So what is the best available scientific evidence, anyways?

by Judith Curry

Is “best available evidence” a new, improved “reframing” of the so-called “consensus” (that is not really holding up too well, these days)? Is it simply a way of sweeping aside the validity of any acknowledgement/discussion of the uncertainties? Or is it something completely different?! – Hilary Ostrov

Dan Kahan has two interesting posts at Cultural Cognition:

In addition to the main posts, some of the comments are quite interesting. Excerpts from Kahan’s first post:

When I address the sources of persistent public conflict over climate change, though, it seems pretty clear to me that those with a practical interest in using the best evidence on science communication are themselves predominantly focused on dispelling what they see as a failure on the part of the public to credit valid evidence on the extent, sources, and deleterious consequences of anthropogenic global warming.

I certainly have no problem with that! On the contrary, I’m eager to help them, both because I believe their efforts will promote more enlightened policymaking on climate change and because I believe their self-conscious use of evidence-based methods of science communication will itself enlarge knowledge on how to promote constructive public engagement with decision-relevant science generally. 

A comment from Hilary Ostrov:

Dan, in your initial post you mention “best available evidence” no less than six times. And you may also have reiterated the phrase in some of your comments.

Perhaps you have identified your criteria for determining what constitutes “best available evidence” elsewhere; but for the benefit of those of us who might have missed it, perhaps you would be kind enough to articulate your criteria and/or source(s) for us.

It is a rather nebulous phrase; however, I suppose it works as a very confident, if not all encompassing, modifier. But as far as I can see, your post doesn’t tell us specifically what “evidence” you are referring to (whether “best available” or not!)

Is “best available evidence” a new, improved “reframing” of the so-called “consensus” (that is not really holding up too well, these days)? Is it simply a way of sweeping aside the validity of any acknowledgement/discussion of the uncertainties? Or is it something completely different?!

This comment from Hilary Ostrov motivated the second post, excerpts from Kahan’s 2nd post:

But I certainly don’t have a set of criteria for identifying the “best available scientific evidence.” Rather I have an ability, one that is generally reliable but far from perfect, for recognizing it.

JC comment:  sounds a bit like pornography.

I think that is all anyone has—all anyone possibly could have that could be of use to him or her in trying to be guided by what science knows.

For sure, I can identify a bunch of things that are part of what I’m seeing when I perceive what I believe is the best available scientific evidence.  These include, first and foremost, the origination of the scientific understanding in question in the methods of empirical observation and inference that are the signature of science’s way of knowing. Basic techniques for recognizing the best available scientific evidence. But those things I’m noticing (and there are obviously many more than that) don’t add up to some sort of test or algorithm.

Moreover, even the things I’m seeing are usually being glimpsed only 2nd hand.  That is, I’m “taking it on someone’s word” that all of the methods used are the proper and valid ones, and have actually been carried out and carried out properly and so on.

Nullius in verba–the Royal Society motto that translates to “take no one’s word for it”– can’t literally meant what it says: even Nobel Prize winners would never be able to make a contribution to their fields — their lives are too short, and their brains too small–if they insisted on “figuring out everything for themselves” before adding to what’s known within their areas of specialty.

What the motto is best understood as meaning is don’t take the word of anyone except those whose claim to knowledge is based on science’s way of knowing–by disciplined observation and inference– as opposed to some other, nonempirical way grounded in the authority of a particular person’s or institution’s privileged insight.

Amen! But even identifying those people whose knowledge reflects science’s empirical way of knowing requires (and always has) a reliably trained sense of recognition!

So no definition or logical algorithm for identification — yet I and you and everyone else all manage pretty well in  recognizing the best available scientific evidence in all sorts of domains in which we must make decisions, individual and collective (and even in domains in which we might even be able to contribute to what is known through science).

I understand disputes like climate change to be a consequence of conditions that disable this remarkable recognition faculty.

Chief among those is the entanglement of facts that admit of scientific investigation in antagonistic cultural meanings.

This entanglement generates persistent division, in part b/c people typically exercise their science-knowledge recognition faculty within cultural affinity groups, whose members  they understand and trustwell enough to be able to figure out who really knows what about what (and who is really just full of shit).  If those groups end up pesistently divided about what the best available science is, their members will be persistently divided about that too.

Even more important, the entanglement of facts with culturally antagonistic meanings generates division b/c people will often have a more powerful psychic stake in forming and persisting in beliefs that fit their group identities than in “getting the right answer” from science’s point of view, or in aligning themselves correctly w/ what the ‘best scientific evidence is.”

After all, I can’t hurt myself or anyone else by making a mistake about what the best evidence is on climate change; I don’t matter enough as consumer, voter, “big mouth” etc. to have an impact, no matter what “mistake” I make in acting on a mistaken view of what is going on.

But if I take the wrong position on the issue relative the one that predominates in my group, and I might well cost myself the trust and respect of many on whose support I depend, emotionally, materially and otherwise.

JC comment:  Joshua, pay attention.  This pretty much defines tribalism in context of the climate debate.  This is the strategy of the ‘consensus police’, whereby scientists who deviate in a minor way are made extremely uncomfortable.  Note, this does not happen on the skeptical ‘side’

But first, back to the questions that motivated the last post.

To answer them, I hope I’ve now shown you, you won’t have to agree with me about what the “best available scientific evidence” is on climate change.

Indeed, the science of science communication doesn’t presuppose anything about the content of the best decision-relevant scientific evidence.  It assumes only two things: (1) that there is such a thing; and (2) that the question of how to enable its reliable apprehension by people who stand to benefit from it admits of and demands scientific inquiry.

JC comment:  Light bulb time.  Take note of the presupposition of ‘the best decision-relevant scientific evidence’.  I will return to this later.

But here goes:

Climate skeptics (or the ones who are acting in good faith, and I fully believe that includes the vast majority of ordinary people — 50% of them pretty much — in our society who say they don’t believe in AGW or accept that it poses significant risks to human wellbeing) believe that their position on climate change is based on the best available scientific evidence — just as I believe mine is!

About the science communication problem–by which I mean precisely the influences that are preventing us, as free reasoning people, from converging on the best available scientific evidence on climate change and a small number of other consequential issues (nuclear power, the HPV vaccine, the lethality of cats to birds, etc)? Converging in the way that we normally do on so many other consequential issues–so many many many more that no one could ever count them!?

I hope that because I would like to think that once we get this sad matter behind us, and resume the patterns of trust and reciprocal cooperation that normally characterize the nonpathological state in which we are able to recognize the best available scientific evidence, there will be some better science of science communication evidence for us all to share with each other on how to to negotiate the profound and historic challenge we face in communicating what’s known to science within a liberal democratic society.

A statement from Kahan in the comments:

But I believe what I believe, and expect others to respect my right to use and rely on my own reason as I see fit.

JC comments

Well it is difficult to know where to start with this, Kahan’s posts raise many fundamental issues that provide insights into the conundrum of communication of climate science.

First, what constitutes  ‘evidence’ in climate science?  Scientific evidence is generally regarded to consist of observations and experimental results.  In complex natural systems, the epistemic status of observations is not straightforward, with homogenization adjustments, model assimilation of observations, retrieval algorithms to interpret voltages measured by satellites, etc.  Plenty of room for debate and uncertainty regarding the establishment of climate data records, and relatively few data sets have actually met the relevant maturity matrix requirements.

Evidence in climate science seems to be more broadly defined to include any information that is presented in support of an assertion about the climate system.  In climate science arguments, such evidence commonly includes results from climate model simulations and arguments presented in refereed journal publications. The epistemic status of this more indirect evidence in scientific arguments is something that should be debated more than it has been.

For the sake of argument, lets assume that all of the major climate data sets (surface temperature, ocean heat content, paleo reconstructions) and climate model simulations have high epistemic value as evidence.  Even if we agree on this evidence, why might scientists disagree about topics such as attribution?

Arguments about causality in complex systems are not straightforward.  Scientific debates involve controversies over the value and importance of particular classes of evidence as well as disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence.

Different scientists may rationally draw different conclusions and make different assertions based upon the existing observational evidence:  the wide range of recent estimates of climate sensitivity is a case in point.  Kahan assumes that there is some subset of these different assertions or arguments that constitutes ‘best available evidence’  and that the inferences drawn from observations are staightforward.  There is nothing straightforward about  making inferences about the complex climate system; see my paper Reasoning about climate uncertainty.  We are then generally left with expert judgment in terms of determining ‘best available evidence’, the outcome of which depends on which experts you select and the method by which their expertise is elicited (see my paper No consensus on consensus).   So there is no objective ‘best available evidence’ when uncertainties are large and unknown unknowns loom.

If there is no ‘best available evidence’, or no consensus, how can we proceed with making decisions?  My no consensus paper addresses this issue (I won’t repeat that text here).

A useful example is the decision of the Bush 43 administration to go to war with Iraq, ostensibly based on the best available evidence that the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction.  The best available information turned out to be incorrect, but there were other reasons that the Bush administration wanted to go to war with Iraq.

Two summary points:

1.  For a complex problem with large uncertainties, there is no objective way to to determine ‘best available evidence'; expert judgment methods subjectively depend on which experts you select.

2.  If uncertainties are large, ‘best available evidence’ may lead to bad decisions.  There are numerous approaches to decision making under deep uncertainty that do not require a consensus or ‘best available evidence.’

Lets return to Kahan’s main issue, that of communicating science.  I had an epiphany on this subject during the panel discussion among myself, Gavin Schmidt and Richard Betts on the subject of advocacy by scientists. [link]  Gavin Schmidt made the point that scientists should speak out on their opinions about topics related to their area of expertise.  I have no problem with this, if your objective is to respond to someone’s request for your opinion, or you want your opinion for some reason to be a matter of public record or for people to consider your opinion and comment on it.

It is a different ballgame, however, if your objective is to change the minds of the people in your audience, to support your view on the science and/or policy.  This seems to be the objective of ‘climate communication’, which seems to me to be a euphemism for policy advocacy whereby the ‘best available scientific evidence’ leads to self-evident policy prescription.  So there is a not so subtle distinction in a scientist stating his/her opinion about policy simply  for the purpose of clarifying what the scientist thinks, versus trying to change someone’s mind about the science with the objective to spurring them  them to taking action on the self-evident policy.

So why does ‘climate communication’ seem to be failing?  Here is my take.  Dan Kahan seems to think that rational people are able to identify the best available scientific evidence, i.e. they know it when they see it (sort of like pornography).  I say that  identifying best available scientific evidence is difficult even for scientists if the uncertainties are large.  What rational people are able to to do is to identify BS (see BS detectors).  Overconfidence, failure to present evidence that does not support your thesis, dismissal of skeptics and skeptical arguments, appeal to consensus, advocacy, etc. all can act to trigger someone’s BS detector.  Its about trust; without trust, expertise does not equal credibility.

p.s.  read the comments on Kahan’s threads, all of the comments provide cogent and provocative inputs (something for the Climate Etc. denizens to aspire to).

465 responses to “So what is the best available scientific evidence, anyways?

  1. Even when dealing with an expert in any given field, that person is still human. Some climate scientists may be acting out of fear of the consequences of warming and therefore might not be as rational as they might otherwise be. Some may be influenced by peer pressure, funding sources, or other influences external to the science per se.

    • Steve Jobs had his cancer detected at an early, treatable stage, but insisted on ‘alternative’ remedies.
      Much of Climate Science is like that, many researchers use sympathetic magic, totem words and methodologies that sound like science, but are really ‘alternative science’, thus we have ‘feedback’, ‘equilibrium’, ‘model’ and bless us all ‘forcing’, which do not mean what they are are classically defined as or have no strict definition; ‘forcing’ falls into this latter category, being allowed to mean many things to many people in many circumstances.

      • Forcing, feedback and equillibrium do have a strict definition.

        It matters not how other fields use the same terms.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Climate Change means Anthropogenic to IPCC and to every scientist working under it’s auspices or WMO – unless they don’t want it to mean that, which is sometimes.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        IPCC or WMO is free to interpret any study’s mention of change, as actually mentioning AGW.

        Funny stuff. It makes all the difference between a clearly false statement and a plausibly deniable statement.

    • When dealing with an expert in any given field, that person is still human and that person can be right or wrong. There are few right answers and many more wrong answers. The odds of an expert in any given field being wrong is better than 50-50.

      Read about one or more than one in this story.

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana/index.html?hpt=he_c2

      • “In my quick running of the numbers, I calculated about 6% of the current U.S. marijuana studies investigate the benefits of medical marijuana. The rest are designed to investigate harm. That imbalance paints a highly distorted picture.”

        Imagine that. What percentage of CO2 studies are intended to find benefits of CO2?

      • As I tell people when discussing their health, always keep in mind that you have a 50% chance of your doctor finishing in the bottom half of their class.

  2. According to Lord Kelvin, the best scientific evidence supported the caloric theory of heat. Read what happened to anybody who had the temerity to disagree with the great man. And so it goes.

    Regardless of the complete lack of experimental evidence to support the GHE, one might be tempted to confuse correlation with causation when CO2 levels are rising, and so is apparent global temperature.

    Except that the CO2 level is apparently rising, whilst the global temperature seems to have “paused”. As Feynman said “You can’t fool Nature”.

    If weather, (from which the supposed “climate” is derived is chaotic, then the future of weather events (and thus “climate”) is to all intents and purposes unknowable.

    Worse, any changes to a chaotic system may have unpredictable outcomes – just because you “believe” that fiddling with atmospheric CO2 will somehow enhance our lives, what if you’re wrong? Where’s your “precautionary principle now”?

    So the tribal contest of faith continues. Bring on the auto-da-fé. Only joking.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  3. Heh, recognize ClimateGate.
    ===========

  4. Best available scientific evidence and BS are both a lot like porn.

  5. Seems to me that all that wind can be reduced to:

    “I’m right and you’re wrong. Shut up and do what I say”.

  6. Kahan makes the important distinction that if you are not in the climate science field, it makes no difference what your opinion is on the scientific points, as people will not go to you for advice. Two things happen when you are one of the thousands of scientists in this field. (1) People do ask for their opinion as an expert, (2) The scientist has to give their best possible estimate of the science or say they don’t know. Some may ask why do scientists have to do this? Why not just give a politically expedient view that may or may not be wrong? For scientists, the people who are their role models are those whom history proves right, and they know those proven wrong are either forgotten or somewhat disrespected by history. It is not quite as absolute as that as, in a way, Einstein proved Newton wrong, but what Newton did is still useful in non-relativistic situations (most of them), so his name is highly respected for making that advance in the right direction that was later refined by Einstein (who may yet still be refined further). Given the disincentive of being shown to be on the wrong side of a debate by history, it is remarkable that there is such a consensus on an opinion that is falsifiable by future measurements. This is their own reputations they put on the line by making such statements (as with scientific societies that back them). Science does not forgive wrongness. This is why when a consensus is large, it means something.

    • This analysis pre-supposes that the “traditional” scientific incentive structure, as described in Polanyi’s “Republic of Science” essay, is operative in climate science. But it isn’t. The political pressure to form a particular consensus means that we do not observe a series of independent evidentiary decisions (made in the light of impact on individual long-term reputations). Rather, we see very strong incentives to “go along” with the Urgent Mitigationist theory/policy combination regardless of one’s own independent assessment.

      The moderately amusing part of this pressure is the swinging party line on the importance of decadal natural variations–doubleplusungood during the surface temperature upswing but now edging into good or even plusgood territory during the pause. We have always been at war with the Eastasian Oscillation.

      • This is just the conspiracy theory again. Political pressure from whom? The Republicans seem to be the only ones trying to use pressure to change the science, and failing in a spectacular way. Scientists don’t care what the politicians think when forming their own scientific opinions using the evidence they see.

      • See: Paul Erlich.

        The reason he is held in esteem, despite his hypothesis being falsified is his call to action. The money in the enviro/non-profit sectors rely on urgent call to actions, with the guarantee that your money will do alot of good here. If the appropriate level of ‘bending over backwards to show how you could be wrong’ was communicated to the public, it would make raising funds for these causes much more difficult. Thus the message is altered to achieved the end.

      • Jim D’s willful blindness in this regard is remarkable. If he thinks any within-the-establishment U.S. climate scientist could naively “come out” as a non-UMer without being prepared for major threats to his or her career, he should stay out of the advice business.

        Our hostess has explicitly pointed out the pressures brought to bear on dissidents from the UM agenda, to take the most proximate evidence. Useful safety tip–when the President of the United States travels around promoting the utter certainty of dangerous AGW, hires a green fanatic as his science advisor in order to facilitate his UM agenda, launches his EPA onto the course of regulating CO2 admissions, and demonizes anyone who disagrees, there might be the potential for political pressure against dissidents. Kind of like when he “joked” about siccing the IRS on his political enemies and that turned out to be not so funny.

        But even without such obvious markers, there’s plenty of widely available direct and inferential information about political pressures applied against dissidents within and outside of the IPCC process if someone were motivated to find it. Like getting journal editors fired, say, when they publish UM-questioning articles.

      • @stevepostrel | August 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
        What is truly amazing is that you have to keep saying this. If you don’t, the CAGWERs just keep whistling past the grave yard.

      • Skeptical papers are published. It is only when they are factually wrong and get published that the editor receives pressure. Journals can’t just publish things that are wrong, otherwise their reputation suffers. Also academic scientists have tenure rules that give them freedom of thought. Their university jobs and salary are not threatened just because of opinions they may have, only if they falsify results or plagiarize other people’s work.

      • 1) JimD ignores the overall political context evidence, which is overwhelming.

        2) Then JImD begs the question, or assumes facts not in evidence, when he alleges that pressure on journal editors only occurs when they let in “objectively” (my scare quotes, not citing JimD) bad papers. But this claim is risible. Plenty of crappy papers have been accepted (Mann, Gergis, etc.) without any pressure on editors to resign.

        3) One additional factor, not mentioned in my original comment, is that factionalism and infighting can occur in science even when there is no broader ideological and policy context to worry about, resulting in temporary derailment or derangement of the scientific record, which only gets straightened out in the long run (assuming it does eventually get straightened out). But in those cases, the absence of extrinsic incentives to take one position or another means that the final adjudication gets based on which theory allows researchers to better build on it to make more discoveries. Self-interest and scientific value are well aligned. That condition of alignment emphatically does not apply in climate science.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      What would falsify something that has a prediction built into the definition?
      Global warming and climate change, both mean anthro-caused warming continued into the future, so that even cooling is said to be warming.

      It’s how it’s done.

  7. A week ago, after an extremely acrid volley of comments, I asked If anybody had changed their minds on anything. I received no response; however, I posted rather late.
    I expected that many comments, rather than convincing anyone, or even developing a willingness to consider a position, often solidified viewpoints in opposition to the posit being made.
    I have always felt that scientists should be servants and not contestants.
    Winning an argument should not be the ultimate goal, the goal should be to contribute to public decisions, and to do that by considering all ramifications to whatever decision is made.
    I work with poor, uneducated, special needs children by choice and not by profession. They will never consider anything stated here, but my thoughts about decisions to be made will always include their welfare.

    • darrrylb: “scientists should be servants and not contestants.” agree. There seems to me to be an unjustified move by climate scientists into engineering. Tthe Cimate Scientist’s job is to describe and understand the climate. (its even in the mottos of some institutions). It is a political job to define problems. It is an engineering job to solve problems. Just because you are a hydrologist it doesnt give you a licence to design dams and irrigation systems. Yet climate scientists feel it is their duty to identify problems and propose solutions. Many of us think it is just fine to have more CO2 in the air and a warmer climate. eg I am personally not a skeptic but my hackles are raised by a scientist telling what type of car I should drive.

      • Darrryl

        Your belief that scientists should be servants and not contestants is irrelevant. Scientists/engineers are just people and often people highly motivated to be correct and to defend their beliefs unless or until sufficient data is presented to convince them that their initial belief(s) were incorrect.

        The process of examining and fully understanding a complex system virtually always involves strong disagreements between those involved. What is unusual about the topic of climate science is that a group of those doing this examination felt that their conclusions were so dire that it warranted trying to get their solution(s) implemented before the process was sufficiently matured.

      • Rob Starkey—‘often people highly motivated to be correct and to defend their beliefs unless or until sufficient data is presented—-
        Consider one of many cases to the contrary.
        Dr. Curry; yes, highly motivated to be correct and thus engaged Steve McIntyre. Michael Mann et al, no, still wants to win the climate wars.
        Tried every avenue possible to deny giving available data to an excellent statistician. If he wanted to be correct he would have gladly accepted any and all assistance available to him.
        He could have still attempted to defend his methods and in the end it might have proven his results to be that much more solid.
        It is my personal belief that the desire to be win the accolades of scientific notoriety has eclipsed the desire to serve the needs of the human race which would be to present the most accurate information available.
        That is the essence of what D. Eisenhower presented to us.

      • Scientists/engineers are just people and often people highly motivated to be correct
        There are two kinds of scientists these days, the traditional ones who work to build a legacy and the post-modern ones who value their 15 minutes of fame more. The ones who want to be right in the long term and the ones who will end up on the wrong side of history.

    • “A week ago, after an extremely acrid volley of comments, I asked If anybody had changed their minds on anything.”

      Yeah, I used to deny man could affect the climate, but then I started to read climate etc and realized the error of my ways.

      • lolwot I will not challenge anything you believe to be true;however,
        — “I started to read climate etc and realized the error of my ways!?”
        So please help me out as I want to learn all I can.
        What information did you receive on Climate Etc. that got you to change your mind? I would be willing to go back and consider that information and you might take credit for helping to influence me.

      • I was joking, sorry I feel bad about it now.

      • Of course -I knew you were writing through your hat, I really did not expect a response, and I was not serious about you delving through old material. Just wanted to call you out on your comment. On the flip side, though, I really would look carefully at valid information

  8. From what I’ve seen on this blog, ‘best available scientific evidence’ carries no weight, the deniers don’t/won’t accept any ‘scientific evidence’ because they didn’t write it. IF most of the posts here carried any credibility, they would have links to that ‘best available scientific evidence’. I’ve seen none-usually any link is to another blog that also lacks credibility.

