Professors, politics and public policy

by Judith Curry

On academic misconceptions of politics and the policy process.

The previous post Climate of Failure(?) highlighted the failures of climate policy; failures particularly in the eyes of many academic scientists who have been urging action (e.g. the AGU).  In his recent NPR interview, Kevin Trenberth stated:

“This is very much in the role of the politicians who are supposed to do what’s in the interests of everybody as a whole,” Trenberth says. “And I’m not so sure many politicians understand their role in this.”

Well, maybe it is the academics who don’t understand their role in all this.

The latest issue of the Political Quarterly has a very interesting and relevant article by Richard D. French entitled The Professors on Public Life [link to abstract].  Some excerpts:

Here, I want to explore academic misconceptions of politics. I then want to outline, in counterpoint, three features of public life whose consequences, I suggest, vitiate the practical implications of much well-intentioned analysis and advocacy from the university world.

Politics: the view from the academy

Large portions of research and scholarship ground their enterprise at least in part on its potential to contribute directly or indirectly to the making of public policy. Yet to the extent that this work does not come to terms with the role of elected officials in policy making, any pragmatic justification will be heavily mortgaged, and the enterprise will proceed in the shadow of that liability.

The first tradition in question assumes that important improvements in policy making would ensue if only policy makers would attend to the knowledge which researchers of all sorts produce and possess. The idea is that policy addresses states of the world and that empirical research identifies causal relationships which can alter states of the world. The former should obviously benefit from the latter, but fails more often than not to do so. The reason for this failure is ‘politics’. This tradition assumes that what meets the epistemological standards of the various empirical disciplines merits privileged status in policy making.

JC comment:  This is the so-called knowledge deficit problem, at which communication efforts are targeted.  There is the academic presumption that if the public really understood the problem and solution as they understand it, then they would agree with the urgency for action.

A second tradition assumes that policy makers need guidance as to the ethical status of various policies, typically as measured against some single overriding value such as justice, virtue or liberty. The substance of policy can be weighed against the standards established by a series of deductions from that ethical guidepost, and this chain of logic should define a regulative ideal for policy makers: politics is applied ethics, or ‘the priority of the moral over the political’. This tradition assumes that explicit ethical reasoning must play a central role in policy making.

All of these traditions slight policy making in electoral democracies. Contemporary politics, they claim, is uninformed, unreflective, impulsive, personality-driven and myopic, leaving citizens vulnerable to demagogy and deception. 

To the extent that politics in every democracy involves a continuous struggle for power among competing politicians and parties, these traditions are antipolitical. They deny the autonomy of politics, and the agency inherent in representative democracy, by trying to discipline citizens and politicians.

To the extent that they want to base politics on public reason, in which policies are to be judged against an explicitly logical, transparent version of some public interest, they reconstruct politics as a quest for truth and substitute academic for civic judgment.

To the extent that they want to ground policy making exclusively in evidence and/or values, they misconceive policy making as a search for means to achieve predetermined ends, when in fact it is a dialectical process of identifying and reconciling ends in light of the means which may turn out to be available and acceptable.

To the extent that they wish to purge politics of passion, power, ideology and interest, and imagine policy making as an idealised set-piece reflection on facts and values, they indulge in an heroic and utopian denial of human character and motivation, and wish away the contingency, complexity and contention inherent in public life.

To the extent that they treat citizens and politicians as so many anonymous students whose logic and knowledge is to be graded, or as interchangeable bearers of no more than those characteristics tractable by demography, they abrogate the critical role of personality and particularistic ties in the multifold local milieux of electoral democracy.

To the extent that they imagine policy making in terms of a single mind tackling a single problem in its entirety, they fail to understand the collective, disjointed and sequential nature of most policy making.

To the extent that they prioritise the justification of substantive policy in terms of transparent impersonal standards and ignore the persuasion of citizens and politicians by one another, they are antirhetorical, severing logos from ethos and pathos.

JC comment:  And climate activists wonder why their policy and communication strategies aren’t working.  Above are 7 good reasons why they aren’t working.

Not the immaculate conception of policy

The cardinal facts of public life are extreme degrees of competition, publicity and uncertainty.

[T]he key differentiator among politicians is not respect for knowledge, or ethical lucidity, or a commitment to disciplined dialogue—although all can be valuable. It is the capacity to adapt more rapidly than one’s peers.

In this world, the currency of information is far more important than its epistemic status, and gossip is an essential part of the working day.

Deliberative disciplinarians want public debate to consist of arguments based—at a minimum—on evidence and principle. Politicians instinctively understand that control of the public agenda depends not on achieving the kinds of standards which reign in classrooms, tenure committees and the editorial boards of learned journals, but rather in being seen and heard, ideally in the construction of meaning and the incarnation of authenticity rather than in a claim to truth. For them, it is more important to induce trust and belief than to try to educate citizens on the facts and principles. 

JC comment:  The stars of the Climategate saga never seemed to grasp why the emails mattered, even if they didn’t change the science one iota.  Its about authenticity and trust.

In this kind of public arena, it is not principally precision (logos), but conviction (pathos and ethos, emotion and character) that are being sought. In contrast to the expository style taught to generations of undergraduates, analogy, narrative, ambiguity, ridicule and obloquy, and a measure of hypocrisy, are likely to dominate political discourse. In a complex, rapidly evolving and demanding world, it is instrumentally rational for politicians to seek commitment rather than consensus, and it is prudentially rational for citizens to assess character and personality  as well as, and often rather than, policy.

Uncertainty

Politicians would be delighted if research or ethics or citizen deliberation could stem the uncertainty of policy making. Sometimes they can. No one would like to jettison science in the service of regulation of pharmaceutical products or pesticides, for example, or principled analysis of human rights or legal doctrines. But even in these cases, what the average politician will retain is the high level of controversy that remains after the academics and researchers have done their jobs, controversy often arising from the work of other academics and researchers.

The advancement of the discipline, the promotion of a certain type of reform, the domination of a market segment by innovation, often have no common measure with the construction of a political challenge eventually thrust before ministers. Politicians know that policy and politics are the domain par excellence of unintended and unanticipated consequences.

They grasp implicitly what researchers tend to ignore: that the rigorously demonstrated cause and effect relationships are usually far distant from the messy problems on the public agenda, and that today’s knowledge may well be discarded tomorrow. They know that, in any case, implementation takes so long and is so uncertain that the downstream substantive consequences of policy may most often be considered by the proximate policy maker as a matter for credit or blame for successors, not for him or her. 

[In] post-industrial democracies, the role of the courts, and the impact of globalisation and of multilevel governance mean that any given government will more often than not inherit only a fragment of a policy problem at a stage in its lengthy ‘resolution’; the degrees of freedom imagined by a second-order reconstruction of the issue are usually a vast overestimation of those open to any given political actor at any given time and place. Outcomes are often determined by a series of decisions over a period of years by any number of authorities (and by contemporaneous events), and end up representing the preferences of none of them.

JC comment:  The author, Richard French, has a background that provides a very interesting perspective on this issue:

Richard French is a faculty member in Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.  In his last public appointment, Richard French was vice-chairman (telecommunications) of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), a position he left in July 2007. Prior to his work at the CRTC, French had a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors. Holding a D.Phil. from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar, he taught at McGill University before entering provincial politics in Quebec, which lead him to serve as a Member of the National Assembly as well as Minister of Communications. Upon leaving public life, he held several senior executive positions in the private sector, including vice-president of Bell Canada and CEO of Tata Communications, a mobile communications firm located in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Insights from Paul Cairney

Paul Cairney has a relevant post at LSE blogs, entitled Evidence matters when policymakers accept it and have the motive and opportunity to act on it.  The bulk of the article compares tobacco and alcohol policies in the UK.  A broadly relevant excerpt:

The evidence does not speak for itself’ is a truism in policy studies. Evidence based policymaking (EBPM) is about power: to decide what counts as evidence; to ignore or pay attention to particular studies; to link the evidence of a policy problem to a particular solution; and, to ensure that policymakers have the motive and opportunity to turn a solution into policy. Indeed, an attempt to portray EBPM as a technical or scientific process is often an attempt to exercise power: to rule some evidence in and most evidence out; and, to use particular forms of evidence to justify political action.

JC summary

I think that Richard French and Paul Cairney provide some important insights that are relevant for the climate change policy conundrum.  The frustrations of the climate community advocating urgent action are substantial.  They seem to think that ‘better communication’ is the solution.  The climate problem has suffered from analogy with the tobacco policy issue – relatively simple problem and simple solution.  By contrast, climate change is a wicked problem: substantial scientific uncertainties, conflicting values, and costly solutions with unintended consequences.  ‘Better communication’ about the science isn’t going to help much.

In my statements about advocacy by climate scientists, I have remarked not only on the issue of responsible advocacy, but also on the need for scientists to understand the policy process and the associated politics.   Over the past 8 years, I have worked to educate myself on this topic.  While I’m still a neophyte in all this, I understand enough to have concluded that the best role for myself as a scientist is (from my NPR interview):

“All we can do is be as objective as we can about the evidence and help the politicians evaluate proposed solutions”

Doing more than this, and being effective at it in terms of actually influencing policy, requires from scientists something different from alarmism, urging action, demonizing your opponents, and improving ‘communication’ and ‘messaging.’

465 responses to “Professors, politics and public policy

  1. So they’re not as smart as they think they are?

    • Feynman effect?

      The Feynman effect is a cognitive bias in which skilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the skilled to recognize their mistakes.

      I just made it up.

    • David Springer

      Not so much overestimating themselves as much as underestimating others methinks. There are 1.7 million post secondary teachers in the United States. There are about 300,000,000 people in the US which means there are 6 million geniuses (98th percentile IQ). Given that not all post-secondary teachers have an IQ above 130 (98th percentile) then the number of geniuses in the general population far outnumbers the number of post-secondary teachers. Richard Feynman, for instance, had a measured IQ of 125 in high school. I will grant college professors are smarter than the average bear but my measured IQ is 153 which makes me a lot smarter than the average college professor.

      • Reminds me of the time I took an IQ test at the age of seven. I distinctly remember the gasps of the attendees as the IQ meter went off the scale and the measuring equipment started smoking. Of course they called out their top man from Mensa who on assessing my brilliance from a safe distance took me to one side and told me in no uncertain terms that I would have to reduce my IQ or risk injuring others with my powers . I then remember weaving a response out of a famous quote by someone famous and they all applauded at my wit.

      • I never cared much for IQ tests. Every time I want to do something fun like actually shoot the guns, they looked at my scores and wanted me to fix the guns. Just sucked all the joy out it.

      • David Springer

        I hear ya. I joined the frickin’ Marines at 17 years of age and instead of handing me a rifle to shoot commies with they handed me an oscilloscope to fix meteorological equipment with. And don’t go ragging on my dangling prepositions lest I commence to beat you about the head and shoulders with a radiosonde.

      • Springer, Yeah, who cares if I am in the 99th percentile, I am still a regular guy. Grunts just wanna have fun.

      • David Springer

        lolwot | September 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm |

        “Reminds me of the time I took an IQ test at the age of seven.”

        They retest in the 11th grade. Maybe you’ll do better then.

      • I once scored 70.
        I did a spatial visual test sheet and go every single one wrong.

        The idea that one can test most facets of human intelligence, with a single test, deserves to be consigned to trash.

      • @Lolwot … yes of course, I remember the ‘gufuffel’ in the local newspaper … apparently it moved so far off the rotary scale that it approached zero from the opposite direction !

      • I have a functional biological definition of the brain: The organ responsible for generating means and justifications for doing what we want.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The brain is my second favourite organ.

        H/T Woody Allen

      • Chief

        Yeah.

        And, like ex-President Clinton, Woody had to learn the hard way (pardon the expression) that there’s not enough blood pressure to activate both organs simultaneously.

        Max

      • This was a submission to Wikipedia, rejected today:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Articles_for_creation/Lewis_Orr


        Lewis Orr

        Lewis Orr, or more commonly refered too as lewi, is a pre-teened prodigy. Mr Orr loves to articulate, and has won quite a few competitions. Right now Mr Orr is a grade 6 student at Scotch College, WA, Australia. Mr Orr has had many credit awards and distinctions in the UNSW tests.

        Mr Orr likes to play soccer and is good at it. He recently entered the tournament of the mind’s competition with friend Sean Pentony. He entered with school Scotch College and sister school PLC (Pebestrians Ladies College).

        It figures.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Right now Mr Orr is a grade 6 student at Scotch College, WA, Australia.’

        Is about the level of webby’s figuring.

      • I will grant college professors are smarter than the average bear

        Get more specific, Springer.

        Brown bear, black bear, grizzly bear, polar bear…?

      • This stuff comes out of Australia at a proportionally high rate. They think it is funny to waste everyone’s time and effort. Sound familiar, Chief?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Sound like you are wasting everyone’s time again. This time with some complaint about a 12 yo and Wikipedia. You are fundamentally an utter twit.

      • David Springer

        DocMartyn | September 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm |

        “I once scored 70. I did a spatial visual test sheet and go every single one wrong.”

        I take it you’re not a surgeon then. At least not a very good one?

      • “I take it you’re not a surgeon then. At least not a very good one?”
        No, I am neurochemist. I am also dyslexic and have very good 3D visualizations skills and very poor 2D skills.
        IQ tests are biased to particular types of skills and completely miss others.


      • Chief Hydrologist | September 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm |

        Sound like you are wasting everyone’s time again. This time with some complaint about a 12 yo and Wikipedia. You are fundamentally an utter twit.

        Chief is projecting again. He is the one that wastes everyone’s time by pasting the same long quotes and photobucket links every day.

        The Chief is apparently going after the short-term memory crowd .

  2. Authenticity and trust. If you cannot find that in science, then it’s something, but it’s not science. Where is the integrity and personal sense of ethics anymore?

  3. It took me a while to figure out that policy is a political decision and science is just the justification.

    Here is a one-page synopsis of the process:

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

    The story was first sent as messages to the Congressional Space Science & Technology Committee on 4 July 2013 – the 237th anniversary of the birth of our nation:

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

    Happy Labor Day, Oliver K. Manuel Former NASA Principal Investigator for Apollo

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Oliver,
      Happy Labor Day to you as well.
      It is sad that we have the technical ability to have an excess of clean, safe Nuclear Power, Like France Has, and we have let the Alarmists ruin it for much of the rest of the world. Our ability to burn all the Fossil Fuels ,Cleanly, is better than it has ever been and getting better, but the Alarmists cut us off from that ever where they can.
      The Alternative Energy movements with Solar, Wind and especially Ethanol have been disasters. When they subsidize and give Tax Credits to Energy Production that cannot compete in a fair market, they kill the development and building of the Energy Sources that we need they and propel us ever faster toward Energy shortages and Economic Disasters such as are seen in Germany and many other countries.

      Sincerely,

      Herman A. (Alex) Pope
      Retired Aerospace Engineer
      MSC – Manned Spacecraft Center (1963)
      BS Engineering Mechanics VPI/Virginia Tech 1967
      NASA – Johnson Space Center (to 2007)

      • ‘Ear,’ear!
        Check out the best prospect to date: LPPhysics.com . Don’t miss the ‘News’ section — lots afoot last month.

    • Some if you may remember the time when George Bush et al. were gathering scientific evidence Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

      The husband of an undercover agent spoke out and said the evidence was manufactured.

      In retaliation, the undercover’s identity was exposed. Such is the devotion to justification for policy.

      How is that working? Look around and you will find the answer yourself.

      • We were assured that Saddam’s having WMD was a slam dunk, Valerie Plame was not undercover, and her husband, Joe Wilson, brought back information from Niger suggesting Iraqi interest in Uranium ore there. Furthermore, Joe Wilson wrote an op-ed for the 2/6/03 LATimes urging the US not to invade Iraq for fear that Saddam would use his WMD.

        Post invasion translation of Iraqi documents show that Saddam had both the will and the way to WMD, that his own highest confederates had no idea what WMD he had, and that Saddam had bluffed possession of WMD in order to keep the Persians at bay. Remember, both US political parties were on board with the mission to suppress Saddam’s Iraq, as were a coalition of two score or so willing democratic nations, and for many reasons besides WMD.

        You have absorbed many lies about Saddam and Weapons of Mass Destruction. It is possible that Saddam’s poison gas is being used in Syria, if that’s not just all clever al-Qaeda disinformation.
        =============

      • Thanks, Kim. You may be right. I assume you have a direct quote from Valerie.

        The problem, Kim, is knowing the boundary that separates purposeful and unintended deception.

        I know, for example, from hundreds of measurements and observations that the Sun:
        1. Made our elements
        2. Birthed the solar system
        3. Sustained the origin and evolutionof life

        I also now know that the conflict between science and religion has been manufactured, just like WMDs in Iraq and AGW globally.

        Again, Kim, I generally agree with your comments and hope you will explain the source of your comments on Valerie.

      • Well summarized, Kim. Good evidence that your frequent quasi-literary brain-twisteds are voluntary, not symptomatic. >;p

      • Val was a mid level bureaucrat at CIA headquarters who’d been outed a decade earlier. She and her husband cooked up the CIA agent outing scandal with journalists and Democratic Senators once little evidence of WMD had been found. The point is that she and her husband had also believed that Saddam had WMD before the invasion. The tale is of amazing hypocrisy and the miscarriage of justice. Tim Russert lied, not Scooter Libby.
        ====================

      • Heh, Brian, I’m reading from a script.
        =======

      • Please cease retailing myths in the middle of a real discussion.

        We know who leaked the name of Vallery Plame. It was known to the investigator within 10 days of the start of his investigation. It was one of Wash. D.C.’s biggest gossips, Richard Armitage, whose phone bill from the gossip alone might have bought an aircraft carrier. He was not exposed by the investigator specifically because he had opposed going into Iraq himself, and so would bring no political profit.

        The idea that intelligence information is in any way “scientific” is ridiculous. Sometimes it is “technical”, yes. Scientific, no. It is contingent upon far too many layers of penetration through deception and analysis that must take deception by the target into account, hopefully correctly. Scientific objects of investigation do not themselves actively try to deceive investigators.

        Hmmmmm! That last sentence may not be totally correct. We know that much of the original data handed over to western climate science professionals in the late 1970s was only handed over under an embargo against releasing it. This was an effort to continue the deception of their own people by the PRC and the USSR. It led to deep suspicions of deception among skeptics of AGW, when it meant that replication of the simulations could not be done. If climate science has an original sin, it is that error, through desire for crucial data, to undo thorough replication.

      • I remember when Saddam gassed the Kurds, was that not a WMD? From that alone I would conclude he probably still had the gas. Is that a wrong conclusion?

      • More than likely Sadam did possess chemical weapons. Most intelligence services in the world at the time believed he did.

      • Mhastings

        Sadaam undoubtedly processed chemical weapons at one time, when he fought the Iranians. My understanding is that they degrade over time and also he was subject to inspections which disposed of such items. He was a great bluffer as to his capabilities, as most middle east dictators are, as it helps them to stay in power

        Someone more knowledgeable about such weapons than me needs to comment as to the veracity of this link

        http://www.alternet.org/story/15854/lies_about_iraq%26%23146%3Bs_weapons_are_past_expiration_date

        tonyb

  4. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    For sure, there’s no shortage of climate-change commentators whose professional credentials and cognition resemble those of Roger Pielke Jr:

    FOMD posts  “Roger Pielke Jr.’s climate-change analysis is mathematically rigid, scientifically (and affectively) stunted, and socially, morally, and economically puerile.

    Like many folks, I had not realized that Roger Pielke Jr. has neither formal scientific training nor formal economic training.

    Instead, Pielke Jr’s training is in “political science”. Maybe that’s why Pielke Jr’s writings are devoid of any but the most banal scientific and economic insights? The absence of terms like “moral” and “responsible” and “sustainable” and “environmental” and “Nature” from Pielke Jr.’s work is pathognomonic.

    Like quite a few commenters here on Climate Etc — Rud Istvan comes to mind! — Roger Pielke Jr. needs to shrug off Atlas,” if he (and thinkers like him) are going to contribute anything substantial to the climate-change debate.

    Conclusion  Embrace modern science and broad-based economics!

    \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}

    • I don’t think Mosher has had either formal scientific or economic training, yet it does not appeared to have precluded him from making good observations in both areas.

    • At least RPJr. owns up to being an advocate.

      Of course, according to Judith’s taxonomy, she knows better than he and he isn’t really an advocate.

      Oh wait, maybe she’s now altered that taxonomy. Maybe now he is an advocate, but that’s OK because he’s a responsible advocate.

      The fact that she agrees with his take on the science is coincidental, of course.

    • Lets see.

      I am going to assume that you would like to convince people of the truth of your position. Big assumption I know.

      1. You begin by attacking Roger’s pedigree. This is illogical since others
      who do have the pedigree you worship share rogers views. What you would have to show is that nobody with formal training shares his
      opinions. Or you would have to show that his opinions stem directly
      from his lack of formal training. Attacking the man rather than his position doesnt work. Let me show you how. I believe the world is warming. I believe C02 is largely responsible. I have no formal traing in science, although I am publish. What you you say if some skeptic
      rejected the notion that it was warming because Mosher had
      no formal scientific training. In short, when you are arguing in front
      of an intelligent crowd, many of whom are accomplished, and many
      of whom know the both the benefits and the detriments of formal training,
      it is not smart to found your whole argument on either the presence
      of formal training ( appeal to authority) nor the lack of it ( ad hominum).
      It would be better and more effective if you attacked the ideas.

      2. You continue by making a false claim about the absence of certain words from Roger’s corpus

      3. You conclude by making an appeal to “modern” and “broad based”
      economics. You might want to consider that these appeals carry no weight with your audience.

      finally, I’ll recommend Elinor Ostrom to you

      • Mosh

        Just because Fanny is an avowed James E. Hansen groupie who has demonstrated a worrisome tendency to use ad hom arguments with an apparent fixation on emoticons, doesn’t mean he (or she) might not have some sort of scientific or technical training.

        Admittedly, such training does not become apparent from his/her comments on this thread or site, but who knows?

        For argument’s sake, let’s assume that he/she is a brilliant but possibly slightly confused climate scientist and treat him/her that way.

        Max

      • PS Unlike Fanny, we know who RPJr is.

        There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is very knowledgeable regarding AGW and its possible effects and impacts, so he is “worth listening to” to get knowledge on this subject.

        ‘Nuff said.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Fanny is a doctor.

      • I have no respect for people with formal scientific training and I have no disrespect for people with no formal scientific training.

        I have respect for people who have ideas and do work that earns respect.

    • RPJ has a BA in mathematics.
      That sure makes him more qualified, in any topic, than the smug, anonymous and silly FOMD.

  5. From Richard French’s paper “The idea is that policy addresses states of the world and that EMPIRICAL research identifies causal relationships which can alter states of the world.” (My capitals).

