Uneasy expertise

by Judith Curry

Experts might instead need to pick a side, join the fight, and accept that their claims to knowledge and authority will always and everywhere be contested. – Jason Wilson

In recent years, the notion of ‘expertise’ has taken a  beating, not the least of which has been from scholars of science and technology studies.  Excerpts from a recent article in the Guardian: Graphs are no longer enough: It’s time wonks and experts joined the fight:

Political deference to experts is disappearing. Economists are popularly derided for their role in the 2007-2008 financial crisis, that resulted in huge wealth transfers to the rich. Scientists who warn about climate change are accused by denialists of outright political conspiracy.

Political parties are also cutting experts adrift, crafting policies not for rational median voters, but for micro-targeted constituencies – or bypassing rational processes altogether with neuromarketing. Amid these changes, expertise has been re-politicised.

Whether we like it or not, the raiments of disinterested expertise have been spattered with the mud of politics. More and more frequently, expert knowledge is read as being situated and framed by particular assumptions or interests. It would be senseless to say that expertise is empty, or without value. But it may be that the social and natural sciences need to be more open about their political entanglements, and more comfortable with signalling them.

For some additional context, here are some previous Climate Etc. posts on expertise:

Harry Collins

Harry Collins, a scholar of science and technology studies, has written a new book Are We All Experts Now?  I haven’t read the book, but I have read an earlier version of several chapters The Periodic Table of Expertises.  Some excerpts from the Periodic Table that provide definitions of types of expertise as used by Collins:

Ubiquitous Expertises are acquired by all members of human societies during the course of the normal ‘enculturation’ that takes place during upbringing. They include fluency in the natural language of the society and moral and political understanding. Ubiquitous expertises are the beginnings from which all other expertises are built.

Specialist, or domain-specific expertises include those with a relatively invisible component of ubiquitous tacit knowledge such as beer-mat knowledge, popular understanding, and primary source knowledge, and the full-blown specialist tacit knowledge-laden expertise which enables those who embody it to contribute to the domain to which it pertains; this is contributory expertise. The bridge between experts with contributory expertise and non-domain experts is interactional expertise. Interactional expertise is tacit knowledge-laden expertise in the language of a domain and it is acquired through enculturation in the domain language.

Meta-expertises are used for judging other expertises. External meta-expertises turn on the judging of skills through the judging of persons, or the more general characteristics of their discourse, rather than on domain-specific understanding. Internal meta-expertise do depend on a degree of technical expertise within the domain. The most straightforward kind of internal meta-expertise depends on the application of contributory expertise to a domain through the mediation of interactional expertise. Referred expertise depends on the transfer of domain-specific contributory expertise from one domain to another.

Ok, so it seems like ‘we are all experts now.’  However, the most relevant aspects of the book (for CE anyways) is the part on scientific expertise, where Collins defends traditional notions of  elite scientific expertise - that is, expertise in universities and government labs that occurs in a community of scientists sharing the same specialty.  This message is conveyed in the title of an article on the book by Chris Mooney:  This Is Why You Have No Business Challenging Experts.  Excerpts:

But that means that Climategate didn’t undermine the case for human-caused global warming at all, says Collins. Rather, it demonstrated why it is so hard for ordinary citizens to understand what is going on inside the scientific community—much less to snipe and criticize it from the outside. They simply don’t grasp how researchers work on a day-to-day basis, or what kind of shared knowledge exists within the group.

That’s why it’s so significant to find Collins, in his new book, laying out a robust defense of scientific expertise and arguing, as he puts it, that “scientists are a special group of people…in terms of the values that drive their lives and their aspirations in respect of how they live their lives.”

And in the process, he rescues the idea that there’s something very special about being a member of an expert, scientific community.

Read all the online stuff you want, Collins argues—or even read the professional scientific literature from the perspective of an outsider or amateur. You’ll absorb a lot of information, but you’ll still never have what he terms “interactional expertise,” which is the sort of expertise developed by getting to know a community of scientists intimately, and getting a feeling for what they think.

“If you get your information only from the journals, you can’t tell whether a paper is being taken seriously by the scientific community or not,” says Collins. “You cannot get a good picture of what is going on in science from the literature,” he continues. And of course, biased and ideological internet commentaries on that literature are more dangerous still.

That’s why we can’t listen to climate change skeptics or creationists.

JC reflections

Collins has developed a lot of these ideas based on his extensive interactions with the community  of gravitational wave physicists. I don’t think some of his ideas translate very well into scientific fields that are policy relevant (e.g. climate change).  One of the Mertonian norms of scientific research is ‘disinterestedness’ –  according to which scientists are supposed to act for the benefit of a common scientific enterprise, rather than for personal gain.   When research is policy relevant, disinterestedness is a considerable challenge, viz. scientists-advocates and ‘urgent action needed.’

Another difference is that the field of climate science is not a narrow scientific subfield; rather it involves a considerable breadth of disciplines, and scientists with a broad range of academic backgrounds and specialties may regard themselves as climate scientists.

So the bottom line is that I don’t buy Collins’ characterization of scientific expertise when it involves policy-relevant science and/or a complex multi-disciplinary problem.  So while it would makes sense for very few individuals to challenge the expertise of a gravity wave physicist, I think that broad challenges to climate science expertise can be justified by those with referred expertise and meta-expertise.

Collins is dismissive of what he refers to as ‘citizen scientists’, likening them to novice chess players.  However, independent scientists, operating outside of the elite research institutions, have made significant contributions to climate science in the context of journal articles and books.  The blogosphere provides a ‘community’ that serves some of the functions that elite academic communities do.

To me, the most interesting aspect of Collins’ argument is the notion of interactional expertise.  Within the elite academic community, those with interactional expertise are sought out to serve on advisory panels, members of interdisciplinary science teams, etc.  Collins also refers to interactional expertise in context of philosophers and sociologists of science and journalists, that interact extensively with scientists having contributory expertise.

In the context of climate science (or other policy relevant science), the notion of interactional expertise is arguably broader.  I am arguing that this  includes scientists that engage with the policy process and with the public through blogs, writing articles or books geared towards the public, or through media interviews.   Scientists that are asked to do this are not necessarily the ones with the biggest academic c.v.’s, but rather ones that have developed interactional expertise.  Note, I will be incorporating the idea of interactional expertise in a forthcoming post on the Art of Integration.

So, who is an expert?  In the public debate on climate change, the experts that loom prominently are those with interactional expertise, and this includes individuals from the traditional elite academic institutions as well as independent   individuals.  An excellent example of this was the inclusion of Nic Lewis and Donna LaFramboise, along with academics, in the UK Parliamentary Hearing on the IPCC.  Independent scientists actually have an outsize influence on the public debate on climate change, since they focus on scientific topics of direct relevance to the public debate on climate change.  Examples include comparison of climate model projects with observations, auditing of surprising results from academic scientists, etc.

So how does the public judge who to listen to?  This is addressed in Collins’ essay, excerpts:

Credentials The standard way to try to measure expertise externally is by reference to credentials in the sense of certificates attesting to past achievement of proficiency. Possession of certificates will define a number of kinds of expert but note that not credentials exist to signify possession of many of the expertises we have discussed so far. There are no credentials for fluency in one’s native language, nor for moral judgement, nor for political judgement. There are no credentials for ubiquitous discrimination, no credentials for the ability to distinguish between experts. Therefore we conclude that credentials are not a good criterion for setting a boundary around expertise.

Track record Track record is a much better criterion than credentials. The philosopher Alvin Goldman argues that track record of success in making sound judgements is the best way for lay persons to choose between experts. Reference to track record of success will certainly exclude a lot pseudo-experts but, again, it excludes too many. For example, it again excludes [people] who might be applying their expertise to a technical debate in the public domain for the very first time. 

Experience A criterion that does seem to set the boundary in roughly the right place is experience in a domain. We know from the outset that without experience within a technical domain, or experience at judging the products of a technical domain, there is no specialist expertise. Without experience of doing science, talking to scientists,  the minimal standards for making judgements in these areas have not been met. 