    • AGW Cult Member: “best available scientific evidence” is that melting Arctic Ice proves AGW.

      Denier: What about record Antarctic Ice?

      AGW Cult Member: Pardon?

      Denier: Antarctic Ice?

      AGW Cult Member: Pardon?

      Denier: Antarctic Ice?

      AGW Cult Member: Wind?

      Denier: Ha ha ha.

      AGW Cult Member: Ozone Hole?

      Denier: Ha ha ha.

      AGW Cult Member: Sloughing Ice?

      Denier: Are you on drugs?

      • The Arctic is where amplification occurs. Ever heard of the Ice Ages? They are due to the Arctic, not Antarctic?
        Denier: Gulp

      • Polar amplification is both poles,hence asymmetry is problematic.

        The glacial Quaternary advances and retreats on earth are concomitant with the same ice advances and retreats on Mars which suggest either a coupled system or a remarkable coincidence.

      • Asymmetry would be problematic to people who believed both poles behaved the same, but there are good reasons that they don’t, such as one being land surrounded by an ocean, and the other ocean surrounded by land. This is quite asymmetric in feedbacks to forcing.

      • Jim D

        This is quite asymmetric in feedbacks to forcing.

        Plus a whole bunch of other (non-AGW related) factors that influence sea ice variation.

        Agreed.

        Max

      • Jim D: “Ever heard of the Ice Ages?”

        Thats where there is more ice?

        Current evidence suggests interglacials occur when it is warmer in the South Pole.

        http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091118/full/news.2009.1094.html

        Therefore if the South Pole is getting colder, we are screwed.

      • Asymmetry would be problematic to people who believed both poles behaved the same,

        Indeed it is,especially when both theory, and the CMIP5 models produce the same incorrect outcome.(it is an important part of the scientific method to at least get the correct sign).

        http://www.the-cryosphere.net/7/451/2013/tc-7-451-2013.html

        The latest thinking (Latif 2013) is that there is centennial variability in the SO and southern polar region,that is dynamical and produces a thermal signal ( by dissipation) in the global SAT of around 0.2c eg

        During phases of deep convection the surface Southern Ocean warms, the abyssal Southern Ocean cools, Antarctic sea ice extent retreats, and the low-level atmospheric circulation over the Southern Ocean weakens. After the halt of deep convection the surface Southern Ocean cools, the abyssal Southern Ocean warms, Antarctic sea ice expands, and the low-level atmospheric circulation over the Southern Ocean intensifies, consistent with what has been observed during the recent decades

      • The Southern Ocean has large upwelling areas that are relatively immune from global warming. It is possible that, like the PDO, this upwelling now has intensified in a decadal-scale change, which does maintain the Antarctic in a relatively change-free environment compared to other parts of the world. This can be seen in how little the SO has warmed in the last 50 years along with parts of the E Pacific where upwelling also occurs. Meanwhile the Arctic is where the warm water flows from the Atlantic for example and it is not so immune to warming elsewhere in the world. Very asymmetric ocean currents are part of the explanation.

      • Still missing the point,Hergerl 2007 (the scientific basis) was wrong as they (or at least their models Ensemble mean) showed increased surface warming everywhere across the SO.

        That they are very wrong is problematic at least,that they fail to understand the reasons for their models failures is of even greater concern.

      • sunshine…in their book, ‘The White Planet, glaciologists Jouzel, Lorius, and Raynaud report that according to GRACE meaasurements, Antartica has lost about 104 billion tons/year from 2002-2006 but double that 2006-2009.

        sunshine:…say what??

        For Greenland, they report a loss of 1.5 billion tons between 2000 and 2008.
        Oh, and sunshine, did you happen to read the other thread here about Himalayan Ice Melts??

        sunshine-what kind of drugs do you favor??

    • Define deniers and perhaps I can find some scientific evidence they would agree with. I can’t really help you as it is because the definition as it stands is someone that will accept no scientific evidence and I am unaware of anyone that fits that description. I also bet I can find some scientific evidence you would deny if denying is arguing uncertainties. I wonder if your definition will make you a denier also? Give me one and lets find out.

      • There’s even some levels of CAGW that I would deny, so the whole thing comes down to defining C in the AGW. It is a poorly defined phrase, and certainly IPCC doesn’t use the term, because it is not a scientific thing, more a social/ecological/financial thing that can’t be quantified like AGW can.

      • Jim D

        The “C” in CAGW has been outlined in detail by IPCC in its AR4 report.

        Let me repeat it here:

        “CAGW” is the IPCC premise that:

        1. human GHGs have been the cause of most of the observed warming since ~1950 [AR4 WGI SPM, p.10]

        2. this reflects a model-predicted 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C±0.7°C [AR4 WGI Ch.8, p.633]

        3. this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment from anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the range of 1.8°C to 6.4°C by the end of this century with increase in global sea level of up to 0.59 meters [AR4 WGI SPM, p.13]

        4.resulting in increased severity and/or intensity of heat waves, heavy precipitation events, droughts, tropical cyclones and extreme high sea levels [AR4 WGI SPM, p.8],

        5. with resulting flooding of several coastal cities and regions, crop failures and famines, loss of drinking water for millions from disappearing glaciers, intensification and expansion of wildfires, severe loss of Amazon forests, decline of corals, extinction of fish species, increase in malnutrition, increase in vector borne and diarrheal diseases, etc. [AR4 WGII]

        6. unless world-wide actions are undertaken to dramatically curtail human GHG emissions (principally CO2) [AR4 WGIII]

        That’s “CAGW” in a nutshell, according to IPCC.

        Max

      • That’s YOUR definition of CAGW.

        The IPCC never used the term CAGW nor defined the word “Catastrophic” means.

        Number #1 and #2 in your definition seem to have nothing to do with ‘C’. Someone could believe both but not believe in a catastrophe. So I wonder why they are in your list.

        Perhaps because you want everything you don’t accept to be called CAGW and if you admitted you disbelieve #1 and #2 but they aren’t CAGW you’d have nowhere to put them.

      • So, manacker, maybe you have answered steven’s question and would define a CAGW-denier as one who denies that any of the IPCC phrases you list are possibly true?

      • If that were the case it would be fairly easy to dispute #2 as being an accurate representation of climate sensitivity. Since that one can be disputed you can also dispute the rest.

      • steven, yes, somewhere else I posted a definition of a denier as someone who thought the whole IPCC sensitivity range (2-4.5 C per doubling) was 100%, indisputably, definitely wrong. Would that be your definition, and do you think a lot of people here fall into that category or do they have at least some uncertainty in their view?

      • Jim, I don’t know you’d have to do a poll. I don’t think there would be many deniers since you are specifying 100% surety and that is a pretty high bar but I could be wrong. People tend to make more absolute statements in arguments than they actually believe once you pin them down has been my personal experience.

      • My definition of denier is absent. I never really thought about it. I just consider it a term to represent anyone that happens to disagree with the person using it and highly variable.

      • steven, I would suggest that people who call the IPCC scientific consensus a ‘hoax’ or ‘fraud’ also don’t think that they could possibly be right, so there may be many in that category. It is difficult to use words like that and then say, well, maybe they’re onto something after all. You usually only see this level of denialism from politicians and the politically motivated.

      • Jim, like I said, you’d have to take a poll. Something that is as devisive as this topic causes extreme expressions of views. Those that speak in support of the IPCC conclusions often speak in absolute terms also, such as calling anyone that doesn’t think the IPCC is correct with its ranges deniers. This would indicate to me they are 100% sure and yet even the IPCC doesn’t claim to be 100% sure.

      • “steven, yes, somewhere else I posted a definition of a denier as someone who thought the whole IPCC sensitivity range (2-4.5 C per doubling) was 100%, indisputably, definitely wrong. ”

        I think if or when we reach 800 ppm of global CO2, within this time range
        we may get a rise of 2 C in global average temperature. I don’t think + 4 C is possible. Nor do I think 3 C increase is possible within 100 years.
        It seems unlikely that by 2050 global CO2 will be 550 ppm or higher. And seems unlikely that in 38 year global temperature will have increased more than 1 C. And it seems as likely that we have decline by as much as .5 C before 2050. And a .5 C decline would be worst than 1 C increase. And seems the less than 1 C increase over last century has be a good development. And is like all past warming periods, mostly good news.

    • Cry me a river Walter.

  9. The “best available evidence” is the evidence with the least uncertainty.

    That is why there is little or no evidence of global warming induced by mankind, but there is strong and convincing evidence that our lives, our destiny, and Earth’s climate are controlled primarily by the pulsar at the core of the Sun.

    See: Stuart Clark, The Sun Kings: The unexpected tragedy of Richard Carrington and the tale of howmodern astronomy began (Princeton University Press, 2007) 224 pages http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0691141266http://www.bookslut.com/nonfiction/2007_07_011472.php

    And O. Manuel, “The Creator, Destroyer & Sustainer of Life”

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

  10. “I know it when I see it” — I thought that quip referred to art. Now I find (I’m shocked!) that it refers to hard-core pornography (Justice Potter Stewart, 1964). I think the expression works better for art, which is much harder to define.

    • It works for thermometers, too. I know the temperature when I see it.
      ================

    • I am reminded of former Portland OR mayor Bud Clark and his call to expose yourself to art.

      (you need to see the poster)

  11. Rob Johnson-Taylor

    Two things initially come to mind
    A) man believes what he wants to believe and disregards the rest.
    B) the proof of the pudding is in the eating (ie eventually what happens will prove who is right or wrong)

    As for evidence on climate I still go back to Don Easterbrook’s book entitled “Evidence based climate science”

  12. This is a good topic for discussion in CE because IMO both sides of the debate here have been long on rhetoric but short on empirical evidence. Personalities have intruded on the science under discussion to the extent that the uninformed reader is unsure as to whom and what to believe.

    There is a tendency to put too much credence on shorter term trends exhibited by the empirical data and any attempt to splice modern (back to the beginning of the CET series at the most) recorded data with paleontological proxy data that are both temporally and spacially low in resolution have led to “hockey sticks” and other artifacts.

    The lack of common ground between the two sides of the “debate” is a matter of concern to me because without this occurring, I wonder how will we all progress? Judith is doing a wonderful job in her quest for a better and more productive dialogue in her chosen field and for this reason, and for the many on-line friendships I have made, I will continue to read and support CE.

    • Why can’t we all just get along?

      One side actually believes that the risk that anthro CO2 will genuinely cause catastrophic damage is sufficiently great to justify decarbonizing the entire world economy. Another side actually believes the danger is not that great, and believes that the economic damage of decarbonization is likely to be massive and virtually certain.

      What do those who argue for compromise (eg. lukewarmers, “moderates,” and “independents”) really mean? They mean, why doesn’t everyone else just forget what they believe, and just agree with me.

      It sounds so Ghandiesque, but is really no different from the stance of the majority who hold the two main positions.

      • I think you misunderestimate “lukewarmers”. There is no policy consensus among “lukewarmers”. They’re generally convinced that things aren’t going to hell in a handbasket, and rash policy initiatives are a bad idea, and policy might be necessary at some undetermined point in the future, but for now, just keep the powder dry, and maybe fund some BASIC research (no, we don’t need paleo reconstruction #337 or GCM #243 or social science of deniers study #126 complete with goofy internet poll that any 3rd grader can hack; maybe some more satellites might be a good idea, though).
        Saying that the greenhouse effect has to have some effect somewhere in there does not lead to the inevitable result that any of this grantsmanship or any of these goofy remediation ideas have to be supported. As a matter of fact, even if you accept the premise that some policy is required, it doesn’t demand “renewables”. Oddly, Hanson is one of the few flaming hots who get that part right: renewables are a dumb idea that can’t work, and nuke is the only practical solution for people who seriously want to decarbonize.
        Lukewarmers will settle for carbon reductions by fracking for gas.

      • Well put, Harold.

      • “They’re generally convinced that things aren’t going to hell in a handbasket, and rash policy initiatives are a bad idea, and policy might be necessary at some undetermined point in the future, but for now, just keep the powder dry, and maybe fund some BASIC research (no, we don’t need paleo reconstruction #337 or GCM #243 or social science of deniers study #126 complete with goofy internet poll that any 3rd grader can hack; maybe some more satellites might be a good idea, though).”

        That’s not what any lukewarmers who comment here have said. Though lots of skeptics would agree with all if it.

        – we aren’t going toi hell in a hand basket – check
        -rash policy initiatives are a bad idea – check
        -policy might be necessary at some undetermined point in the future –
        check
        -for now just keep the powder dry – check
        -maybe fund some basic research – check
        –we don’t need more paleo reconstructions or GCMs – check

        I agree with all of those and am a confirmed, knuckle dragging, mouth breathing skeptic, and by no means “lukewarm” about it.

      • ” As a matter of fact, even if you accept the premise that some policy is required, it doesn’t demand “renewables”. Oddly, Hanson is one of the few flaming hots who get that part right: renewables are a dumb idea that can’t work, and nuke is the only practical solution for people who seriously want to decarbonize.”

        Badly put, Harold. Perhaps we don’t need any policy. Crude oil is rapidly depleting in many parts of the world, and it is getting much more expensive due to its increasing scarcity. Something will need to be done to make up the liquid fuels shortfall. In certain respects, nature is decarbonizing for us. Nuclear will be used to create liquid fuels, and the renewable energy sources may be important in this regard as well because the intermittency is not a limiting factor.

        What has people spooked is if we start to mine marginal fossil fuels that require a huge energy kickstart investment to process.

        So besides Hansen, you have climate scientists/geophysicists such as Raymond Pierrehumbert that consider the entire system.
        The Myth of Saudi America

      • Harold

        I’d agree with your position of “lukewarmers”

        The key point is that I (as a “lukewarmer”) can accept that humans may be contributing to global warming through land use changes, urbanization, deforestation, fossil fuel use, etc.

        I also accept that atmospheric CO2 has risen since Mauna Loa measurements were installed and that human emissions have likely been a major cause.

        I also accept the laboratory evidence that CO2 and other GH gases absorb IR radiation.

        BUT I am not convinced that empirical evidence exists to support the IPCC CAGW premise, as outlined in its AR4 report.

        Until such evidence can be shown, I will remain skeptical of the CAGW premise.

        Max

      • +1 Peter Davies

        +1 Harold

        +1 Gary M

        +1 Manacker

      • WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) August 15, 2013 at 12:45 am
        “Crude oil is rapidly depleting in many parts of the world, and it is getting much more expensive due to its increasing scarcity.

        Source please for “…increasing scarcity.”.
        According to

        http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2012/03/13/exposing-the-2-percent-oil-reserves-myth/

        “… the U.S. has enough recoverable oil for the next 200 years, despite only having 2 percent of the world’s current proven oil reserves.”

        I have seen varied numbers depending on terms such as “proven reserves”, “recoverable reserves”, “known reserves” but all numbers I have seen are a minimum of around 50 years and most are over 100 years. Although there may be other reasons to move away from oil, I am not sure that “increasing scarcity” should be one of them.

      • PMHinSC has produced ridiculous numbers for oil reserves in the USA and the rest of the world.

      • max,

        “I’d agree with your position of ‘lukewarmers.’”

        Can you explain how the lukewarmer position, as defined by Harold, is any different from the position of most skeptics?

        I know there is a visceral fear many have of being labeled “conservative” (shudder), or “skeptic” (gag). But as I noted in my comment above, which of the positions listed by Harold are not held by skeptics? (And by skeptics, I mean actual, living, breathing skeptics, not the caricatures favored by the progressives around here.)

      • Gary, if you’ve watched the back-and-forth at WUWT and other places between the Principia bunch (or Skydragons, literally “greenhouse effect deniers”) and Watts, Spencer, and any number of other lukewarmers, there really isn’t any difference in policy preferences, they disagree about very specific physics, to wit, the Principia bunch keep playing with their toy thermodynamics without understanding thermodynamics in order to deny that there’s a such thing as a greenhouse effect in theory.

        That’s about it. All are “skeptics”. The thing that distinguishes lukewarmers from the Skydragons is a very narrow disagreement over physics that are pretty much beyond dispute. This is why some suspect at least some of the Skydragons to be a false flag op. YMMV.

      • Gary M

        Believe Harold has already answered the question you addressed to me (and I agree with his response), but here’s my take on it.

        “Skeptics”, i.e. all those who are rationally skeptical of the CAGW premise (as specifically outlined by IPCC in its AR4 report), do not agree with the premise that human GHG emissions can lead to “potentially catastrophic” consequences as outlined unless human GHG emissions are curtailed dramatically.

        As Harold wrote, there is no “consensus” policy statement among skeptics. (They are generally independent thinkers.)

        “Lukewarmers” (included under “skeptics”) accept that human activities (including GHG emissions) may have had some influence on past climate, but that there is no empirical evidence to support the notion that this warming could result in “potentially catastrophic” consequences in the future.

        Others may be “skeptical” of the GH theory itself or of the premise that GH warming of our climate can even be predicted at all, etc., etc.

        Many “lukewarmers” (myself included) are prepared to provisionally accept the conclusions of several recent observation-based studies on 2xCO2 climate sensitivity, which show ECS to be around half of earlier model-based estimates cited by IPCC in its AR4 report, at least until a better estimate, which is based on empirical evidence, comes along.

        That’s how I see the distinction as a “lukewarmer” and “skeptic”.

        Max

      • Adding to Max’s comment, there’s plenty of room for more skepticism toward “consensus” concerns and policy demands once we get to a moderate (<2C/doubling) climate sensitivity. There's room for skepticism that a 2C rise will be catastrophic, or even bad. There's room for skepticism that the renewables policy proscription is even workable, let alone wise. There's plenty of room for skepticism of the "consensus" damage/policy party line, even if you agree that things may be 2 or 3 or 4 degrees warmer in 2100.

      • max and Harold,

        OK, I think you two have redefined the term as it has traditionally been used in the climate debate.

        Leave SkyDragons and other fringe arguments on physics out of it. Since I have been following the debate, the main camps have been:

        consensus: As defined by Gavin Schmidt and Real Climate: the planet is warming, anthro CO2 and other green house gases are primarily responsible for that warming, the risks of dangerous (aka catastrophic) damage from that warming requires implementation of strong public policies (aka decabonization).

        skeptic: As typified by Dyson, Lindzen, WUWT, et al.: the planet seems to be warming, some of that warming may be caused by human GHG emissions (and other influences like black carbon), but the science is no where certain enough to justify major policy initiatives, and particularly not decarbonization.

        lukewarmers: As typified by Dr. Curry (and formerly I though Steven Mosher and Keith Kloor): the planet is warming, anthro CO2 and other GHGs are a substantial factor in that warming, and while the uncertainties are too great to justify decarbonization, the risk of the warming is sufficiently great to justify substantial public policy initiatives.

        The difference that matters in the climate debate is not discrete aspects of the physics. Minds may differ among each of the groups on the reliability of the surface record, the certainty of the models, the sensitivity of the climate to CO2 (which to me is shorthand for the whole debate), the reliability of models etc. But what defines the “tribes,” is their position on policy.

        Defining terms is essential to any coherent debate. The problem here is that one tribe considers it in its best interests to obscure the debate, and thus refuses to be bound by existing definitions of words, and in fact keeps changing their own definitions of their own terms. Progressivs prefer an incoherent debate. Because when you get down to the core of their beliefs, and the content of their policies, they are simply not acceptable to the sheep they want so desperately to govern. Which is why you almost never see the term “decarbonize” in the media.

      • Interesting how some “skeptics” make the same mistakes, over and over, and ignore the very evidence they’ve been scrutinizing, such as that GaryM just did:

        consensus: As defined by Gavin Schmidt and Real Climate: the planet is warming, anthro CO2 and other green house gases are primarily responsible for that warming,

        Let’s see if any “skeptics” can spot the error in GaryM’s statement. Let this be a test. Are you a “skeptic” or a skeptic.

        The proof is in the pudding.

      • And given GaryM’s error, this following statement of his is truly a work of art:

        The problem here is that one tribe considers it in its best interests to obscure the debate,

        That is if you are as much of an aficionado of unintentional irony as I am. GaryM could give Chief a run for his money in that department.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Joshua: Let this be a test. Are you a “skeptic” or a skeptic.

        The proof is in the pudding.

        Pudding? The taste of true skepticism is in the pudding? You worry too much about what is “true” skepticism, and not enough about whether anything you write makes any sense.

      • Joshua I can say this about GaryM’s 3 tribe example. I think one tribe has climbed further out on a limb then the others. It’s human nature to think of a saw.

      • The policy is the same, whatever side you choose. The choice of decarbonization is being made for us by nature, and man has little say in the matter.

        The equivalent to the Principia crowd is the NewsMax crowd and kooks like Jerome Corsi, who believe crude oil has an abiotic origin and is being continually replenished deep within the earth. Decarbonization is not a word in their vocabulary as they consider fossil fuels misnamed and infinite in nature.

      • Matt –

        Pudding? The taste of true skepticism is in the pudding?

        It’s an expression.

        Given that you’re one of the more reliably skeptical “skeptics” that I’ve seen here, my guess is that you see the error in the part of GaryM’s post I excerpted (actually, there are errors elsewhere in the post as well), but for some reason would rather comment on what I write rather than answer the question. Remember that GaryM also said:

        The problem here is that one tribe considers it in its best interests to obscure the debate,

        Sometimes not discussing inaccuracies on your own side is effectively the same as “obscuring the debate.” Gary thinks that only one sides does it, I think that both sides do it.

        You worry too much about what is “true” skepticism, and not enough about whether anything you write makes any sense.

        Is that criticism because you were wrong in that other discussion we had on this thread?

