think the heat hid the deep oceans for 8000 years? If that’s the case I guess, since that’s where some believe it to be heading now, we won’t need to worry about it until the next ice age.

      • “I think talking to you is a waste of time because you never really address the other person’s argument. “

        steven, You are conveniently forgetting that your argument amounts to word salad. You just spew words out without referring to any detailed worksheet that lays out your argument. That is what is a waste of time.

        You can fix that easily by doing a calculation of the lags in warming temperatures and melting ice that are likely operative over the time scales we are talking about. But we all realize that you won’t do this because it will open yourself up to criticism should you get the math wrong, and you can’t have that can you?
        It is soooo much easier to keep it loosey-goosey ambiguous word salad, right?
        It is the psychology of the scientific coward, a trait you share with all the deniers in this commenting space.

      • Web? A detailed worksheet? To see that one graph that cools for 8000 years and another that has sea levels rising for those 8000 years doesn’t match up well with the idea that you can determine temperature by sea level? You should probably write up a worksheet and try to determine the mathematical probability of whether you have any common sense or not. Let me know how it comes out in a few decades when you get it finished.

      • Let me make this simple for you, Web. There are two arguements out there. One is that the earth has been cooling for 8000 years or so as per the Marcott study and that makes the recent warming stand out. The other is that we know the world is getting warmer presently because sea levels are rising. My argument is they can’t both be true if the reconstruction of sea levels is accurate. You still need a worksheet or can you comprehend the problem?

      • Steven, ” One is that the earth has been cooling for 8000 years or so as per the Marcott study and that makes the recent warming stand out. The other is that we know the world is getting warmer presently because sea levels are rising. My argument is they can’t both be true if the reconstruction of sea levels is accurate.”

        Don’t forget the pre-industrial CO2 rise and the rise in southern hemisphere ocean temperature for roughly the past 7000 years. Now you have to forgive Webster since asymmetry is not in his vocabulary, but the precessional cycle causes a tad of a hemispherical imbalance due to asymmetrical forcing on an asymmetrical distribution of land/ocean with asymmetrical ocean heat transport. Its not that much, only on the order of 1 Wm-2 for ~5000 years of the ~20000 year precessional cycle, but I hear it adds up.

      • Dallas, do you have a link to the southern oceans warming over the last 7k years? I only have 2 references going back that far and they both show cooling.

      • steven, Do you understand how feedback systems work? Over the past 8000 years, the slight cooling could compensate for the recovery from the last ice age. A critically damped system could show a close to flat response, with perhaps a few wiggles.

        That is what I mean when I suggest you actually model the system and try to reason that way. You look quite silly trying to argue this via hand-waving.

      • Web, I understand completely. It could have cooled for 8000 years while sea levels continued to go up. That’s what the data says happened. Now, why must sea levels go down now should the world cool a little? It didn’t mid 20th century. To say that sea levels must go down if the world is cooling is the silly argument and you are jumping on to the silly side.

      • Now I really believe that you don’t understand much. First of all, the overall response is fairly flat over the time period, both in global average temperature and in sea levels. I say flat, because the uncertainty in the historical sea level readings is probably not much above the noise. It can’t be much better than a couple of meters up or down. Contrast that to the current scientific instrumentation which can pin down relative changes quite precisely.

        The other point is that ice melt contributes more to the changing sea levels than anything else, and that has a significant lag associated with it. You are just hand-waving all this stuff. Try doing some analysis like I do:

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/07/expansion-of-atmosphere-and-ocean.html

        Kids only learn if they are given time to practice on a worksheet. Since you are no longer a kid, perhaps there is little hope for you.

      • Web, sea levels go down mid 20th century? No? Get to work on your common sense worksheet. I expect to see it completed by 2030 so you have no time to waste. As far as your analyses go, I’ll pass. Someone that doesn’t understand concepts can’t figure out what math to do regardless of if they can do the math or not.

      • Dod the thermal component of SL go down mid century?

      • steven, “Dallas, do you have a link to the southern oceans warming over the last 7k years? I only have 2 references going back that far and they both show cooling.”

        Jouzel et al. 2007. Orbital and Millennial Antarctic Climate Variability over the Past 800,000 Years Their data has a higher resolution last 30ka portion that I plotted.

        Reuhlmann 1999-2006, They mainly focus on out of phase response during large events, but plot their temperature reconstructions.

        Nielsen et al 2004 also show southern ocean warming, but it starts ~4000 years ago.

        There are some issues with Foram proxies, but mg/ca and others tend to show warming.

      • JCH,

        Sea level is more in tune with glacial melt and that long term secular trend that doesn’t exist. You know, the millennial natural variability that can’t exist since CO2 didn’t change much.

        If that did exist, just for the sake of argument, then the normalized Global Mean Sea Level would be a pretty good indication of the “other” factors that might distract minions of the Great and Power Carbon.

      • JCH, you may be able to make some assumptions based upon changes in sea level rise. I say may because then you get into the arguments over possible cyclical patterns in sea level rise and what may be the cause of those. What you can’t say is that sea levels must actually be declining in order for the world to be cooling.