    All I can say is “Precisely”. If CAGW was based on empirical research, then maybe, just maybe, political action might be required. But since the hypothesis of CAGW has absolutely no empirical data whatsoever to support any value for climate sensitivity, politicians should take no notice of what the activist scientists are urging them to do; namely “decarbonize” our economies.

    • John Carpenter

      heh, in a strange and ironic twist, Jim Cripwell just advocated for Mann.

      • John Carpenter

        Mann would also support the statement Jim quoted. He would advocate that empirical research, such as paleo research, has identified a causal relationship between increased CO2 concentration and increased temperature. Mann staunchly supports the traditional point of view academy has on politics. A tradition that French argues is flawed.

        “The idea is that policy addresses states of the world and that empirical research identifies causal relationships which can alter states of the world. The former should obviously benefit from the latter, but fails more often than not to do so. The reason for this failure is ‘politics’. This tradition assumes that what meets the epistemological standards of the various empirical disciplines merits privileged status in policy making.”

        Flawed because it is based on the idea that (and I am paraphrasing JC here) ‘if (politicians and) the public understood the problem and solution as they (the academics or in this case Mann) did’, then everyone would see the need for action.’

        or

        ‘If everyone understood the problem as Jim Cripwell does… then everyone would see the need for inaction.’

        Jim and Mann think alike on this flawed tradition academy has on politics that French is illustrating with that paragraph… just from opposite sides of the issue… both strange and ironic.

        Jim just grabbed the part he thought would support his comment, too bad he didn’t read a little further.

      • John Carpenter

        Jim Cripwell has been discussing “empirical scientific evidence”, which is currently lacking to support the CAGW hypothesis (as specifically outlined by IPCC in its AR4 report).

        Cripwell says (correctly, in my opinion) that such evidence is also lacking to support a value for CO2 sensitivity that is distinguishable from 0.

        So one could describe Cripwell as a strict empiricist (in the Feynman sense).

        Mann, on the other hand, was assigned the project to get rid of the worrisome (and well-documented) MWP. So he knew his desired answer before he even started his study and (to no one’s surprise) he even managed to confirm it, by using some flawed and later discredited statistical approaches and “hiding the decline” that didn’t fit his preconceived picture.

        So there isn’t really much common ground between Mann and Cripwell that I can see.

        Correct me if I’m wrong here.

        Max

    • Empirical research is exactly what has brought AGW to attention. Whether it is losing sea ice, warming temperatures, rising ocean heat content and sea levels, paleo evidence, this is all empirical and pointing in one direction. There are some people intent on ignoring all of the empirical evidence, but those are not on the AGW side.

      • Those point to warming, but don’t point to CO2 as the culprit. I do believe more CO2 will push the climate system towards warming, however the climate system just might push back to some extent.

      • “Empirical research is exactly what has brought AGW to attention.”

        So near, and yet so far.

        The world has apparently warmed to levels not seen since the Medieval Warm Period. It is not yet established that the causes are anthropogenic in origin. Not to my satisfaction, which is in short supply.

      • Jim Cripwell needs to see which side is using the empirical research, and which isn’t.

      • Jim D. you write “There are some people intent on ignoring all of the empirical evidence, but those are not on the AGW side.”

        Huh? Talk about cherry picking. In 2005, we were told increased hurricane activity, particularly in the NA, was a clear sign of CAGW. Now, this season there have been no hurricanes so far in the NA. We were told schoolchildren in the UK would not know what snow was; and the UK has since had massive snowfalls. etc. etc. If you want to talk empirical data, then let us talk ALL empirical data; including the recent pause in the rise of global temperatures with CO2 levels rising at unprecedented rates at the same time. And the fact that no-one has measured climate sensitivity.

        Incidentally, paleo data is not empirical data, in the sense that it is impossible to prove that the increased CO2 causes a rise in temperatures, and not the other way around. And we are NOT losing sea ice. Total sea ice levels have been approxiamtely constant since 1979, when satellite measurements first became available.

      • JImD

        John Carpenter specifically referenced Mann. In what way is his flawed historical perspective accurate empirical information?
        tonyb

      • Jim Cripwell, you are the one that is cherry picking. Take the empirical data I listed as a whole. It points to warming since the last century in every part of the earth system. There are theories about this, which I won’t go into, but the empirical evidence is there to be explained. You asked about empirical research. There it is.

      • Jim D. you write “Jim Cripwell, you are the one that is cherry picking.”

        Complete and utter grabage. I am surprised you can even THINK of writing such nonsense.

      • The climate has been on a warming trend since 1700. Unicorn farts and all that.

      • Jim D, I grew up in the 70’s, then empirical evidence was used to ‘prove’ we were entering an ice-age.

      • DocM, the Ice Age people were the 3% back then. It was not a majority view, but it got publicity. Indeed the Milankovitch cycle, that those people must have been invoking, favors increased Arctic sea ice now compared to the last few millennia, but that is decidedly not happening. Other factors have changed clearly.

      • How long do you think you can get away with this nonsense? Empirical evidence is not a quality of a thing. It is a relationship between a theory or a model and some specifiable fact of the real world. To say that melting sea ice is empirical evidence is tantamount to saying that “X is between Y.” You are missing one term of the relationship.

        You can say that some aspect of reality is evidence for the Alarmist account of “feedbacks and forcings.” Good luck with that. Alarmists have produced no account of “feedbacks and forcings” except for the falsified claim that a warming atmosphere produces more water vapor. That takes care of the
        connection between theory and empirical evidence.

        You can say that a model has empirical evidence because its output parallels actually observed changes in the environment. However, for at least 17 years all Alarmist models have diverged radically from observed temperatures. That takes care of the connection between models and empirical evidence.

      • Even climate skeptics now accept AGW because of the overwhelming empirical evidence. This leaves only climate deniers who “question” AGW.

      • lolwot, you write “Even climate skeptics now accept AGW because of the overwhelming empirical evidence. This leaves only climate deniers who “question” AGW.”

        What a complete load of unmitigated twaddle. There always was, still is, and always will be two completely seperate issues.

        1. AGW. Is CO2 a greenhouse gas, such that when more is added to the atmosphere global temperatures rise? I, for one, and I suspect most scientists will answer YES.

        2. CAGW. When more CO2 is added to the atmopshere from current levels, how much do global temperatures rsise? The warmists say something like a lot. The skeptics say a negligible amount.

        That is the difference between AGW and CAGW, And there is no empirical data to support the warmist point of view.

      • John Carpenter

        “1. AGW. Is CO2 a greenhouse gas, such that when more is added to the atmosphere global temperatures rise? I, for one, and I suspect most scientists will answer YES.

        2. CAGW. When more CO2 is added to the atmopshere from current levels, how much do global temperatures rsise? The warmists say something like a lot. The skeptics say a negligible amount.

        That is the difference between AGW and CAGW, And there is no empirical data to support the warmist point of view.”

        Jim, so you admit that CS must be greater than zero? You can’t adhere to #1 with the belief that CS to CO2 is indistinguishable from zero, which I think you have said here about 1000 times. Also, there is no empirical data to support there is such a thing as CAGW.

      • A lot of skeptics have moved beyond Jim Cripwell and now no longer rule out sensitivities of 2 C per doubling, which mathematically makes it completely account for the warming observed since 1950, so we have seen movement there. They would now logically accept that IPCC statement about ‘very likely most’ based on that. Late, but better than never.

      • John, you write “Jim, so you admit that CS must be greater than zero? You can’t adhere to #1 with the belief that CS to CO2 is indistinguishable from zero, which I think you have said here about 1000 times. Also, there is no empirical data to support there is such a thing as CAGW.”

        No I dont admit CS is greater than zero, I CLAIM that it is greater than zero. It is greater than zero, but indistinguishabe from zero. Let me put some numbers ot illustrate. If the CS for a doubling of CO2 is 0.0000000001 C, then it is greater than zero, but indistinguishable from zero.

        Did you really mean to write the last sentence I quoted? That is what I have been saying, CAGW is a hypothesis with no empirical to support in being classified as a theory

      • JIm D. you write “A lot of skeptics have moved beyond Jim Cripwell ”

        Would you care to give us some names?

      • Pat Michaels posted a list of studies around 2 C per doubling on the WUWT blog. Neither he nor Watts seemed to complain about these studies. It looks like acceptance in the skeptical mainstream. We see them here too of course, with manacker, DocM and girma posting things that support that level. You are falling behind, or they shifted without you noticing.

      • John Carpenter

        Sorry Jim, I can see how what I wrote looks deceptive to what I meant. What I meant is there is no empirical data that CAGW can be differentiated from AGW.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The angle γ gives the measure of the present climates sensitivity to changes in insolation.’

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Ghil_fig11_zpse58189d9.png.html?sort=3&o=3

        A Mathematical Theory of Climate Sensitivity or,
        How to Deal With Both Anthropogenic Forcing and Natural Variability?
        Michael Ghil

        It is a bit like Deep Thought. Spend 7.5 million years calculating the answer – 42 – and now need an even bigger computer to discover the question.

      • Jim D

        Empirical research is exactly what has brought AGW to attention.

        NO.

        Empirical research, such as you describe, has brought global warming and its effects (since around 1970) to attention, NOT “AGW”

        AGW is a model-based hypothesis to explain the observed warming and its effects, which you describe.

        So a more exact statement would be:.

        Empirical research is exactly what has brought AGW the apparent warming of our planet in the late 20th C to attention. Climate model simulations have suggested that this may be wholly or partly a result of AGW.

        There. That should fix it.

        Max

      • I can not distinguish Cross-stitch Cripwell from a moving line in the sand.

      • manacker, several groups set up a global average temperature record, not just for the fun of it, but to detect climate change that they suspected may be occurring. They had good reason to, since Callendar found a signal in the 1930’s when we was looking for AGW even back then. It has always been kind of obvious to expect just from physics.

  6. “A second tradition assumes that policy makers need guidance as to the ethical status of various policies, typically as measured against some single overriding value such as justice, virtue or liberty
    Or improving the ‘genetic stock’, many scientists and philosophers were convinced that, the good and the great (i.e. them) had ‘good’ genes and the Blacks, Jews, Romi and other ‘lesser races’ had poor ones. Additionally, even the ‘good’ genetic pool had a shallow end and so this was to be drained by forced sterilization of ‘undesirables'; for the good of future generations.
    Scientific based societies arose in Germany, where it was state policy to purify the genetic pool as quickly and as economically as possible. Pol Pot took a similar view on Cambodia and was intent on destroying social classes which were parasitic on the body civic.
    Technocrats, due to their higher intelligence in their individual fields, quite obviously make good moralists.

    • David Springer

      Isn’t it morally wrong to allow disease carriers to infect others through reckless disregard? Would you isolate Typhoid Mary against her will if you could and what exactly is the moral difference between isolating acquired disease carriers and genetic disease carriers? Should the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? I don’t believe the issue is quite as black & white as you make it out.

      • David Springer

        In other words, Doc, the moral high ground is on the side of protecting the greatest number of people from the reckless disregard of a lesser number. The problem with the eugenics movement wasn’t the morality of reducing the suffering of future generations by restricting reproduction of a few individuals in the present. The problem was in where to draw the line and who decides where to draw it. The potential for abuse in a classic tyranny of the majority was finally deemed worse than the problem and it required the emergence of The Third Reich to illustrate, in no uncertain terms to US Christian churches who’d embraced it, that it wasn’t such a good idea.

      • And yet people with AIDS are allowed to walk around freely. What’s the moral thing to do here?

      • “the moral high ground is on the side of protecting the greatest number of people from the reckless disregard of a lesser number”

        No, the moral high ground is protecting the life and property of INDIVIDUALS. As Mosh says elsewhere, in order to curb carbon emissions, we’ll have to throw out our current form of Govt. — which is centered around protection of the individual from the State.

      • David Springer

        jim2 | September 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

        “And yet people with AIDS are allowed to walk around freely. What’s the moral thing to do here?”

        A scarlet A tatooed on their ass would be a good start.

      • @David Springer | September 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        Good one.

      • David Springer

        Thanks. Tell your friends. I’ll be here all week.

      • David:

        Your scarlet letter trick won’t save you, as only “tops” could see it. Is this because you took being a REMF literally?
        Badda Bing Badda Boom

      • jim 2

        What’s the moral thing to do here?

        Tie it in a knot?

        Max

      • jim 2

        An even better solution.

        Tatoo a warning on their posterior in large font bold letters:

        CAUTION. The surgeon general has determined that having unprotected sex with this individual could lead to infection by the HIV virus and subsequent development of AIDS. For more information, go to http://www.aids.gov

        Max

      • “The problem with the eugenics movement wasn’t the morality of reducing the suffering of future generations by restricting reproduction of a few individuals in the present.”

        Actually, the morality of eugenics was precisely its fundamental problem. First, eugenics wasn’t limited to forced sterilization. It is still being actively practiced by the ideological descendants of Margaret Sanger, a founding member of the progressive/eugenics movement. It’s called Planned Parenthood.

        The fact that you can’t distinguish the moral difference between a quarantine and forced sterilization, let alone euthanasia fascist style, says nothing about morality, other than your inability to think clearly about it.

        There are difficult moral issues. Eugenics has never been one of them.

      • David Springer

        Howard | September 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm |

        “Your scarlet letter trick won’t save you, as only “tops” could see it.”

        If you say so. I’m going to defer to your expertise.

  7. > Holding a D.Phil. from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar, he taught at McGill University before entering provincial politics in Quebec, which lead him to serve as a Member of the National Assembly as well as Minister of Communications.

    Indeed, Richard French was Robert Bourassa’s minister. He rode in the riding of Westmount, where one could elect a Liberal dog.

    But uncertainty.

    • A Rhodes Scholar, fancy that! I wonder if he met Kris Kristofferson. Kris was at Merton College.

    • What I note in Proff. Curry’s post and her quotes from Richard French that he had been a practicing scientist, a practicing business man and most importantly, also a practicing politician during his career.
      All of which made him a very rare political item and very qualified to make those comments which really show up much of the show pony climate science academics and their serious ignorance and inability to comprehend the real world of politics and business outside of the cloistered, protected ivory towers of academia.
      i seriously doubt that anybody with only an academic and science background could have written that article.

      For those climate alarmist scientists who are demanding far more resources and efforts be placed into mitigating the CO2 emissions with the intent on reducing or stopping any so called catastrophic warming and who are blaming the lack of a comprehensive communications program for the failure of the public to comprehend the seriousness of the potential problem as they see it.
      The obvious course for those concerned and ideologically driven alarmist climate scientists to take is to stand for election for high public office in one of the numerous elections that regularly take place our democracies.

      They would then have more than ample oppurtunity during the election process to communicate their beliefs of a probability of a catastrophic warming through the media and public discussion forums, about the dangers of increasing CO2 and the supposed and yet to be seen catastrophic warming.
      They could be and would be amply questioned on their beliefs and policies by both the public and the media and would be able to communicate their beliefs, their policies publicly and give a full accounting of the benefits, the spin offs, the costs and benefits both financial and social of their proposed programs and solutions to the CO2 problem.
      On all of this they would be closely questioned and would have ample oppurtunity to communicate their entire policy proposals to the public.
      And no doubt have more than ample oppurtunity to explain away some of the public’s and some of the media’s suspicions and doubts that the science supporting the claims of a catastrophic warming from increasing CO2 is not all it’s cracked up to be by a long shot.

      They would be able to gauge their own personal success in communicating and convincing the public of the virtues of their case and what the public think of and give credence to their claims and the proposed politically based solutions and policies on election day.

      And in doing so they would also absolve other political candidates and past political representatives of failing to thoroughly communicate the climate problems as the climate alarmist scientists see it.

      Considering the vicious little pseudo political wars always going on in ivory towered academia most climate scientists one would think, should be quite practiced and accomplished in mixing it with professional politicians if they ever stood for political office.

      The fact that former practicing academics and scientists seem to be very thin on the ground in politics probably says a great deal about the true levels of commitment of most climate alarmists scientists to their particular brand of outspoken ideology where it seems that other’s are expected to do the low down, hard dirty, often nasty political work of convincing others and seeing to the implementation of the alarmist climate scientist’s and academic’s proposed political and social policies which are based on their own beliefs and ideology which they believe is then based on the [ highly suspect ] climate modeling outcomes.

      Other’s are expected to do the dirty political heavy lifting while all the while those same alarmist climate scientists and academics, in their hubris and arrogance, expect to reap the fulsome platitudes and acclaim of the masses for their vision.

      Where climate alarmist scientists have stuck their academic noses [ in Australia, Flannery Steffen Karoly Gergis and etc & etc. ] into climate policy making and influencing the results for their personal reputations and for climate science have been pretty devastating.
      The true impracticability and the demands that others sacrifice so as to implement their proposed policies has shown an incredible level of hubris, arrogance. hypocrisy and straight out ignorance of the heavy social and financial costs that they are expecting the ordinary citizen to bear to implement their proposed policies based entirely on their own particular brand if climate alarmist ideology.

  8. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry asserts (anhistorically)  “All we can do [as scientists] is be as objective as we can about the evidence and help the politicians evaluate proposed solutions”

    To the degree that scientists are bold enough to embrace the science of denialist cognition — as scientists are professionally obligated to do, of course! — then it’s evident that the 21st century climate-change science community will end by embracing the scientific conclusions of James Hansen, as assessed in the societal context of Wendell Berry, thereby honoring the historical tradition of radical scientists like Franklin, Priestley, and Jefferson.

    Needless to say, not every 21st century scientist will be bold enough, or creative enough, for brave enough, to follow this path. But the scientists who follow it — the young scientists especially — will be the scientists who matter.

    Isn’t that plain common sense, Judith Curry?

    \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}

    • It is apparent that the FOMD robot is deployed by Big Carbon to make the Alarmist position appear increasingly desperate and ridiculous.

      For a while I wondered how any human being could behave in the ways that FOMD does. Once I realized IT is a robot working for the opposite effect of what first appears to be the meaning of such blathering rants, then the activity began to make sense.

      Now that I no longer bother with the hysterical histrionics of the Fan of Malicious Discourse the threads make for better reading.

    • Show yer data … show yer methodology …

  9. [T]he key differentiator among politicians is not respect for knowledge [ … ] It is the capacity to adapt more rapidly than one’s peers.

    While not adapting more rapidly than the public at large.

  10. “the science of denialist cognition —”

    My Dear Fan,
    Since I assume your mission here is to convince others of your point of view, would you agree your first concern should be credibility? Because more and more, the phrase “beyond parody” comes to mind with regard to some of your comments.

    Question for Fan, what do you see as your goal here? Is it in any sense practical?

    • I never read his posts, not that it matters really. But I do like how he formats them so I can easily skip them.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      pokerguy starts of wrong  “My Dear Fan, I assume your mission here is to convince others of your point of view …”

      Well there’s your problem, pokerguy!

      It’s sufficient that denialists embrace Chris Monckton and Ayn Rand as their intellectual leaders. Because over the long haul, any ideology led by Monckton/Rand is destined to implode!

      Hence it suffices to persistently advance sobering analysis of “best available science.” The Moncktonites/Randites reliably respond with willfully ignorant criticism of “worst available science.”

      Conclusion  Moncktonite/Randite cognition will never vanish completely, but it *can* become sufficiently concentrated — in bubbles of willful ignorance and ideology-driven timidity —as to be electorally irrelevant.

      These considerations aren’t complicated, eh pokerguy?

      \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}

      • Monckton is no more my leader than you are fan.

        And I have yet to read anything written by Ayn Rand.

      • Fan

        Once again you hopelessly generalise. How many times do we have to say that many of us sceptics don’t embrace people like Monckton? You have as great a fixation with him as you do Hansen. Its not healthy. Why not widen your reading on both the warmist and sceptical side?

        tonyb

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        climatereason states plainly  “Many of us sceptics don’t embrace people like Monckton.”

        timg56 states plainly  “Monckton is no more my leader than you are fan.”

        Your sentiments are rational, climatereason and timg56.

        But there’s no sense posting your views on Watts/WUWT is there? You will be abused and/or [SNIP]’d and/or outed and/or threatened with lawsuits … because the Watts/WUWT “denialist bubble” requires conformity of its inhabitants, eh?

        Why is that, do you think climatereason and timg56?

        \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}

      • I have posted comments at WUWT and never had one snipped.

        Don’t comment there much these days. Though I will still read some of the posts. JUDITH’s site is more interesting (in my opinion).

        Want to know where I have had comment not posted? Real Climate, SkS, Think Progress and Desmog Blog. Imagine that.

      • Want to know where I had comments moderated, Tim?

      • Dear Fan,
        I read your answer several times to be sure I wasn’t missing anything. You’re in effect conceding that you have no wish to be taken seriously. I think that’s too bad as you’d otherwise have much to offer.

      • Willard,

        Sure. Though I’ll take a guess. WUWT?

      • Willard,
        I’m honestly not surprised if you’ve had comments trashed at WUWt, not because of your take on AGW, but because your of your often obscure to the point of opacity, style.

        I’ve been deeply critical of Anthony at times, and never had the slightest problem. Try putting a few complete sentences together. I bet you’ll have more luck.

      • Yes, but RealClimate!

        CENSORSHIP!

        And denier!

      • Thank you for your unsolicited advice, Poker.

        I don’t recall having been moderated at Tony’s.

      • Steve’s, Lucia’s, Bishop’s, Junior’s, Mr. Pile’s, Pointman’s, Gavin’s, Tamino’s, Groundskeeper Willie’s, and Judy’s.

        At least as far as I recall, from the top of my hat.

      • In sympathy for the censorship you have suffered from Willard

      • You’re welcome Willard. Unsolicited advice is my specialty. You have only to ask my long suffering wife. Also Fan, at least today.

      • Thanks, Doc. I can’t say I suffered much, though.

        Have you found Galileo’s words on his refutation of Aristotle yet?

      • I am a monoglot, no Italian.

        Have you decided which groups of people it is OK to murder yet or are you an undecided generalist like Bertie?

      • An English translation would do, Doc. From your own reference, I think it starts around here:

        So far as I remember, Aristotle inveighs against the ancient view that a vacuum is a necessary prerequisite for motion and that the latter could not occur without the former. In opposition to this view Aristotle shows that it is precisely the phenomenon of motion, as we shall see, which renders untenable the idea of a vacuum. His method is to divide the argument into two parts. He first supposes bodies of different weights to move in the same medium; then supposes, one and the same body to move in different media. In the first case, he[106] supposes bodies of different weight to move in one and the same medium with different speeds which stand to one another in the same ratio as the weights; so that, for example, a body which is ten times as heavy as another will move ten times as rapidly as the other. In the second case he assumes that the speeds of one and the same body moving in different media are in inverse ratio to the densities of these media; thus, for instance, if the density of water were ten times that of air, the speed in air would be ten times greater than in water. From this second supposition, he shows that, since the tenuity of a vacuum differs infinitely from that of any medium filled with matter however rare, any body which moves in a plenum through a certain space in a certain time ought to move through a vacuum instantaneously; but instantaneous motion is an impossibility; it is therefore impossible that a vacuum should be produced by motion.

        http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=753&chapter=109890&layout=html&Itemid=27

        My emphasis.