        I try to make sense. I may not always succeed. If you think I’m not worrying enough about making sense, I can only conclude that somehow my not making sense causes you some problem (as I think I worry about making sense sufficiently, and feel no need to worry about it more).

        I’d say that the best way for you to solve that problem is to point out where I didn’t make sense rather than tell me what I should worry more about.

      • Ragnaar –

        I think one tribe has climbed further out on a limb then the others. It’s human nature to think of a saw.

        Let’s split those two sentence up.

        Perhaps you are right that one side has climbed further out on a limb. But in the end, I don’t think that makes much difference. The climate will do what it does and the tribal war will just move to another battlefield, with little changed.

        Yes, it is human nature measure out how far out the other tribe is climbing, with a saw in hand. But that “nature” predominates among those who are more heavily identified with their tribal affinities. Sometimes people might react by saying “Hey, look out. Let me give you a hand.”

      • Matthew R Marler

        Joshua: Given that you’re one of the more reliably skeptical “skeptics” that I’ve seen here, my guess is that you see the error in the part of GaryM’s post I excerpted (actually, there are errors elsewhere in the post as well), but for some reason would rather comment on what I write rather than answer the question.

        That was true: to you I responded to what you wrote.

        I am pretty much of a believer. I believe the laws of thermodynamics, for example, which imply, among other things, that the energy flows throughout the climate system have to balance out. Also, for the second law [delta H plus T delta S >= 0], it is possible that on Earth the steady influx of energy from the sun is compatible with entropy being reduced here on Earth (as exemplified by photosynthesis, and the maintenance of the large scale heat transfer structures like the Southern Oscillation.)

        Other beliefs: conservation of momentum and angular momentum; the Earth is warmed by broad spectrum radiation from the sun, and cooled by narrow spectrum radiation from the Earth; that CO2 absorbs and transmits in a portion of the spectrum that the Earth radiates; that dry and moist thermals transport energy (tangible and latent energy) from the Earth surface and lower troposphere to the upper troposphere; that the Earth has a spheroidal shape, rotates on its axis, revolves around the sun, and that the axis is tilted with respect to the plane of the ecliptic. Pierrehumbert’s book “Principles of Planetary Climate” and Salby’s book “Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate” contain lots of useful and believable information, though it must be noted that some of the mathematical equations have known inaccuracies. I could go on: Bernoulli’s Principle explains how moving wings keep heavier than air bodies in the air and how bird wings provide propulsion.

        I don’t believe (of those topics discussed here regularly) AGW and CAGW as they are called: the evidence in support of them is pitiful. How such a Swiss cheese or aerogel of evidence inspires wide spread belief is some kind of psychological process independent of rational thought.

      • Joshua:
        “Yes, it is human nature measure out how far out the other tribe is climbing, with a saw in hand. But that “nature” predominates among those who are more heavily identified with their tribal affinities. Sometimes people might react by saying “Hey, look out. Let me give you a hand.”
        I am sorry, I just a had a Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote moment. It is time to put away the saws I think.

      • Here’s one for your next book, WHT.

        http://tinyurl.com/lzs2jhv

        Somehow I don’t think they’re still worried about peak pulp for making newsprint. They still were in the 80s when I started writing for them.

      • The fact is that scarcity leads to civil unrest, civil unrest leads to government involvement, and government involvement is just the thing that most deniers and cornucopians hate most of all.

    • It is interesting to me that you have that perspective, Peter, because it seems to me that you’re one of the relatively few here (almost only one now that John Carpenter hardly participates and BillC is long gone) that are at least as equally interested in gaining perspective, through sharing views, as in tooting their own horn (I think WHT wrongly puts you in his crank group – although it does seem that on that one issue you might be a bit, er, eccentric in your views).

      I think that isn’t a coincidence.

      • We all have our ideosyncrasies Joshua and that issue relating to Tesla being able to harness energy from “nothing” is far from resolved IMO, notwithstanding that current scientific opinion is against this aspect of his work.

        In the event that I am proved to be wrong by the best available scientific evidence, I will be quite happy to admit it and move on. I may have a few foibles but an excess of ego isn’t one of them.

      • Josh,
        Davies said this in the past:

        “I think that energy is all around us and that the 2nd law of thermodynamics will be accepted by mainstream science as being falsified as soon as scientists start replicating Tesla’s early experiments.

        AGW supporters have usually alluded to basic physics to support their greenhouse gas theory but significantly, never have they invoked the 2nd law of thermodynamics.”

        Science is brutal in certain ways. If you make assorted assertions based only on gut feeling and then proven wrong, you will get kicked to the curb and thereafter no one will listen to you. In contrast to baseball, there is no “3 strikes and you are out” policy in science.

      • WHT should read this exchange between Fred Moolton and Judith.

        Fred Moolten | January 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
        I’m not sure what point you’re making, Dallas. Kleidon doesn’t quantitatively go into the magnitude of feedbacks, nor does he dispute mainstream estimates of their magnitude. This is one of the reasons why it’s not clear how his approach would differ in its ultimate conclusions from mainstream approaches.

        curryja | January 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
        Fred, Kleidon’s approach uses the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The mainstream approach uses the first law of thermodynamics. Different physics are in play here, there is no reason to expect the same answer, but also no evidence here of a different answer. The linear approach that evolves from energy balance models is almost certainly oversimplistic, IMO.

        Fred Moolten | January 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
        It’s my impression that mainstream approaches recognize the need to conform to both laws of thermodynamics. I’m not sure I see the particular relevance to energy balance models here, but if their limitations are a concern, this must be spelled out mathematically, explaining what and by how much a preferable approach would deviate. I actually think that those who utilize these models have done that to a commendable extent (e.g., Gregory and Forster, Padilla et al, and others), and have provided uncertainty estimates that are reasonable in regard to transient climate responses, but if anyone disagrees, then we need the exact numbers that represent the area of disagreement..

        curryja | January 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
        Nope, 2nd law does not appear in the traditional analyses of feedback.

        Science IS brutal WHT.

      • If WHT is interested this is the original head post by Judith. The scientific content of this post and the comments from the denizens are relatively clear of personal invective which I had appreciated back then.

        Nonequilibrium thermodynamics and maximum entropy production in the Earth system
        Posted on January 10, 2012 | 364 Comments

      • Can’t argue this until you can point out how 1st and 2nd laws are inconsistent. They are not.

      • The 1st law of TD and the 2nd law of TD both relate to closed systems and are consistent. The GHG scenario is not happening in a closed system and as Judith states, the 2nd law is not featured in traditional climate studies but the 1st law is. They apparently belong to separate areas of physics.

        The question of maximum entrophy production in Earth systems is an interesting one but it seems to have been overlooked through an overly simplistic approach by traditional climate science to feedbacks in that reference is only made to the 1st law of TD, notwithstanding that this law relates only to closed systems.

        CO2 seems to have been given far too much attention in AGW research and while there may be co-relations between movements in CO2 as measured in Moana Loa (spacially low res as a measure of global CO2 trends IMO) and global average temp, causation remains moot (as I have defined in my other response to you down thread)

        As you rightly have said previously, I am not a scientist and you are. Tell me where my impressions are wrong and provide reasons why they are wrong but do this in a civil manner so that other readers may also learn the error of my ways. Unless you engage more effectively with me and others, you will continue to be peripheral to the debate.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, I’m always lurking about.

      • Peter Davies, That was an interesting thread and ab out the time I was crowned a crackpot :)

        “The paper parallels some of the things I have been trying to quantify. When I work from the glacial conditions to today, I get a better fit for the CO2 temperature change with an indication that CO2 is approaching the limit estimated by Calendar in the 1930s and going back to Arrhenius’ paper, his estimate, once the overly optimistic H2O feedback is removed, (the 1.6 (2.1) with water vapor). I don’t know if you are aware, but the approximate concentrations in his 1986 paper are 187PPM for the 0.67K and 420PPM for the 1.5K, where K is the CO2 concentration he used relative to his time. It is listed in the last table of his paper. You can compare the current observed to his estimates by latitude which tends to drive me toward Calendar and Manabe.

        That significantly reduces the surface impact of CO2 doubling. approximately 0.8 to 1.2 C, which changes the relative magnitude of the feed back potential of clouds and even my radical conductivity angle, though that is an approximate millennial scale feedback.

        It is interesting to me, but I am looking at the entire range of climate, glacial to interglacial not just end of the interglacial.”

        What a radical I am.

      • This is a very limited view of entropy. The modern way of thinking about energy is that it is both conserved and it spreads. The diffusivity of heat is an example of spreading of energy over space and time. That has implications in regards to entropy — diffusion is irreversible and leads to an increase in entropy of the system being characterized.

        The point is that many people do not realize they are invoking the second law when they apply the heat equation. As stated the first law is rolled up into a very general principle, which when applied produces the equations such as Fokker-Planck, Navier-Stokes, etc that scientists and engineers use to solve all kinds.of problems.

        So the statement that climate scientists are not using the second law is wrong.

      • David L. Hagen

        Peter Davies
        Re: “2nd law of TD both relate to closed systems and are consistent.”
        Granville Sewell extended the 2nd law to open systems, see:
        A second look at the second law. and his textbook Appendix D: “Can ANYTHING Happen in an Open System?”

        While not in GCM’s or climate sensitivity, scientists are modeling earth thermodynamically as a heat engine with solar heat input primarily into the tropics and radiation from the poles.

      • Webster, “So the statement that climate scientists are not using the second law is wrong.”

        Yes and no. In a non-equilibrium system you don’t have just simple diffusion. Take the surface/air boundary of the oceans. You have a maximum temperature of 300K, an ocean minimum sink temperature of 271K and and an atmospheric minimum sink temperature of 184K. You have a maximum ocean sink efficiency of ~10% and a maximum atmospheric sink efficiency of 39% or about 25% of the “surface” temperature increase will diffuse into the oceans. By your diffusion estimates 50% diffuses into the oceans. Not properly using the second law is about the same as not using it at all.

      • Cappy
        Do you really think the physics of diffusion changes depending on whether the system is equilibrium or non-equilibrium???

        Good gawd, it may be time for you to throw in the towel.

        Take the situation of two people at opposite ends of the room. One person opens a perfume bottle. The previous equilibrium is now out of equilibrium. One can apply a diffusion model to calculate how long it takes for the other person to detect the odor.

        If not that analogy, consider the operation of any semiconductor device. The fact that current flows means the device is not in equilibrium. Yet we have to use diffusion to model the carrier concentration gradient that describes the flow of current caused by a potential difference. The diffusivity property remains unchanged.

        Cappy, you are out of your element when it comes to basic stuff, yet you insist on putting on such a charade. It really is just a game to you. Fishing for suckers. Sometimes I wonder why I no longer put in hours at a stretch casting a line like when I was a kid. You still do.
        Now you have to troll for humans willing to take the bait.

        Sorry Charlie, no can do!

      • Web, the oceans are a none equilibrium system and a very, very far from equilibrium. To use the equilibrium approximation is worse than wrong, it is perverse.
        At its simplest the ocean is a layer cake, the top layer, the warm surface evaporates and transports water to the poles. In the course of the winter the same amount of water that lands on the poles, in the form of very cold brine, slots into the bottom of the cake, raising it by a layer. Year on year, a new cold layer of dense, cold, brine slots into the bottom of the ocean and water from the surface leaves the liquid as gas, and lands on the poles as solid.
        So there is an input of ‘cold’ to the bottom of the ocean, that slowly rises.
        Now the shape of the temperature profile depends on the relative rates at which ‘cold’ is injected into the bottom and the rate that heat diffuses from the surface.
        Visualize this as a long escalator going up. You, heat, are at the top and are trying to go down an escalator going in the opposite direction. How far you get down depends on the relative rates of the speed of the escalator, which is a zero order process (i.e. one step every three seconds) and your rate of decent which is first order.
        We know from the temperature profile of the oceans, which the vast majority at the same polar input temperature, that the relative rates of the two inputs are quite different, the rate that ‘cold’ enters the ocean is much faster than the rate heat travels. Heat is stuck at the top of the escalator.

        There is a simple test to determine, experimentally, if we have a system at, or near to, equilibrium. A system at equilibrium cannot perform work, indeed this is how we know that the system is at equilibrium. The ocean gradient of temperature can do work; you can place a loop of pipe containing ammonia in the ocean. One can condense ammonia gas at the cool bottom of a loop, pump the cold liquid ammonia to the surface. At the surface the ammonia warms and become a gas, which can be passed through a turbine to generate electricity, enough to drive the pump at the bottom and be used for much else. Ocean thermal energy conversion power plants have been tested and they work. They are real machines, which convert the non-equilibrium thermal gradient of the oceans into work.

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

        So the oceans are not at, near, close to, in range of or even within reach of thermal equilibrium. Using classical equilibrium thermodynamics to describe the movement of heat within the oceans is completely wrong, misleading and stupid.

      • Webster, “Do you really think the physics of diffusion changes depending on whether the system is equilibrium or non-equilibrium???”

        The impact of diffusion changes with the conditions, equilibrium or steady state. But my point to you numbnuts is you have no clue what the initial conditions should, would or could be. You are a ideal slab modeler that will have to correct for the deficiencies in your ideal slab model assumptions. Since you are an ideal slab modeler, all of your results will be over estimates. You and Hansen have got the idealist, ideal overestimation of doom thing down pat.

    • “This is a good topic for discussion in CE because IMO both sides of the debate here have been long on rhetoric but short on empirical evidence.” Peter.

      Mostly this is another great chance to indulge in some false equivalence.

      There is a large amount fo evidence and scientific work on ‘one side’ and mostly hot air and whining on the ‘other side’.

      • Micheal, “There is a large amount fo evidence and scientific work on ‘one side’ and mostly hot air and whining on the ‘other side’.”

        There certainly is. How y’all going to handle the gross overestimation of CO2 equivalent forcing and underestimation of natural and “other” factors like black carbon both natural and anthropogenic? With that 95% confidence level rapidly being invalidated and the eyes and keyboards of a “skeptical” nation watching and waiting, it must be frustrating. I don’t blame y’all for whining, lashing out and lawyering up, but think of your dignity man!

      • Freeman Dyson apparently doesn’t think that the evidence and scientific work done by orthodox climate science cuts the mustard as far as being the “best available scientific evidence” is concerned.

        Jumping to conclusions with respect to policy advice is IMO the main problem with climate science today. Fortunately, many governments are choosing to disregard alarmist prognostications and to pursue more viable options to reduce pollution, improve water conservation and land management and to improve the social welfare of their inhabitants.

      • Counter Dyson with Murray Gell-Mann

        Pushing an energy transformation is the solution to the deadlock in viewpoints.

      • WHT I agree that energy policies are probably where the debate should be focussing because the long term viability of present energy consumption levels is moot. The reduction of pollution and the development of sensible and economically sound alternatives to fossil fuels should be a high priority.

      • Can’t argue this until you define what the word moot means to you.

      • Moot means subject to discussion to me. Its not absolutely certain (and what would be?) but it seems appropriate to take a conservative approach to the issue of fossil fuel energy depletion and take a “no regrets” approach to this whole issue.

      • “Freeman Dyson apparently doesn’t think that the evidence and scientific work done by orthodox climate science cuts the mustard as far as being the “best available scientific evidence” is concerned. ” – Peter

        The word ‘available’ is key.

      • Anytime you want to post evidence that a warming planet is something to be concerned about Michael, feel free.

    • Peter Davies:
      “This is a good topic for discussion in CE because IMO both sides of the debate here have been long on rhetoric but short on empirical evidence.”

      I think you have it. Lacking enough empirical evidence, what we have left is the rhetoric for the short term, now. Rhetoric begats rhetoric as perhaps the perceived most effective way to shift the political climate. If the climate science didn’t effect governments and their policies, many wouldn’t have much interest in the subject, and the rhetoric would be scaled back significantly.

    • We are progressing. Hansen started with a climate sensitivity around 4C. The lastest IPCC report says 3C is most likely. Recent studies are dragging that down to around 2C. Before long skeptics will be part of the consensus and the argument will be over.

  13. The post could have ended with simply answering the three questions in the initial quote from Hilary Ostrov:

    “Is ‘best available evidence’ a new, improved “reframing” of the so-called ‘consensus’ (that is not really holding up too well, these days)? Is it simply a way of sweeping aside the validity of any acknowledgement/discussion of the uncertainties? Or is it something completely different?!”

    Yes. Yes. And no.

    “Best available evidence” is to the “consensus” what “sustainability” is to “mitigation” is to “decarbonization,” or what “global warming” is to “climate change,” or what “useful” (in the context of models) is to “verified.”

    Reframing is so much easier than admitting the uncertainties and ignorance that permeate our knowledge of Earth’s climate.

  14. What is the best available scientific evidence?
    The best available scientific evidence is actual data!

    It is not Model Output!
    It is not Consensus Theory!
    It is not skeptical Theory!

    It is actual Data!

  15. I am afraid I cannot follow the way this thread is supposed to make sense. Let me just make two points.

    The “best evidence available” is a dangerous phrase. What needs to be demonstrated is that the best evidence available is good enough to solve the problem. If is isn’t, then the problem cannot be solved.

    I interpret Nullius in Verba completely differently. It does not mean that we should disregard the opinions of others. It means that, in science, we only believe the empirical data. If someone has an opinion that is not based on solid empirical data, then that opinion is not necessarily correct. Scientists are expected to support their opinions with measured empirical data.

  16. In climate science arguments, such evidence commonly includes results from climate model simulations

    output from climate models is not evidence. only actual data is actual evidence.

  17. Steven Mosher

    Judith

    “1. For a complex problem with large uncertainties, there is no objective way to to determine ‘best available evidence’; expert judgment methods subjectively depend on which experts you select.”

    ya. that is one of the reasons why you see other disciplines able to wage war in the climate battle. Philosophy gets to play, cognitive psychology, sociology.. they all get to play because there is no canonical test for what is the best evidence.

    The best I think we can do is build from science that we dont want to give up.
    To start with radiative physics. How much one can build on that is an interesting question. And further if one cant get a debate partner to accept that bit of physics, its best to just ignore them.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: there is no canonical test for what is the best evidence.

      Just so.

      The best I think we can do is build from science that we dont want to give up. To start with radiative physics.

      But don’t end there. Continue on to all the energy flows, and all the possible changes that a change in CO2 might engender.

      • The radiative physics to CO2 control knob is really Petri dish to great whole world. You can generalize from the specific, but only correctly sometimes.
        =================

    • Radiative physics? That’s incomplete and therefore wrong. The right tool for the surface energy budget is heat transfer and that includes non-radiative heat transfer, which, by the way, is predominant in this case.

  18. On the open thread, Mosh posted a link to a you-tube by Gavin Schmidt on how scientists should communicate:

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/10/open-thread-weekend-27/#comment-363680

    I went through it and summarized Gavin’s points, plus added a few comments (other denizens added theirs, as well):

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/10/open-thread-weekend-27/#comment-363733

    What Gavin says generally makes sense (even if one does not agree with his beliefs on “CAGW”, for example).

    Why communicate?
    – criticize something “bad” (a book, movie)
    – for political reasons
    – to convince someone
    [as I see it, number two and three are often combined]

    What to communicate?
    – be strategic
    – know your subject
    [makes good sense]

    How to communicate?
    – use blogs, other means
    – interactive Q+A
    [indeed! but guard against censorship of undesired or inconvenient comments]
    – also press releases, briefings are a good use of time

    Be responsible:
    – to the people who pay you
    – to avoid sensationalism
    – to correct those who misuse your communication for advocacy
    [number one is number one, no doubt - and I see no mention of "telling the truth objectively"]

    There is a “politicized element” in climate science that leads to “fake debates” – avoid or ignore these
    [oops! - who defines "fake" - is the science "settled"?]

    “Advocacy” issue in science is “bogus” – we are all advocates
    [I disagree - if you are acting as an "advocate", you are no longer acting as an unbiased, objective "scientist"]
    – we must be clear up front “what we are advocating”
    – ex. “greater public understanding + clarity”, greater “awareness of a problem”, or “to change people’s behavior”
    ["greater public understanding" is OK for a scientist IMO - the next two are not, because they go in the direction of alarmism and advocacy]

    Present info so your audience can understand it (“layering”)
    [makes sense]

    How do scientists cope?
    – understand background conversations
    – tell people what you CAN’T conclude
    – tell “stories” rather than just present facts
    – use “art” (graphs are OK, but pictures are much better)
    – when in hole, stop digging!
    [yeah, man - all good stuff - but stick to the data and don't just "make stuff up" to get a message across]

    What to avoid:
    – any discussions of “free speech”, FOI requests – don’t go there!
    – don’t be an excessive advocate
    [what's "excessive"?]
    – don’t be arrogant, don’t be mean
    [yes - temper blog comments to avoid arrogance, do not censor other opinions]
    – don’t overgeneralize: “science shows…”, models prove…”, etc.
    [tell it to the press (and your boss), Gavin - and make sure they understand it!]
    – don’t be naïve in what policy makers want from you – ask them
    [this is loaded - if you deliver what "policy makers" want, rather than what the data show, you are not a scientist]
    – don’t talk about stuff you have no knowledge of (carbon tax vs. cap and trade, etc.)
    [amen, Gavin! (tell it to your boss, too)]

    Back to Dan Kahan’s post and Hilary Ostrov’s comments.

    Our hostess recalls that ” Gavin Schmidt made the point that scientists should speak out on their opinions about topics related to their area of expertise”.

    This very much confirms Gavin’s message on the you-tube.

    Her response was:

    I have no problem with this, if your objective is to respond to someone’s request for your opinion, or you want your opinion for some reason to be a matter of public record or for people to consider your opinion and comment on it.
    It is a different ballgame, however, if your objective is to change the minds of the people in your audience, to support your view on the science and/or policy.

    IMO this is where “opinions” become loaded sales pitches for a specific viewpoint.

    And this is no longer “best available evidence” because it only presents one view.