      • Thanks dallas, when I get a chance I’ll look them up.

      • Steven

        Further to the reply from Dallas. Here is my graph showing glacial movements over the last 500 years.

        I have also graphed it back 3000 years and we can see high water stands during Roman and the MWP to levels higher than today. There is a correlation with glaciers which have been currently melting since around 1750.

        They previously melted during the MWP period until around 1250AD. Glaciers were much smaller after the Roman optimum/MWP than they generally are now-in other words there is still a lot of melting to go on in order to get rid of the build up during the LIA

        tonyb

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Is it difficult to argue with someone who is a complete physics illiterate.

      Conservation of energy is a universal property of any kind of thermodynamic system. Entropy in nonequilibrium systems doesn’t evolve smoothly. Higher energy content in oceans doesn’t imply an increase in disorder.

      The Earth’s energy budget determines changes in ocean heat content.

      ‘Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

      So do we want to understand reality or simply propagandize?

  52. As we seem to be winding down, could I just say thanks to those who have engaged on the topic of the thread, and express relief that the foodfights were mostly kept to the Open Thread.

    Thanks especially to Steven Mosher, who understands the topic, whatever our disagreements may be. Also to Rud Istvan for his excellent comment.

    A lot of the disparagement thrown at modern social science is richly deserved. The intention of my post was to demonstrate what the best of social science can be, although in (necessarily) severely truncated form.

    One thing fascinates me – not a single person commented on Weber’s remarks about the method of selection of Popes or US Presidential candidates. I thought that there would be at least some reaction.

    But, as anyone whose work is put out to a wide audience will attest, there is no predicting what will strike a chord. From William Goldman re Hollywood (“nobody knows anything”) to Led Zeppelin, who thought that “Stairway to Heaven” was nothing special when they recorded it, that’s how it goes.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Johanna remarks: “Not a single person commented on Weber’s remarks about the method of selection of Popes or US Presidential candidates”

      Maybe because Weber’s appreciation of the rigorous mathematical constraints that act upon political/economic choice processes is one full century out of date?

      Market/choice systems that are fair, and are efficient, and are computationally feasible: pick one (at most!)

      Max Weber of course cannot be blamed for his ignorance of these future, strictly mathematical advances in our understanding of choice in economics and politics.

      But in our 21st century era, there’s no excuse!

      Summary  Max Weber’s writings ain’t wrong (as far as they go) but neither are they relevant to the problems of our century.

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    • I still can’t get past the first sentance – typical sociological drivel.

      • This sentence, Michael?

        > The politicisation of climate science is perhaps best illustrated by the emerging role of the social sciences in placing interpretations on human perception of, and responses to, “the science.”

        I think this has something to do with contemporary sociology as characterized by Johanna.

        It also warns the reader that the analysis that follows will not politicize anything and will remain in the great tradition of a great sinologist.

      • The chewbacca defense does not apply to this case of ‘it does not make sense’.

      • Steven Mosher

        ya I almost stopped there.

        “The politicisation of climate science is perhaps best illustrated by the emerging role of the social sciences in placing interpretations on human perception of, and responses to, “the science”

        one way to help sentences like this is to ask the writer ‘who is kicking the dog”

        what the sentence says active voice is ..

        “social scientists illustrate the politicization of climate science when they interpret our perceptions and responses to the science.

        Once you rewrite the sentence in active voice you understand that it’s a really bad argument. it the JOB of social scientists to do this. The politicization of climate science isn’t illustrated by what the social scientists are doing or the emergence of them doing it, the politicization of climate science is best illustrated by looking at how the positions on climate science are a fairly good proxy, although not perfect, of political positions.
        And the politicization is further illustrated by the adoption of certain types of political or social behavior in the debate: tribalism, identity tests, calls to the other tribe to “disown”, proxy wars over symbolic issues ( the hockey stick ) , and various “grooming” behavior.

        Willard is one of the best groomers.

      • His bride radiated herself back out to space. Smart gurl, that one.
        ============

      • Of course, effort is expended to paint skeptics as motivated primarily by politics. That is a pantload no matter if it is a sociologist, a climate practitioner, or a CE denizen whose favorite pastime is to muddy the waters of debate; is the guilty party.

    • Steven Mosher

      Thanks for the measured reponses

      you wrote

      ‘One thing fascinates me – not a single person commented on Weber’s remarks about the method of selection of Popes or US Presidential candidates. I thought that there would be at least some reaction.”

      That too shocked me. i was expecting somebody ( maybe Joshua ) to latch onto that. especially since Weber offers no evidence.

      its rather like the low approval ratings for congress.

      But then there is this. I bet he thinks the best man was elected

  53. ‘Social science’ is, and always will be, an oxymoron, a moron in it’s attempt to understand ‘human beings’, us. It has been dominated, from it’s beginning, by a belief in ‘measurement’ that, by definition, makes us small. Now, nothing wrong with that, in itself, for we are small and, in our headlong rush towards nihil, we are, of course, approaching x. But, can you only study humankind by thinking they are insects, they can be computed, they can be measured? We discard what is human in order to study what is human? What is most difficult and, perhaps, impossible is to study the human, as a human, qua human?

