Death(?) of expertise

by Judith Curry

I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all. – Tom Nicholls

The Federalist has a provocative post by Tom Nicholls entitled The Death of Expertise. Excerpts:

By this, I do not mean the death of actual expertise, the knowledge of specific things that sets some people apart from others in various areas. [W]hat I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live.

 The death of expertise is a rejection not only of knowledge, but of the ways in which we gain knowledge and learn about things. Fundamentally, it’s a rejection of science and rationality, which are the foundations of Western civilization itself.

In politics, too, the problem has reached ridiculous proportions. People in political debates no longer distinguish the phrase “you’re wrong” from the phrase “you’re stupid.” To disagree is to insult. To correct another is to be a hater. And to refuse to acknowledge alternative views, no matter how fantastic or inane, is to be closed-minded.

Tackle a complex policy issue with a layman today, and you will get snippy and sophistic demands to show ever increasing amounts of “proof” or “evidence” for your case, even though the ordinary interlocutor in such debates isn’t really equipped to decide what constitutes “evidence” or to know it when it’s presented. 

This subverts any real hope of a conversation, because it is simply exhausting  to have to start from the very beginning of every argument and establish the merest baseline of knowledge, and then constantly to have to negotiate the rules of logical argument. Most people are already huffy and offended before ever encountering the substance of the issue at hand.

Once upon a time — way back in the Dark Ages before the 2000s — people seemed to understand, in a general way, the difference between experts and laymen. There was a clear demarcation in political food fights, as objections and dissent among experts came from their peers — that is, from people equipped with similar knowledge. The public, largely, were spectators.

This was both good and bad. While it strained out the kook factor in discussions , it also meant that sometimes public policy debate was too esoteric, conducted less for public enlightenment and more as just so much dueling jargon between experts.  If experts go back to only talking to each other, that’s bad for democracy.

I like the 21st century, and I like the democratization of knowledge and the wider circle of public participation. That greater participation, however, is endangered by the utterly illogical insistence that every opinion should have equal weight, because people like me, sooner or later, are forced to tune out people who insist that we’re all starting from intellectual scratch. (Spoiler: We’re not.) And if that happens, experts will go back to only talking to each other. And that’s bad for democracy.

How did this peevishness about expertise come about, and how can it have gotten so immensely foolish?

Some of it is purely due to the globalization of communication. There are no longer any gatekeepers: the journals and op-ed pages that were once strictly edited have been drowned under the weight of self-publishable blogs.

Now, anyone can bum rush the comments section of any major publication. Sometimes, that results in a free-for-all that spurs better thinking. Most of the time, however, it means that anyone can post anything they want, under any anonymous cover, and never have to defend their views or get called out for being wrong.

Another reason for the collapse of expertise lies not with the global commons but with the increasingly partisan nature of U.S. political campaigns.  [T]he primary requisite of seniority in the policy world is too often an answer to the question: “What did you do during the campaign?” This is the code of the samurai, not the intellectual, and it privileges the campaign loyalist over the expert.

Expertise is necessary, and it’s not going away. Unless we return it to a healthy role in public policy, we’re going to have stupider and less productive arguments every day. So here, presented without modesty or political sensitivity, are some things to think about when engaging with experts in their area of specialization.

  1. We can all stipulate: the expert isn’t always right.
  2. But an expert is far more likely to be right than you are. 
  3. Experts come in many flavors. Education enables it, but practitioners in a field acquire expertise through experience; usually the combination of the two is the mark of a true expert in a field. But if you have neither education nor experience, you might want to consider exactly what it is you’re bringing to the argument.
  4. In any discussion, you have a positive obligation to learn at least enough to make the conversation possible. 
  5. And yes, your political opinions have value. As a layman, however, your political analysis, has far less value, and probably isn’t — indeed, almost certainly isn’t — as good as you think it is.

JC comments: Nicholls comes to this argument from the perspective of an academic policy analyst.  On matters of public policy and political analysis, the defense of expertise is perhaps on shakier ground than expertise in the scientific or engineering domains.  Let’s apply his concerns and ideas to the debate on climate science and policy.

For some context on this issue, see these previous posts at Climate Etc.:

Considering the difference between weather and climate expertise provides an interesting example of the many dimensions of expertise that are needed to address a complex science/policy problem. It is well known that there are many professional meteorologists that are not convinced by AGW arguments.  It has been argued that meteorologists are not climate experts, and hence their opinions should be discounted relative to climate experts.  Well, many climate experts know nothing about climate dynamics; rather their expertise is in the area of climate impact assessment. Meteorologists generally have a very good understanding of climate variability and the natural causes of climate variability.  Discounting the expertise of meteorologists in the climate debate in part has led to the current conundrum for climate science whereby natural internal climate variability has been discounted.

The broader and more significant issue of relevance to climate science expertise is the new phenomena of independent climate scientists, who have no formal training in climate science or its subfields.  The emergence of Steve McIntyre as an expertise on paleoclimate proxy data and the statistical analysis of climate data was viewed by university/IPCC paleoclimate experts as an absolute affront, as evidenced by the Climategate emails.  The influence of Steve McIntyre on the course of paleoclimate research and the public debate on climate science has been profound.

Nic Lewis is the most recent example of an independent climate scientist that has come to prominence in both the scientific and public debate on climate change.  Nic has been investigating climate sensitivity for the past 5 years.  His analysis of climate sensitivity (stay tuned for a new report to published in February) will probably stand the test of time better than will the AR5 assessment of equilibrium and transient climate sensitivity.

In the context of the public debate on climate change, a most interesting development has occurred.  The UK Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Climate Change is holding a hear on 28 January entitled IPCC 5th Assessment Review (see this previous CE post for background).  The list of witnesses was posted last week:

Witnesses:

  • Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Grantham Institute
  • Professor Myles Allen, Oxford University
  • Dr. Peter Stott, Met Office
  • Professor Richard Lindzen, MIT
  • Nicholas Lewis, Independent Climate Scientist
  • Donna Laframboise, journalist.

Note the presence of Nic Lewis and Donna LaFramboise on the witness list!  Their expertise on this particular topic does not derive from traditional paths, but nevertheless their expertise is acknowledged by many, and now by the UK Parliamentary Committee!

The debate on climate change (both science and policy) would be much less rich without independent scientists, experts from outside traditional venues, and climate blogs.  Yes, there is plenty of noise out there, but the broadening of climate expertise and extended peer communities beyond academics and the IPCC is in my opinion extremely valuable to both the science and the policy process.

Tom Nicholls disdains the ‘University of Google’ as a basis for developing expertise, but in my opinion the web is invaluable for both traditional experts and the 21st century non-traditional experts.  Particularly for wicked problems, traditional notions of expertise are being challenged and the democratization of expertise is opening up new ideas and solutions.

Here’s to the 21st century democratization of expertise!

629 responses to “Death(?) of expertise

  1. “None at all”? Paugh!
    ==========

    • Al Gore and Obama have so much global warming expertise they both were awarded a Nobel Prize.

    • The death of expertise arose because science was put into computer software so relatively few scientists trained since about 1990 have the ability to work out problems from first principles. This coincided with the fall in quality of undergraduates in Western economies as it became easier to earn money by gambling! Thus in the UK we have University Physics’ Professors as TV stars who haven’t the faintest idea that IPCC Climate Alchemy is baseless.

      Trained in the 1960’s, it was easy for me to deduce there can be no enhanced GHE from practical knowledge of coupled convection and radiation in industrial environments**, also by going back to basic radiative physics and Maxwell’s Equations.

      The Trenberth Energy Budget, itself the result of a failure to understand the difference between a Radiation Field and a net IR energy flux, is a perpetual motion machine of the 2nd kind, the lower atmosphere using its own heat to cause itself to expand.

      Moreover, the Law of Equipartition of Energy means that what little IR energy is emitted from the surface in addition to convection cannot be thermalised in the gas phase – that can only occur heterogeneously. Hence there can be no ‘back radiation’, really the atmospheric Radiation Field which adds vectorally to the surface RF to give the net flux.

      Perhaps the real signifier of loss of expertise is the application in modelling of Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation at ToA. They do it because the 333 W/m^2 ‘back radiation is far too high, so they searched for a way to offset much of it. This is absolutely wrong and contradicts Houghton for example.

      This mistake presumes net IR from surface and clouds in the atmospheric window, and from the middle troposphere in water vapour bands, is emitted from ToA: completely bogus. They then add about 25% extra low level cloud albedo in hind-casting to offset the effect of nearly 7-fold increase of IR warming over what would be real if there were gas phase thermalisation.

      **In a steelworks, you need ~100 deg C before the real radiative energy flux from a horizontal strip exceeds the natural convective flux. In an aluminium plant it’s about 300 deg. C. We had to get these energy balances right. Nowadays, it’s all in computer models run by dumb technicians, a bit like Climate Modelling!

      • Dear AlecM
        Google ‘the Nile climate engine’. It’s dull but with perseverance it demonstrates that there is a hole in the equatorial cloud mass letting in a load more SW. RSVP.

    • An incredible bit of analysis. I shall have to re-read it in detail to get the most out of it.

      However, I have started on a similar analysis, which i call my ‘patchwork quilt’ hypothesis, whereby the Globe is alike a football’s icosohedron, a weirs of patches whose surface temperature is controlled by advection to or from surrounding patches.

      These patches are determined by local biofeedback and the key arbiter is ocean currents and the Fe nutrient for phytoplankton.

    • Apropos the above, an IR astronomer has posted a very simple observation on Tallbloke which has completely scuppered the enhanced GHE hypothesis: http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/infrared-astronomer-doesnt-buy-co2/comment-page-1/#comment-66725

      My reply shows how you work from first principles to deduce the correct physics:

      “One of the 13 Physics’ mistakes in Climate Alchemy has been to imagine that IR energy from a higher temperature source absorbed by GHG molecules is thermalised** in the gas phase. This is impossible for fundamental statistical thermodynamics’ reasons. It’s there in the text books but has been completely ignored by Ramanathan for example, who blindly assumed such thermalisation.

      The reason for this is the Law of Equipartition of Energy, one of the most basic axioms of physics along with Maxwell’s Equations and Quantum theory, for example. It states that in an assembly of many particles, energy is shared equally amongst all possible translational and rotational forms, and this is a function of temperature, (1/2)(kb)T per degree of freedom where kb is the Maxwell-Boltzmann constant and T is absolute temperature.

      Therefore, if IR energy is absorbed in an internal vibrational state, even though it will bidirectionally convert to translational or rotational energy, that kinetic energy is fixed for a given temperature. Hence, for every IR absorption event, an equal amount of energy must be ejected from an internal thermally-activated molecule outside the local volume. This is called Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium, LTE.

      So, there can be no homogeneous, gas phase thermalisation of absorbed R energy, no extra ‘Forcing’***, scotching the enhanced GHE idea. This is why the IR astronomer measures extra IR energy coming into the atmosphere in the so-called absorption bands. The energy, which was from a higher temperature source, scatters in the atmosphere before thermalising at a heterogeneous interface, e.g. the detector, it cannot be thermalised.

      Therefore, this IR astronomer’s practical observation proves behind doubt that there is no possibility of any enhanced GHE.

      **Thermalisation in Physics means the transformation of EM energy to kinetic energy. It occurs at heterogeneities because the absorption bands are broadened and connected directly to internal kinetic energy. In the gas phase, the GHG molecules have an IR density of states that is solely a function of temperature and, second-order, concentration (self-absorption).

      ***The ‘Forcing’ concept is unscientific because it presumes that the extra Radiation Field from increasing pGHG comes back as greater surface IR absorbed in the gas phase. In reality, the extra ‘Forcing’ reduces surface IR emission. In the absence of any other factor, surface temperature would rise to increase convection. This mistake is crucial to the Climate Alchemy fraud – it is in effect a form of Gresham’s Law, bad physics driving out good.

    • Correction: It cannot be thermalised in the gas phase

  2. The phenomenon he examines is most prominent when the experts are desperately wrong. And he decries this?
    ================================

  3. “2.But an expert is far more likely to be right than you are.”

    Except when they’re wrong. Then they’re 1 bazillion times more likely to be wrong.

    Andrew

    • How do you know they are wrong?

    • “How do you know they are wrong?”

      By the evidence. If they can produce evidence that their claim is true, then they are right. If not, they can be considered wrong. That’s how science works. In fact, that’s how most of other real life works, too.

      But you are a Warmer, I suspect. You have difficulty with these ideas.

      Andrew

    • What are your qualifications to interpret the evidence in a meaningful way?

    • “What are your qualifications to interpret the evidence in a meaningful way?”

      Qualifications aren’t required to interpret evidence. Do you think they are?

      Andrew

    • Joseph,

      What qualifications do you rely on when evidence is presented to you that you woke up this morning?

      Andrew

    • “Qualifications aren’t required to interpret evidence.”

      No I think they are required.

  4. If it wasn’t for the so called “non-scientists” like McIntyre et al our understanding of the climate around us would be significantly worse than it is already.

    Regards

    Mailman

    • The thing is McIntyre is a great example of the needed ancillary expertise for certain scientific investigations.
      That he was abhorred instead of welcomed as an unique expert, not so much in climate science (although he has made himself as much) but for a valuable member of a team of those whose primary interest was scientific accuracy as opposed to self aggrandizement.

    • Tom Nicholls gives cover to government scientists who would dismiss Dr. Wegman — someone who actually knows something about statistics — as a plagiarist and even a perjurer (as Michael Mann claimed… to Mann’s lasting shame and deceit).

    • Well Waggy, Wegman is a ‘convicted’ plagiaist.

      Reality sucks, huh?

    • Jesus was ‘convicted,’ so what? Nadolf Nitler had expertise. Western, liberal academia is fascist to the core: sure they can ‘convict’ someone to try to hide the truth.

      We were talking about honor, integrity and respect for truth. We are talking about speaking truth to power. Nichols is excusing an abuse of power and abuse of trust and achieving political ends by any means by hiding behind the trappings of the learned academic.

      Freeman Dyson says any good scientist should be a skeptic, which is another way of saying, even a scientist should have the expertise to know BS when they see it. When academics refuse to admit the ‘hockey stick’ and its use was a fraud they sacrifice credibility and their ill will is manifest so their supposed expertise is irrelevant–they’re simply not trustworthy.

  5. This piece won’t sit well with the anti-intellectuals

    • Agreed. And with the warmists not embracing the intellectual rigor of the scientific method I see them hating this article.

    • No one would have believed in the early
      years of the21st century, that our intellectuals
      were being watched by forces greater
      than their own. That as intellectuals busied themselves
      about their various concerns, they observed
      and studied. Like the way an intellectual with
      a microscope might scrutinize the creatures
      that swarm and multiply in a drop of
      water. With infinite complacency intellectuals
      went to and fro about the globe, confident
      of their empire over this world. Yet,
      across the gulf of the Internet, anti-intellectuals,
      vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded
      our papers with envious eyes. And slowly
      and surely, drew their plans against
      them.

    • H/t to H. G. Wells.

  6. When (I know it’s never) are Scientific-Minded Warmers going to start appealing to the evidence, rather than appealing to artificially constructed abstractions like ‘expertise’.

    Andrew

    • When are scientific minded warmist experts going to criticize ridiculous papers like the hockey-stick, for being unscientific? When are they going to adhere to scientific principles instead of adhering to the “Cause” of planet-salvtion ?

  7. [W]hat I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live.

    Yet another alarmist in the pages of Climate Etc.

  8. In the case of climate, the death of expertise is no problem at all. We are still awaiting the birth.

  9. Wikipedia is the ultimate peer review (I am an editor myself), but this open principle is heavily frustrated by activist gangs like William Connolley’s.

  10. He seems to regret the increased difficulty of imposing a technocracy with elites manipulating narratives. Mebbe he should consult with Christina Figueres.
    ==============

  11. Can someone tell what’s the procedure UK Parliamentary Committees apply in selecting experts they hear?

    • As far as i know for this particular committee, they invited some people to submit evidence (I was invited) and also accept unsolicited submissions. Then based upon the submissions, the Committee (or some subset) selected individuals to present orally.

    • What I really had in mind is the weight preferences of individual members have. it’s well known that comparable committees may invite people both based on widely recognized expertize and based on opinions that are known by one or two committee members to support their preferred ideas.

      Thus it may really tell something on expertize, but may equally well tell very little on that.

    • This is a very interesting group. Three representatives of the British establishment, which has led their people into the wilderness, an independent, and skeptical, British scientist, a Canadian muck-raking journalist, and an American, dean of the skeptics of CAGW.
      ==========================

    • As Kim says, a really powerful combination. Looking forward to it.

    • Pekka and kim

      An interesting group, indeed.

      And I do not believe that there necessarily needs to be any “weighting” of their individual comments based on scientific “gravitas” in the climate field (if so, Lindzen’s comments would probably get the highest weighting).

      But the outcome will be very interesting.

      Max

    • There’s a recent report on the range of witnesses to select committees – discussed and linked here: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/39218

    • Can someone tell what’s the procedure MSM editors apply in selecting experts they publish?

    • Pekka,

      We’ve had hundreds of stacked panels by the likes of the UK and Australian parliaments, the Royal Society, NAS and most of representative science bodies and academia. It is well and truly time we heard from informed people from outside academia and from ‘experts’ who do not share the group-think that academia has become on climate change. After all, if any action is to be taken, it must be decided on policy, economic and political grounds, not on science. We’ve had stacks of science hearings and ~97% of the science is irrelevant to policy decisions. Its way past time we got over having parliamentary hearings that are concerned only with the science and dominated by scientists. So far the science has done negligible relevant, work on the important components needed for economic and policy analysis such as impacts, damage function and the probability that the policies advocated by the (mostly left leaning) academics would be successful.

      So, I say we’ve had well and truly enough of these science and scientists dominated hearings. It’s time to hand over to the ‘experts’ from the real world.

    • Google ‘commons select committees’ and that will give you all the information. They invite submissions on whichever topic any of the committees are dealing with. Scroll down on the relevant page and switch from ‘oral’ to ‘written’. If you want to just attend, which is free, easy and very boring, just turn up at the building across from Big Ben and go to the appropriate room. It is a learning experience. You can normally chat to the MPs on the committees, but they do tend to rush off to whatever they have next in their diary. The Climate change bunch are a rubber stamping group that that tries to give the illusion that they are actually interested in doing something useful – so too is the science and technology committee when it comes to climate (this I was told by someone on the committee). I will be there on Tuesday just to see if anything interesting turns up and will report back, but don’t hold your breath about expecting anything newsworthy. There were about 35 submissions for the AR5 review (including mine) and from that a few were chosen – I actually laughed at the Grantham institutes submission when they wrote that the Met offices factual info must be wrong because the info disagrees with the theories that don’t work – and these comedians are given a spot????

    • Politically a UK Parliamentary Committee can be used as a route to a massive change in policy. The committee will publish a report and recommendation; if it calls for a public inquiry the government can pick its parameters and remit, and get an answer framed in a direction it wishes to proceed. I can also start a bomb ticking so that evidence of a previous governments mistakes or unethical conduct, come to public attention in the run up to an election.
      The make up of this group should terrify the CRU.

    • In the recent UK election, the slogan “Go Green; Vote Blue” has resulted in a huge increase in energy prices; particularly the disasterous surge in wind power. This has resulted in a trickle of industries leaving the UK. If the UK persists in this policy, there is a very real danger of this trickle becoming a flood.

      Faced with this, I suggest that there is a very real possibility that a UK politician who holds a powerful portfolio, is gong to WANT to be convinced that CAGW is a load of scientific nonsense. Someone who is far more interested in what Donna Lafamboise has to say, as opposed to Sir Brian Hoskins.

      That politician could just be George Osborne.

      Think about it.

      • No political party wants to be holding the climate baby when it falls. The degree of duplicity in the climate cosa-nostra and nobody is going to come out looking good – except the opposition who will be happy to throw mud.

    • See Oliver Geden’s tweet, upper right for now.
      ============

  12. The death of expertise comes from the lack of actual experts.

    For the first decade or so, pretty much everyone involved in the AGW side of things was not, by any stretch, an expert in their field. They were experts in other, sometimes marginally related fields, but they weren’t experts in the thing they were actually studying and lecturing the rest of us about. No, being an atmospheric chemist does not make you a qualified expert in the effects of solar radiation on the atmosphere. It may lay a certain amount of groundwork for gaining such expertise, but in reality, it seems to result in the exact opposite

    What’s worse is that the ones who had marginal expertise in one field that had some bearing were absolute amateurs – and sometmes even less – at the things they used to justify their claims. Statisticians? Few and far between. Computer programmers who could produce an accurate simulation? Nope. Astronomers with knowledge about the amount and composition of sunlight reaching the Earth? Rejected out of hand.

    In the annoyed words of an actual atmospheric scientist I spoke to about AGW, years ago: “INSOLATION IS A CONSTANT!” No, Doctor, it’s not, and assuming such was flat-out wrong. “Expert.” Right.

    • David Springer

      Well actually it is considered a constant. It’s called “the solar constant”.

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

      For most practical purposes it’s close enough to constant. Those obsessed with pedantry (Steven Mosher comes to mind) might argue that nothing is a constant except his inerrancy. Being inerrant in logic and having stated the position that every measurement is an estimate then it must follow that every constant is really just an estimate.

    • Springer, ” It’s called “the solar constant”.”

      Well, at least until the next time they change it :)

    • The solar poloidal field has doubled since 1858,which suggests it is not constant.

    • maks, “The solar poloidal field has doubled since 1858,which suggests it is not constant.”

      According to 10Be and 14C reconstructions that is only a few Wm-2 right? That can be assumed constant with respect to that whopping 3.7Wm-2 CO2 “forcing”. /sarc

    • The “solar constant” is not the same as insolation. It’s measured (or calculated from) the orbit of the Earth outside of the Earth’s atmosphere – insolation is measured at ground level.

      It also isn’t an actual constant – even in your own cite (Wikipedia? Please.), they mention that it varies by about 6.9% in any given year. Constants don’t do that.

      Despite the name, insolation is a variable.

      You also missed the point – a lot of AGW scientists thought insolation was a fixed number. It seems a number of those still do – they keep searching for excuses to ignore the amount of variation that any astronomer would know about.

      Well, any astronomer from the last century or so. Maybe we should ask the AGW guys if they still believe in the luminiferous aether…

    • David Springer

      cirby | January 25, 2014 at 7:20 pm |

      “The “solar constant” is not the same as insolation.”

      Yeah sorry. I thought the context was atmospheric physics because you referred to an “atmospheric scientist”. Mibad. Insolation is indeed measured at ground level. I don’t think atmospheric physicists use the term much as the atmosphere ends where insolation starts, eh? LOL

      I’m pretty sure the atmospheric scientist would agree that solar power measured at any arbitrary time or place on the earth’s surface is not a constant. Misunderstandings happen.

      The solar constant is defined as the total energy from the sun at a distance of one AU so earth’s orbital eccentricity does not vary the solar constant. It varies by 0.1% from solar maximum to solar minimum. The power spectrum may change by more but that a different metric. What may vary by “6.9%” annually is amount of energy at top of due to orbital eccentricity causing the average distance to the sun dipping below and above one AU. The energy at one AU rises and falls 0.05% over the course of approximately 11 years. That’s pretty close to constant for most practical purposes.

    • David Springer

      cirby | January 25, 2014 at 7:20 pm |

      I need to correct my above and you as well. Insolation is defined as solar energy at any given surface not necessarily the ground. Context, at least, is needed to determine what surface and when. If the context is solar panels then the surface would be the context. If context is atmospheric physics and especially in regard to global warming it’s more likely to be referring to annual average at top of atmosphere which is very close to the solar constant.

    • “I’m pretty sure the atmospheric scientist would agree that solar power measured at any arbitrary time or place on the earth’s surface is not a constant. Misunderstandings happen.”

      Except he very, very much did NOT agree, and that wasn’t the point of the discussion. We weren’t talking about “any arbitrary time or place.” We were talking about insolation and its effect on the global temperature.

      He claimed that insolation was a constant. Vehemently. And would give no ground whatsoever. “INSOLATION IS A CONSTANT,” in that context, was precisely and unequivocally that. No, it was not a “misunderstanding.” He was just flat wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

      This is not something you can handwave in favor of a bad scientist. Yes, there are such people. He was one of them. Every excuse you try to invent in his favor is actually arguing against him, because you just show how incomplete his claimed knowledge was.

      And, just for your own future reference, insolation is NOT something that is “close enough to a constant.” A change of 0.1% seems like almost nothing to some people – but considering that the total warming attributed to AGW is only about 0.3%(!), it’s a large difference.

      You should also remember that the 0.1% value is just the typical 11-year cycle variation – the overall number goes up to about 0.2% over longer terms (a thousand years or so) – and some studies seem to show a 0.3% increase in UV emissions since the Maunder minimum. Gee, what a coincidence.

    • cirby

      The death of expertise comes from the lack of actual experts.

      Aint it de troof?

      Ef ther aint no egg-spurts, ther aint gonna be no egg-spurt-ease neether.

    • “You should also remember that the 0.1% value is just the typical 11-year cycle variation – the overall number goes up to about 0.2% over longer terms (a thousand years or so)”

      wow 0.2%, a full unsustained forcing of 0.5 watts per square meter!

      Compared to a sustained forcing of 3.7 watts per square meter per doubling of CO2!

    • k scott denison

      lolwot | January 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm |

      Compared to a sustained forcing of 3.7 watts per square meter per doubling of CO2!
      ———
      Yes, as measured in the lab, all other things being equal. How about out in the real world where nothing is ever equal? You know, like the real measurements of cyclical variation.

  13. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry gets excited by a UK Parliamentary Committee witness list:

    • Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Grantham Institute
    • Professor Myles Allen, Oxford University
    • Dr. Peter Stott, Met Office
    • Professor Richard Lindzen, MIT
    • Nicholas Lewis, Independent Climate Scientist
    • Donna Laframboise, journalist

    Cross-checking against the speakers’ list of the Vatican Pontifical Academy’s forthcoming workshop Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility finds exactly *NONE* of these “experts” make the Vatican cut. Instead, Naomi Oreskes will be the Vatican-chosen expert-witness for the closing session, Scientific Consensus and the Role and Character of Scientific Dissent.

    Who yah gonna trust, the world wonders?

    \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}

    • That witness list is worth getting excited about as it is equally weighted between sceptics and true believers, a previously unheard-of event. The committee members will get information they have been kept away from for too long.

    • Oh irony, climate expertise outside the IPCC is not acknowledged, just like theological expertise is not acknowledged outside the Vatican.
      The Vatican and the IPCC have a lot in common.

    • Ever heard about Scholasticism?

    • “Naomi Oreskes will be the Vatican-chosen expert-witness for the closing session,”…

      “…Who yah gonna trust…?

      I mourn for the future, FAN. How does a bright and capable mind such as yours go so terribly off the rails.

    • Fanny

      As Hans Erren writes

      The Vatican and the IPCC have a lot in common.

      Indeed. Both are purveyors of dogma.

      Oreskes should do well.

      Max

    • David Springer

      I’d like brain trauma for 300 Alex!

    • A papist always trusts the Pope. He is infallible by definition.
      Whom do you trust, Fan? The experts or the Pope?

    • The Vatican is just following the consensus, like it did in dealing with Galileo.

    • You think we should trust the man in the dress, who worships a sky fairy, believes in virgin births and resurrection?

    • Fan’s final, strongest, most expert argument was a photo of His Holiness, the Pope himself.
      How dare we doubt such an infallible expert ?

    • David Springer

      DocMartyn | January 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm |

      “You think we should trust the man in the dress, who worships a sky fairy, believes in virgin births and resurrection?”

      Non-overlapping magisteria.

      Write that down.

      And look it up if you don’t know what it means.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Not one of Climate Etc’s resident denialists, cranks, shills, and know-nothings has ventured any substantial comment upon the scientific program or the selected panel of experts of the workshop Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility.