    It appears to me (as an interested bystander) that climate science has fallen victim to the politicized consensus process of the IPCC, whereby all dissenting evidence and views are systematically censored out of the “best available evidence” in order to arrive at the favored “best decision-relevant scientific evidence” (and hence the desired decision).

    Max

  19. I think that if Climate Science was robust and easily defensible, then thermometer readings taken at a location in the 1930 would not require to be adjusted downward every few years.

  20. > [R]ead the comments on Kahan’s threads, all of the comments provide cogent and provocative inputs (something for the Climate Etc. denizens to aspire to).

    Among these cogent and provocative inputs, I see a commenter named “Joshua”.

    Oh, wait.

    Is that you, Joshua?

  21. Hank Zentgraf

    Judith, for me trust is the big issue. In climate science where is the quality control? What are the quality standards? Who oversees the process? Where are the outside third party reviews? Where are the lengthy and public comprehensive debates? When poorly sited thermometers are allowed to stay in the system, who is held responsible? Are journal articles reliable? If not who cares? If they are not reliable, who fixes it? If opposing points of view are not permitted into journals, how is that remedied? If the new position on the pause is “the heat is hiding in the deep ocean” who makes sure there is evidence for that position? If a scientist uses a statistical trick to deceive, what are the consequences? Where is the criteria to validate the 73 climate models? Who cares? The stakes are high, but the process is juvenile.
    If I am off base, educate me.

    • Hank,

      That stuff is engineering, not science. Scientists doesn’t do quality control. They do science.

      • Peter, I agree that I have an engineering perspective. Are you saying that the scientific process need not achieve quality outcomes?

      • That is not true. We do have both positive and negative internal controls and external controls as well. If you want to measure the levels of “X”, you use something that increase and something that decreases “X” (internal pos/neg control) and run know levels of “X” through you detection system to calibrate (external controls). You also measure a house keeping background that is not linked to “X”, that should be invariant, “Y”.
        Thus, you reference “X/Y” at minimum and maximum to establish your system range, and have it externally calibrated.

      • Hank,

        No. I’m saying scientists don’t ‘do quality’. There is no quality management as there is in engineering.

        Scientists are not liable as engineers are.

        Scientists are not held responsible for providing biased and unbalanced information and advocacy) that causes us to waste trillions on policies that have no chance of delivering any benefits – such as carbon pricing and renewable energy schemes.

      • “Scientists are not liable as engineers are”
        BS. Many clinical scientists, especially ones that run specific diagnostic tests, are legally liable for their conclusions. The pathologists in particular carry heavy legal burdens and thus carry hefty insurance policies.
        Anyone who works in drug design/drug development has to have all their legally dated/signed lab books deposited when filled.

        Retraction watch is going strong.
        Have a look at this entry in RW:-

        http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/autism-genetics-papers-retracted-after-fraud-inquiry-at-ny-research-agency/

        They are nailed and now people are going through previous papers by the same people.
        They have not got the raw data files to show that they did not cheat and now their careers are over. However, the bogus genetic analysis will linger for a while.

      • Pals to pals to pals,
        Perverted email message.
        Peer review review.
        =============

    • Hank,

      while I don’t expect anyone to answer the questions you posed, your comment remains one of the best in this thread

  22. If one is generous and allows models into the general class of measurements or maybe observation, even then they are inferior to more classical measurements/observations. Let’s take a radar speed gun for example. It has adjustable parameters. But these are used to calibrate the instrument against a standard. In climate models, adjustable parameters are there to make the output simply similar to climate measurements of the past. They are so complex that this is in no way comparable to the calibration of a radar gun. First of all, climate is supposedly chaotic. One wouldn’t expect a “perfect” climate model to replicate any given period in history, much less predict the future climate. And then, with the current models, there are approximation necessary due to limitations in computing power.

    So, all-in-all, climate models as a measurement/observation are inferior to more mundane measuring devices.

  23. Re: Nullius in verba–the Royal Society motto that translates to “take no one’s word for it”
    TheRoyal Societyexplains:

    “It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.”

    Re: “What rational people are able to to do is to identify BS (see BS detectors).”
    Applying Nullius in verba, when I see ALL the climate models trending TOO HOT against the objective evidence of global temperatures, that rings my BS meter off the charts. That is systematic bias writ large, (“Type B error.”
    STILL Epic Fail 73 climate models vs measurements running year means
    Then when the “climate scientists” use those models to advocate “stop anthropogenic warming”, that shows collective lemming like group behavior amplified by funding feedback, as the cause for that systematic bias.
    That is NOT objective validation of models against the best evidence.
    For objective comparisons to the highest standards of excellence, see The Right Climate Stuff

    • Steven Mosher

      so david you buy that document

      ‘While it can be shown that the pure
      radiative effect of a doubling of CO2 concentration from 280 ppm to 560 ppm would produce ~1.2 O
      C, the rest of the above estimate is a function of uncertain feedback effects.”

      “The physics of warming by atmospheric CO2
      is well established, and it is generally agreed
      that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from
      preindustrial levels would add about 1 O
      C to
      the earth’s warmth. This relationship is
      logarithmic, and was described by Svante
      Arrhenius in 1896. The gain of ~4 W/m2
      shown on this figure equates to about 1 O
      C.
      The issue in dispute is the amount of
      amplification that would come from
      humidification of a warmer mid-to-upper
      troposphere. Significant research is focused on
      this problem, but the answer at present is far
      from clear. ”

      Now lets look at their unsupported claims. these are either wrong or unsupported by any evidence or data.

      1. “While TRCS veterans of our nation’s manned space program have gained a healthy respect for the
      usefulness of simple, as well as, complex models throughout our careers, we also know it is critical to
      first validate the models before using them in critical design or operational decisions with potentially
      severe unintended consequences. Climate simulation models have not been validated through the
      normal rigorous process of comparing many aspects of model predictions to physical data to determine
      their accuracy and utility for critical decision making. ”

      2. “The actual earth surface temperature response to CO2 emissions cannot be validated in the models if
      important naturally occurring climate change mechanisms are not modeled accurately.”

      3. “The actual model validation
      process will require decades. ”

      They do however get this part right

      “In the meantime, we recognize that there is some value in the model outputs if used wisely. Some
      decision-making considerations can be based on a combination of observations and model output.
      Present-day models can simulate some things well and some things poorly. There’s no reason not to
      take advantage of their strengths and use observations to constrain their weaknesses.”

      • Steven Mosher

        Type B Error
        I presume by your silence that you do not object to the first issue that there is serious “systematic” Type B error in the current GCM projections. Without such error, I would expect the model projections to be normally distributed about the measured global temperatures.

        Re: point 1. As an engineer, I endorse their key point of needing validation before trusting complex models. I do not know of any model validation of the GCMs.

        I have not heard that any of the GCMs have been put through NASA’s Quality Program

        Nor have I heard that “NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility

        Nor have I heard that any of the GCMs have been put thru NASA’s CFD Verification and Validation effort.

        Else the models would not have the serious Type B error that is so obvious.
        Can you point to any?

        Point 2 makes common sense, especially if natural variations exceed anthropogenic variations. e.g. the major rise in temperature from the Little Ice Age.

        On point 3., Nigel Fox of NPL affirms such extensive delays in his presentation on satellite uncertainty. See Fox’s lectures on the TRUTHS project.
        Furthermore, there is the larger challenge of validation when there are more parameters than data.
        For further discussion see Climate Etc. Validation

        May I recommend you read each of TheRightClimateStuff’s documents.
        From their proven track record and exceptional care and excellence, they have a lot more credibility than any of the GCM model programs I have read about.

        Otherwise the models would not have the serious Type B error that is so obvious. They are so far off as to be laughable.
        Can you point to any models that do not have such serious Type B errors?

        Compare Green & Armstrong, Evidence-based Forecasting for Climate Change. draft 1 Feb. 2013

  24. > For a complex problem with large uncertainties, there is no objective way to to determine ‘best available evidence’; expert judgment methods subjectively depend on which experts you select.

    To that effect, Dan Kahan pointed toward chick sexing, which I think a commenter told me it was busted here a while ago.

    In any case, here’s a paper about categorization that tackles chess and chick sexing:

    http://cogprints.org/3255/1/chicken.pdf

    (I vaguely recall someone who told me that this example was busted, but can’t find it back.)

    BTW, I think Kahan is skating on thin with his discussion of classification task. The question “what is best evidence” is not exactly determined by a categorization task. We are not asking scientists to determine if some result R counts as evidence. We are asking scientists to order R1 and R2 on a scale. We can also run some cut-off, like with the fame judgement task:

    > [P]articipants are exposed to a list composed of famous and nonfamous names and then tested for recollection of which names are famous

    http://www.cognitiveatlas.org/task/fame_judgment_task

    ***

    To create an expert system out of all this would make for an interesting project. Ask your AI guru for details.

    Not that it will set you free from experts, mind you.

    • Skating on thin ice.

      ***

      I might as well add that the consilience of evidence might matter even more than their bestness.

      Not unlike the consilience of judgements from the experts in some field.

      Wink wink.

      Sometimes, it’s consilience that warrants the bestness status.

      ***

      Seems that E. O. Wilson’s book with the same title is on-line:

      http://wtf.tw/ref/wilson.pdf

      Woot-woot!

      • Steven Mosher

        ‘consilience of evidence ”

        I was waiting for that

        A good example that tony b might like.

        One can imagine haviing a bit of historical evidence ( say a journal entry ) which we might in isolation regard as weak evidence. Such that if we construct a set of rulz this historical evidence might be regarded as “not the best” but in the presence of a second line of evidence it takes on a greater weight

        Stupid example.
        1. I have a temperature reading from a thermometer that says
        23,24,25, NA, 20, 19 18 for a given week
        2. I have grandmas diary. She writes, “wensday was a lovely day,
        my neighbor said it was 26C, but thursday it all changed and
        it dropped to 20C and stayed there for the rest of the week.

        So, whats the best evidence for the temperature on thursday? The point would be of course that just as one cannot test a theory in isolation one cannot judge the “bestness” of evidence in isolation. “bestness” in not immanent. grandmas evidence becomes best through its consilience

  25. Interesting discussion. But I’m not sure that what was said about Nobel Prize winners is true. I didn’t know Feynman hardly at all, but the story people told at the time was that he didn’t really read scientific papers. If it looked dull he skipped it, and if it looked interesting, he’d sit down and work it out himself. Dyson sounds similar to me, whenever I’ve heard him.

  26. I would suggest that Mr Kahan is attempting to justify strongly held opinions post-facto.

    I’m not sure everyone would agree on what evidence is, let alone what best is, or even what available is.

    Is paleoclimate temperature reconstructions evidence? Is it the best evidence? If data is locked away like Lonnie Thompson’s, is it available?

    I think Kahan’s thinking leads us back to definitional conflicts almost immediately. A convenient strategy that doesn’t survive contact with the ‘enemy’.

    • “I’m not sure everyone would agree on what evidence is, let alone what best is, or even what available is.” – fuller.

      Really?? I’n not sure everyone would agree with you on this.

  27. Nullius in Verba means don’t take any single person’s word for the science discovered rather require independent duplication of the same experiment- preferably three times to be sure.

  28. The problem is not “do you have the best available evidence, or do I?”

    The problem arises when you try to force me to believe what you believe (i.e. enact a carbon tax to take my money).

  29. “uncertainties are large and unknown unknowns loom.”
    Right, a Rumsfeld quotation. Very insightful, but too bad the press didn’t present it this way.

    I for one have changed my view on the AGW stance. I listened to Muller a couple of years ago on his “It doesn’t matter what the US does,” and now think that is the wisest perspective. Research new energy sources, and try to make the best sense of them. Also, research global dimming as a fail-safe. Warming happens catastrophically, pump up aerosols to slow it down until the politicians can sort things out. And others: if you are actually concerned, let’s get a 1/2 solution with Natural gas. Why aren’t the Warmistas in favor of fracking? It is bizarre. Same for nuclear solutions such as Thorium power plants.

    This view was reinforced after I listened to your testimony at Barbar Boxer’s “Climate Change”, though primarily an economist who stated despite the efforts, Britain’s C02 signature had increased if one included Chinese imports! Talk about funny econ. Kill our economy to feel good, but make the problem worse along the way.

    I hope Climate Sensitivity turns out to be low, or the PDO turns out to cool the earth for the interim, because C02 is a “problem” that science, technology, and capitalism will solve (though a K-Cals in a gallon of gas is hard to overcome).

  30. I always find the best available evidence is the evidence I can use to directly, personally, immediately test the validity of any claim on the spot.

    Someone tells me the sky is blue, I don’t believe them until I test the sky.

    Someone tells me water is wet? I need to confirm it wet.

    Someone tells me new ice sheets don’t add to sea level, I take a glass full to the brim with water and add new ice cubes to it, spilling over the water. Even though I know the story of Archimedes and how the volume of a fluid displaced by an object is equal to the volume of the object below the level of the fluid.

    The best available evidence isn’t a thing. It’s a method.

    • Bart R,

      You are quite right. I would do the same. Look at the sky – if it’s grey, it’s not blue! Nullius in verba.

      If somebody somebody tells me that water is wet, I also check. I prefer my frozen water dry, when I ski. Nullius in verba.

      If you take out enough water from your glass – say by evaporation – condense it, freeze it and pop it back – it will overflow? Turn into gold? Nullius in verba.

      I assume that if you cut off your head with a guillotine, you will expire. When can we expect your scientific test of my assumption. Nullius in verba?

      Good luck with your experiments.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Mike Flynn | August 15, 2013 at 1:26 am |

        Pfft.

        Test, not succumb.

        Clearly, as we know water evaporates into and precipitates out of air, and water ice sublimates, we know we must focus on what your posited, fingoistic “enough” means. This is a problem of dynamic balances. As too would winter vs. summer seasonal norms.

        Like the inferences of quantum tunneling or evaporation of black holes, we might postulate that we don’t care what the mechanism is whereby the mass leaves the one state and enters the other. What we can know is sea level is rising, Antarctic sea ice levels are rising, and Antarctic continental mass has been measured by Grace to fall. The simplest explanation is that the Antarctic is losing mass to the sea. Popcorn.

        The general tendency in natural transitions is to follow a sigmoid pattern, so we are seeing only the slow start of what will become — on the balance of probabilities — an exponentially faster decline in the Antarctic continental ice mass, long before the Antarctic rises anywhere near to the melting point of water ice on average.

    • Does your method of empiricism stretch to the effects of high tension electricity?

      (p.s.: Are you a reincarnation of Robert?)

    • Bart,

      come to the PNW.

      you will find the evidence indicates the sky is grey.

  31. Temperature and Sea Level are inside the bounds they have been inside for ten thousand years. CO2 is above the bounds of the past ten thousand years and Crop productivity is above the bounds of the past ten thousand years. These are facts that are clearly true and very good. CO2 has clearly caused good and has not clearly caused any harm. There is no actual evidence of any harm or dangerous warming or dangerous sea level rise from CO2 because these things are inside the bounds of the past ten thousand years and we made it through that just fine.

  32. “Overconfidence, failure to present evidence that does not support your thesis, dismissal of skeptics and skeptical arguments, appeal to consensus, advocacy, etc. all can act to trigger someone’s BS detector.”

    Yes. This behavior draws some people in but it also drives some away.

    In all truth, how can one expect otherwise when the method is political despite (clearly inadequate) claims that it is scientific?

  33. Very well exposed, thanks.

    Kahan may be a good gymnast, but there are exercises above the capabilities of even the best gymnasts. His funny idea of evidence is usually known by other word: knowledge. So, what do we have?

    Best scientific evidence = best (observation + inference) knowledge.

    But, he has left us with two problems.

    1. How does he know it is the “best” knowledge?
    2. How do be know this imaginary “best knowledge” is good enough to make any decision?

    We don’t know. Kahan just jumps from “best scientific knowledge” to “best policy-relevant scientific knowledge”, as implying it is good enough to make decisions.

    But we do have quite simple tools to decide which knowledge to trust. We use them everyday. Think for instance in a knowledge of a very complicated system. Medicine. We have a good level of trust on surgery. We don’t have the same level of trust in every branch of medicine. Why? Because not every branch of medicine has the same records of right predictions.

    Same idea works with economics. There are some parts of economic science we find trustworthy. There are parts we don’t. It depends on the predictions record.

    If climate science needs a hundred years to make testable predictions, then climate science may be a reliable knowledge … in a hundred years. Or not.

    In short:

    The best scientific knowledge is not always a knowledge reliable enough to make decisions. Because there are mature sciences … and sciences in their childhood.

  34. Judith references the Royal Society;

    “Nullius in verba–the Royal Society motto that translates to “take no one’s word for it”– can’t literally meant what it says: even Nobel Prize winners would never be able to make a contribution to their fields — their lives are too short, and their brains too small–if they insisted on “figuring out everything for themselves” before adding to what’s known within their areas of specialty.”

    Surely we can get closer to the intended meaning if we think of the implications behind the Moroccan proverb;

    ‘if at noon he says it is night, will you say; behold, the stars?’

    It is surely telling us to Question the ideas and not to accept something at face value just because the person saying it is influential..

    In climate science terms, as an example Dr Mann produced a seriously flawed series of srtudies that revolved round the Hockey stick. Where were the serious credible scientists of the day? What were they thinking of to nod at the supposed wisdom of using tree rings way beyond their scientific scope? Why did no one –preferably-a learned magazine-turn round and laugh at the sheer absurdity of it all? Is it because the peiople WANTED to believe it?

    All sceptics are trying to do is point out that you can’t believe everythimg you are told and some of the very basics of climate science-paleo reconstructions, Sea surface temperatures, sea levels, are not what they appear and need to be questioned.
    tonyb

    • tony,
      I’m awardin’ yer a plus one fer this balanced comment. And
      I’llpay the outstandin’ amount on me franchise next month.
      Beth the serf.

    • My own take on the motto (repeated from elsewhere):

      Horace’s original phrase concerns swearing allegiance to no master. “In verba iurare” just means to swear allegiance. If you trace the phrase right back to its military origins, the idea was that you were swearing an oath using the words proposed by the commander – even if he didn’t bother proposing the words! By the first century BC, it just meant declaring allegiance to somebody.

      However, Latin being the blunt, compressed language that it is, there’s always some play for interpretation. Also, appealing phrases often lose their original context and signification, eg Kipling’s “Lest we forget”, which had nothing to do with remembering fallen heroes.

      Back in the 1600s, John Aubrey was looking for a nifty phrase as a slogan for the Royal Society. You had to have one, preferably from Horace. (Certainly not Catullus!) Separating “in verba” from “iurare” weakened the original sense, since it’s a traditional phrase, not literal. But I’m fine with that. Sounds good, and everybody has always taken Latin too seriously. Like Aretha says…respect.

      Whether pressure from funders, farmers, insurers, government, the Publish-or-Perish academic culture and the modern klimatariat has left climate researchers without “masters”…I’ll leave people to ponder that.

  35. in a comment in response to Richard Toll Kahan says:

    “There’s got to be some sensible way to combine professional judgment & evidence-based practices that help to validate & fine tune judgment.”

    Well, yes there is…Time. That’s the normal course of science…eventually things will work themselves out, or at least a reasonable approximation. But, of course, Climate Science is filed under post-normal science

    “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent”

    Or, as Hulme wrote in the Guardian

    “Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence. If scientists want to remain listened to, to bear influence on policy, they must recognise the social limits of their truth seeking and reveal fully the values and beliefs they bring to their scientific activity.”

    He said this in a review of the Singer book some years ago. Hulme complains about the UK politicians. …but they could just say No…we can’t give you a temperature estimate for 2100. They could say this…they are free to do so (aren’t they?)…but don’t.

  36. It is no good having the best available scientifc information if you don’t recognise it. Of course the year to year average global climate temperature is contaminated by noise, which has to be filtered out. but not too strongly filtered that it could destroy or time shift real data; I have found 11 year central moving average smoothing is about right. Inertial smoothibg using linear differential equations,time-shifts data so should be avoided.

    Unfortunately the IPCC team decided to start their analysis in about 1961 which meant they ignored vital early data on the effect of CO2. That resulted in their failure to understand the many modes of CO2 at different temperatures, best studied with quantum mefhanics. So the on/off nature of climate change was not noticed and not included in their models. Need I go on?

  37. There is a very interesting parallel between climate science and other extreme belief systems. This was brought home to me by two things. Firstly, Judith Curry’s comment above:

    “scientists who deviate in a minor way are made extremely uncomfortable. Note, this does not happen on the skeptical ‘side’”

    And secondly, a recent talk by philosopher Roger Scruton on BBC Radio 4 (transcript here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23607302). Scruton says of Islamism, Communism etc:

    “it is precisely what is most absurd that is most protected. And critics are not treated merely as people with an intellectual difficulty. They are a threat …”

    What could be a better description of climate sceptics that Scruton’s?

    • “Freeman Dyson apparently doesn’t think that the evidence and scientific work done by orthodox climate science cuts the mustard as far as being the “best available scientific evidence” is concerned. ”

      Are they forced to wear turtle-neck woollen jumpers?

      Awful!

  38. From Popehat …

    There’s no definitive checklist or prescription for identifying an issue and diagnosing someone’s treatment of that issue. One reason such an endeavor cannot be reduced to an algorithm is that the complexity of any single issue can be daunting, and the product of interactions among such issues is of an order of complexity too high for even the best merely human mind to address synchronously or sequentially.

    Instead, we have to use various troubleshooting heuristics until we’ve isolated a matter of interest that fits our capacity for analysis.
    [ ... ]
    ◾When fluff and qualifications and mods and idiosyncratic terminology and other debris have been swept away, what is P’s argument? What conclusion does P claim to reach? Which premises does P offer as an avenue to reach it? What evidence does P adduce in support of them?
    ◾What kinds of evidence are actually relevant to P’s argument? What kinds of evidence does P employ? What kinds does P ignore? What kinds does P dismiss? What is the effect of this particular configuration of employment, ignorance, and dismissal on P’s endeavor?

    http://www.popehat.com/2013/08/14/a-philosophical-turn-of-mind/

  39. David L. Hagen

    Best available vs best possible evidence
    The “best available” satellite evidence is 10x worse that the best possible with available technology. See Nigel Fox, NPL’s TRUTHS project.