    • Lewis Deane, please explain where Max Weber’s thinking was dominated by measurement, or treating humans like insects. My point is precisely that so-called “social science” that does this is a perversion of the original concept.

      As for Fan, I have ignored your spurious claims thus far. But, since I’m here, you really are struggling. You said above that my citation of an old work indicated that that I had not learned anything since. Bizarre and utterly against the history of thought. Now you claim that Max Weber is a nullity.

      Or could you be trying to bury my last comment with spam?

      • Judith, could you please note that my civil comment towards the conclusion of this thread was instantly snowed by posts from people who had plenty of time previously to comment (and had done so). If there is any way that my post could be placed below theirs (datestamps notwithstanding) so that readers who have taken an interest could easily see feedback from the author, I would be appreciative. Thanks – j

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Johanna asks: “Could you be trying to bury my last comment with spam”

        Johanna, perhaps it’s no bad thing to “spam” concrete references to much-cited peer-reviewed math-and-science literature!

        Seriously, isn’t it true that advances in mathematics — mainly in the second half of the 20th century — have rendered much of Max Weber’s analysis nugatory?

        Perhaps that’s why references to Max Weber in the global literature peaked in the early 1970s, and have declined ever since?

        Science, and math, and economics too, do march on, yah know!

        Perhaps it’s no coincidence that references to Max Weber began their decline in the same year (1972) that Kenneth Arrow won the Nobel Economics award.

        Hey, come to find, the Nobel Site hosts a terrific interview by Arrow on the economics of climate change.

        This vigorous and ongoing post-Weber economic synthesis, and its practical application to urgent problems of climate-change, is really interesting and important, eh Johanna?

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      • I can’t demonstrate what you ask – for Max Weber (if you read him) is not about numbers. I was talking modern, academic ‘sociology’ so called, which is about numbers, about the stupidity of numbers. I am not going to source an observation, an ‘impression’ – it either is true or it is false. What I do thin is that the supposed ‘sciences’ of society fail to ‘compute’ the human heart, your heart, for instance

  54. The stupidity of mankind is endless. For instance, with ‘climate science’. I assume we are all people of bona voluntas? But what does that mean? For, certainly, to assume it means anything is a loaded gun? Aimed at yourself? How could you assume that what you think isn’t conditioned by a past you are unaware off? Or your ‘conditioning’, your ‘class’ ‘milieu’? In fact, you are not rational, at all? To assume honesty, to have trust, to believe that what we say is from thinking, from rational, adult thinking, independent and none-childish, is itself a kind of illusion? If we are to retain any sanity and, if, we are to believe in any rational discourse, we cannot believe that we are merely the machines of ‘other’ urges? We must believe that we are adult, real and rational? No?

    • “The stupidity of mankind is endless. For instance, with ‘climate science’. I assume we are all people of bona voluntas? But what does that mean?”

      Beats me. Do mean are motivated by good? Cause that’s wrong.

      I would be willing to accept that people are motivated to be correct, because being wrong is painful. Being wrong is walking into a telephone pole. And being correct is avoiding walking into the telephone pole.
      Good might suggest one didn’t want someone else to walk into the telephone pole. And lots of people might instead, find that amusing.

      • No, I mean, ‘bona voluntas’, people of good will, the people you believe are in your ‘public square’ – (and they really are – go outside and look) – the ‘people’, the ‘public’ who are really not so rabid as you think. They are really quit nice and rational. Speak to them.

      • Lewis, “No, I mean, ‘bona voluntas’, people of good will, the people you believe are in your ‘public square’ – (and they really are – go outside and look) – the ‘people’, the ‘public’ who are really not so rabid as you think. They are really quit nice and rational. Speak to them.”

        Right, but the ones on the soap boxes talking very loudly are generally a little touched.

      • Actually, I don’t understand your analogy. When you say ‘lots of people might instead, find that amusing’ are you suggesting that those who do walk into a ‘telephone pole’ (you are obviously from the USA!) are, themselves, none-rational actors, but, worst than it, these ‘zombies’ lead others to be zombies themselves? Of course, I’m reading to much into your post.

      • “No, I mean, ‘bona voluntas’, people of good will, the people you believe are in your ‘public square’ – (and they really are – go outside and look) – the ‘people’, the ‘public’ who are really not so rabid as you think. They are really quit nice and rational. Speak to them.”

        I don’t think people are rabid.
        What you see in public square is learned social behavior. Thereby enabling people know the correct way to respond to each other- but, they were not born with this knowledge- it’s taught and learned.

        Not all people agree about what is correct.

        Some people think it correct to stone a women because
        she did something to hurt her father/brother’s honor.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lewis Deane asserts: “Supposed ‘sciences’ of society fail to ‘compute’ the human heart,”

      Lewis Deane, you are correct that Max Weber’s generation of economists and sociologists failed to address this question.