      Is it any wonder that climate-change denialism is self-distilling itself into a smaller-and-smaller “bubble” of purer-and-purer ignorance … louder-and-louder slogan-shouting … shorter-and-shorter attention-spans … ever-more-dubious ‘peer’ review … and ever-more-futile scientific, economic, and moral irrelevance?

      \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 of more: The selfproclaimed “most comprehensive process in science review” doesn’t adhere itself to elementary rules of science. ONLY when the IPCC fully has implemented the IAC recommendations on transparency of the process I will start looking seriously at at any publication by the IPCC. Until then it’s GIGO green lobbyism..

  14. The malaise of “death of expertise”, stems directly from the conduct of the experts in the glare of modern media. There are constant stories of professional misconduct and worse being revealed by practitioners in all disciplines which inevitably lead to public distrust and a diminution in status of the expert.. Academia needs to clean up it’s act, rediscover ethical sand moral codes which need to be enforced without fear of favour and concentrate more closely on the explaining of ideas within the public domain to the layman. I was, long ago, told by a scientist that if he couldn’t explain a basic idea in terms a layman could follow, he probably didn’t understand the concept himself. Out of the ivory towers boys and girls, rejoin the madding crowd!

  15. Death(?) of “climate science” expertise is well deserved, since it is based essentially on fictions instead of science.

    Generally, any politically relevant scientific statement should be treated with great suspicion.

  16. Traditional Paths? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_autodidacts

    Google provides for more of what was once a traditional path. Face it, how can you how outside the box thinking if everyone is forced into the same “traditional” box?

    • David Springer

      Cool.

      Harlan Ellison, multi-award-winning speculative fiction author and screenwriter. Ellison attended Ohio State University for 18 months before being expelled for hitting a professor who criticized his writing, and for the following 40 years he sent the professor a copy of every work he published. Ellison wrote screenplays for a wide variety of television series such as Star Trek and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and has won dozens of awards in science fiction and fantasy genres

      I wasn’t aware of that! One of my favorite quotes:

      “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” ~Harlan Ellison

  17. Who decides who the experts are?

    • Insurance companies. Experts tend to carry liability insurance.

    • @ Reny

      Lately, and the current topic provides an example, they are self-identified. Mr. Nichols problem is that people have begun to notice that a great many experts–prima facie–aren’t. And worse, have begun calling attention to the fact.

  18. “What I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live.”

    If so, it’s the so-called experts who are responsible. Scientists were at one time highly respected professionals, deserved or not. Now, not so much and the reasons are all too obvious.

  19. Probably the relevance of some “amateur experts” in the climate change debate is symptom of something lacking in the field. Narrow mindedness; not real debate; consensus seeking; this sort of thing.

  20. George Turner

    I would describe it as fixing some holes in expertise, because experts on a given subject will tend to agree with each other about what is and what isn’t so. Given some set of things that are so, the experts views will only include an subset of them (they haven’t figured everything out yet, or they could all just retire). Among the non-experts there are people who occasionally look at one of the things that is true but not considered to be so, and they’ll suggest that maybe this unrecognized thing is in fact true. With the Internet, blogs, and such, some smart person will run across the comment and think about it, often think about it very hard. They’ll then advance a clear and well-thought argument in favor of the overlooked item being true, and then, and only then, will the experts start examining it more seriously.

    In the normal model of science, what spurs this new look or new interest is a new observation or a new piece of data. In the “post-expertise” model what also spurs this is a non-expert re-examination of something that was lurking in the known data, but not properly examined or incorrectly discounted or ignored.

    In this light, I would regard the Internet as a whole bunch of people, some very precocious, who serve as many sets of extra eyes that will take a look at all sorts of topics for free, and who can uncover all sorts of things. Their failure rate may be extremely high, but it can be a quite thorough shotgun approach to coming up with new insights.

  21. Just another appeal to authority – “trust us we’re experts”.

    Based on the performance of the climate “consenus” crowd – a better title might have been “Suicide of Expertise”.

  22. Doesn’t Britain have any of its own skeptical climate scientists? Why do they have to import one from America?

  23. Science is a wonderfully pluralistic exercise – it doesn’t matter who demonstrates a proof as long as others can reproduce the result.

    The problem with climate science is that the key unknowns are not measurable within necessary precision and accuracy – what is earth albedo? how has it changed? what is the net radiative balance? how does convective response change with respect to greater heat in the earth atmosphere? Should any chaotically bi-stable state occur more frequently in a warmer world? etc. etc.

    In regards to these questions, expert and layperson alike are equally ignorant.

    • Not true, experts are far more knowledgeable on those questions than a layperson

    • lolwot-

      I agree with you to an extent. And yet look how many of their forecasts have been dead wrong.

    • “Not true, experts are far more knowledgeable on those questions than a layperson”

      If they are knowledgeable then it is the knowledge of what they don’t know.

    • Not true, experts are far more knowledgeable on those questions than a layperson

      NO! Many laypeople know that Earth Data is more right than Model Output that disagrees with Earth Data.
      That ain’t any kind of knowledge.

    • Another problem with climate science is just its immaturity. Remember it was only last year that they ‘discovered’ the magnitude of black carbon as a forcing.

      I know that the consensus harkens back to the days of Svante Arrhenius in an attempt to claim maturity for the science that they cannot display in their dealings with their opponents. But really–how can an immature science lay claim to any experts?

      I respect James Hansen, just as I respect Richard Lindzen. They both make logical connections as they lead listeners to where they are ‘supposed’ to go. Both have equal pedigrees. Both are equally sincere. Both point in opposite directions.

      I am only an egg, said Valentine Michael Smith. Now we have Michael Mann saying ‘I am the only egghead.’ Strange but true.

  24. I am sorry. This whole discussion misses the only point that matters. In science, any expert MUST base her/his expertise on hard, measured, hopefully independently replicated, experimental data. If the expert does not have this backing, then his/her opinion is just as (in)valid as anyone else’s.

    And that is what is wrong with the so called “experts” with respect to CAGW. They don’t have any hard measured data on the one issue that really counts; the value of climate sensitivity..

    • How you know? Have you ever asked one?

    • Joseph you write “How you know? Have you ever asked one?”

      Maybe you have missed what I have been posting for as long as CE has existed. I have been asking for a measured value of climate sensitivity, and none of the “experts” has ever given me one.

    • George Turner

      42.

      There. :)

    • Which experts did you ask? And I have found most of the experts who post here in comments don’t respond to questions, so I wouldn’t interpret a lack of a response to an inability to answer the question.

    • George Turner

      Joseph. If the experts could agree on a number they could all retire because that’s the number they’re all trying to find. That they haven’t retired tells you they haven’t figured out what it is yet.

    • Joseph,
      AR5 specifically left out any value for climate sensitivity because even they recognize that it is an unknown.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Jim Cripwell,

      You continue to perpetuate the notion that there is no hard data related to climate sensitivity, and this is a great example of the the spread of noise in parallel with the spread of actual scientific knowledge. AR5 actually narrowed the sensitivity number more than AR4, but more to the point, everyday data comes forth that allows us to further narrow the uncertainty. This data comes from actual measurements of what is happening with the climate system as well as paleoclimate data. Suggesting there is no hard data related to sensitivity is a huge slap in the face to the hundreds of researchers working on gathering data every day.

    • R. Gates, you write “Suggesting there is no hard data related to sensitivity is a huge slap in the face to the hundreds of researchers working on gathering data every day.”

      There is an unjustified assumption in what you write. That assumption is that we know what proportion of any observed rise in temperatures is caused by additional CO2. We don’t. One needs to make this crucial assumption if you are going to try and use observed data to ascribe any specific number to climate sensitivity.

      That is a fundamental problem, for which there is NO solution. And it goes back to the same old, same old; we cannot do controlled experiments on the earth’s atmosphere.

    • Since the climate has never been in equilibrium and will likely never be in equilibrium, there certainly is no hard data for equilibrium climate sensitivity.

    • Jim, substitute “gravitational force” for “climate sensitivity” and see if your rationale still holds. Neither are “measured” (using your narrow definition). Both are, in fact, inferred. Would you argue that gravity is a useless concept devoid of meaning?

  25. This seems to be just another argument for the “good ol’ days.” People often say things were better in the past, but how often do they actually know that to be true? In my experience, they usually don’t.

    The reality is many “experts” are idiots. Many of them are quacks. The gatekeeping he lauds as helping limit foolishness often encouraged such as the focus on “expertise” allowed people to cultivate control via the very gatekeeping he lauds.

    And his complaints? A primary complaint of his is people demand rigorous justification for arguments. Why is that bad? Why is demanding people build their argument from scratch before its accepted not a good thing? This is the modern world. It is easy to make and document a case in a way that is readily viewable by any interested parties. If someone isn’t willing to do that, why should anyone be willing to consider their case?

    I don’t trust “experts” because “experts” have done a terrible job in the subjects I’m interested in. The IPCC reports, heralded as created by thousands of scientists, have had glaring errors caused by rampant bias. If we’re to believe the common portrayal of the IPCC process, that means we should blame thousands of scientists.

    On a more direct note, when Steve McIntyre doubted the hockey stick, he tried to talk to the “experts.” They were unhelpful, petty and incompetent. Worse, not only did their peers accept them, they became a major part of the public relations campaign for the global warming discussion. Even worse, we’ve seen the same “experts” are incredibly hypocritical as they criticize people they disagree with for the same things they do. And worst of all, we’ve since learned this happened despite many “experts” either doubting their work or flat-out knowing it was wrong.

    And since then we’ve had other examples of the same things come about, like Stephan Lewandowsky’s obscene abuse of statistics to demonize entire swaths of the population via a methodology even the most cursory examination shows is bogus. Instead of being laughed at for his incompetence, he’s become an “expert” promoted to laypeople everywhere.

    Then we’ve been given a public face for the “expertise” in the forms of Real Climate and Skeptical Science. I’m not even going to try to explain what’s wrong with that, save to say they’ve probably done more to make people distrust the “experts” than any skeptics ever have. Skeptical Science doesn’t even seem to mind fabricating quotes.

    This stuff may not be representative of experts in general, but it is what I, as a layperson in the public, am constantly exposed to. As long as that’s true, I have no reason to trust experts. As far as I can see, if expertise means anything, it means you can get away with more ********.

    • Very well said, my friend. With experts like this, who needs bigoted ignorami?

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      +100

      Very well put.

      Max

    • “I don’t trust “experts” because “experts” have done a terrible job in the subjects I’m interested in.”

      So that makes non-experts more trustworthy even though they have they don’t have the requisite knowledge to make informed judgements?

    • Joseph, I didn’t say a word about the skills or qualifications of non-experts. I’ll ask you to please respond to what I said, not the figments of your imagination.

    • (To be clear, I also didn’t say a thing about their trustworthiness.)

    • ” … it means you can get away with more ”

      What is gone missing in Nicholls’ article is the concept of ACCOUNTABILITY

      Lack of this is the prime cause of the disrespect he so anguishes about, yet he evades it as he would bubonic plague

      There is no hope of change from articles such as this

    • Well you said you don’t trust the “experts.” Who do you trust?

    • Well said.

    • Joseph, are you really saying the fact I don’t trust experts makes you think I trust non-experts? Why? There is nothing which requires I trust anyone. As a rule, I don’t unless I’m given reason to.

      Everyone else, thanks!

    • I agree with you. Especially as what he espouses as the ideal is, at best a modern and shortlived situation, and at worst a complete fabrication. The current situation, whilst new in that it is immediate and international via the internet is just an extension of what used to be the norm in the English coffee houses of the 17th C, or the Greek Areopagus.

      As far as I am concerned the more interest and crossover of ideas between smart people from different areas of expertise the better.

      Any person or discipline is of risk of becoming too close to a problem for proper objectivity (wood for trees syndrome) and input from a fresh pair of eyes can often spot a major problem that is being missed by someone concentrating on minute detail problems. ( It is something l have seen many times in software development, with people trying to tweak software that actually has fundamental design faults)

      You only have to look at the story of John Harrison and his sea clock solution to the Longitude problem to see that the argument of Tom Nicholls is invalid.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Brandon Shollenberger opines on January 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      “The reality is many “experts” are idiots. Many of them are quacks.”
      _______

      Is Brandon, an expert on experts, one of the many experts who is an idiot or a quack?

    • Max_OK, Brandon has just repeated what many scientific, other disciplines and interdisciplinary studies have shown. Yes, there are quacks, and incompetents in human endevors. Brandon should have just stipulated that. In terms of the article this is about, there was a sci-fi book that examined this democratization of review, and had two main conclusions. 1.) That real expertise, the ability to determine who was the actual expert became worth even more – whole companies similar to Google on steroids came into existence, and 2.) Because real knowledge can impact politics, the politicians led the way in trying to obscure or allow obscurity in order to avoid exposure.

      A world wide Climategate on steroids. ;)

    • JFP –

      As I believe you agree….

      The distrust of experts is selective. One of the more interesting aspects of Dan Kahan’s work is where he studies how people come about their trust in expertise. Not surprisingly, he finds that people tend to trust the experts that align their their cultural, political, and social identificaitons, and distrust those who don’t. Basically – what he shows is that if someone doesn’t know the orientation of an “expert’s”: advice, they trend to trust that advice, but if they find some way of orienting that same expert as being outside their group, that same advice now becomes untrustworthy.

      It would seem that there is a basic point here – given all things equal, it’s probably better odds to rely on the expertise of people who have studied an issue deeply and for a long time, than to rely on advise of people who have less experience with the issues being addressed.

      Of course, there are sometimes biases associated with long-time study of an issue. And of course, there are advantages to the novel approaches of those who may not be indoctrinated into the “orthodoxy.” Of course there are problems with institutional biases and “gatekeeping.”

      But unless one is stuck in a binary mentality, it is possible to understand that while all of those problems may be important, it doesn’t justify this kind of railing against “expertise” as some abstract concept. What justifies railing against expertise as some abstract concept is bias, and that is why we find the kinds of results that Kahan finds – that trust in “expertise” is highly influenced by motivated reasoning.

      Agreed, John?

      So, would the UK panel be somehow strengthened if instead of people with formal expertise, the some of the “expert” “realist” guests were replaced with non-expert “realist” guests?

      Which “skeptic” here would say that would somehow strengthen the panel? I”d guess not a one, because the problem they have with “experts” is related to the views of the “experts,” not because they have a lot of experience studying the field.

    • Of course, I should have added…. of course it is always important to note that “expertise” is not dispositive for settling a question.

    • Joshua blames motivated reasoning.
      Let’s stipulate that motivation has a reason- we’ve been here before, outside of climate. The accepted academic “expert” makes a “stunning” claim backed by what all his peers claim is “meticulous” research. As a result, the expert is celebrated in the media and by his peers-winning one of his field’s most prestigious awards.
      But a handful of laymen non-experts, one in particular, think the stunning argument is non-sense. The one in particular attempts to replicate the stunning research and discovers it really was junk.
      It’s not the story your thinking of, in fact it had nothing to do w climate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_America

    • Let’s stipulate that motivation has a reason- we’ve been here before, outside of climate.

      Indeed we have. No doubt we all have encountered, thousands of times, where quacks disagreed with “experts.”

      Think of how common it is these days to consult the reviews when you shop on line. You are seeking out the opinions of those who have experience in evaluating what you’re trying to figure out. Of course, you usually find all kinds of views, so you know that nothing you read will be dispositive. But you tend to examine the views expressed for signs that the person writing the review is someone who experienced in conducting the specific evaluation.

      And of course, what you generally look for, very specifically, is the degree of consensus as the major piece of evidence (i.e., the average # of “stars” awarded).

      This is human nature, folks.

      One of the funniest things about the climate wars is how both sides think that motivated reasoning predominates on the other side. Such thinking is one of the first “tells” for motivated reasoning.

    • Oh, and btw Jeff –

      Binary thinking is also a major “tell” for motivated reasoning – you know, like thinking that because “experts” were wrong once, we should assume that “experts” are more likely than laymen to be wrong.

    • Joshua, “like thinking that because “experts” were wrong once, we should assume that “experts” are more likely than laymen to be wrong.”

      No one is assuming anything close to that. There are quite a few experts that are wrong in the opinion of other experts. When that happens a layman has to determine the level of trust they will place in “expert” opinion. Many of the skeptics that are getting involve are “experts” in some small part of a much larger puzzle. You don’t have to be a certified “expert” in medicine to read a study on the effectiveness of a vaccine or procedure.

      I opted to not get a flu vaccination.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20832494

      If something has no effect about 90% of the time, I think it is a waste of time and money. 8.5% is statistically significant though, barely.

    • “Once”? Kind of depends on political nature of the field, don’t it?
      Let’s see your tell- Ehrlich is A. An honored expert holding a sinecure at one of the United States’ top universitiesr B. The guy Simon (and the passage of time) proved ridiculous.
      Off the top of my head I can think of three high profile cases where laymen proved “experts” wrong, only one of them resulted in the expert opinion being rejected. That is not a good track record for trust in expertise.
      The three are Ehrlich-simon, bellisiles-cramer, Mann-McIntyre.

    • Joshua –

      This is human nature, folks.

      It’s also human nature to believe in some or other deity, and, in fact, it is, and always has been, the consensus of thousands upon thousands of trained clergy that such deities are real.
      The point is, people have great propensity for following their hearts (metaphorically speaking) rather than their heads. In any contest between the heart and the head, the heart will always win hands down. And the heart, which knows neither logic nor reason, will lead the head down the garden path – even to destruction in the extreme.
      While this may not be a bad thing in many areas of life, passions do militate against objectivity, and make things like confirmation bias much more of a problem.
      Unfortunately for climate science, there are few things more likely to inflame passions than the potential of an existential threat to mankind.

    • Steve from Rockwood

      Let’s not forget that being a expert in climate science does not make one an expert on public policy decisions, or economics, or helping the poor, or saving the planet (which will have different meanings to different experts).

    • Joshua, I agree with much of what you post, but Intergovernmental says a lot. One of the attributes of belief is that the mythos can be changed with more information, whether a thought is typically binary or not. I do not have a problem with the expertise of those in the IPCC, but expertise is not limited to that. In particular, the methodology of the policy depends on several axioms that are under challenge from the facts. One is natural variability; one is the equilibrium climate sensitivity; and the rate of ECS. Natural variability is more than was credited in AR4. As such, it means ECS is not a threat from either it is small, or the timespan is millennia. This has direct impact on the social cost and the advisability of mitigation. This I think will be what AR5 is going to have problems with as our knowledge base grows. Between the uncertainty, and how the IPCC used natural variability with proxy reconstructions to support the timeline and magnitude of ECS, AR5 with its silence on distancing itself from AR3, AR4, has left itself open to valid criticism.

      However, if the heat comes back shortly, they will look like geniuses. Which ever way it goes, I hope that the discussion will resemble more of a discussion than food fight.

    • Joshua makes a fascinating argument:

      But unless one is stuck in a binary mentality, it is possible to understand that while all of those problems may be important, it doesn’t justify this kind of railing against “expertise” as some abstract concept. What justifies railing against expertise as some abstract concept is bias, and that is why we find the kinds of results that Kahan finds – that trust in “expertise” is highly influenced by motivated reasoning.

      This is fascinating because of its vapidity. It isn’t even circular. It’s just hand-waving. The entire argument hinges on the last clause of the first sentence:

      it doesn’t justify this kind of railing against “expertise” as some abstract concept.

      But there is no basis given for the claim. There is no support for it. Despite that, he uses it to justify the claim anyone who doesn’t agree with it is doing so because of bias. This entire paragraph is effectively just a wordy way of saying, “I’m right because I’m right, and anyone who disagrees, disagrees because they’re biased.” The closest thing there is to support for his argument is this paragraph:

      It would seem that there is a basic point here – given all things equal, it’s probably better odds to rely on the expertise of people who have studied an issue deeply and for a long time, than to rely on advise of people who have less experience with the issues being addressed.

      But it doesn’t support his argument at all. I never said a word about relative trust levels. Saying we shouldn’t trust expertise in no way implies we should trust a lack of expertise. In no way does it imply it’d be “better odds… to rely on advise of people who have less experience.” This is a complete non-sequitur.

      The obvious argument people seem to be ignoring is if we shouldn’t trust “experts,” we shouldn’t trust anyone. It’s not like the process of becoming an “expert” corrupts people into some horrendous thing. If people are untrustworthy there, they’ll be untrustworthy everywhere.

      The most remarkable aspect of this is Joshua’s argument effectively says people can’t possibly be skeptics. A lack of trust is key to being skeptical. If the only reason people ever display it is bias, then nobody is truly skeptical.

    • Hey JFP –

      Joshua, I agree with much of what you post, but Intergovernmental says a lot. One of the attributes of belief is that the mythos can be changed with more information, whether a thought is typically binary or not. … I hope that the discussion will resemble more of a discussion than food fight.

      Yeah, well I think that Kahan’s work pretty much blows the “deficit model” out of the water – in fact I’d say that common sense does the same.

      As for the discussion looking less like a food fight – I see no trend in that direction so far. Further, given that IMO, the debate is primarily just a proxy for identity protection struggles, I think that such an outcome is unlikely. The food fight is the meat of the discussion.

    • k scott denison

      Joshua said:

      “And of course, what you generally look for, very specifically, is the degree of consensus as the major piece of evidence (i.e., the average # of “stars” awarded).”
      __________

      Interesting insight into your thought process, and I mean this genuinely and without snark. It may indicate why you are more prone to believe the AGW consensus than I.

      I can tell that I look for just the opposite: the only reviews I read are the lowest ratings. I’m trying to get a feeling for if those who are complaining have a legitimate gripe and have experienced real issues. This is more true the more expensive the item.

      My thought process in this. Most individuals who buy something want to believe they made the right decision and will be happy to post that yes, they too have had a marvelous experience. They want to belong to the group who were smart enough to buy this miraculous widget.

      On the other hand, I find there are often very clear and concise reviews of the real, experience with a product or service, that aren’t just hand waving, that contain specifics. These are easier for me to believe.

      Interesting that product reviews would so clearly define the differences in the way we think.

    • k scott –

      I can tell that I look for just the opposite: the only reviews I read are the lowest ratings. I’m trying to get a feeling for if those who are complaining have a legitimate gripe and have experienced real issues. This is more true the more expensive the item.

      Good point. I do something similar. It isn’t that I only read the poor reviews, but I do generally go to read them first and I do weigh them in. However, I also find that many of the poor reviews are from people fixated in irrelevant issues or who have what appear to be anomalous experiences based on a study of the types of experiences that predominate. I also do look to see which of similar items tend to have the highest average rating.

      But anyway, good point.

  26. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Neoconservatives get excite by “expert” testimony that Post-invasion free-market reconstruction of Iraq is a slam-dunk!

    Which it wasn’t.

    Conclusion  Those “expert” witnesses who are cherry-picked by politicians deserve no more trust than the politicians who cherry-pick them.

    \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}

    • Sure, the only expert that deserves absolute trust is the Holy Pope.

    • Experts are always cherry-picked to support policy objectives. They are not “tapped’ to come to Washington to do anything other than further policy of one side or another. This is neither good nor bad– but simply the way business is done in D.C. In the case of Iraq, billions of dollar were at stake, and so there were strong motivations to get “experts” so say pretty much whatever it took to move policy toward capturing those billions.

    • That the hearings are more a show than place to learn is natural in a large country where the members of parliament have sufficient resources to collect information in other ways, and everywhere when the hearings are public.

      The situation is somewhat different in a small country like Finland and with closed hearings. Even in this case the influence is certainly mostly small.

  27. Michael Larkin

    Ah, but Dr. Nicholls: experts differ. So one listens to one view, and then to others, and in the end has to make up one’s own mind just as one would if one didn’t listen to any of them.

    I take it that you’re not suggesting one should look for the expert who says what one has already decided to agree with? That you recommend listening to a range of their views?

    And on another point, why can’t expert views be found on the Web through the exercise of a little Google-fu? I mean, isn’t your opinion piece on the Web, and don’t you want it to be treated as an expert view? Or is it an inferior view that wouldn’t be up to your usual snuff?

  28. Dr. Curry ==> I will be posting a little essay on WUWT on Sea Level rise at the Battery, NYC in a couple days that will show how a total ignoramus can outshine a professional journalist (if not real Climate Scientists. I know…I know…its a very low bar…but I’m an old man and a sailor and an ethicist at that).

    The point is that amateurs are often willing to put in a great deal more time and elbow grease than some professionals (present company excepted, of course). SM and AW are citizen scientists who have spent countless unpaid hours reworking or doing original work that someone else had probably already been paid good money to do.

    Dr. Curry, you yourself are an invaluable scientific resource and ethical example to your colleagues.

    • “that someone else had probably already been paid good money to do”

      well no, it doesn’t work like that.

      If you want to, in your free time, devote 1000 hours to a subject.,

      That doesn’t mean someone else had “probably already” been paid money to do it.

      In fact chances are not.

    • Kip I look forward to your essay

    • I look forward to that as well. I have been following the NOAA reports on the SLR at Battery Park for some time.

    • Being posted at WUWT should provide a large audience. Hopefully the signal versus the noise of your article will be high.

    • Dr. Curry ==> It should be up tomorrow or so — use the link in the intro to “scroll to the end” — it sums it all up — then if still interested, spend the time to read the blah-blah-blah. — kh

  29. Experts bah experts
    Too much learnin’
    From “books”

    I figured it all out myself
    in 5 minutes
    burn the experts
    and burn their books

    • David Springer

      Ah. The source of your confusion and yours. The books, which were traditionally expensive and required of starving college students to purchase for hundreds of dollars in a ritual sacrifice to the expert authors, are now freely available accessable by everything from cell phones to smart TVs and searchable in the blink of an eye.

      Back in the day (1980’s) Bill Gates personally pitched to me his grand vision “Information At Your Fingertips”. I helped make that vision a reality over the coming decades. In hindsight we could have called it “Expertise At Your Fingertips”.

    • David Springer,

      “The books, which were traditionally expensive and required of starving college students to purchase for hundreds of dollars in a ritual sacrifice to the expert authors, are now freely available accessable by everything from cell phones to smart TVs and searchable in the blink of an eye.”

      You truly underestimate the lengths to which those who feed at the government trough, now including higher education, will go to ensure the flow of ever more money into their own pockets.

      They have gotten around the “available on the internet” dodge. Now many text books are “revised” annually, with the professor/grad student requiring the latest edition be purchased. Many are also now coupled with specific web sites, for which you have to pay (often as much as the old text books) for an access card.

      None of which is a surprise now that government has taken over the “financing” of “higher” education.

    • lolwot

      Jes lahk a smart houn dog don’t bite yer hand ef yer feedin it, Ah reckon that if them ex-spurts ar getting paid fer ex-spurt juj-mint that sez its gonna git reel hot on account of peepel drivin ther pickup tucks an all, that’s whut them ex-spurts ar gonna say.

      Don’t yew reckon too?

      Max

    • DS and GM, give a little credit where credit is due. Every semester, I figure out the cheapest way for my classes to have a text and explain it to the students. Many other perfessers do this too. One of my classes has no text at all–we use online journal articles which are freely available to the students online, either through the library or otherwise. Don’t tar us all with this broad brush please.

    • NW,

      Good for you. If only your way were the rule, rather than the exception. My son and son-in-law are currently in college, and none of their classes are being given by anyone showing the concern for their students finances that you are.

  30. Everybody’s an expert:

    “Predictions that were produced by a formula using just test scores and grades were more accurate. There are also many studies showing that expertise and experience do not make someone a better reader of the evidence. In one, data from a test used to diagnose brain damage were given to a group of clinical psychologists and their secretaries. The psychologists’ diagnoses were no better than the secretaries’.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/12/05/051205crbo_books1

    • Juries are made up of people and not limited to experts. Our system is based on the idea that people can listen to and look at evidence and make life and death decisions. If laypeople are qualified to make life and death decisions, they are qualified to look at Climate Data and Climate Model Output and listen to Expert Opinions and make the actual decisions.
      The Experts in a trial do not make the decisions, unless the accused agrees to that.
      We are looking at the Earth Data and the Climate Model Output that disagrees and we are listening to many different opinions and we are not buying the Extreme Climate Alarmism.