JC message to PopTech:  Formal academic credentials are not particularly useful in judging experts in public debates, and someone’s institutional affiliation (or lack thereof) is even less relevant (unless the affiliation is an advocacy group).  Individuals with referred expertise and interactional expertise are playing an increasingly important role in the public debate on climate change.  In any even, anyone who self-characterizes or is characterized by others as an expert needs to accept that their claims to knowledge and authority will always and everywhere be contested.

 

 

 

 

 

310 responses to “Uneasy expertise

  1. The end product is the question?

    • The end product?

      Collins is involved with LIGO:

      At the cost of $365 million (in 2002 USD), LIGO is the largest and most ambitious project ever funded by the NSF, and

      Quote from: “Gravitational-wave astronomy: observational results and their impact” by Peter S Shawhan (2010) Classical and Quantum Gravity, vol 27, number 8:
      “The successful construction and operation of highly sensitive gravitational-wave detectors is an achievement to be proud of, but the detection of actual signals is still around the corner …”

      LIGO and climate modelling appear to have much in common; they are both big expensive projects that do not work. Small wonder that Collins wishes to set himself and his friends above any criticism from the laity. That is what the priestly cast has always done throughout history.

  2. So Henry Paulson, an economist, has contributed to the recent “Risky Business” publication. The old saying is that “meteorologists (also climate scientists) and economists collect a salary even if they are wrong.” Is cross pollination good between disciplines when addressing climate change science?

    • maybe the question about cross-pollination isn’t “good or bad”, but “unnecessary”, or “absolutely critical”?

    • Climate Scientists and Economists both begin proofs with “Assuming that.”

      • Mathematicians also start “Assuming xyz is true, then … ” which is very helpful as it tells you where their argument is coming from. Unlike climatology which has so many assumptions and moveable definitions that it’s more like quicksand for the unwary!

  3. Experts might instead need to pick a side, join the fight, and accept that their claims to knowledge and authority will always and everywhere be contested. – Jason Wilson

    A needed breath of fresh air. The progressive culture has gone off the deep end. Debates are not settled until the debates die away, and the insistence that they are when they manifestly are not….notably wrt to Obamacare and CAGW….is laughable. So is the attempt to treat flesh and blood, decidedly not-disinterested “experts,” as all knowing, benevolent half-gods.

    • k scott denison

      +1

    • Choosing sides locks experts in ego debates that impede understanding.

      ALL inhabitants of Earth deserve the best possible information on the source of energy that sustains our lives. Ego battles and Nobel Prizes have failed to accomplish that.

      The cooperative approach of Jo Nova and David Evans now seems to offer a better chance of success.

      • ” The blogosphere provides a ‘community’ that serves some of the functions that elite academic communities do.”

        Well Jonova has a great site but like CE and WUWT they do not seem to provide a real arena for co-operation.

        Mostly just hit and run posts by people who come in sound off and leave.

        Some brief exchanges of interest here but mainly one way venting off.

      • A lot goes on via email among people that have ‘met’ on blogs.

      • c’grog, judith, not just e-mail, sometimes real life meetings and friendships.

      • yes, the blogs have been a wonderful way to network with interesting people all over the world!

  4. Experts are the death of invention.

  5. stevefitzpatrick

    “Track record is a much better criterion than credentials. The philosopher Alvin Goldman argues that track record of success in making sound judgements is the best way for lay persons to choose between experts.”

    ‘Expert projections’ of rapid global warming, combined with the reality of ‘the pause’, have damaged the credibility of ‘experts’ in climate science, in spite of their many credentials. Combine that weak track record with strident advocacy, and most climate experts are just not credible any more…. nor should they be.

  6. experts like these? (the best experts that Tom Steyer’s money can buy)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/24/science/report-tallies-toll-on-economy-from-global-warming.html?_r=0

  7. I have trouble understanding how we can have climate experts, when:

    ..When we don’t know what forms the hot spots that create Hawaii, Old Faithful, and a few dozen more around the world.
    ..We don’t know what causes the fluctuation in solar activity, sunspot cycles.
    ..We don’t know how the sun’s magnetic field (30 billion miles across and travelling at 20 miles per hour), manages to push, absorb, (destroy), the 39/40′s of the mass it is flying through.
    ..We don’t believe the standard model of the universe is complete – we continue to look for alternates – string theory, dark energy, unified field, super-symmetry. Those “advanced expert” experts are proving through their actions, they don’t believe the standard model.
    ..we don’t know “how” gravity, magnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces work. Magic??
    ..we don’t know the percentage of surface heat is produced from radioactive decay inside the earth. estimates range from 25-80%. To put it in perspective, that is 63-200 degrees constantly, globally, coming from below us. we only know the total internal heat generation is approximately 254.3 (black body temp, per Nasa)
    ..we didn’t know until 2009 that it was possible, for radioactive decay rates to vary. It turns out it varies in direct response to solar rotation.
    ..it turns out that the clocks that confirmed tie dilation (to confirm the standard model) use caesium 137, which was the first material to have the variability of it’s rate of radioactive decay vary in reaction to solar intensity.
    ..we have not tracked, nor quantified variations in lightning.
    ..despite historical evidence to the contrary, we limit impact of solar variation to .1 degree
    ..we have well quantified, nor track outbound lost kinetic energy. molecules that attain enough energy to leave the earths gravitational field. I’ve read 3.5kg per second.
    ..we recognize variations in heat output as significant. we don’t measure fluctations in the outbound gravity waves and balance the two against each other, despite they are direct reflections of one another. energy is mass, mass is energy. output more energy, you ARE outputting less gravity. FACT.
    ..we don’t know what the “average” temperature of the planet is “supposed” to be. there has never been one before we came along. There was always just the temperature that there was. It has ALWAYS gone up and down. we pick, choose, assign time frames, and then assume that is valid.

    My point is, a climate expert, can only be expert if the information he works from is complete and accurate. The foundation for understanding climate is understanding physics.

    If physicists aren’t done figuring out physics, yet. And I mean real fundamental stuff, like “is time constant”, or “is the speed of light constant”, or “does E always = mc^2.”

    Then how can ANY climate expert, claim expertise, in a field where the foundation is so slippery, and unseen?? A mirage.

    Oh shoot. mis-worded that. How can ANY climate expert VALIDLY claim expert knowledge, in a field where currently, such a thing is beyond possible?

    Unless, it is only expert in relation to other experts, and not expert in terms of validated factual accurate knowledge??

    my 2 nickels worth (we phased out the penny in Canada, so no one here has 2 cents). :-)

    Cheers,
    Alistair

    • Allistair Ridoch the hot spots are caused by hot lava rising from way down there. Fluids tend to have behavior we can’t “sense” very well, but if you think about it, it’s fairly easy for a liquid system to behave that way when it’s spinning, the moon stirs it, and there’s heat being applied from below.

      • sorry, i was a little overly brief on that point……the mystery isn’t the hotspots themselves, but they’re origin and speed (or lack thereof). they do not move relative to the crust. I haven’t managed to find anywhere, where that is explained. they aren’t “just” volcanoes. It isn’t “just” about the lava. But maybe it has been figured it out, and I haven’t found it????

      • Alistair, I haven’t studied the process in detail, but i spent a few hours thinking about it, and it seems quite natural to see how they work.

        The key is to think about the problem considering pressures, temperatures, the physical properties as a function of temperature and pressure and chemistry, and the system dynamics.

        The physical properties which (intuitively) ought to influence how this works are the density, viscosity and the melting points.

        I’m a bit fuzzy about the early phase dynamics, but it’s fairly easy to visualize a hot molten mass rising above a boundary (to make it look simple think of the earth as if it were an onion). Once a molten mass rises the pressure inside the mass will be slightly higher than the pressure in the surrounding mass (this is all supposed to very viscous molten rock). The higher pressure is caused by the slightly lower density due to the higher temperature.

        So now we have established a mass of molten material with lower viscosity, higher temperature, and higher pressure in the “next shallower layer”. This process must be made a bit more complex by the slight mixing going on at the boundary.

        However, I think the combination of lower density and lower viscosity allows this mass to rise, and on and on. The trick is to allow this to emerge as a column of hot, low density and low viscosity material. Once it gets to the solid crust it just melts it and breaks through. Once the material is ejected it loses pressure, then it begins a buildup, the top moves a bit and eventually it reconnects and blows through again. It wouldn’t surprise me if these things would stay in place for over 100 million years.