      Interestingly, you will find that Kenneth Arrow tackles these issues head-on, beginning at minute 46:30 of his recent Nobel interview:

      Simple formulas never work. Unregulated free markets; centralized socialist systems; none of these work. We know this. Theory is illuminating, but not prescriptive. We had better know the theory, but it’s not something that we mechanically apply.

      The remainder of Arrow’s interview (which covers both climate change and healthcare) is warranted to enrage Climate Etc ideologues of every stripe.

      Good on `yah, Kenneth Arrow! Yeah, Kenneth Arrow! Yeah, Science!

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      • Your quote shows Kenneth Arrow in a bad light – to specious, no system created by humans works for humans. Quelle absurd!

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Uhhhh … yah didn’t watch the interview, did yah Lewis?

        Cuz the ideals that Arrow affirms are entirely the OPPOSITE of what you claim!

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    • A fan of more or whatever,

      I don’t claim anything – how do you presume what I claim? Stupid.

  55. What I was attempting to develop was a general question – about ‘measuring’ ourselves. By definition, by the necessities of science, we must be ‘measured’. Indeed, there is a kind of Christian ethic (an ethic towards death…) which says we have been measured and found wanting. How little these modern ‘measurer’s’ understand history? Of course, we must be ‘measured’, the accursed rule of statics. But how ‘accurate’ can any such measurement be? ‘Free will’, the element of the Absurd, cannot be computed? If you were believer in God (which I’m not) (but I believe in poetry, which is more essential) you would think ‘What, my belief is merely determined? That I would believe (or not believe!) depending on how I was brought up?!’ Is thinking conditional? Can we be treated as rational adults or merely mouthpieces for the forces outside us?

    • I don’t think Weberians would pretend to know your heart either, Lewis. Nor do I think neo-Weberians (e.g. Parsons, Goldthorpe) frown upon the use of empirical datasets. You can look up Anthony Giddens’ work if you wish less structurally-minded researchers.

      As far as I’m concerned, Weber simply reminds us that we can use our mind when trying to understand the others’. Not unlike Hobbes for that matter: methodological individualism has a long tradition.

      Here’s something I found clear and simple:

      http://www.jstor.org/stable/588403?seq=5

      Here’s something I’m reading right now:

      http://www.jstor.org/stable/2780696

      ***

      All in all, I think ClimateBall does seem to contradict the idea that only the state has any monopoly over the use of legitimate violence.

      • Community Chest gave us all a Get Out of Jail Free card, let’s not forget.

      • Hobbes actually was one of the first, if I remember correctly (correct me, Willard, if I’m wrong) to think of the human being as a machine. The machina, the human being as completely conditional, the non plus ultra of all conditionality. He thought human beings so evil and obdurate that only a BigMan could ‘condition, them to Rightness, n’est pas?

      • Hobbes was indeed a mechanist, but let’s not forget that he also championed introspection. If you wish to diss a positivist, try Émile Durkheim.

    • Steven Mosher

      poetry is the disease, not the cure

    • I’m not smart enough to understand Lewis’ comment, but as another example of the advantages of not being very bright, instead reading his comment gave me an interesting insight.

      We often see “skeptics” talking about how “realists” have an intrinsic hatred of human progress, and that they see humans as violating some idealized and/or desirable natural state. Well, maybe the “skeptics” are right about that. Their descriptions to match any “realists” I know, but I do see the reasons why “skeptics” might reach such a viewpoint, and what do I know, anyway.

      At any rate – what I find interesting about this thread is that I realized that it is full of “skeptics” who are, in fact, expressing widespread distress about the progress of humans, and identifying conditions whereby humans (in modern society) are violating some idealized state (of the days of yore).

      The well of irony in the climate debate never runs dry.

  56. Perhaps, the ‘faith’ in human-rational-kind is a kind of belief? But one meets the evidence everyday. Unlike, with certain religions, were the evidence of it’s none-truth must smack in the face, everyday. If I can have a rational discussion over a football match, even agree to disagree… What would be the point of talking, of ‘discussing’, if we could not belief we are rational? Human beings are rational? I think that is what Aristotle said.

  57. Do not imagine for a moment that you are fooling anyone about what you are doing here.

    • If that is a reply to me – I admit a big ego-if – then what exactly am I doing and who am I attempting to fool?

      • I don’t think so LD; it was for the fiance, er finance.
        ==============

      • Oops, I was wrong. Oh, well, off-topic but interesting.
        ============

      • tony –

        There have been various polls/studies formal and informal held here (I believe) and also at WUWT.

        A couple of points.

        The first, and most important, is that commenters on blogs are generally vastly outnumbered by readers of blogs, and that “skeptics” who read or comment on blogs are vastly, vastly outnumbered by “skeptics” in the larger public arena.

        Second, there is the problem of social-desirability bias and selection bias here, and at WUWT. Both blog proprietors are on record as saying that “most ‘skeptics’ don’t doubt AGW” (paraphrasing) – as such, the “skeptics” who would show up and particularly comment at those sites would likely comprise an unrepresentative sample.