        ***

        Now, can you reming what is it you said about “Galileo showed that all bodies fall at the same speed with a brilliant thought experiment that started by destroying the then reigning Aristotelian account” from the Stanford entry I quoted on the other thread?

        Many thanks!

      • Willard, you are too dumb to notice the fact you are stupid, alas, it is rather common, and one can see why you are drawn to discussions on climate science.
        What you cannot seem to grasp is that I don’t give a damn about sophistry or if the form of an argument follows that of Aristotle, Socrates, Friedrich Nietzsche or Bill Bremner. You think that thinkers such as Bertrand Russell have improved the understanding of the world around us and how we, as individuals and societies, interrogate the world.
        I on the other hand think he was a racist, misogynistic supporter of eugenics;a second rate thinker, churning out second rate philosophy, whose personal morality, I find repugnant.
        Now you may think that personal morality, admiration of forced sterilization, racism and misogamy may not prove to be a drawback in individuals who wish to analyze the role of science and society, whereas I do.
        That’s the impasse.
        I think your smug satisfaction with your intellectual depth is a fault and you think it is your gift to humankind.
        One cannot engage with you, as when challenged and shown to be wrong, you just change your argument.
        I do not find I hard to believe that you posts are censored on many blogs, because quite frankly, you are boring.

      • Thank you for the kind words, Doc.

        Here’s what you said on the other thread:

        This [the Stanford Encyclopedia of Galileo’s thought experiment on falling bodies] is all wrong physically and historically.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/31/open-thread-weekend-30/#comment-373477

        This claim has been shown to be unsubstantiated. However uninspiring it may suddenly be, please wear your big boy white lab coat and own it. Hurling ad homs and crying “but Bertie’s an eugenist!” won’t make you evade this responsibility, Doc.

        ***

        Since you seem oblivious to the hints given so far, your “but Bertie’s an eugenist!” might very well amont to a genetic fallacy. That Russell expressed opinions on eugenics bears no relevance on his point, which related to pedagogical ethics. To the extent that we could apply the reasoning you have repeated many times now, we should as well throw to the fire all the statistical work of Karl Pearson.

        Thanks again for playing, Doc.

      • Oh FFS
        “This claim has been shown to be unsubstantiated.”
        ORIGINAL WILLARD CLAIM FROM STANFORD
        “Galileo showed that all bodies fall at the same speed with a brilliant thought experiment that started by destroying the then reigning Aristotelian account. The latter holds that heavy bodies fall faster than light ones (H > L). But consider (Figure 6), in which a heavy cannon ball (H) and light musket ball (L) are attached together to form a compound object (H+L); the latter must fall faster than the cannon ball alone. Yet the compound object must also fall slower, since the light part will act as a drag on the heavy part. Now we have a contradiction. (H+L > H and H > H+L) That’s the end of Aristotle’s theory. But there is a bonus, since the right account is now obvious: they all fall at the same speed (H = L = H+L).”

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/thought-experiment/

        Claim 1)

        “Galileo showed that all bodies fall at the same speed with a brilliant thought experiment that started by destroying the then reigning Aristotelian account.”

        A) Galileo did not show anything in a thought experiment.
        B) Galileo did not postulate all bodies fall at the same speed.

        Claim 2)

        “But consider, in which a heavy cannon ball (H) and light musket ball (L) are attached together to form a compound object (H+L); the latter must fall faster than the cannon ball alone. Yet the compound object must also fall slower, since the light part will act as a drag on the heavy part. Now we have a contradiction. (H+L > H and H > H+L) That’s the end of Aristotle’s theory.”

        A) This is wrong in its entirety. If you were to tether a cannonball to a musket ball and release them, held horizontally, from a high building one could the decent. The pair of objects would rotate 90 degrees and the cannon ball would always hit the ground first. Moreover, if one had a precision instrument of measure the time of decent one would note that the cannon ball without the tether would hit the ground faster than without.
        This configuration is a dart, the terminal velocity of the musket ball (a sphere) is less that the terminal velocity of the cannonballs, and both will have much higher terminal velocities of the tether.
        According to Galileo’s daughter Galileo experiments of dropping balls of different sizes found:
        “The larger ball, being less susceptible to … air resistance, fell faster”. Galileo himself stated ‘You find, on making the test, that the larger ball beats the smaller one by two inches.
        (both quotes from Galileo’s Daughter, Dava Sobel, 1999)

        B) In 1782, William Watts of Bristol woke his wife early in the morning and had her light a fire and melt a body of lead. He and his angry wife climbed to the roof of his newly enlarged house and proceed to pour the molten lead over the side of the house. They ran down he stairs and found the court yard covered with spherical lead shot. William then Patented this method for making drop shot; the release of a body of lead from a fixed height.

        Finally, you miss the whole damned point.
        Aristotle postulated and thought because he was smart that he had the right answer, based on observation and logic.
        Instead Galileo was an experimentalist who tested his postulates. Galileo repeatedly dropped two balls of different masses from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Galileo did this to demonstrate that a ‘special’ theory; that bodies of the same material falling through the same medium would fall at the same rate. Galileo then began to examine different materials, he experimented and tested his postulates. to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass.
        He could never completely disprove Aristotle’s theory of gravity, but what he did was demonstrate that objects accelerated at a constant rate. He also believed that differences in the rates of acceleration were due to air resistance, and not some quality of either the material or mass.

        So you are completely and utterly wrong. That will not stop you Humpty-Dumpty claims of victory in your logic, intellect or choice of authority figures.

      • Doc,

        You’re in no position to Red Queen anyone tonight. Not only you are having problems following three sentences from Bertrand Russell, but you can’t even read what Galileo wrote in a text you yourself cited:

        > A) Galileo did not show anything in a thought experiment.

        Here, Doc:

        But, even without further experiment, it is possible to prove clearly, by means of a short and conclusive argument, that a heavier body does not move more rapidly than a lighter one provided both bodies are of the same material and in short such as those mentioned by Aristotle.

        http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=753&chapter=109890&layout=html&Itemid=27

        See also below.

        ***

        > B) Galileo did not postulate all bodies fall at the same speed.

        Of course not, since it’s the conclusion of Salvio’s short and conclusive argument.

        Where do the Stanford entry mentions such “postulate”?

        ***

        > This is wrong in its entirety. If you were to tether a cannonball to a musket ball and release them, held horizontally, from a high building one could the decent [&c.]

        And yet here’s Salvio and Simplicio:

        [Simplicio] There can be no doubt but that one and the same body moving in a single medium has a fixed velocity which is determined by nature and which cannot be increased except by the addition of momentum [impeto] or diminished except by some resistance which retards it.

        [Salvio] If then we take two bodies whose natural speeds are different, it is clear that on uniting the two, the more rapid one will be partly retarded by the slower, and the slower will be somewhat hastened by the swifter. Do you not agree with me in this opinion?

        [Simplicio] You are unquestionably right.

        [Salvio] But if this is true, and if a large stone moves with a speed of, say, eight while a smaller moves with a speed of four, then when they are united, the system will move with a speed less than eight; but the two stones when tied together make a stone larger than that which before moved with a speed of eight. Hence the heavier body moves with less speed than the lighter; an effect which is contrary to your supposition. Thus you see how, from your assumption that the heavier body moves more rapidly than the lighter one, I infer that the heavier body moves more slowly.

        Our emphasis.

        Are you sure you read that dialog, Doc?

        ***

        > Finally, you miss the whole damned point. Aristotle postulated and thought because he was smart that he had the right answer, based on observation and logic. Instead Galileo was an experimentalist who tested his postulates. Galileo repeatedly dropped two balls of different masses from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

        As if you gave no hints that this was how you read Galileo. I even gave you a reference to do justice to that interpretation. You are free to disagree with this interpretation of Galileo’s dialog, as long as you read it first.

        And all this does not prevent him from having constructed a short and conclusive argument, in contradiction of your first two points, which works like a thought experiment.

        ***

        Oh, and this is false:

        > ORIGINAL WILLARD CLAIM FROM STANFORD

        It’s not my claim Doc.

      • You are free to disagree with this interpretation of Galileo’s dialog, as long as you read it first.

        willard – as Doc has shown in this thread, he doesn’t have to read something that someone says to actually know what they think.

        ‘Cause he’s a scientist, don’t you know. Scientists can know stuff w/o needing any evidence.

        Well, scientists like Doc, anyway.

      • Leopold and Loeb

      • If Leopold and Loeb were both dropped from a high tower, who would hit the ground first? Hint, one was a birder and flew the coop.
        ============

      • Face it, Doc: your A (Galileo did not show anything in a thought experiment) is false and your B (Galileo did not postulate all bodies fall at the same speed) is bogus.

        Now, put your white coat and admit your mistakes, like Feynman would.

        Pretty please with some sugar on it.

        ***

        What is it you were calling me, again?

      • “Galileo showed that all bodies fall at the same speed with a brilliant thought experiment that started by destroying the then reigning Aristotelian account. The latter holds that heavy bodies fall faster than light ones (H > L).”
        Model.

        Galileo tested this model by dropping different weights from a tower and having an observer see which hit the ground first.

        Galileo found heavier objects hit the ground first. This experiment can be performed today and will give the same result; simultaneously dropping a musket ball and cannon ball from a tower results in the cannon ball hitting the ground first.

        Galileo found H>L.

        The model did not match reality; it was falsified.

        Galileo knew it was falsified.
        Galileo believed that the reason was due to air resistance, but was unable to adequately model this phenomena.
        Galileo then did some arm waving.

      • > Model.

        If you say so, Doc. To the extent that it is a model, Galileo showed that Aristotle’s theory follows from it. That is, there’s no need to throw rocks to argue, as Galileo did, that Aristotle’s theory is inconsistent. The paper by Rafal Urbaniak interprets this result using an adaptive proof:

        http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs11229-011-0008-4.pdf

        ***

        > Galileo tested this model by dropping different weights from a tower and having an observer see which hit the ground first.

        There seems to be evidence that he did carry on his Tower of Pisa experiments, although I have not found any conclusive evidence yet:

        A biography by Galileo’s pupil Vincenzo Viviani stated that Galileo had dropped balls of the same material, but different masses, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass. This was contrary to what Aristotle had taught: that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones, in direct proportion to weight. While this story has been retold in popular accounts, there is no account by Galileo himself of such an experiment, and it is generally accepted by historians that it was at most a thought experiment which did not actually take place. An exception is Drake, who argues that the experiment did take place, more or less as Viviani described it. The experiment described was actually performed by Simon Stevin (commonly known as Stevinus), although the building used was actually the church tower in Delft in 1586.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei#Falling_bodies

        ***

        There’s an interesting discussion in one of the citations from the **Two Science**’s Wiki entry:

        http://www.juliantrubin.com/bigten/galileofallingbodies.html

        You can find many links on “Did Galileo perform the leaning tower of Pisa experiment? My favorite resource is this breaking news:

        PISA, Italy, December 1612 — In a new test of an old idea about motion, philosophers recently dropped objects from the cathedral bell tower, which tilts because of a construction flaw. The experimenters observed that large, heavy bodies fall faster than small, light ones of the same material — a behavior of matter described long ago by Aristotle but often disputed in recent decades.

        Not only did the investigators witness a difference in speed, but they also noted that “in proportion as the weight increases, so does the velocity,” says Giorgio Coresio, professor of Greek at the University of Pisa, who led the study.

        “Thus was confirmed the statement of Aristotle, in the first book of De Caelo, that ‘a mass of gold or lead, or of any other body endowed with weight is quicker in proportion to its size,'” Coresio concludes. He describes the experiment in a new book Operetta intorno al Galleggiare de Corpi Solidi.

        Skeptics of Aristotle’s statement say that they remain unconvinced, however. Such a test of the ancient assertion is so dramatic “that I meant to do it myself, but I don’t recall if I ever got around to it,” comments Galileo Galilei, philosopher and mathematician to the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

        http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arc99/12_18_99b/fob7.htm

        ***

        To the extent that these resources are faithful to what we know, it seems safe to say that Galileo had access to experiments that roughly corroborated his alternative theory. We have: Benedetto Varchi in 1544; Giuseppe Moletti in 1576; Jacopo Mazzoni in 1597; and Simon Stevin in 1586. Galileo may have been the first one to use a way to time the falling objects. In all these cases, the resulting impression seemed to have been that Aristotle was wrong.

        You ought to publish your incisive theory of what really happened, Doc.

        ***

        Oh, and I just noticed this:

        > If you were to tether a cannonball to a musket ball and release them, held horizontally, from a high building one could the decent. The pair of objects would rotate 90 degrees and the cannon ball would always hit the ground first.

        While this is very astute, it does not take into account that the author of the Stanford entry was referring to a compound object, which was the point of Galileo’s thought experiment.

        ***

        Thank you for offering me this opportunity to show how being constructive may be more profitable than merely being destructive, Doc.

      • Willard, you are ignorant, foolish and stupid. You have shown yourself to be completely wrong in championing Bertie and now, in suggesting that

        “Galileo showed that all bodies fall at the same speed with a brilliant thought experiment that started by destroying the then reigning Aristotelian account”

        Galileo DID NOT show that all bodies fall at the same speed

        Galileo DID NOT develop a brilliant thought experiment that started by destroying the then reigning Aristotelian account

        “Aristotle says that a hundred-pound ball falling from a height of a hundred braccia [arm lengths] hits the ground before a one-pound ball has fallen one braccio. I say they arrive at the same time…. You find, on making the test, that the larger ball beats the smaller one by two inches. Now, behind those two inches you want to hide Aristotle’s ninety-nine braccia, and, speaking only of my tiny error, remain silent about his enormous mistake.”

        As reported by Viviani

        http://books.google.com/books?id=wkCdDPfndDIC&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106&dq=%E2%80%9CAristotle+says+that+a+hundred-pound+ball+falling+from+a+height+of+a+hundred+braccia+%5Barm+lengths%5D+hits+the+ground+before+a+one-pound+ball+has+fallen+one+braccio.+I+say+they+arrive+at+the+same+time%E2%80%A6.+You+find,+on+making+the+test,+that+the+larger+ball+beats+the+smaller+one+by+two+inches.+Now,+behind+those+two+inches+you+want+to+hide+Aristotle%E2%80%99s+ninety-nine+braccia,+and,+speaking+only+of+my+tiny+error,+remain+silent+about+his+enormous+mistake.%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=7Cf4fLPSpc&sig=b-Ai0T2yFqGISKgTCDNqRE8dWl4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=92YmUpHZFoqz2QXX9YDYCg&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

        You will of course not admit that you are rude, an ignorant fool, with no understanding of experimental design and blinded by a prior bias, but that is only to be expected from someone who is a cheerleader for eugenics.

      • “If you were to tether a cannonball to a musket ball and release them, held horizontally, from a high building one could the decent. The pair of objects would rotate 90 degrees and the cannon ball would always hit the ground first.” And I think the take away point here is the musket ball caused the cannon ball to fall faster.

      • Thank you for your kind words, Doc, and for your reference to Viviani, already mentioned in the Wiki entry I quoted. To make sure you read it this time, here’s how it started, with my emphasis:

        A biography by Galileo’s pupil Vincenzo Viviani stated that Galileo had dropped balls of the same material, but different masses, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei#Falling_bodies

        You could also find your quote in another Wiki entry:

        Now, behind those two inches you want to hide Aristotle’s ninety-nine braccia and, speaking only of my tiny error, remain silent about his enormous mistake.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo's_Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa_experiment

        Unless you really do wish to suggest that what Galileo calls a “tiny error” matters much than Aristotle’s “enormous mistake”, all the experiments of the time suggest that Aristotle’s theory fails on empirical ground.

        Galileo also added that it was inconsistent.

        ***

        Please do continue with your kind words while revealing how little you know of what you pretend to do behind your lab coat. Sooner or later, they too will be paid due diligence. In a constructive manner, of course, if only for illustration’s sake.

        Thank you again for playing, Doc.

      • Ragnaar, you have to understand the experimental limits that were present at the time. Take this oft told story:-
        “Galileo was 17 when, listening to a Mass in the cathedral at Pisa, he noticed a swinging chandelier. He timed its oscillation with his pulse, and found that the time was not a function of how wide the chandelier swung.

        The reason Galileo saw the chandelier swinging different distances side-to-side, or amplitudes, was because the wind was blowing it. When the wind died down, Galileo found that the pendulum swung more slowly. Moving more slowly, but over a shorter swing, the chandelier took just as many of his heartbeats to complete a swing as if the amplitude were large”

        Now an average cannon ball is about 5Kg and viewing platform of the tower of Pisa is about 50m above ground. So the cannon ball would hit the ground 113 km/h and take 3.2 s.
        The pulse rate is about 90/minute so you only get 5-6 beats in the window.
        So Galileo couldn’t use time to judge what fell fastest, he had to observe which hit the ground first. It is unlikely he ever thought to compare a tethered and untethered cannon ball, dropped simultaneously.
        This is why the thought experiment is bogus, he was technically limited in what he could measure, and the tethered small and large weights would have shown, subject to his technical limitations, that H>L.

        Willard’s paragraph shows what a trap prior knowledge is. Willard KNOWS that gravitational attraction is a fundamental property of matter, and it doesn’t matter what particles the mass is made from. Because of his prior knowledge he was unable to analyze the passage on its own merits. He liked to believe that Galileo had arrived at a scientific truth through logical deduction, he did so because this narrative suits his bias.

        This is why he is too dumb to realize he is really stupid.
        Smart people are smart enough to know they are stupid.

      • Willard, keep digging, you will be in China soon.

      • > So Galileo couldn’t use time to judge what fell fastest […]

        Again, there are only circumstancial evidence that Galileo truly dropped stuff from the Tower of Pisa. The best evidence we have, as far as I read, is a phenomenological observation that

        Stevin is said to have used sound, which is incidentally not unlike what Viviani alledged Galileo did, some 60 years after the fact.

        Galileo said he used water, as stated in the Two Sciences, and recalled here:

        Galileo used inclined planes for his experiment to slow the acceleration enough so that the elapsed time could be measured. The ball was allowed to roll a known distance down the ramp, and the time taken for the ball to move the known distance was measured. The time was measured using a water clock.

        http://www.juliantrubin.com/bigten/galileofallingbodies.html

        We know that Galileo could not measure bodies falling out of a vacuum. But that ain’t necessary to disprove Aristotle’s theory. Were Aristotle right, there would not even be a need to measure the time discrepancy between the fall of two similar bodies with two very different weights.

        You seem to be conflating disproving Aristotle’s theory with experimentally proving the law of falling bodies, Doc. The very idea of proving a law obtained by mathematical means makes little sense anyway. In fact, when you epilogue about how “a trap prior knowledge is”, you seem oblivious to the reason why Galieo is the hero of this story and not Stevin: Galileo formulated a scientific theory.

        The difference between theory and practice is bigger in theory than in practice, Doc.

      • Forgot to close this idea:

        > The best evidence we have, as far as I read, is a phenomenological observation that heavier bodies seem slower at the beginning of their fall.

        Here, I was hinting at a resource I already cited:

        In the early 1980s, some researchers carried out experiments to test the veracity of the Leaning Tower legend. They focused on a curious and repeated assertion in Galilean texts that lighter objects start to fall faster than heavier ones. Doubting that Galileo would have made such an apparently false statement without good cause, the researchers filmed their experiments. They then examined the movie frame-by-frame and found that Galileo was right.

        The effect results not from some wrinkle in the laws of physics, but apparently from muscle fatigue in the dropper’s hands affecting the ability to release a ball. This new evidence of Galileo’s superb powers of observation has made the Leaning Tower legend more plausible to some scholars.

        http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arc99/12_18_99b/fob7.htm

        It would have been tough for Galileo to make that observation from his armchair alone.

      • Aristotle and Galileo are in a bar, arguing as they normally do, about fundamental properties of matter. Galileo is getting the worst of it as normal, because try as he might, he can’t lay a glove on the Greek. Every time he gets close to disproving one axiom or other, Aristotle would chip in with “That’s what Plato always maintained”, or “Covered all that in On the Pythagoreans.
        In his cups Galileo suddenly had an Idea.
        “I bet you 5 pounds of gold that I can prove that bodies of different masses fall at the same rate”
        “No way you dumb Wop”
        “Yes I can, Yes I can, I have just had this great insight
        You and your foreign pederast friends maintain that heavy bodies fall faster than light ones (H > L).
        But consider if we attach a heavy object to a light object, to make a common object, then we have made an heavier object, thus if we take a heavy cannon ball (H) and light musket ball (L) and attached them together to form a compound object (H+L); the compound object must fall faster than either the cannon ball or the musket ball.
        But get this, compound object must also fall slower, since the light part will act as a drag on the heavy part.
        Now we have a contradiction. (H+L > H and H > H+L).
        That’s the end of your theory.”
        “What?” said the staggered Greek, “5 pounds of Gold?”
        Galileo smirked, “Damn Right, I’m good for it”
        “OK”, said the proud son of the Greek nation, “I will tell you what, I will disprove your point, both experimentally and logically, but the price is double; 10 pounds of gold”
        Galileo was taken aback, he was playing with the big boy now, but he must be bluffing.
        “Cannon ball and musket ball?”
        “No way” said Plato’s apprentice “Bronze and only bronze, I know bronze, great stuff bronze, much better than that dull iron stuff you ‘Romans’ love so much”
        “Your on” stated the soon to be broke Italian

        The next morning the pair made their way to an artifactor.
        “My good man”, began Aristotle, a man of breeding who knew how to deal with the lower orders, “Do you perchance have a large bronze rod?”
        “Well I was sun bathing yesterday and you know how it goes”
        “No saucy yeoman, bronze as in the alloy that made Greece the center of civilization, learning and the slave trade”
        “Why indeed you grace, I do, and forgive my unsolicited observation, but I believe your laundry is dry”
        Aristotle looked the cloth capped scrota in the eye and said, “Do be so good as to place the bar in your lathe and render exactly half of it into swarf.”
        The puzzled workman did has he was commanded and converted exactly half the rod into bronze shavings. To show he was good at his job he placed the remaining bar on one side of his scale and the shavings on the other; the scale has exactly balanced.
        Aristotle was calculating how long it would be before he could get this foolishness over with and get to the bar, and so increased his pace as the two men made for the leaning tower of Pisa, with Galileo’s daughter in tow.
        “Wait here” Aristotle told her at the base of the tower ”and judge what hits the ground first”
        At the observation gallery Galileo held the bronze bar over the edge and Aristotle the box carrying the bronze shaving
        “1, 2, 3” and they both released their metallic payloads. The two men looked at each other, then legged it downstairs.
        “What landed first, Maria Celeste, what landed first,” shouted the panting Italian, who then caught sight of his daughter in a blizzard of bronze specks, dancing in the air around her and a deeply embedded rod in the earth by her feet
        “Oh”, so heavy objects do fall faster that light ones”
        “Pay up” said the Greek.
        “Wait, wait” said the soon to be broke renaissance man “You had to prove the theory wrong as well”
        “OK, you state that if you make a compound object from a heavy object and a light object, then the heavy object gains the property of heaviness and also the property of lightness, right”
        “Right and right”
        “Now take bronze, great stuff bronze.
        Copper is soft
        Zinc is soft.
        Bronze is hard. Bronze doesn’t have softness and softness, softness and softness can be equal to hardness. So when you make a compound it doesn’t necessarily have the same qualities as is constituents. Now lightness and heaviness, when combined, don’t have to posses’ equal properties of both, heavy plus light equals heavier, in the same way that 4 plus 1 equals 5, and no fiveness and oneness at the same time. Classical logic that is, not the new crap you youngsters come up with.
        Remember what Plato always said, Assumptions make an Ass of u and the remain mptions stain your toga.
        It really is simple, grape juice and yeast both taste horrible, but the compound, wine is tastes great.
        So a compound can be different than the sum of the parts. Speaking of wine, you own me 10 pounds of gold, and after you pay up I will buy you a drink.
        Oh, I will also lend you On the Pythagoreans, its all covered in there, don’t lose it, its my last copy.