    Most of the key measurements must be taken from space over long periods so that the small signal change becomes large enough to detect from the background of natural variability. This presents problems as measurement instruments drift over time and the ‘time to detect’ directly depends on accuracy. Estimates of global temperature increases by 2100, range from ~2-10 °C and with this uncertainty it makes is difficult for policy makers to establish priorities for adaptation and mitigation.

    The proposed TRUTHS (Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies) mission would see a satellite launched into orbit with the ability to make very high accuracy ‘gold standard’ measurements and also calibrate and upgrade the performance of other Earth Observation satellites in space.

    The evidence to date is that the climate sensitivity in models is biased several times too high.
    Hopefully Fox’s TRUTHS satellites 10x more “accurate” measurements will help reduce the “fog of war” in climate science.

  40. I would suggest that firstly one needs to determine the evidence available for catastrophic global warming then compare this evidence with past out comes.
    Then grade the evidence, lets make it easy use two categories, best and worst:-
    1 Output from computer models: worst
    2 Tree ring proxies: Worst:
    3 Global temperature record: Worst
    4 Sea level rise: Worst
    The picture is clear the best evidence the have is the worst evidence they have.

  41. Bill Hooke has a relevant post on the issues raised at http://www.livingontherealworld.org/?p=924. Might want to look at that and at my comments.

    • There are some excellent criteria in that post (along with your own comments, John). IMHO, a good part of the state of “polarization” to which the climate/policy “debate” has sunk could quite well have been avoided (at least to some extent) had such criteria been adhered to by institutions such as the IPCC, AGU, U.K. Royal Society etc. prior to issuing their “authoritative” statements and/or conclusions.

      Such criteria might even work as a more concrete means of evaluating the “best available evidence” relied on by those who labour in the (relatively newly-minted) field of the so-called “science of science communication” ;-)

  42. Isn’t there a basic confusion here? The phrase ‘best available (scientific) evidence’ can refer to either data or to conclusions drawn from the data. While both can be ambiguous, there is likely to be a lot more agreement on what the best data is (and possibly on its limitations) than there is on what the data means.

    • The data is based on seemingly dubious global climate models and the conclusions seem to be somewhat of a stretch, possibly because of some sort of political bias in favour of CO2 reduction inthe use of fossil fuels in favour of use of renewable and cleaner energy sources.

    • Don, you write “The phrase ‘best available (scientific) evidence’ can refer to either data or to conclusions drawn from the data.”

      No, there is no confusion. Conclusions are never part of evidence in science. What you dont seem to realise is that the warmists have not, and cannot present the requisite empirical data to show that CAGW is anything more than a hypothesis. The best available scientific evidence is not good enough, not can it ever be good enough with current technology, to answer the question “What happens to global temperatures as you add more CO2 to the atmnopshere from current levels?”.

      • Perhaps there’s no confusion in your mind. And actually I agree with you. In my world view “Evidence” reasonably should mean data, not conclusions. But if you read through the article and the comments, it seems to mean ‘conclusions’ to an awful lot of people.

      • Dear Observer note
        Nature of reality;
        Models on runway.
        =============

      • Yeah, anyone who thinks ‘conclusions’ are ‘evidence’ needs to go back to the beginning and start over.

        Andrew

      • That’s what he said…

      • Steven Mosher

        “Conclusions are never part of evidence in science. ”

        yes they are.

      • Steven, you write ““Conclusions are never part of evidence in science. ”
        yes they are.”

        Yes and no. I wrote in haste. If conclusions are collected in a scientific way, then, yes, they are scientific. If they are not collected in a scientific way, then they are not scientific evidence. We had a case here in Canada with our Census, and mandatory answering. Statitics Canada were in the habit of doing a selection of a few Canadians, based on proper sampling techniques, and sending them a special form which they were obliged, under the law, to answer. Political correctness got on the way, and our government forced Stats Can to abandon this practice. The head of Stats Can resigned in protest. There is doubt the the data collected voluntarily is scientifically valid.

    • The fact that people have drawn specific conclusions is evidence. The question is evidence of what.

      Is it evidence that the earth has warmed due to ACO2? No.

      Is it evidence, say, that large majorities of “experts” conclude that ACO2 has warmed the climate? Yes.

      Can we conclude from the evidence that a very large % of the people who doubt the conclusions of those scientists have a particular, and often particularly strong, political orientation? Yes.

      Can we conclude from the predominance of opinion (conclusions) among experts that ACO2 has warmed the earth? No. But we can use that information to help evaluate the probabilities.

      • Yes we can use that information, ACO2 hasn’t warmed the Earth (science is the belief in the ignorance of experts).

      • Yes we can use that information, ACO2 hasn’t warmed the Earth (science is the belief in the ignorance of experts).

        So are you saying that you reject any conclusions that are congruent with the predominant opinion among experts – because by definition it must not be “science?”

        If that is an exaggeration of your perspective, then what criteria do you use to determine when, and when not, to apply your decision-making algorithm?

      • “Is it evidence that the earth has warmed due to ACO2? No.”

        Repeat the above to yourself a few times, Joshua. Perhaps the repetition will help it sink in.

        Andrew

      • Bad,

        Repeat the above to yourself a few times, Joshua. Perhaps the repetition will help it sink in.

        You seem to be mistaken in believing that anything I wrote in that post reflects a different view than anything else you’ve ever read me post.

        Or are you fantasizing about me?

        Again.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Joshua: The fact that people have drawn specific conclusions is evidence. The question is evidence of what.

        One of the possibilities is that they have reached conclusions by processes other than examination and disputation of the evidence. Some in-group identification, say; or a desire for research funding that clouds their judgment; or yet another motivation for redistributing wealth from the rich people to the poor people. The list of non-evidence-based mechanisms is large. They are the same mechanisms that defenders of the consensus claim hinder the understanding by “deniers”.

        Can we conclude from the evidence that a very large % of the people who doubt the conclusions of those scientists have a particular, and often particularly strong, political orientation? Yes.

        Actually, no. One possibility is that the people who doubt the conclusions of those scientists are precisely the people most willing to examine and dispute the evidence. The ones untainted by the processes (hinted above) that produced conclusions in the absence of examination and disputation of evidence.

        People have drawn specific conclusions from ancient texts and superficial narrations of modern disasters. One of the conclusions is that there are always people around who do that; their beliefs and assertions of their beliefs are totally non-informative. Right now, some of those are possibly climate scientists whose consensus is totally independent of evidence.

      • Matt –

        One of the possibilities is that they have reached conclusions by processes other than examination and disputation of the evidence…The list of non-evidence-based mechanisms is large.

        Of course. So you gather the relevant evidence of such, and you estimate your probabilities.

        Me:

        Can we conclude from the evidence that a very large % of the people who doubt the conclusions of those scientists have a particular, and often particularly strong, political orientation? Yes.

        You:

        Actually, no. One possibility is that the people who doubt the conclusions of those scientists are precisely the people most willing to examine and dispute the evidence.

        ???

        You seem to be relying on a logic of mutual exclusivity, and/or an assumption of causality that I didn’t state.

        In fact, the correlations exists (unless you want to discount a whole bag o’ data). That doesn’t exclude or prove that the causation: (1) coincidental (seems rather unlikely to me, but possible), (2) there is a causal mechanism such as that you describe (also seems unlikely to me, as I don’t see some cleavage in “willingness to examine and dispute the evidence” along the lines of the debate, but a cleavage in the way that people interpret evidence), or (3) there is another causal mechanism in play, and political orientation is a moderator of that cause-and-effect.

        So I don’t get “no…one possibility” logic. It seems like a non-sequitur. I didn’t state a causal mechanism, only whether the evidence shows a correlation.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Joshua: You seem to be relying on a logic of mutual exclusivity, and/or an assumption of causality that I didn’t state.

        Not so. I merely pointed out that you have omitted some of the possibilities, and not shown how you can conclude anything about the people who disagree with the consensus.

        It seems like a non-sequitur.

        Of course it is a non-sequitur: I introduced possibilities that you hadn’t mentioned. You jumped to your conclusions without considering alternatives.

      • You jumped to your conclusions without considering alternatives.

        My “conclusion” is that the evidence shows a correlation. You provided an alternative implication to that correlation (although I didn’t state what I thought the implication might be). That would be a non-sequitur – because you framed your response with a “no,” as if I had stated an implication to the correlation.

        Do you doubt that the evidence shows that the correlation I spoke of exists?

        Saying that it does, in no way, implies that there might be other correlations, that other correlations might be more explanatory, that the correlation I spoke of is not causal at all, etc.

      • er.

        “….might not be other correlations…..”

      • Matthew R Marler

        Joshua: My “conclusion” is that the evidence shows a correlation.

        As I wrote, you did not mention any alternative hypotheses nor show how such a conclusion was warranted. Hence my assertion that you “jumped” to your conclusion, which for some reason you now put in quotes. Has it become a non-conclusion?

      • Matt –

        Alternative to the existence of a correlation? I have seen evidence that such a correlation exists. The “alternative” that you put forth would not be mutually exclusive with that correlation existing. Your “alternative” is offered as a causal explanation for that correlation and I hadn’t spoken of causation. It seems to me that you aren’t addressing what it is that I am saying.

        Are you suggesting an “alternative” to the correlation? Do you doubt that there is a correlation between political ideology and views on climate change?

      • Joshua,

        You left out the notation “Which of the below statements does not fit with the others?”

  43. I quote: “I hope that because I would like to think that once we get this sad matter behind us, and resume the patterns of trust and reciprocal cooperation that normally characterize the nonpathological state in which we are able to recognize the best available scientific evidence, there will be some better science of science communication evidence for us all to share with each other on how to to negotiate the profound and historic challenge we face in communicating what’s known to science within a liberal democratic society.”

    This ‘sad matter’ appears to be the failure of sceptics to appreciate the ‘science’ of CAGW because they do not see ‘the best available evidence’ as supporting such a theory, in fact they see the evidence from real world data as pointing rather firmly in favour of the assumption that human activity is not the main driver of climate change.

    What exactly is meant by ‘better science of science communication evidence’? I can only hazard a guess! Better, more sophisticated, cleverer, targeted, more evidence free (because Gaia is not playing the game very well at the moment) climate change propaganda.

    Judith talks of a BS detector. I prefer my Superman analogy. He had X-ray eyes. I just slip on my BS Specs and I can see straight through Kahan’s opaque phraseology to the simple truth which it conceals: AGW climate scientists have lost the public’s trust and we must urgently seek more effective ways of keeping the majority (including pesky sceptics) ‘on message’ before the entire CAGW edifice comes tumbling down, along with the $billions invested into it by financiers and the renewables industry.

  44. Roger Pielke has a post entitled

    “Providing Evidence to Policy Makers: an Integration of Expertise and Politics”

    http://www.ostina.org/en/volume-38-august-14-2013/opeds-commentaries/providing-evidence-to-policy-makers-an-integration-of-expertise-and-politics

    that covers how the process played out in Congress recently.

    ….”Experts who are called to offer evidence in a formal political setting such as a Congressional hearing play a different role from political appointees, who are expected to present, defend, or account for the formal actions of an administration or a government. Generally, there are two types of experts: experts who are also policy advocates, and independent experts.

    Experts in the first category typically present testimony in support of a particular political agenda. These experts are usually associated with corporations, think tanks, or other nongovernmental organizations. Congressional staff have told me that elected officials prefer to hear from such experts because the expert’s political agenda is explicit. Policy makers are then in a position to hear adversarial arguments and to evaluate claims and counterclaims without needing to guess what hidden agendas might be at play.”

    I am looking forward to the updated version of “The Honest Broker- Making Sense of Science.”

    • RP Jr’s post is well worth reading

      • Pere to fils prepare
        Perfect artifice repair.
        Thank Gaia for craft.
        =================

      • Quite a change of tune from Judith on advocacy – for ages she was telling us it’s bad, then just recently it was OK as long as it was ‘ethical’, now it seems to be fine to have an explicit political agenda.

      • D- for reading comprehension. Where have I ever stated that it is fine for scientists to have an explicit political agenda in terms of their public communications associated with their expertise?

      • Judge Judy awards a D.

        How fares Judge Judy’s reading comphrehension?

        Not well, I fear.

        Judge Judy, never shy in lambasting ‘advocacy’, awards R Snr the much coveted ‘well worth reading’ gold pin, for his noting of the possible goodness of explicit political agenda.

        Inferring support, but aware that Judge Judy has never stated such (and aware of JJ’s famous vagueness in communication), I employ a suitable qualifier “it seems”.

        I award JJ an F – reading comprehension.

      • A+ for imputing motives and reading into words something that was not said. There are many things that I think are worth reading, few of which I agree with 100% and some of which I mostly disagree with. Kahan’s scientific evidence post is definitely worth reading IMO, but I disagree with most of it.

      • Well, this is what honestly brokering is about, Judy, which is a framework you do seem to endorse:

        I don’t want elite scientists, particularly those with policy agendas, defining integrity at the science-policy interface. After all, look what they came up with in the context of climate science: expert judgment, consensus building, appealing to their own authority, and blaming the lack of success of their preferred policy option on deniers, Heartland, etc.

        A debate among social scientists and policy makers themselves on this topic is needed. See Roger Pielke Jr’s book The Honest Broker for a starting point.

        So, with respect to climate science, the science-policy interface has become broken and dysfunctional, and I would argue that elite climate scientists are more to blame for this than the likes of Heartland.

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/02/26/gleicks-testimony-on-threats-to-the-integrity-of-science/

        Here’s the Honest Broker himself on the subject:

        I always seek to describe what I see as the policy implications of my work in the context of presenting an analysis. If you catch me claiming that I am focused only on the science, call me on it and I’ll buy you a beer ;-)

        http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.ca/2010/03/stealth-issue-advocacy.html

        A scientist that pretends to be purely objective can always be considered as a stealth advocate. Honest brokers always declare self-interests. This was also one of the point of Weber’s essay: the ideal of seeking truth carries its own set of presuppositions which create the mindsets of a scientist.

        Speaking of which, you have yet to declare yours on your About page. You could copy-paste the ones we can read on your latest testimony.

        ***

        Please tread lightly with your marks.

        Better, please refrain from fantasizing about being Michael’s or anyone else’s teacher. If Michael is your Heartland, you’d be “more to blame”, if we apply your reasoning in the quote above.

      • So, the climate consensus coterie, the Wegman echo chamber, are they honest brokers? Heh, c’mon ClimacticGate.
        =================================

      • R u and I reading the same thread Michael?

      • Sorry Judith, but I could only go with the best available evidence…..

      • Steven Mosher

        Judith

        I dont think that guys like Micheal understand your approach.
        i ran into the same thing the other day when I said that gavins video was worth watching. Some folks considered that to be an endorsement.

        I guess the point is that when dealing with the reading challenged and those whose motivations dominate their interpretations, ambiguity is best avoided.

      • I guess the point is that when dealing with the reading challenged and those whose motivations dominate their interpretations, ambiguity is best avoided.

        Ah. Argument by assertion…

        Where is your evidence that Michael or those you dealt with the other day are more “reading challenged” than anyone else?

        If his interpretation was in error, it could very well be due to “motivation” just as when your interpretation of what someone wrote might be in error. Or anyone else’s.

        Motivation is a given, and it my bias anyone’s reading…but it seems that the only way you have of concluding “reading challenged” is that a person disagrees with your interpretation.

        Like I said, argument by assertion. Maybe you’ve been hanging out with “skeptics” too much?

      • heh..

        “…and it my bias….”

        Remember, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      • If one considers that Bjørn Lomborg is a stealth advocate (Junior), one cannot also claim he is not (Tol).

        If one endorses the honest broker framework (Junior), one must let go of the the ideal dichotomy between fact and values (Tamsin).

        By the same token, when one gets misrepresented, one can either choose to clarify or to sneer.

        ***

        To help you out, Judy, simply copy-paste this in your About page:

        Financial declaration

        Funding sources for Curry’s research have included NSF, NASA, NOAA, DOD and DOE. Recent contracts for CFAN include a DOE contract to develop extended range regional wind power forecasts and a DOD contract to predict extreme events associated with climate variability/change having implications for regional stability. CFAN contracts with private sector and other non-governmental organizations include energy and power companies, reinsurance companies, other weather service providers, the Natural Resource Defense Council and the World Bank. Specifically with regards to the energy and power companies, these contracts are for medium-range (days to weeks) forecasts of hurricane activity and landfall impacts. CFAN has one contract with an energy company that also includes medium-range forecasts of energy demand (temperature), hydropower generation, and wind power generation. CFAN has not received any funds from energy companies related to climate change or any topic related to this testimony.

        For more information: http://www.cfanclimate.com/

        http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-113-SY18-WState-JCurry-20130425.pdf

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua

        ‘Ah. Argument by assertion…

        Where is your evidence that Michael or those you dealt with the other day are more “reading challenged” than anyone else?

        1. the fact that they took an ambiguous statement and failed to consider various interpretations is evidence for the proposition that they are reading challenged. it is not evidence AGAINST this proposition.
        2. the fact that some readers saw multiple interpetations

        3. I never claimed that they were MORE reading challenged. you are reading challenged.

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

        If his interpretation was in error, it could very well be due to “motivation” just as when your interpretation of what someone wrote might be in error. Or anyone else’s.

        1. of course. that is WHY i said ” i guess”. Note, I did not say
        ‘ I know’ or its certain.

        Here is a clue Joshua. ALL interpretation may be wrong.

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

        Motivation is a given, and it my bias anyone’s reading…but it seems that the only way you have of concluding “reading challenged” is that a person disagrees with your interpretation.

        1. In the case where I suggested gavins video I know better than you why I recommended the video. It was NOT because I agreed with it.
        2. I know that I was ambiguous ON PURPOSE to illicit mis interpretations. Read me enough and you will see this.

        Therefore, my conclusion is not based on the difference of interpretations, its based on the results of an experiment.

        Here is the case of Judith, I have more evidence than you or Micheal.
        I uNDERSTAND JUDITH BETTER THAN YOU DO. that means whenever she says ‘ I recommed this’
        i know based on my experience with her that her recommendation does not imply endorsement. You yourself should have some inkling of this by the fact that she hosts people she disagrees with. She likes promoting stuff she disagrees with that she feels has not gotten a fair hearing.

        Given a sentence that is plainly ambiguous: –this is worthwhile–
        you have interpretational choice. But look at the evidence micheal DID NOT USE. he did not use the evidence of judith promoting a skydragon debate. That evidence would suggest that she promotes things she doesnt always agree with. Further, his intepretation REQUIRED a change in her belief structure

        The best evidence you have, her past behavior, should suggest to you that Given two interpretations

        A) She says its worth while because she agrees.
        B) she says its worth while because it makes interesting points

        And given these facts

        1. Judith hosts and promotes stuff she disagrees with
        2. in the past has judith DISAGREED with view expressed in the document she is promoting.

        Given those facts ( accessible to you ) and given those interpretations,
        its fair to say that anyone proposing A is not using the best evidence
        and given that that person has a history, as you do, with being most uncharitable, I’ll say that the best explanation is they are reading challenged or biased. However, in your case I may reserve “effing stupid ” as an explanation

      • 1. the fact that they took an ambiguous statement and failed to consider various interpretations is evidence for the proposition that they are reading challenged. it is not evidence AGAINST this proposition.
        2. the fact that some readers saw multiple interpetations

        The point is that doesn’t mean that they are “reading challenged.” It might mean that they are “motivated” just as you might be when you misread something.

        You have no actual evidence that they are “reading challenged.” You came to that conclusion because you wanted to. Have you systematically assessed their reading ability?

        Keep in mind, I have also criticized willard for making that same argument, in case you want to level a charge about my “motivations” here.

      • Given those facts ( accessible to you ) and given those interpretations, its fair to say that anyone proposing A is not using the best evidence

        It must be non-sequitur day here at Climate etc.

        All of that is irrelevant as to whether you have evidence to distinguish between” (1) someone who is “reading challenged,” (2) someone who is “motivated” in their reading. Unless you content that everyone who reads something is necessarily “reading challenged.”

        And all of that, of course, is on top of your interpretation that because you think something, therefore it must be correct.

        Yup. I think you’ve been hanging out with “skeptics” too much. First that lame post yesterday, and now this today?

      • sorry.

        “…someone who reads something incorrectly….”

      • It’s long amused me how uncritical some ‘critical thinkers’ can be. Does anyone think reading it out loud to themselves might help?
        ===============

      • steven –

        I thought I hadn’t seen you using all caps in a while. I wonder if there’s an explanation. Or maybe you’ve been using them all along, and I just haven’t noticed?

      • It’s long amused me how uncritical some ‘critical thinkers’ can be.

        I’d say that when you see a failure of critical reading, it is often not a matter of the abilities of the reader, but the magnitude of their “motivations.” I doubt anyone here would meet the descriptor of “reading challenged.” It’s basically a lame-assed ad hom of the sort that is fairly typical in these pages. Such claims likely wouldn’t pass due skeptical scrutiny more than a tiny % of the times the charge is made.

        Did you understand that, kim? Or was it too challenging for you?

      • Uh oh,

        I uNDERSTAND JUDITH BETTER THAN YOU DO.

        Perhaps pressing the shift key when the caps lock key is already toggled – for emphasis?

        This could be serious!!!!1!!!1!1!!!!1!!!!

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua

        ‘All of that is irrelevant as to whether you have evidence to distinguish between” (1) someone who is “reading challenged,” (2) someone who is “motivated” in their reading. Unless you content that everyone who reads something is necessarily “reading challenged.”