        Anyway, that’s the way I see it. I didn’t read it anywhere, but it just makes sense that’s the way it ought to work.

      • I think Fernando is right. I’ve never heard of this before but it seems simple enough.

  8. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry asserts [utterly mistakenly] “Collins has developed a lot of these ideas based on his extensive interactions with the community of gravitational wave physicists. I don’t think some of his ideas translate very well into scientific fields that are policy relevant (e.g. climate change) [as contrasted with gravity wave projectes].”

    “The field of climate science is not a narrow scientific subfield [like gravity wave science]; rather it involves a considerable breadth of disciplines, and scientists with a broad range of academic backgrounds and specialties may regard themselves as climate scientists.”

    Judith Curry, please appreciate that the LIGO Gravity Wave Observatories are the largest enterprises that America’s NSF operates. These evolution and operation of these observatories *DOES* closely resemble climate-science in:

    • vast dynamical complexity and nonlinearity,
    • intense political maneuvering for scarce resources,
    • complete dependence upon sophisticated computer models,
    • the interplay of “pure” science with passionate personality clashes.

    Who foresaw (for example) that each of Advanced LIGO’s kilometer-long light-beams would prove to be (mechanically) more rigid than a solid-diamond bar of equivalent length?

    Harry Collins’ Gravity’s Shadow: the Search for Gravitational Waves did a *TERRIFIC* job of describing these social/scientific/political realities, and this book is universally respected among “boots-on-the-ground” gravity wave researchers (of FOMD’s acquaintance).

    Conclusion  Do not be so quick to dismiss Harry Collins’ insights, Judith Curry!

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    • Rob Starkey

      Fan

      How is or will US government policy impacted by gravitational wave physics???

      How are the lives of people around the world impacted over the next 20 years???

      Not the same at all is it???

      • well, it has been found that gravity is a two way street, like light. it has a plus and a negative. that means, it IS the balance between heat and energy. It gets the opportunity to demonstrate this, twice a day, as the bulges in the earth, are pulled around the globe. every square inch of land, gets given the choice, re-settle as mass, or release as energy.

        gravity can turn to heat, heat can turn to gravity.

        the poles have the most gravity and the least heat, the equator the most heat and the least gravity. the magnetopause feeds energy in through the poles. Heat pushes it out from the equator.

        gravity waves, and the resulting derived knowledge, should break the back, of the alarmists concerns. and save the world all the current unrest, political bs, and stop the unnecessary massive spending that has wrongly occurred so far.

        if nothing else accomplishes that first.

      • Rob Starkey

        Alistair
        You will note that I did not write that the science isn’t interesting, but that gravitational wave physics won’t impact public policy for many decades at best imo.

      • Hi Rob. I was/am in full agreement with you.

        Only slight difference is that I think some derivatives specifically from gravity wave research will impact policy much sooner than 20 years.

        A.

        :-)

    • those gravitational wave guys, found the shape of gravity/pressure waves that permeate the universe. the shape of the gravitational wave that was published in scientific american, is a bi-polar double helix. It is a ball with 4 “sides”. It can be reduced and multiplied almost to infinity, stacked in a tetrahedral fashion, and have them all counter-rotate and phase change, constantly. creating a field that stays in place, but has a torsion in one direction and a flop in the other and a boatload of self contained energy.

      Such a field is a viable example of one that could replace the standard model, the fundamental forces, and explain all the phenomena of which we are currently aware. that red and blue ball, will be best thing science ever did for itself. or at least for a long time to come.

      side note: Thank you gravity wave guys!!

    • Fan, are you guys advocating a gravity wave tax?

  9. “Interactional Expertise” exists in all organizations, (including the Mafia – “I know a guy…”) and can be very valuable, but it is also subject hubris and the inevitable corruption. “Group Think” and a “Circle the Wagons” mindset, are just two examples of how these in the know people may come to interact with the rest of the world when challenged. Anyone that has worked in a large organization is not surprised by how General Motors handled the ignition switch debacle.
    Professor’s Curry’s comments are spot on. What Collins forgets or chooses to ignore (I have not read his book) is that many of the debates where he would have non-experts sit down and shut up are much more about policy than any science. Since we are all being asked to pay for and live with policy decisions, we all have a vital stake and should demand and exercise our seat at the table, whatever side of the issue du jour we are on.

  10. Anyone who points to a squiggly line as adequately descriptive of a climate somewhere, has lost the right to abuse the word ‘expertise’.

    Andrew

  11. k scott denison

    That’s why we can’t listen to climate change skeptics or creationists.
    ———
    And this succinctly illustrates the distrust of academic elites and their defenders: arrogance, hubris and political suppression, all in eleven words.

  12. Formal academic credentials are not particularly useful in judging experts in public debates,

    Very true! Krugman likes to boast about his along with his Nobel, yet when it comes down to predictions, he cannot be more than 50% correct because he always argues both sides of the coin! It all depends upon who is in office at the time.

  13. David L. Hagen

    Deference to IPCC alarmist “experts” is unjustified
    Re: Collins/Mooney: “social and natural sciences need to be more open about their political entanglements, and more comfortable with signalling them.”
    Since the 2007 Climate Bet, “No Change” has been a more accurate forecast than IPCC/Gore projection of 0.3 C/decade. See TheClimateBet.com and Green presentation slides 6, 7, 8, 13, 14

    The IPCC’s models are opposite to the Green & Armstrong: “The Golden Rule of Forecasting: Be Conservative”
    Paper; Presentation; & Checklist
    Abstract

    This paper proposes a unifying theory of forecasting called the Golden Rule of Forecasting. The Golden Rule is to be conservative. A conservative forecast is consistent with cumulative knowledge about the present and the past. To be conservative, forecasters must seek all knowledge relevant to the problem, and use methods that have been validated for the situation. A checklist of 28 guidelines is provided to implement the Golden Rule. This article’s review of research found 150 experimental comparisons; all supported the guidelines. The average error reduction from following a single guideline (compared to common practice) was 25 percent. The Golden Rule Checklist helps to forecast more accurately, especially when the situation is uncertain and complex, and when bias is likely. Non-experts who know the Golden Rule can identify dubious forecasts quickly and inexpensively. To date, ignorance of research findings, bias, sophisticated statistical procedures, and the proliferation of big data have led forecasters to violate the Golden Rule. As a result, despite major advances in forecasting methods, there is no evidence that forecasting practice has improved over the past half-century.

    Unaided judgments are not conservative
    Typical belief: “Things are different now” . . .
    experts from different fields expected the status quo to change 65% of the time.
    However, change from the status quo actually occurred only 51% of the time.
    Expert political judgment (Tetlock 2005)

    • David, we used to call that “sandbagging the forecast”. I used to try to be wrong about half the time on the high side, and half on the low side. It gets really tricky if being wrong can get somebody killed or cost $10 million. In such cases one has to sandbag or otherwise make sure there’s an escape hatch.

      • David L. Hagen

        Fernando
        Well put. When billions of dollars in research grants await “precaution” (aka being wrong – “too hot”) it appears hard to persuade people to do what is best for the poor and for We the People.

      • How is it that every project involving real expense is always badly under costed when historically this is known , like Olympic Games costs or putting in a new kitchen?

      • Angech, the cost estimates are low because the people or organization preparing them have a stake in making sure the project gets approved. In most organizations the idea people aren’t the same as the “execution team”. Unfortunately the way it has been working is to have the idea developed and cost estimates prepared by a weak team, then by the time it gets to the builders they can claim it wasn’t their responsibility and they go ahead and ask for more money.

        To make matters even worse there’s a culture amongst decision makers to avoid front end costs unless they already made the decision. Sometimes their approval systems and culture won’t allow them to sharpen their pencils before they have approved the full project.

        However one can’t overreact and kill projects as they are being conceptualized. What I used to do was get funding for early phase definition and commit to have a follow up decision on the idea in x amount of time. I also found it was much easier to digest problems using small scale experiments, to develop phased approaches, try to reduce scale, create solid exit points, and to make sure there was as little cheating as possible when the cost estimates and SCHEDULES were prepared. It’s also useful to have a fairly large portfolio, this way of one idea goes sour the others bootstrap the organization.