      • Nice joke, though, Doc. You certainly have a talent for that. Here’s what Galileo disproved, BTW:

        Aristotle proposed that velocity is inversely proportional to the weight of an object which will make objects of different weight fall to the ground at different time. Galileo would later contest Aristotle’s point by demonstrating that object of different weights reach the ground in a similar time.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotelian_physics#Motion

        Galileo does not need an atomic clock to do that. For the most part, the concept of additivity might be enough to understand that Aristotle’s theory leads to absurdity. Tying balls together might have been there for illustration’s sake only.

      • You stated this

        ““But consider, in which a heavy cannon ball (H) and light musket ball (L) are attached together to form a compound object (H+L); the latter must fall faster than the cannon ball alone. Yet the compound object must also fall slower, since the light part will act as a drag on the heavy part. Now we have a contradiction. (H+L > H and H > H+L) That’s the end of Aristotle’s theory.””
        As Aristotle has just proven in the little story, it is WRONG both logically and experimentally.

        When Galileo couldn’t prove that objects of different masses fall at the same rate he indulged in arm waving:-

        “You find, on making the test, that the larger ball beats the smaller one by two inches. Now, behind those two inches you want to hide Aristotle’s ninety-nine braccia, and, speaking only of my tiny error, remain silent about his enormous mistake.”

        Arm waving.

        You cited a paragraph in which you make the claim that Galileo ‘showed’

        a contradiction. (H+L > H and H > H+L) That’s the end of Aristotle’s theory.”

        Now by showing that compound objects do not have to inherit the physical properties of the constituents, Copper&Tin or Grape Juice & Yeast, Aristotle makes the point that your logic is bollocks and you are a clown.
        Had Aristotle lived in the age of thermometers he would have used the example of azeotropes.
        You accepted this statement (H+L > H and H > H+L), based on prior knowledge.

      • It’s a pity you return to your repetitive insults, Doc. Your dialog between Galileo and Aristotle was brilliant. You made at least one constructive comment in our exchange.

        That does not mean there are no problems with it. Take your interpretation of Aristotle’s Physics. Here’s how Ernest A. Moody compares the two theories (with his own emphasis):

        Two basic assumptions are involved in Galileo’s theory of the velocities of natural motion in corporeal media, of which one is common to Aristotle and Galileo, while the other is in sharp opposition to the position of Aristotle. The first of these assumptions is that variation of speed with which a body moves by its “natural” motion through a corporeal medium is determined by some function whose arguments are the densities of the moving body and of the medium. The second assumption made by Galileo is that this function is the relation of arithmetical difference between the densities, such as is represented by the minus sign (” – “). Now this second assumption is radically opposed to the fundamental law of Aristotle’s dynamics, according to which the relation between the densities of the mobile and the medium, by which the speed of natural motion is determined, is not arithmetical difference, but ratio or proportion, such as we symbolize by the sign of division.

        http://www.jstor.org/stable/2707514

        I you want to verify this interpretation for yourself, you can look Physics IV, ch. 8, 215a 24-216a 20. There’s also a bit about proportion in Physics V. You should be able to see that your Aristotle carries your own thoughts on the subject more than what we can read in Aristotle himself.

        Even if you could come up with a different interpretation of Aristotle’s Physics, what Galileo was refuting was the interpretation given at the time. That is, even if you’d be able to show that Aristotle was the second most misrepresented person of the Internet after Roger Pielke Jr., you would still have to deal with the fact that Galileo refuted Aristotle’s theory teached by the institutions of his times.

        ***

        While you ponder on this, I’ll make two terminological remarks.

        First, what you call “classical logic” exceeds in power but is more narrow to what Aristotle calls logic. It exceeds in power, as quantification and predication are clearer; it is more narrow because Aristotle’s deduction comprises common sense knowledge, which formal deduction does not.

        Second, what you call armwaving can also be called an argument. The argument as set up in the Two Sciences should be compelling enough not to burden the reader with a formal presentation of it. This argument refutes Aristotle’s theory because it shows that his use of proportion instead of difference made no mathematical sense.

        ***

        The mathematical equations which inspired Galileo have been expressed here by way of a thought experiment, a thought experiment which is a pain to represent in logical terms. In fact, the author of the Laboratory of the Mind, James R. Brown, to whom we owe the concept of a platonic thought experiment, argued that it was impossible to do. But we should bear in mind that they were induced from Galileo’s experiments on various inclined planes, experiments which were timed with enough precision to provide a mathematization.

        ***

        There are other problems with your dialog. I can pay diligence to them if you insist.

        But really, Doc, do you really wish me to spell out all your tricks?

      • Willard, still a clown and one who has not found that Wiki may not be the greatest authority on the planet.

        “Nice joke, though, Doc. You certainly have a talent for that. Here’s what Galileo disproved, BTW:

        Aristotle proposed that velocity is inversely proportional to the weight of an object which will make objects of different weight fall to the ground at different time. ……………..

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotelian_physics#Motion

        Complete balls-ups. You think Aristotle was worried about mountains suddenly floating away.

        What you don’t understand is the implications of air resistance, mass and terminal velocity on what one observes.

        You are an arrogant MoFo and cannot see that both men were groping towards a solution to a perplexing relationship.

        When your childish thoughts and intuitions are shown to be wrong you try a mixture of ‘whataboutary’ and displacement activity.

        You are to logic what John Wayne Gacy was to children’s entertainment; its obviously that logic is not your bag so why not take up something more suitable to your intellectual limitations, say scrapbooking?

      • > You think Aristotle was worried about mountains suddenly floating away.

        Only the lighter ones, Doc.

        Since you’re the resident Aristotelian, I’m sure you can tell us how Aristotle came up with his proportional law?

        Here’s a hint:

        [T]he principle of causational synonymy rules out that any homogenous mass, without an internal demarcation into components which move and are moved, could move itself (Physics 8.4, 255a5–18). This is so because, on the assumption that one part of a homogenenous body could move another part, the active component of change would be, in every aspect, indistinguishable from the part in which change is effected, and this in turn would mean that change would occur even though there would be no transmission of a causally relevant property from the active part to the passive. This implies that even though we may answer the question as to why the elements move to their natural places—the light bodies up and the heavy ones down—by an appeal to their respective natures as causes (“that it is simply their nature to move somewhere, and this is what it is to be light and to be heavy” Physics 8.4, 255b13–17), we do not thereby specify their moving causes.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-natphil/#2

        Our emphasis.

        ***

        Speaking of logic, your Aristotle should add some precision to his “heavy objects do fall faster that light ones”. If Aristotle means by that

        > ALL heavy objects do fall faster than light ones, CETERIS PARIBUS.

        then his demonstration falls short. But you knew that, didn’t you, Doc?

        ***

        Speaking of ceteris paribus clause, here’s a nice one from the Philosopher, emphasized:

        [I]n point of fact things that are thrown move though that which gave them their impulse is not touching them, either by reason of mutual replacement, as some maintain, or because the air that has been pushed pushes them with a movement quicker than the natural locomotion of the projectile wherewith it moves to its proper place. But in a void none of these things can take place, nor can anything be moved save as that which is carried is moved.

        Further, no one could say why a thing once set in motion should stop anywhere; for why should it stop here rather than here? So that a thing will either be at rest or must be moved ad infinitum, unless something more powerful get in its way.

        Further, things are now thought to move into the void because it yields; but in a void this quality is present equally everywhere, so that things should move in all directions.

        Further, the truth of what we assert is plain from the following considerations. We see the same weight or body moving faster than another for two reasons, either because there is a difference in what it moves through, as between water, air, and earth, or because, other things being equal, the moving body differs from the other owing to excess of weight or of lightness.

        http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/physics.4.iv.html

        Seems that Aristotle knew the trick from your own Aristotle.

    • IMO he’s a paid shill of the oil industry trying to make alarmism look silly. That’s the most sensible interpretation of his nonsense.

      • AK writes “IMO he’s a paid shill of the oil industry”

        Well, if so, he’s doing a pretty good job. Worth every penny I’d say.

        More seriously, your “opinion” is simply the lowest form of uninformed speculation. You simply have no basis for your claim, just as M.M. has no basis for his claim (or anyone else’s for that matter), that skeptics are bought and paid for by “big oil0″.

        Finally, amazing chutzpah on your part, considering the billions of dollars in government money (i.e. our tax dollars) funding AGw research. Who do you suppose is the beneficiary of all that largess?

      • AK,

        I don’t think so. However fan does do a good job of fitting the characterization of the academic described above. To the point of being empirical evidence.

      • we could get Anthony Watts to do one of his Background Checks

        Who knows maybe Fan is one of those reptilians I’ve been reading about on WUWT

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Lolwot, you are on a roll today!

        Yes, WUWT is the sole climate-change website that (1) commonly praises “concealed carry” gun laws, and (2) embraces abusive rhetoric and conspiracy theories, and (3) unilaterally outs personal identities.

        Given the appreciable prevalence of Watts/WUWT comments that reflect various degrees of mental instability and anger, these Watts/WUWT policies seem … imprudent (to say the least).

        Conclusion  If the Watts/WUWT weblog is “the voice of climate-change denialism”, then denialism is fated for well-deserved political extinction. Good.

        \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}

      • @pokerguy…

        Actually, I have my doubts there’s any money anywhere for paid shills. However, as you said, “he’s doing a pretty good job. Worth every penny I’d say. ” I was just being nasty.

  11. To the extent that …

    To the extent that ….

    To the extent that ….

    Very interesting rhetorical device.

    To the extent that the author beats his wife, we might legitimately ask when he stopped beating his wife to that extent.

    To the extent that there is any merit to the authors points, and to the extent that they aren’t more or less an extended series of straw men lined up in a row, Judith’s statement of:

    Above are 7 good reasons why they aren’t working.

    might be particularly insightful. You know, to an extent, anyway.

    No one would like to jettison science in the service of regulation of pharmaceutical products or pesticides, for example, or principled analysis of human rights or legal doctrines.

    Interesting that someone would write an article from such an authoritative stance, without conducting due diligence by way of research into prominent electoral politics in the U.S.

    What if we performed some due diligence, to look with some depth at the opinions the author describes as “no one?” For example, Ron Paul:

    People weren’t dying from bad drugs before we had the FDA. I mean, it just didn’t happen. There’d be other agencies that would do this. There’d be no reason to assume that all of a sudden, the drug companies have it in their interest to give you a bad drug.

    Selective reasoning is selective, Judith.

    • Josh,

      Interesting your use of wife beating. Perhaps if you were to stop beating that dead horse you might come up with better arguments. Like slavery.

      • To the extent that you might actually make a point w/r/t my argument about slavery, you might actually have a point.

        To the extent that you extend yourself beyond merely waving pom poms, you might make an argument.

        Give it a shot, tim. You might surprise yourself and actually come up with something.

        Or, you could always claim that you only read my posts accidentally, or that I am an anti-Christainite. Seems to work for your buds.

      • Josh,

        I never claimed to read your comments accidentally. I will admit to skipping some that are excessively long or repetitive.

        PS – you have try harder at clever. Not only is the pom pom crack old, it isn’t even yours.

        Besides, they were only an excuse to wear the short plaid skirt. I’ve boxed them up to send to fan. He might have use for them when next Dr Hansen comes to town.

      • Josh, really, Tim’s right. Clever is not your forte. Stupefyingly tedious? Yes. Staggeringly vapid? Oh ya. Gratuitously nasty wrt to your betters, especially our host? Absolutely. But clever? Have yet to see it.

        And yes, it’s true, I read your above comments by accident.

      • tim –

        PS – you have try harder at clever. Not only is the pom pom crack old, it isn’t even yours.

        I don’t point out that you’re a serial pom-pom waiver because it is new. That willard coined the expression is immaterial, IMO. That a “skeptic” first used the expression handbag fight here at Climate Etc. doesn’t make it any less a brilliant expression, or any less descriptive of many of these exchanges. Perhaps you could explain why you think that the age of an expression, or who first used it, it particularly relevant?

        What matters, top me at least, is how well it captures your input in these threads. There are occasions where you actually make an argument, and and make a serious attempt at engagement with those with whom you disagree. It actually places you in somewhat different class than “skeptics” like PG and Montford. But…

        Serially waiving pom poms is pom pom waiving, serially.

      • David Springer

        What is a pom-pom waiver?

      • Springer,

        I believe it is what willard granted Josh – a waiver to use the term without a royalty payment.

        My enjoyment of watching Mosher spank Josh on a regular basis is considered a form of cheerleading by some. Hence the pom – pom crack.

    • Say rather that you’re confusing campaigning with governing. Policy is governance, not campaign rhetoric.

    • its called anaphora

  12. “…ideally in the construction of meaning and the incarnation of authenticity rather than in a claim to truth. For them, it is more important to induce trust and belief than to try to educate citizens on the facts and principles.

    JC comment: The stars of the Climategate saga never seemed to grasp why the emails mattered, even if they didn’t change the science one iota. Its about authenticity and trust.”

    What Judith doesn’t seem to grasp here is that the author prizes rhetorical trickery and emotional manipulation over understanding.

    And it’s not at all clear from her comments that Judith has a firm grasp on the difference between politics and policy. French is mostly about the politics-policy interface, while most scientists who bother to try, are attempting to address the science-policy where, indeed, better science communication and knowledge translation are recognised as vital.

    Judith seems to be advocating rhetoric in place of scientific understanding.

    • The stars of the Climategate saga never seemed to grasp why the emails mattered, even if they didn’t change the science one iota. Its about authenticity and trust.

      It really is interesting how often Judith comes back to this argument, to an assertion, with absolute certainty, about some “matter” w/r/t the emails, some significant “matter” in terms of authenticity and trust – without ever having actually undertaken a scientific approach to quantifying (you know, precise quantification, validation, stuff like that) any of the impacts she describes.

      Not once? Not ever? Is argument by assertion never anything less than satisfying?

      While Judith circulates through her recursive loop about the emails, Mr. Uncertainty just gets up from his chair and walks out of the room. Our much beloved “skeptics” lift their requirements for empirical evidence and measurable impacts.

      And, of course, yes but “denier.”

      And, of course, “alarmist, alarmist” and “advocate, advocate.”

      • John Carpenter

        Michael and Joshua, part of what French argues is policy is not driven exclusively by scientific approach… if at all. Politicians are a far cry different type of personality and mind set than scientists. Since they think much differently, they don’t follow the same logical steps toward a policy solution to a perceived problem. Not all the steps are quantitative or measurable. It is not so much the perceived knowledge gap as it is a way to solve a problem where all the different types of mindsets (their constituency and partisanship) have to be factored in. Facts, as known by the academy, are and will be used only in support for a specific policy position, but are not the sole factor on how policy is derived. I don’t speak for JC, but I think she is interested in the academy trying to understand this aspect of policymaking to reconsider how the climate message is promoted.

      • John Carpenter

        Michael, here’s another way to look at it. Policymaking is very similar to elections. Getting a policy enacted is like electing an idea. It is an election. If the votes are not there, then the policy does not go anywhere, it doesn’t get elected. Elections are hardly based on truth. If you don’t think climategate gave climate science a black eye, you are in denial. The truth of the actual science, the truth of what many of the emails might have actually really meant, if you twist them around enough, does not matter. The initial impression the public got was… the climate scientists are frauds… therefore the science must be questionable. The truth, at this point, is irrelevant. The damage has been done to the brand image. The methods to correct the brand image inflicted more damage that compounded the initial impression. Climategate gave those who wanted to disagree with the policies what they needed to help convince others who were on the fence or were not knowledgable a shoe in to influence their decision making process. Trust in the science became the issue surrounding the policies because now there is reason not to trust some of the scientists. Without addressing the trust issue, it is hard for someone to be told its a lack of proper understanding or knowledge. Perhaps time will heal this wound.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, what you state has some merit. How would you quantify the emails mattered? Hopefully not like the 97% was determined. Do you think it is up to JC to do that quantification?

        Of course you could do a quick search yourself and find this

        http://abs.sagepub.com/content/57/6/818.short

        or this

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010BAMS3094.1

        or this

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.168/abstract;jsessionid=218119A79DA88130AE3E039EB6B1BD17.d02t01?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

        or this

        http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-SZHD201003017.htm

        Here are a few more unfounded assertions…

        http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/climategate-story-1215.html

        another,

        http://www.scientific-alliance.org/scientific-alliance-newsletter/true-impact-climategate-and-glaciergate

        I coud get more if you like.

        I think JC stands on some solid ground.

      • John –

        Although I don’t see the differences as categorical as you described, I don’t disagree with the your basic description.

        But I fail to see how your post follows from my point – that Judith is selective in her own orientation towards the distinctions between science and advocacy. I don’t so much question her technical input, in that while it may be affected by advocacy, when focusing on the technical issues she isn’t primarily acting as an advocate. But when she focuses on the debate, and the related politics and policy implementation and social phenomena, she seems to background the science in favor of an advocacy orientation.

        How else to explain her repeated focus on the “trust and authenticity” aspects of the emails without even attempting to do what a scientist would do: define terms precisely, quantify and validate her arguments, etc.?

        Again, my point is that the distinctions are not so categorical. Judith is primarily a scientist but she is also an advocate. Politicians are primarily advocates but the science is relevant to their advocacy.

        If you create cartoon characters and say “to the extent” that scientists are like them they are mistaken or foolish, that seems to me like a trivial argument. IMO, what is useful is to identify, in a precise and objective manner, the extent to which scientists actually fit those descriptions. Create a taxonomy that is validated and calibrated to something meaningful. Don’t just point the finger, selectively, and reverse engineer with disagreement as the starting point.

        but I think she is interested in the academy trying to understand this aspect of policymaking to reconsider how the climate message is promoted.

        To the extent that is what Judith is doing, and to the extent that Judith’s efforts in that regard are effective at producing positive results, I applaud.

        But how do we define terms and measure her efforts and/or their effects?

      • John Carpenter

        Ok Joshua, interesting point. I see what you are after now…. I just need to figure a way to disagree with it… ;~ )

      • John –

        Let’s think about this scientifically. From the first source:

        The loss of trust in scientists, however, was primarily among individuals with a strongly individualistic worldview or politically conservative ideology.

        In these polls, people who are “conservatives” say that they “lost trust” in climate scientists due to climategate.

        Does that pass due “skeptical” scrutiny? Was a loss of trust scientifically measured, in some validated way – such as with pre- and post-Climategate measures? How many of those people who claim to have “loss trust” actually had “trust” to begin with. Are they taking less medication because they are relying less on scientific medical expertise? Have they stopped trusting their GPS?

        Measures of “trust” in scientists has been dipping among (a relatively small % of) “conservatives” for decades. And it is across the board loss of trust – related to issues such as stem cell research, ideas about the formation of the universe, beliefs about evolution.

        Measures of “trust” in scientists has not been dipping among “moderates” and “liberals.”

        You need to do more than just link to those reports. To do less is not scientific. Do I know that Judith is wrong? No. What I know is that she doesn’t approach the issue scientifically. She approaches the issue like an advocate. Her approach is “normative.” Does that mean that she approaches her science in such a fashion? No. It means that the distinctions between scientists and advocates, or politicians, are not so categorical as she argues.

        But please, do, get some more – and hopefully this time get some that stand up to scrutiny.

      • JC,

        A significant problem with the article and Judith’s take on it, is that the majority of policy making and it’s passing, goes on fairly quietly, and somewhat rationally, because it’s mundane stuff for the most part. The scientific communication aspect and evidence-based-policy approaches, that Judith seems to disdain, are working away in the background to produce rational policy based on the available evidence.
        But there is minority of issues / policy options that attract the political bickering, PR spin, grandstanding and naked self-interest that can bedevil good policy making. Yet, those same rational policy mechanisms still chug away in the background, hopefully ameliorating some of the worst of political knee-jerkism.

        “…initial impression the public got….” – JC

        Ah, the poor ‘public’, dragged out in all its ill-defined glory whenever needed to bolster an assertion.
        I’d guess that a random sample of the public would overwhelmingly say “huh” when asked about ‘ClimateGate’ .

        There have been ongoing surveys of levels of trust that people hold various organisations/institutions in. What seems universal (in the first world) is overall declining levels of trust in all institutions since the 1960’s.

        Also universal is that scientists remain at the very top level of “public trust’ with lower levels of decline that almost all other groups, and, not surprisingly, politicians, way down at the bottom.
        Which makes it rather astonishing that Judith appears to be advocating that scientists should have anything to learn from how politicians conduct themselves and the methods they use to sway public opinion and “induce…belief”. Political rhetoric can deliver a short term result, but at the expense of long-term trust.

        So again, scientists who focus on good science communication, and public education are following best practice, evidence based approaches, while Judith gives poor advice in an area that she doesn’t understand very well.

      • Josh,

        The picture I get from Judith Curry’s comments is considerably different from the one you decribe. Her talking about advocacy and science is not the same as advocating for a specific position. Her offering her opinion on the possible impact of the climate gate emails is just that – her opinion. It is not advocating for anything.