      Juries are made up of people and not limited to experts.

  31. Just to set the record state, I understand that the session on Jan 28th of the UK Parliamentary Committee on DECC is just the first of two or more such sessions.

  32. Tell it to a patent office clerk.

  33. Steven Mosher

    “How did this peevishness about expertise come about, and how can it have gotten so immensely foolish?”

    who cares what Nichols has to say about this. He is not an expert on the matter.
    He’s a policy expert. Note, the first thing most experts do is blather on about things they are not expert in. As an expert observer of experts, you better all just accept my assertion. I’d gladly listen to Nichols about policy, his area of expertise, he should shut up about everything else and stick to his area of expertise.

    • And his area can become a sticky wicket separating the lines between value judgements and technocracy that can become easily blurred. In the hard science it can be done most of the time. In politics and policy development there is no easily defined line of demarcation.

    • “I’d gladly listen to (fill in the blank) about policy, his area of expertise, he should shut up about everything else and stick to his area of expertise.”

      Imagine how quiet the climate debate would be if all the “experts” stuck to their fields.

    • “who cares what Nichols has to say about this. He is not an expert on the matter.
      He’s a policy expert. Note, the first thing most experts do is blather on about things they are not expert in. As an expert observer of experts, you better all just accept my assertion. I’d gladly listen to Nichols about policy, his area of expertise, he should shut up about everything else and stick to his area of expertise” – mosher

      Good advice for Judith too?

  34. I watched an interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski where he said that Egyptian President Mubarak would never (with emphasis) be forced from office. The very next day he was gone.

    Brzezinski is widely accepted as one of the foremost experts of the Middle East. And yet he was wrong. Which would put him on less footing than a layman with no knowledge or expertise who had expressed his opinion that Mubarak would be forced out.

    The lesson? Experts may not know any more about the future than the rest of us. After all as Yogi said “Predictions are very difficult. Especially about the future.”

    • dennis adams

      You quote Yogi Berra (as to why predictions by experts are often wrong).

      In his “The Black Swan”, Nassim Taleb writes that predictions by experts fail not because of what they know, but because of what they do not know.

      He concludes that “experts” are no better at making predictions than common-sense non-experts.

      “2,500 scientists can’t CAN be wrong.”

      Max

    • Max

      What disturbs me the most about Climate Science is this false sense of confidence in what the Consensus think they know vs what they dont know. I am sure the scientists of the 22nd century will just shake their heads at the hubris of much of Climate Science community.

  35. The new problem over the last 25 years has been use of educational institutions( who do almost anything they can get away with for grant money) agreeing to create new disciplines of study complete with Chairs, Committees, Phd awards, and Treatise publications all talking about totally phony theory and using falsified data to create apparent experts in a fields where the admissibility of testimony of the expert IS the case.

    The smartest of our great Trial Lawyers first used this trick to create billions of dollars in Jury verdicts. One of those was a Democrat VP nominee named Edwards, and he passed on the way the mafia like scam works to a Democrat VP named Gore who saw trillions of dollars in the scam done internationally.

    The academic frauds had a 20 year head start.

  36. Wow comment after comment just reinforcing the point Tom Nicholls made.

    A hotbed of people who think uneducated opinion is as good as opinion based on years of study.

    As Tom Nicholls points out:
    “The death of expertise is a rejection not only of knowledge, but of the ways in which we gain knowledge and learn about things. Fundamentally, it’s a rejection of science and rationality, which are the foundations of Western civilization itself.”

    • I suspect that a companies accountants know far more about its true assets, cash flow, liabilities and taxable income than do visiting auditors. Why do were have auditors when the people in a company are the real experts and also have a code of conduct?

  37. “A hotbed of people who think uneducated opinion is as good as opinion based on years of study”

    Science is supposed to rely on evidence, not opinion.

    But you know that already.

    Andrew

  38. It has been argued that meteorologists are not climate experts, and hence their opinions should be discounted relative to climate experts. Well, many climate experts know nothing about climate dynamics; rather their expertise is in the area of climate impact assessment

    The dynamic component of CS,The deep understanding of the hydrodynamics of the fluid experiments,is limited in the community as a whole.There is little expertise there of a rigorous mathematical understanding,hence the ossification of the models,and an absence of step like evolution over the last 3 decades or so.

  39. To take but one horrifying example, we live today in an advanced post-industrial country that is now fighting a resurgence of whooping cough — a scourge nearly eliminated a century ago — merely because otherwise intelligent people have been second-guessing their doctors and refusing to vaccinate their kids after reading stuff written by people who know exactly zip about medicine. (Yes, I mean people like Jenny McCarthy.

    • David Springer

      The worse problem appears to be multiple antibiotic resistant bacteria caused by decades of scientists and doctors prescribing antibiotics at the drop of a hat.

      Just sayin’

    • Don’t forget patients who don’t bother to finish the series they’re prescribed.

    • The improper use of antibiotics probably sped it up, but on some cases life finding a way to survive a toxin was probably going to happen anyway.

    • Sorry, but bollocks. Wakefield and co-authors were scientists and published in the second highest ranking medical peer-reviewed journal in the world. They had representatives of the Lancet at their damned press conference and the MMR-Autism link was reported as a scientific finding in the press, prominently in the Guardian.
      Asking parents to allow some white coat to inject their newborn with ‘stuff’ depends on the confidence of the public in the integrity of the people in the white coats.
      The parents are not stupid or ignorant, they are behaving completely rationally. The reason you cannot understand this is because you are an arrogant fool.

  40. Say, regardin’ the expertise of a designated expert, there’s the
    issue of hubris and no skin in the game. Does the expert, so ter
    speak, put his/her money where his mouth is, wear the down side
    as well as the upside of his/her expert status? In complex societies
    it’s sometimes easy fer professionals, bankers, corporate leaders, academic pundits who make confident claims or proposals, to
    avoid sharing the pain if their expert opiniions or actions cause
    harm ter others. Experts sometimes suffer a different disability,
    known as selective memory have and become unaccountable
    fer the failure of their expertise. Pundits re Fanny Mae as an
    example.
    bts

  41. David Springer

    What product does climate science produce other than abstract concerns about hot air 100 years from now?

    Most science is still the domain of experts acknowledged by the public. Laymen don’t pretend to tell scientists and engineers at Lockheed how to design stealth aircraft. Laymen don’t tell scientists and engineers at Intel how to reduce feature size on microprocessors. Laymen don’t tell scientists and engineers how to improve cost and accuracy of synthetic DNA.

    Climate scientists on the other hand produce journal articles about an abstract future and then, adding insult to injury, the unfortunate ones silly enough to drive stakes in the ground 20 years have been humiliated by the data gathered in the first 35 years of the satellite instrument era.

    That’s the only “death of expertise” I’m aware of. It was a self-inflicted injury too.

  42. There are examples down history with experts being both totally right and totally wrong about any new understanding.

    Eminent people to boot.

    Curiosity, logic and respect are the best tools. Large groups do not a safe haven make, but they may.

  43. Looking back is easy, looking forward is hard.

    • David Springer

      Prediction is hard. Especially about the future. ~Niels Bohr
      1922 Nobel prize winner in physics for fundamental discoveries in atomic structure and quantum mechanics.

    • “Looking back is easy, looking forward is hard.”

      Vision is crappy in both directions.

  44. I find there are several major human issues with “expert”
       1. Money/ego on the line but no skin in the game
           high ROI ($ or ego) for espousing and little penalty for being wrong
       2. “winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing!”
           -> ego on the line: very emotional males have this in spades
       3. Level IV ignorance
       Don’t know what they don’t know
       => Armour, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 43 No. 10, Pages 17-20
    10.1145/352183.352194
       => “Shouting from the top of Mt. Stupid on the Internet”
            http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2475
       4. “Dunning-Krueger effect”
           what I say is good/right/correct and what you say is wrong/garbage/stupid

    Even the comments to this post show all four of these.

    The search engines and Wikipedia enhance Level IV ignorance:
        a person can “look up”…. anything they know to look up.
        but create out of “whole cloth”? Not so much.

    • David Springer

      4. “Dunning-Krueger effect”

      The search engines and Wikipedia enhance Level IV ignorance:
      a person can “look up”…. anything they know to look up.
      but create out of “whole cloth”? Not so much.
      ——————————————————————-

      Ah. That explains how climate scientists suddenly became experts in public policy.

    • David Springer

      Good thing they didn’t become experts in teh art of winning friends and influencing people, eh? Maybe google “holier than thou” and “wool gathering” might help. Then finish up with “leading by example” and “do as I say not as I do”.

    • George Turner

      Well, perhaps people entering a field previously led by Mayan priests and the writers at Farmer’s Almanac shouldn’t expect their predictions to have the same certainty as celestial mechanics.

  45. Most new discoveries start with a very people, sometimes one, wondering why? And then looking hard enough to see the answer.

  46. Generalissimo Skippy

    I have recent experience of medical ‘expertise’. Much of it should be ignored utterly – and second and third opinions sought at the risk of being labeled an uncooperative patient. Thank God for the private health system and doctors of choice. Just because they are called doctors doesn’t mean they aren’t idiots. In policy as in medicine you can always get three opinions from a meeting of two practitioners.

    In science there are reputable sources and there is blog science – the difference is critical. The latter should be ignored entirely. The former should be questioned and challenged with diverse sources. This is the key to real knowledge that should be the basis of all education in the natural sciences.

    Science proceeds by way of hypothesis, analysis and synthesis. The example I give is the theory of relativity proceeding from the observation of the invariability of the speed of light wrt inertial frames of reference. An astonishing synthesis.

    Climate models are an example of a modern synthesis that is not so astonishing. In such a complex system observations are fragmentary and uncertain, key processes are not known or predictable and couplings are obscure. These introduce chaotic instability into calculations that is typically glossed over.

    Less reliable still are simplistic, linear analyses based on fragmentary data and a lack of understanding of both critical oceanographic and atmospheric processes and couplings and of the underlying fundamentals of dynamical, non-linear and non-equilibrium systems. Most especially in the blogosphere.

    Much of climate science seems to be reaching conclusions – synthesis – that are on shaky foundations from the weakness of the data. My own view is that climate science needs to go back to first principles – a rational analysis of what is and is not known rather than narratives of dire outcomes. Policy should accept that economic development and growth is the critical need for humanity in the 21st century – but that increasing CO2 emissions as economies grow may be imprudent given a limited understanding of impacts. No dire warnings but simply a new and productive path that has eluded the world until now. This is the true sceptic position.

    • Chief, “Thank God for the private health system and doctors of choice. Just because they are called doctors doesn’t mean they aren’t idiots. ”

      I think it is more idiots in the system than idiot doctors. Different HMOs have procedures based on liability and cost issues that force practitioners to follow “recipes” instead of thinking. At least in the states that seems to be the case.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      More the Aussie system where you can bring in your own doctor rather than having one imposed by the system.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      When ill, climate contrarians should bypass doctors and go skeptics of doctors.

    • Max_OK, “When ill, climate contrarians should bypass doctors and go skeptics of doctors.”

      More like doctors that are skeptics. You know, some of those worthless gray haired old guys that have been in practice for a while.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      No, thanks, cap. I got some bad advice from an old doctor. Like other aging professionals (engineers come to mind), some older doctors just don’t keep up with what’s new and they become obsolete.

    • Max_OK, “No, thanks, cap. I got some bad advice from an old doctor.”

      That is why you want second opinions. Normally, the old guy will tell it to you straight, but they are all still just practicing.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Cap, I think you are suggesting I get a consensus. That’s a good, but expensive, idea.

      I’ll just stick with my current doctor. She’s never steered me wrong, and she’s very attractive.

    • Max_OK, “Cap, I think you are suggesting I get a consensus. That’s a good, but expensive, idea.”

      More confirmation than consensus. Depending on the situation it can be expensive, but most of the time not that bad. As I mentioned to Chief, most of the time it boils down to the system.

    • Max, “I’ll just stick with my current doctor. She’s never steered me wrong, and she’s very attractive.”

      Mine too! and she give a great prostate exam ;-)

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      This was quite an involved comment and we get hung up on medical procedures. Max chimes in with his usual inanities. All professionals require professional development to keep their standing. I in fact keep track of relevant papers sourced from here – for a self directed professional component. Professionals in their 40’s and 50’s are at the peak of earnings potential – confident, experienced, peak knowledge of the field.

      The doctor I walked out on in the public system was straight out of university – low cost I suppose and you get what you pay for. This seems to parallel Maxy’s low rent preoccupations.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      ordvic said on January 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm
      Max, “I’ll just stick with my current doctor. She’s never steered me wrong, and she’s very attractive.”

      Mine too! and she give a great prostate exam ;-)
      _____

      My God, how embarrassing! Perhaps that’s what made Skippy flee the doctor’s office.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Take it that it is a little more serious than you ever aspire to Maxy. You fill the space with trivial inanities that are really quite an embarrassment – and a distraction from any serious comment. It is all just pointless drivel with you.

    • k scott denison

      Max_OK, Citizen Scientist | January 25, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
      When ill, climate contrarians should bypass doctors and go skeptics of doctors.
      _____________

      This contrarian is heading to Salt Lake City or Rochester, MN when sick. There they don’t believe in the value of consensus, they believe in the value of data. Their diagnostic and treatment protocols are developed based on outcomes data that shows which treatments yield the highest success rates.

      There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

  47. Society will benefit from death of “the old boys club” disguised as experts that peer-review each other’s papers and proposals.

    Good riddance !

  48. By coincidence, I’ve just written a post about a case where stuff was going on completely unnoticed by the experts – in this case botanists. But here the puzzle was solved by cooperation rather than conflict.

    http://mygardenpond.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/my-nicked-from-norway-plant-is-flowering/

  49. What we are actually witnessing is death of university as a source of expertise. Universities are now slaves to funding flows. They are addicted to money, have bloated themselves with grandiose infrastructure and bloated administration that requires ever more. Science no longer matters, cash flow does. This has to lead to the death of science at universities, and public has finally picked up on that.

  50. Good point. The so-called best of the science blogs which last year included winner WUWT, and finalists Tallbloke’s Talkshop and JoNova are showing signs of imploding due to the fact that they have nothing to hang their hat on to except for their skeptical attitude. Witness the soap opera as they attack each other over accusations of their fellow skeptics lack of expertise in climate science — in this case its the orbital skeptics vs the non-orbital skeptics fighting it out. Reminds me of the gang fight between inept news teams in the movie Anchorman.

    And we learn that there is no Bloggie award for Best Science Blog of 2014. WHUT’s up with that? Did the organizers realize that giving these guys awards was not the greatest idea in the world?

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      The award for Best Science Blog has become a joke.

    • Imploding? Hmmm … I didn’t notice that. Could you provide some evidence for this “implosion?” And not some unknown web page with charts of unknown pedigree.

    • Part of the implosion is that Monckton wants to take over the defunct Physics Patterns journal that Copernicus ejected, and the dragonslayers are lining up to put papers in there. Let’s see how that plays out.

    • Jim D erects yet another straw man.

    • Just reporting my take on what I read on WUWT. You don’t have to believe it to be entertained by it.

    • Yes, I almost forgot about the d-slayers. Those guys inhabit a different world altogether. Somebody ought to write a field guide to describe the different factions.

      I think the orbital gang is is very distinct from the d-slayers. I actually have some interest in how the lunar-solar-planetary orbits affect the earth. They are simply looking for patterns, which is what the tile of the journal was describing. But the d-slayers start with a premise that is wrong to begin with.

      I would also say there is an integration gang that believes all the behaviors are caused by integrating some measure. WUWT actually believes in that one.

      There is also the group that believes that the excess CO2 comes from the ocean, which WUWT also stands behind because Murry the S is a martyr.

    • Yes, someone should portray this zoo in cartoons so that people can classify them easily. Certain of them clearly fall into the category of anti-science, and should be recognized as such. They detract from the scientific debate, and are the primary reason that most blogs don’t work as discussion forums. Too much nonsensical noise from them. Others have very loud voices, but aimed at people rather than science, and also are part of the noise. The expertise gets shouted down by these groups who try to draw the conversation away from the science either into anti-science or anti-person arguments. I agree with the Nicholls item. Opinion pieces are used to combat publications in the public forum because in most cases they can’t do actual equivalent research to combat them.

    • ” Jim D | January 25, 2014 at 9:56 pm |

      Yes, someone should portray this zoo in cartoons so that people can classify them easily. “

      There actually are a few field guide to climate farm animals out there. You will have to google for them.

    • Steve from Rockwood

      If you are referring to WUWT not winning the 2014 Bloggie award for Best Science Blog, they won in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and now sit in the Bloggie “Hall of Fame” because you can only win 3 times.

      Regarding the orbital versus non orbital skeptics, it would seem unlikely that the world’s most viewed climate site would implode because of one post.

      The characters on Anchorman are known to be closet climate scientists. I read it on the Internet.

    • OMG! Trouble at WUWT! Meanwhile, back at the ranch: the pause is killing the cause!


    • Steve from Rockwood | January 26, 2014 at 12:47 pm |

      If you are referring to WUWT not winning the 2014 Bloggie award for Best Science Blog, they won in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and now sit in the Bloggie “Hall of Fame” because you can only win 3 times.

      No, the Bloggies dropped the Science category for 2014. Having WUWT win it was embarrassment enough, they couldn’t bear to see TallBloke or JoNova win it this year.

  51. john vonderlin

    After reviewing the comments here I wandered over to WUWT, to see if there was anything of interest. A very long, but well-written piece by Guest Blogger, Caleb Shaw, was apparently just posted, based on the paucity of comments. It deals with his own journey in knowledge acquisition about sea ice, from personal observation to his layman’s research efforts using the universal opportunities the Internet provides. I think you’ll find it very relevant to Mr. Nicholl’s assertions about the state of expertise today. I found Mr. Shaw’s description of himself as a “witness” rather than a advocate or expert quite appealing. I might just steal it to describe my own position.

  52. Can’t this debate be distilled into the question-do search engines allow laymen to attain sufficient knowledge,insight, etc. in order for them to contribute to the advancement of climate science?

    Or

    Is there anything taught in the classroom that can’t be Googled?

    • Steve from Rockwood

      What troubles me about acquiring expertise through Google is that you rarely can get past the Abstract. The rest of the paper is pay-walled even though the work was likely supported through public funding.

  53. Tom Nicholls has erected a straw man and is just whining because things aren’t going the way he likes. Expertise is alive and well. It’s just that when the “experts” try to mislead like the Hockey Team did, smart people who participate on the Internet not only catch them, but broadcast it literally to the world. That’s probably the real bee in his bonnet.

  54. There’s a long but, IMHO, well-worth reading comment in response to Nichol’s article. Many of his points are particularly applicable to those who call themselves (and/or who have been “elevated” by unquestioning media mavens) to the status of “expert” in climate science. e.g. Pachauri, whose sweeping agenda-driven proclamations have done much to damage the credibility of the IPCC! Some excerpts:

    Now where [Nichol's] article becomes elitist is when he fails to recognize that yes, while 90-99% of the time, an expert’s opinion is going to trump a single layman’s, there’s always that chance an expert can actually learn something from a layman. Maybe its a new perspective. Maybe its an actual experience that layman had in their life. Now take the sum of all the laymen in the world (and that is everyone in the world, because there’s not one single person in the world who is an expert on everything) and consolidate their views/experiences on this new internet thing we have, and there is a wealth of new (and very useful) knowledge to be found, if an expert was to dig through it, with advanced search techniques. It is already by far, more knowledge than can ever be found in printed books or professors’ brains. Hence, the reason he’s critical of it, because anyone can find it and declare themselves an “expert”.
    [...]
    Don’t be quick to dismiss a person’s opinion, just because you’ve never heard of them. Certainly don’t just assume they’re spewing out Google search results in an attempt to proclaim themselves a pseudo-expert. Even if not one of these geniuses, it could be an “up and comer” to the field, just kicking off their studies who in a decade or two, could be more widely recognized than any seasoned expert that’s critical of their inexperience.
    [...]
    [...]society will always need and will always have “experts”. There is no getting around that. Experts in this day and age are too easily offended when their expertise is challenged by ordinary folk. I respect expertise as much as the next person, but with expertise comes the responsibility of not always thinking or assuming you are/will be right. Experts in the same exact field will often differ with each other, and there is nothing wrong when that happens, or if a layman disagrees, as well. A true expert will not feel threatened when presented with a new perspective. They will acknowledge there is always something new to learn and embrace that opportunity, regardless of the source of that new information. Experts that fail to see it (this new Google-age) this way are, or soon will be, the dinosaurs of expertise, not the death of it. [emphasis added -hro]

    Another observation that, in my view, is missing from Nichol’s essay is that far too often those who claim to be experts – and/or who may be experts in a related sub-field or a completely unrelated field – mistakenly assume that their “expertise” automatically extends to areas that are beyond their acknowledged field of study. For example, climate modellers who have absolutely no academic background in policy development who place a highly unwarranted belief in the infallibility and superiority of their (agenda-driven) policy recommendations.

  55. If scientific expertise really could be trusted….

    Perhaps climate science and the IPCC are the worst example of twisting things, having non-scientists add in whoppers like the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035, or North Africa rainfall to drop so sharply that from 2007 through 2020 grain production in the region would drop by half, all the stuff that Donna Laframboise has documented, etc., etc.

    Mann and the IPCC and climategate folks and Glieck and Lewandosky and so on might be the worst and most well known purveyors of twisting science, or of acting somewhat criminally in a “good cause,”, but look at all the science papers that have had to be withdrawn, look at John Ionnides’ work showing that so many high profile medical findings of the last 15 or so years cannot be replicated.

    I might be very wrong in this, but here goes: science didn’t use to be this way. There were always occasional charlatans, but it didn’t seem institutional.

    If that is so, how did we get on this wrong track?

  56. I am an expert of all I survey…
    and can plumb the mysteries
    of the deep abyss ‘n missing
    heat.

    The Climate Expert.

    • David Springer

      My first grade teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I replied “Lord and master of all I survey”.

      That’s still my goal but now it’s if I grow up not when.

    • Say, DS,
      Some achieve matchurity,
      some have matchurity
      thrust upon them,
      serfs not so mutch. (

    • When Prince Henry, perched on his cape in Portugal, was collecting practical info from anyone who’d been out and about, experts were believing and teaching all kinds of extravagant things about the nature of the earth and its oceans.

      Then someone finally went and took a look. Then someone else took a look. Then someone else…

    • There was a time when experts said …
      said (?) nay, insisted that the Earth was
      flat…and very young* …and was the centre
      of the universe…

      * Say wasn’t it a non-expert,
      mere amateur, gentleman farmer,
      James Hutton, who, by his observations,
      was able to refute religious dogma that
      the Earth was just 6,000 years old?

  57. Was it experts or commonfolk who stated the Titanic was unsinkable?

    Andrew

    • Andrew,sadly for you, the idea of it being unsinkable was not expert opinion, but become wodespread after the event, and is even now repated by poeople like you.

      How funny is that!

    • Oh contraire. I did some research on this, and there were several claims documented of “practically unsinkable” prior to the ship sinking.

      Andrew

  58. I think that Tom Nicholls has spent too much time reading blog comments. Too much being any time at all.

    Ahhh, the irony.

    Or we could comment that Tom Nicholls believes that as information has become easier to find and assimilate and communication has become annoyingly universal, the world has gotten worse.

    I wonder if he reads the sports pages. Lots of professional experts there — but none that could manage a professional sports franchise or make the cut in the PGA.

    Being an expert requires salesmanship and marketing. Not everyone will buy what you’re selling but you have to fine tune your pitch, improve your product and pick your battles to the point where you are successful and respected. It’s hard work and moaning about how tough it is is not a winning strategy.

  59. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    Judith Curry says: “Here’s to the 21st century democratization of expertise!”
    _____

    Men have had that for centuries. We could always express our thoughts on public restroom walls for others to read. I have never been in a ladies room, so I don’t know whether women do the same.

    The internet is like a huge restroom wall that can be seen by far more people that could ever crowd into a small cubicle. However, on balance, internet message content may be no better, and the fact it can reach a far greater audience is not necessarily a good thing.

  60. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    “Tackle a complex policy issue with a layman today, and you will get snippy and sophistic demands to show ever increasing amounts of “proof” or “evidence” for your case, even though the ordinary interlocutor in such debates isn’t really equipped to decide what constitutes “evidence” or to know it when it’s presented. ”
    Tom Nicholls
    ___________

    He’s been here.

  61. Seems to me, the “death of expertise” is the direct result of attempting to con folks with deliberate distortions and misrepresentations, with the express purpose to deceive in order to put more power and money in your pocket. That pretty much describes a large number of the “we’re-all-going-to-die-from-CO2″ crowd. As the deception becomes more evident, folks inevitably conclude the “experts” are nothing more than snake-oil-salesmen.

    Perhaps aspiring “experts” should simply rely on logic and reason and avoid trying to foist their political beliefs on the population.

  62. thisisnotgoodtogo

    The thing is that experts often have no knowledge at all of what their subject is.
    A world renowned phylogeneticist really never took interest in that bird and it’s sub-populations before, his interest is in the genetics. And he ends up with a study but the wrong bird.

  63. I am shocked not to find the obligatory reference to Phillip Tetlock, who actually made systematic studies of expertise in public policy and current events. His headline finding was that experts fared very badly on issues even slightly outside their domain. He also found that believers in monocausal explanation performed worse than those who tried to account for multiple factors. His popular book on this is called Expert Political Judgment.

    You could also give a shout-out to Scott Page, who has published formal mathematical and computational analyses of when non-expert but diverse points of view improve group decision making. His popular book on this is called The Difference.

  64. From the article:
    Abstract
    Summary

    There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research.

    http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

  65. The first useful aeroplane was produced by two brothers that a bicycle repair shop. We were introduced to varying densities in space time by a guy that could not get a job as a maths teacher, and if family legend is of any value then great uncle John was working as a taxi driver when he invented the TV. A truly divergent perspective of existing technology an knowledge so often comes from those outside any given disaplin – and from such lay experts (Steinbeck) we can acquire the fruits of innovation. Jealous experts are always too keen to stand in the way of developments which may render them obsclete.

  66. Why is it that the so called experts from academia always feel threatened and insulted when challenged by knowledgeable lay persons in their area of supposed expertise whereas a brick layer, a farmer, a mechanic, a shop assistant, all equally expert in their fields as any so called expert academic is in his will usually listen to outside opinions and listen for ways to improve their knowledge and performance from sensible suggestions by persons not skilled or knowledgeable in their professions?
    .
    It seems that a lot of so called expert academia suffer from a very unjustified elevated self importance that far exceeds their actual real world performance or capabilities as seen from the level of the ordinary layman / citizen.
    Or as is crudely said, They are completely up themselves.

    A fact borne out by the outright stupidity that is so often seen in widely and loudly proclaimed predictions of future climate catastrophes by so called climate scientists and experts that are just plain stupidity exemplified as seen by the thinking lay person with some knowledge on the subject.
    Or which seemingly has some supposed scientific rationality but which in every case has failed to even hint at materialising as predicted by the so called experts.

    The Internet and the World Wide Web are the equivalent of Gutenberg’s printing press in their impact on the extension of knowledge of every variety and type cross the entire global society.
    Knowledge in all it’s immense variety and span across every profession and scientific discipline is no longer the sole preserve of the ivory tower academic experts but is becoming the singular characteristic of the lay person expert and of modern society as a collective whole.