  14. The back scratching of like-minded believers in central planning and government expansion couldn’t be more clear. With the election pending in November in the U.S. the cabal of leftist academics, media operatives (most of the MSM) and now another bastion of “progressive” thought mainstream “economics” all chiming in coordination;

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/06/23/Hank-Paulson-as-wrong-about-climate-change-as-he-was-about-the-crash

    So Collins likes his self-assumed “authority” status, the ability reinforce or undermine as he chooses and the vestments that come with the current political status quo authority. He would sing another tune if his putrid political views were subjected to the treatment he gives others;

    http://thebubblechamber.org/2013/03/harry-collins-expertise-and-elective-modernism/

    This failure of Collins and Evans’ normative theory of expertise stems, in my view, from their insistence not to use the terms truth, evidence, and rationality, which are simply unavoidable when dealing with normative epistemic questions regarding the role of science in policy.

    Collins is a good example of the social rotting required for climate policy to reach critical mass. There are armies of these people on the payroll with the basic function of undermining reason itself.

    • + 10 for Delingpole. In Oz, Bill Carmichael, a hero to public-spirited economists and policy-makers since the 1970s from his work in arguing the case against Australia’s massive tariff and quota trade barriers, both theoretically and on the basis of ground-breaking empirical studies, is still having to argue the case today, even after massive gains from tariff reform in the 1980s and ’90s.

      Delingpole gives a pasting to the banker Paulson. Almost 20 years ago, Australia’s top banker, the Reserve Bank head Ian Macfarlane, gave me a pasting for daring to question his emphatic assertion that the protection argument was dead in Australia. I hope he reads Carmichael’s current articles in The Australian.

  15. To understand the role of experts in the climate debate I think we have to understand the motivation of the debaters and the nature of the debate. If the debaters are trying to win the debate, good luck. Doesn’t everybody know that each arguement will result in a counter arguement, without end? If they are trying to convince the public, good luck. The public is tuned out. The politicians? What will they get in return? The motivation appears to be a search for the common good, by both sides, but the debate has a problem; it’s a debate over competing theories. There may be no action until it escapes that realm.

    • Each argument will be compared to new data and one, or some will match what really happens. Watch for it.

      My argument is that when oceans are warm, it melts Polar Sea Ice and Snowfall increases and Warming stops and eventually turns into cooling. This did happen during every warm period in the last ten thousand years and it is happening again. Watch the Actual Data as it comes out.

    • “The motivation appears to be a search for the common good, by both sides.” I’m far from convinced of that, I wish that it were so.

  16. I think as part of ‘enculturation’, you have to acknowledge a difference between study of a topic and practicing at least some of that topic.

  17. Jakehearts the accountant

    “So how does the public judge who to listen to?”. For the layman like me and other policymakers, that is the central question! I go to many climate science blogs and typically with the possible exception of Andrew Revkim, it’s the skeptical side that’s most willing to engage and respond to critics. The Collins piece just reinforces the idea that the current ” consensus” doesn’t deserve an airing out. Public support for them is whittling away .
    Here’s an example: At Real Climate, a question was asked of Stefan Ramsdorf whether they could describe the physical process has been determined for all the heat being transferred into the depths of the ocean when the “downwelling radiation” can only penetrate a few microns of the ocean surface. Gavin Schmidt replies: “See above”. Rereading the whole article, there’s some vague reference to trade winds and mixing of gradients. So I have to conclude there’s nothing observable that’s been established to support their theory. BTW, Kevin Trenberth mentioned in the Boulder debate that he will meet with visitors to NCAR to discuss climate change with him. I hopefully will be able to ask him this question directly.

    • There needs to be a Angie’s List for climate scientists!

    • a question was asked of Stefan Ramsdorf whether they could describe the physical process has been determined for all the heat being transferred into the depths of the ocean

      This has a simple answer, so simple I’m surprised no one else has said it (maybe they did and I didn’t get the memo), It’s hitching a ride with the sinking arctic waters headed straight into the deep ocean on the conveyor, all it has to be is a little warmer than “normal”.

      • Jakehearts the accountant

        OK, but then couldn’t the same be said of the magma outpouring from the Western Antarctic hitching a ride from another current? This is my last post.

    • Jakehearts the accountant

      I meant to say the Collins piece reinforces the idea that scientific explanantion behind the consensus need not be aired out.

    • I’m not an expert but I’ve done a bit of diving. At 30 meters the light is good enough to take decent photographs. I guess this means water is somewhat transparent to short wavelength light.

      Many years ago I had to study oceanography, and I remember we had to work problems to estimate how changes in salinity helped warmer water sink. I can’t remember all the details but I’m pretty sure that if the wind pushes a pile of warm salty water against a shore there’s a tendency for the water to sink (I suppose we could say it gurgles down and makes waves down there). And once it does sink it mixes and warms deeper layers. And this is all I can write about that.

  18. in JC reflections:
    To me, the most interesting aspect of Collins’ argument is the notion of interactional expertise.

    I believe that interactional expertise is very useful in a Skeptic Group.
    Learn from each other. Figure out what needs to be changed and move on.

    I believe that interactional expertise is very useless in a Consensus Group.
    What is it going to change? By definition, you can’t change anything.

    • Popesclimatetheory is right. Over my research career (1960-2014), I kept a private list of precise experimental data that “experts” in nuclear and solar physics ignored.

      Last year I published them as pages 19-27 of my autobiography. To date, not a single “expert” has challenged or discussed in public the nine pages of precise data that falsify the consensus models of stars and nuclei.

  19. Matthew R Marler

    So, who is an expert? In the public debate on climate change, the experts that loom prominently are those with interactional expertise, and this includes individuals from the traditional elite academic institutions as well as independent individuals. An excellent example of this was the inclusion of Nic Lewis and Donna LaFramboise, along with academics, in the UK Parliamentary Hearing on the IPCC. Independent scientists actually have an outsize influence on the public debate on climate change, since they focus on scientific topics of direct relevance to the public debate on climate change. Examples include comparison of climate model projects with observations, auditing of surprising results from academic scientists, etc.

    I have found that the answers to some important policy related questions are not known, or that claims of knowledge are in conflict and supporting evidence is sparse or absent. The fundamental question is not “Who is an expert?”, but “What is the evidence supporting a proposition or proposal?” If a “nonexpert” points out that a named “expert” does not or can not supply supporting evidence, then the claim of an expert to relevant expertise is empty.

    Same with comparisons of model projections to data. The expert opinion that the fit is “amazingly good” is not an answer to the question of whether the model projection has been demonstrated to be accurate enough to support a policy recommendation. “I am an expert and I say so; they are not experts so their critique does not count,” is no substitute for “This is the evidence that the projection can be expected to be accurate within 0.25C [or whatever] out to 50 years.”

    There are people who, when given a question of obvious relevance to which they have no answer provide an answer to a different question instead.

    “Expertise” is the ability to cite all of the evidence relevant to an important question. It is not a substitute for the evidence.

    • Matthew

      Thanks for your support over on the rather strange Willis thread.
      Tonyb

      • Tony, thanks for all you are doing to extend our historical knowledge of natural climate variability in your part of the world.

      • Rud

        Thanks for your comment too. I think it best to leave Willis alone.
        Tonyb

      • Tonyb, only just caught up on reading that bizarre episode.

        Funny how you are just an anonymous internet popup (albeit one has contributed articles to WUWT), whereas rgbatduke on the same thread is “Hi, Robert!” Oh, and you apparently know nothing about the subject that you have been studying and writing about for many years.

        Hilary Ostrov and I have done 15 rounds with WE on a couple of his previous threads, and the vitriolic, eye-popping rage we caused by daring to disagree was a sight to behold. After his characterisation of the (female) editor of a science magazine, and his attack on Janice – both of which Hilary and I objected to – you may notice that only one identifiable woman still comments on his threads.

        Anyway, welcome to the club. Its membership is growing!