        That the two of us can have such a different impression could mean that one of us is correct and the other not, in their evaluation of Dr Curry. Or it could mean that we both are evaluating through our own set of filters and thus neither are correct. Imagine that, Josh, you not being correct with regards to Dr Curry’s positions, opinions, motivations, etc.

        As for your statement regarding “trust and authenticity” needing to be defined precisely – perhaps you need to do some self examination. Most people know what both terms mean. They don’t require a precise scientific definition to understand either. How is it you do?

    • What Judith doesn’t seem to grasp here is that the author prizes rhetorical trickery and emotional manipulation over understanding.

      In the world of ‘governance’…I.E..politics…perception trumps facts all the time.

      The reality is that I can take my shovel, walk into my neighbors house, beat him to death with said shovel and no one can stop me. That’s reality.

      I perceive that if I were to attempt to beat my neighbor to death with a shovel somehow law enforcement would miraculously make it to the scene of my crime in time then it would take to beat my neighbor to death and catch me…thereby saving my neighbor.

      The last time anyone in my neighborhood called law enforcement they got lost and it took them 45 minutes to arrive despite the ‘official’ line that average response time is 3 minutes.

      perception is everything

      • However, should you be living in Texas you could calculate the odds of your neighbor’s having a working firearm and the effects the states ‘Castle Laws’ give him the right to give you high velocity lead poisoning.

      • That’s right, Doc. Don’t bring a shovel to a gun fight.

      • David Springer

        I wonder if a .357 magnum round can punch a hole through a shovel and continue on through a rib cage?

      • After a quick review, I may well be wrong.

      • David Springer

        Yeah it’s questionable. It might be pieces of the shovel that go through the rib cage instead.

      • My Lab Tech lives with her mother an has her Glock and pump action shot gun; I think the shovel would offer little in the way of protection.

      • David Springer

        It could protect some important parts. For instance I could cover my johnson with it. Well, part of my johnson anyhow, if it was a good size snow shovel.

  13. “The climate problem has suffered from analogy with the tobacco policy issue – relatively simple problem and simple solution. ” – JC

    Oh dear. Judith again wading into areas she doesn’t understand well, to extract ‘desired storylines’.

  14. Concerned Citizen

    “To the extent that they treat citizens and politicians as so many anonymous students whose logic and knowledge is to be graded . . .”

    I find it particularly rich when a climate scientist pulls out an academic paper from the (beyond-criticism) peer reviewed literature on something outside his expertise like, say, temperature-dependence of crop yields, and goes on to show how a future generation of farmers and agribusiness will be totally helpless in the face of his own imperious predictions.

    • Concerned Citizen

      Guess I should have written “goes on to explain” for “goes on to show.” The latter would prove very difficult indeed.

  15. Is there any doubt that fan treats folks here as anonymous students to be graded?

    Anyone recall what would happen when you had a boring and repetitive professor? In fan’s case one could skip class and when it came time for the exam, simply use Hansen in every answer to assure a passing grade.

  16. “To the extent that they imagine policy making in terms of a single mind tackling a single problem in its entirety, they fail to understand the collective, disjointed and sequential nature of most policy making.”

    Too often, scientists – esp. climate scientists – come off as single issue advocates. Politicians can’t afford to put forward policies which might address one problem but will create others in other areas. Take health care, for example. Providing health care to “all” is potentially a useful policy for improving access to health care. However, the policies actually being implemented have in effect stunted our economy by making the vast majority of new jobs part-time.

    Academics tend to think linearly, and are focused on their own discipline. Solutions to most of the interesting [in the sense of the Chinese curse] problems we as a society face of necessity are non-linear, and require input from more than one silo, er, cylinder of excellence.

    For example, a case can be made that if China and India brought their citizens’ incomes much closer to Western standards, there is a reasonable expectation that CO2 emissions would eventually stabilize, and quite possibly fall. Of course, this inevitably means a near-term increase in fossil fuel consumption. But history shows that rising incomes (esp. if there is discretionary income) result in fewer children, and eventually less total energy use. I’m not advocating this policy, just using this as an example of a non-linear potential solution that would not be considered by the academic community.

    • True, true, Indian, Brazilian and Chinese businessmen do not have to ask the doomsday preachers of the governmental-education complex for permission to emit CO2; and they don’t ask, they won’t ask because they don’t fear the AGW hoax and scare tactics of the Western academics, and they really don’t care if the Democrat party turns an energy-deprived American economy into another GM or Greece.

  17. The self-anointed expose us to the worst that public-funded education has to offer: a culture of illusion, self-defeatism, confusion, negativity and nihilism. Fear of the future is all that is taught now by the global warming alarmists.

    The liberal Utopia of secular, socialist academia has become the silent scream of self-realization denied and the crumbling of human values that has lead so many to the ignoble end of an inexorable collapse of identity and meaning.

    • Wags,

      There are times where you go over the top and make appear there is a vast left wing conspiracy out to impose its will on the poor unsuspecting masses.

      • The Left still refuses to admit MBH98,99,08 (aka, the ‘hockey stick’) is scientific fraud. It’s not a conspiracy when there is no accountability for refusing to tell the truth. Global warming isn’t a conspiracy. It’s a symptom of a dying society. We are witness to the Fall of Western Civilization.

      • “Fear of the future ..’

        Wag, Have come to respect you, but cheer up if you can. History is messy to say the least, but somehow man continues to improve his lot. Step back a moment and you might see that fear of the future characterize your own comments frequently. A little Emersonian optimism goes a long way.

      • Emerson understood: ‘Truth is beautiful — ‘without doubt’ — ‘but so are lies.’ Western society has indulged lying for too long and there is no good end to it … for Westerners. Hopefully, humanity in general may learn something from it. But, America is no longer humanity’s greatest hope. So for the time being, there is a definite loss going into the future of respect for the individual’s life, liberty and property. It’s a house of cards: the country is being turned into storage lockers of abandoned dreams.

      • Might be so wag. I tend to be pretty philosophical when it comes to America. No country is on top forever. It was just a matter of time before the rest of the world started catching up. Ultimately, I see it as a matter of economics. The day when American factory workers could support a family while his wife stayed home to bring up the kids, could never last. It’s the decline of the middle class that will be our ultimate undoing.

      • Ultimately capitalism leads to it’s own downfall, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

      • So you think it’s our leaders, lolwot?

      • lolwot doesn’t understand leaders. They are in it for their own gain and won’t sacrifice their skin. They will try to keep the people happy so the people don’t turn on them and oust them, or worse. This means they won’t be sacrificing the well-being of the majority of the people for the flimsy reasoning behind “climate change.” They are too worried about regime change.

      • Pokerguy says: “The day when American factory workers could support a family while his wife stayed home to bring up the kids, could never last. It’s the decline of the middle class that will be our ultimate undoing.”

        Presumably that day was in the 1950s and 1960s. But if you’re willing to accept a 1955 U.S. median standard of living you can do that today. Foreigners “catching up” to the U.S. has little or nothing to do with putative hits to the U.S. standard of living; if anything, growth in the rest of the world has improved specialization and raised individual consumption. We just take for granted all the gains that have taken place in terms of quality and quantity of food, housing, entertainment, and transportation per hour worked.

      • pokerguy,

        “The day when American factory workers could support a family while his wife stayed home to bring up the kids, could never last. It’s the decline of the middle class that will be our ultimate undoing.”

        You couldn’t be more wrong. The American economy is perfectly capable of producing sufficient wealth that a middle class income is more than sufficient to support a family without the wife working.

        First, the current economy is severely distorted by the laws, regulations and idiotic policies of the progressives of both major political parties. We have schools that teach propaganda, but not math, science, reading and writing. We have an idiotic elitist vision that police, firemen, even janitors need college education. We had a housing bubble and have a massive overhang of foreclosed homes created by the idiotic policy of forcing banks to loan to people who could not prove income or ability to repay.

        We have a healthcare system distorted by tax laws and state regulations micromanaging every aspect of the healthcare industry, the distortions of which are now being used to argue for more such regulation.

        And then we have CAGW/decarbonization.

        This country, at least, will return to a more rational economic system eventually. It will have to. Socialism doesn’t work in the long run. The only question is when. (The Soviet Union, built on the dying carcass of Czarist Russia lasted 78 years.) Will a European economic collapse led by the PIIGS be enough? Or will the US economy have to collapse before enough voters addicted to “free” government “entitlements” learn that they have been suckered?

      • pokerguy,

        things are considerably better for the US than many seem to believe. Anyone who thinks China is going to over take the US is betting on the wrong horse. Just as the people who were so sure the EU was going to surpass the US. We can see how well that is going.

        lolwot,

        as someone above mentioned, you are on a roll. All down hill.

    • Wasn’t it so much nicer when the Left thought to scientifically plan the future and bring electricity and tractor factories to the masses?

      • What’s going on is the Left’s strategy is no different than 9/11 jihadists. One holds a knife to the neck of a stewardess, John Wayne the pilot comes out of the cockpit to face off the crazy man but it’s a big plan where the suicide jihadist’s two comrades stab the pilot in the back, cow the passengers and fly the ship into oblivion.

      • and gulags Jim, don’t forget the gulags

  18. Back in the year 2000 he Phillips Report attacked he Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Keith Meldrum (1988-1997), for his views on the ability of BSE to cross the species barrier.

    http://www.regulation.org.uk/bse.shtml

    Researchers in Bristol identified a domestic cat with a prion disease and took this as evidence that eating tissue from cows with BSE could cause vCJD in humans. Professor Richard Lacey in Leeds predicted hospitals filled with thousands of people going painfully mad before dying, based partly on this single cat. Meldrum disagreed and thought that a jump between species was unlikely.

    In 2008 research spending in vCJD was being considered for a cut. Chairman of the government’s Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee Professor Higgins, publicly stated

    “We face at least one more wave of variant CJD in Britain. That suggests we need to maintain our research efforts into finding treatments for the condition.”

    Professor Sir John Collinge went on record,

    “So far, UK funding has remained strong in its support for CJD work, though researchers in France and Germany have already noted grants for CJD work are drying up. That would be a mistake if it were repeated here.”

    It is now 13 years since the Phillips report and we can now decide if Keith Meldrum or Professor Richard Lacey gave the governments the correct advice.

    Here are the cases of he different forms of CJD. nCJD that was predicted to reach epidemic proportions is in black, peaking in the year 2000.

    • Fair comment, Doc.

      I recall being briefly scared by the BSE alarm. But at least I haven’t seen the MSM talking about “the pause” in the advance of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy that is still coming to kill us all. I guess it must still be “in the pipeline”.

      • Nice post, Doc. It highlights the messy ways of politics – in particular, the bias towards alarmism on trivial issues. On big issues, paradoxically, quite often the bias goes the other way. (I regard the CO2 scare is a trivial issue, btw.)

        And, michael hart, the CJD organisms are hiding at the bottom of the sea. :)

  19. Unintentional Irony Award for writing an unintelligible paragraph that ends in the phrase “collapse of identity and meaning”.

  20. The stars of the Climategate saga never seemed to grasp why the emails mattered, even if they didn’t change the science one iota. Its about authenticity and trust.

    If they must cheat to prove their science is right, then their science is most likely wrong. We are right to not trust their science.

  21. Judith concludes: “Doing more than this, and being effective at it in terms of actually influencing policy, requires from scientists something different from alarmism, urging action, demonizing your opponents, and improving ‘communication’ and ‘messaging.’”

    Could that “something different” include openness and honesty?

  22. Academics never seem to give any weight to the proposition that large number of people (society itself in the case of using fossil fuels) doing something are likely doing that something for very, very good and practical reasons. Hubris seems to be a fatal character trait in academics.

    • Not all academics are the same you know, some of us don’t knit our own scandals, make our own yogurt or get all our news from NPR and the NYT’s.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        You are an academic Doc?

        Oh my! Please, what school? I need my kids to go elsewhere. You thought the last Mastadon went extinct 6,000 years ago. Perhaps you teach English or Social Studies.

      • The last Mastodons in North America, a group of woolly mammoths on St. Paul Island, Alaska, were dated at 6,400 years ago.

        The last group of Mastodons on Wendel Island probably died off about 4,000 years ago.

      • R. Gates walks like an Egyptian academic. Measure the temperature of the steaming pile, not the Mastodon volcano it came from.
        ==============

      • Ouch, Gates. A sort if intellectual Judo move, whereby Doc uses your own punch to bring you down…

        Some of my best friends were once mastadons.

      • David Springer

        Sugar! Oh honey honey!

        Sugar was a Mastodon Americanus who lived and died near Middleton, New York around 7900 B.C. +-225 years according to Carbon-14 dating. That’s thousands of years after the glaciers retreated.

      • I can tell you why mastodons are called mastodons if you like.
        It is one of those school-boy Latin jokes that classically educated middle aged men are prone.
        The description in Wiki is wrong BTW.

  23. The article raises the disconnect between science and politics. We have, however, seen this connection working in the past in the case of the ozone hole and acid rain, where regulations were enacted globally and the problems mitigated. The hope was that the CO2 would follow a similar path. However, in the absence of visible damage, this has proven difficult. It is the myopic nature of politics that makes this difficult. The democracies have politicians who can’t see further than the next election, so future damage is beyond their view.

    • Jim D,

      Perhaps you should pick different examples than acid rain and the ozone hole. Science and history have shown people had it wrong about both.

      • That would be hard to prove, because the regulations have coincided with a reduction in the problems. Skeptics say dumb luck, I suppose. Same would happen with CO2.

      • Jim,

        Explain how the ozone hole problem has been reduced.

        Better yet, explain how it was a problem in the first place.

        Also I don’t believe the issue of acidification of lakes in the NE has gone away. Mainly because the primary cause is natural.

      • The skeptics lost very quickly, or were just very quiet, in those debates and in the end regulations were enacted based on the scientific evidence. No one has yet overturned that evidence and said that CFCs are fine to use after all as far as I know.

      • Likewise, mitigation of sulphates from coal plants helped the people downstream of them where the problems happened to be worst. There was a direct connection in locations that made the case so compelling.

      • Jim,

        Impact of sulphates on populations is not the acid rain issue. If you are going to use an example, describe it accurately.

        And nice side stepping of the ozone hole question(s).

        PS – you do know the hole is still there, right? Or that it hasn’t reduced in size? Or that it isn’t where it was supposed to be in the first place (according to the theory and models)? Or that scientists now think it may be caused by primarily natural factors?

        Have you ever wondered why we never hear about it these days? As I said, pick better examples.

      • When earth gets warm, it next gets cold.

        If CO2 doubles or gets cut in half, earth will still get cold on schedule. The schedule is set by more snowfall when oceans are warm and wet and less snowfall when oceans are cold and frozen.

        The difference would be if CO2 doubles, life on earth will do well. If CO2 is cut in half, life as we know it would be ended. Our food supply would be reduced to levels that would not support the world population..

      • timg56, if someone is asserting that CFCs are now safe, please point them out. How long it will take the ozone regulations to have an effect, we don’t know, nor how to measure what would have happened without them. I really don’t know what you mean about sulphates and acid rain. Where did populations come into this? It was lakes and forests in the eastern US and western Europe as far as I remember.

      • Jim D,

        What do you mean by safe, when referring to CFC’s? Are they safe to use? Yes. In fact use of Halon improves safety as a very effective fire suppressor. One could possibly argue that use of Freon as a refridgerant and air conditioner improves people’s health and safety.

        Are they safe with regard to environmental impacts? That depends. Even if they do play a role in ozone depletion – a theory, not a fact – one would have to identify what harm(s) result. The next person (or species) you find who has suffered from the ozone hole will be the first. Where the Montreal Protocal may prove worth while (ironically) is with global warming, as CFC’s are an extremely potent GHG.

    • More likely they lied about CFCs causing the naturally occurring Ozone holes and they got away with it and thought they could do that again with CO2.

      Not a lot of people knew much about Ozone, but a lot more people are watching as the CO2 goes up and up and Temperature follows inside the same bounds it has been in for ten thousand years.

      IT IS hard to hide the decline when millions are watching.

    • To elaborate more on the point I was making. Politicians won’t act until they see damage from climate change. Some might therefore invoke things, like Sandy, as signs of climate change to get things done in that environment, but it doesn’t work because a case can’t be made for individual events. How many droughts, heatwaves or hurricanes will it take to show a statistical change, or how much faster does sea-level need to be rising before attention is paid to it? These are the questions given that policy action requires clear and present danger, as we have seen from the past where science has been used. It is not that scientists can’t make a case, it is that science is only used to explain things that have happened already, not what will happen without a policy. It is just the way it works, from my observation.

    • “It is the myopic nature of politics that makes this difficult. The democracies have politicians who can’t see further than the next election, so future damage is beyond their view.”

      here is the rub. do you think you will convince politicians to accept your view when you start the conversation by calling them myoptic?

      Long ago I wrote on RC that the very nature of the climate problem would require a non democratic form of government to solve. The reason is simple. The time constant for the climate is out of sync with the time constant of elections. You can be sure that whatever action is taken the evidence, over the short term, will show that the action was wrong.

      Impose any control you like and over the short term the “evidence” will “show” that the control was wrong, either too much or too little.

      Future damage is beyond their view. Thank god. Carpe Diem.

      • Steven, I was giving an objective view from outside the system. Given this reality, there are things the scientists can do, even limited by not having any damage already to point to. One is getting groundswell support that something needs to be done from the public. An Inconvenient Truth started in that direction, being initially very successful in getting the public conversation started, and a better and more sustained effort of that type of sell might do it. One thing that gets elected politicians’ attention is public opinion. Committee hearings with scientists just don’t do anything, absent something from the public demanding they listen.

      • “Long ago I wrote on RC that the very nature of the climate problem would require a non democratic form of government to solve. ”

        Well, there are a lot of non-democratic governments around; China, Russia, and others. Not much is happening in China. They are still building out hundreds of coal plants and burning fossil fuels of all kinds to beat the band. There is no reason whatsoever for a small country like the US to stop using fossil fuels. We would just be shooting ourselves in the head. Probably not a good thing, I’m guessing.

      • Ever walked along the Thames Embankment Steve?
        Had a look at any of the Georgian and Victorian sewers and pumping stations?
        The Roman Proserpina Dam is a Roman gravity dam in Extremadura, Spain, (1st or 2nd century AD) was built to supply the city of Emerita Augusta with water and is still in use.

        Terraced farmland developed by the Inca’s in the Inca Valley, near Cusco, is still in use today.

      • The Chinese dictators have chosen fossil fuels in an attempt to keep the billions of their people on an upwardly mobile path. This choice is selfish on their part because they know if too many people get too unhappy, it will be the end of them. This is why even jackbooted leaders won’t worry too much about “climate change.” They have more immediately serious issues on their plate.

      • “Had a look at any of the Georgian and Victorian sewers and pumping stations?”

        Sewers! Sewers are an evil socialist invention! Government interfering in our own waste! Building sewers will bankrupt the economy. We are better off just adapting to poo rather than trying to mitigate it. Bigger buckets, etc. There are far more urgent needs like education and feeding the poor to spend money on.

        Besides everyone knows poo helps plants grow. It’s plant food. Studies have shown that plants with poo on them increase yields by 50%! Yet when I take a dump in the river they call it pollution! Well they call it pollution, but I call it life.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse
      • Curious George

        I prefer a hypothetical damage from AGW to a certainty of a totalitarian government.

      • Lolwot is on a roll.

        How about the Cuyahoga River catching on fire?
        Or Lake Erie being given up for dead?
        And that is just Ohio.

        The revisionist history amongst the deniers is strong.

        TimG would say it was all natural.

      • David Springer

        We should do away with sewers to jumpstart the economy. Think of many new jobs there would be in waste disposal!

        Webhubtelescope believes that replacing less expensive things like light sweet crude with more expensive things like windmills can jumpstart the economy. We don’t need to wait for that! There are a great many opportunities to move backward! Just ask me for more examples!

      • David Springer

        Oh I know. After doing away with sewers we can do away with clean water. Think how many jobs for doctors and nurses and construction workers to build hospitals and hearse and funeral homes there will be if take a step backward in sanitation!

        My god think of all those jobs man.

        Paul Pukite you’re a genius!

      • ” David Springer | September 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm |

        We should do away with sewers to jumpstart the economy. Think of many new jobs there would be in waste disposal!

        Webhubtelescope believes that replacing less expensive things like light sweet crude with more expensive things like windmills can jumpstart the economy. “

        That’s how Springer’s genius IQ of 153 manifests itself. He thinks that I was the one that brought up the topic of sewers. Then he makes some claims about an energy source that is getting more expensive every day (light sweet crude) against an energy source that is getting cheaper every year (wind).

      • Webster, “That’s how Springer’s genius IQ of 153 manifests itself.”
        By Redneck standards, 153 is not genius, just another regular guy. We start getting impressed when it is over 160 and they can throw a football.

      • WEB,

        timg would say no such thing. What he would say is you’ve just provided another example of what a dick you can be.

    • Pick better examples Jim D. Like silicon breast implants and DDT.

      • Tobacco, lead, alcohol in pregnancy, thalidomide, countless drugs, all examples of science being used after the damage was done. Can we think of any examples of science being used for regulation to prevent damage that had not yet shown up? I suspect not, but I may be wrong. You might suggest that some drugs fail trials and are prevented before going public, but that is not like climate unless we are living in the test trial for a new atmosphere.

      • What I find interesting is, I’m not certain that it is possible to find one instance where a member of the Team was wrong. How odd is that? considering that scientists are wrong probably 99% of time (not that there is anything wrong with that).

        If a scientist can have one original insight over the course of his career, then his career can be seen as success. However, I find it odd that the Team seems to be batting 1000….

      • Jim S, there was this one case with some little known tree-ring postdoc in 1999 called Michael Mann, but that was the only one they found. They certainly make the most of it.

      • I find it odd that you don’t find it odd that they are perfect.

      • Most scientific papers don’t make definitive statements, so they can’t be said to be wrong. The errors only could occur in their calculations that are found later by people trying to repeat them. I am sure this has happened, but nothing earth-shattering in scope.

      • Jim D.
        “Can we think of any examples of science being used for regulation to prevent damage that had not yet shown up?”

        Right at the beginning of the gene-jockey business the emerging molecular biologists had a short moratorium on transforming living organisms and arranged a series of conferences to discuss the possibilities and implications of GMO’s.
        I don’t know if that counts.
        Lots of medical stuff is tried on very small scale. They did a one woman trial of an Alzheimer’s vaccine in Southampton that was a disaster and it was more than a decade before another one was allowed.

      • “….are found later by people trying to repeat them.”

        lol, that assumes that all the data has been properly archived and is freely available to replicate the research. You would have made a great 7th Century Monk.

        Seriously, 1000% accurate?