        Wrong.

        Look at what I wrote

        ‘I guess the point is that when dealing with the reading challenged and those whose motivations dominate their interpretations, ambiguity is best avoided.”

        You will note that I dont claim to distinguish between these.

        I’m simply saying this. when you are dealing with people who may be reading challenged and you are dealing with those whose motivations dominate their interpretations– and I offer NO way for you to tell whether they are one or the other– Then ambiguity is best avoided.

        To make this claim… avoid ambiguity .. does not depend upon being able to decide whether your stupidity is

        A) reading comprehension based
        B) motivated reasoning
        C) just plain old stupidity

        Simply, when you find yourself in a world of Joshuas you have a choice of sentences

        1. “this is worth while reading”
        2. ‘this is worthwhile reading, but I do not endorse all the statements made in this document, I just think its an interesting perspective.

        Now, for those of us who are not stupid, or less dominated by our desire to find something shitty to say about judith, or more sensitive critical readers, sentence #1 will work just fine

        But if you have to deal with idiots, if you have to deal with biased pricks, if you have to deal with folks who apparently cant read, then avoid ambiguity like #1 and do #2

        And further even when you do #2, expect the prick ( whether he be stupid, biased or reading challenged.. who the eff knows) to find something else to complain about. This kind of prick could never suspend his prick hood and say.. “thanks for that suggestion Judith”

      • Steven Mosher

        caps?

        easy joshua.

        1. I’m adverse to learning how to italicize or bold.
        2. I post from my phone, not exactly the best keyboard and backing up to correct is a bitch.

        next stupid question

      • Joshua,

        don’t ever forget; Mosh is the expert in Judith.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, I find comment writers can also be a bit ‘challenged’ in which case it is not all the readers inability to interpret what the commenter was trying to say. In addition to that, comments posted on blogs are difficult to determine the true emotion of the commenter. You can add emoticons if you like to help the reader along, but then again you dont want to look like FOMD ;) I tell all managers and employees that work for our company to never use media like email for conflict resolution… it typically leads to lots of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of what was intended. Misinterpretations are typically made as negative and conversations spiral down from there. Getting on the phone and listening is the best solution next to face to face meeting.

        But in the blog world, it is misinterpretation that makes the conversations so fun, especially when commenters purposely misinterpret other commenters just to get their interlocutor going, you know, push their buttons. Have you ever experienced that?

      • Have you ever experienced that?

        John, your comments usually make sense, but this time I just can’t fathom what you could possibly be talking about.

      • kim,

        I so hate haiku
        An ugly rhythm that then
        Seems to stop just as

      • Judith,

        Evidence a donkey can talk is not proof it can read.

    • Joshua I think that John was alluding to a certain amount of posturing that goes on in many situations, including blogs, whereby the elements of “misunderstandings” are used in as rhetorical ploy.

      PS You shouldn’r have reading comprehension issues but Judge Judy seems to think otherwise ;)

  45. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Herman Alexander Pope  proclaims

    The Denialist Creed  “There is no actual evidence of any harm or dangerous warming or dangerous sea level rise from CO2″

    That’s because denialists willfully ignore:

    ▶ the paleoclimate evidence
    ▶ the energy-balance evidence
    ▶ the moral evidence
    ▶ the economic evidence

    The ignorant article The age of global warming is over that Peter Lang (along with several other Climate Etc denialists) has been flogging, moronically ignores all four categories of evidence.

    Observation  The willful ignorance of climate-change denialists knows no bounds.

    Conclusion  Wendell Berry, the Pope, and the scientific community are correct to identify the denialist cohort as “The gleeful yahoos who are destroying the world, and the mindless oafs who abet them.”

    Action  The willful ignorance that climate-change denialism seeks to sustain is incompatible with rational discourse. The optimal response is to isolate climate-change denialism within ever-smaller bubbles of ever-purer ignorance.

    Acknowledgements  For isolating-and-distilling denialist climate-change ignorance, thank you Peter Lang and Anthony Watts!

    \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}

    • Hah, hah, Fan. Concentrate deniers, how campy. A laff a minint.
      ============

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        LOL … Kim, please let me say that your witty aphoristic/poetic posts are fun (even when the target is me!). They provide a welcome leavening-with-a-smile to Climate Etc discourse, for which this sincere appreciation-and-thanks is extended. Thank you, Kim!

        Perhaps you and the redoubtable HotWhopper should write a joint weblog? You could call it “HotWhopper and NotWhopper”.

        Hey, I for sure would be a regular reader!

        \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}

    • Steven Mosher

      fan

      do you ever read any of the sources you cite.

      You pointed to this

      http://www.casinapioiv.va/content/dam/accademia/pdf/sv118/sv118-molina-zaelke.pdf

      Did you read this? Do you agree with it.

      please note, one of the findings of this paper is that we need to work on black carbon.

      Did you know that Anthony watts agrees?

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/09/too-many-cooks-spoil-the-carbon-footprint/

      So rather than working to divide people on their differences you could, you have a choice, to work to bring together people on what they share

      • It will be interesting to see how BioLite’s http://www.biolitestove.com/homestove/overview/
        HomeStove Programs in India, Uganda and Ghana plan out in reducing carbon black from home cooking.

        “After four generations of prototyping and years of research, BioLite has launched large-scale residential trials in India, Ghana, and Uganda. Read on to learn more about this programs and meet the BioLite team members on the ground in these locations.”

        http://www.biolitestove.com/news-press/news-events/news/biolite-homestove-largescale-launch.html

      • Steven Mosher

        yes, interestingly the other day when I suggested to david Appell that we could all agree to work on black carbon the response was negative
        its a carbon tax or nothing at all.

        There are policies that both skeptics and folks who accept climate science CAN agree on, but for the most part the AGW tribe will allow no baby steps toward a solution.

      • Wait, there’s more. Molina-Zaelke finish with Freeman Dyson’s approach:

        Expanding sinks through biosequestration
        The final piece of an integrated mitigation strategy is to expand actions
        and technologies that remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere on a time scale of decades, rather than the millennia required by the natural cycle. This can be done quickly and stably by protecting and expanding biological sinks such as forests, wetlands, grassland, and other sources of biomass, and by producing biochar, which turns biomass into a more stable form of carbon.

      • Steve, if one ignores the Black Carbon issue and focuses on the human health issue, reducing the levels of poorly combusted of biofuels is a complete winner.

      • Mosh

        Black carbon is the low hanging fruit that all of us can happily pick.
        Tonyb

      • Tony b, “Black carbon is the low hanging fruit that all of us can happily pick.”

        Not anymore. Greenhouse Effect, Global Warming, Climate Change, Climate Disruption and now Carbon Pollution. With Carbon Pollution, the Carbon Tax, which is the true goal, stays alive. Natural ash/black carbon is and has been a part of the climate cycles since the dawn of flora kind. Reducing the anthropogenic part will produce some negative forcing, but there is no guarantee a “global” effort will produce results that justify the cost of a “Global” effort. You still have a bunch of wanna be world savers that will likely do more harm than good trying to save the world.

      • tonyb, here is an example. Fine particulates ~2.5 microns are one of the EPAs growing concerns. They have a negative health consequence, but not exactly sure how much. The also have a stabilizing climate effect providing Cloud Condensation Nuclei that help maintain a relatively constant condensation temperature in the 0 to -2 C range. They are the most expensive of the particulates to remove, have a likely exaggerated health consequence and a generally ignored positive, as in beneficial, indirect aerosol effect. Is it worth the effort to try and remove x percent of anthropogenic PM 2.5 when nature also produces PM 2.5 in greater than previously estimated amounts?

        I am all for cleaning our own air responsibly and helping the third world with cleaner energy, even Bush was all over the idea until Hansen went Hansen on him, but who is responsible enough to set that policy? The whack jobs that want $35/ton to build more Solandras?

      • From previous reading, my understanding is that trying to get people to stop burning dung or wood for cooking is problematic because they like the taste of the food better that way. Solar-stove promoters have run into this problem repeatedly.

      • Mosher

        “So rather than working to divide people on their differences you could, you have a choice, to work to bring together people on what they share”

        +1

      • I don’t believe fan cares if the links he posts support his points.

        That doesn’t mean he doesn’t read them.

    • Matthew R Marler

      A fan of *MORE* discourse:The willful ignorance of climate-change denialists knows no bounds.

      no bounds. And you “observed” that where?

  46. Judith says: “We are then generally left with expert judgment in terms of determining ‘best available evidence’”

    I suggest that pundits like Kahan do not qualify for the job. I also have a problem with ‘experts’ who discard chunks of the data that don’t fit their pet theory. Yes Michael M, yes syd L, oh yes. “In my expert opinion, these bits of the data which run counter to my theory are BAD DATA.

    Naughty data. Naughty naughty data. Here, in this dark box you go.

  47. Denizens might take profit from reading back this entry:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evidence/

    Evidence can mean lots of things.

    In our context, I believe it relates to this quote from J.L. Austin’s magnificient Sense of Sensibilia:

    The situation in which I would properly be said to have evidence for the statement that some animal is a pig is that, for example, in which the beast itself is not actually on view, but I can see plenty of pig-like marks on the ground outside its retreat. If I find a few buckets of pig-food, that’s a bit more evidence, and the noises and the smell may provide better evidence still. But if the animal then emerges and stands there plainly in view, there is no longer any question of collecting evidence; its coming into view doesn’t provide me with more evidence that it’s a pig, I can now just see that it is.

    If you think climate bloggers are having a hard time, seen how Ayer’s sense datum theory fares under Austin’s analysis.

    In that quote, the concept of evidence works as a mark, a sign, or a symptom. It leads the inquirer to infer, to be confirmed, and to converge to the truth.

    (Yes, Jim, our inference engines must do something with the evidence for the evidence to be evidence of something: it’s not all measurement.)

    Let’s stop reinventing the wheel. Our collective head spins too much.

    ***

    I’ll be AFK for a while, starting tomorrow.

  48. Judith cogently says: “So why does ‘climate communication’ seem to be failing? Here is my take. Dan Kahan seems to think that rational people are able to identify the best available scientific evidence, i.e. they know it when they see it (sort of like pornography). I say that identifying best available scientific evidence is difficult even for scientists if the uncertainties are large. What rational people are able to to do is to identify BS (see BS detectors). Overconfidence, failure to present evidence that does not support your thesis, dismissal of skeptics and skeptical arguments, appeal to consensus, advocacy, etc. all can act to trigger someone’s BS detector. Its about trust; without trust, expertise does not equal credibility.”

    Given my environment bias, I would likely have been one of the “warmists” if it hadn’t been for so much obvious BS from them. It was the overwhelming pile of manure that made me wonder why they had to shovel such stuff. For me, it actually started with a Michael Mann presentation back in the late 1990s, when he so very, very confidently told the audience that everything they had known about the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period was wrong. That was what started me thinking that there might be a big agenda pushed by some very arrogant, overly certain people. You know, the kind of people who would redefine what peer review meant in order to prevent science by others being published?

    • If we are going to use the ‘porn’ analogy, then I think it far to say that if people are have the pick of tarts, they will pick a pretty one.
      Climate Scientists tend to insist that they are self-evidently correct and we can only reject their views because we are stupid, wicked or blinded by the Bible; hardly attractive.

  49. OK, all you warmists, time to put your communications priorities where your mouths are.

    “The average iPhone uses more energy than a midsize refrigerator, says a new paper by Mark Mills, CEO of Digital Power Group, a tech investment advisory. A midsize refrigerator that qualifies for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star rating uses about 322 kW-h a year, while your iPhone uses about 361 kW-h if you stack up wireless connections, data usage, and battery charging.”

    http://theweek.com/article/index/248273/your-iphone-uses-more-energy-than-a-refrigerator

    • That’s a fair comparison……if you use your fridge for communication, or your phone to store food.

      • What we have here is
        A failure to refrigerate

      • Gary does have a point, though. Only “warmists” use I-Phones, the damn hypocrites.

        Say – Gary, have you yet addressed how you could have been so completely wrong with your theories about how the pollsters were “skewing” the data to give Obama an advantage during the election?

        I’m sure someone as dedicated to comprehensive analysis as you would have left no stone unturned to figure out the source of your categorical error (as it turned out, Obama actually did better than the polls indicated, showing that they certainly weren’t “skewed” so as to make it look like he was doing better than what the data supported).

        I know it’s a while past the election – but it’s never to late to show accountability, Gary.

      • Michael,

        It’s funny how such an innocuous comment can elicit an example of the complete inability of progressives to engage in critical thinking. At all.

        The comparison is not between a warmists’ iPhone ad his refrigerator. It is between his cries of impending doom as an excuse to control other people’s lives, while rejecting it as limiting his lifestyle choices at all.

      • Steven Mosher

        gary

        ‘The comparison is not between a warmists’ iPhone ad his refrigerator. It is between his cries of impending doom as an excuse to control other people’s lives, while rejecting it as limiting his lifestyle choices at all.”

        do not expect everyone to read what you write and understand it. In fact, there are certain folks who must mis understand it. They cant help it.

      • Gary,

        You might have a point if we were telling people they will have to give up their iPhones.

      • …or their fridges.

        I think that is what Mosher understood.

      • Michael, try ‘icebox’ for $100!…

      • Keep showing your ass Michael.

        Makes you such a credible commentator.

    • Those are both approximately 1 kWH per day, or continuous average of about 40W. Sounds low for the fridge, but the EPA wouldn’t lie to us would they?

  50. Expert opinion or conclusion still isn’t measured ‘best evidence’
    is it? And seems like no criteria fer best available evidence fer
    (C) AGW has been presented here. In a debate based on the
    uncertainties of our planet’s complex interrelated climate system,
    uncertainties of clouds, of measurement of back radiation of
    energy before it escapes the planet, of hot spots etc, where
    is there room fer certainty or confidence?

    The history of science shows overthrow of even the most secure
    of past theories, theories at best are provisional and those based
    on climate model simulations and argument seem especially
    provisional ter this serf.

    PS: And then there’s ‘Hide the Decline …’

    • “The history of science shows overthrow of even the most secure
      of past theories, theories at best are provisional and those based
      on climate model simulations and argument seem especially
      provisional ter this serf. ” – Beth

      Do you actually reject all current science becuase it will, very likely, in the future be updated/improved/replaced?

      Current expert opinion is the ‘best available evidence’ .

      If you don’t think so, next you get seriously ill, just stay at home and operate on yourself with a kitchen knife.

      • Truly, better than a pal reviewed surgeon.
        ============

      • Whoa, this brings up an idea worth cogitating and rolling around in the cortex with. Medicine seems to have internal controls that climate science doesn’t. My first thought was that it is simply a more mature discipline. My second, and better, thought, is that Medicine is constant experiment, a faculty that climate science lacks.

        This could lead to a dim prognosis for climate science ever having the credibility of medicine, such as it is and sometimes isn’t.
        ==================

      • Steven Mosher

        what constitutes malpractice in science.

        .

        Before one can claim any epistemic benifit from experthood, there need to be consequences for being wrong. measureable consequences.

      • It’s a little scary that you can’t distinguish between rejecting all current science and having some perspective on the limitations of science.
        And the analogy to operating on yourself is interesting. There is fierce controversy in medicine as to many current best-evidence practices. Although I can’t be certain for which illnesses you would be better off staying at home, I would suggest that there are some conditions for which you might be better off waiting till the evidence is better sorted.

      • Rick,

        Warmers are programmed to knee-jerk the Dreadead Docktor Analogee and variants.

        Andrew

      • kim, it is lawyers that make medicine behave, the cost of malpractice for an individual medic or for a class action against a drug makes the profession conservative and cautious.

      • Heh, Doc, the The Lawyer Control Knob. I doubt that anthroadvocacy has as much effect as you think, but I further doubt it has none.
        ========================

      • More like the lawyer feedback. Keeps things stabilized.

      • Plenty of examples of medical issues where the “best available evidence” leaves a well-informed patient in a quandary. Look at a diagnosis with elevated PSA with no other symptoms of prostate cancer. The “experts” are all over the map in what they actually believe and in what they tell their patients. I expect the “watchful waiters” (Lukewarmers) to gain some ground on the “alarmists” (Urgent Mitigationists) as more data roll in on the incidence of indolent tumors, but there’s no easy “best available evidence” conclusion.

      • “stevepostrel | August 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
        Plenty of examples of medical issues where the “best available evidence” leaves a well-informed patient in a quandary. Look at a diagnosis with elevated PSA”

        Prostate Specific Antigen is a great example of something that is fantastic, and useless, at the same time. It is expressed on the surface of most prostate cancer cells, and also on the endothelial cells that feed the tumor. It also appears in the vasculature of other tumors, being completely not prostate specific. However, different individuals have different amounts and it can swing up and down for reasons we have no clue about. Seriously, not a clue. It is a target for drug delivery systems as we can use antibodies or peptides ‘evolved’ to bind to it, to target our nanovectors. I am using it as a possible target for my nanosyringes. But, we don’t understand it.
        PSA is a proxy for cancer, quite good in some men, for some prostate cancers, and might be fantastic in some individuals with some other cancers, but unknown unknows.

  51. Michael,
    I reject certainty as a position. Oh, and
    climate model simulations as evidence.
    Goodnight Michael. hafta get some sleep.
    Bts

    • “Oh, and climate model simulations as evidence.” Beth

      With absolute certainty of course…

      • Michael

        Try using your logic here.

        Rejection of a questionable source of data (GCM outputs) as empirical scientific evidence is because of the UNcertainty of its value as “best available scientific evidence” (see Judith’s “uncertainty monster”).

        This can be for a myriad of specific reasons: GIGO, inability of GCMs to simulate cloud impacts or natural forcings/variability, etc.

        Acceptance of this source as evidence (as IPCC has done) is based on an assumed but unwarranted CERTAINTY in its value as “best available scientific evidence”.

        Max

      • We had a term for bologna that was not meant for polite company.

        Can I call baloney on a donkey who is a dick?

  52. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry asks  “Where have I ever stated that it is fine for scientists to have an explicit political agenda in terms of their public communications associated with their expertise?”

    Never. Which is wrong, eh?

    The history of science teaches plainly that it *IS* “fine for scientists to have an explicit political agenda”. Indeed, the methods of modern science were conceived largely to serve radical agendas.

    Conclusions  Practicing scientists are well-advised to ignore arguments that science must not serve radical agendas. Such arguments are poorly grounded in history, economics, rationality, or morality. Rather, the opinion that “science must not serve agendas” originates largely in political and intellectual timidity and/or the willful ignorance that denialists persistently, deliberately, and systematically cultivate.

    Summary  Scientific timidity is a matter of individual choice, not professional obligation.

    Isn’t that common sense?

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    • Amusing; scientists may serve agendas, science cannot. A lethal flaw in consensus climate science.
      ==================

    • wow, great sources (sarc). Not exactly sure what this is evidence of, other than than inability to discern best available evidence

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        curryja& affirms  “Wow, great sources”

        Yes, as as willard (@nevaudit) too affirms, Professor Israel is recognized (by his fellow historians) as ranking among the very greatest historians of the Enlightenment and its foundations in science, rationality, and radical political ideals..

        His works are heartily recommended to Climate Etc readers, liberal and conservative alike!

        Uhhhh … the Enlightenment *IS* ongoing, isn’t that correct Prof. Curry?

        Uhhhh … and Enlightened grappling with global issues *IS* crucial to the 21st century, ain’t that right?

        Uhhhh … and so it doesn’t hurt to know that history, eh?

        Thank you for inspiring historical curiosity, appreciation, and enlightenment in Climate Etc readers, Judith Curry!

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      • Chief Hydrologist

        Israel discusses sources of ideas that are commonplace today. ‘Democracy, free thought and expression, religious tolerance, individual liberty, political self-determination of peoples, sexual and racial equality–these values have firmly entered the mainstream in the decades since they were enshrined in the 1948 U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. But if these ideals no longer seem radical today, their origin was very radical indeed–far more so than most historians have been willing to recognize. In A Revolution of the Mind, Jonathan Israel, one of the world’s leading historians of the Enlightenment, traces the philosophical roots of these ideas to what were the least respectable strata of Enlightenment thought–what he calls the Radical Enlightenment.’ http://books.google.com.au/books?id=ggIZz6xu_jIC&redir_esc=y

        Fan cites him as saying that the scientific method itself is thus inherently ‘radical’ in some undefined sense. He thus falsely claims the authority of science for an unscientific agenda of the modern left. He distorts any real authority Israel might have in his field to endorse a modern radical agenda. In large part an agenda inimical to enlightenment principles. Like Robespierre and cohorts – authoritarian populists – their aim is to turn back critical enlightenment thinking and to impose new controls on essential freedoms.

    • Steven Mosher

      “The history of science teaches plainly that it *IS* “fine for scientists to have an explicit political agenda”. Indeed, the methods of modern science were conceived largely to serve radical agendas.”

      You are confused here Fan. The enlightenment philosophy which helped to secure the place of the scientific method ( which pre exists the enlightenment )
      would NOT justify scientists framing normative statements as statements of science. In fact, its only in post enlightment frameworks that admit that human reason is not all powerful that admit that we cannot extirpate the normative from science. basically you practice equivocation, sliding in ‘radical” agenda for political agenda.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven Mosher posts  “[assorted factoids that are cherry-picked and/or wrong, accompanied by wrong-headed insistence upon excluded=middle choices]“

        Thank you, Steven Mosher, for a post that reminds us why practicing scientists abhor the moronic arguments of denialism

        Your post helped catalyze the historical review (posted below) that concludes:

        Conclusion  History shows us plainly that, consistently over the past three centuries, the best science serves to advance the most radical Enlightenment. It is not necessary that all scientists be radical, but it is necessary to the vitality of science that some scientists be radical. And we should cherish these scientists!

        Thank you, Steven Mosher, for helping so effectively to inspire radical enlightenment in Climate Etc readers!