      • Likewise, I was amazed at willis’s arrogance and poor tone. How he did not know of you is hard to imagine, as you are one of the best known commentators on the blogosphere and the most prominent (as far as I know only) actively commenting climate historians, making your perspective invaluable to the discussion of climate change. Willis adds interesting perspective and analyses, but is guilty of some of the crimes he rails against, and a little too impressed with his sense of importance. He came over extremely poorly in that thread. Appalling behaviour IMO.

      • Johanna and Agnostic

        I was only casually browsing through this thread so have only just come across your supportive comments. You’ve said it all really. Thank you.
        tonyb

      • Tony, having also gone a few rounds with WE here a while back about non-official sources of climate data, I suspect that he is simply dismissive of the kind of work that you do.

        He claimed that there was no reliable climate and weather information about the US prior to the introduction of official government records. I begged to differ, pointing to the kinds of sources that you use, which are in abundance from the earliest days of European settlement – things like diaries, farm records, crop and animal marketing records, local newspapers etc. I dug around and cited several examples going back to the early 1700s. He simply refused to accept that any useful information at all could be gleaned from such sources, and (quelle surprise) was rude about it to boot.

        His is a minority view, IMO, and I for one have nothing but respect for the hard slog of what you do and the care with which you do it. It’s a lot less glamorous, and requires more dedication and scholarship, than producing colourful graphics and running a few computer programs though. Maybe that’s the problem. :)

      • Think of the chilling scene in Orwell’s 1984 where, in the
        distopia of Oceana, at the Ministery of Truth, the records
        are shredded and cast down the memory hole so that
        myth may prevail. Life with no record, let’s clean-slate
        into a fuchur without regret, without memory. Say …
        nothing ter compare to, as though new-born, and jest
        as unaware!

        (Serfs hate that.)

        http://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/268/

      • Johanna

        Yes, it is a hard slog. Fortunately the Met Office library and archive is close by me which has excellent records that the scientists upstairs don’t seem to want to view.

        There are also several other local sources of historical records and my son studies at Cambridge so I have the opportunity of not only seeing some of the 7 century old records at various University libraries but of visiting the Scott Polar institute.

        Unfortunately the vast majority of records are not digitised and if they are not digitised and so can not be turned into pretty graphics, they do not appear to exist to those researchers more used to getting their information from the Internet.

        Incidentally, I made a start several years ago of accumulating the sort of record you mention from America Unfortunately time and the cessation of my unfeasibly large cheques from Big Oil has caused me to concentrate on the UK.

        If you go to the US on my site here;

        http://climatereason.com/LittleIceAgeThermometers/

        Then click on the yellow dots you will find the data.
        best regards

        Tonyb

      • Beth

        Of course, if history is not taught in the first place it becomes ever more invisible to successive generations and the official view prevails. That is as effective as shredding.

        tonyb.

      • Thanks, Tony, there is no shortage of good US data there, and obviously that is just scratching the surface. Pity the Big Oil cheques have unaccountably fallen away, preventing further work on this. What you need is a collaborator or three in the US.

        BTW, the Vermont links are broken – looks like the Uni has reorganised its website.

        Cheers – J

      • I have just read the lamentable sequel to the events at WUWT mentioned above.

        In a thread about solar activity, WE has used the bully pulpit to attack your work, characterising it as being approximately the same as the musings of an Austrian goatherd.

        Having been in a similar position, I can advise that there are two alternatives – forget it or go for the nuclear option. Being reasonable, as you have discovered, is pointless in the face of what we might call such a “special” personality.

        While that thread has a large number of comments, the number of individual commenters is quite small. A bunch of obsessives argoing among themselves, all contributing to his “over a million page views” a year. And he has carefully not criticised his sole remaining female commenter, with whose views he utterly disagrees, if his previous posts are any guide.

        Let it go, mate. He has utterly beclowned himself.

    • Excellent, Matthew, so much of the debate in this area ignores your fundamental point.

  20. The good thing is that it doesn’t really matter how the “experts” define expertise, or how they think it should be valued in making public policy decisions. At least until the Thomas Friedman’s and EU bureaucrats get their way and we stop being democracies.

    The stupid voters still get to tell the expert politicians and their expert “scientists” to take a hike. When and if they have the wisdom to do so. And they don’t need the “expert’s” permission to do so.

  21. “On the centre-left, many are bewildered that expert policy prescriptions are no longer accepted as authoritative. The political campaign against an overwhelming consensus on climate change has frustrated scientific experts and their supporters alike.”

    Perhaps the question is, what can erode a profession’s authority? In the case of the climate, one can charge that it is skeptics and people such as the Koch brothers. But that may be playing the victim card.

    A few key points on how I think CPAs maintain their authority:

    1 - Qualifications: ensuring that independent auditors are properly qualified and required to maintain professional competence; 
    2 - Independence: ensuring that auditors are independent in fact and appearance from the enterprises that they audit;
    3 - Oversight: monitoring compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards imposed by self-regulatory or professional organizations and/or government authorities; and
    4 –  Enforcement and Sanctions: enforcing laws, regulations and standards governing the activities of independent auditors. 

    3 is about watching the auditors I think. Is the auditor doing as their professional society and the government expects? This is a bargain they strike in my opinion in exchange for some authority.
    4 sounds draconian but it’s another bargain struck. I think our professional societies are continually trying to position us as authorities, and I think they are pursuing a valued long term goal.

    • Leonard Weinstein

      Raqgnaar, you nonsense about skeptics and the Koch brothers tells me you are drinking the cool aid. In fact, funding for supporters for CAGW have hundred of time more funding or more. Most Governments, the MS news media, and most scientific institutions have jumped on the band wagon supporting the position. The Koch brothers support PBS for much of their programing, and very little to any group of skeptics. The reason skeptics have had such success is that the FACTS tend to support them.

      • I agree it could be considered nonsense to blame the skeptics for a loss of authority. I was trying to suggest, authority or lack of it is something people can control to an extent. On the other hand, sometimes events overwhelm attempts at control. I don’t always drink Kool-Aid, but when I do, I prefer:

  22. Popular TV shows state that “geology isn’t a real science”.

    Read what the Dancing Physicist says about this and you can see the uphill battle that earth sciences face.

    Those of us from other disciplines can help it along by cross-pollinating ideas.

    • Popular TV isn’t real life.

      • Real-life is that people call the classes in geology “Rocks for Jocks”.
        See the classic book by McPhee, Basin and Range

        https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/john-mcphee/basin-and-range/

        That is reality, how do you change it?

      • I think you refer to the introductory geology course for liberal arts students? I wouldn’t fret over that. Modern society seems to reward people in what many consider an inefficient fashion. For example, governments tend to be controlled by lawyers, accountants, and former pest control agents. They tend to make laws and create systems to enhance the earning power of people like themselves. This is why a country like the USA is extremely litigious, has too many lawyers, has an obscene tax code and tons of rich accountants, and so on.

        Thus the fundamental basis for the lack of respect for science is the perceived lack of power and earnings. If you notice what goes on, the USA has a large influx of immigrants with PHDs, so this group replaces the American natives who would rather study the Art of Making Paintings with Colored Pebbles. And if the USA were to refuse them visas then the inventions and the high end work will be done elsewhere.

        The USA reminds me of the Byzantine empire, as it went downhill its most important contributors were historians. Their best emperors were from elsewhere, and even their best soldiers were foreign born mercenaries. I have been observing Spanish society, and it seems to be a much more advanced case.

      • It is very easy for scientists from other fields to wipe the floor in climate science and geology if they are motivated to do so. At least that is what Professor Richard Lindzen has implied when he said that climate scientists aren’t the smartest caliber of researchers. Citations available on request.

        That’s not me saying it, but that is what is being discussed.

      • WHUT: first semester geology is one of the easiest science courses but don’t see how that would concern geology majors/graduate students; universities often give good support to geology.

      • WHUT: One of my high school teachers was a twenty year old geology graduate. He was wildly enthusiastic about geology; loved the outdoors, stones, rocks, and mountains. And he could have easily wiped the floor in any science he chose. And BTW, the elitism is clearly visible; hiding behind Lindzen does not hide it.

      • Lindzen is the skeptics guy and he is the one that is bad-mouthing advanced degree climatologists.