      • When you try to repeat someone else’s work, it is better to start by getting the data yourself independently, otherwise it is just an audit that is generally a waste of time in terms of getting publications or making any progress. Auditing is something for amateurs to do in their spare time, not for professionals to do when at least nine times out of ten they would just confirm the result having only wasted hours of paid time.

      • Jim
        “considering that scientists are wrong probably 99% of time (not that there is anything wrong with that).”

        It depends on what you mean by wrong. If you are fishing, what happens if I add ‘x’, then there isn’t a wrong. If you observe an effect, you then develop a postulate, then design an experiment to test the postulate. This stage is like boxing, you test, get a result, test again. Finally, you have a good reading of the system and develop a hypothesis that covers all the data you have observed. Then you test your hypothesis.
        You are not exactly wrong, what is going on is more like exploration, you are beating the bushes and climbing hills, looking at the terrain.

      • Jim D,

        “Can we think of any examples of science being used for regulation to prevent damage that had not yet shown up?”

        I don’t have an answer to that question. Howver I do have one for the following:

        Can we think of any examples of science being used for regulation (or action) to prevent damage from things which never existed (or were greatly exaggerated)?

        Alar
        Killer Bees,
        Agent Orange
        Ozone Hole
        Acid Rain
        DDT

    • Acid rain was a science policy fiasco. Ed Krug’s giant, congressionally authorized National Acid Precipitation Action Program study showed that there was basically nothing to worry about. Per the article in the OP, that had no bearing on the policy ultimately adopted and Krug’s career was a casualty. The political and ideological momentum behind the acid rain “crisis” was too strong to be deflected. It didn’t help that the low-sulfur coal miners out west benefited from the scare, too.

  24. It is difficult to persuade someone when their livelihood or self-identity depend on their not understanding.

    • I agree.

      From Wiki IPCC mission “Its mission is to provide comprehensive scientific assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, and possible options for adapting to these consequences or mitigating the effects.[4] It is chaired by Rajendra K. Pachauri.”

      They are fulfilling their mission. I think they should change their mission statement to reflect the study of climate and remove “risk of climate change caused by human activity” phrase until their information is much more robust.

  25. “To the extent that politics in every democracy involves a continuous struggle for power among competing politicians and parties,….”

    Good thing we in the US don’t live in a Democracy.

  26. David Springer

    “JC comment: The stars of the Climategate saga never seemed to grasp why the emails mattered, even if they didn’t change the science one iota. Its about authenticity and trust.”

    It didn’t change the science. The science was corrupt. The emails revealed the corruption.

  27. “Wicked problem” is a silly cliche. Climate is a geologic problem. The spate of new papers that admit poor understanding of the many interrelated climactic sub-systems indicates that reality is starting to set in. The bookeepers, armwavers and their political patrons have had their chance and failed.

    It’s time for young people who think like men to study the philosophy contained in the Manual of Field Geology by R. R. Compton put on stout shoes, go to the hills and see how the werld is made.

    • Howard,

      What should the ones who think like women be doing?

      Baking you cookies?

      • Men are much better cooks, so baking cookies is definitely not woman’s forte. But to answer your question, I would have to say medicine, biology, analytical chemistry, the law, business management, fixed-wing aviation, etc.

  28. For all the talk about academics and how they think or perceive the world or politics, I have to admit it doesn’t match my experience. Having earned three degrees I’ve a fair degree of time spent around them. My uncle, my post grad school housemate and one of my current neighbors are all college professors, as is one of my fellow non-profit board members. To say they all have the same world view is ridiculous. It is easy to over generalize here.

  29. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry comment  “The stars of the Climategate saga never seemed to grasp why the emails mattered, even if they didn’t change the science one iota. Its about authenticity and trust.”

    Judith Curry never seemed to grasp why the Climategate emails didn’t matter in the long run: for young scientists in particular, it’s all about the best available science and foresighted assessments of that best available science, not mediocre/weak climate-change science, timid/short-sighted/amoral assessments of that mediocre/weak science by too-timid IPCC bureaucrats, and the abusive ideology-driven willful ignorance that comprises foolish “denialism.”

    For creative young climate-change scientists especially, that’s pure common sense, eh?

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

  30. If one wants to understand policy and politics, one best observe someone who was immensely successful although coming from a most inauspicious heritage and track record: Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36nd President of the USA.

    “…and as President, he (LBJ) was responsible for designing the “Great Society” legislation that included laws that upheld civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his “War on Poverty.” (Wikipedia)

    In one and a quarter terms in office, he did more for the betterment of the USA population, by addressing substantive issues that were festering without resolution for 100 years.

    “Johnson was renowned for his domineering personality and the “Johnson treatment,” his coercion of powerful politicians in order to advance legislation.” (Wikipedia)

    What turned the tide against him was the escalation of the Viet Nam War.

    Stepping back a bit and looking at the Climate Change issue: we have multiple personalities (Gore, Mann, Hansen, etc) dragging world opinion into a crescendo of activity of climate change mitigation rhetoric high point of Copenhagen, only to have all dashed by Climategate emails and the realities of a temperature pause.

    From above: “In a complex, rapidly evolving and demanding world, it is instrumentally rational for politicians to seek commitment rather than consensus, and it is prudentially rational for citizens to assess character and personality as well as, and often rather than, policy.”

    At one time Gore & Mann & Hansen &… were believable characters. Today they are not. LBJ fell from grace as others before and after.

    The issue of Climate Change has lost its luster and political popularity just as any prolonged “noble” war looses its constituency. The retrenchment, retreat from the CO2 mitigation meme reminds me of the retrenchment of the Germans back across the Steppes; fighting to the last man standing.

    Few charismatic figures know when to quit, the Climate Change Cadre is no exception.

    The message of what is possible re: 1) energy, inexpensive natural gas from fracking as a bridge to a new generation of nuclear power; 2) adaptation, from farmland to insurance to land use; 3) distribution systems for energy, goods & services; 4) information & global access to individualized education; 5) jobs, micro formulas as creators and innovators; these and other points are best communicated to policy makers around which constituencies can be built.

    The fundamental flaw, IMO, with the Climate Change Cadre perpetrated policy, was an authoritarian negative message; guaranteed to generate push-back. Strident calls and demonizing opponents sowed the seeds of self destruction.

    Look no further than our own history for political power success which is best summarized in the West African saying: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

    • At one time Gore & Mann & Hansen &… were believable characters. Today they are not.

      I know skeptics who started studying climate science because Gore & Mann & Hansen &… were not believable characters.

      They did not fool all the people even some of the the time.

    • LBJ was a very complex character. His life reveals all kinds of useful insights into what makes a successful politician. It is outside the scope of this discussion, but in many ways he illustrates beautifully the points made in the first article in the head post.

      When I was a young, anti-Vietnam war leftie, I thought that he was Satan incarnate. But, many years later I took the time to learn about him. Somebody should make a movie about his life. He was a remarkable man, although (like all great leaders) his flaws were magnified by high office.

      • Johnson makes more sense when you view him in the context of the struggle in the 20th century between the Ivy League patricians (Wilson, FDR, JFK) v.s. the less well born (Truman, LBJ, Carter, pretty much all Republicans up until Bush 1). Viewed in that context, he can be seen as one of the lumbenpresidents. Right now, we’re 25 years into a string of Ivy presidents with no end in sight. Even Ted Cruz is a Yalie.

        The elites have won.

      • Yes, Harold. For example, Johnson grew up in hill country in Texas, and they had no electricity (the grid didn’t go there). When he got into State office he introduced a Universal Service Obligation (not sure if it was called that) so that people who lived outside the main centres could be connected to the grid. It was market intervention, which I’m usually not in favour of, but in this case I think it was justified.

        Mind you, they weren’t hard scrabble poor – his father was a politician too. But I bet that women all over Texas thanked him when they got their first washing machine and electric iron.

        It’s hard to imagine the silvertails having the least conception of what life without electricity in a relatively remote area would be like.

    • LBJ was certainly a “can do” President which hasn’t been equalled previously (except for FJR) or latterly, least of all Obama, who remains IMO the most disappointing of the lot.

      • President Obama’s “leadership style” appears to be that of a college professor. He lectures and apparently expects everyone to recognize how correct he is and act in accordance to what he tells us. It has been reported that he does not like the part of political leadership which involves face to face horse trading, persuasion and compromise.

        Since the President and I don’t communicate directly, I can’t atest to how accurate a description this is. Based on results, it does not sound improbable.

    • “In one and a quarter terms in office, he did more for the betterment of the USA population, by addressing substantive issues that were festering without resolution for 100 years.”

      The “Great Society: destroyed the black family, massively increased welfare dependency. “The War on Poverty” made poverty permanent because it was not about poverty,. but power. On civil rights, Johnson just adopted the policies that Eisenhower tried to implement, before Democrats like Johnson stopped him.

      On the Viet Nam war he tried to micro-manage military conflict the same why he tried to micro-manage the economy. With the same disastrous effect. Johnson’s vanity is what made him a progressive. It is also what made him a racist, and a failure.

      Johnson was a “successful” politician in the progressive sense. He acquired power, and used it with ruthless efficiency. He was an abject failure as far as bettering the country he was supposed to serve.

      • Gary, I am surprised that you think that a single US President could completely remake society. We both know that this is an absurd oversimplification.

        Zeitgeist, man, zeitgeist.

      • joanna,

        I didn’t think LBJ could remake society, he did. No politician can remake society by restructuring the economy, any more than any climate scientist (or group of them) can remake the climate. It is too complex for them, despite their hubris.

        But a single president can do enormous damage. And LBJ did just that. The “welfare” rules that required fathers to leave the home for the wife and children to qualify for benefits was one of the primary factors leading to the decimation of the black nuclear family in the inner cities.

        It is virtually impossible for politicians to plan large, complex economies/societies. It is not difficult at all for them to screw them up.

  31. “To the extent that they wish to purge politics of passion, power, ideology and interest, and imagine policy making as an idealised set-piece reflection on facts and values, they indulge in an heroic and utopian denial of human character and motivation, and wish away the contingency, complexity and contention inherent in public life.”

    +1

    • Yes, beautifully expressed, except I don’t like the negative cast. I prefer to think idealism is necessary for us deeply conflicted human beings as we struggle to hearken to our better angels, both individually and as a society. And on the flip side, I don’t bemoan our human frailties. Somehow as I mentioned above, man continues to improve his lot. What would that be worth, if we were all a bunch of “Mr. Spocks,” bloodless, logical, and incapable of the very self-striving that’s responsible for so much of our collective advancement.

      • Idealism can be good or bad depending on the ideology; that Nazi’s and Bolsheviks had idealism in spades.

      • Yes Doc, but isn’t that the point, that we can use just about anything for good or ill. And where would we be without it? Look at the preamble of our own American constitution:

        “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    • See below. The thrust in the climate and energy policy debate has deliberately evoked passion, power, ideology and interest, as well as fear, guilt, remorse and possible redemption.

      moshe, the words are pretty, but all mushed up.
      ========

  32. “In this kind of public arena, it is not principally precision (logos), but conviction (pathos and ethos, emotion and character) that are being sought. In contrast to the expository style taught to generations of undergraduates, analogy, narrative, ambiguity, ridicule and obloquy, and a measure of hypocrisy, are likely to dominate political discourse. ”

    +100

  33. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    About Kevin E. Trenberth, and his “EARTH’S GLOBAL ENERGY BUDGET”, why does he set emissivity to 1?. If we don’t do this, could global mean surface radiation be around 360 W·m-2?.

  34. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    RiHo08 advocates  “Look no further than our own history”

    Yes. So now, RiHo08, pursue your analysis toward its logical conclusion: sober-minded Republican conservatives have combined American political history with the best available climate-change science, to lay-out a conservative path forward for climate-change policy.

    Thank you, RiHo08!

    \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}

    • There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth’s atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected.

      There is no scientific debate because the alarmists are not using science and actual data, they are using Chicken Little and the Sky is Falling statements.

      The more years that pass without the Sky actually Falling gives them cause to make their Alarmism louder.

      The Arctic Sea Ice is melting faster than projected because they do not understand the Polar Ice Cycle. The Sea Ice must melt to provide moisture for snow that stops and reverses the warming. The Polar Sea Ice melted in the Medieval warm period. This always happens in warm periods. This is normal and natural climate and they are surprised because they do not understand the normal natural climate. Their Climate Models do not work because they are based on flawed theory.

    • fan

      Thank you for the Opinion reference.

      Thank you also for your insight into my political inclinations and caricatures. I have been accused of many things, but never have I been accuse of being a Republican; you are the first. Congratulations.

      As I am somewhat puzzled by your assertions, may I help in some way?

      I did take the questionnaire Steve Mosher provided several threads ago. Let’s see how the answers fit with your notion:

      “Political Values

      Radicalism 72
      Socialism 18.75
      Tenderness 34.375

      These scores indicate that you are a tough-minded moderate progressive; this is the political profile one might associate with a liberated atheist. It appears that you are cynical towards religion, and have a suspicious and unsympathetic attitude towards humanity in general.

      Your attitudes towards economics appear laissez-faire capitalist, and combined with your social attitudes this creates the picture of someone who would generally be described as libertarian.

      To round out the picture you appear to be, political preference aside, an egalitarian with several strong opinions.”

      Some words pop out to me: Radicalism, atheist, libertarian, egalitarian; not words usually associated with current conservative Republicanism. Radicalism and Robespierre may be associated with Republicanism but that was a while back.

      Say. Why don’t you take the questionnaire for me, then maybe you will have manufactured me to your liking, so in the end, you could be right?

  35. Some perspective on what concerns professors:

    Man’s contribution to all greenhouse gases: 0.28%

    Water Vapor accounts for 95% of all greenhouse gases.

    CO2 accounts for just 3.5% of all greenhouse gases, most of which is Natural

    99.72% of all greenhouse gases are … Natural

    Based on concentrations
    (ppb) adjusted for heat
    retention characteristics……..% of All……% Natural….% Man-made

    Water vapor……………………..95.000%…..94.999%……0.001%
    Carbon Dioxide (CO2)…………..3.618%……..3.502%…..0.117%
    Methane (CH4)……………………0.360%……..0.294%…..0.066%
    Nitrous Oxide (N2O)……………..0.950%……..0.903%…..0.047%
    Misc. gases ( CFC’s, etc.)………0.072%…….0.025%……0.047%

    Total………………………………100.00%……..99.72………..0.28%

    ” There is no dispute at all about the fact that even if punctiliously observed, (the Kyoto Protocol) would have an imperceptible effect on future temperatures — one-twentieth of a degree by 2050. ”

    Dr. S. Fred Singer, atmospheric physicist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and former director of the US Weather Satellite Service; in a Sept. 10, 2001 Letter to Editor, Wall Street Journal

    • uh did singer actually say all that?

      • … image: humanity is responsible for 0.0028ths of greenhouse gases. Professors are concerned. Very, very concerned.

      • So in other words he didn’t.

      • “I well remember efforts to hide the mixing of proxy and thermometer data… To use a current analogy: it’s like putting horsemeat into Swedish meatballs that advertise beef. In the case of the meatballs, the DNA evidence betrayed the addition of horsemeat.”

        ~Dr. Fred S. Singer

      • Fred Singer is a friend of mine and I did email Fred and I did ask if he said that and could I quote him. He has talked to our Climate Study group and I have heard him speak at other events.

        Fred emailed back and did say:
        yes, I did
        And it may even be published
        *****************************************

      • This is the part I did ask Fred Singer about and he said yes.

        ” There is no dispute at all about the fact that even if punctiliously observed, (the Kyoto Protocol) would have an imperceptible effect on future temperatures — one-twentieth of a degree by 2050. ”

  36. The thrust of French’s essay is interesting but a couple of times he makes statements that he would surely reject on reflection. Three of them are:

    “To the extent that they want to ground policy making exclusively in evidence and/or values, they misconceive policy making as a search for means to achieve predetermined ends, when in fact it is a dialectical process of identifying and reconciling ends in light of the means which may turn out to be available and acceptable.”

    Please, let’s not suggest that Stalin was the ideal policy maker. Neither should we suggest that George Wallace or Jefferson Davis were ideal policy makers. And we must remember that politicians are limited by the Constitution and other laws. As I recall, there is an Amendment that reads something like “No state shall make a law that deprives a citizen of the US of his rights…”

    “In a complex, rapidly evolving and demanding world, it is instrumentally rational for politicians to seek commitment rather than consensus, and it is prudentially rational for citizens to assess character and personality as well as, and often rather than, policy.”

    In this passage, French offers a blank check to the demagogue. This passage endorses the politics of George Wallace and Jefferson Davis. As I recall, though I wan’t present, Jefferson Davis created or found such powerful commitment that he was able to lead a revolt against the existing government. The revolt was disastrous for Davis’ followers and nearly disastrous for the legitimate government.

    “To the extent that they prioritise (sic) the justification of substantive policy in terms of transparent impersonal standards and ignore the persuasion of citizens and politicians by one another, they are antirhetorical, severing logos from ethos and pathos.”

    Please. Socrates spent a lifetime opposing the rhetoricians with philosophical analysis and logic. He remains the world’s most famous essayist. If you do not understand this point, please read Socrates and start with the “Apology.”

    • “If you do not understand this point, please read Socrates and start with the “Apology.”

      Nice appeal to authority.

      Guess what? The rhetoricians won, score 1 for hemlock.

      And for the record Socrates did not oppose the rhetoricians with analysis and logic. He told stories and allegories.

      • Thanks for the preschool version of Socrates, rhetoric, philosophical analysis, and logic.

      • Let us not forget this free man.

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

        He had a lot of sway too.

      • Guess what? The rhetoricians won, score 1 for hemlock.

        Exactly. That’s why they are all household names

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Ancient_Greek_rhetoricians

        All the best teachers eschew the Socratic method (ie uncertainty monster) for the world famous rhetorician method employed by cult leaders and multi-level marketing guru’s world-wide.

      • Theo.

        Lets have a look at Socrates claim to fame. And remember we will be looking for good argument, logic, and philosophical analysis

        From the Apology

        “And although some of you may think that I am joking, I declare that I will tell you the entire truth. Men of Athens, this reputation of mine has come of a certain sort of wisdom which I possess. If you ask me what kind of wisdom, I reply, wisdom such as may perhaps be attained by man, for to that extent I am inclined to believe that I am wise; whereas the persons of whom I was speaking have a superhuman wisdom which I may fail to describe, because I have it not myself; and he who says that I have, speaks falsely, and is taking away my character. And here, O men of Athens, I must beg you not to interrupt me, even if I seem to say something extravagant. For the word which I will speak is not mine. I will refer you to a witness who is worthy of credit; that witness shall be the God of Delphi—he will tell you about my wisdom, if I have any, and of what sort it is. You must have known Chaerephon; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours, for he shared in the recent exile of the people, and returned with you. Well, Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all his doings, and he went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him whether—as I was saying, I must beg you not to interrupt—he asked the oracle to tell him whether anyone was wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess answered, that there was no man wiser. Chaerephon is dead himself; but his brother, who is in court, will confirm the truth of what I am saying.”

        At issue is the wisdom of socrates. And how does he go about establishing it for the court. He tells a story.
        He begins by promising to tell the whole truth, but very quickly we see that he cannot tell the whole truth in his own words, he has to appeal to the words of the Oracle. In short he appeals to a source that cannot be checked or cross examined or interrogated in a socratic fashion. To make matters worse, there is only one independent witness to this incident, Chaerephon. You might recognize that name from the Charmides. Chaerophon was a bit of a wild man

        “Chaerephon called me and said: What do you think of him, Socrates? Has he not a beautiful face?

        Most beautiful, I said.
        But you would think nothing of his face, he replied, if you could see his naked form: he is absolutely perfect. ”

        ahem. moving right along, Socrates then informs us that his witness Chaerophon, is actually dead and we will have to take his brothers word for it. I would bring up the allegory of the Cave at this point, but lets keep this short.

        So here at the heart of socratic myth and riddle, where the oracle names socrates as the wisest man, we find not only an absent oracle that we cannot have a dialogue with, a dead ear witness, whom we cannot have a dialogue with, and only a brother who did not witness the most important naming in all of western philosophy. The brother at best can testify to shadows on the wall. If dialogue and inquiry are the path to understanding and wisdom we find ourselves in a most peculiar position undermining the entire story of socratic origins

      • You doubt the Oracle?
        ==============

      • Kim

        The oracle told me that socrates was a fraud. My good friend Bob was there. But bobs dead, so his brother bill will tell you.

        How funny that a version of the telephone game is embedded in the heart of western philosophy

      • So messages from strange ethereal voices issuing from caves is not a trustworthy source authority and no basis for a system of government?

        Tread very carefully Mosher

        http://education.staffordshire.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/029BC758-BD78-4C98-9E37-523B6F3C2404/142970/MuhammadandtheAngelGabriel.pdf

      • Thats a lovely story Doc, I had not read that before.

        There is a repeating trope that we find over and over again at the origin
        of great belief systems.

        whether it is the socratic myth of the oracle, or the 10 commandments being passed down, or now as a you point out a story from Islam.

      • A radical explanation of such phenomena:

        > Bicameralism (the philosophy of “two-chamberedness”) is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once assumed a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be “speaking”, and a second part which listens and obeys—a bicameral mind. The term was coined by psychologist Julian Jaynes, who presented the idea in his 1976 book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, wherein he made the case that a bicameral mentality was the normal and ubiquitous state of the human mind only as recently as 3000 years ago.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameralism_(psychology)

        PS: No, Doc, that does not constitute an endorsement from my part.

      • Howard

        “Exactly. That’s why they are all household names

        You might want to examine the form of argument you’ve used to defend a system of thought which is supposed to rid you of these types of appeals.

      • yes willard that was a good book.

        moshpit read all sorts of weird stuff as a kid.

        even games people play.

        and this guy

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

        I recommend

        http://archive.org/details/OurInnerConflicts

      • Steven Mosher, “even games people play.”

        That was part of the military Personal Effectiveness Training, where NCOs were taught how to communicate with individuals in need of motivation. I was a fair motivator because of that.

  37. Dr. Curry writes:

    ‘While I’m still a neophyte in all this, I understand enough to have concluded that the best role for myself as a scientist is (from my NPR interview):

    “All we can do is be as objective as we can about the evidence and help the politicians evaluate proposed solutions”

    Doing more than this, and being effective at it in terms of actually influencing policy, requires from scientists something different from alarmism, urging action, demonizing your opponents, and improving ‘communication’ and ‘messaging.’ ‘

    Clearly, the reason that you are not a perfect fit in the community of Alarmist climate scientists is that you are not a “control freak.” Face it; you are another Feynman. All of us have our crosses to bear.

  38. I was sort of amused at ‘to the extent they want to purge politics of passion, power, ideology and interest’. So that is what they want with the alarums of fear and posing of guilt, remorse and possible redemption.