    In short if you are an academic who believes that knowledge of a particular subject is your’s only to have and keep, get over it and fast or be moved on and out!
    You are in a new world and either adapt and justify your position or get shunted aside for a better and more suited occupier of your position, one who acknowledges they don’t have a personal lock on all the relevant “knowledge” and who acknowledges that there is now another vast accessible knowledge base out there amongst those equally educated and knowledgeable lay persons and other experts from other professions that may prove to be far more correct about the subject than you are.

    • @ROM “Knowledge in all it’s immense variety and span across every profession and scientific discipline is no longer the sole preserve of the ivory tower academic experts but is becoming the singular characteristic of the lay person expert and of modern society as a collective whole.”

      I agree with this but add that knowledge in all its manifestations is a poor substitute for wisdom.

    • Peter Davies
      Could’nt agree more or said it better

    • Peter –

      …knowledge in all its manifestations is a poor substitute for wisdom.

      Yes. That is the point, isn’t it?

    • Actually Joshua, the point about any difference between experts and lay people is that the getting of wisdom and becoming effective in winning friends and influencing people is not necessarily confined to either.

      Experts need to be able to “sell” their POV through understanding and appreciation of the needs of their client market and in achieving acceptance through the building of bridges between them and the mindsets of their listeners.

  67. It is fine for laypeople to have opinions, but if they preface them with ideas such as the greenhouse effect and backradiation don’t exist, or that trace gases don’t do anything, or that CO2 has never done anything throughout climate history, you should feel free to cut them off at that point because then it is just anti-science. There are some litmus tests for that.

    • Back radiation and the “greenhouse” effect do exist. The question is one of feedbacks after that.

    • It is fine for scientists to have opinions too, but when they start saying that a carbon tax will solve all the world’s problems, cut them off right there :)

    • captd, that brings up the question of who are the experts when it comes to impacts and prevention? Nobody has seen society go through global change before. Would you say the scientist’s opinion is not worth listening to, or only those who disagree with you?

    • JimD, “Would you say the scientist’s opinion is not worth listening to, or only those who disagree with you?”

      Everyone’s opinion is worth knowing, though I would rather not listen to everyone express it. When anyone sticks to their field of expertise they are more worth listening to. That doesn’t mean they are right, just much more likely to be right. The problem with climate science is that the complexity limits the range of expertise and policy is not in any climate scientists wheelhouse.

      Mosher said it pretty well, there are some that are trustworthy and some that aren’t. I would never assume anything Michael Mann publishes is error free. Trendberth has quite a few errors. Stieg may have just hung out with the wrong crowd, but his work is not very impressive. Hansen tends to mix fact with fantasy. Most of the better climate scientist seem to never be in the spotlight, Toggwieler, Lawrence, Stott, Manabe, Stephens, Stevens, Oppo and quite a few others behave “scientifically”., but face it JimD, there are tons of errors and questionable assumptions due to the complexity of the problem. It is how they handle their errors that determines their worth.

    • captd, so, if not the scientists, who do you listen to about impacts?

    • JimD, “captd, so, if not the scientists, who do you listen to about impacts?”

      Well, definitely not you or Eli Rabett. As far as listening to THE scientists, I do. Without getting into fancy statistics, 2C or less is the most likely impact. Most of that can be mitigated with higher efficient and land use change until some rational energy policy can be put together.

      I just don’t listen to your particular “team” of scientists.

    • captd, so you probably will dismiss WG2 when it comes out and not want to hear about effects on ecosystems, agriculture, coasts, etc., or would you give them a listen at least? Sometimes, “skeptics” appear closed-minded, despite their self-titled name, because they don’t even listen to the expertise and their evidence.

    • I’m sure many others said the same about classical physics before relativity & quantum theory came along.


    • captdallas 0.8 or less | January 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm |

      Without getting into fancy statistics, 2C or less is the most likely impact.

      Cappy is backtrolling his engine mightily. It use to be that he would claim less than 1.0C — SEE HIS COMMENTING HANDLE FOR EVIDENCE !

      O.8 OR LESS !

  68. The number of refs went from 3 to a couple million on the publication side, it’s better for everybody that way. The public pays for it they should be able to review it.

  69. From the article:

    “I SEE a train wreck looming,” warned Daniel Kahneman, an eminent psychologist, in an open letter last year. The premonition concerned research on a phenomenon known as “priming”. Priming studies suggest that decisions can be influenced by apparently irrelevant actions or events that took place just before the cusp of choice. They have been a boom area in psychology over the past decade, and some of their insights have already made it out of the lab and into the toolkits of policy wonks keen on “nudging” the populace.

    Dr Kahneman and a growing number of his colleagues fear that a lot of this priming research is poorly founded. Over the past few years various researchers have made systematic attempts to replicate some of the more widely cited priming experiments. Many of these replications have failed. In April, for instance, a paper in PLoS ONE, a journal, reported that nine separate experiments had not managed to reproduce the results of a famous study from 1998 purporting to show that thinking about a professor before taking an intelligence test leads to a higher score than imagining a football hooligan.

    When an official at America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) reckons, despairingly, that researchers would find it hard to reproduce at least three-quarters of all published biomedical findings, the public part of the process seems to have failed.

    Various factors contribute to the problem. Statistical mistakes are widespread. The peer reviewers who evaluate papers before journals commit to publishing them are much worse at spotting mistakes than they or others appreciate. Professional pressure, competition and ambition push scientists to publish more quickly than would be wise. A career structure which lays great stress on publishing copious papers exacerbates all these problems. “There is no cost to getting things wrong,” says Brian Nosek, a psychologist at the University of Virginia who has taken an interest in his discipline’s persistent errors. “The cost is not getting them published.”

    In 2005 John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist from Stanford University, caused a stir with a paper showing why, as a matter of statistical logic, the idea that only one such paper in 20 gives a false-positive result was hugely optimistic. Instead, he argued, “most published research findings are probably false.” As he told the quadrennial International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, held this September in Chicago, the problem has not gone away.

    his fits with another line of evidence suggesting that a lot of scientific research is poorly thought through, or executed, or both. The peer-reviewers at a journal like Nature provide editors with opinions on a paper’s novelty and significance as well as its shortcomings. But some new journals—PLoS One, published by the not-for-profit Public Library of Science, was the pioneer—make a point of being less picky. These “minimal-threshold” journals, which are online-only, seek to publish as much science as possible, rather than to pick out the best. They thus ask their peer reviewers only if a paper is methodologically sound. Remarkably, almost half the submissions to PLoS One are rejected for failing to clear that seemingly low bar.

    John Bohannon, a biologist at Harvard, recently submitted a pseudonymous paper on the effects of a chemical derived from lichen on cancer cells to 304 journals describing themselves as using peer review. An unusual move; but it was an unusual paper, concocted wholesale and stuffed with clangers in study design, analysis and interpretation of results. Receiving this dog’s dinner from a fictitious researcher at a made up university, 157 of the journals accepted it for publication.

    Fraud is very likely second to incompetence in generating erroneous results, though it is hard to tell for certain. Dr Fanelli has looked at 21 different surveys of academics (mostly in the biomedical sciences but also in civil engineering, chemistry and economics) carried out between 1987 and 2008. Only 2% of respondents admitted falsifying or fabricating data, but 28% of respondents claimed to know of colleagues who engaged in questionable research practices.

    Harry Collins, a sociologist of science at Cardiff University, makes a more subtle point that cuts to the heart of what a replication can be. Even when the part of the paper devoted to describing the methods used is up to snuff (and often it is not), performing an experiment always entails what sociologists call “tacit knowledge”—craft skills and extemporisations that their possessors take for granted but can pass on only through example. Thus if a replication fails, it could be because the repeaters didn’t quite get these je-ne-sais-quoi bits of the protocol right.

    Taken to extremes, this leads to what Dr Collins calls “the experimenter’s regress”—you can say an experiment has truly been replicated only if the replication gets the same result as the original, a conclusion which makes replication pointless. Avoiding this, and agreeing that a replication counts as “the same procedure” even when it gets a different result, requires recognising the role of tacit knowledge and judgment in experiments. Scientists are not comfortable discussing such things at the best of times; in adversarial contexts it gets yet more vexed.

    In testimony before Congress on March 5th Bruce Alberts, then the editor of Science, outlined what needs to be done to bolster the credibility of the scientific enterprise. Journals must do more to enforce standards. Checklists such as the one introduced by Nature should be adopted widely, to help guard against the most common research errors. Budding scientists must be taught technical skills, including statistics, and must be imbued with scepticism towards their own results and those of others. Researchers ought to be judged on the basis of the quality, not the quantity, of their work. Funding agencies should encourage replications and lower the barriers to reporting serious efforts which failed to reproduce a published result. Information about such failures ought to be attached to the original publications.

    http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21588057-scientists-think-science-self-correcting-alarming-degree-it-not-trouble

  70. Interesting looking through the comments.
    The “experts” are all busily defending their expertise and their rights to control the knowledge involved and justifying their rankings, positions and so called expertise while busily denigrating the offerings from supposedly non expert lay persons.

    The non experts appear to be saying, you might be right some of the time but you sure made a bloody mess of your predictions and claims in the climate sphere [ transferable to numerous other disciplines as well no doubt ] despite your claimed expertise so how about doing a bit of listening and acknowledging some very sensible suggestions and alternative ways of doing and looking at things from non climate but credentially well equipped lay persons..

  71. It is a legal gatekeeper put into law to stop Med Amal and Prodct Liability verdicts, Only an Expeert that the Judge in his sole discretion accepts as an expert can testify on the Science. It is a GOP bad idea to benefit the Defense Bar that has morphed into a hoax by the creation of Fake Expertice Sciences to beat that unjust system by owning the only experts that ever heard of that Fake Science the fake experts created on a University campus.

    • Wow, historical revisionism is one thing. Out right delusion is just sad.

      It has been progressives, in legislatures and on the bench, who have created whole areas of “expertise” to help fuel the plaintiff’s bar ( and through their massive campaign contributions, the Democrat party).

      And the judge has been the “gatekeeper” in deciding whether scientific testimony testimony should be admissible since at last 1923 when a federal appellate court formalized the standard in Frye v. U.S.

  72. Mr. Nicholls should do a comparison study of economies planned by experts versus those left to the individual choices of hundreds of millions of the un-washed.

    His is the lament of all progressives (he is a progressive Republican).

    “[W]hat I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live.”

    Translation, what I fear is that I will be denied the power to alter other people’s thoughts and change their lives. It’s all about influence, impact and other euphemisms for power.

  73. As several commenters have pointed out, what we’re addressing isn’t so much the failure of all experts, but of academic experts. In the university, some non-scientific fields began to rot decades ago. Now, we’re seeing the rot spread to climate science.

  74. “I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.
    For example, I was a little surprised when I was talking to a friend who was going to go on the radio. He does work on cosmology and astronomy, and he wondered how he would explain what the applications of his work were. “Well,” I said, “there aren’t any.” He said, “Yes, but then we won’t get support for more research of this kind.” I think that’s kind of dishonest. If you’re representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you’re doing– and if they don’t support you under those circumstances, then that’s their decision. ”

    Richard Feynman,

    Maybe the ” experts” should do a little soul searching before they start whinging about Laypersons.

  75. Which expert’s opinion is right? Unless you are out in outer space (and not on the space station) you can find expert opinions to back up just about anything you think is happening. That’s what happens when things are poorly understood and there is a great deal of uncertainty.

    • Which expert’s opinion is right?

      The experts are right who can forecast temperatures that come to pass.

      You can throw out all the Consensus Experts who have been wrong for 17 years and search among the others.

  76. Were the founders experts in founding new countries? Does a car salesman’s expertise redound to the benefit of the buyer? Let’s not confuse the supposed ‘expertise’ of individuals with their honor, integrity and a love of truth.

    We should remember that, the AR5 report (The Fifth Assessment Report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC) states scientists are “95 percent certain” human activities are largely to cause for global warming. How was 95 percent calculated? It was pulled out of the arses of scientists with expertise.

    They wanted to show progress — despite no global warming over the last 17 years — and, they’d already used the 90% number in the 2007 AR4 report. So, no math is involved, No statistics. Nothing happened in the meantime to lend more credibility to Western academia’s AGW theory — it is totally subjective: the AGW theory is less plausible now because it has been falsified by the first decade of the new millennium.

  77. Jim D | January 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
    “It turns out some laymen can’t handle the truth.”

    It turns out that some experts can’t tell the truth

  78. “1. We can all stipulate: the expert isn’t always right.
    2. But an expert is far more likely to be right than you are.”

    One thing I’ve noticed in the climate discussion is experts strategically & systematically ignoring &/or deceiving.

    The strategy seems to be to bank on awareness of item #2 under the false assumption of randomness across sorting variables.

    The ignorance &/or deception does not occur randomly. The expert tells the truth at a very high rate and this fools most followers (the naive). The expert uses a very small percentage of statements to deceive in very specific — but extremely strategic — areas.

    Overall the expert may have a 95-98% hit rate, but lies egregiously (or strategically ignores something of fundamental — but inconvenient — importance) in the 2-5% statements where it counts most for their political &/or financial agenda.

    …So we all need street smarts to go with our hybrid academic background Tom.

    Cheers

  79. Social scientist Tom Nicholls complains about experts being ignored. Perhaps he should start with his own profession which includes Economics. One of the greatest failures of all time was the failure to warn of the GFC. Yes, the physical sciences have their bothers as well. like the IPCC initial postulate that the “science is settled”, despite that they have no convincing explanations of the two hiatus, 1940 to 1970 and 1997 to the present.

    Their ‘greenhouse gas’ .theory was just an analogy, and not a scientific explanation and I am surprised they have got away with it for so long. It speaks volumes of the scientific illiteracy of the public and the failure of the academic establishment to correct what seemed to be a relatively harmless analogy.

  80. Grant A. Brown

    The problem began when the emphasis in academia shifted from preventing publication of nonsense to publishing nonsense at all cost. Too little credit is given to those who engage in the function of keeping the academic house in order; too much credit is given to those publishing papers that only 12 others will ever read. Quality suffers when quantity is the measure of all things.

    • Information experts say that a negative result is more valuable and informative than a positive one. Yet the former almost never sees the light of day. Throwing out the baby and drinking the bathwater?

  81. How can we not credit the expertise of Michael Mann who is able to divine ‘hockey sticks’ out of white noise?

  82. “…All preferences are principled, that is, they are intelligible and doable only by virtue of some principled articulation of the world and its possibilities; but by the same token all principles are preferences, because every principle is an extension of a particular and contestable articulation of the word and none proceeds from a universal perspective.” –Stanley Fish

    Since vast numbers of humanities professors believe and teach this kind of strong relativism, is it any wonder that vast numbers of educated persons under the age of fifty now believe that no one has any specially persuasive knowledge claims? You can protest that this generation of scholars meant something more subtle, but it’s like Father Guido Sarducci’s Five Minute University: Almost no one remembers anything except “all preferences are principled.” How do you like your Blue-Eyed Boy Mr. Fish?

    • NW –

      is it any wonder that vast numbers of educated persons under the age of fifty now believe that no one has any specially persuasive knowledge claims?

      Do you have some evidence for that? You must, since there are “vast numbers.”

    • I can’t wait to see if Mr. N.W. feels like he owes you any evidence, joshie.

    • Why duck, NW.?

      You made what seems like a very broad overstatement. Last time you did that and I called you on it, you at least offered an rationale (a lame one, but at least it was an excuse).

      Where is your evidence that that “the vast numbers of educated persons under the age of fifty now believe that no one has any specially persuasive knowledge claims?”

      What about people who are ages 50-60? 60?-70? How does the prevalence of the belief you describe correlate with age? Is it more prevalent among those who are 20 than those who are 30?

      I mean someone who has as much “expertise” as you in studying these kinds of prevalences would certainly not make a strong claim such as that you made with no evidence.

      Just a link or two would suffice.

      • “Last time you did that and I called you on it, you at least offered an rationale (a lame one, but at least it was an excuse).”

        And the man wonders why I’m not going to bother with him this time.

      • And there’s no end to this. Suppose I produce a number. You will argue that it doesn’t match the plain meaning of “vast.”

        BTW, while we’re talking, your endless witticisms on “big boy pants” got tedious a long time ago.

    • joshie! joshie! joshie!

      I saw a broad overstatement down below somewhere. It might have been Judith. I don’t remember. You better go check it out. Demand evidence. We are depending on you.

  83. A lot of skeptics like Nic Lewis’s result merely because it is a low outlier, not because they like the method which describes the global surface temperature evolution with a 3-parameter curve-fitting exercise. I think this fact tells the skeptics a lot about themselves, and may also say something about confirmation bias.

    • I like Nic’s Method because he used a method that in AR4 was accepted. now it seems to me that if you live by the sword you ought to die by it.

      14 other authors, IPCC leads included, also see to like Nic’s Method.

      If you took the time to read his paper you’d see that its a pretty straightforward approach to measuring sensitivity. It not the only one of course.

    • Nic Lewis must do some bizarre treatment of the data. The actual TCR is 2 C per doubling of CO2.

      The data in the linked chart goes back to 1880 and applies Curry’s Stadium Wave to compensate for the large fluctuations, and also applies the approach of the majority of climate scientists to compensate for volcanos, SOI, and TSI. That is the basic idea behind the CSALT model.

      What is Nic Lewis’s low-ball estimate? Something like 1.2C or 1.3C? That is completely ridiculous in the face of observational evidence over the past 130+ years.

      He is not an expert, that is for certain.

    • Lewis calls his result an ECS when it is more like an effective climate sensitivity. Armour’s paper showed that if climate change occurs unevenly between various regions (land, ocean, Arctic, for example), his method will underestimate the sensitivity. For example, with drier regions accounting for more of the temperature change so far, the water vapor feedback is less than when the oceans respond, which will be slower. By using a single global temperature and sensitivity, Lewis misses these effects. Also a single ocean diffusivity doesn’t capture much about the ocean response. It is just too simple to be used with real data.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Which of the following would best describe what Nic Lewis is saying:

      1. There’s only one way to skin a cat, his way.

      2. His way is the best way.

      3. His way is as good as any way.

      4. His way should be considered along with the other ways.

      How did the IPCC handle Nic’s way.

    • I think it is simpler than that. Nic Lewis bafflegabbed his estimate.

      How anyone can assert that the GISS temperature data slope is not following a 2C TCR with respect to CO2 levels is beyond me.

      And the 3C ECS observed on land is compelling, along with the OHC trends. See this post which pulls the deep ocean, the sea surface, and land all together in a concise analysis:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/01/25/what-missing-heat/

      Someone will eventually combine the OHC and the surface temperature data together in a way that I described above and then we can move forward.

    • Weigh his way by his whey!

    • Nic Lewis has a real name and a plausible published paper. Way ahead of your wobbly curve fitting, webby.

    • Yes, why not do the simple thing and derive sensitivity from the actual temperature and CO2 change which gives just over 2 C for a transient climate response (a lower limit for ECS)? This gives a good first guess for policymakers because it fits the known data. You may argue that other GHGs and aerosols modify this, but the correlation is still near 0.9, which is good enough to use. Lewis’s number falls well below this curve, so he would have to argue that some other CO2-correlated factor accounted for the rest of the warming, and we can correct for it that way. Same as using the observation-derived sensitivity.

    • Boy, that name really brought the believers out:

    • Is that it? Because Nic Lewis doesn’t include trace gases in his co2 estimate?

    • If methane is included in the full accounting and it accounts for about 20% of the GHG forcing, it should contribute to the pause as the methane rise has slowed considerably in the last 20 years:

      Perhaps Nic Lewis is being disingenuous about attribution. As a shorthand, the CO2 sensitivity rolls in all of the GHG’s including water vapor into its evaluation. That’s why they refer to it as a control knob. In other words, when Lacis or Hansen says that CO2 has a 3 to 5C ECS, it is implicit that the other GHGs are making up for the rest of the sensitivity.

      So if Nic Lewis is suggesting that CO2 is 1.2C and not the measured 2C, then he is using an attribution for 60% for CO2, and 40% for the rest of the GHGs to make up for his missing 0.8C of sensitivity.

      That is not really fair in terms of using his results for policy decisions, as it is well understood that most of the anthropogenic GHGs rise and fall along with CO2, as that is the main industrial indicator.

    • WHUT, you write “and not the measured 2C,”

      Sorry, WHUT, climate sensitivity has NEVER been measured.

    • I don’t know if Lewis really meant CO2 sensitivity or total sensitivity, but his number falls short of plain observation by 25%. Maybe someone can show him this at his testimony and ask him to explain his number and its relevance.
      For example, this is the correlation I am talking about.

      For this shorter period we get a sensitivity of over 3 C per doubling, which is twice Lewis’s number.


    • For example, this is the correlation I am talking about.

      For this shorter period we get a sensitivity of over 3 C per doubling, which is twice Lewis’s number.

      That is good evidence against Nic Lewis, JD.
      It is above 3C because it takes the steepest rise in warming.

  84. it’s ironic, learned people, and the zombies; are exhaling CO2 from their lungs and using that same CO2 for their vocal cords, to badmouth CO2…

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      It’s even more ironic that people like to drink water but speak ill of floods.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist said: ”It’s even more ironic that people like to drink water but speak ill of floods”

      Max, there is no such a thing as ”flood” from CO2. CO2 is food for the trees and crops; we suppose to like trees – trees need even more CO2 than they are getting now – if you don’t know if is enough CO2, ask the trees.

      One oak tree has more knowledge than people that are badmouthing CO2

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      stefanthedenier, there can be more CO2 than needed just as there can be more water than needed. Too much of anything is not a good thing.

      Just so you know, I do exhale on plants now and then to help them out.

  85. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    Judith Curry described the post by Tom Nicholls as “provocative.”
    _____
    That may be an understatement. Nicholls has climate contrarians fretting, fuming, and sputtering. I think they fear he is right about them.

  86. Lets look at the argument

    We can all stipulate: the expert isn’t always right.
    Stipulated
    ##########################################
    But an expert is far more likely to be right than you are.
    Stipulated, the issue is how much more likely. that is what we like to probe.
    Ask yourself why? Nothing is sweeter than taking an expert down. Experts choose to be experts. That means they should not worry too much about
    layfolks taking them down. Should be like shooting fish in a barrell
    #############################

    Experts come in many flavors. Education enables it, but practitioners in a field acquire expertise through experience; usually the combination of the two is the mark of a true expert in a field. But if you have neither education nor experience, you might want to consider exactly what it is you’re bringing to the argument.

    What does the layperson bring to the argument?
    curiousity, skills outside my area of expertise that may enlighten me.
    a challenge to show I know my stuff.
    an opportunity for amusement

    #########################################
    In any discussion, you have a positive obligation to learn at least enough to make the conversation possible.

    That holds true on both sides. For the expert he has to learn the limits of his authority. When is it ok to say “trust me Im an expert”
    ###############################
    And yes, your political opinions have value. As a layman, however, your political analysis, has far less value, and probably isn’t — indeed, almost certainly isn’t — as good as you think it is.

    The real issue Nichols has is personal. Just read the end of his piece. The issue is he doesnt get the respect he expects and he thinks laypeople demand too much respect. He’s channelling Rodney Dangerfield.

    It’s a pity he didnt discuss what he was an expert in and give us some examples of how his analysis was so much better than lay peoples opinon. I don’t doubt it,
    but I dont see how his rodney dangerfield moments have any relevance to the “death of expertise” Ya, experts have lost some priveledge. Deal with it. If you are on the internet you’re expected to answer all manner of fools. Deal with it or get off the net. Yes the vast amount of information available to people allows them to look more knowledgable than they are. deal with it.

    of course you can find out how to be an expert or master anything by using youtube

    • Nichols is an expert on the REMF perspective of the Cold War. I once picked up a book of his that was supposed to teach us what lessons we learned from our little tussle with the Soviets. Didn’t buy it. I guess the War Colleges ain’t what they used to be.

  87. Dr. Curry writes:

    “Here’s to the 21st century democratization of expertise!” [my emphasis]

    So now we vote on the science?

    From where I stand this is a careless sloganeering for the troops at best and a bad advocacy at worst. [I assume the former for now.] Insist on a such a conflation of politics and science and the result will be both bad politics and bad science.

    There is a distinction between society imposing accountability on the scientists/experts and democratizing the science. The former is a knotty problem and the latter is an ill-advised approach to solving the problem.

    • Politicization would be an equivalent word, the way it went. Are we in favor of the politicization of science? Shouldn’t the science be carried out independently of policy considerations? The WG1 has nothing to say about policy. Even the SPM.10 Figure relating temperature to fossil fuel burning says nothing about policy, just consequences. The policymakers get to choose the consequences they want from this graph.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      +1

      I think it was just sloganeering. I doubt JC believes
      “democratization of expertise” means voting on science.

    • You are correct, mwgrant. A valid criticism of the usually sensible Judith, unless your charitable interpretation is the correct one. Joshie missed a real opportunity here. Maybe he is finally getting gun shy.

    • mwgrant,
      I don’t think sceptics, who argue that consensus is not science,
      would advocate voting on science. Rather as you say, they wish to
      see accountability imposed on expert opinions, show your evidence.
      and workings.
      bts

    • Jim D

      Oops! Responded the wrong place–see below…

      Jim D

      ‘Politicization’ is not equivalent to ‘democratization’. As written the original statement begs rationalization such as that which you offered. What good is the statement if it puts the onus of meaning on the reader and not the author?

      Why is rationalization and modification ‘encouraged’? In part because democracy within science is fundamentally incongruent with the practice of science. In democracy determination is attempted by poll; in science determination is attempted by the processing of evidence from observation.

      Regarding the graph—not interested in particular patch of weeds here. The real issue is much closer to the core and being dragged into details of sidebars is only distracting.

    • Politicization of expertise is what we have with these panels where the balance is decided by the policymakers based on what policies they prefer. The expertise is just used to support a political argument. It is unfortunate that the balance seen by policymakers on these panels isn’t decided based on the scientific consensus, because it distorts the expert input that guides decisions. For every Lewis, there’s ten others who have derived higher sensitivities from the data, but they invite Lewis.

    • Yes, Nicholls used ‘democratization of knowledge’ which is fine until you start voting on what the knowledge is, but ‘democratization of expertise’ from Judith makes no sense as a phrase because clearly expertise is earned and far from being possible to ‘democratize’ just by its definition. Since this phrase is nonsense, I prefer to discuss politicization of expertise, because that is what the real problem is.

    • So jimmy, you are saying that the panels should be 97% AGWers. That is understandable, coming from you. If only the consensus crowd could succeed in silencing the nasty little minority. Frustrating, ain’t it jimmy.

    • DM, no the minority can be there too, but put them with twenty people chosen from various fields of climate science for a fuller discussion by the people actually doing the various lines of research.

    • It’s not like that, jimmy. If you allegedly have 97% agreeing on the consensus, what sense does it make to have 97 people debating with the 3 people, who are expressing the dissenting opinion? Why not just take a vote and close the freaking debate, jimmy? Wait a minute! That is exactly what you characters want to do. And the reason for that is that every time the issue is debated, you characters lose.

    • This is what you are afraid of, jimmy dee:

      http://www.npr.org/2007/03/22/9082151/global-warming-is-not-a-crisis

      “In this debate, the proposition was: “Global Warming Is Not a Crisis.” In a vote before the debate, about 30 percent of the audience agreed with the motion, while 57 percent were against and 13 percent undecided. The debate seemed to affect a number of people: Afterward, about 46 percent agreed with the motion, roughly 42 percent were opposed and about 12 percent were undecided.”

      You couldn’t even win on your home turf. The NPR crowd turned against you. It was about this time that the “debate is settled” meme was settled on as the AGW alarmists’ strategy. If you really want to win the debate, you have to engage in the freaking debate. Can’t you people see that the skeptics/deniers/whatever ain’t going away. Only getting stronger, jimmy. The pause is killing the cause.

    • More useful than debates are blog exchanges like the ones Jon N-G does occasionally with skeptics. Those can be well thought out, backed up with checkable facts, and do lead to more solid conclusions.