        I personally am in awe of them because they do cross-disciplinary work. And that is also why participants from other disciplines can contribute.

      • Thank you for your reply. It is an honor to share this blog with you.

      • Lindzen is the skeptics guy and he is the one that is bad-mouthing advanced degree climatologists.

        Physics envy

    • ceresco kid

      Web
      At first I read it as cross-polluting ideas. Then I saw the spelling. My first reaction is more appropriate.

  23. I interacted a lot with scientists during my career and grew very fond of some of them. On the other hand I remember a super expert ice man who used to send such incendiary emails I found myself apologizing for his behavior in advance. But overall I find them very useful. They are easy to train, the young ones can be sent on three month field trips, and they don’t mind working late as long as they get the free pizza bonus.

    • Me too. One particular expert, when I asked him a question, said “there are several theories but we don’t know”. I was impressed. How many experts would have simply stated their favorite theory?

  24. Collins appears a bit of a presumptuous academic elitist, self styled as an expert on experts. Practicing general managers (requiring interactional expertise, who knew?) have a working definition for experts:
    someone who knows more and more about less and less, until finally they know everything about nothing–and become utterly useless.

    Climate science isn’t settled, the debate is not over, and most climate ‘experts’ have failed (the pause) to demonstrate expertise.

    • Strange, the Queensland Public Service management was dominated by those who knew less and less about more and more, and decried expertise because they had none. They promoted each other and locked the gate to anyone with ability.

  25. The Nizkor Project has a nice online catalog of Logical Fallacies. Number 3 is Appeal to Authority.
    “An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:
    “1. Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
    “2. Person A makes claim C about subject S.
    “3. Therefore, C is true.”

    The Project continues to explain how it gets even worse if A is not what he claims. But notwithstanding credentials, Appeal to Authority remains a fallacy.

    Science is about models of the Real World with predictive power, not opinion. It echoes in the mind like Jerry Maguire’s “Show me the money!”

    And Nizkor shows that that is not just one man’s opinion.

  26. Science rewards specialists, not generalists. As a result, most of the scientists within a field are specialists. Because of the rat race involved in getting grants and publishing, few have the opportunity to develop a broad synoptic view of the field, and typically that opportunity only occurs late in one’s career, if at all. Climate science, as Judith points out “is not a narrow scientific subfield; rather it involves a considerable breadth of disciplines, and scientists with a broad range of academic backgrounds and specialties may regard themselves as climate scientists”. I think there are almost no Departments of Climate Science in any American university, and if there are some, they probably started recently to get in on the Washington money machine. Historically, Climate Science was a small appendage to Environmental Sciences. So, most, if not all of the people who call themselves “climate scientists” were trained in physics, chemistry, or whatever. Either they found it lucrative to develop a certain instrument relevant to climate, or to develop a model relevant to climate, or whatever. Like Americans, almost all of whom are descended from immigrants, almost all climate scientists emigrated to climate science. So, the thing that matters is not the title one has, but rather the range, diversity, and depth to which one has researched the field. This would seem to eliminate at least 90% of the so-called experts, maybe 98%, from being qualified to comment intelligently on the broad range of issues involved. From what I have observed, very, very few climate scientists have a broad synoptic in-depth understanding of the field, coupled with an utterly neutral viewpoint not ruled by preconceived belief systems. In fact, Judith Curry is the only name that pops into my head at first thought.

    • Judith Curry has an above-average breadth of interests. But I would consider Isaac Held, with little public advocacy, as a better example of a neutral climate scientist in the public arena.

      I also disagree that one scientist needs to have the range, diversity and depth to be effective. A community of scientists with incentives to get it right can create an environment favorable for the ‘wisdom of crowds’ . In that sense, somebody who contributes to the literature like Nic Lewis may be considered to have made a small, and not definitive, contribution like many others.

    • Dr. Curry had a comment that I think goes along with what you’ve said: “The fact that I, along with arguably most of the broader climate community, had no expertise on paleo reconstructions, tree rings, etc., allowed that segment of the community to push forward the hockey stick, with little apparent controversy until M&M.”

      http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/21/expertise-breadth-vs-depth/

      I like her take on that. My amateur take on it was there was little authority from a regulatory body watching the hockey stick unfold. Now some claim, they don’t respect Climate Scientists authority. So I’m suggesting one route to to having authority is government and professional board authority. It appears in some ways Climate Science is many individuals in many areas that lack a coordinating influence. As they say, the Wild West.

    • Actually, I understand where the good Professor Rapp was coming from when he states that there are virtually no climate scientists with a ‘synoptic’ view of the field. What he really wanted to say is that he is just smarter than everybody else .

      It may seem strange and impossible to you but I can assimilate a new field in a couple of years, read hundreds of papers and dozens of books, and pull together a synoptic view of the whole field – something that no climate specialist has yet done to any degree of success.

  27. I recently learned that Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan is a department of the School of Engineering; thought it odd.

    • My degree is in mechanical engineering because my advisor was a radiative transfer engineer. Atmospheric sciences became a sub-department because he started looking at the atmosphere instead of materials. His background came in handy when he had to guide the develpment of the radiation budget satellites.

    • My daughter studied space and mechanical engineering. Her thesis was on global warming as shown in the paleontological record, suggested by a tutor specialising in fluid dynamics. (She went on to specialise in pipelines, e.g. design and installation of pipelines in major minerals processing plants.)

  28. I believe it was Carter who observed that climate science encompasses about 100 specialties, and he considered himself typical of scholars in the area with knowledge of one and nodding acquaintance with a couple of others. No one has or could have knowledge of half a dozen, much less all.

    • Climate Science encompasses about 100 specialties, but 97% of them are outside the consensus so they cannot express an opinion and still keep their job and still receive grant money so they keep quiet.

      One of the largest groups is the many Meteorologists who are not allowed to speak their opinions.

      Ask ten Meteorologists to offer their opinion about climate. One or two may openly agree with the Consensus. Eight or Ten will decline to answer. If they are retired, more may speak up.

      • I have a theory about the differences between meteorologists and climatologists. Meterologists have a deep understanding of the complexities of weather. Climatologists average all the data together and do not see the complexity anymore. Everything turns into one number and a smooth curve. That’s the reason GCMs overestimate climate sensitivity whereas satellite studies yield a much smaller number (probably because there are real clouds in the data).

      • rm, ” (probably because there are real clouds in the data).”

        You also have a more “real” surface reference. An ocean frame of reference also has a lower sensitivity.

  29. So the Guardian wants more scientists to be political activists first? Why am I not surprised.

  30. The more being an expert pays, the more experts you get.

  31. I would have thought that an expert in any field would be more often right than wrong?
    So therefore there must be a dearth of experts in climate science, whatever that means.
    After all would you take advice on placing a bet with a gambler whose lost his shirt?

    • I would have thought that an expert in any field would be more often right than wrong?

      Are you talking about real experts or self proclaimed consensus experts.

      There is a huge difference. Real Experts forecast things that actually happen. Self proclaimed consensus experts promise things will happen that never do happen. Who were the real experts is determined later, after whatever was forecast does or does not happen. I believe 15 years was long enough. I will be here, I hope, to check at 17 and 25 and hopefully more.

  32. How about this as a measure for being an expert: if your theory is not supported by actual physical, measurable reproducible data, then you are not an “expert”, but merely another citizen with an opinion. You should have no more special influence on policy than anyone else.

  33. An expert in climate would be some guy who has checked out atmosphere, deep hydrosphere, earth’s innards etc and thoroughly knows the workings and interactions of these things. He’d also know lots of what goes on beyond the earth.

    I’m a yob in the scrub who would only use the Guardian for wrapping prawn heads, but I’m also a meta-expert in this case, since I know for sure that our guy does not exist.

    • ‘Hi, I’m a climate scientist. Nothing I have done or forecast or
      hindcast in my career has come true and everything I have
      projected, predicted or extrapolated has been falsified by real
      data or shown to come from bad programs, post-hoc edits
      and sources of doubtful validity pal-reviewed by my fellow
      climate scientists, all of whom are sharing my government
      grants and research money. But hey, Joe Six-pack out there,
      you must trust me because I am a climate ‘expert.’ ‘

  34. The critical approach to scientific theories advocated by Karl Popper is in principle the antidote to the “normal” climate science that is driven by Big Government/Big Science and political agendas. However his ideas have been so persistently misread and misrepresented that he has been relegated to the status of an interesting but misguided historical figure: Examples here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=rafe+champion

    • Rafe Champion, agree re ‘normal’ climate science. I have
      my much read copies of the Popper originals but will be
      interested to read your books when I find someone with
      Kindle to buy them for me. bts.