    Sadly, this article is as confused as the subject chosen to investigate. Cyclonic force words flattened rather than erected understanding.
    ===========

    • “Cyclonic force words flattened rather than erected understanding.”

      Great image. I agree that the author’s rhythms are his worst enemies.

  39. Global sea surface temperature in last three weeks have been as warm as the peak of the 1998 El Nino. But not even in an El Nino right now. ENSO not even above neutral. Hmmm

  40. Judith Curry

    You write of the so-called “knowledge deficit”

    There is the academic presumption that if the public really understood the problem and solution as they understand it, then they would agree with the urgency for action.

    I would submit that this presumption is not only “presumptuous” (by definition), it is also extremely arrogant.

    It suggests that the problem is simply one of “communication”.

    It is based on the “the science is settled” meme and the “2,500 scientists can’t be wrong” premise.

    It ignores the large uncertainties which still exist regarding what makes our climate behave as it does and focuses myopically on one factor alone: AGW.

    The idea that ”policy makers need guidance as to the ethical status of various policies, typically as measured against some single overriding value such as justice, virtue or liberty” is fine in itself, but who is going to give them this guidance?

    The academic elite? Certainly NOT.

    In a democratic representative republic, the voting public must provide this guidance. With their votes they will make sure they get the ”justice, virtue or liberty” they want (and no more).

    French’s seven points are, indeed, ”7 good reasons why they [attempts by some climate professors to resolve the ‘knowledge deficit’ by imposing their own opinions] aren’t working” in our society.

    They go directly against the very basis of a democratic form of representative government: it is not a “government by the ruling or academic elite over the people” but a “government by and for the people”.

    You mention the curious denial among the academic elite of the loss of public confidence and trust in the “consensus” team and climate science in general, following the Climategate revelations. This is strange, indeed – I’d say it’s almost childish in its naivety. But, again, it is also based on arrogance.

    Finally, you have stated your personal approach to advising policymakers as follows:

    “All we can do is be as objective as we can about the evidence and help the politicians evaluate proposed solutions”

    I’d agree with you that being “objective” is the best course of action. Hang in there. And don’t forget the “uncertainty monster”.

    The worst IMO is falling victim to a forced “consensus” process driven by a political agenda.

    Max

    • Max,
      This is an excelllent summary of the problem of
      tribalism in climate science. Not a problem of
      of communcation but of closed thinking which
      is a corruption of the critical scientific method.
      Bts

  41. Jim D. and I are having a discussion on the value of CS for a doubling of CO2. I claim it is indistinguishable from zero. Jim D. claims that there are many skeptics who would agree to a value of 2 C.

    Will the denizens of CS please respond to one of two propositions.

    Jim Cripwell. The CS of CO2 is indistinguishable form zero.

    Jim D. The CS is about 2 C.

    Who do you believe is more nearly correct?

    • Jim

      I wrote this a couple of months ago, note the graph.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/08/the-curious-case-of-rising-co2-and-falling-temperatures/

      Have we reached the limits of sensitivity or are we merely in a temperature hiatus?

      Whatever the truth of it we must remember that by no means all the world is warming yet all the world is experiencing higher levels of C02 as it is a well mixed gas. Seems a conundrum that has never been explained as neither had the failure to explain why temperatures started rising some 300 years ago, well before co2 could have an effect.

      Tonyb

    • JimD, is confused as usual. The sensitivity to “ALL” forcing and feedback changes is ~1.6C based on the most current instrumental data. That is the definition of sensitivity, average “surface temperature” response to all forcing. Sensitivity to CO2 only and roughly CO2 equivalent WMGHGs, “all things remaining equal” is ~0.8C to 1.12C, lower than the original estimate of ~1.5C assumed pre-satellite era.

      It is almost impossible to determine the CO2 only portion of the impact due to the poor metric, “surface temperature” and the land amplification of all forcing including CO2.

      • Sensitivity is per doubling of CO2. 1.6C sensitivity means 1.6C per doubling of CO2.

      • That is to say per doubling from pre industrial times when it was supposed to be 280ppm
        Tonyb

      • lolwot, “Sensitivity is per doubling of CO2. 1.6C sensitivity means 1.6C per doubling of CO2.”
        Nope, Sensitivity is still a response to all radiative forcing. CO2 can be used as a reference, but the net radiative forcing change is a tad more complicated. In fact using CO2 as a reference tends to confuse the minions as does “global mean surface temperature” which is much more influenced by the ~30% land mass than it should be because of the Tave (Tmax-Tmin) versus SST historically based on a sea subsurface temperature.

        One of the better ha ha moments is that SS(subsurface)T solar forcing would not be based on TSI/4. The ocean doesn’t extend to the poles where the majority of the “fixed” albedo resides. Basically, averaging the generic forcing on a mixed surface/subsurface is poorly conceived “physics”. Trying to explain that to all the geniuses is a bit difficult, but they will be forced to figure that out pretty soon.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘The angle γ gives the measure of the present climates sensitivity to changes in insolation.’

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Ghil_fig11_zpse58189d9.png.html?sort=3&o=3

      A Mathematical Theory of Climate Sensitivity or,
      How to Deal With Both Anthropogenic Forcing and Natural Variability?
      Michael Ghil

      The angle γ is the answer for any forcing. It is a bit like Deep Thought. Spend 7.5 million years calculating the answer – 42 – and now need an even bigger computer to discover the question.

      e.g. – http://ascr-discovery.science.doe.gov/exascale/exa_climate_change1.shtml

    • I guesstimate between 1 and 2, the longer the pause continues, the more faith I have with my graphology.
      Anything less that 3 removes the ‘c’ from cAGW, and warming up to about 2 is obviously good for us all.

  42. Jim Cripwell

    There are several “observation-based” studies, which point to a 2xCO2 ECS of around 1.8C.

    These studies all have one basic weak point: They ASS-U-ME values for natural forcing/variability and then (using the “argument from ignorance” rather than the “argument from evidence”) arrive at the difference between observed change and ASS-U-MEd natural causes to arrive at anthropogenic change (expressed as 2xCO2).

    You have stated that there is no empirical scientific evidence (Feynman) that corroborates the hypothesis that “the CS of CO2 is indistinguishable form zero”. This is correct.

    While lab results of the IR absorption characteristics of CO2 and other GHGs have been made, no one here or anywhere else has been able to cite such evidence.

    So, if the “null hypothesis” is that “CO2 CS is indistinguishable from 0″, then I agree with you that this hypothesis has not been falsified to date.

    Would I provisionally accept a ECS of 1.8C until a better estimate, based on actual empirical evidence, came along?

    Yes. I would.

    And here is my reasoning.

    It opens the opportunity for me to discuss and debate possible theoretical future climate change and its impacts with those who are concerned about possible CAGW (as outlined by IPCC in its AR4 report).

    I can argue that even IF there is a CO2 temperature impact as estimated by several recent, independent, (partly) observation-based studies, there is no valid reason to fear CAGW.

    And those fearful of CAGW are unable to provide any logical counterargument in support of their fear.

    Hope this clears it up.

    Max

    • Chief Hydrologist

      “The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks.” – Dr. Wallace Broecker

      ‘Wallace Broecker: Our goal is to understand the Earth system and clearly we are moving forward in this. We are learning a lot all the time. We have a lot of people working on it and a lot of things are being learned. But I think we are also finding that the goal is receding faster than we are moving toward it, because we are realizing that things that we didn’t think were important are important and these things that we didn’t think were important are also difficult to get a grip on.

      CBCNews.ca: That’s a sobering thought.

      Broecker: Yes. It humbles you to study the Earth system because you realize that nature is really complicated. When we think that we can create a model in a computer that adequately replicates what’s going on, we start to see, uh huh, we can’t do that. A lot of what has happened in the past involved the ocean and we find more and more that the ocean is the cause for a lot of the confusion.’

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2008/11/18/f-savory-broecker.html

      Climate responds nonlinearly to forcings. I am not sure I understand the implications – and my IQ is a point or 2 less than Lisa Simpson – of changing the composition of the atmosphere sufficiently to discount the potential for large, abrupt climate change to either warming or cooling.

  43. Pingback: Professors, politics, and public policy. | Living on the Real World

  44. Great post, Judith… and raises some issues about trust. While we usually argue that trust must be earned, and while we’re quick to withhold trust, the interdependence of today’s society requires that we see trust more as something we give, and something we need to give more freely… more at http://www.livingontherealworld.org/?p=953

  45. There is the academic presumption that if the public really understood the problem and solution as they understand it, then they would agree with the urgency for action.

    Scientists often behave like evangelists who think they merely have to relate THE WORD and people will fall on their knees with a fervent Hallelulia and convert on the spot. Evangelists often seem surprised that most atheists are generally well informed on religious matters. Similarly climate scientists seem surprised that skeptics generally know much more about the science than the typical placard carrying greenpeace activist from the other side of the climate divide. It is not that we are ignorant of the evidence. We have looked at the evidence and find it unpersuasive.

  46. As an old fart, I can remember all sorts of dogma

    Remember “high energy bonds” in ATP and energy transport complexes in mitochondria? (current thinking)

    Remember how Spiegleman found onco genes in Lymphomas? (current thinking)

    Remember the pathogenesis of peptic ulceration? (current thiinking)

    I could go on for hours about hypotheses that have been overturned by the scientific method.

    Instead we are told that some climate academics have all the answers. It seems to me trhat they are trying to defend an indefensible position by using increasingly ingeneous explanations to to justify their failing hypotheses.

    The problem that I have is their intellectual arrogance and their refusal to engage in scientific debate.

    I would suggest that you read McIntyre’s post on the intellectual mediocraty of climate acadenics.

    • In all fairness, not all of them put forth a cock-sure demeanor. Some admit they don’t have the whole story, but are scared enough by what they think might lie around the corner that they run around screaming with their hands waving in the air no matter.

    • RC, I knew Peter Mitchel quite well, my chair was an old friend and my Ph.D. Supervisor was one of the ‘youngsters’ Peter trusted, through them I got to knew most of the old boys, and the ladies, who developed chemiosmoic theory.
      The stories about all the back-biting and fights are rather entertaining. Peter was seriously rich and could afford to fund his own work and publish his ‘Gray’ and ‘Blue’ books himself, without going through peer review. The only time you could ever make him angry was to talk about paper or grant reviewers, he would lose his good breeding and descend into Anglo-Saxon.

      • Really?

        I once saw Mitchell and Lehninger nearly come to blows. I know some of the story of how he was sacked because he had this rediculous idea – not in line with current thinking – and being wealthy he set himself up at home. I seem to remember his major paper was published from Hollytree Farm.
        What was interesting, of course, was that all those niggling little problems such as pH dependence of Ox-phosph and the need for intact mitochondria immediately fell into place.

      • RC, another thing about Peter that was unusual was his attitude to women; he was about 50 years ahead of most of his peers and worked with women as peers all his life. Hans Krebs on the other hand….

    • RCS

      +100

  47. Curious George

    How come 53% of American University professors are Democrat, and 6% Republican? (Yahoo answers, resolved). Assume those numbers are approximately correct. Then it comes with a price – and that’s what we are debating.

    • Because they like to treat their students like slaves, it was a Republican after all that freed the slaves. Ironic isn’t it that the first KKK was founded by democrats, but with a two party system it is easy to infiltrate institutions filled with the more feeble of mind to subvert them to your goal, until the party becomes so popular that most of the whack job fringes get involved.

      I never have figured out why anyone is so attached to political parties that never stand for anything very long.

      • So supervisors are scum and some angels.
        It is not a good idea to let people know you are on the right though.

      • Because they like to treat their students like slaves, it was a Republican after all that freed the slaves.

        Yes. Good point, Cap’n. I mean it’s not like there was a mass migration of segregationists to the Republican Party. And of course, it’s not like the Democratic Party was significantly more in favor of civil rights legislation. I mean, of course none of that is true.

        If “the blacks” were only smart enough to realize what was good for them, they’d understand that their best interest would really be to vote Republicans. Why Republicans try to explain that to them all the time, but “the blacks” just can’t accept that Republicans know better what’s good for them then they do. Republicans keep telling “the blacks” how they should vote, out of respect don’t ya’ know. If only they would listen, eh?

      • Joshua, why are you making this a race issue? The first slaves in the US were bond servants working off debts. As long as they were indebted, they were enslaved. After the civil war, the carpetbaggers descended on the South and converted one type of slavery for another. African slaves or white poor were used to build political and economic (labor) bases for the new gentry. The 40 acres and a mule just made the former black slaves share croppers. The color of the field hands didn’t change with freedom or ownership of the fields. It was 100 years, after the dem and rep switcheroo that civil rights became law. Now if you can, try to name the 10 most racist cities in the United States.

      • Joshua, the Democratic Party blocked civil rights after Truman. The actual civil rights acts were passed by a greater % of republicans than democrats. You notion that the racists in the Democratic Party in the South, and their supports, switched allegiance o the Republicans is often stated, but not proven.

        However, you obviously know this and are just doing your normal immoral attack dog style rhetoric.

      • Doc Martyn,

        The canard that all the racists who ran the Democrat Party left en masse to join the Republicans is one of the favorite myths of the revisionist left. It is how they try to erase their own history of institutionalized racism, that continues to this day.

        1. The whole meme began with a campaign adviser to Richard Nixon who tried to take credit for Nixon’s second win by claiming there was a “southern strategy.”

        2. The GOP had tried to pass civil rights legislation under Eisenhower, but was stopped by the racist Dems.

        3. When the racist L:BJ saw that the death of Jim Crow was inevitable, he tried to take advantage, and reintroduced civil rights legislation. Those laws only passed because Republicans broke the racist Democrat filibuster, by voting for the civil rights acts in a far greater percentage than the racist Dems did.

        4. The racist southern leaders of the racist Democrat Party never left that party (Orville Faubus, George Wallace, Al Gore Sr., William J. Fullbright, Bull Connor, Robert Byrd). And in fact maintained leadership positions in the Democrat party because they were more at home among their fellow elitists, who still welcomed them with open arms.

        For a more general article on the big lie that seeks to cover the continued racism of the Democrat Party (the party of Davis Bacon, permanent affirmative action, permanently dysfunctional schools for black Americans, eugenics, welfare rules designed to destroy the inner city family, and massive blighted inner city housing for concentrating minority votes), here is a good article.

        http://www.nationalreview.com/node/300432/print

      • If there were ever more proof needed of the “skeptical” reasoning infused with political ideology, this thread fits the bill.

        Our beloved “skeptics” line up to make an argument based on an obvious flaw, that can only be overlooked by the willfully blind.

        Obviously, from the end of the civil war to the 1960s, the racists who opposed segregation were primarily Southerners, where the Democratic Party prevailed. Those same polities switched party allegiance – as well seen with those same Southern constituencies voting for Goldwater.

        It is amusing to see “skeptics” pick examples like Byrd to demonstrate, once again, a pervasively binary mentality.

        It certainly can’t be argued that all Democratic support for civil rights was based on principle and not on political expediency, but once again the binary mentality applies. Simply because Dems acted in politically expedient ways does not mean that there was not a broadly categorical distinction between the general attitudes of Republicans and Dems toward segregation and Civil Rights post 1960 – with support for civil rights being more characteristic of the Democratic Party. The uniformity of the reflexive need to pick someone like Byrd (you see it in virtually all the bogus arguments on this issue) to present a fallacious argument stemming from a binary approach is absolutely fascinating.

        The massive amount of evidence our much beloved “skeptics” need to ignore and distorty, in order to conform reality to their political ideology, should be an object lesson for Judith about the power of motivated reasoning among our much beloved “skeptics.”

        Alas, I fear it will not serve as such.

      • Joshua, The planks of the republican and democratic parties switched. You can’t rewrite history. In a two party political system there will always be momentum from one to the other with the parties playing the protector of the underclass card. One would think that the majority of academics would understand that a be non-aligned since they are supposed to be the best and brightest.

        “”I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

        — Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One according Ronald Kessler’s Book, “Inside The White House”

        Politics is politics and it makes for strange bedfellows.

      • A nice take on deconstructing the kind of reality-bending some of our much beloved “skeptics” are so fond of.

        http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/05/conservative-fantasy-history-of-civil-rights.html

      • Cap’n –

        The planks of the republican and democratic parties switched. You can’t rewrite history.

        ????

        That was pretty much my argument – along with that our much beloved “skeptics” are hiding behind that reality to confirm their biases. Seems like your comment should have been addressed to our much beloved “skeptics.”

      • Cap’n –

        In a two party political system there will always be momentum from one to the other with the parties playing the protector of the underclass card. One would think that the majority of academics would understand that a be non-aligned since they are supposed to be the best and brightest.

        This is, unfortunately, yet another example of that ol’ binary reasoning.

        If only the Shangri-la, that our much beloved and highly ideological “skeptics” are holding out for existed.

        Indeed, politics is a dirt business. But “the majority of academics” are part of the party system. Our system is, obviously, far from perfect, but it comprises the best and the brightest along with the worst and dimmest. Our system is far from perfect, but most folks, once they get past middle school, realize that sometimes you have to compromise, and choose the lesser of evils.

        But perhaps I’m wrong, and that libertarian Utopia exists – with none of the evil government to much up the works and pave that ol’ road to serfdom. Of course, I have never seen evidence of such, and I’d say that we enjoy a societal system that serves the people considerably better than any society has seen throughout the history of the planet, for all its imperfections.

        So if you know of where that Utopia exists, do let me know. Based on what I’ve heard about it, it seems that many of y’all might like Somalia. Have you tried visiting?

      • Joshua, two party is binary, there is no thinking required.

      • BTW –

        Because it would be a tragedy to allow this mini-thread to expire without mentioning the particularly beautiful reasoning of probably my second-most favorite beloved “skeptic”, Gary (my most beloved remains Wags) – who, in comment after comment, has argued that only he has the insight to define who is and who isn’t a “conservative,” and accordingly, creates a fascinating mechanism to distance himself from anything anyone Republican supports from their being a “conservative” when it suits him.

        But here we see how he identifies the ideology and actions of Republicans as being the representation of the true views of “conservatives” on race.

        We have a twofer.

        The reasoning of a “skeptic” is a thing to behold.

      • Joshua, “That was pretty much my argument – along with that our much beloved “skeptics” are hiding behind that reality to confirm their biases.”

        I am the commenter that you responded to and I am not a beloved skeptic, just a regular ol’ a$$hole that likes to say that if a politician’s lips are moving you know they are lying. The undereducated and unfortunates have always been exploited, who else can you get to play cannon fodder? The ones that survive though have earned a measure of respect along with free education, free healthcare and mortgage assistance. Your average crack addict doesn’t. I have no problem discriminating.

      • Captdallas,

        Just curious. What are the planks of the Democrat and Republican parties that magically switched parties all of a sudden? And repeating what progressives about nameless racists leaving the Dems for the GOP is not an answer. (Why would racists leave the party where they had always found a home, and where their racist leaders continued to enjoy leadership positions, to join the party that had been fighting for abolition and against Jim Crow, broke their filibuster, and freed the blacks from their subjugation repeatedly/?)

        The racists who supported slavery were Democrats, not southerners who happened to be Democrat for a short period of time. Slavery is just the purest form of elitism, which is the core of progressivism. Don’t believe the historical revisionism that northern Democrats were not racists and did not support slavery. Google the term “copperheads.”

        Don’t be taken in by a lie just because it is repeated over and over and over and….

      • Gary –

        … that magically switched parties all of a sudden?

        Dude – if you’re going to build straw men to argue against, the least you could do is try to be subtle about it.

        And btw – just out of curiosity – did you very write a post to explain why you were so completely wrong in your conspiracy theory about how the pollsters were rigging the data to help give an advantage to Obama?

        Did you realize that contrary to your absolutely certain claims about the data – in fact, the exact opposite of what you argued turned out to be the case: In fact, Obama outperformed the polls rather than underperforming as you claimed with your laughable analysis.

        You know, Gary, for someone who claims to be a “skeptic,” it sure seems that you got suckered by some Republican pundits.

        Or maybe you have some other explanation for how you could have been so completely wrong?

    • sorry… that should have read “racists who opposed integration….”

    • IMO, skeptics should refuse to discuss tobacco, racism, or anything else that doesn’t relate to climate. If you do, you are just being a useful idiot.

      • IMO, skeptics should refuse to discuss tobacco, racism, or anything else that doesn’t relate to climate.

        So you’ve decided to stop posting your string of libertarian polemics?

  48. Ken Haapala: “Be it by hockey sticks, use of carefully selected time frames, calculation of past temperatures by computer models with highly speculative assumptions, or any other means, a code of silence infects publicly funded climate science.”

    • Nothing has changed in academia since Haapala made this statement in August 2010?

      • Not much seems to have changed wrt the Denizens of CE either. This thread has wandered all over the place with only few commenters speaking on topic and not at each other.

        Judith has raised some issues on the topic of advocacy and we all know that this a normative area in any case. There seems no concrete or objective way out of the climate debate because there is very little common ground between the two sides.

      • The point is, what society has ever survived taxing the productive to pay teachers to push propaganda onto the children?

  49. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Curious George asks “How come 53% of American University professors are Democrat, and 6% Republican?”

    Uhhh … perhaps for mighty good reason?

    Proposition  Of thoughtful voters in general, the proportion inclined towards honest conservatism substantially exceeds the proportion inclined towards ignorant demagoguery.

    \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}

  50. “To the extent that they wish to purge politics of passion, power, ideology and interest, and imagine policy making as an idealised set-piece reflection on facts and values, they indulge in an heroic and utopian denial of human character and motivation, and wish away the contingency, complexity and contention inherent in public life.”

    That is flat out delusional.

    “They” (academics) want to “purge politics of passion, power, ideology and interest?” On what planet? It is the academics who wrote WG II’s predictions of thermageddon. It is academics who write paper after paper predicting doom and gloom, and attributing everything under the sun to CO2 emissions. It is academics who remained silent in the face of the lies and exaggerations of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Propaganda, Hanesn’s death train charges, the Hockey Stick, the magical disappearing glaciers, the poor CO2 drowned polar bears, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

    This new found concern with “purging passion” is BS. This, like most everything coming out now, is an attempt to deal with what is seen as the stalling of the CAGW decabonization political train.

    And this just cracked me up.

    “Politicians would be delighted if research or ethics or citizen deliberation could stem the uncertainty of policy making. Sometimes they can. No one would like to jettison science in the service of regulation of pharmaceutical products or pesticides, for example, or principled analysis of human rights or legal doctrines.”

    No politicization of science in the regulation of pharmaceuticals or pesticides? Forcing religious institutions to subsidize the purchase of abortifacients isn’t political? The whole DDT disgrace wasn’t political? Are you kidding me? It was the template for the whole CAGW political movement.