    • That is really silly, jimmy. Mr. N-G has probably persuaded about 4 people with his blog discussions. How many inhabitants on this board had ever heard of Mr. N-G, before this little episode? You need to persuade literally billions of people to take drastic action. You are failing miserably with the debate is settled BS. Try something else. Take any opportunity to engage the deniers in public debate, anywhere and anytime. That’s if you have the guts and the ammunition. Let’s settle this thing, for real.

    • DM, yes Jon N-G is just a random consensus scientist, and probably any other would do a good job in his place. They have the facts on their side, which does make their task easier than the skeptics who try to argue against them, but good that Judith gives it a go.

    • You are either deliberately playing dumb or obliviously whistling past the graveyard, jimmy. If the facts are on the Team’s side they would relish debate, not hide from it. Whining that the skeptics don’t play fair, is just pathetic. If the future of mankind is at stake, somebody needs to show some guts. What are they afraid of? Another defeat, like the NPR fiasco? Somebody tell Gavin that Michael Crichton is dead. It’s safe for him to come out from under his bed now.

    • Don M, it is called the AR5 WG1 report. Debate that and be specific. Hopefully this panel will do that, and maybe the politicians will be sharp enough to test their knowledge. However, even if the scientists can ask each other direct questions, the format is not ideal, because the politicians can’t distinguish a hand-waving from a valid answer, which is the whole problem with real-time debates. Anyway, I think it will be prepared statements and questions from the politicians, and nothing will be gained unless any of them is as sharp as Senator Whitehouse was with Judith’s answers to his questions.

    • You don’t get it, jimmy. I don’t have to debate anything. I am not trying to persuade anybody to give up their fossil fuels habit. Anyway, I don’t have any more time for this. The ice is melting in my scotch.

  88. Edit: Steve McIntyre as an expertise expert

    In at least one field, economics, expertise has proven to be a handicap in making workable recommendations, much less accurate forecasts. In CS, AGW expertise seems to consist of believing models containing egregious oversimplifications.

  89. Jim D

    ‘Politicization’ is not equivalent to ‘democratization’. As written the original statement begs rationalization such as that which you offered. What good is the statement if it puts the onus of meaning on the reader and not the author?

    Why is rationalization and modification ‘encouraged’? In part because democracy within science is fundamentally incongruent with the practice of science. In democracy determination is attempted by poll; in science determination is attempted by the processing of evidence from observation.

    Regarding the graph—not interested in particular patch of weeds here. The real issue is much closer to the core and being dragged into details of sidebars is only distracting.

  90. All that is dying is the unbalanced influence not of expertise but of elitist expertise. We all have Michael Mann to thank for that because he’s done it so badly that everyone noticed that climate elitists have got it wrong and badly. No predictions match observation, and even the core engine that the elitists claim drives global warming is a miserable failure. Double CO2 and the Great Lakes freeze. You don’t get to continue playing that game when everyone’s been tipped off how it ends.

    If influence were calculated using GINI methodology we would find the top 1% of the elitists control 95% (oh hell, 97%) of the influence. Or did. That’s done. Except for Obama, the world’s leadership is rejecting the unsustainable green agenda for more pragmatic and sensible solutions for dealing with the very normal changes in regional climate affects. The global climate? There isn’t one. It certainly isn’t the average of all the identifiable regional climates we can actually deal with intelligently and without the behemoth bureaucracy of the UN. Solutions for the average of several climate regions intended to solve problems none of them have are failures and the world has noticed.

  91. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    “We all have Michael Mann to thank for that because he’s done it so badly that everyone noticed that climate elitists have got it wrong and badly.”
    ________

    Did anyone with credibility say Michael Mann’s major conclusions were wrong?

    • That is because Mann and his climategate pals successfully used Saul Alinski’s primary rule on communication:

      “One can lack any of the qualities of an organizer — with one exception — and still be effective and successful. That exception is the art of communication. It does not matter what you know about anything if you cannot communicate to your people. In that event you are not even a failure. You’re just not there.”

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704398304574598230426037244?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748704398304574598230426037244.html

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      ordvic, I don’t believe you can find McIntyre or Wegmann quoted saying Mann’s basic conclusions are wrong. By his basic conclusions I mean those stated by the National Research Council’s report on this issue, as quoted below:

      “The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years.”

      “The conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium.”

      ordvic, I recommend reading the entire report at

      http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11676

    • Max,
      The NRC didn’t agree with those basic conclusions.

      Quotations from the NRC report page 18:

      “It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries. This statement is justified by the consistency of the evidence from a wide variety of geographically diverse proxies.”

      “Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. ”

      So, no the NRC didn’t support those basic conclusions of Mann for the past 1,000 years.

    • Max, That WSJ article pointed out how used their influence (documented in the climategate emails) to quash any finding of a warmer MWP:

      “After Messrs. Jones and Mann threatened a boycott of publications and reviews, half the editorial board of Climate Research resigned. People who didn’t toe Messrs. Wigley, Mann and Jones’s line began to experience increasing difficulty in publishing their results. ”

      Climategate tempered their influence so now Mann has to rely on his bullying tactics and name calling to attack the likes of Judith Curry and Richard Mueller. Mann is simply a bloviated prima donna who now relies on subversive demoguagery to attach his detractors. An all around blaggard! It’s too bad as he could have been a good scientist. Maybe he liked the evil scientists in the James Bond movies.

      No I wouldn’t refer to Wegman or McIntyre as far as showing that Mann’s conclusions are wrong. I wouldn’t even use the WSJ mentions of scientists threatened and put in disrepute by Mann and his minions. In fact McIntyre actually helps your case by asking for honesty in material from not only Mann but also Scarfetti and now one of my references shown in due course. He is an equal opportunity auditor.

      The paper by Leif Kullman concludes in the abstract:

      “The postglacial tree line and climate history in the Swedish Scandes have been inferred from megafossil tree remains. Investigated species are mountain birch (Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and grey alder (Alnus incana). Betula and Pinus first appeared on early deglaciated nunataks during the Lateglacial. Their tree lines peaked between 9600 and 9000 cal. a BP, almost 600 m higher than present-day elevations. This implies (adjusted for land uplift) that early Holocene summer temperatures may have been 2.3°C above modern ones. Elevational tree line retreat characterized the Holocene tree line evolution. For short periods, excursions from this trend have occurred. Between c. 12 000 and 10 000 cal. a BP, a pine-dominated subalpine belt prevailed. A first major episode of descent occurred c. 8200 cal. a BP, possibly forced by cooling and an associated shift to a deeper and more persistent snow pack. Thereafter, the subalpine birch forest belt gradually evolved at the expense of the prior pine-dominated tree line ecotone. A second episode of pine descent took place c. 4800 cal. a BP. Historical tree line positions are viewed in relation to early 21st century equivalents, and indicate that tree line elevations attained during the past century and in association with modern climate warming are highly unusual, but not unique, phenomena from the perspective of the past 4800 years. Prior to that, the pine tree line (and summer temperatures) was consistently higher than present, as it was also during the Roman and Medieval periods, c. 1900 and 1000 cal. a BP, respectively.”

      “http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bor.12003/abstract

      The rap on that paper was that the phenomenon was considered regional. The Neukom et al showed that it was in fact global in nature:

      http://nipccreport.org/articles/2011/dec/14dec2011a4.html

      [See Figure 1] Nice chart showing (what you know) a flaming hot MWP (now referred to as MWA medieval warm anomaly)

      “The findings of Neukom et al. go a long ways towards demonstrating that: (1) the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon that was comprised of even warmer intervals than the warmest portion of the Current Warm Period, and that (2) the greater warmth of the Medieval Warm Period occurred when there was far less CO2 in the air than there is nowadays, which facts clearly demonstrate that the planet’s current — but not unprecedented — degree of warmth need not be CO2-induced.”

      Now, like I said, of all people McIntyre had some problems with that study:

      http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/09/law-dome-in-the-neukom-south-american-network/

      http://sppiblog.org/tag/neukom-et-al-2010

      Of course that once again puts McIntyre at odds with Phil Jones no surprise there lol. I’m wondering if Phil Jones Participating in a paper refuting Mann puts that crybaby in jeopardy. In this case perhaps Mann has the sense to just ignore it let sleeping dogs lie and have him fall into Alinski’s theory of non-existence. Hopefully he is not currently in a dungeon some where duct taped on a rack. Oh the irony of Mann relying on McIntryre to do his dirty work!

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Re JimR post on January 26, 2014 at 4:59 am

      JimR said “The NRC didn’t agree with those basic conclusions.”

      JimR quoted the NRC:
      “Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. ”

      JimR concluded “So, no the NRC didn’t support those basic conclusions of Mann for the past 1,000 years.”
      ______

      I’m sorry, JimR, but the NRC saying “less confidence” doesn’t mean the NRC had no confidence in Mann’s conclusion or believed it was wrong.

      Please note the following statement by the NRC on page 3 of the report:

      “The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years.”

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Re post by ordvic on January 26, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Good job, ordvic. You like doing your homework. Have you looked into Ritson’s complaint about Wegman’s refusal to release supporting materials related to his report on the Hockey stick (see link for Ritson’s letter to McIntyre). Given Wegman’s call for transparency in science, his reluctance to share was amusing. I don’t know if he ever released the supporting materials.

      http://deepclimate.org/2010/10/24/david-ritson-speaks-out/#comments

    • good one Max,
      Ritson rules!

    • Max_OK

      Did anyone with credibility say Michael Mann’s major conclusions were wrong?

      Yep.

      The Wegman committee and a NAS panel (under oath before a congressional committee).

      Here’s how it played out:

      The Wegman committee testified under oath that the M+M critique of Mann’s study was valid for statistical reasons having nothing to do with climate science per se and that the “hockey stick” conclusions were not valid.

      http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/StupakResponse.pdf

      ”Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis”

      “The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.”

      The NAS then issued a rather “wishy-washy” report, which did not address the statistical flaws in the hockey stick, but referred to several “copy spaghetti hockey sticks” that had popped up like mushrooms after a spring rain. The report gave confidence to the results after 1400 AD (after the end of MWP) but not before.

      The congressional committee then asked NAS for specific clarification regarding the Wegman testimony. A panel from the NAS subsequently confirmed the conclusion of the Wegman committee under oath.

      http://www.energy.probeinternational.org/climate-change/lawrence-solomon-under-oath-north-faults-mann-too

      CHAIRMAN BARTON: Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

      DR. NORTH: No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report.

      Barton then asked North’s colleague on the NAS panel, Peter Bloomfield, a similar question.

      Bloomfield’s reply:

      “Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his co-workers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.”

      A bit of light on a subject always clears things up better than simply statements with innuendos.

      Max_CH

    • Max,

      “I’m sorry, JimR, but the NRC saying “less confidence” doesn’t mean the NRC had no confidence in Mann’s conclusion or believed it was wrong.”

      “Less confidence” means exactly what it says. While Mann made claims about the past 1,000 years the NRC didn’t find compelling evidence to support these conclusions prior to 1600.

      “Please note the following statement by the NRC on page 3 of the report: ”

      You posted a link to the NRC report. Have you even read it? Here you post the summary statement of the issue. The conclusions start on page 117 and the NRC didn’t support Mann’s conclusions beyond 400 years ago and place very little confidence on the 2,000 year claims due to sparse evidence prior to 900 AD.

    • Max (the smart one) strikes again. How much more of this can maxie take?

    • Max_OK

      You wrote:

      I don’t believe you can find McIntyre or Wegmann quoted saying Mann’s basic conclusions are wrong.

      Wrong.

      See:

      http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/temperature-data/Wegmanfactsheet.pdf

      Here is full quote of Wegman committee (bold face by me):

      “Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.”

      Max_CH

    • Don Montford and Jim R

      Take it easy on Max_OK.

      He’s just a somewhat juvenile Okie ex farm boy with goofy ideas and a sassy lip who’s made a few bucks and now sees himself as a citizen scientist.

      I’m sure he’ll grow up – like we all had to.

      But in the meantime he’s fun to debate with. And he is predictable.

      Max_CH

    • Somebody’s wrong because MBH(98) only goes back to 1400.

    • manacker, and I guess everyone else, don’t bother with Max_OK. He pulled this same stupid trick with me a while back (even though I pointed out what it was in my first response to him).

      Max_OK is not looking for examples of people saying Mann was wrong. He’s not looking for examples of people saying Mann’s work didn’t support his conclusions. He’s not even looking for examples of people saying Mann’s conclusions, as stated in his papers, were wrong. He’s doing something far more petty any pathetic.

      He wants people to say Mann’s critics didn’t say temperatures in the 90s were colder than in the past. He knows nobody has. Once people admit it, he’ll say, “Hah! That means you can’t say Mann is wrong.” Basically, if you can’t prove Mann is wrong, Max_OK will act like the criticisms don’t matter.

      It’s stupid. Everyone knows Mann could have theoretically been right by chance. That possibility doesn’t mean anything. Anyone can guess an answer and happen to get it right. That doesn’t mean wild guesses are somehow scientifically acceptable. It doesn’t mean we should accept work which has no scientific or statistical validity. It doesn’t mean we should accept conclusions based upon such work. It doesn’t mean we should ignore everything Mann did to reach his conclusions and just blindly accept them.

      It’s a stupid trick, and Max_OK is fully aware of this. When I explained it to him directly, he just doubled down on it. He’s now repeating it (even with the faulty wording) as though I said nothing. It is, for all intents and purposes, trolling.

    • What I meant to say is
      How come Wegman just copied MM05’s graphs instead of generating his own using Mann’s methods which had been given to MM in an excell spreadsheet when McIntyre first asked for them?
      Too many questions, but if your head hurts, take an aspirin.

    • Bob Droege, you keep using phrases together which have no actual connection. Your comments are so divorced from reality, nobody could possibly hope to refute them. All anyone could hope to do is shake his or her head and wonder.

      I hope you’re intending some form of satire.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Re post by JimR on January 26, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      OK, JimR, let’s go to page 117 of the NRC report, as you suggested and look at the conclusions.

      The NRC said “Based on its deliberations and the materials presented in Chapters 1–11 and elsewhere, the committee draws the following overall conclusions regarding large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years:”

      I will quote the NRC on its three conclusions.

      1. “It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries.”

      2. “Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600.”

      3. “Very little confidence can be assigned to statements concerning the hemispheric mean or global mean surface temperature prior to about A.D. 900 … “

      JimR, you and I are in disagreement over #2. Your take on this conclusion is “While Mann made claims about the past 1,000 years the NRC didn’t find compelling evidence to support these conclusions prior to 1600.”

      I’m sorry, JimR, but you are reading something into the report that’s not there. The NRC in its discussion of evidence did not say there was not enough evidence to support the conclusion. The NRC only said it placed “less confidence” in this conclusion than in the first conclusion.

    • Bob Droege

      C’mon Bob.

      Check Figure SPM-10b in the TAR (it goes back to year 1000).

      Check

      for the MBH99 chart, which goes back to 1000, and is the basis for the IPCC TAR chart.

      Check the AR4 SPM statement, based on these charts that

      Paleoclimate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1,300 years.

      (taking the curve back to around year 700).

      And, if you want paleo evidence (for what it’s worth) that the MWP was global and slightly warmer than today, check the dozens of independent studies from all over the world, using different methodologies, which all come to this conclusion.

      IPCC just hasn’t gotten the word and is still hanging on to the conclusions of MBH99, long after these have been discredited.

      Max

    • Bob Droege

      Further to previous comment, check Fig. 3 of MBH99

      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/millennium-camera.pdf

      It goes back to 1000.

      Max

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Re post by manacker (aka Max_CH0 on January 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      I’m worried about Max_CH. As evidence Wegman said Mann’s basic conclusions are wrong, he posted a lengthy Wegman quote which did not say those conclusions are wrong.

      I hope it’s just that Max_CH has lived in Switzerland so long he has forgotten what the English word “wrong” means. But I’m afraid it may mean his short-term memory is gone or even worse the poor guy is slipping into senility.

    • “And, if you want paleo evidence (for what it’s worth) that the MWP was global and slightly warmer than today, check the dozens of independent studies from all over the world, using different methodologies, which all come to this conclusion.”

      There are no such studies.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Re Brandon Shollenberger’s post on January 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Brandon, I enjoyed your speculation about my motive: ‘He wants people to say Mann’s critics didn’t say temperatures in the 90s were colder than in the past. He knows nobody has. Once people admit it, he’ll say, “Hah! That means you can’t say Mann is wrong.” ‘

      The truth is I want climate contrarians to think about why intelligent people like yourself know better than to say Mann’s basic conclusions are wrong. What’s obvious to you can be hard for some to acknowledge, particularly those who are handicapped by their ideology, but there’s always hope.

      I do sometimes laugh a contrarians, but it’s more a HA HA than a “Hah.”

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      I know little about the Mann debate and care less.

      What I understand is that Mann did away with the MWP and the LIA. There is obviously something to both.

      e.g http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2013/04/21/blogs/dotkaufman.html

      What seems obvious as well is Maxy’s inane posturing about stuff he knows little about. Which seems to be pretty much everything.

    • Here is some that support Mann:

      Esper, Cook & Schweingruber 2002 “Low-Frequency Signals in Long Tree-Ring Chronologies for Reconstructing Past Temperature Variability”,

      Cook, Esper & D’Arrigo 2004 “Extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere land temperature variability over the past 1000 years”.

      Mann & Jones 2003 “Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia.”

      Pollack & Smerdon 2004 “Borehole climate reconstructions: Spatial structure and hemispheric averages”.

      Oerlemans 2005 “Extracting a climate signal from 169 glacier records”.

      Rutherford et al. 2005 “Proxy-based Northern Hemisphere surface temperature reconstructions: Sensitivity to method, predictor network, target season, and target domain”.

      Moberg et al. 2005 “Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data”.

      D’Arrigo, Wilson & Jacoby 2006 “On the long-term context for late twentieth century warming”.

      Osborn & Briffa 2006 “The spatial extent of 20th-century warmth in the context of the past 1200 years”.

      Hegerl et al. 2006 “Climate sensitivity constrained by temperature reconstructions over the past seven centuries”.

      Smith et al. 2006 “Reconstructing hemispheric-scale climates from multiple stalagmite records”.

      Juckes et al. 2007 “Millennial temperature reconstruction intercomparison and evaluation”.

      Lee, Zwiers & Tsao 2008 “Evaluation of proxy-based millennial reconstruction methods”.

      Huang, Pollack & Shen 2008 “A late Quaternary climate reconstruction based on borehole heat flux data, borehole temperature data, and the instrumental record”

      Mann et al. 2008 “Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia”

      Kaufman et al. 2009 “Recent warming reverses long-term arctic cooling”.

      Tingley & Huybers 2010a “A Bayesian Algorithm for Reconstructing Climate Anomalies in Space and Time”.

      Ljungqvist 2010 “A New Reconstruction of Temperature Variability in the Extra-Tropical Northern Hemisphere During the Last Two Millennia”.

      Christiansen & Ljungqvist 2011 “Reconstruction of the Extratropical NH Mean Temperature over the Last Millennium with a Method that Preserves Low-Frequency Variability”.

      Ljungqvist et al. 2012 “Northern Hemisphere temperature patterns in the last 12 centuries”.

      Christiansen & Ljungqvist 2012 “The extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere temperature in the last two millennia: Reconstructions of low-frequency variability”.

      Marcott et al. 2013 “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years”

      Ahmed et al. 2013 (PAGES 2k Consortium) “Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia”

    • Joseph does a great job of showing the absurdity of Mann’s defenders. If you compare MBH to practically any more recent reconstruction, they look nothing alike. MBH shows far less variance than basically any other reconstruction, ever. You’d be hard pressed to find modern reconstructions which resemble hockey sticks.

      And yet, all these non-hockey sticks “confirm” Mann’s hockey stick. Because apparently being nothing like each other doesn’t matter for “confirming” each other.

    • Max_OK

      Read the Wegman quote again.

      ”Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis”

      “The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.”

      Then repeat a couple of times. Maybe you’ll understand it then.

      Or maybe not.

      I don’t know if they taught you much about the English language out there in Okie-land, but it appears you didn’t do too well in English comprehension class.

      Max_CH

    • lolwot

      To my comment:

      “And, if you want paleo evidence (for what it’s worth) that the MWP was global and slightly warmer than today, check the dozens of independent studies from all over the world, using different methodologies, which all come to this conclusion.”

      You opined:

      There are no such studies.

      Huh?

      Check out (among others):

      1. Global – 18 sites
      Loehle 2007
      MWP approximately 0.3°C warmer than 20th century values at these eighteen sites.

      2. Southern hemisphere
      Neukom, R. et al. 2011
      “the warmest decade of this Medieval Warm Period was about 0.17°C warmer than the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period.”

      3. Antarctica (Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica)
      Hemer, M.A. et al. 2003.
      The MWP at ca. 750 14C yr BP was likely warmer than at any time during the CWP.

      4. Greenland
      D. Dahl-Jensen et al. 1998
      MWP high 0.8ºC warmer than current highs

      5. Greenland Summit
      Johnsen, S.J., et al. 2001
      temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period (~AD 800-1100) were about 1°C warmer than those of the Current Warm Period.

      6. China
      De’Er Zhang 1994
      Henan Province
      0.9-1.0°C warmer than present

      7. Eastern China
      Ge, Q., et al.. 2003
      0.4°C higher than today’s peak warmth

      8. Pearl River Delta, S. China
      Honghan, Z. et al. 1995
      1-2°C higher than that at present time

      9. Japan
      Adhikari, D.P. et al. 2001
      warmer than any other period during the last 1300 years

      10. Yakushima Island, S. Japan
      Kitagawa, H. et al. 1995
      about 1°C above that of the Current Warm Period

      11. Sargasso Sea
      Keigwin, L. 1996
      ~1°C warmer than today

      12. Bahamas
      Lund and Curry 2006
      MWP (1200 years BP) roughly 0.2C warmer than today

      13. Northern Gulf of Mexico (Pigmy Basin)
      Richey, J.N., et al.
      about 1.5°C warmer than present-day temperatures.

      14. Tropical Ocean (Indian Ocean, South China Sea, Caribbean)
      Alicia Newton, et al. 2006
      0.4°C warmer than today

      15. New Zealand
      Cook, E. R., et al.2002
      MWP confirmed but no temperature difference cited

      16. New Zealand
      Wilson, A.T., et al.1979
      0.75°C warmer than the Current Warm Period

      17. Coastal Peru
      Rein B., Lückge, et al. 2005
      Medieval Warm Period for this region was about 1.2°C above that of the Current Warm Period

      18. Venezuela coast
      Goni, M.A., et al. 2004
      approximately 0.35°C warmer than peak Current Warm Period temperatures, and fully 0.95°C warmer than the mean temperature of the last few years of the 20th century

      19. Lake Erie, Ohio, USA
      Patterson, W.P 1998
      both summer maximum and mean annual temperatures in the Great Lakes region were found to be higher than those of the 20th century; mean annual temperatures were 0.2°C higher

      20. Chesapeake Bay, USA
      Cronin, T.M., et al.. 2003
      mean 20th-century temperatures were 0.15°C cooler than mean temperatures during the first stage of the Medieval Warm Period

      21. Lake 4, Southampton Island, Nunavut, Canada
      Rolland, N., et al.. 2009.
      August temperature (which occurs at the end of the record at about AD 2008) is approximately 0.9°C less than the maximum August temperature of the Medieval Warm Period.

      22. Sweden (Central Scandinavian Mountains)
      Linderholm, H.W. et al.. 2005
      Between AD 900 and 1000, summer temperature anomalies were as much as 1.5°C warmer than the 1961-1990 base period

      23. Finnish Lapland
      Weckstrom, J., et al.. 2006
      0.15°C warmer than the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period

      24. Ural Mountains, Russia
      Mazepa, V.S. 2005
      Medieval Warm Period lasted from approximately AD 700 to 1300 and that significant portions of it were as much as 0.56°C warmer than the Current Warm Period.

      25. Altai Mountains, S. Siberia, Russia
      Kalugin, I., et al. 2007
      mean peak temperature of the latter part of the Medieval Warm Period was about 0.5°C higher than the mean peak temperature of the Current Warm Period.

      26. Swiss Alps
      Schlüchter et al. 2004
      MWP and other earlier periods warmer than today, but no temperature estimate given

      27. Silvaplana, Switzerland
      Larocque-Tobler, I. et al.
      inferred mean July air temperatures were 1°C warmer than the climate reference period (1961-1990).

      28. Austrian Alps
      Patzelt 2009
      MWP ~900AD slightly warmer than today, earlier periods warmer

      29. Spannagel Cave, Central Alps, Austria
      Mangini, A., et al. 2007.
      the peak temperature of the Medieval Warm Period (AD 800-1300) was approximately 1.5°C higher than the peak temperature of the Current Warm Period.

      30. NW Spain
      Martinez-Cortizas, A., et al. 1999
      mean annual temperature during this time was as much as 3.4°C warmer than that of the 1968-98 period.

      Max

      Tagus River Estuary, off Lisbon, Portugal
      Abrantes, F., et al. 2005.
      The MWP was identified as occurring between AD 550 and 1300, during which time interval mean sea surface temperatures were between 1.5 and 2°C higher than the mean value of the past century, while peak MWP warmth was about 0.9°C greater than late 20th-century peak warmth

      • In the olden days before CC scientific facts used to trumph baseless opinion. But now that the opinionados have a budget of £27,000 per minute (UK) facts have been cast at the wayside.

  92. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    Tom Nicholls sez
    1.We can all stipulate: the expert isn’t always right.
    2.But an expert is far more likely to be right than you are.
    ______________

    I agree. Accepting expert opinion has served me well. I don’t feel like less of a person for recognizing my limitations and acknowledging experts almost always know more than I know.

    I suppose a person might be reluctant to accept expert opinion if he has an inflated ego to feed.

    • So, you always fall for the appeal to authority. That what comes with low self-esteem.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      My self-esteem is no match for Detroit Don’s big-assed ego, but I can out-expert him with my hands tied behind my back.

    • Max_OK

      Better tie your hands behind your back, because you are losing the argument with them untied.

      Max_CH

  93. I rarely accept any opinions, including my own, and that seems to have served me about as well as the alternative.

    I would like to know how often Max and others accept expert opinions they don’t agree with. Actually, I know how often. So let’s just cheese all this self-congratulatory opinion-acceptance, shall we?

  94. In climate science certainly, and perhaps elsewhere too, another factor driving this is the rather obvious bias and political agenda of the ‘professionals’ (born of course of their political funding).
    Indeed this lack of professionalism by the professionals may be the biggest factor of all.

    • If it is funding, one wonders why Canada isn’t full of skeptical climate scientists by now given their government’s direction, similarly Australia is moving that way. Could it be global scientific integrity that dominates?

    • Government bureaucracy and political institutions generally are intensely self-interested, impervious to a great extent to the policy of passing regimes of various flavours.
      Put another way, political money tends to produce a bias for politics and political action. State funding agencies will favour spending our money in a way that advances the interests of the state and politicisation of society, and their own careers.

    • Scientific integrity will invariably be compromised where the funder of it has a vested interest the conclusions, and a conflict of interest thus exists.

      Just as drug companies will favour medical science that lauds their products, state funding agencies will favour climate science that preaches doom, since this justifies expanding the state’s power and money.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Gail apparently is an anti-government ideologue. When science conflicts with their ideology, ideologues also turn against scientist. There is little profit in debating Ideologues, but their immunity to reason makes them amusing.

    • So I guess I must be an anti-drug company ideologue too …

      Why not try actually addressing the issue Max?

    • Max – in this case its a question of ideology driving and perverting the so-called “science” – he who pays the piper – and becoming exposed for so doing. To which you respond by … trying to shoot the messenger.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Gail, you are an anti-government ideologue, but I’m not. A discussion having to do with government would not be profitable for either of us.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Forsooth, you imply scientists lack integrity. I believe they have more integrity than the general public. On the other hand, I believe climate contrarians have less integrity than the general public. Our views are opposite.