      • Beth, there’s an Aldi opening a couple of blocks from me in six days time, offering a Kindle-type device for $A35. Perhaps that’s within serf-range, even if you have to extend your days toiling in the field from 12 to 14 hours.

        (Drafted hours ago but couldn’t post.)

      • Thx Faustino, a coupla’ days toiling in the turnip fields should
        do it. Thank heavens fer division of labor benefits ter allow
        even serfs the life enhancing consequences of technologee.
        bts

  35. Expertology and celebrity. Can an expert be a celebrity, yes. Can a Celebrity be an expert, yee-es. I am reminded of the sad choice of medical experts or specialists. There is a wide variation in skills but the only way of finding out is word of mouth and then trial by operation.
    Being an expert does not make one right but it should push them closer to seeing the light.

  36. It’s of course amazing the about social reinforcement is put into green authority narratives. The shear numbers of people backstopping “consensus” and all the “experts” towing the line. Today from the Chris Rapley Professor U.C. London;

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/public-policy/Policy_Commissions/Communication-climate-science/Communication-climate-science-report/TIME_FOR_CHANGE_Final_Proof.pdf

    It’s a common urban myth in leftist circles, “if only” they were granted another 40 years to speak and you were forced to listen then the resistance would end. The “communication” talking point. As with Collins it requires an entire level of Newspeak to be accepted.

  37. I think Collins should have a little more faith in the expertise of ignoramuses.
    ============

    • Agree. It’s baffling that the selection and use of experts should be anything but informal. Perhaps it’s a notion that only a consensus gatherer can appreciate.

  38. only an expert can confirm expertise.

    anyone might recognize false-expertise.

    when experts on radioactive decay say:
    The explanation? The core of the sun – where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos – apparently spins more slowly than the surface we see. “It may seem counter-intuitive, but it looks as if the core rotates more slowly than the rest of the sun,” Sturrock said.
    All of the evidence points toward a conclusion that the sun is “communicating” with radioactive isotopes on Earth, said Fischbach.
    But there’s one rather large question left unanswered. No one knows how neutrinos could interact with radioactive materials to change their rate of decay.
    “It doesn’t make sense according to conventional ideas,” Fischbach said. Jenkins whimsically added, “What we’re suggesting is that something that doesn’t really interact with anything is changing something that can’t be changed.”

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/august/sun-082310.html

    which is why I have don’t think there is such a thing as climate expertise. they talk about fractions of degrees over decades, yet do NOT have the knowledge, CANNOT have the knowledge, to make such claims. The knowledge does not yet exist to allow that prediction to be made with a reasonable degree of confidence.

    • So where’s the acknowledgement by those climate experts that
      those climate model projection scribbly graphs failed to conform
      to reality ? Mann et Al, like other experts of failed predictions,
      Erlich, Stiglitz etc continue their expert pronouncements
      unabashed. A study on experts’ records of prediction in their
      field, by Philip Tetlock,* indicates that experts are not significantly
      more reliable than those of non-experts and Tetlock’s experts
      are no different from the rest of us when it comes to learning
      from their mistakes.

      Hmm, guess with the high stakes ‘n all, not too many experts
      are wiling terl do an Einstein and bend over backwards to
      subject their hypotheses ter rigorous testing.

      * http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7959.html

      • Freudian slip or typo, a displaced ‘l’ – not ‘wiling’ but ‘willing.’

      • they didn’t acknowledge their failed predictions, instead backpedaled and added ocean temperature, changed “warming” to change, changed fossil fuel use reduction into extreme climate preparedness planning.

        I don’t understand how people can accept ocean temperatures as an excuse, when that just serves to undermine any temperature records and proxies that we have developed. Maybe ALL the fluctuations of the past, stored in tree rings and glaciers, were at the time offset by fluctuating ocean temperatures? (I don’t believe so, but…)

        AND it opens the door for including all the earth, and not just the lower 6 feet of 10 km+ of atmosphere.
        How we can’t see the earth to atmosphere mass ration is 1,200,000 : 1.
        How the earth is an heating element, not a heat storage container.
        How the likelihood of correlation of temperature and co2 is MUCH more plausible than a causal connection. And all the evidence I have seen says so, to me.

      • Ocean warming was in Hansen’s earliest papers on AGW, and he did acknowledge heat uptake in the models was off.

  39. One of my brothers had a quite subtle quote on the definition of an “expert”.
    ” An expert is an ordinary man more than forty miles from home”

    From this we can define the characteristics of “experts”.

    1 / Experts / scientists are just ordinary people with all the faults, foibles
    good and bad as any other member of the community and therefore should not be treated or regarded with any greater level of respect or contempt on a personal level and as a person, a member of the community than that given to any other member of the community and society.

    2 / “Experts” are maybe a little more or considerably more knowledgeable on a specific subject than the members of the societal community that they are interacting with.
    Which means amongst their peers in their profession or discipline they may
    not be regarded as “experts” at all.

    3 / What are often classed as “Experts” are sometimes no more
    knowledgeable even in their subject than members of the community outside but are perhaps better communicators or better at conning their audiences which often gives the the appearance of possessing a better knowledge base than they actually have.

    [ confession from a layman ; I have regularly tripped up highly
    credential-led agricultural researchers just by asking a couple of the right questions.
    Confirmed by a few of those same researchers confessing elsewhere that,
    "hell! he makes us think" !
    The good ones who deserve and get respect, know the answers and are
    usually more humble about their level of knowledge or gaps in their
    knowledge than most of the stand up comics that pass themselves off as "Experts". ]

    4 ” Experts” exist in all walks of life from “brikkies” to “sparkies” to “chippies”
    to farmers, lawyers, politicians and across the full gamut of society.
    So to first consider and then classify just one set of “experts”, climate experts in this case, as somehow superior in attributes and personal status and grant them a much greater role in policy setting is a deep insult to all those others out there whose contribution to setting policy is equally important.
    More so in many cases as those real world experts are dealing with the everyday on the ground problems and situations compared to the often far from that everyday citizen’s reality, the academic silo isolated and insulated pseudo “experts”.

    More so as all the policy implementations done at the behest of climate experts, such as those immensely costly both in economic and societal and personal terms, climate “expert” promoted policies, all of which have invariably failed and spectacularly so over the last two decades and all of which have almost universally and deleteriously affected every member of western society at every level.

    To repeat; “An “expert” is an ordinary man more than forty miles from home”

    A further additive to the above definition of an “expert” is

    “If they have a brief case under their arm they are a “consultant “.

  40. How has this thread and comments gone on so long without some sophomoric layman like myself bringing up Richard Feynman’s famous and very appropriate quote from his presentation to National Science Teachers Association:

    Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

  41. “Political deference to experts is disappearing. Economists are popularly derided for their role in the 2007-2008 financial crisis, that resulted in huge wealth transfers to the rich.”

    This statement is based on not understanding the economic crisis or economics. There is more than one school of economics and plenty of credentialed economists from other schools (notably Austrian economists) predicted the financial crisis.

    Austrian Thymologists Who Predicted the Housing Bubble

    Your article is one large strawman argument to mine. Credentials and titles matter otherwise you would have your plumber do open heart surgery on your child. You are also somehow distorting my very simple argument into your strawman about challenging expertise which I never made. My argument is very simple, relevant credentials and titles in science are earned. What is clear is that you do not understand my argument and refuse to let me fully respond.

    • Climate change may be a big issue in Africa. But it is not nearly as important as lack of tenure, poor roads, roving warlords an so on. ~Richard Tol

      • Your comment has nothing to do with my argument.