        Please let me thank too Chief Hydrologist, for posting a link to Jonathan Israel’s *TERRIFIC* lecture on the Foundations of the Enlightenment. Not for nothing did the British Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) award Prof. Israel the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Medal, eh Chief? That lecture is invigorating to all who love the methods of science in service of cherished Enlightenment objectives!

        Benjamin Franklin Just another scientist who foolishly and wrongly meddled in governmental policy, by helping to draft-and-enact that goofily stupid, unrealistic, short-sighted, disrespectful, liberal/radical document, the US Constitution!

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    • Steven Mosher

      fan,

      your second reference, Oreskes, on the conservatism of scientists.

      I’ll point this out to you. Future damage is proportional to temperature increase. simply higher temperatures means more damage.
      Second, future temperature is proportional to climate sensitivity.
      Third, since the first report the estimates of climate sensitivity have progressed downward.

      Question; is this movement conservatism? or is it following the scientific method which demands that we revise our theories as they collide with new data. Are scientists being rational? if not can we appeal to them as experts on science and should they talk about policy

      Now, if you had access to the absolute truth you could judge scientifically whether the change in view was being “conservative” or whether it was being “rational” given the evidence.

      Earlier, you cited the enlightenment, which of course worships human reason. Now you seem to be arguing that scientists are “conservative” that is, that the real truth ( obtained somehow) would show that they are not being rational, that they are not following the scientific method.

      Your choice:
      1. the scientists are following the rational scientific method and they are being rational and not slanting toward conservatism.
      2. The scientists are slanting their findings toward conservativism, and are not being rational, and you can tell that they are conservative relative to the truth because you have some special method that gives you access to it

      In short, appeals to the scientific method, appeals to enlightment philosophy , appeals to valorizing expert judgement, AND the claim that the experts are being conservative, do not hang together neatly. Internally inconsistent.

      • ‘Future damage is proportional to future temperature increase. simply higher temperature means more damage.’

        Wrong, moshe, radically so; approximating 180 degrees. Show me the harms from the temperature rise since the depths of the Little Ice Age.

        Or maybe you know that already and are just provoking me.
        =======================

      • Steven Mosher

        sorry, i was imprecise.

        going forward ,the models that fan believes in, assert this.

      • I’ll provoke back a little. Sure, I’ve picked a large nit, but the rest of your comment about rationalism and conservatism is so much hog slop, heh. This social mania, this bubble of belief, of CAGW is an Extraordinary Popular Illusion and Madness of the Crowd. It is irrational. It doth not bring light.
        =========

      • Steven Mosher

        kim

        you miss my point.

        fan is attacking the every experts he wants us to rely on

      • Mosh and kim

        It appears that this is the premise, which is being debated here:

        As long as the experts are feeding Fan the “best available scientific evidence” to support his/her belief in the CAGW premise, Fan accepts this evidence eagerly.

        However, if these same experts now tell us that latest “best available scientific evidence” no longer supports the “C” in the CAGW premise, Fan quickly abandons this evidence and these experts.

        It may be simpler than that.

        It is quite apparent here that Fan has chosen James E. Hansen as his/her “expert of choice”, knowing full well that this “expert” is actually an advocate for the CAGW meme. Ergo there will not be a change in the “best available scientific evidence” coming from this source.

        Makes life easier.

        Max

      • Oh, yeah, circularity approaching 360 degrees. But the whole mess is still anti-rational.
        ============

      • Mosher,

        your arguments are lost on fan.

        but some of us enjoy them any way

    • Fan

      You just wrote a justification for “scientists to have an explicit political agenda” when they perform as scientists.

      I disagree.

      Science is the search for truth about our natural physical world.

      Scientists must remain objective and unbiased in this search.

      They must remain rational and not emotional.

      If they are performing “agenda driven science” to support an explicit political agenda, they are unable to perform objectively and rationally as scientists.

      Max

  53. > wow, great sources (sarc).

    Indeed:

    Jonathan Irvine Israel (born 26 January 1946, London) is a British writer on Dutch history, the Age of Enlightenment and European Jewry. Israel was appointed the Modern European History Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S. in January 2001.[1] He was previously Professor of Dutch History and Institutions at the University of London. He is one of the world’s leading historians of the Enlightenment.

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

  54. Concerned Citizen

    Open Question: For all the advocates of AGW as fact, are you pleased that you have convinced many of my own family and friends (largely non-science liberal arts majors) that they are justified in criticizing my own questioning of the consequences of man’s influence on climate? I have a PhD in engineering and work in an industrial setting. My BS filter is well-honed and I respond best to the “show me” method if you want to influence me. Are you successful in advocacy of you convince the less-trained and more gullible over those that question a theory with certain well-discussed holes? Is it more important to win the majority than to actually produce evidence sufficiently convincing that it is adopted naturally over time, as nearly all valid scientific results are? I find it notable that weathermen and farmers, empiricists by nature, tend to not be AGW-theory adopters. Gives me reason to think I should maintain my own skepticism just a couple decades longer.

  55. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Hi, I am new in this blog. I pretend to write an analysis on the scientific basis of IPCC’s hypothesis: man-caused climate change. Could anyone send me here a reply with at least one link to the scientific articles on this subject?. It would be very helpful those articles summarizing scientific evidences: in favor or against, IPCC’s hypothesis.
    Thanks.

    • Utopia is when any newbie can get such an answer. Practically, start anywhere, and persevere; you’ve the only pre-requisite, curiosity.
      ====================

      • The cool thing is that the odds are that you’ll end up a believer in AGW and skeptical of CAGW, as has been the general case historically for newbies. Bon Voyage.
        =========

      • Pre-empt for Joshua. Why should I give you evidence for this assertion if all you’ll do is distort it?
        ================

    • You might try the last chapter of the ebook, The Arts of Truth. It contains over 200 footnotes on the subject of climate change, and dissects AR4 in some detail. Was written expressly for people like you, Antonio. And will bring you up to speed on many of the technical subjects discussed here.
      Regards

    • Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

      No answers so far. I’ll try it later. Reminder: I am only interested in links to scientific articles sumarizing evidences in favor or against the hypothesis “man causes climate to change”.

  56. This blog is becoming little more than a troll fest. And boring because of it. When even the main post gives them the attention they so crave, is it any wonder the noise not only exceeds the signal, it begins to replace it entirely?

    • Gary

      This blog has become very noisy of late with the same commenters making the same points ever more loudly. The shriller they become the more the science becomes the casualty and the less likely It is that new commenters will want to join in the unseemly fray and dilute the sometimes vitriolic mix that mars threads.

      Yesterday’s baiting of Joshua was a prime example of the overheated machismo that is becoming ever more common.
      I’m going to take a break for a few weeks and hope people are in better humour at the end of it and more willing to stay on topic
      Tonyb

  57. Skipped all the comments, so apologies if this has been pointed out already. Was busy with the third try at a posting over on WUWT pointing out more junk science Anthony suspected but could not prove, and (further proving the posting point) Willis missed. The proof is very visible. (Hint, the poor quality peer reviewed paper sort of went up in flames).

    Second and more important reason is that some of Dr. Curry’s recent posts and guest commentaries make plain the essentially wicked problem in this post. “BEST available data” inherently involves a value judgement about best. All other problems follow from that simple fact, since values are intrinsic (partly subjective), not extrinsic (mostly objective).
    Wrote a whole book about determining truth based on that simple distinction. There are no simple answers, but there are a number of pretty good approximation techniques that work in a wide variety of circumstances including education, energy, medicine…and climate. Critical thinking 101.

    • “Skipped all the comments….”

      Me too. More and more lately.

      • GaryM, Judith has pleaded for more reponsible on topic commentary. Many times. I suspect her academic milieu and required tolerance of sometimes ‘stupid’ students leads to less policing than elsewhere. Far better to have some of the posters here (you know how you are) continue to violate Churchill’s admonition, than to suffer the obvious and biased sensorship elsewhere (e.g. SkS). After all, that is what skip or fast forward were invented for.

        So you don’t have to look it up if you don’t know it, what Winston said was:
        “It is far better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

      • I seen that quote credited to him before, but have never found a confirmation. Do you have a reference for it? My Latin teacher had it on the wall.

        “The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.” – Churchill

      • Sorry, JCH not Jim.

      • Lol. I thought there was a rule that I can’t get fooled again.

      • Steven – you probably have this, but just in case:

        <a href="http://geology.uprm.edu/Morelock/3_image/holcrv.gif"Holocene SLR

      • Thanks for fixing your link, JCH. I had found it by searching. I can’t say for sure if I have seen that particular graph but I know I have seen at least a couple of the reconstructions depicted on it. Was there a point you wished to make with it or just curious?

      • I don’t like the global sea level reconstruction you linked in to in your discussion of SLR versus Marcott (SLR s an indictor of GMT), so I was looking for others for comparison purposes. It doesn’t look like there are very many.

      • Honestly JCH I just grabbed the first one I found. I could have grabbed any and found times where sea levels and temperatures weren’t moving in tandem. If I had really wanted to complicate the issue I would have brought in some of the other factors of sea level rise besides temperature and glacier melt like ground water mining, dam construction, deforestation, silt deposition and sea floor changes. The only point I was trying to make was that warming and sea levels do not always go in the same direction and to say the sea level must decline if the world is cooling is an error. To say you don’t think a paleo reconstruction is accurate is just showing common sense. At best they are rough educated estimates.

  58. David Springer

    “A useful example is the decision of the Bush 43 administration to go to war with Iraq, ostensibly based on the best available evidence that the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction. The best available information turned out to be incorrect, but there were other reasons that the Bush administration wanted to go to war with Iraq.”

    Incorrect? And you base that on what, exactly? Lack of evidence? So lack of evidence in this case is the best available evidence. ROFL

    • -“A useful example is the decision of the Bush 43 administration to go to war with Iraq, ostensibly based on the best available evidence that the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction. The best available information turned out to be incorrect, but there were other reasons that the Bush administration wanted to go to war with Iraq.”

      Incorrect? And you base that on what, exactly? Lack of evidence? So lack of evidence in this case is the best available evidence. ROFL”-

      The reason we went to war was we were already at war with Iraq.
      We had no fly zone and restrictions Iraqi trade, ie, Food for Oil program.
      And Saddam was violating the cease fire agreement. One could argue whether Saddam was violating the cease fire agree to such a degree that it required a military response, but it was plain Saddam wasn’t following the treaty.
      One might say that Bush didn’t negotiate well enough, before sending troops in to take the capital within 3 weeks. But if think this, one shouldn’t imagine Saddam did negotiated in a fashion that would prevent a Super Power from invading his country and dragging his butt out of hole, sequentially giving him and trial, and then hanging him until he was dead.

      It seems to me the US any every reason to remove Saddam from power,
      he was an liability in terms of our more major confrontation with Iran. If Iran decided at this point to attack Iraq, we now have ally which we could/would be willing to defend. We don’t want major armed conflict with Iran, Saddam as leader of Iraq make this possibility more likely. If we forced into major conflict with Iran [because they making nuclear weapons] we now in better position to deal effectively against this country. And because Iraq is now a democratic nation, there a slightly better chance we will avoid a major confrontation with Iran. Iran may decide it’s better to trade with it’s neighbors than focus solely in engaging in hostile actions.

      So gulf war II, allow us to remove all trade sanctions, remove the no fly zone, satisfy concerns of the Kurds, and Saudi Arabia had regarding Saddam’s threat to their national security.
      We essential got to the point where we didn’t have devote as much security forces to the region- we made the region less dangerous in terms of regional security.
      If we do such a bad job dealing with N Korea, it would also be a good outcome.

      • Thank you, ++
        There’s more, for those willing to investigate.

      • I continue to be amazed how people either forget or fail to understand the reality of the US having been involved in a 10 year war with Iraq prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

  59. re your assertion
    “The best available information turned out to be incorrect, but there were other reasons that the Bush administration wanted to go to war with Iraq.”
    When you stick to your research, Climate Etc is a joy.
    …….
    When you strike out, diving into one of your unknown/unknown areas, CE stumbles, embarrassingly.
    I trust other comments on this thread address your claim; is there a blog where you would be willing to explain the statement above. Let’s see your evidence proving a negative. Give us your sources re ‘other reasons.’ I’m interested in your logic. Which authorities will you honor with your belief system? Who enjoys, has earned your trust, when examining a field outside your specialty?
    best regards, John Moore

  60. Statistically, the best evidence for what will happen tomorrow is what exists today.

    • Wagathon,

      Spot on.

      As I recollect, predicting tomorrow’s weather based on today’s weather gives around 86% success. An average 12 year old kid can do this. I think this allows for plus or minus 5% in temps. Give yourself the benefit of wider error margins, and it makes the claimed success rate for professional meteorologists, (in one case 85% success), look a bit odd, given their training.

      Where I live, our Australian Broadcasting Commission weatherperson usually summarised the forecast for the following day (using info supplied by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology,) as “fine and beaut”.

      What else would you need?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn

  61. Michael Larkin

    Most of us bozos on the bus have learnt to trust those who allow free discussion. That’s why sceptical blogs have engendered a lot of trust. Scientifically qualified, sceptical commenters on sceptical blogs quite often call BS on papers that support the sceptical position. I trust them *precisely because* they’re much more sceptical than warmist blogs, even of research that supports their case. I’m not a climate scientist, but I do have a degree in science and have some experience of doing postgrad research. Scepticism was, 40 years ago, thought to be a good thing.

    I’m not sceptical because I’m following a party line. I’m sceptical because sceptics are much more open to dissent against their views, and that speaks of a certain integrity, which impresses me. On the other hand, people who try to persuade me they are right, and think it’s only a matter of finding some key to enabling me to see things their way, get right up my nose and arouse my suspicions.

    Sceptics aren’t going to go away. The harder people try to find some way to get across the message PR-style, the more they’ll harden the scepticism. The best available evidence for people like me is the contrast between sceptical and warmist sources. I know partisanship when I see it, having been brought up an RC. In due course, I became sceptical of that, too, and see a similar semi-religious dynamic in the “climate change” narrative. Why is that there? It shouldn’t be if all were kosher.

    • This type of ethos analysis is why the maybe the strongest booster of the credibility of mainstream climate science is Science of Doom. Excruciating patience in dealing with stubborn people, combined with precise exposition backed by direct links (and even page images from textbooks) leaves an impression of having nothing to hide. Some of the above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty responses on comment threads there are hard to rationalize except as sincere efforts at explanation.

      It’s like Alan Dershowitz once noted: His innocent clients are obsessed with getting as much evidence as possible on the record (even when that might be a tactical error) while the guilty ones tend to be eager to get lots of things suppressed.

      • You touch on a sore point with Dershowitz, since I am an HLS grad of his era, as were (I am embarrassed to say) Obama and Romney. A pox on both houses, as they used to say.

      • The guilty ones are right.

      • Michael Larkin

        I wasn’t aware of the Science of Doom blog: don’t think I’ve been there before. I’m going to give it a scan, starting with the earliest archives. My initial impression is good. Thanks for mentioning it.

      • SoD is a very useful blog for explaining some of the basic physics behind climate change

      • The Science of Doom blog chose a particular path. When I began about 9 years ago, it was expected to post fairly often. This gets the readership up because those interested make it a habit of checking often. But then when you decide to put some effort into it, the posts become more scarce and consequently the readers tend to drift away.

        Science of Doom is high quality but sporadic and therefore low readership in comparison to Climate Etc which is quick knock-off quality work, but regular enough to attract an audience.

        You make your choice.

      • ‘Science of Doom’ is a terrible name for blog.

        Symptomatic of Warmer’s irrational need to dramatize.

        Andrew

      • Perhaps ‘Science of Boom’? The little effect man can do with his AnthroCO2 warming, and the lot man can do with his AnthroCO2 fertilizing, are a boon. Ask any plant, boom, boom, boom.
        ==============

      • OK, OK, ‘Science of Boon’. Our sophists here can tell you about framing.
        ===================

      • Dang, BA, beat me to it. Great ideas boomty boom, boom.
        ==============

      • “Science of Doom” is just so tone deaf. Absolutely tonally consistent with an unyielding alarmist mindset, with no wit or poetry in his soul.

        The title itself bespeaks the kind of “anti-science” we “deniers” are often accused of pursuing.

      • Michael Larkin

        Is it an alarmist blog? I’ve just read the first of the posts on CO2, where according to the supplied “Roadmap”, one should start. It seems to explain the physics well for a layman like me: better than I’ve seen previously, and it’s pretty much in accord with what the large majority of sceptics accept anyway.

        It doesn’t matter whether the blogger, whoever s/he actually might be, is on the other side of the fence if the facts are correct and s/he isn’t pushing a hidden agenda. It’s all about the feedbacks as far as I can see, but I haven’t yet got to any coverage of that issue there might be. I’m keeping an open mind, which is what sceptics are supposed to do. If and when I detect any bias creeping in, I may review my initially favourable impression.

      • Michael, the science is pretty reliable; it’s the headline writer who got it wrong.
        ===========

      • I think of the title “Science of Doom” not as in ‘doomed planet’ but as “the xxx of Doom” – a reference (somewhat tongue-in-cheek or geeky) to various computer games or movies. Appending “of Doom” is a term of approbation in our house :-) http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DoomyDoomsOfDoom

      • I’ve been on Science of Doom, trying to understand this subject.

        Carson writes on water vapor: “The point is that water vapor responds to climate – and therefore influences climate as a feedback. The concern is that humans adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause a change to the climate and water vapor will have a feedback effect… …It is quite difficult for humans to add water vapor to the atmosphere. The oceans are a vast source of water, and just above the surface of the ocean the atmosphere is saturated… …There is a huge focus on water vapor because it is a difficult subject.”

        I find most of his lesson materials to be over my head. My next step was to look at his conclusions. His site is large but from what I could see, he doesn’t commit to a conclusion on how much water vapor feedsback? He spends his time writing about the scientific work and what it seems to be saying. Which I think is a positive sign, his reservation.

        I am still after my water vapor answer. Aren’t we supposed to have more of that at the current time?

      • Ragnaar, the water vapor feedback and tropical upper hotspot respond mostly to tropical ocean surface temperatures, which have responded more slowly than other areas in the world. In equilibrium they should warm more, but in this transient state, and possibly because of temporary circulation phases and lack of El Nino, their response is less than equilibrium, while the land more closely tracks equilibrium. This slower response has also thrown off some sensitivity estimates based on short time periods recently, because they haven’t allowed for the tropical ocean water vapor feedback in the pipeline, only the imbalance term. A paper by Armour et al. talks about the error of making short term sensitivity estimates with different time scales in different reservoirs.

      • Ragnaar asks, “I am still after my water vapor answer. Aren’t we supposed to have more of that at the current time?”

        Why yes we are. With a CO2 equivalent no feedback forcing of ~3.3 Wm-2 there should be about 6.6 Wm-2 of water vapor feedback, but it seems to be missing at the moment along with the tropical troposphere hot spot that water vapor is supposed to produce. The Tropical and southern ocean do not appear to have gotten that memo.

        Of course there is an issue with the water vapor feed back. Increased evaporation would result in true surface cooling per degree of warm but the amount of water evaporated per degree depends on the actual temperature of the water surface. Most of the evaporation occurs where the surface temperature is greater than 26 C degrees. Increasing the forcing on a surface at 26C only increases the temperature by 0.6 C degrees, which produces surface cooling and increases convection. At some temperature, near 30C, the latent/convective cooling equals the energy required to cause the increase in temperature.

        If you look at the Stephens et al. Earth energy budget, they estimate latent at ~88Wm-2 and convection(sensible) at 24 Wm-2 or a 24 hour total of 112 Wm-2. The more alarmists energy budgets estimate latent at around 80Wm-2 and convection at 17 Wm-2 for a total of 97 Wm-2. The difference, 15Wm-2, is a large portion of the water vapor fat tail which also narrows the atmospheric window energy actually emitted from the real surface.

        Since the Alarmist budget is based on models instead of the satellite data which didn’t agree with their elegant theory, the question of water vapor feedback is at the heart of the issue.

      • Jim D:
        Are you saying the lack of El Ninos can hold back the water vapor? Makes sense to me if the tropical oceans are cooler. Wouldn’t we then decouple water vapor to some extent from CO2 and make it more temperature based?

      • captdallas 0.8 or less:

        Now I am seeing this as an accounting problem. I haven’t quite captured the energy budget diagram though I’ve spent a lot time looking at it and trying to get the numbers to balance. That diagram is a profit and loss statement. The currency is Watts I think. It seems to omit the oceans to an extent. Which weakens it as far as completeness goes.

        A profit and loss statement captures everything material. Did we forget something we ask? If we look at a balance sheet I’d want to include the oceans. The Watts have to be somewhere and if they move between the oceans and the atmosphere, that’s not new Watts, it’s a sideways transfer. From a CD to to a money market account. But it is not income.

        We are so far from following the money. I’d guess the accounting data is incredibly weak.

      • Ragnaar, “We are so far from following the money. I’d guess the accounting data is incredibly weak.”

        Pretty much. Plus different accounts have different rates. The Northern Hemisphere is about 3C warmer than the Southern which based on estimated absolute temperature is ~18 Wm-2 difference. The Western hemisphere using 80 West to split the Americas has close to the same difference. That gives you a range of natural variability of up to 3.2 C with another 0.6C of variability. Pretty much what the regional paleo prior to smoothing to death shows, with a lot of potential lag times.

        Vertically, there are several layers that also have different rates, Land uses different accounting than oceans which is different than atmosphere, resulting in a +/- 17 Wm-2 range of error in the budget or more than 10% of the “Greenhouse Effect”.

        Other than that, every thing is just ducky.

  62. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘So there is a not so subtle distinction in a scientist stating his/her opinion about policy simply for the purpose of clarifying what the scientist thinks, versus trying to change someone’s mind about the science with the objective to spurring them them to taking action on the self-evident policy.’