    • No Max, your refusal to debate clearly indicates that you are a blinkered Big Government ideologue. That’s the problem here.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Gail, I’m not a big government ideologue. I’m for a right-sized government, a government not too big and not too small (i.e., a Goldie Locks government). You, on the other hand, are for a teeny weeny government.

      I see no point in debating our preferences for government.
      I see no point in debating preferences for anything. Suppose you like strawberry ice cream and I don’t. Wouldn’t it be silly for us to debate about strawberry ice cream?

    • ” state funding agencies will favour climate science that preaches doom, since this justifies expanding the state’s power and money.”

      It is my experience that politicians tend to avoid issues that are controversial and can lead to policies that may affect their constituents adversely. For example, I don’t think politicians really want to hear that global warming will harm the planet and we will need to drive up energy costs by putting a price on or taxing carbon emissions. What makes you think that politicians want this?

      Also, do you have any other examples of political influence on science that results in predictions of doom?

  95. Generalissimo Skippy

    ‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.’ Wally Broecker – emphasis mine.

    Broecker is of course the ‘father of climate science’ – kicking it off with his August 1975 paper “Are we on the brink of a pronounced global warming?” Prescient indeed as the warming kicked off again in 1976. 38 years later a great deal more is understood and yet at the same time uncertainties have multiplied. Sadly not in the blogosphere where positions have become ever more entrenched and dogmatic.

    The essential question is can we make good predictions about future climate change? The answer is emphatically no for a number of reasons. Models are structurally unstable – chaotic at their core. They may on future enable pdf of possible outcomes to be developed – but at present the results are only one of many possible results within the bounds of feasible inputs.

    ‘Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.’ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

    This is from the head of the British Met Office and the head of the European Centre for Mid-Range Forecasting. Utterly correct – but beyond the ken of most natural scientists and policy wonks it seems and certainly of self educated (in tribal climate memes) climate warriors infesting the blogosphere.

    The particular results presented to the IPCC in ensembles of opportunity are chosen on the basis of the plausibility of ‘a posteriori solution behavior’ (James McWillliams, (2007), Irreducible imprecision in atmospheric and oceanic simulations).

    Abrupt climate change happened around 1910, the mid 1940’s, 1976/1977 and 1998/2001. These decadal shifts involve changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation – in the Pacific especially – changed the trajectory of surface temps – added to surface temps between 1976 and 1998 and have constrained increases since (e.g Tsonis et al (2007), A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts). This seems fairly obvious to NASA scientists – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703 – presumably a reputable source.

    It seems as well to involve cloud changes that are energetically quite significant – a decrease in cloud cover in the 80’s and 90’s – an increase in the 1998/2001 climate shift – and not much action since (Palle and Laken (2013), What do we really know about clouds?). But despite the lack of current warming – that seems likely to persist for a decade to three more – all of these scientists suggest that the essential problem of a complex, dynamical system remains. As Wally Broecker famously said – climate is a wild and angry beast at which we are poking sticks.

    As the NAS more sedately suggests.

    ‘What defines a climate change as abrupt? Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=14

    Tremendous energies cascading through powerful systems as Jonathan Adams once wrote.

    Frankly – science seems to be performing as it should – but the blogosphere is another country filled with fantastic narratives of unicorns and crimes against humanity, mediocrities channeling their pretensions to smarts, an assuredness that is more reminiscent of medieval angel counting – endless fun on the carousel of groupthink memes.

    • General-
      One of your best. I particularly like this one ,” the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic.”

      Unfortunately some here have the erector set syndrome which afflicts and constrains their cognitive abilities. They are limited to thinking of all the possibilities by the number of bolts, nuts and pieces in the box.


    • ” the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic.”

      Yet its not, as the secular trend is set in motion by the enormous amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.
      This was projected based on data back in 1950:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/01/22/projection-training-intervals-for-csalt-model/

      Where’s the butterfly?

    • k scott denison

      Nice Webby! If using data to 1950 allowed you to forecast to 2014, then using data to 2014 you should be able to forecast out to 2078. So let’s see it now so we can track the skill of your model! I’m sure you have complete confidence in your model, so let’s see the projections!


    • k scott denison | January 26, 2014 at 8:12 pm |

      Nice Webby! If using data to 1950 allowed you to forecast to 2014, then using data to 2014 you should be able to forecast out to 2078. So let’s see it now so we can track the skill of your model! I’m sure you have complete confidence in your model, so let’s see the projections!

      It’s true. I can indeed do that. Just give me the projections of carbon emissions up to 2078 and I can run the simulation for you.

      Then I will attach your name to it and describe it as a projection that was not believed by a cheese-head* skeptic.

      * From Wisconsin

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The study was talking about models. But there were climate shifts around 1910, the mid 1940’s, 1976/1977 and 1998/2001. They are there and the fact that webby misses them means very little indeed.

      ‘The Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, and continental hydrology exchange mass,
      momentum and energy on all time scales. As a consequence, global- or regional-scale
      climate variables — such as the sea surface temperature (SST), the rainfall, the surface
      pressure or the wind speed — fluctuate more or less regularly. Many of these fluctuations
      are known as modes or oscillations, and their states are monitored by using scalar-valued
      climate indices. Some of the best-known oscillations extend over large areas of the globe;
      they include ENSO, the NAO, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the MJO. Certain
      oscillations are more localized, i.e. associated with the climate of smaller regions, e.g.,
      the Sahel Rainfall; however, many teleconnections [Wallace and Gutzler, 1981] between
      the latter indices are also known to exist.’ http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/tcd/PREPRINTS/OdV&co-Global_modes-preprint_grl50386.pdf

    • k scott Denison

      Great Webby! So take the current trend in CO2 from Mauna Loa and extrapolate to 2078 and there you go! Can’t wait to see what the climate will be like in Wisconsin in 60 years! I’m hoping it will be warmer!

    • k scott denison

      Or if you like Webby, you can create three scenarios all your own and show us the projections, a la Hansen! This is your chance!

  96. And yet Steve Mc, a non climate layman but an oil field specialist took the whole “the science is settled”, and “consensus” climate warming shebang completely apart and showed how corrupt some parts of climate science actually were,
    He exposed a thoroughly corrupt part of high status climate science which had done it’s damnedest to squash and destroy any challenges to it’s influence, it’s political power and the scientific authority of it’s cabal of expertise flaunting warmist scientists.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Where is my shovel? This is one big pile of stinking doo doo.

    • Yep! Around the traps out here in the great land of the unwashed, ready to be plucked citizenry thats how an increasing percentage of that citizenry are starting to view climate warming science.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Gotta get that shovel again !

    • For various values of completely, I mean he completely ignored preisendorfer’s selection rules or any other selection rules for PCA analysis and made other mistakes. If he didn’t make those mistakes an performed a competent analysis his paper might have been published by Nature, but then it would have confirmed Mann’s results.


    • And yet Steve Mc, a non climate layman but an oil field specialist took the …

      Good try, but Null of McIntyre is a mining executive, which has nothing to do with oil, unless you are talking about Canadian oil sands, which are in fact mined, but something MvIntyre will not talk about because it sheds a bad light on his homeland.

  97. The dearth of expertise is the problem with so called Climate Science and thankfully the lack of moral fibre of the great majority of practitioners will result in its death. Then we will have to find another name, maybe Physics with a suitable pre-fix?

  98. Ursus Augustus

    No matter what formal level of expertise some “expert” might possess their worth as an expert witness in some debate/discussion/examination still depends on their ethical integrity, their honesty and their putting aside of vested interest or their standing aside on the basis of apprehended bias.

    Unfortunately, together with the advent of the internet, Google and Wikipedia etc we have the advent of “social media”, blogging, personal web sites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts etc and a culture of self promotion all of which is taken into account by employing institutions as being useful to their commercial/funding interest. The recent Antarctic farce referred to widely as The Ship of Fools led by CHRIS TURNEY, SCIENTIST, EXPLORER AND WRITER ( http://www.christurney.com ) is perhaps an exemplar.

    This dimension to the debate must be accounted for and changes the old “Euclidian” world of “expert” and “layman” that once existed into the present Riemann Space with all its relativistic mind bending possibilities. In one part of this universe we have Judith Curry, Steve McKintyre, Anthony Watts, Jo Nova and even Donna Laframboise and in a galaxy far far away we have Stefan Lewandowsky, Michaeil Mann, John Cook and a cluster of similar asteroids in a cloud of space dust.

  99. Berényi Péter

    What is Science? Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

    It should not be “science has shown” but “this experiment, this effect, has shown.” And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments — but be patient and listen to all the evidence — to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.

    Can’t put it better than that.

  100. Pingback: Expertise | And Then There's Physics

  101. Stephen Segrest

    I am a lay person and have a simple question. One would think that Climate Scientists could agree on some things — like, is there consensus on the impact of El Ninos/La Ninas, volcanoes, etc. on Global temperatures? Question: Has anyone graphed global temperatures removing the anomalies that a consensus of Climate Scientists “CAN AGREE” on?

    • David Springer

      “I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.”
      ― Michael Crichton

    • This sort of came out on another thread. There have been attempts to remove ENSO. Volcanos are a natural forcing that go both ways. On removing ENSO, an example is Foster and Rahmstorf 2011, which has not resolved any controversy as skeptics do not trust Foster and Rahmstorf and many claim the work is defective. There are other attempts to remove ENSO. Removal of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation signal from the gridded surface air temperature data set.

    • Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough.

      You know, that’s an excellent point.

      For example, the only time that someone says that the vast, vast majority of doctors recommend a specific procedure is when in they have no clue as to how an ailment should be treated.

    • JCH, Don’t forget this,

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/28/pause-tied-to-equatorial-pacific-surface-cooling/

      The Tamino attempt to remove ENSO, Solar and Volcanic or any other is questionable because removing anything that should be replicated in the models in an attempt to “validate” projections is a bit of a cop out. Pretty much like shifting from ensemble to single model runs is a cop out. When something as simple as initializing a model with real absolute temperatures “fixes” a problem, it just tends to highlight the problems.

    • I do not know what Stephen Segrest expects would be found. Perhaps the true AGW signal. Perhaps a “measurement” of climate sensitivity. Perhaps zero trend.

      yet another

      I think the results would be, and are, interesting, but this fight is 97% political, and scientific results seldom impress true dead enders.

    • Stephen like most, probably expects too much.

    • The cleaned global mean temperature warms monotonically, and closely resembles a quadratic fit to the observed 20th century global mean temperature (thin solid).

      Of course, one of the scientists who claims to have done what is being asked here, the link is to is graph, also thinks the SAT will be flat for a very long time.

    • Seriously, anybody can get rid of these thermodynamic free energy factors and leave behind the thermal signal

      Look at that curve, that is pure GHG warming that tracks the ln(CO2) accurately at a 2 C TCR level. The fluctuations are shown alongside which are mainly due to SOI, Stadium Wave, volcanic, and the TSI.

      Very little to argue about — that’s why JCH is correct to call them dead-enders. They have nothing left.

    • Stephen Segrest

      As a layman, I come to this Blog to try and learn something. Most of the time though, its really hard to determine who you can trust to be objective. Question: When people quote the recent leveling of temperatures, why do they choose as a starting point an El Nino year? If Al Gore chose to do the same thing and started with a La Nina year, GW skeptics would go crazy.

      • Stephen, the issue in comparing observations with climate model simulations, is length of period (ANY period) for which climate models show no warming or cooling under greenhouse forcing (climate models show very low probabilities for a pause of 15 years, vanishing small for 20 years). So you can pick any start date for this exercise

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Question: When people quote the recent leveling of temperatures, why do they choose as a starting point an El Nino year?”
      ——
      Because it can skew the argument in their favor to the unaware. It makes “the pause” look so much more significant, especially if they are focusing on some shorter time frame to try and prove some point about the longer-term anthropogenic forcing.

    • So you can pick any start date for this exercise

      Hmmm. Well, Judith is the “expert” (as I will no doubt soon be reminded by some much-beloved “skeptic), but it seems to me that the longer the time frame, the more useful your analysis. So it seems the point is to pick the earliest date that could be justified as a valid starting point for evaluating the impact of AC02 and look at the entire dataset until the present. Although looking at smaller segments of the data might help inform your analysis, for evaluating trends they are inherently less useful.

      So then the question should be when the starting date would be when the science says (you know, that science about the GHE of ACO2 that Judith and company don’t question) that the accumulation was significant enough to result in detectable warming.

      I fail to see how the argument for picking “any start date” – which seems to suggest that a shorter dataset is equally as valuable as a longer dataset.

      But then again, I am certainly not an “expert” so my opinion must be inferior to Judith’s.

      Right?

    • John Carpenter

      “For example, the only time that someone says that the vast, vast majority of doctors recommend a specific procedure is when in they have no clue as to how an ailment should be treated.”

      The key word is ‘invoke’. Someone might use the idea of a consensus of a vast vast majority of doctors recommending a tried and true procedure, but it would be obvious and redundant in understanding that a vast vast majority and consensus is the same thing. OTOH, someone might invoke the idea of a consensus between perhaps even a majority of doctors recommending a less tried and true procedure where some, even many but not the majority of, doctors would not recommend the procedure. Invoking the idea of a consensus of doctors recommending such a procedure helps give an illusion that the procedure may in fact be less risky than without invoking the idea of a consensus. A case of invoking a consensus where the medical knowledge is not solid enough.

    • John Carpenter

      “But then again, I am certainly not an “expert” so my opinion must be inferior to Judith’s.”

      Well Joshua, the whole idea of this post is to consider that non-experts may have the ability to contribute meaningful analysis and thought into climate science and perhaps should not all be looked upon as ‘inferior’. So I guess you do have hope.

    • Stephen, you write “Question: When people quote the recent leveling of temperatures, why do they choose as a starting point an El Nino year?”

      That is not the way the calculations are done, if they are done properly. You START with the most recent date where you have data. Then you go back in time, until the pause is no longer significant. The “start point” of the pause is determined from the calculations. Go to WUWT, and find the latest analysis.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Go to WUWT, and find the latest analysis.”
      _____
      Be aware that WUWT, while having some excellent links to actual data and resources, also tends to be a “noisy” website, where the perspective and interpretation of data tends toward being more opinion than science. Time spend on WUWT should be balanced by equal if not more time reading research reports or in an on-line MOOC, of you want to counter the “noise” of WUWT (and other sites). WUWT can be very entertaining though.

    • The pause is helped by having a 2-standard-deviation positive annual anomaly near its beginning. This has a tendency to skew linear regression in the same way as ending a period with such a perturbation would. The pause starts after a step and is not continuous with the previous record, showing it to be not independent of that step.

    • John –

      Well Joshua, the whole idea of this post is to consider that non-experts may have the ability to contribute meaningful analysis and thought into climate science and perhaps should not all be looked upon as ‘inferior’. So I guess you do have hope.

      I have little doubt that those who are being considered “non-experts” can and have made meaningful contribution.

      That isn’t my beef.

      My beef is the follow-on argument that relies on a fallacy: The fallacy that “expertise” is not relevant to evaluating probabilities – particularly for those who lack the background and/or intellectual chops to evaluate the science on their own, such as myself.

      My beef is also with the character that predominates in the arguments about the value of expertise: The character were people selectively value expertise in ways that are associated with whether the “expert” or “expert opinion” aligns with one’s predispostional orientation – usually based in cultural, ideological, or social identifications (there are some exceptions).

    • John –

      I couldn’t follow your 9:56.

    • R.Gates you write “Be aware that WUWT, while having some excellent links to actual data and resources, also tends to be a “noisy” website, where the perspective and interpretation of data tends toward being more opinion than science.”

      I would be surprised if Werner would not be delighted to see his results posted on RealClimate, SKS or desmogblog, but unfortunately these sites don’t seem to want to print the straightforward analysis of empirical data. So, Anthony does it, and most of us are very grateful. This sort of analysis tends to be ephemeral, and it is nice to have it as soon as possible after the data becomes available.

    • John Carpenter

      “I couldn’t follow your 9:56.”

      Sorry Joshua, that comment was in reference to this comment of yours,

      http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/25/death-of-expertise/#comment-442502

      I agree I did not refer to it very well.

    • John –

      Sorry Joshua, that comment was in reference to this comment of yours

      That much I figured out. But that’s about all I could get out of it. Maybe you could rephrase your point?

    • John Carpenter

      Joshua, maybe I misunderstood the tone of your comment, but it appeared to be a bit sarcastic. I took that as you disagreeing with the Crichton’s idea of when a consensus is invoked. So I tried to give an example of how I would interpret what Crichton meant. I took your comment as a very literal interpretation of what he was saying. If you put it in context with the two examples he gave following that statement, it does not appear it should be taken so literally to me.

    • John –

      Thanks for trying again, but I still can’t get your point.

      Creighton says:

      Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough.

      I don’t agree, and I think the argument is blatantly biased. People invoke consensus for any variety of reasons. The reason I was pointing out is that often people say a particular treatment is recommended because a high prevalence of experts recommend that treatment. They invoke the consensus precisely because the science is strong. And for the most part, people use the prevalence of view among experts as evidence to weigh alternatives – although not often does anyone think that the prevalence is dispositive.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Further to our hostess’ comment, one can also (arbitrarily) start with the beginning of the new millennium (January 2001).

      The surface record (HadCRUT4) then shows a slight cooling trend, which has now lasted for 13 years.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2001/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2001

      It is uncertain at which point a prolonged trend of no warming (despite unabated human GHG emissions) becomes problematic for the CAGW premise, as outlined by IPCC in AR4 and (to a slightly lesser extent) in AR5.

      Santer once concluded 17 years could be problematic.

      Some voices are now saying it would take 20 years.

      And who knows what will happen over the next decade or two?

      But, regardless of the starting point, it is becoming apparent that natural factors have begun to (temporarily?) overshadow GH warming of our atmosphere, raising the question of how strong (and in which direction) these same natural factors were working during the late 20thC warming period.

      Max

    • Stephen Segrest

      Using Jim Cripwell’s approach with HadCRUT4 and going backward from today to find the longest cooling trend I find that the trend of slight cooling started in January 2001, so has lasted 13 years so far.

      Hope this helps.

      Max

    • I think I agree with both Joshua and John on the Crichton question. Obviously, if you have to choose, you lean toward the side with more experts. On the other hand, one has to weigh the risks as well, and a person might decide that the procedure recommended by the majority has so many drawbacks that he’s better off hoping that the minority are right. Besides “consensus”, this type of situation has another name. It’s called an “open question”.

      All this is very different from Crichton’s E=mc^2 example. There there are not two sides at all (far as I know), there’s just a working tool in the toolbox all physicists use. The discussion has “moved on”.

      Some issues have indeed “moved on”. I never saw many people arguing about how much CO2 is being produced. Modern surface temperatures used to be a very active subject (UHI), and I think that BEST has done a decent job of settling down some of the issues there. Still activity there, but a lot less.
      But I think anyone at this website should be able to agree that many of the major climate science issues are in the first category, not the second. Size of climate sensitivity to CO2, ocean heat uptake reanalysis, chances of really catastrophic outcomes, extreme weather event attribution, reliability of paleoclimate reconstructions, reliability of GCMs… – before one even starts with ecology or economics. Not one of these are anything but open questions, though some may have a strong majority of opinion among the researchers involved.
      So many of these issues are central, not peripheral, that it’s hard to find a result that integrates them that is not under dispute from five different angles. That means that even well-informed people may disagree totally on overall conclusions, because they disagree somewhat here, here, and there.

      I personally don’t have much doubt (though all the 97% surveys are really badly done): the considerable majority of climate experts agree with the “consensus”. But the science of these issues is not settled, not at all. As Crichton pointed out, that makes a big difference. When I hear someone claim that the science has “moved on”, I’m afraid that I have to conclude that either he or she is ignorant, or dishonest and trying to force a preferred conclusion. I’d hope that even those who often disagree here, like Joshua, would feel the same.

      • Was at the UKs AR5 review and one comment from a venerable met prof is that the smartest maths and physics students do not go into climate. So the term ‘climate expert’ dose not mean you are dealing with a blade as sharp as a rapier.

    • Mike –

      Thanks for the addition to the discussion.

      On the other hand, one has to weigh the risks as well, and a person might decide that the procedure recommended by the majority has so many drawbacks that he’s better off hoping that the minority are right.

      No doubt. My partner is a hospice nurse. We often discuss the problem whereby “consensus” opinions among “experts” (doctors) may well not be aligned with the best interests of their patients. No doubt you and I have both encountered similar situations in our lives.

      Some issues have indeed “moved on”. I never saw many people arguing about how much CO2 is being produced.

      Salby?

      But I think anyone at this website should be able to agree that many of the major climate science issues are in the first category, not the second. Size of climate sensitivity to CO2, ocean heat uptake reanalysis, chances of really catastrophic outcomes,…

      I see people on both sides of the debate, and indeed many of the folks who participate here, who express very little uncertainty over those issues. For example – chances of really catastrophic outcomes. It seems to me that I read many here who consider the chances of really catastrophic outcomes to be so small that they don’t even merit discussion of the potential policy implications. Now of course, that is different than saying that they aren’t convinced there is a clear answer to the nature of those implications.

      Not one of these are anything but open questions, though some may have a strong majority of opinion among the researchers involved.

      I agree – but where I suspect that we might disagree is whether or not some “skeptics” routinely exploit or diminish the uncertainty that is acknowledged by “realists.”

      But the science of these issues is not settled, not at all.

      That statement, IMO, doesn’t really address that sometimes (if not always) when a “realist” says that “the science is settled,” they are not saying that there are no open questions, but they are saying that the questions are absolutely open and this there needs to be consideration of policy implications. Of course, sometimes “the science is settled” is invoked to close off discussion as to whether the relative advisability of different policy options is debatable, but I would say that just as often, “the science is settled,” is invoked by “skeptics” to incorrectly portray what realists are actually saying. The actual term “the science is settled” is instructive in that regard: First, although “skeptics” often attribute that statement to climate scientists, in fact, climate scientists have rarely stated such. Second, the term is inherently ambiguous in meaning, and often “skeptics” ignore that ambiguity in order to exploit (the actual non-) use of that term as a rhetorical weapon.

      When I hear someone claim that the science has “moved on”, I’m afraid that I have to conclude that either he or she is ignorant, or dishonest and trying to force a preferred conclusion. I’d hope that even those who often disagree here, like Joshua, would feel the same.

      Hmmmm. I don’t think that interpreting ignorance or dishonesty is ever justifiable from such limited information and in such a shallow context. As to “trying to force a preferred conclusion” – I have to nitpick. I’m not sure that “trying” is accurate. I think that we all have built in biases attributable to fundamental characteristics of our cognition and psychology – that lead to motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, cultural cognition, etc. The nature of what someone is “trying” to do is inherently difficult to define. I think that there is little doubt, however, that we are all inclined towards biases in our reasoning and what is important is to engage in good faith about how to control for those biases. Unfortunately, I see precious little of that taking place.

  102. It’s a funny thing about the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution that they started out as attacks on received wisdom and on the institutional prerogatives of academics. Galileo wrote his Dialogue in vernacular Italian rather than scholarly Latin for a reason. Experimentalism was supposed to make truth claims clearly understandable and credible to the ordinary person. Economics, starting with Adam Smith, was aimed at the interested public (and despite the technical development of the field there is still a strong norm there against arguments from authority in public discussions of policy.)

    But over time specialization and professionalization, for the most part good things, have recreated the gap between the “schoolmen” and the public that the revolution was supposed to remove. We’ve gone from “believe nothing simply on the word of another” to “always trust those who claim to have expertise.” OK, not the crackpots who claim to have expertise, just the true experts. But then how can the unschooled tell them apart? There is an infinite regress built into the “trust the experts” slogan that renders it as impractical as the “figure everything out for yourself and trust no one” slogan it opposes. You need some mixture of first-hand understanding, general heuristics for picking out weaknesses in statements about areas you don’t fully understand, and the equivalent of media literacy in decoding the agendas and blind spots of speakers. It’s never going to be perfect.

    • > Galileo wrote his Dialogue in vernacular Italian rather than scholarly Latin for a reason.

      The Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo) was a 1632 Italian language book by Galileo Galilei comparing the Copernican system with the traditional Ptolemaic system. It was translated into Latin as Systema cosmicum[1] (English: Cosmic System) in 1635 by Matthias Bernegger.[2] The book, which was dedicated to Galileo’s patron, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and delivered to him on February 22, 1632,[3] was a bestseller.[4]

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

      ***

      > Economics, starting with Adam Smith [...]

      An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world’s first collected descriptions of what builds nations’ wealth and is today a fundamental work in classical economics.

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

      Our emphases.

      ***

      Enlightenment seems to be a long process.

    • A turbulent one.
      ========

    • We’ve gone from “believe nothing simply on the word of another” to “always trust those who claim to have expertise.”

      Who do you me “we,” Kimo Sabe?

      I don’t know anyone who “always trust[s] those who claim to have expertise.”

      No one.

      One of the big flaws of “skeptics” in this oft’ repeated argument (interesting how these arguments gets repeated so frequently), is that many “skeptics” overstate, vastly, the number of people who have some kind of “blind trust” in “experts.”

    • Joshua so caught up in his motivated reasoning that his literacy skills collapse. In this case, to my mild chagrin, the point of my comment was actually closer to his position than either the “you must understand everything for yourself” or the “trust the (somehow defined) legitimate experts” positions against which I rhetorically placed my Golden Mean of judgment. It’s interesting to me that historically we seem to have come full circle in the espoused ideology of science from the “nullus in verbia” stance to the “don’t question scientific authority” stance, but neither of these strikes me as practical options.

    • Joshua

      stevepostrel may be referring to the Royal Society, whose motto is “nullius in verba” (Latin for “on the word of no one” or “Take nobody’s word for it”), but whose political leadership (despite no personal expertise in the field) is “taking the word” of IPCC when it come to climate science.

      Max

    • steve –

      In this case, to my mild chagrin, the point of my comment was actually closer to his position than either the “you must understand everything for yourself” or the “trust the (somehow defined) legitimate experts” positions against which I rhetorically placed my Golden Mean of judgment.

      I got that. When I first read your post, I found myself in agreement with all of it. When I reread it, I noticed the hyperbole of the sentence I highlighted.

    • manacker –

      NiV, trust but verify – good rules of thumb, IMO.

      My issue is with the selectivity of how those rules of thumb are applied, at least rhetorically in these debates if not in people’s real lives.

    • To be strictly honest, shouldn’t the quondam nullius in verba
      Royal Society change its motto?

    • Beth

      To be strictly honest, shouldn’t the quondam nullius in verba
      Royal Society change its motto?

      Yeah.

      Or its current political leadership.

      Max

    • Max,

      re The Royal Society’s motto and leadership.

      Royal Society,
      Your contradictions doom you,
      Sweeping changes due.

      Enjoyed yr “Saga of The Hockey Schtick,” Max

      A serf.

      • Galileo faced behind tortured then burned alive as had happened to geordino Bruno some years previously, since they had the same inquisitor. He had to format his thesis on the solar system in such a way to get around the Vatican interdiction. He was as courageous as he was dedicated to progress.

    • New motto mebbe … ‘tego texi tectum’?

    • Beth

      Thanky kindly frum a feller serf fer yore kind wurds.

      Comin’ frum a REEL poet makes em even better.

      Yore feller serf, Max

    • U r much 2 kind Max.

      Watch out fer me next Serf Under_ground “Book of Feathers”
      delivered ter a secret outlet in yr nearest city or town.

      Beth the serf.

  103. Nicholls sounds like an academic trying to regain the lost tower. The conversations he complains of have always occurred, but now they occur globally publicly, warts and all. The network of human thought is now much more visible than it used to be. Experts have never carried much weight in that network, but that fact was well hidden. And of course the network itself has changed, going global.