    The reality is that the whole post is designed to perpetuate the myth that science/academics is somehow different from politics when the academics become advocates regarding the implementation of public policy. The supposed “well-intentioned analysis and advocacy from the university world,” is nothing of the kind. It is often the same progressive drivel that is used on every other progressive issue.

  51. “There is the academic presumption that if the public really understood the problem and solution as they understand it, then they would agree with the urgency for action.”

    That is not an academic presumption, It is a progressive presumption. Progressives everywhere assume that anyone who disagrees with them is stupid, ignorant or evil. Usually all three. The reason this pathology is so common among academics is that, as noted by Curious George above, the overwhelming majority of academics are progressives.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      GaryM asserts “The overwhelming majority of academics are progressives.”

      GaryM, on most campuses the engineering and medical faculty are conservative, both by training and by temperament. Yet even among these conservative faculty, support for Republican Party doctrines is nowadays at an all-time low, for the excellent reason that present-day Republican Party doctrines make very little medical and/or economic sense.

      E.g., every American physician (especially the young ones) appreciates that healthcare reforms are necessary and inevitable, and that conservative solutions are known and feasible. Quite rationally, physicians-in-training cannot bring themselves to support a Republican Party that has repeatedly embraced willful ignorance, demagogic rhetoric, and irresponsible neglect in regard to healthcare reform; a Republican Party that has irretrievably missed a once-a-century opportunity to demonstrate prudently conservative political leadership.

      Scientists feel similarly in regard to climate-change; engineers feel similarly in regard to industrial policy: the policies of the Democratic Party are not so much deserving of praise, as the Republican Party is so faction-ridden that it is advancing no substantive ideas at all.

      That’s common sense, eh GaryM?

      \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}

      • Matthew R Marler

        a fan of *MORE* discourse: the Republican Party is so faction-ridden that it is advancing no substantive ideas at all.

        That is not true. They are advancing the traditional conservative idea that the citizens will improve the situation faster and more creatively than the government will.

      • “Quite rationally, physicians-in-training cannot bring themselves to support a Republican Party that has repeatedly embraced willful ignorance, demagogic rhetoric, and irresponsible neglect in regard to healthcare reform; a Republican Party that has irretrievably missed a once-a-century opportunity to demonstrate prudently conservative political leadership.”

        How many residents do you train John?
        You think you have more than me?
        Have you asked them their views on Obamacare?

      • fan,

        Thank you for illustrating my point so succinctly. You want to characterize socialization of the healthcare industry as a matter of received wisdom, and not even open for dispute.

        Matthew Marler,

        You describe the position of conservatives quite well. But not the Republican party. The progressive Republicans who run the party all want to substitute their own versions of government run healthcare. Obamacre lite. There is no coherent Republican policy on healthcare. Those that do exist do not call for the type of market reforms you describe.

        As much as I hate to, I have to agree with fan as to the GOP. But not as to conservatives.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Peter Lang posts “[a TERRIFIC essay by Hyman Rickover on paper nuclear reactor designs versus operating nuclear reactors]”

        Paper Reactors versus Real Reactors

        An academic reactor or reactor plant almost always has the following basic characteristics: (1) It is simple. (2) It is small. (3) It is cheap. (4) It is light. (5) It can be built very quickly. (6) It is very flexible in purpose. (7) Very little development will be required. It will use off-the-shelf components. (8) The reactor is in the study phase. It is not being built now.

        On the other hand a practical reactor can be distinguished by the following characteristics: (1) It is being built now. (2) It is behind schedule. (3) It requires an immense amount of development on apparently trivial items. (4) It is very expensive. (5) It takes a long time to build because of its engineering development problems. (6) It is large. (7) It is heavy. (8) It is complicated.

        All the common-sense wisdom that Admiral Hyman Rickover supplies regarding paper-versus-real reactors, applies with redoubled realism to libertarian-versus-real health-care, climate-change, import-export, and immigration policies.

        Thank you, Peter Lang and Hyman Rickover!

        \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}

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse | September 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm |

        It would be difficult to imagine a more inane and inept analogy – but to doubt that you can do it, FOMBS, would be to underestimate your abilities.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Annoying ideologues (of all varieties) is a truly minor super-power; still it is my own!

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

      • fan,

        If Rickover saw the 2000+ page bill, that no one had read before passing, that passes for “healthcare reform” among progressive drones like you, he would have vomited.

        But his analysis, applied to Obamacare, is not something a progressive like you should want to be touting. As much as a disaster as it is on paper, as Obamacare is being implemented, even the people who wrote it don’t want anything to do with it.

        But that is nothing new. The “Affordable Care Act” is no more about affordable healthcare than inner city public school systems are about teaching minority kids to read, write add and subtract.

      • The ILWU was for Obamacare before it was against it.
        *****************
        Steven H AhleColumbia Public Policy Examiner

        September 2, 2013

        The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), have announced that they are leaving the AFL-CIO, citing irreconcilable differences. The union cited many grievences but focused mainly on Obamacare and accused AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka of playing along to get along. They are also upset over Trumka’s position on immigration reform.

        In a strongly worded letter from ILWU President Robert McEllrath, in which he cited a laundry list of objections his union has with the leadership of the AFL-CIO. Foremost is Obamacare, which will force longshoreman to pay a “Cadillac Tax” on their health benefits. McEllrath accused Trumpka of going back on his promise from in 2009, when he said the union would not support a healthcare plan that would lead to more taxes from the members.
        ******************

        http://www.examiner.com/article/longshoremen-to-afl-cio-we-quit-over-obamacare?cid=rss

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        It’s good to see the short-sighted ideology-first lefties making common cause with the short-sighted ideology-first righties!

        `Cuz their too-simple ideology-first political bubbles will implode faster together, than either bubble would implode alone.

        That’s common-sense, eh Jim2?

        \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}

      • Shortsightedness is in the eye of the beholder, FOMBS.

      • No these righties might be in favor of union-bargained Cadillac healthcare plans paid with government money. Let them express that view if they want to.

      • FOMBS, ” Annoying ideologues (of all varieties) is a truly minor super-power; still it is my own!”. I am curious Fan, do you consider yourself an ideologue?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Bob asks “I am curious Fan, do you consider yourself an ideologue?”

        If politically astute, science-respecting, environmentally foresighted economic compromisers like Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan were “ideologues” … then heck, it’s OK to call me an “ideologue” too!

        What is your next question, Bob?

        \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}

  52. “Man’s first moon landing came 66 years after Kitty Hawk. Could we have gotten there sooner by imposing a tax on any manned flight that involved a propeller?

    “Here’s an idea for scaring up revenue in lieu of a carbon tax: Let’s stop paying organizations millions of dollars to `prove’ anthropogenic global warming. The only practical purpose of such research is to tell us we need alternatives to fossil fuel. Let’s put our money toward developing those alternatives, as well as making existing technologies cleaner and greener. While we wait for the revolution, we may as well produce something more useful than collective guilt.”

    (Michael Smith)

  53. The AGW theory of of Western academia is essentially science without math.

    Abstract
    Predicting historic temperatures based on tree rings, ice cores, and other natural proxies is a difficult endeavor. The relationship between proxies and temperature is weak and the number of proxies is far larger than the number of target data points. Furthermore, the data contain complex spatial and temporal dependence structures which are not easily captured with simple models.

    In this paper, we assess the reliability of such reconstructions and their statistical significance against various null models. We find that the proxies do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature. Furthermore, various model specifications that perform similarly at predicting temperature produce extremely different historical backcasts. Finally, the proxies seem unable to forecast the high levels of and sharp run-up in temperature in the 1990s either in-sample or from contiguous holdout blocks, thus casting doubt on their ability to predict such phenomena if in fact they occurred several hundred years ago.

    We propose our own reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere average annual land temperature over the last millenium, assess its reliability, and compare it to those from the climate science literature. Our model provides a similar reconstruction but has much wider standard errors, reflecting the weak signal and large uncertainty encountered in this setting.

    McShane, B. and Wyner, A.J. A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable? Annals of Applied Statistics (Submitted)

    • A progressive psychologist explaining about the psychological differences between conservatives and progressives, not to mention defining morality as a psychological artifact. Conservatives aren’t necessarily stupid, they are just genetically destined to be closed minded. “But now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death.”

      I wonder if this inordinate fear of death is why conservatives serve in such higher numbers in the military, and particularly the combat arms?

      Conservatives are anything, ANYTHING, but simply intelligent human beings who have come to different conclusions based on reason. It’s so comforting to wallow in one’s own bigotry and tribalism. Especially when it’s packaged as so benign and “intellectual.”

      • The more I think about it, the more hilarious Haidt’s claims about conservative fear of uncertainty becomes.

        Progressivism/socialism is all about trading freedom and risk of the free market for the “security” of a state run economy. And someone remind me, which side is it in the climate debate that rails against uncertainty?

        Fear is one of the primary tools of the progressive movement. Surpassed only by ridicule. A tactic also on display in the video. It seems to me that people who were actually so confident in their own beliefs wouldn’t try so hard to demonize and minimize those who disagree with them. Maybe Haidt should take a course on projection.

      • you didnt watch the video. There is no place in which morality is described as an artifact.

      • I did watch the video, and have seen it before. Nor is it the only thing by Haidt that is available. And that is precisely what he means by describing conservative political and ethical positions as being the result of their “heritable personality traits” (a quote of his from elsewhere).

        “The term research artifacts refers to the systematic biases, uncontrolled and unintentional, that can threaten the internal or external validity of one’s research conclusions.”

        This is what he is claiming about conservative positions. Conservatives look at a given issue, and in coming to a political or moral conclusion, are led astray by their “heritable personality traits.”

        If you want to post a video by someone, you might want to try to understand the argument he is making first.

      • Don’t take my word for it:

        “Haidt’s intuitionism overlooks the crucial role reasoning plays in our daily lives, says Bloom. Haidt’s map of innate moral values risks putting ‘a smiley face on authoritarianism,’ says John T. Jost, a political psychologist at NYU. Haidt’s ‘relentlessly self-deceived’ understanding of faith makes it seem as if God and revelation were somehow peripheral issues in religion, fumes Sam Harris, one of ‘the Four Horsemen’ of New Atheism and author of The End of Faith.”

        http://chronicle.com/article/Jonathan-Haidt-Decodes-the/130453/

      • Perhaps these now fashionable “insights” into the pathology of conservatism give us a better insight into the insight givers. Progressives these days are such a bunch of hubristic snobs, their puffery promoted by mock sciences and the publish-or-perish culture. They traffic in mechanistic simplicities while preaching nuance and complexity. If it’s possible to be deeply superficial, that’s the Posh Left.

        My best definition of a conservative? A serial appreciator.

      • mosomoso,

        “Progressives these days are such a bunch of hubristic snobs….”

        T’was ever thus. Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Margaret Sanger, FDR, LBJ, not a humble bone in one of their bodies.

      • This guy
        “”Liberals need to be shaken,” Haidt tells me. They “simply misunderstand conservatives far more than the other way around.”

        You are right Gary, everything this guy says is hogwash

      • I’m astonished by people’s comments on this video. Mosher is absolutely right. Haidt is explaining to liberals that conservatives have a lot of stuff going that the liberals lack, whole extra dimensions to their personalities.
        I’d add, since I grew up in a liberal society and since moved to a much more conservative one, that my personal experience is that he is absolutely right. When I made the move, I felt I was moving to a higher-dimensional space. Exactly like Harry Potter when the brick wall opened up to Diagon Alley.

      • Thanks miker.

        There was a lot in the video and in this guys other work that I would take issue with.. but sometimes it helps to look at things from a different perspective.. taking away what you can agree with and just leaving the other stuff.. But this is the internet and you must disgree

      • Since Conservatives value authority and loyalty, I am less astonished than MikeR.

        Those two values might explain Harry Potter’s transcending experience when joining his wizard school.

        Denizens may appreciate the tests at http://www.yourmorals.org

      • +
        Later: “Fear is one of the primary tools of the progressive movement.”
        Fear, envy and greed.

    • Mosher, the old saying is that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.
      I used to be a Thatcherite and a hippy; not many of those.

  54. If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between “for” and “against” is the minds worst disease. ~Sent ts’an, c. 700 C. E.

  55. ““This is very much in the role of the politicians who are supposed to do what’s in the interests of everybody as a whole,” Trenberth says. ”

    With the all political sophistication of a five-yearold, he hasn’t grasped that those who rule (a majority, in theory, in a democracy) routinely use government to plunder and bully those who don’t. Increasingly relevant in today’s environment of an increasingly totalitarian welfare state, with Big Brother growing itself all the time.

  56. Thanks for this post, Judith. While I could quibble with some aspects of French’s article, I think that he has nailed many of the issues that have made the academic/policy interface so troubled.

    It should be pointed out that the “single issue” aspect is one that politicians deal with every day. Their mailboxes and appointment diaries are full of impassioned diatribes from single-issue advocates of all stripes, and working out how to deal with them is one of the most important skills a politician can possess. It is impossible to satisfy all, or even most, of them.

    Broadly speaking, politicians are different types of people from policy analysts, and both are different from single-issue advocates. The great advantage that the single-issue advocate has is that s/he is not conflicted by competing priorities. The evangelical zeal of such a person, channeled into a single cause, without any doubt whatsoever, can be very powerful.

    In my experience of several failing governments, once they start to complain that the reason people don’t like them any more is because of a failure of communication, it is time to start preparing briefs for the new incoming government. When they no longer see that it is deeds, not words, that are the source of the problem, the fat lady has sung.

    I think that is where “the Team” are now. Since nobody elected them in the first place, they will not be kicked out on a specific date. But smart politicians all over the world are slowly backing away. For practical reasons, there are usually only 3-4 high profile issues on the political agenda. All the polls indicate that CAGW is no longer even in the top 10.

  57. ” The climate problem has suffered from analogy with the tobacco policy issue ” – Curry

    And rightly so.

    Tobacco-financed science produced results favorable to its paymaster, just as politically-financed climate science now produces results favorable to its paymaster.

    Exactly as you would expect.

    For either of these situations to NOT occur, would require some sort of conspiracy of honesty and objectivity on the part of the scientists involved. Fat chance, given Climategate and the lack of any repentance or regret over what it revealed about the “science”.

  58. The problem is not that scientists (that is alarmist climate scientists) don’t understand how politics and policy-making work. The problem is that they don’t understand how SCIENCE works. They are debasing science and trying to use it as a propaganda tool for their biases and ideological activism.

  59. THEY _ DON”T _ UNDERSTAND _ HOW SCIENCE _ WORKS !
    THEORIES versus NAYCHUR-CL:ASH _ rules … er… doesn’t it?
    jest _ a _ humble _ serf?

  60. Where did that goddam ‘ : ‘ come from? (Wry lol)

  61. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry asserts: “The climate problem has suffered from analogy with the tobacco policy issue” —

    Judith Curry’s sentiment is baffling, given that the best-available science (and the best available history of that science) demonstrates plainly:

    cancer-from-smoking is real, and
    warming-from-CO2 is real, and
    anti-science denialism is real, and
    regulated-market solutions really work.

    Perhaps Judith Curry is over-thinking these problems?

    It could be as simple as: “James Hansen’s scientific worldview is basically right, Naomi Oreskes’ historical worldview is basically right, Pope Francis’ moral worldview is basically right, regulated-market solutions basically work.”

    The foundations in science-and-history of climate-change policy are solid and straightforward, Judith Curry!

    \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}

    • Papist!

      • Wendel Berry:
        “Government, he believes, should take its sense of reality from the ground beneath our feet and from our connections with our fellow human beings. And it should have a better sense of proportion: Its solutions should be equal to its problems and should not beget other problems.

        That, as far as I understand, was advocacy for limited Government. Fine.

        Then we have:
        “Berry is especially well known for his skeptical take on technology. He has argued in favor of horse-drawn farming practices and against the use of computers. ”
        Technofobia would be typical of “progressive” intellectuals, and is, probably, the most powerful driver of climate alarmism.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Jacobress , it’s good to see you appreciating — and even embracing? — the FOMD climate-change “ideology”!

        Well-conceived, jacobress!

        \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}

      • Of course.
        “horse-drawn farming ” – this is the ticket !

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse
      FOMD asserts: “It could be as simple as: “James Hansen’s scientific worldview is basically right, Naomi Oreskes’ historical worldview is basically right, Pope Francis’ moral worldview is basically right, regulated-market solutions basically work.”

      jacobress responds “Papist!”

      LOL … OK, for the sake of balance we can include Wendell Berry’s Jeffersonian worldview is basically right.”

      Thank you, jacobress!

      \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}

      • FOMBS, ” Berry stands with Jefferson. He stands for local culture and the small family farmer, for yeoman virtues and an economic and political order that is modest enough for its actions and rationales to be discernible. Government, he believes, should take its sense of reality from the ground beneath our feet and from our connections with our fellow human beings. And it should have a better sense of proportion: Its solutions should be equal to its problems and should not beget other problems.”

        A better sense of proportion Fan. Given that there is no significant warming, and there will likely be none in the future given latest thoughts on CS, do you still think the solutions proffered by alarmists like you are equal to the so-called “problem” and that your prescriptions will not beget other problems?

      • See my reply, erroneously posted above

      • fan’s just a broken down plantation machine. A committee has been appointed to invent a blacksmith.
        ====================

    • Decades of effort have gone into developing an animal model of smoking-induced lung cancer.
      We still do not have one.
      Even other primates do not have the same patho-physiology as humans.

  62. Richard S. Lindzen, Ph.D., is professor of atmospheric sciences, emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Contact: rlindzen@mit.edu.

    Lindzen does disagree so he cannot publish in Consensus Journals so he has to publish in Medical Journals.

    A Science that does not allow disagreement is not really a Science.

    This is a really good one.

    http://www.jpands.org/vol18no3/lindzen.pdf

  63. Faustino has another letter published in today’s Australian. I’m jealous. I sent the following letter but it was not published (and definitely should have been, IMHO :)

    “Labor warned against Senate stall on push to scrap carbon tax” (3/9, p5) provides an example of a disingenuous and misleading statement by a Labor Minister. Tony Abbot warned “the cumulative loss in GDP of the policy between now and 2050 would be $1 trillion.” Actually, it’s more, Treasury’s figure is $1.345 trillion. “But Climate Change Minister Mark Butler hit back, saying Treasury modelling showed the economy would be $41 trillion bigger in 2050 with a carbon price.”

    Both statements are correct, but Butler’s response is misleading. Butler implies the carbon tax will have little or no effect. That’s not true. The effect is huge. In per capita terms it amounts to $58,000 per person. The present value – i.e. if you want to pay a lump sump up front with no more to pay – is $17,000 per person (or $68,000 per family of four if you elect to pay now).

    Perhaps I should have posted the quote from the Climate Change Minister’s press release rather than quoted ‘The Australian’, which is not worded correctly. ‘The Australian’ said:

    But Climate Change Minister Mark Butler hit back, saying Treasury modelling showed the economy would be $41 trillion bigger in 2050 with a carbon price.

    Whereas the Minister’s press release said:

    Key results of the Treasury modelling are that by 2050 with a carbon price in place:

    • GDP will be up by over 175 per cent in real terms – a cumulative increase of $41 trillion dollars over the period to 2050.

    His statement is correct and taken from the same Treasury numbers as Tony Abbot’s figures of the net loss in GDP of $1.345 trillion.

    The Minister’s press release also said:

    • Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions will be down by 80 per cent.
    • Australia will have reduced carbon pollution going into the atmosphere by more than 17 billion tonnes over the next 37 years.

    But notice how they do not mention the estimated benefit. They talk about emissions reductions, not benefits. They imply there will be net benefits for Australia as a result of the emissions reductions. This is not correct.

    I perhaps should have added another sentence putting the costs and benefits in perspective:

    How many are prepared to pay $17,000 per person as a lump sum now, or prepared to pay $58,000 per person (which means about $116,000 per working person) over 37 years, in the hope of gaining an intangible benefit of $5,400 in ‘reduced climate damages’ over the next 37 years?

    • “Faustino has another letter published in today’s Australian” … and perhaps tomorrow. My record is three in a six-day week, often two. Observe my style, grasshopper.

      • I’m trying. I’t trying, sir. :

      • Peter Lang

        Surely the ‘style’ is merely to send in YOUR letter under Faustino’s name. Simple. Hmmm. I might get a letter published myself using that ruse.

        Tony (pseudo Faustino) b

      • Crickets hurdle circular spectra, loudly!
        =============

      • Sorry, Tony, The Australian doesn’t know of “Faustino,” your ploy would fail.

        And they know my style, you’ld need to duplicate that too.

      • Peter, I have the lead letter today, responding to the ACTU rhetoric about Abbott:

        “Australia has had two pro-worker governments in the last 40 years, led by Bob Hawke and John Howard. Both men understood that workers’ welfare depended on the capacity of business to respond quickly to changing circumstances and intense, fast-moving international competition and to increase productivity, and that this required co-operation between workers and management and the reduction of regulatory impediments to investment and improved work practices. The Hawke-Howard approach fostered unprecedented growth in employment opportunities and incomes.

        “While Tony Abbott is yet to prove that he can be compared to those former leaders, he is more likely to favour genuinely pro-worker policies than is any prospective ALP leader. The ACTU’s warning to its members that a Senate majority would allow Abbott to “turn his anti-worker rhetoric into reality” (“ALP gets tough on the repeal of carbon tax,” 4/9) shows that, unlike former leaders such as Bill Kelty and Simon Crean 30 years ago, they do not understand the workings of a modern economy.” [The reference to Kelty and Crean was removed.]

        I might send the following today:

        The Australian report that “Labor is rife with complaints about Mr Rudd and Mr Hawker micro-managing campaign logistics, changing strategy, rerouting travel schedules, recasting messaging, and revising and inventing policies on the run. There have not always been clear lines of communication between Mr Rudd’s travelling party and Labor’s campaign headquarters in Melbourne.”

        Well, what did they expect? They’ve known what Rudd was like for over 20 years, they brought him back in full knowledge of his appalling first term as PM, how can they be surprised that Rudd, obsessed with his own self-aggrandisement, had delusions that he could win the election and continued to behave as he always has?

    • Faustino,
      I read it and agreed.
      Can’t very well award yer any pluses,
      cood be taken as presumin’
      bts

  64. @ willard (@nevaudit) | September 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

    “Since Conservatives value authority and loyalty, I am less astonished than MikeR.”

    Right, Willard. That explains why the TEA Party is trying to oust other conservatives from Congress in the USA. The value authority, sure they do. And, hey, they are very loyal to other conservatives. Sure they are.

  65. Pingback: Academics and the policy context for the Abbott Government « DON AITKIN

  66. Pingback: Rethinking climate advocacy | Climate Etc.