        Even still, if “skeptics” would simply say that “most ‘skeptics’ who frequent blogs like Climate Etc., or WUWT, don’t doubt AGW only the magnitude of the effect” it might be closer to something that meets due skeptical diligence.

        But even there, the evidence is scant (I see many “skeptics” at both places that clearly doubt AGW – what does “most” mean – more than 50%?) – not enough, IMO, to warrant the kind of confidence that you assertion.

        And then there’s the issue of dealing with the fact that many “skeptics” say that they don’t doubt AGW, but doubt any measures or ramifications of AGW – such as temperature records, whether the amount of ice is entirely consistent with natural variability as seen throughout history.

        Tell me, tony – why are you so confident about AGW? What signs do you see that give you such confidence? Is it merely that you trust the “authority” of experts who are working on a theoretical basis? Or have you conducted experiments yourself that are focused on falsifying the GHE?

      • Joshua

        Declining temperatures in some parts of the world whilst co2 rises makes me suspect that the effects of co2 on driving temperatures is exaggerated

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/08/the-curious-case-of-rising-co2-and-falling-temperatures/

        What’s your explanation for what we can see in the first graph? Which of the two hypothesis I propose at the end of the article do you agree with?

        Tonyb

      • tony –

        Gotta run,. I’ll answer your question when I come back,. It would be nice if you would also answer my question.

        It seems to me that you see no clearly valid evidence of any effects of ACO2. It seems to me that any of the effects that “realists” identify, you see as falling within the range of natural variability.

        Therefore, why do you believe that ACO2 has an impact on climate? Is it because you trust the “authority” of those who theorize a GHE?

      • tony –

        I am disappointed to find upon my return you still haven’t answered my questions although I asked them more than once. Hopefully you’ll get to it later.

        As for your question:

        I don’t “agree” with either explanation. They both seem plausible to me. As might other explanations that aren’t either of those to (such as the two that you offered higher up in the article).

      • Nice, Tom; now there’s a nexus of climate science and sociology worth exploring.
        =============

      • Joshua

        Au contraries I answered you then you said you gotta run.
        Radiative physics tells us that adding co2 will increase temperatures but it also tells us that there’s a law of dimisishing returns due to the logarithmic relationship and that combined with uncertainty over sensitivity, clouds and other feedbacks inclines me to believe that the effects of co2 have possibly reached their zenith and that natural variability is a greater factor than any additional co2 we add.

        You seem ambivalent . Our temperatures have been falling sharply for a decade whilst co2 is rising and today’s temperatures have been reached before.

        I therefore don’t see co2 as any sort of alarming threat.
        Good night
        Tonyb

      • Radiative physics tells us that adding co2 will increase temperatures …

        Ah, ok. Got it now. You are confident that AGW is happening because of the work of “authorities” who describe that phenomenon of radiative physics. Why don’t you believe the authoritative people who argue otherwise?

        Anyway, now for my next question (if you see this tomorrow).

        What gives you your confidence about what “most skeptics” believe? Informal polls at WUWT?

      • Joshua, are you doing you Cook impersonation? ACO2, AGW, CAGW all refer to different things. ACO2 has a radiant impact of ~0.8C +/- 0.4 C, of the “Global” 0.8 C of warming, ACO2 “May” have contributed 50%. That is Dr. Curry’s issue with the “most” in the IPCC literature. AGW includes land use, black carbon, water use, impervious surfaces and other WMGHGs. CAGW is a combined impact of all AGW contributes creating catastrophic harmful changes requiring urgent action.

      • Joshua

        Sorry, but I am not going to get into one of your everlasting deconstructions of parsed semantics just so that you can claw your way to the top of the comments tree from your (surprisingly) lowly position of No 7.

        Why don’t you do your own research and pose my statement to the various sceptics I named and see if they agree? Here it is again;

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/11/climate-science-sociology/#comment-364434

        tonyb

      • tony –

        Sorry, but I am not going to get into one of your everlasting deconstructions of parsed semantics

        Heh. We can just leave it at that, tony: your confidence in AGW is based on the authority of some authorities who say it is a property of radiative physics, but you dismiss the opinions of other authorities who dispute the GHE.

        Why don’t you do your own research and pose my statement to the various sceptics I named and see if they agree? Here it is again;

        Because it wouldn’t answer my question. Asking a few “skeptics” who constantly post their views on climate blogs is not a way to test your fully confident assertion about what “most skeptics” believe. They are a small and very much selective sample, a sub-sample of a sub-sample of a sub-sample of the body of “skeptics” – and they wouldn’t form a representative sample in many respects (notice how you didn’t even name any of the “skeptics” who post here regularly who don’t accept the GHE).

        It is interesting, however, that with that group you mentioned you have ignored their political orientation although it is rather extreme for almost all of you listed (the possible exceptions are Latimer and mosomoso, I’m not sure I’ve read their comments on political issues).