  104. Tom Nicholls wrote,
    Now, anyone can bum rush the comments section of any major publication. Sometimes, that results in a free-for-all that spurs better thinking. Most of the time, however, it means that anyone can post anything they want, under any anonymous cover, and never have to defend their views or get called out for being wrong.

    Perhaps he would find the Willis Eschenbach approach useful:

    NOTA BENE! If you disagree with something I said, please quote my exact words, and then tell me why you think I’m wrong. Telling me things like that my science sucks or baldly stating that I don’t understand the math doesn’t help me in the slightest. If I’m wrong I want to know it, but I have no use for claims like “Willis, you are so off-base in this case that you’re not even wrong.” Perhaps I am, but we’ll never know unless you specify exactly what I said that was wrong, and what was wrong with it.

    So if you want me to treat you and your comments with respect, quote what you object to, and specify your objection. It’s the only way I can know what the heck you are talking about, and I’ve had it up to here with vague unsupported accusations of wrongdoing.

    Establish rules and tell the jerks who refuse to play by the rules to just go away. Serious people don’t want to have to wade through their crap any more than you do.

    Tom Nicholls also wrote,
    This subverts any real hope of a conversation, because it is simply exhausting to have to start from the very beginning of every argument and establish the merest baseline of knowledge

    You can’t start an argument in the middle. You have to start with the basics and establish set of references (or links to references) to which you can refer those with an education and background different from yours. This takes time and effort but it’s equivalent to building a solid foundation for a house — not exciting but very necessary.

  105. Schrodinger's Cat

    There is some truth in what Nicholls is saying, but perhaps his conclusions are wrong. He mourns the loss of respect and status and longs for a return to the days when experts were always right and the ordinary people were grateful.

    He seems to regard expertise as knowledge. I think of it as achievement through the application of knowledge. This embraces the elements of improvement and adding worth. Great surgeons demonstrate these qualities all the time and the ordinary person still shows respect, gratitude and more.

    The point I am making is that knowledge alone does not make an expert. It is the wise application of that knowledge to achieve a better outcome that is important. The lasting benefit is the tangible demonstration of expertise that commands the recognition and respect. Some experts achieve nothing. Some are also fools.

    This brings me to climate change. ClimateGate exposed the true nature of the experts. It showed not just the corruption of science but those who are familiar with the “Harry ReadMe” file will remember the appalling quality of workmanship.

    These are the experts who insist that an unremarkable period of warming between 1975 and 1998 is incontrovertible evidence for catastrophic global warming caused by anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission.

    We should welcome the acquisition of knowledge made possible by the internet. It is true that there are risks too. There is much misinformation and propaganda. A little knowledge can be dangerous. However, the vast majority of people can recognise expertise and the lack of it. They are watching, making judgements all the time.

    As far as climate science is concerned, the watchers are looking at the temperature data, they are watching the search for the hotspot, the missing heat, the rate of sea level rise. The listen to the experts on both sides of the debate and they decide who has the credibility to earn their respect.

    • The Cat has summed it up pretty well. Experts are still listened to and respected, if they have a track record that indicates that are trustworthy and they know wtf they are talking about. Nichol’s essay is just a long-winded appeal to authority.

  106. I think Nicholls has it compltely wrong.Ok,not comletely.

    There is no ‘death of expertise’, but a clamouring for a quick, superficial pseudo-expertise. Yes, it’s the phenomenon of the 5 min Google-instant-expert.

    As the AGW ‘debate’ demonstrates, it’s those with an ideological axe to grind against traditional expertise, that are most prone to this kind of thing.

  107. Joshua wrote earlier –

    This is human nature, folks.

    It’s also human nature to believe in some or other deity, and, in fact, it is, and always has been, the consensus of thousands upon thousands of trained clergy that such deities are real.
    The point is, people have great propensity for following their hearts (metaphorically speaking) rather than their heads. In any contest between the heart and the head, the heart will always win hands down. And the heart, which knows neither logic nor reason, will lead the head down the garden path – even to destruction in the extreme.
    While this may not be a bad thing in many areas of life, passions do militate against objectivity, and make things like confirmation bias much more of a problem.
    Unfortunately for climate science, there are few things more likely to inflame passions than the potential for an existential threat to mankind.

  108. essay is taken out of historical context. The death of expertise really came abruptly in the 60″s, when all authority was delegitimized. This was bad to the extent that the 60’s generation lost any sort of compass, but it also showed that fatuous posturing could pass for expertise. Foucault, just a little later, attempted to show that designated expertise was a superficial manifestation of an underlying power grid. Kuhn identified the nature of science as an ongoing process of changing the paradigms of what had been considered to be expert knowledge. The science wars of the 80’s attempted, unsuccessfully, to prove that scientific knowledge is as arbitrary as any other kind of knowledge. Google has significantly changed the rules and the way the game is played, but the concept of expertise was pretty beaten up before we had social media. The irony, to me, is that many folks in my pre-google Vietnam-war generation, have circled back to trusting experts, at least those with scientific credentials.

  109. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Curry, IPCC authors, academics, Lindzen, Lewis, NASA lads, Spencer and all that people are not experts in climate science. Furthermore, at present, in climate science there are no experts.
    All of them misunderstand the appropriate timescales in climate change. If you want to discuss this issue, ask JC for my essay: “Appropriate timescales in climate change debate”.

  110. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    Certainly the web has allowed the opportunity for the spread of information and a real rise of a new class of truly informed “experts”. The recent explosion of MOOC’s is a great example of the benefits. But just as the “signal” of more widespread education has risen, so has the “noise” of misinformation. The result is that there are more who truly are highly informed, but there are also a lot more who simply think they are.

  111. The key point about Google is that in its prioritized list of responses, it heavily weights the number of links to sites, and as a result, Google heavily weighs institutions, organizations, news media, government agencies, etc. over individuals. In the case of climate, these all are heavily biased toward the alarmist view; therefore the innocent searching for information on climate gets almost exclusively the alarmist position.
    Most “experts” (full-time researchers in climatology) are locked into the endless demanding cycle of publish or perish and the relentless competition for research funds. They don’t have time to cover the broad field of climate and remain narrowly confined to their own slice of the pie. There is precious little “system engineering” of climate in the academic communities.
    The blogs (even the good ones like climate.etc.) become exceedingly repetitive with self-declared “experts” repeating the same old mantras over and over again. It doesn’t matter which posting they respond to; the same people respond to climate.etc with same repetitive messages. Once in a while, if I bother to tune into a climate.etc. posting, I see the same names saying the same things. Has anyone ever convinced the opposition of anything? I think not. The reason being that the data are to vague, too incomplete, too subject to random fluctuations, and too uncorrelated with any causes, so that almost any interpretation can be put forth with some degree of credibility. As a result, it all comes down to faith.
    In a field that does not lend itself to logically derived conclusions from data, faith becomes the modus operandi, and full-time researchers in climatology tend to put their faith into CO2, while the self-declared “experts” tend to be split between alarmism and skepticism. If I flip coins and come up with roughly equal numbers of heads and tails, I conclude the coin is balance. If, on the other hand, I flip a con and it almost always comes up heads, I must conclude the at the coin is biased.

    • Donald, you write “Has anyone ever convinced the opposition of anything? I think not.”

      I put this in the usual category of making unwarranted assumptions. The assumption that people post on blogs to convince the other side. I cannot speak for others, but I know that on CE, I will NEVER convince any confirmed warmist that (s)he is wrong. It is just not going to happen. Mother Nature will do this for me in the end.

      What I come to blogs for, is my own education. I can float my ideas in front of an audience, some of whom really do know what they are talking about. So, maybe, if I put forward my favorite hobby-horse, one day, someone who is a REAL expert, is going to comment, and I am going to learn one hell of a lot, in one hell of a hurry. And I will quietly shout “Eureka!!” As I have already done on many occasions.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “In a field that does not lend itself to logically derived conclusions from data,..”
      ____
      A great example of the kind of faulty thinking that arises from incomplete knowledge potentially gained from very “noisy” websites.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “…full-time researchers in climatology tend to put their faith into CO2…”
      ____
      Nope, not at all. This statement indicates a lack of insight as to how actual research is conducted and the thinking processes involved.

  112. Democratiizarion of expertise is a good thing, especially for wicked problems. For example it accelerates correction of erroneous ‘expertise’ as McIntyre has shown. It carries with it two issues. One is an increased signal to noise problem. Lots more noise to be filtered to extract the signal (but it will likely be a truer signal). The other is the diminished status of proclaimed experts, especially when their signals get corrected. IPCC comes readily to mind. Nicolls lament about weight of authority seems of the latter sort.

  113. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    Here’s a great example of the rise of “noise” in the system, countering the benefits of actual increased expertise:

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/23/the-logic-of-the-ipccs-attribution-statement/#comment-442565

    Showing how a little incomplete knowledge can lead to faulty and unscientific reasoning.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Regarding the rise of expertise vs. more noise because of the web, it would be an interesting study to track the time spent by an individual on “noisy” websites (that is, websites that are more opinion laden) versus time spent reading the thousands of actual climate-related research papers or in a climate-related MOOC, and see how that affects their perspective on anthropogenic climate change.

  114. What did Climategate do? By the time it complained about the AR3 hockey stick, it had already been complemented by multiple other hockey sticks in AR4, and the skeptics had not challenged enough of the later work to take that away. They complained about the CRU temperature record, so Muller and co redid this from scratch, and basically showed it was supported, while efforts to disprove it have failed to come up with anything significant. Turned out the expertise was on track after all.

    • Also the climate models warmed by 0.2 degrees per decade recently when the actual warming since back in 1970 has been 0.17 degrees per decade including all of the pause.

    • That’s nice, jimmy. No reason to be skeptical anymore. All the issues are settled. Everybody is alarmed about AGW. Worldwide carbon tax to punish the polluters is coming soon. Wake up, jimmy.

    • Because of its spelling, climategate can be seen to have done a little more than billygate, but a little less than coingate, but clearly just as completely forgettable.

    • Climategate severely wounded the cause. The pause is killing the cause. Try to catch up.

    • Climategate did not change the facts. The facts related to CO2 sensitivity before and after Climategate remained the same, and just are getting better supported with more facts.

    • That must really be comforting for you, jimmy. When the cause is laid to rest, you can recite that over the coffin. Throw a handful of dirt in for me, jimmy.

    • That’s the way it is out there in the real world, donnie. Leave the blog coccoon behind and take a look.

    • jimmy, jimmy

      The people ain’t buying the story. After decades of climate alarmism, there is no reason to believe that effective mitigation will materialize. You people have failed. Start over. Try doing it right.

    • The debate has to be de-politicized. Too many people here are now saying the temperature can’t be rising because that would mean a tax increase. Thankfully the (non-Tea Party) general public are smart enough to not so entangle these issues.

    • As my father says of the combat on Guadalcanal, we lost until they were all dead.

    • You are making up stories, jimmy. Can you provide some evidence that some significant number (greater than zero) here are saying that, jimmy? Don’t invoke that Tea Party crap, That just reveals your weakness. The public is not scared by climate alarmism. Face the facts, jimmy.

    • Your father was no military genius. The Japanese on Guadalcanal didn’t all die at the end.

    • DM, I short-circuited their argument by leaving out the steps between that involve variations on lefty plots to make the poor pay more for their fuel, that academics are paid to conclude what they conclude, and that the IPCC wants to rule the world, and that is what you get: the world can’t be warming because that inevitably leads to carbon taxes. Yes, short-circuiting does lead to sparks in this case. Separate the issues. The world is warming. How much more, and how much can we take? What are the costs? These are the first questions to resolve.

    • jimmy, jimmy

      You are not setting a good example for de-politicizing the debate. Drop all the crap about Tea Parties and conspiracy theories and present a convincing case for your climate alarmism. Pekka doesn’t engage in that nonsense. Emulate Pekka and stop the foolishness, unless you want to continue to fail.

    • k scott denison

      Jim D, I get how you see the impact or lack of impact of Climategate. Let me tell you how I think others, including myself, many of my family, and many of my friends and colleagues see it:

      1. A group of climate experts claim CO2 is driving unprecedented warming and the world is at risk.

      2. A series of emails from these experts is released in which they seem to be: a) hiding something; and, b) actively trying to suppress the free speech of dissenting views.

      3. Before and after the release of the emails we see visible “warmists” publicly saying things like “the science is settled”, “deniers don’t deserve equal time”, “deniers should be jailed”, etc.

      4. Meanwhile, time marches on and the very publicized model predictions/projections/forecasts from late last century turn out to be much warmer than what actually happens.

      5. Instead of acknowledging this apparent disconnect, the same experts start pushing new lines of thinking, first that they always expected lulls in temperature rise, but they won’t last for x years. Then when the lull exceeds x, it becomes the heat is hiding in the ocean.

      6. In the meantime, models aren’t updated to even hind cast the current temperatures… rather statements such as “the ones that show the highest warming (above reality) model xyz more correctly so they must be right”.

      In the end, is it really hard to see what many (excluding you) are looking at the experts with a bit more doubt?

    • DM, I said what the questions are. That is the focus I am interested in, not the other crap, which is why I want it separated. To separate you have to name it because some people can’t. Yes, in the US we are more exposed to the crap than in other countries, which is why I may bring it up sometimes. It is in the background noise, and you feel like swatting it.

    • ksd, this is a symptom of your insulation in the blog world and its politics. No one cares outside and the world has moved on. Go to the scientific research in AR5. Make arguments against it, point by point, paper by paper. See if you can make a dent.

    • You are seriously confused, jimmy. The burden of proof is on your lot. Billions and billions of people are not persuaded by AR whatevers.

    • There is no single burden of proof that belongs to any one.

      Your side have just as equal burden of proof to show that our carbon volcano won’t cause catastrophic harm.

    • k scott denison

      Gee, funny that you think no one outside the blog world cares… perhaps you are projecting? I know a lot of folks outside the blog world, all of whom are having a WTF moment with respect to climate scientists and global warming.

  115. Recent developments in science suggest that “Ancient astrology was of more value to society than modern-day consensus science!”

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/a-remarkable-lunar-paper-and-numbers-on-major-standstill/

  116. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    R. Gates advocates “Time spend on WUWT should be balanced by equal if not more time reading research reports or in an on-line MOOC.”

    It’s mighty hard to beat HotWhopper’s in-depth fact-driven climate-reporting.

    Good on `yah,
    Sou from Bundangawoolarangeera
    !
    The analyses that “HotWhopper” delivers consistently beat the cherry-picked “expert” opinions that politicians solicit!

    \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}

    • if evidence was ever needed that all the skeptic whines and wails about statisticians are just fud, just look at their acceptance of that first graph.

    • I see someone has stuck the thermometer records at the end of the proxy records. Have the thermometer records been calibrated against the proxies and the proxies against each other? And then have all plots been adjusted according to the calibration mapping? Including rate of change over time? If not, then the only evidence this provides is evidence of a deranged mind.

    • willb would rather use 1950 to represent the present

    • Don’t be ridiculous, lolwot. Of course use the thermometer records for the present. But if you want to get a meaningful comparison between thermometers and proxies you first need to calibrate them against each other.

  117. Judith,

    I am going to do a little nitpicking, just to show joshie how it can be done. You misspelled Nichols and most of your loyal denizens have unquestioningly followed your erroneous lead. Please do the honorable thing and admit your mistake, if it was indeed a mistake and not something sinister.

  118. Denizens,

    Where is your “skepticism”, when it comes to Judith’s spelling?

    • So, when I said Nichols is excusing an abuse of power and abuse of trust and achieving political ends by any means by hiding behind the trappings of the learned academic, I was correct, right?

  119. In Great Global Warming Swindle
    Richard Lindzen said:
    “Prior to Bush the Elder, I think the level of funding for Climate and Climate Related Sciences was somewhere around the order of $170 Million per year, which was reasonable for the size of the field. It jumped to $2 Billion a year; more than a factor of ten.
    And yeah that changed a lot. A lot of jobs. It brought a lot of new people into it, that otherwise were not interested. So you developed whole cadres of people whose only interest in the field was that there was global warming. “
    Fred Singer said:
    “There’s really no question in my mind, that the large amounts of money that have been fed into this particular rather small area of science, have distorted the overall scientific effort.”

    The wise old owls, Lindzen and Singer have the problem diagnosed correctly IMO.
    So what is a primary cause of the dilution of expertise IMO?
    Too much money chasing chimeras and illusion!! ( too much subjective Bayesian anyone??). The bazillions of dollars flushed down the toilet on Climate SCEANCE has as a primary purpose to enhance the prestige of Science as a “SOURCE OF AUTHORITY”, the new “Priesthood”.
    So how are they doing BTW???.
    This is a problem that people in business will understand. I’m sure many have been through major organizational restructuring etc. They will also understand the “solution” once the problem is correctly diagnosed.
    It’s not uncommon that an organizational business unit, while perhaps well thought of and conceived originally can outgrow it’s usefulness ,suffer diminishing returns or even become counterproductive to the organization as a whole, while developing into an empire itself. Then major restructuring is required.
    When this happens, there is no option but to swing the axe. One cannot count on those with seriously vested interest, such as Archbishop Houghton, Archdeacon Hulme, Pope James Hansen, Climate Ayahtollah Trenberth etc, to say nothing of low level pests such as Rabbi Michael E Mann, to do the right thing and acknowledge that they should eliminate their own jobs.

    “You cannot have a Technical Solution to a Political Problem”

    This was a comment/advice I once heard from my boss, which helped put into proper context the situation we were both in at the time.
    There is a funny story behind this but it can wait for another time.
    Despite the earnest and honest efforts of our kind Hostess at this blog, we are still falling between two stools, have still not grasped the nettle.
    There is no “technical solution” to the supposed problem of climate SCEANCE. It is a POLITICAL problem and requires a POLITICAL SOLUTION.
    Cut the money flow back to what is was pre Bush the Elder for instance. Then concentrate back on real basic science. Cutting the money flow back forces one to evaluate what is most important.
    Get rid of the dross and pseudo-expertise, aim for quality, if one wants to preserve science as a beautiful investigative tool, rather than the Religion/Cult it has become.
    All the best
    brent

    • brent, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Now politicians, insurance companies, the energy sector, urban planners, relief organizations, the military, are all interested in climate change and putting money into finding out what is going to happen to their interests. You want to staunch that flow in favor of ignorance. Good luck with that.

    • Just to take a couple, the energy companies and the military have been coerced into playing along with the green crap.

      What are the chances that the next big climate soiree will result in the implementation of effective CO2 mitigation? It is not going to get any better than Kyoto, jimmy. That was the pinnacle of the cause. It’s been downhill, since then.

    • Even if countries do their own thing, and many are, and the big emitters are looked on poorly, that is progress that is already happening without the protocols. It’s about planning, rather than ignoring, at this stage, and that is working.

    • jimmy, jimmy

      Big emitters are looked on poorly? Well that ought to do it. Ridiculous spinning.

    • Carbon emitters have some of the lowest respect from the public. Tobacco companies in the making. Wait for a few years more!

    • Judging from the number of countries backing off “green” incentives, it just might be the greenies that are going to get whacked. Not the “big emitters.” No matter what the academia-media complex wants.

    • actually countries backing off “green” incentives is just going to tip the balance towards more of the public becoming wary that politicians are ignoring climate change.

      Look at the shale gas issue in the UK. Even some of the right wing tabloids are having trouble pushing the line. Too many of their readers see the short-term profit and political corruption in fracking.

    • Yes lollie, we will wait for the carbon emitters to be run out of business, just like the tobacco companies. That’s while we wait for the El Ninos to get stronger and more frequent. And while you wait for meaningful mitigation. In the meantime, the pause (that is not really happening) is killing the cause.

    • What would you do: tell Canada how to produce its energy? Threaten to nuke their oil fields? No, of course not, best you can do is not import it. Same with Australia and coal.

  120. This is a curious position. In reality the ‘expert’ has more power than ever. They are closer to policy than ever before. As a generalization I would suggest that in the past the ‘expert’ provided information to the policy maker which informed debate on the subject. Now it seems expert evoke ‘scientific evidence’ in order to close down debate to a very limited set of policy alternatives. They are essentially directing policy decision. What Tom Nicolls seems to disapprove of is when this new road to enlightenment brushes up against something as messy as democracy or the will of the people then the ‘experts’ find themselves in exactly the same position as all other policymakers, under scrutiny. And horror of horrors, they find some of their ‘facts’ wanting.

    In all likelihood as a supporter of this systems Nicolls is just horrified that it isn’t quite working out. A good sign that this anti-democratic tendency is failing.

  121. Pingback: Ruminations on an Eggsperts | ScottishSceptic

  122. Pingback: Ruminations on Eggsperts | ScottishSceptic

  123. Reports of the death of expertise are greatly exaggerated.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2014/jan/23/climate-change-global-warming-2013-warmest-years-el-nino

    Is expertise dead in the long term? Go ahead, plot expertise, and show me where you find even a pause in the global expertise average.

    Apply Bayes to tell me the likelihood expertise is even sick.

    If you can do the math, that is.

    • We don’t have to do any math:

      “There have been three El Niño events since 1998, but they have all been considered weak.

      Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says ENSO is currently neutral but adds that some computer models suggest there might be signs of an El Niño developing later this year, but the BoM urges caution.

      A very strong La Niña event in 2010/11 delivered the wettest two-year period on record in Australia, which included the devastating Queensland floods.”

      We will wait to see if the prediction of stronger and more frequents El Ninos ever comes to pass. In the meantime, the pause is killing the cause.

    • “A very strong La Niña event in 2010/11 delivered the wettest two-year period on record in Australia…”
      _____
      Left out of this is the mention that this “very strong” La Nina was the warmest La Nina year on record. The steps in each cycle are higher as the entire baseline shifts. That underlying shift is part of the anthropogenic fingerprint.

    • Good article. One quote on the pause: “Only someone completely ignorant of time series statistics could make such a claim,”. Also the ten warmest years have been in the pause and include 2013, and that is without an El Nino in 2013. Points to ponder.

    • The non existent pause is killing the cause. Is that better, jimmy? And while we wait, a warmer than usual La Nina will have to suffice for the stronger and more frequent El Ninos that we have been promised by our alarmist saviors.

  124. There were lots of experts around during Lysenko’s time.

    BBC – 19 April 2013
    The student who caught out the profs
    This week, economists have been astonished to find that a famous academic paper often used to make the case for austerity cuts contains major errors. Another surprise is that the mistakes, by two eminent Harvard professors, were spotted by a student.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22223190

    BBC – 10 January 2014
    “Only days before the 1929 stock market crash, one of the best known economists of the time, Professor Irving Fisher of Yale University, announced that “stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau”. Even after the crash occurred, Fisher insisted it was only a market correction that would soon be over. Losing most of his own fortune, the distinguished economist was as deluded as nearly everyone else. In case you’re wondering who anticipated the crash, two who did were the mobster Al Capone, who described the stock market in the boom years as a racket, and Charlie Chaplin, who unsuccessfully pleaded with his friend, the songwriter Irving Berlin, to sell out the day before the market collapsed.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25680144

  125. Rather than the death of expertise, it would seem we are seeing an expansion of expertise, though with a different set of credentials that is challenging the traditional accepted credentials. Sadly, along with this we are seeing an expansion of “noise”. Thus, there may be more diamonds in the rough, but a lot more rough to content with. Those who would become experts, or those who would like to know who the budding new experts might be, would do well to spend as much time reading actual research papers and taking an on-line MOOC or two, and less time trying find actual scientific education on the “noisy” sites that tend to me more opinion and politics than science.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      All I see is a knob of a different kind. We are in a cool mode as discussed by organization from NASA to the WMO – this is likely to offset any warming and then some over another decade to three.

      After that we will see a chaotic shift in climate involving abrupt changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation and cloud cover. Which at the 1998/2001 shift easily outweighed all nominal greenhouse gas forcing to date.

      e.g. http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/zFD/an2020_TOTnet_toa.gif

      The outcome of the shift involves multiple and very powerful systems – and is utterly unpredictable. According to Wally Broecker and many others.

      But when did I ever say that increasing greenhouse gases from 4% to 8%, 16%, 32% as economies grow this century is anything but imprudent? I have said that the idiot left has failed to see the wood for the trees in their obsession with limiting economic growth through taxes and caps. It is still the case that the idiot left is pursuing both incompetent blog science and incredibly stupid and unworkable policy.

      Why don’t you try some real science instead of trying to somehow equate millisecond changes in LOD to surface temperature?

  126. Yet more alarmism in the “skept-o-sphere.”

    The ‘Pause’ of Global Warming Risks Destroying The Reputation Of Science…

    … it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society’s respect for scientific endeavour…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/

    • Actually, the destruction of the reputation of many statist pinheads as they impale themselves on the AGW spike would be ‘refreshing’.

      Andrew

    • Yeah, science will not be tarnished as much as the ideology that evoked catastrophe. A cautionary tale.
      ========

    • Notice how Bad and kim need to translate what was said into what they’d like to have been said so that they can confirm a bias that what was said isn’t in contrast to what they’d like to have been said.

      Almost enough to make me question whether they’re “skeptics” or skeptics.

    • Look before you leap.
      =========

    • “Bad and kim need to translate what was said into what they’d like to have been said ”

      I didn’t translate anything. I gave my opinion about statist pinheads.

      Andrew

    • It’s unclear what watts what with what is up about.

      The only reputations imminently to be hit are those who predicted global cooling is on the way (archibald, easterbrook, gosselin, Abdussamatov etc)

      On the otherhand the only group of people predicting the world will continue warm is … climate scientists. The more WUWT spin and whistle about “global cooling” and “the pause”, the bigger the cred gain climate scientists will make as the world continues to warm.

      People will say “hey those climate scientists were the only ones who predicted this, how did they do that?” “skeptics thought the world would cool into an ice age”

      pundits might wonder “why didn’t skeptics notice the clues in warmest la nina years on record?”

    • lolwot is correct. This point (as of early 2014) in the discussion should be noted for posterity because they will deny that they had said the pause would last 20-30 more years when we have had another 0.5+ C warming by then. They are digging themselves their own credibility grave. They will say it was just a few loons that said that. Luckily the internet can preserve this point in time.

    • How many have said that the pause will last another 20-30 years, jimmy? Document it. name names and provide the quotes. Put up, or shut up your tiresome vacuous yammering.

    • DM, maybe you are not paying attention. One is Easterbrook at

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/17/cause-of-the-pause-in-global-warming/

      another is an extremist called Curry here

      http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=85223

      and Chief Kangaroo says it all the time too.

    • jimmy, jimmy

      I asked for quotes, not links. I am not going to read through that stuff. Come on: “pause will last another 20-30 years” That is what we are looking for, jimmy. Quotes. Two or three ain’t enough.

    • donnie needs spoonfeeding.
      Here.
      “the global climate should cool for the next several decades.” said Easterbrook.
      “The stadium wave signal predicts that the current pause in global warming could extend into the 2030s,” said Wyatt
      “Perhaps it is a hiatus that will last for 20 to 40 years” said the Generalissimo again today.

    • “could”
      “should”
      “perhaps”
      “maybe”
      “possibly”
      “meh, we should live so long”

      Nice going, jimmy. You “should” shut up now.

    • Yes, Don, they only say it will happen if they are right. They could be wrong too, but that is what I said.

    • You are being deceptive, jimmy. This is what you said:

      “they had said the pause would last 20-30 more years”

      Failing to find evidence of anyone who had made that prediction, you should have admitted your error, or just kept quiet. You are a very very poor advocate, jimmy.

    • As Hansen uses the deep solar minimum,as an argument for the recent reduction in ocean heat content,what are expectations now that we are now at solar maximum?

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1980/mean:65/mean:13

    • There’s a good selection of global cooling predictions here

      http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/07/denier-weirdness-collection-of-alarmist.html

      Tip of the iceberg though.

      When the world doesn’t stop warming, let alone doesn’t cool, there’ll be plenty of examples to be found written by skeptics own hand.