    There is a glut of modern leftist expectations as to the self evident policy applicable. That the aggregate of self evident truths is protean simply adds to the confusion. It is so very difficult to distil the central ideas and policy objectives. However, a central idea seems to be the idea of resource limitations of many types – and the consequent self evident failure of capitalist and democratic institutions. The direst prognostications of climate and environmental collapse is self referential proof and evidence is subject to procrustean adjustment to fit the theory.
    Some people need very little to no data at all and built substantial structures on insubstantial foundations.

    This is simple with paleoclimatic data.

    ‘Now imagine that you have never seen the device and that it is hidden in a box in a dark room. You have no knowledge of the hand that occasionally sets things in motion, and you are trying to figure out the system’s behavior on the basis of some old 78-rpm recordings of the muffled sounds made by the device. Plus, the recordings are badly scratched, so some of what was recorded is lost or garbled beyond recognition.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=13

    Yet paleoclimatic data is commonly treated as God’s law engraved on stone tablets. Understanding and making allowances for reliability follows from quite objective rules on the relative significance of data – it follows from realistic assessment of error bounds and confounding and missing factors.

    It is simple enough with modern data – where data that doesn’t fit whatever agenda is disputed in blogs forums, conveniently ignored or what seems like insanely misinterpreted. ARGO ocean heat or CERES radiant flux for instance. These are btw – with satellite observations of temperature, albedo and cloud in the atmosphere – the critical bits of climate change data. I would accept all as provisionally true and see what that means.

    Insanely misinterpreted? Trenberth famously complained about the missing energy. He subsequently compared ocean heat content to depth with net CERES and found it again. Going one step further one can interrogate CERES for SW and LW and compare it with MODIS and come to the conclusion that variability in TOA radiant flux is complicated by large changes induced by ocean and atmosphere circulation.

    Data of course tells you little without a theory to explain the observations. I think perhaps the most important theory of climate to date is the idea of climate as a coupled nonlinear system. A good theory enables testable hypotheses. This new climate paradigm leads to the hypothesis of no warming – or even cooling – for 20 to 40 years from the 1998/2001 climate shift.

    On a meta concern and given the quality of comments – this post seems a huge waste of time. There is little enough room left for serious or even semi-serious discourse. It is all overwhelmed by trite nonsense, smary little snarks, profoundly unwitty witticisms and utterly irrelevant links to unscience. I too was planning on an extended break.

  63. @WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | August 15, 2013 at 12:45 am |

    “Perhaps we don’t need any policy. Crude oil is rapidly depleting in many parts of the world, and it is getting much more expensive due to its increasing scarcity. ”

    This is a great idea WHT. Let the price of oil work its magic. It will make people go to work to find cheaper alternatives. And they will succeed. We don’t need government intervention to make it happen. Look at Joule Unlimited. If anything they say is true, we will have cheaper liquid fuels soon.

    • Sounds good to me. It would show two things. That the scientists who made the no-brainer statement that crude oil production would peak at a predicted time were right.
      And that mankind was resilient enough to overcome adversity by applying their creativity and know-how.

      To make this a fluid transition, the people in group 2 had to understand what the scientists and analysts in group 1 were saying so as to get a headstart. See the case of Joule Unlimited , for example.

      • I’m not going to argue with you here. The oil production numbers are what they are, just as the global temperature is what it is. They speak for themselves.

    • I forgot to give a h/t to David Springer for turning our attention to Joule Unlimited. The videos are good.

      http://www.jouleunlimited.com/news/videos

  64. “I say that  identifying best available scientific evidence is difficult even for scientists if the uncertainties are large.  What rational people are able to to do is to identify BS…” – Judith Curry.

    When taking a multiple choice exam and we can find a question that just isn’t seeming clear to us, we can hopefully cross out one or two of the answers as wrong or very unlikely, and then guess from there.

    Prepping for one particular exam, call him the coach said, If an answer contains the words, Never or Always or similar binary words, it’s most likely not the correct answer. I suppose the test writers had turned predictable, and the pre-exam course I was taking showed me to use that to my advantage.

    I think we are getting better at identifying what’s not making sense. And to say that there’s a problem with the skeptics? No, I’d say the process is working as intended.

  65. “best available evidence”
    The scientific method still works, this is the same old question. Although, to be clear for any climate science discussion, it should be explicitly noted that all evidence is useful, not just the best, and that bogus evidence exists (incompetence, cheating, etc) and that good evidence which could exist is not available (gatekeeping, intimidation, etc). If this scientific field had not been politicized we would have been much further ahead by now. The problem is not so much the evidence but the number of people who cannot handle the science and the logic. pollution ;-)

  66. I find it amusing that the CAGWarmers continually blather on about communicating the science. In fact, the science is being communicated – it’s the hysteria that isn’t getting across.

  67. Science has been “…entirely removed from its original purpose of pursuing knowledge for its own sake.” – Paul Collits writing about Darwell.

    Write, ‘for its own sake’ and you’ve got my attention. It has me thinking of highest goals and ranked goals.

    Rank 1) Protecting the Integrity of Science, as Judith Curry said it. (See below.)
    Rank 2) Figuring out this Climate change thing and if warranted, proposing possible solutions.

    An author once wrote the way I read it that, Morality is about using the word ‘Should’. She was an atheist by the way.

    We might say, Protecting the Integrity of Science should be the rank 1 goal. If we say that with conviction, are we moralizing, that is preaching? The safe thing might be to just never mention it and avoid the whole preaching fallout problem.

    A more subtle way of approaching the problem is to say we value the rank 1 goal above the rank 2 goal. But it seems to be kind of the same thing, still relying on the word ‘should’ that is now just in the background.

    We do place different values on different things and even people. Our ability to do that with a greater success rate does improve outcomes.

    So how does one say, the global warming issue is secondary to the integrity of science issue so we should keep our priorities straight now. (of course I am just an accountant.) It seems kind of an inflammatory statement. We might consider just looking at what we ourselves are doing and let go of what others who we may disagree with are doing, which doesn’t have to looked at as some kind of retreat, but more of a graceful sidestep away from a potentially non-productive encounter.

    Please do not misunderstand what I am trying to write here. My intent is not to be critical of anyone. It is just to look at an idea which may have a bit of worth. Perhaps looking at what it is we think we should be doing?

    (Below) I think above the rank 1 goal is the goal of, Pursuing knowledge for its own sake, which might be a bit confusing having anything above rank 1.

  68. More audits:

    Auditing bills isn’t difficult. Medicare does it. (“Funny that the federal government got this right before private industry,” said Dendy.) It began to do automated audits in three states in 2005, and now audits are nationwide. It has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars by catching practices like double billing. And the fear of audits has no doubt reduced Medicare fraud in general.

    Seven years ago, GPA, the company hired by Texas811, began offering clients the option of getting out of P.P.O.’s, working instead with ELAP Services, a Philadelphia-area company that, like AMPS, uses a very different method of evaluating the reimbursement for hospital bills. About 100 clients now have made the shift, said Kathy Enochs, GPA’s chief operating officer. ELAP advises plans to pay a hospital its cost, plus a profit. ELAP, like AMPS, also employs doctors who do a line-by-line audit of every single bill their clients receive.

    Steve Kelly, ELAP’s president, said that this strategy was rarely used by the mainstream health insurance market. Enochs said that clients usually saw a 15 to 20 percent reduction in medical spending in their first year after switching from a P.P.O. — if they have a lot of hospital costs, the reduction can be much larger. After that, costs are close to flat.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/the-cure-for-the-1000-toothbrush

  69. most reliable facts come from me! Warmist & Fakes theology is religious indoctrination / brainwashing – I have proven it: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/climate/

  70. gbaikie commented on So what is the best available scientific evidence : ” I posted a definition of a denier as someone who thought the whole IPCC sensitivity range (2-4.5 C per doubling) was 100%, indisputably, definitely wrong. ”

    correct gbaikie, correct!!! IPCC sensitivity range (2-4.5 C per doubling) IS 100%, indisputably, definitely wrong. ” it’s wrong, it’s childish destructive misleading crap!!! – http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/

  71. So what *ISN’T* the best scientific evidence anyway?

    Argumentum Ad Baculum …
    ‘ Say, we know where you live!’

    Argumentum Ad Hominem …
    ‘Climate-change denier!’

    Argumentum Ad Misericordium …
    ‘Polar bears are dying!’

    Argumentum Ad Populum …
    IPCC Look, all the best scientists say ,,, ‘

    Argumentum Ad Verecundium …
    ‘Our bristle cone study rocks!’

    (Disclaimer- If there are any spelling mistakes it’s because Latin
    isn’t me native language). Bts

    • Love a good list. I wish to add:

      Argumentum ad Terram Australem…
      ‘Ghastly Aussie!’

      Argumentum ad Terram Australem Non XCVII…
      ‘Ghastly Aussie Three Percenter!”

      Argumentum ad MDCCCCLXXX…
      ‘Shove your history!’

  72. Don’t let it go ter yer head, mosomoso but i’m awardin’ yer
    plus 1 fer the sheer irreverence of ‘Shove yer history!’
    Beth the serf.

  73. Yer a wag, Peter and so good with numbers.
    Sometimes i wish you, or mebbe Peter Costello, were our
    Australian Guvuhmint Treasurer … or faustino. )
    Bts

  74. Argumentum ad asinine..
    “The planet has a fever.

    Argumentum ad fan of *more* discourse
    “Wendell Berry is the greatest poet who ever lived.”

    Argumentum ad Joshua
    “Heh. ‘Skeptics.’ Heh.

    • re: Joshua’s “skeptic”. I listened to a radio commentator arguing against someone’s belief on the simple grounds that she didn’t believe he really believed them. Compare with Joshua.
      ==============================

      • There’s something disturbingly self referential in the way alarmists sometimes argue,

        Argumentum ad solipsism:
        “I’m right because I’m me”

      • The world turns.

        The obsession continues.

      • The arrogance, it enflames.
        ===========

      • self-immolation.

      • Joshua,

        Warmers are the embodiment of (most) everything that’s wrong with the world today. It’s interesting to observe their behavior, from a “watching a train wreck” perspective.

        Andrew

      • What % of PG’s comments do you suppose are about my comments?

        You know, the ones he reads “accidentally.”

        You boyz (or is it girls, kim?) are hilarious.

      • if only it were intentional…

      • Heh, I think you’d be humbled at the extent to which I ignore you. It’s sort of like the air I breathe; now and then I’m conscious of it.
        ========================

      • Joshua, It’s like trying to ignore a mosquito. One’s every instinct is to slap it away. By the way, how many hours a day do you spend here, bemoaning the ongoing cosmically important mystery of why people seem to enjoy baiting you?

      • bemoaning the ongoing cosmically important mystery of why people seem to enjoy baiting you?

        Not “bemoaning” anything – I’m pointing it out.

        I don’t think it is a mystery. I have my thoughts about why it occurs.

        I don’t think any of this is important. These are blog comments, for god’s sake.

      • “I don’t think any of this is important. These are blog comments, for god’s sake.”

        Ages and ages hence, when archeologists and anthropologists of the future dig their way down to this ancient virtual city, they will ask themselves, “And who was this Joshua? Was he half man, half beast? Was he a kind of god who worshipped only himself? Did such beings really exist?”

      • You can lead a centaur to truth, then watch him jump all around it.
        =========================

      • You don’t need to lead willard to the alkali flats; he finds them by himself.
        ========================

    • Argumentum ad Vino,
      “it’s five O’clock some where.”

    • pokerguy,

      I believe you out did Beth on this.

  75. Argumentum ad Argghh! It’s your fault and it’s your fault you don’t accept the guilt.
    ===========

    • Is that argumentum ad WHUT?

      • In Edim’s case it is Balkanizing an argument. Maybe it’s not his fault, and he was just born into displaying that behavior.

      • Argumentum Ad Nauseum …

        ‘The scholars have gathered in a clearing in the wood.
        Nervously at first, but with ever-growing enthuisiasm
        they begin to discuss the insoluble problems of existence.
        Soon the forest resounds to their obscene drinking songs.’ )

        H/tThe Second Best Moments in Chinese History,

      • Another argumentum ad WHUT.

      • Edim, must hurt to see yourself in a mirror. To Balkanize a discussion is to break it up into pieces and then essentially quarrel over the mess left behind. All you ever do is toss out assertions as fact, even though they have been debunked before. Considering where you are from, it must be second nature to adopt this tactic.

        And I don’t consider this mean on my part, as it is no different an assertion than the ones you make. And the personal affront that you take from this does not apply, as we don’t know you from Edim.

      • WHUT, your words speak for themselves, nothing to add.

      • WEB,

        Your use of the term Balkanizing is incorrect.

        Study the history of the region and you will see it is about attempts to consolidate populations isolated by geography, not break them up. The Romans, the Byzantines, the Bulgars, the Serbs, the Latins (mainly Normans from Sicily), the Ottomans, the Austro-Hungarians all tried, with varying degrees of success. Yet the peoples of the region managed to hold on to their languages, customs, cultures and religions.

  76. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Chief Hydrologist notes  “Fan cites [IAS Prof. Jonathan Israel] as saying that the scientific method itself is thus inherently ‘radical’ in some undefined sense.”

    Chief, the Founders of the Enlightenment — who include the Framers of the US Constitution — were explicit that the scientific method serves to advance Enlightenment objectives. As Prof. Israel documents:

    Radical Enlightenment conceived as a package of basic concepts and values may be summarized in eight cardinal points:

    (1) adoption of philosophical (mathematical-historical) reason as the only and exclusive criterion of what is true;

    (2) rejection of all supernatural agency, magic, disembodied spirits, and divine providence;

    (3) equality of all mankind (racial and sexual);

    (4) secular ‘universalism’ in ethics anchored in equality and chiefly stressing equity, justice, and charity;

    (5) comprehensive toleration and freedom of thought based on independent critical thinking;

    (6) personal liberty of lifestyle and sexual conduct between consenting adults;

    (7) freedom of expression, political criticism, and the press, in the public sphere.

    (8) democratic republicanism as the most legitimate form of politics.

    Today these concepts and values seem conservative, and indeed are set forth and protected in the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights (as we now understand it); but once upon a time these concepts and values were radical, eh?

    As for the crucial role in the Enlightenment of (what Judith calls) “the best of available scientific evidence,” the French philosopher/scientist/encyclopedist d’Holbach plainly set forth that role

    “Si l’erreur et l’ignorance ont forge les chaines des peuples, si le prejuge les perpetue, la science, la raison, la verite pourront un jour les briser.”

    “If error and ignorance have forged the chains which bind peoples in oppression, if it is prejudice which perpetuates those chains, science, reason and truth will one day be able to break them/”

    Observation  Sites like HotWhopper thoroughly document that the unscientific methods of denialism are deployed to serve anti-Enlightenment political and economic objectives … and isn’t this is why the great majority of practicing scientists abhor sites like WUWT?

    Remarks

    • High-school science teaches little about good science, and

    • High-school sex education teaches little about good sex, and

    • High-school history teaches little about advancing the Enlightenment!

    So if you haven’t studied the Enlightenment since high school, perhaps it’s time to consult some adult-level references!

    Conclusion  History shows us plainly that, consistently over the past three centuries, the best science serves to advance the most radical Enlightenment. It is not necessary that all scientists be radical, but it is necessary to the vitality of science that some scientists be radical. And we should cherish these scientists!

    \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}

    • FOMD, “It is not necessary that all scientists be radical, but it is necessary to the vitality of science that some scientists be radical.”

      Right, and it is the “radical” that is considered the “denier”, The outside the consensus box thinker is the radical not the milquetoast conformist. Chaos math radical, linear no threshold modeling, milquetoast, Chief, radical, FOMD, milquetoast.

      See how that works?

    • fan,

      as someone who regularly interacts with students in grades 1 – 12, I am curious about the basis for your opinion of what high school teaches.

    • Matthew R Marler

      fan of *MORE* discourse: Sites like HotWhopper thoroughly documen

      I usually follow links to new sites, and after reading a few of the posts there I decided that it’s a wretched site. If they ever post something both accurate and pertinent, let us know.

  77. Robert of Ottawa

    What evidence is acceptable?

    1) I cannot accept the “adjusted” temperature data as evidence of “warming” as curiously, all the adjustments over all sets of data are in the increase direction by the clever stratagem of cooling past temperature, I suspect. As no one can deny the current temperatures. If these adjustments just occasionally went in the opposite direction, I might be more skeptical.

    2) Computer models are not evidence, nor data. Computer models regurgitate the assumptions encoded.

    3) The current flat temps appear to falsify CO2 induced global warming, even with adjusted temps, but this is not acceptable evidence according to the warmistas.

    4) The historical record of large temperature changes is npot acceptable evidence, apparently by the warmistas.

    For me, ultimately, as an engineer, if there was positive feedback in atmospheric dynamics, we would all have been fried, or frozen, several billion years ago. We are here, therefore there is NO positive feedback.
    Thank.You.Very.Much.

  78. Black Russian

    The “best available evidence”:

    * Has models and surface air measurements at loggerheads (the Pause)
    * Cannot determine the radiation budget to any useful accuracy.
    * Cannot measure OHC to any useful accuracy

    Snake oil, anyone?

  79. Dr. Curry, not that this was in any way unexpected, but once again you’ve hit the nail on the head with your final conclusions.

    I think some additional factors help explain the failures of “science communication” by CAGW alarmists. And that is simple pattern recognition. Think of all the other impending disasters that were hyped and then never realized, with no proper evaluation of the harm caused by the hype, the fear, the unproductive policies that resulted from those fears. Paul Erlich and Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring are revered by some, but by objective standards these people are failures. Their predictions were wrong, and their policy recommendations probably harmful in the long run. But for some people, if the desire is FOR saving the world, how could anything possibly be bad?

    Did just 30 years ago, James Hanson not hype impending and disasterous global cooling? Then when it was clear that wasn’t happening, he didn’t stop and reflect for a few years, admit he’d been wrong, and dial back the hubris, He simply switched the sign in his calculations, and began hyping the other side.

    The so-called Antarctic ozone hole was a “human caused disaster” almost as soon as it was discovered, with no careful and circumspect discussion of a possible natural and annual occurence, as we now understand it to be. That discussion was not allowed to enter into the “we must immediately stop all production of CFCs to prevent the ozone hole” debate.

    Peak Oil, Y2K, SARS, the Bird Flu, West Nile virus, by 2010, there are going to be 50 million climate refugees, we will have reached an irreversable tipping point, blah, blah, blah. The “scientific” advocacy community may not bear all responsibility for all these phony scares, but it certainly bears some of it, and some of these dupes cannot even recognize that they’re caught in the latest incarnation of a tired and sad cycle.

    • No, Hansen did not predict cooling in the 1970’s or 80’s. Read the debunk here.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=11

      • I’ve seen a video of Stephen Schneider from the early ’70s in which he understood that we didn’t know enough about climate to predict. He fooled a lot of people in later years, but first he fooled himself.
        ==========================

      • Jim D | August 17, 2013 at 11:22 am said: ”Hansen did not predict cooling in the 1970′s or 80′s”

        Jim D, in the 70’s and early 80’s every con scientist was predicting ”Global Cooling” because of CO2 dimming effect; including their leader prof. Hubert Lamb – to be more ridiculous; now the building in East Anglia university where the Warmist scientists are located is called: ”Hubert Lamb Building”

      • I stand corrected. I confused Hansen’s work on modeling volcanic aerosols with earlier global cooling hypotheses by others, who made their alarmist cooling conclusions also based on the behavior of aerosols (sometimes using Hansen style computer models). Hansen appears to have been a warmist (and alarmist) going all the way back to his Venus studies, and his work in modeling volcanic aerosols, if he is correct, clearly means only a temporarily pause in steady, anthropogenic CO2 warming. I think a reasonable person can recognize an underlying acceptance of the idea of runaway, Venusian-style atmospheric response on Earth underlying the the body of Hansen’s work.

        I hope you won’t think finding this mistake nullifies my broader point about the pattern of using uncertain, complex, or even dubious scientific studies to create alarm in order to drive certain political and environmental outcomes. We can and should blame media for a lot of this. But when scientists DON’T put their foot down and if they allow the media and even pop culture to exaggerate their own notions of uncertainty, they can become complicit.

      • Newsweek and Time magazine both had cover stories on global cooling – another Ice Age is coming – but other consensus scientists than Hansen were promoting that fable.

        Oliver K. Manuel

  80. Judith, great post. (Catching up after nine days, and cat on keyboard, I’ll skip the responses.)

  81. The cat regards
    And takes all in
    Even without
    readin’.
    =======

  82. When I play with my cat, who knows whether I play with her
    or she or she plays with me.
    H/t Michel de Montaigne

  83. Pingback: Available evidence: surface temperatures | Climate Etc.

  84. I agree that “the best scientific evidence” is something that we know when we see it.
    Climate science as presented by the warmist team ain’t it.
    After all their tricks I’m perfectly sure that that ain’t science at all, just, mostly, ideological advocacy.

  85. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  86. …well I take it from this titanic article and commentary..that there is none?

  87. This might rank as my favorite post of yours Dr Curry.

    I hope people pay attention to the concept of trust and credibility.

  88. Pingback: Response to Dan – the “best available evidence” man – Kahan | The View From Here

  89. Pingback: Scientists and motivated reasoning | Climate Etc.

  90. Pingback: ‘the best available evidence’ « DON AITKIN

  91. The IPCC has doubled down on a busted attribution flush. Whatcha gonna do about it, moshe?
    ===========

  92. John Campbell

    I’m skeptical about CAGW because the evidence does not support the theory. CAGW theory is expressed in terms of computer models. Evidence consists of real-world measurements by thermometers, satellites and buoys. So far the evidence does not support the theory’s predictions in four important areas: global temperatures, tropospheric temperatures (in the tropics), net external earth-space radiation, and deep sea temperatures. If the evidence changes to support the theory, then I will cease to be a skeptic.