        Now you may think that it is just purely coincidence that the sample you think is representative is some 80%+ hardcore rightwing.

        You’re entitled to your beliefs.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Johanna proclaims: “Do not imagine for a moment that you are fooling anyone about what you are doing here.””

      This world-view nicely illustrates what recent cognitive research affirms:

      Climate change denial,
      laissez-faire economics and conspiracy theories:
      A productive pairing

      What is much more intriguing is the very modest but positive correlation between rejection of climate change and the presence of a general conspiratorial ideology.

      Needless to say, we Stonecutters were behind this research all along!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan

        We have missed your steady stream of nonsensical articles you continually reference. You have no idea at all of the mind set of sceptics if you believe this opening para from your link applies to all of us.

        “That climate change denialists don’t believe in anthropogenic global warming is a given, but are there other more general indicators of their belief system that include climate change denial as a subset?

        This is the question that a group of psychologists from the University of Western Australia and the University of Zurich sought to answer. They found that climate change denialists also seem to display two other characteristics; a belief in laissez-faire capitalism and more troublingly, a tendency to espouse conspiracy theories

        MOST sceptics believe in AGW but think the effects of co2 are greatly exaggerated. MOST sceptics do not believe in laissez faire capitalism MOST sceptics do not believe in conspiracy theories. If you labour under those sort of delusions it is no wonder you feel the need to post the stuff you do.

        MOST of us are perfectly sane and rational human beings it is just that we have not seen the evidence of the wilder shores of AGW such as;

        1) accelerating sea level rises leading us to a 1 to 5 metre increase by the end of the century
        2) Nor do we see evidence for a temperature rise of up to 5degrees C
        3) Nor do we see evidence that heat has miraculously bypassed the surface layer and is waiting to leap out at us in some frightening manner in the decades ahead.
        4) MOST of us sceptics also do not believe in the Hockey stick version of History nor its spaghetti derivatives demonstrating a fractional temperature deviation over the centuries.

        Do you believe in ALL the stuff I have just cited?
        tonyb

      • tonyb —

        MOST sceptics believe in AGW but think the effects of co2 are greatly exaggerated.

        Really? Do you have any evidence of that? I know that “skeptics” claim to base their opinions on evidence, so you must have evidence of that immediately had hand. Right tony?

      • Joshua

        There have been various polls/studies formal and informal held here (I believe) and also at WUWT.

        Tell you what, if you are interested why don’t you get first hand and up to date information and ask Kim, Max, Johanna, Beth, Mosomoso, Chief, Peter, Latimer and other sceptical regulars if they agree with my comment.

        Do remember Joshua that the world is larger than America and our politics will vary much more than perhaps you realise.
        Tonyb

      • Yup, AGW is real, but apparently too weak to combat the coming cold. If cold isn’t coming, it’s apparently too weak to be anything but beneficial, in net.
        =======

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        tonyb asks: “Do you [FOMD] believe in ALL the stuff I have just cited?”

        LOL … the common-sense answer of Johnny/Cash & James Hansen (the last link) seems plenty sensible (to me) TonyB!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Tony’s right, as far as I’m concerned.

        Max

    • No worries, kim.

  58. What I’m worried about, Judith, is how ‘Truth’, along with History, which is our truth, might be used and abused. Sometimes, it has seemed to me, that in ‘climate science’ there has been a sloppy, un-rigorous idea that only the ‘Truth’ matters, and the details are inconsequential. (Before anyone asks me – I’m not going to give any references – it an impression, that is all). The assumption is that we have a standard, we can say this is ‘rational, objective Truth’ (I hate the quotes, too).. We, normal rational actors in the real and normal world have to assume this as a ‘Truth’, we must. But, then, it is not. We are confused.

  59. None of this flood of spurious posts from “lewis deane” et al have anything at all to do with my head post.

    They seem to have been triggered by my conciliatory post thanking people for participating. Suddenly, they all appeared out of their holes to raise irrelevant issues and drown out recent comments.

    It doesn’t fool me, and I’d be very surprised if it fooled Dr Curry.

  60. ‘What is much more intriguing is the very modest but positive correlation between rejection of climate change and the presence of a general conspiratorial ideology.’

    One knows that this not true and is based on bogus evidence. But even assuming it is true,I try to assume that people see no sense in this. Like the over 65s are more likely to get cancer. Quelle surprise! A meaningless statistic! The fact that, as we know, ‘agw enthusiasts’ are more likely to vote Democrat, which means very little, if nothing at all. All my life, I’ve voted Labour, it is a family tradition, but like Graham Stringer, and as A Northern Working Man (ha ha!), as an old time socialist, someone who’s actually read Marx, from cover to cover, I know it’s nonsense!

  61. It might be time to recall what motivated this op-ed:

    In terms of the social sciences, [Jean Russell]’s no Max Weber (d. 1920) either. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says of the Father of Sociology:

    Especially important to Weber’s work is the neo-Kantian belief that reality is essentially chaotic and incomprehensible, with all rational order deriving from the way in which the human mind focuses its attention on certain aspects of reality and organises the resulting perceptions.