      I suggest starting at such sites as “iceagenow” and “icecap.us”

    • Well, lollie is supporting your BS, jimmy. He hasn’t produced any quotes of anybody that counts making an actual prediction. You people have squandered your credibility. Pathetic.

    • Don M, you can go ahead and try to dismiss their predictions to them, but I think you will see resistance. They seem quite sure, and have made statements that can go spectacularly wrong even within a few years.

    • “any quotes of anybody that counts”

      no true scotsman?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      We are in a cool mode since the last climate shift in 1998/2001 – these last for 20 to 40 years in the proxy records.

      Although NASA suggest 20 to 30 years based on the shorter instrumental record presumably. Although the early 20th century warm period lasted from 1910 to 1945 – 35 years.

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

      Interpretations of when the early 20th century warm period started seem bit flexible – I will go with the Tsonis network model.

      ‘The Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) is a lengthy interdecadal fluctuation in atmospheric pressure. When the IPO is low, cooler than average sea surface temperatures occur over the central North Pacific, and vice versa. These changes extend over the entire Pacific Basin. During the 20th century the IPO exhibited three major phases. The IPO had positive phases (southeastern tropical Pacific warm) from 1922 to 1946 and 1978 to 1998, and a negative phase between 1947 and 1976. The two phases of the IPO appear to modulate year-to-year ENSO precipitation variability over Australia, and bi-decadal climate shifts in New Zealand. The positive phase enhances the prevailing west to southwest atmospheric circulation in the region, and the negative phase weakens this circulation.’ http://www.wmo.int/pages/themes/climate/significant_natural_climate_fluctuations.php#f

      Let me Google that for you – http://lmgtfy.com/?q=interdecadal+pacific+oscillation

      You have to be an idiot or highly motivated not to see it. There are even a couple of initialized models showing a lack of warming for the next decade – which is probably some 9 years more than they are good for.

      It is the space cadets digging a hole for themselves rather than me.

    • Something wrong with the Aussie Sockpuppet. He can’t see that the CO2 control knob is much greater than the Stadium Wave.

      That is a fluctuation component breakdown of the temperature signal, courtesy of the CSALT model.
      The LOD representing the Stadium Wave is not making any big moves, and even if it was the CO2 is relentlessly increasing.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      All I see is a knob of a different kind. We are in a cool mode as discussed by organization from NASA to the WMO – this is likely to offset any warming and then some over another decade to three.

      After that we will see a chaotic shift in climate involving abrupt changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation and cloud cover. Which at the 1998/2001 shift easily outweighed all nominal greenhouse gas forcing to date.

      e.g. http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/zFD/an2020_TOTnet_toa.gif

      The outcome of the shift involves multiple and very powerful systems – and is utterly unpredictable. According to Wally Broecker and many others.

      But when did I ever say that increasing greenhouse gases from 4% to 8%, 16%, 32% as economies grow this century is anything but imprudent? I have said that the idiot left has failed to see the wood for the trees in their obsession with limiting economic growth through taxes and caps. It is still the case that the idiot left is pursuing both incompetent blog science and incredibly stupid and unworkable policy.

      Why don’t you try some real science instead of trying to somehow equate millisecond changes in LOD to surface temperature?


    • Why don’t you try some real science instead of trying to somehow equate millisecond changes in LOD to surface temperature?

      Oh. So the JC SNIP is now slamming the Stadium Wave theory?

      Wyatt & Curry : http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/stadium-wave.pdf


      We use annually resolved ngLOD as a proxy for patterns of long-period variability in large-scale wind flow, which are related to the multidecadal components of surface average temperatures, in particular, Arctic temperature (Klyashtorin et al. 1998).

      Do you not understand how to build on the work of others?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      ebby has many unknowns in a single equation – impossible to solve without a priori assumptions built into the scaling of his simplistic multiple linear regression.

      Instead of building on the stadium wave he reduces it to a single dimension – the utter antithesis of the idea.

      ‘Climate is ultimately complex. Complexity begs for reductionism. With reductionism, a puzzle is studied by way of its pieces. While this approach illuminates the climate system’s components, climate’s full picture remains elusive. Understanding the pieces does not ensure understanding the collection of pieces. This conundrum motivates our study.’ Marcia Wyatt

  127. That greater participation, however, is endangered by the utterly illogical insistence that every opinion should have equal weight,

    That is a false, strawman argument.
    The danger to science in society isn’t that there are a no-nothing tiny minority that believe all opinions should have equal weight, but there are entrenched self appointed, or concensus appointed experts, that behave as if non-experts have nothing to say or contribute to the testing of the science.

    Gatekeeping, dismisal of objections to use of data and methods, advocacy over advisery roles… these are the dangers science faces.

    • Every opinion should be judged on its own merits and by how well it fits with actual data.

      If you say Earth is getting warmer and the data shows that Earth is not getting warmer, that opinion has no merit.

      If you say that temperature is inside the same bounds that it has been inside of for ten thousand years, that opinion agrees with actual data and has huge merit.

      If you can’t make skillful forecasts for 5, 12 or 17 years, and that is true, they did not, your 20, 30, 50 or 100 year forecasts have no merit.

  128. It’s true. Too many superstitious opinions made loud by social media overrule expert advise. However, too many experts spew superstitious opinions, especially military policy wonks planning for the last war, then over-react to being blindsided.

    Climate “science” is not mature enough to have any experts. This is why Dr. Curry is subject to hysterical hatred from new-age self-neutered males drowning in their own certainty.

  129. Your comment is excellent, Dr. Curry.

    I would like to add that those who so loudly demand that their expertise should be recognized are the very same people who would turn science into advocacy.

    In addition, those who want greater respect for expertise are quite willing to champion someone with no expertise when doing so serves their policy goals. For example, no prominent American expert has campaigned against the foolishness of an Al Gore. If one is going to champion expertise then one must reject all who would replace expertise with advocacy.

  130. son of mulder

    Were the climate models created by climate experts?

  131. Generalissimo Skippy

    ‘As for your question: at the end of the century we were sitting on the highest global temperature value of the modern record. Since then we have leveled off and we may in fact be cooling. “We have reached the top of the mountain”, therefore it’s not surprising that the last decade is one of the warmest on record. Think about it! The important aspect is that the warming of the 80s and 90s has stopped and the models missed it completely! The important issue is that we have entered a new regime in global temperature tendency. In fact, I find it very misleading that scientists will present “the warmest decade” argument to justify their beliefs (or failures).’ Anastasios Tsonis

    More rainfall in Australia?

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Vance2012-AntarticaLawDomeicecoresaltcontent.jpg.html?sort=3&o=129

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00003.1?journalCode=clim

    ENSO shows not merely decadal scale variability – with La Nina dominance likely over the next decade to three – but centennial variability that is likely related to solar UV variability.

    The 11,000 year ENSO proxy – http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ENSO11000.gif.html?sort=3&o=188 – shows the millennial scale variability along with much else of interest if you look closely.

    There is expertise around but seemingly a dearth of it here and at the Guardian.

    • ““We have reached the top of the mountain””
      ____
      Or just a plateau on the way to higher peaks? This is far more likely as the anthropogenic forcing is the largest single long-term forcing in at least the past 3.2 million years.

    • “There is expertise around but seemingly a dearth of it here…”
      _____
      Agreed. There is a higher entertainment value to CE than perhaps a year or two ago, moving it closer to WUWT, but still far enough away to be more interesting. If you want real expertise, there are some excellent climate-related MOOC’s out there, and of course Google Scholar if you want to “hit the books” on your own.

    • a 20th Century PDO cycle

      1. AMO is garbage
      2. PDO appears to have 3 phases:

      a. negative
      b. neutral
      c. positive

      wrt to ENSO, these are likely La Nina dominance, ENSO neutral dominance, and El Nina dominance. As IZEN commented, the PDO cycle has zero trend. During the peak-to-peak period, the SAT went up by .04C per decade.

      The peak-to-peak PDO lasted about 43 years.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Some of the silliest comments in 3.2 million years.

      Perhaps it is a hiatus that will last for 20 to 40 years – resulting from a cloud cover shift with net forcing exceeding nominal greenhouse gas forcing – perhaps it will start warming again. Perhaps warming will trigger a shift in AMOC that results in radical cooling. Perhaps a cooling Sun will see 100’s of years of La Nina dominance. Perhaps we will see a return to absolute La Nina dominance last seen prior to some 5,000 years ago.

      It is not a simple problem with black and white solutions. Climate is wild as I keep saying – and prudence dictates building resilience into global communities essentially with economic growth. As well as pursuing a sensible multi-gas strategy.

      When I said there was a dearth of expertise – I was more thinking of the faux expertise of gatesy and Co. Some one whose qualifications are unknown despite my questioning – and whose reading and understanding is fragmentary. Sensible policy is not abetted by these types who insist that a big El Nino will turn things around and warming will return with a vengeance. It is all such utter nonsense.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “As well as pursuing a sensible multi-gas strategy.”
      —–
      I think you’ve got that covered.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Perhaps a cooling Sun will see 100′s of years of La Nina dominance. Perhaps we will see a return to absolute La Nina dominance last seen prior to some 5,000 years ago.”
      —–
      And perhaps millions of unicorns with little umbrellas will fill the sky, cooling the planet. Or, we could believe laws of physics and the paleoclimate record and think it more likely that the highest GH gas levels in millions of years will lead to a warmer climate in the long-term.

    • Right RG, here you have an Aussie sockpuppet that doesn’t understand that the underlying phenomena is analogous to the sloshing of water in a bucket and that no known physics could keep the water sloshed to one side for “100′s of years of La Nina dominance”

      What is wrong with these people?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The record of ENSO is preserved in ice in Antarctica and in sediment in South America. The record is evident in the proxies presented above.

      ENSO is driven by upwelling in the eastern Pacific – something that is facilitated or suppressed by more or less cold Southern Ocean water flowing north in the Peruvian Current – driven by the Antarctic westerlies. More or less storms spinning of the Antarctic cyclone in response to changing sea level pressure in polar and subpolar regions. Just like the storms spinning off the Arctic to cool North America.

      Water sloshing across the Pacific doesn’t begin to cover. These people show such overweening confidence in a level of ignorance that would be funny if they weren’t so obnoxious.

    • We could see a great climate shift signaled by the end of a series of El Ninos, but that would only delay a return to a warming trend north of 0.2 C per decade.
      All La Nina will not be a flat trend as the current observed trends are not flat, 5 of 6 trends you can calculate using the methods of Forster and Rahmsdorf
      available at SKS show warming near 0.1 C over the last 17 years.

      The lack of a definition of a pause is what’s hurting the cause (sleptics)

      I dont think I’ll fix that typo, it is appropo.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “ENSO is driven by upwelling in the eastern Pacific.”

      —-
      Nope. That is one of the effects, but it is definitely not “driven” by the upwelling. Try again.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      And this statement by Skippy:

      “ENSO is driven by upwelling in the eastern Pacific.”

      Is a perfect example of the kind of “noise” you have to weed through to find some actual science on the web.

    • at present the grand conveyor in its southern aspect,has decided to take a more scenic route (through the Tasman sea) .

    • It is a long-term zero-sum neutral effect, which the Aussie sockpuppet can’t seem to comprehend. It is called an “oscillation” after all, even though the period isn’t well-defined.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Cold water upwelling in the eastern Pacific sets up feedbacks that strengthen Walker Circulation – inter alia – piling up warm surface water against Australia and Indonesia and resulting in cool upwelling across the central Pacific. Rossby Waves eventually result in warm water sloshing back across the Pacific.

      For a nice primer on ENSO see –

      There are a lot noisy accusations of noise from these people but very little light.

      Bob is typically incoherent. The pause is adequately defined by the lack of warming since the 1998/2001 climate shift as Tsonis suggests above – caused by a shift in cloud cover.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=74

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ProjectEarthshine-albedo_zps87fc3b7f.png.html?sort=3&o=51

      ‘Earthshine changes in albedo shown in blue, ISCCP-FD shown in black and CERES in red. A climatologically significant change before CERES followed by a long period of insignificant change.’

      It all seems more than adequately supported by the evidence.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      It is a non-stationary time series across the Holocene – something that the Minnesotan mouth fails to understand. Along with much else it seems.

      Assuming a harmonic oscillation in any system in the real climate is the pits of idiocy – something that webby plumbs at every opportunity. It is after all just like water sloshing around a bucket.

    • The Aussie Sockpuppet doesn’t realize that the ENSO SOI can be used to explain the global temperature trend to incredible detail

      http://contextearth.com/2014/01/22/projection-training-intervals-for-csalt-model/

      The fact that the SOI has the physical property of reverting to a mean value of zero and being bounded on its excursions means that we have a straightforward and simple method of projecting future trends.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The sockpuppet of the Minnesotan mouth remains clueless.

      The Pacific has decadal modes. Let me Google that for webby – he might become an instant expert but somehow I doubt it.

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=interdecadal+pacific+oscillation

      This can be seen quite clearly in the MEI of Claus Wolter. La Nina dominant to 1976 cooling the planet – El Nino dominant to 1998 warming the planet – La Nina since. Well – anyone should be able to get the picture. If they don’t they are clearly motivated not to.

      The 2 proxies I linked to above clearly show both centennial and millennial variability. Clearly a non-stationary time series.

      Let me Google that for you – http://lmgtfy.com/?q=non-stationary+time+series

      ENSO doesn’t zero out over the Holocene.

      Again – http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ENSO11000.gif.html?sort=3&o=188

      We bored with ignorant hand waving masquerading as informed discourse yet? I certainly am.

      But I forget – there are ‘no known physics that could explain how water sploshing around in a bucket could demonstrate centennial La Nina dominance’. On the other hand – it is usually an idea to look at the data first and then work out an explanatory theory.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      ‘According to Fig. 4, a series of intense El Nino events (high red color intensity) begins at about 1450 BC that will last for centuries. In that period normal (La Nina) conditions have but disappeared. For comparison, the very strong 1998 El Nino event scores 89 in red color intensity. During the time when the Minoans were fading, El Ni˜no events reach values in red color intensity over 200.’ http://www.clim-past-discuss.net/6/801/2010/cpd-6-801-2010.pdf

      ENSO may have bounds – but nowhere in the instrumental record do they occur.

    • Thee SOI is a measure of a pressure differential and that has to revert to a mean of zero over time, otherwise there is something seriously wrong with our gravitational system.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Sometime over the Holocene you mean?

      Certainly doesn’t add to zero over the recent past.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/SOI-GHD_zpse2645883.png.html?sort=3&o=10

      The pressure difference is caused by more warm air rising in Darwin in La Nina and lower pressure at Tahiti – and a lesser differential in El Nino. The question is really changing intensity and frequency of events – which can only be assessed with a cumulative index – which you are too dumb or too motivated to understand.

      But discussions with hand wavers repeating endless nonsense from a fragmentary and incorrect understanding of these processes – gravity seems as good as water sloshing around in a bucket for which there are no known physics for centennial La Nina dominance.

      At the end of the day all you have is insults and abuse rather than actual science – it gets very boring.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      I don’t read blog science – especially yours webby – it only encourages them.

      I do prefer real science – http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~sgs02rpa/PAPERS/Loeb12NG.pdf

      Although the short term variability in TOA radiant flux in the earlier ARGO period is far and away SW – and this has turned around since.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_EBAF-TOA_Ed27_anom_TOA_Longwave_Flux-All-Sky_March-2000toJune-2013_zps0b8490b8.png.html?sort=3&o=34

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_EBAF-TOA_Ed27_anom_TOA_Longwave_Flux-All-Sky_March-2000toJune-2013_zps0b8490b8.png.html?sort=3&o=34

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/HadCRUT4vCERES_zpse5107cfd.png.html?sort=3&o=27

      You should try some real science sometime or other instead of challenging people to waste their time on nonsense fake blog science.

  132. Good post.
    Some grammar stuff: (a) where McIntyre is introduced (“expertise”) and (b) Parliament holding a “hear”.

  133. Oliver Geden, eh? I’ve run across that name before. I remember the stupid joke I made about it at the time, something like ‘Gesedendheit’.
    ==============

  134. The Ttanic was built by engineers…The Arc was built by an amateur

  135. Matthew R Marler

    in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.

    In climate science the self-annointed “experts” have been seriously challenged by people who have expertise in the fields where climate scientists are not themselves expert: statistics, and computer programming for examples. Also, there is a healthy skepticism of people whose expertise does not include making things work or making accurate predictions; your local auto mechanics and weather forecasters have more dependable expertise than Michael Mann has demonstrated to date.

    In America, I don’t think this is new. In the state of Missouri the slogan has always been “You have to show me”.

  136. I think it’s just another example of the democratisation of knowledge. It’s also about the loss of deference to authority, brought about by better education and the fact that some “authority” has been less than completely frank. Mainly driven by global and instant communication via the internet. In the past, knowledge, information and access to it were controlled by religion and other self appointed elitist minorities. Humanity suffered for centuries while attempts were made to protect the hegemony, control access and suppress dissent..

    Science is one of the many areas that is in the process of being opensourced. Just as the open source software movement has resulted in some of the highest quality software ever written, so decentralisation, greater transparency, many eyes and inputs + open debate will improve the quality of science and eventually speed progress.

    I can understand why parts of the establishment are circling the wagons and closing ranks. They still think they own it and the journals have income to lose, not to mention the academic funding structure, but the process has started and is unstoppable. Message is, adapt, or drown in the approaching flood.

    Just opinion…

    • Chris Quayle

      +100

    • Democratisation of knowledge? Good grief.

      Knowledge is as open as it has ever been. Those who want to study a subject have been free to do so for decades from schools and libraries. Technology and the internet makes it easier to access information, but knowledge still takes learning. To contribute to science people have to spend years becoming an expert on a subject. That hasn’t changed.

      Tom Nicholl’s point is that recognition of this fact is being lost. Laypeople are imagining that the expects “know nothin'” and their half-baked ideas are just as valid.

      The concept of “Democratisation of knowledge” plays into that, suggesting that suddenly laypeople are on equal footing as experts.

      I skip through the comments on this thread and it seems most skeptics in particular completely miss Tom Nicholl’s point and instead are symptoms of the problem Nicholl’s speaks about.

    • Something there is in nature doesn’t like a wall ‘n sends
      the ground-swell under it.

      Apologies ter Robert Frost.

    • Wot? Put it in patois and laff? No gud wilkomm off dis.
      ====================

    • lolwot:

      Agree, at least partially, but he is only looking at the downside and possibly mourning the old structures. In some ways, quite rightly so, looking at the amount of noise in the system these days. Democracy always did have a lot of noise anyway, so you just have to adapt and deal with it. The upside is that many eyes and more timely feedback will tighten the loop and help science to produce more timely, accurate and original work.

      It may appear that knowledge was always open, but much of it was hidden away in academic libraries or papers nor easily searched for and inaccessable without considerable effort, the situation being even worse for the talented amateur. They may never have heard of new developments for months or even years. Faster communications, techniques for data storage, searching and retrieval have revolutionised that. Not only that, but smart software is finding more ways to find connections in data, something that will be needed, imho, if there is ever to be a complete picture of the whole earth system, such is the complexity. Seems to me we are only scratching the surface at present. Anyway, the result is a lot of rapid change that is still being integrated into the process and some are understandably not comfortable with it…

  137. In 1968 two researchers, Drs. Joseph J. Hickey and Daniel W. Anderson, reported that high concentrations of DDT were found in the eggs of wild raptor populations. The two concluded that increased eggshell fragility in peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and ospreys was due to DDT exposure. Dr. Joel Bitman and associates at the U.S. Department of Agriculture likewise determined that Japanese quail fed DDT produced eggs with thinner shells and lower calcium content. Bitman’s research was published in Science. Bitman and coworkers demonstrated eggshell thinning with DDT by reducing calcium levels to 0.56 percent from the normal 2.5 percent. This work was exposed as anti-DDT propaganda by other scientists in the field after obtaining the data from his research.
    Bitman continued his work for another year. Instead of the calcium-deficient diets, however, he fed the quail 2.7 percent calcium in their food. The shells they produced were not thinned at all by the DDT. Unfortunately, the editor of Science refused to publish the results of that later research. Editor Philip Abelson had already told Dr. Thomas Jukes of the University of California in Berkeley that Science would never publish anything that was not antagonistic toward DDT. Bitman therefore had to publish the results of his legitimate feeding experiments in an obscure specialty poultry journal. As a result many readers of Science continued to believe that DDT could cause birds to lay thin-shelled eggs.

  138. The “laymen”, and I’m talking about the individual with 90% IQ’s and 95% MAT Information Professional Computer Science kind of guy finds your comment insipid and self serving. Cape Wind $2.6 BILLION dollars produces best case scenario 24 TeraWatts life cycle, while a Natural Gas Combined Cycle Turbine plant produces 133 TeraWatts life cycle $311 MILLION. So the question is, who is the self serving EXPERT here? Hard Science may have a difference, of opinion within the realm of their speciality let’s leave that in the Academy. But when they come out to the “laymen” populace and justify their parasitical leeching of public funds to drive their self serving grant chasing academic endeavors then it becomes a matter of public interest, and therefore distain.

  139. When we discuss the Death of (scientific) Expertise , we should especially note primary Godfathers of the CAGW scam, Crispin Tickell, and Maurice Strong, for their fundamental and decisive contributions to this situation /sarc.

    Nigel Lawson: Global warming has turned into religion

    Lawson was Chancellor when Crispin Tickell, then British Ambassador to the UN, convinced Prime Minister Thatcher that man-made global warming was a problem. Despite Tickell lacking any scientific background (he read history at university) Mrs Thatcher took the population campaigner’s views seriously enough to make a landmark speech on global warming

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/11/climate-science-sociology/#comment-364124

    Maurice Strong has played a unique and critical role is globalizing the environmental movement. Secretary General of both the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which launched the world environment movement, and the 1992 Rio Environmental Summit, he was the first Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    http://www.mauricestrong.net/index.php/short-biography-mainmenu-6

    Live & Learn: Maurice Strong
    I never aspired to be in business. I went into business because I only have a high-school education, and I couldn’t get jobs that required higher qualifications. I went into business quite reluctantly, because it was the only place I could get a job.

    http://www.canadianbusiness.com/business-strategy/live-learn-maurice-strong/

    Honours and Awards

    Fellow The Royal Society (UK)
    Royal Society of Canada
    Etc,etc,etc

    http://www.mauricestrong.net/index.php/honours-mainmenu-20

    Maurice F. Strong Is First Non-U.S. Citizen To Receive
    Public Welfare Medal, Academy’s Highest Honor

    WASHINGTON — The National Academy of Sciences has selected Maurice F. Strong to receive its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Established in 1914, the medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. The Academy chose Strong, a Canadian and the first non-U.S. citizen to receive the award, in recognition of his leadership of global conferences that became the basis for international environmental negotiations and for his tireless efforts to link science, technology, and society for common benefit.

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12032003

    Award of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom Medal to Maurice Strong

    http://tinyurl.com/nm3g7t8

    Chairman Mo’s little red website

    http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=7e5f9073-4b71-4690-868d-c2c4eb23551d

    Maurice Strong: businessman as environmentalist

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/07/big-green-in-denial/#comment-378193

    Stockholm 1972

    http://tinyurl.com/2qkrp3

    A – Pollution Generally
    Recommendation 70

    It is recommended that Governments be mindful of activities in which there is an appreciable risk of effects on climate, and to this end:

    (a) Carefully evaluate the likelihood and magnitude of climatic effects and disseminate their findings to the maximum extent feasible before embarking on such activities;

    (b) Consult fully other interested States when activities carrying a risk of such effects are being contemplated or implemented.

    http://tinyurl.com/2xlo5j

    Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment

    http://tinyurl.com/2w2fg4

    Brief Summary of the General Debate

    http://tinyurl.com/yt53gh

    It is difficult to conceive of any actual science that Maurice Strong produced that could in the wildest imaginations justify his awards.
    However, what he certainly did contribute was helping funnel massive amounts of money to supposed science to enhance and promote the prestige of Science as a new “Source of Authority” I.E. a “New Priesthood”

    all the best
    brent

  140. Monfort I was not replying to you, but this site while interesting is arrested in incredibly incompetent web awareness. My apologies if you were offended.


  141. Don Monfort | 9:39 AM |

    How do you find the time to continuously bless us with your omnipresence, webby? Where do you find time to do your curve fitting and run your own blog? Don’t you worry about neglecting your audience over there at whatever you call it, these days? That guy Dennis must get lonely over there, all by himself.

    I see your comment got deleted Don. Thanks for the Shout-Out, check my handle for the link to my web site !

  142. Reny Madigan asked (January 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm), Who decides who the experts are?

    Answer, other experts. It’s experts all the way down.

  143. When ecologists lay hold of the post-Normal Science Attempting to characterise the methodology of inquiry that is Appropriate for cases where “facts are uncertain, values ​​in dispute, stakes high and Decisions urgent” (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1991). OK
    But when climate issues are answered by an “extended peer community” is bad!
    I do not understand?

  144. Matthew R Marler

    Once upon a time — way back in the Dark Ages before the 2000s — people seemed to understand, in a general way, the difference between experts and laymen.

    I think that’s clearly not demonstrably true, and there are many exceptions.

  145. Regarding death of expertise, I suspect many of the geologists who Are involved in climate science have never even used the basic standard equipment of any field geologist: G-pick, Brunton compass, field note book with water proof pages, dropper bottle with 2N HCL, air photos and stereo viewer, rain coat, boots, Land-Rover with winch, 10 gal reserve fuel tank, 20 gal water tank, 2 spare wheels.
    :)

    • But things have advanced so much they can sit at a two screen work station, pull up maps, pick up the site photographs, click on the thin sections, pull up tables with mineralogy and bug counts, and go make their own cross sections. It has its pluses and minuses.

      • Are yes, I recognise all that. I was being facetious of course. But there is truth in it. They are using their computers to look at data other’s collected, mostly in the past. The focus is on analysing, interpreting, making assumptions, making and running models and drawing conclusions on limited data. They are not out in the field hacking at rocks, cutting thin sections, collecting the bugs, logging drill cores, digging in trenches, etc. I suspect you were probably being facetious too, right?

  146. Stephen Segrest

    Most folks on this Blog are obviously smart — but you drive us “Average Joe’s” nuts. Everything is so nuanced. Let’s see if I have this correct — The Earth’s temperatures are increasing BUT not mirroring what the Models say should be happening. This is a whole lot different than the statement that actual cooling in global temperatures is occurring since 2001. Why is it so hard just to say the Earth’s temperatures have been getting warmer, and what we don’t have a good handle on is why?

  147. Pingback: Oral evidence session for HoC IPCC Review | The IPCC Report

  148. Confusing the words ‘economist’ and ‘expert’ is always an error.

    It’s like confusing ‘philosopher’ with ‘surgeon’, ‘theologian’ with ‘researcher’ or ‘politician’ with ‘educator’.

    No offense intended to philosopher theologian politician economists. Much.

  149. [W]hat I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live.

    What he completely (deliberately?) misses is the case of genuine expertise laced with ulterior motive (typically politics), dishonestly presented so as so mask the ulterior motive – obviously a very big problem in government-funded climate science, and why it has become necessary to force the experts to explain themselves from first principles all over again.

  150. See Taleb’s Green Lumber Fallacy and Armstrong’s body of literature revealing that the prediction of experts is often no better than the prediction of novices. Expertise is useful to the practitioner, but is it useful to the policy maker? In the policy realm, perhaps the death of expertise is warranted.

  151. There’s an amusing book, href=”http://www.amazon.com/Experts-Speak-Definitive-Authoritative-Misinformation/dp/0679778063/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391058940&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Experts+Speak”>The Experts Speak, quoting and documenting lots of their harebrained opinions.

    The way for outsiders to be heard without derailing the conversation is to use a two-level blog structure, with the experts on one level and the peanut gallery below. This is what the Dutch are using on their Climate Dialog site.

  152. These are genuinely fantastic ideas in regarding blogging.

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