    Dr Curry, if you really want to pursue things outside the hard sciences in your head posts, why not start with the masters, instead of third rate hopefuls like Russell and some of the other mediocrities that have appeared recently?

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/04/bouncing-forward-not-back/#comment-360102

    The reason to study Weber has been announced a bit later:

    I consider that Weber’s construction of human experience is quite relevant to the climate debate – including his work on the development of bureaucracies, decision-making and the way in which uncertainty is perceived. He was probably the greatest theoretician about sociology of the industrial era.

    It is certainly more worthy of examination than the latest faddish witterings of people like Russell, who hope to make a name for themselves by rebranding other people’s ideas.

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/04/bouncing-forward-not-back/#comment-360147

    I’m not sure how the streak of quotes we just read justifies the emphasized claim.

    I’m quite sure it does not justify the snobbish sneers de-emphasized.

    • Steven Mosher

      you left out my taunt.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Johanna asks: “Dr Curry, if you really want to pursue things outside the hard sciences in your head posts, why not start with the masters, instead of third rate hopefuls like Russell and some of the other mediocrities that have appeared recently?”

      Johanna, why did you pick Max Wever instead of (say) Kenneth Arrow? Just to remark, not only is Kenneth Arrow himself a Nobelist, but so are *FIVE* of his students. Moreover, Arrow has written specifically on “wicked” scientific/economic/moral problems like climate-change and health-care. And much of Arrow’s work is solidly grounded in mathematics (where Weber’s is not). So compared to Arrow, it’s Weber who is (objectively) the mediocrity, isn’t that right?

      Conclusion  By every rational measure, Kenneth Arrow teaches us more than Max Weber in regard to scientific/economic/moral relations in climate-change.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  62. When even rock stars can learn, maybe there is still hope.

  63. Gery M

    Looks like Bono has learned from his earlier hand-clapping appearance.

    http://www.zeropaid.com/forum/thread/bono-%E2%80%9Cevery-time-i-clap-my-hands-a-child-in-africa-dies-%E2%80%9D.38881/

    Max

  64. Fascinating. A bot comments, and an assortment of other entities respond with equal botishness. There’s some interesting social (and computer) science going on, but it’s all off topic.

  65. Nice title, but the text misses the point. Climate Science is sociology, most of it in public discussion anyway. First, so much of it is on the level of description and speculation, not at a hard science level, somewhat like sociology. Then, built from that foundation, there is the huge effort to convince anyone and everyone who will listen, but in a social way, not in a scientific way. It is a huge social experiment and it deserves study from this aspect.

  66. Just thought I’d repost this, as it got buried by spam and derailing:

    johanna | August 13, 2013 at 7:52 am | Reply

    As we seem to be winding down, could I just say thanks to those who have engaged on the topic of the thread, and express relief that the foodfights were mostly kept to the Open Thread.

    Thanks especially to Steven Mosher, who understands the topic, whatever our disagreements may be. Also to Rud Istvan for his excellent comment.

    A lot of the disparagement thrown at modern social science is richly deserved. The intention of my post was to demonstrate what the best of social science can be, although in (necessarily) severely truncated form.

    One thing fascinates me – not a single person commented on Weber’s remarks about the method of selection of Popes or US Presidential candidates. I thought that there would be at least some reaction.

    But, as anyone whose work is put out to a wide audience will attest, there is no predicting what will strike a chord. From William Goldman re Hollywood (“nobody knows anything”) to Led Zeppelin, who thought that “Stairway to Heaven” was nothing special when they recorded it, that’s how it goes.
    ——————————————————-
    BTW, spammers, if you start up again I’ll just post it again. I have the leisure, and the Dutch stubbornness, to keep it up. Maintaining an appropriate tone and level of civility on Dr Curry’s blog is important to me.

    • Tone, civility and experience we unruly denizens ar CE
      can only benefit from. Always read what you, Faustino
      and Peter Lang have ter say, Johanna. Thank you.
      Beth the serf.

    • David Springer

      Weber of Protestant Work Ethic fame isn’t likely to inspire a lot productive discussion here. I should give the standard comment I coined many moons ago on the subject:

      Protestants didn’t invent capitalism but they were the first to make a religion out of it. Heh.

  67. An amusing article, brings back memories; Max Weber and the disenchantment of the world. But why just Mad Max the historian? How about Michaels’ and the iron law of oligarchy, or Vilfredo Pareto’s Italian version of the social tendency to produce a ruling class? There’s Emile Durkheim, the French order theorist, the absence of which means disorder/anomie, which can stimulate suicides. Or how about Talcot Parsons, the American structural functionalist? That is to say, whatever is functional is structural and conducive to order and meaning, which, of course, is always tacitly assumed to be good, because it’s functional and meaningful. For example, the military is highly structured and functional, although the American troops seem to be experiencing more suicides than killed in action lately. Or how about the early twentieth century American W.I Thomas? Whatever is defined as real is real in its consequences. If you really think there is 72 virgins waiting for you in heaven you’ll probably arrange an early visit to paradise. Or, how about the disorder theorists? For example Marx, another German “founding father” adopted by the discipline as a big animal social theorist: the purpose of theory, big animal sociology, is not to understand the world, as with the philosophers, but to change the world, presumably also for the good. In other words, too much order (private property, the family, the tribe, the state) can cause “alienation” and suicides when inner directed, or revolutions when other directed. In other words, there is no consensus in sociology (although Marx thought he was doing science) for explaining human behavior, just schools of thought, trends, and fads, and apparently no one is beyond ideology. What any of this has to do with determining the rise and fall of sea levels over time as a function of temperature changes and gas levels in the atmosphere, doing science, is puzzling, but I suspect it has more to do with the iron law of oligarchy and sorting out the pecking order.

  68. An example of promulgation of a falsified hypothesis by a leader in his field and its effect on important public policy. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130813201434.htm

    In the discussion about famous sociologist and promulgation of myths, one cannot ignore C Wright Mills whose popular radical theories were frequently attacked by claiming he sat under a tree and made up all his data. Whether this was true or simply an easy way to dismiss inconvenient findings, always seemed to depend on other sociologist’s political stance.

  69. In Science as a Vocation, Max Weber mentions Plato four times.

    The first is to explain the nature of what produces creative ideas:

    The mathematical imagination of a Weierstrass is naturally quite differently oriented in meaning and result than is the imagination of an artist, and differs basically in quality. But the psychological processes do not differ. Both are frenzy (in the sense of Plato’s ‘mania’) and ‘inspiration.’

    The second serves to illustrate the contrast between how the ancients and Weber’s contemporaries valued science:

    You will recall the wonderful image at the beginning of the seventh book of Plato’s Republic: those enchained cavemen whose faces are turned toward the stone wall before them. Behind them lies the source of the light which they cannot see. They are concerned only with the shadowy images that this light throws upon the wall, and they seek to fathom their interrelations. Finally one of them succeeds in shattering his fetters, turns around, and sees the sun. Blinded, he gropes about and stammers of what he saw. The others say he is raving. But gradually he learns to behold the light, and then his task is to descend to the cavemen and to lead them to the light. He is the philosopher; the sun, however, is the truth of science, which alone seizes not upon illusions and shadows but upon the true being.

    The third appears in the next paragraph, where the opposition between today (i.e. Weber’s “youth”) and yesterday (i.e. Plato) clashes:

    Well, who today views science in such a manner ? Today youth feels rather the reverse: the intellectual constructions of science constitute an unreal realm of artificial abstractions, which with their bony hands seek to grasp the blood-and-the-sap of true life without ever catching up with it. But here in life, in what for Plato was the play of shadows on the walls of the cave, genuine reality is pulsating; and the rest are derivatives of life, lifeless ghosts, and nothing else. How did this change come about?

    The fourth appears in the very next paragraph, where Weber begins to answer this last question (i.e. how did this change come about):

    Plato’s passionate enthusiasm in The Republic must, in the last analysis, be explained by the fact that for the first time the concept, one of the great tools of all scientific knowledge, had been consciously discovered. Socrates had discovered it in its bearing. He was not the only man in the world to discover it. In India one finds the beginnings of a logic that is quite similar to that of Aristotle’s. But nowhere else do we find this realization of the significance of the concept. In Greece, for the first time, appeared a handy means by which one could put the logical screws upon somebody so that he could not come out without admitting either that he knew nothing or that this and nothing else was truth, the eternal truth that never would vanish as the doings of the blind men vanish.

    Some might find fascinating that none of these passages have been quoted. Only the first one has shortly mentioned.

    There ought to be stronger reaction from Popperians. Weber indeed mentions their favorite book.

    • Steven Mosher

      yes, odd that.

      • Agree, I found those passages mystifying.

        Mind you, he wrote extensively about Eastern religions and culture. I’ve not read all of it. It may be that these are shorthand references to that work.

        But yes, on the face of it, it is a long way from Weber’s plainly and clearly expressed ideas in other areas. Since, like other humans, he is not perfect – maybe that is the point at which we should step back.

      • Steven Mosher

        haha, you should recall the comment where I suggested Kali as source.

        I’d push directly on these plato references and unravel the entire system.

        The issue would center around access to the thing in itself which Kant had cut us off from and the metaphor of shadows in the cave and the scientist being the one who can turn around and face the sun.

        when you read philosophy as literature you’ll see something entirely different.

        So here read Weber as literature and understand the anxiety of influence. Also understand the function of summoning plato and where he appears in the drama.

  70. Black Russian

    For these social scientists, the starting point is that “the science is settled,”

    What these tax-funded social scientists deftly avoid mentioning, of course, is that “the science” is just as politically biased, and motivated and funded as they themselves are.

  71. Black Russian

    So a more honest title for this piece would have been :

    Politically-funded Climate Science and Politically-funded Sociology

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