      • It did not take financial expertise to know there was a housing bubble going on. Housing prices actually fell from their peak for about 3 years leading up to the crash. And, people who purchased over-priced homes for no money down and no credit didn’t even care. Moreover, people who purchased houses for –e.g., ~$300k around ’97-’99 still own homes that would sell for more than double today. Financial expertise is not based on those who forecast a crash. Rather, an expert is someone who realizes the failure of monetary policy but those are few. As Christian Schlüchter observed, “Our society is fundamentally dishonest.”

      • Strawman argument, I am not talking about “financial expertise” but economists. As I clearly pointed out you cannot make blanket statements blaming “economists” for the financial crisis when it was clear economists from other economic schools warned that it was coming.

      • “There are many examples of the failure of science in history because courage was lacking. The same also applies to other disciplines, currently, for example, for the economy.” Christian Schlüchter

      • Very true – and some – like Krugman – argued that it was coming and not coming! He made sure he covered all the bases.

    • Matthew R Marler

      poptech: Your article is one large strawman argument to mine. Credentials and titles matter otherwise you would have your plumber do open heart surgery on your child.

      One of the important distinctions is between people whose expertise is in hands-on fixing things and people whose expertise is confined to writing and speaking about things.

      • Strawman, I am not arguing expertise.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Poptech: Strawman, I am not arguing expertise.

        You argued this: Your article is one large strawman argument to mine. Credentials and titles matter otherwise you would have your plumber do open heart surgery on your child

        Which is about how to recognize “experts” — “credentials and titles.” I introduced the distinction between “experts” who make things better and “experts” who read and write.

        If you are indeed “not arguing expertise”, you came here at the wrong time, because the title is “Uneasy Expertise”.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Poptech: How much someone values something is irrelevant to my argument.

        you also wrote this:Your article is one large strawman argument to mine. Credentials and titles matter otherwise you would have your plumber do open heart surgery on your child.

        “How much someone values something” is clearly not irrelevant to your post.

      • This is incorrect, I do not consider someone proficient in a field necessarily an “expert”. People can have legitimate credentials and not be considered “experts” but this was never my argument.

        I know what the title is and this whole post was created because of my comments but it is not addressing them, it is a strawman argument as I was not arguing expertise, this was simply assumed.

        My argument is very simple, if credentials do not matter than it should not make any difference if I present them – yet apparently it does.

      • Binary finery, all dressed up and no place to go.
        ==========

      • Matthew R Marler

        poptech: My argument is very simple, if credentials do not matter than it should not make any difference if I present them – yet apparently it does.

        And by your assertion, that argument has nothing to do with “expertise”.

        Strawman, I am not arguing expertise.

      • Matthew, my entire argument was whether someone holds earned credentials. The strawman argument of “expertise” was then falsely implied from this by the owner of this site and others. Out of this another argument was created that credentials do not matter when determining expertise. Since the larger concern appears to be that by showing someone’s lack of earned credentials you are claiming they are not an expert. My response to this is if credentials do not matter to expertise then it should have no affect on this by showing them. So by preventing the publication of someone’s lack of earned credentials you are admitting that your argument is flawed, otherwise you would not be so afraid to show them.

        Just because I am also arguing against the strawman argument of “expertise” does not mean this is a concession that it was not a strawman argument to mine.

      • About a month ago, I started collecting material for a post on Harry Collins perspective. At the end of the post, I tied it into your comments, since they appeared on a previous thread. The expertise theme has been a frequent one at Climate Etc., and will emerge again in a forthcoming post.

      • But it is not really tied into my comments since I was never discussing “expertise”. So you are misrepresenting my argument.

      • My point is that this post is not about you.

      • John Carpenter

        “My argument is very simple, if credentials do not matter than it should not make any difference if I present them – yet apparently it does.”

        I thought this started by you posting Moshers lack of science credentials. Were you not the one who was pointing out the lack of credentials by someone claiming to be a scientist was misleading? Apparently it mattered to you, no?

      • Bah, what a lot of hooey over a question with such a simple answer. Image his brain to decide if he’s a scientist or not.
        ========================

      • Why do you keep deleting my responses?

      • Because they are repetitive. We’ve heard what you have to say on this topic (same thing in numerous posts). If you have something new to say, I’ll let it through

      • John Carpenter

        “My response to this is if credentials do not matter to expertise then it should have no affect on this by showing them. ”

        It has no affect in this case.

        “So by preventing the publication of someone’s lack of earned credentials you are admitting that your argument is flawed”

        False conclusion, Judy has allowed you to post comments and a link to your site where you have published your investigation. She only prevents you from posting it ad nauseam.

        It’s old now.

    • “My argument is very simple, relevant credentials and titles in science are earned. ”
      Granting they are earned, that doesn’t mean society is valuing them as much as before.

    • But most people, when buying a house, are not talking to economists. They are talking to bankers who have a vested interest in encouraging you to buy the biggest house. My husband and I decided against our bankers advice and bought a small house. Lucky, because I lost my job years ago. Unlike some news commentator, not all of us have lawyers to check over contracts either.

      No one can know everything. Where is society if we cannot trust anyone?

    • nottawa rafter

      Poptech
      Your list of so-called predictions are the kind that any Econ 101 students could have made. Basic distortions in the markets. What they did not identify was the core cause of the bubble itself. We did not have a national bubble in housing. That may be why everyone missed it. The bubble was regional in origin involving few states and regional markets. It morphed into a national crisis at the very last from 2007 on. Without pointing fingers at governmental intervention policies let it stand that the bubble began in 2001. It began in less than 10 states which by 2007 accounted for over 50% of foreclosures.
      California had by far the most foreclosures with the number increasing by 2000% from 2005 to 2007. Up twenty times. Other states with huge increases were Florida, Nevada & Arizona.
      The core reason for the bubble was the usre of new mortgage instruments such as negative amortization loans, which didn’t even pay back the interest, and a variety of other toxic sub-prime loans. Homeowners were also using their equity at unprecedented levels.

      All anyone needed to do in 2004 to 2007 was watch those “Flip This House” reality shows to know the bubble was going to bust. When the price of a median value house is 10 times the median household income in a region you should know the end is near.

      • I have provided overwhelming evidence that they predicted the crisis, yet you try to hand-wave it away by making baseless statements?

        You are also arguing a strawman argument as I was not arguing a national vs regional housing bubble but rather simply stated the “financial crisis”.

        Anyone intellectually honest can clearly see they predicted the crisis and clearly blamed government intervention in the housing market and loose monetary policy by the Federal reserve as the cause:

        http://mises.org/daily/1670

        Again, my point was you cannot blanket blame “economists” for the financial crisis as there were many Austrian economists who tried to warn of the coming crisis.

      • nottawa rafter

        Poptech
        For 50 years I have walked into bookstores and seen books predicting the next economic collapse. It does not take much economic skill or clairvoyance to know a bust is in our future. That is part of our economic history. Some have even predicted 50 recessions for the last 11 since WWII. My point is that there are predictions at this very moment by many of a coming collapse. Always have been, always will be. And I have nothing against the Austrian School of Economics. I lean that way much more than the Keynesian ideology.

      • I am aware of the perpetual doomsday proponents but that is not what I am referring too. The Austrian School economists not only warned of the financial crisis but explained the causes. While Doomsday proponents seem more interested in selling books than discussing economic policy.

        If you believe that so called busts are inevitable then your argument would seem reasonable but Austrian economists have argued rather successfully that they are government manufactured. In the end why would anyone listen to economists who are perpetually wrong like Krugman? And why should all economists be smeared as responsible for the fiscal crisis when it was mainly mainstream Keynesian economists who should take the rap?

    • Poptech

      Back in 2008 whilst on a visit to the London School of Economics, the Queen asked about the financial crisis;

      ‘Why did no one see it coming?’

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/3386353/The-Queen-asks-why-no-one-saw-the-credit-crunch-coming.html

      Main stream thinking in the influential countries in economics as in climate believed in a particular position. Experts can be wrong especially when they are not looking at all the data in context.

      Citing a minor player like the Austrian link is really not adding to your argument especially as the problems in that latter country have still to fully manifest themselves. Many Austrian banks exposure to the collapsing formerly communist states is only now being revealed through the Eu’s central banks current ‘stress testing.’

      tonyb

      • You are confused. Austrian economics is a school of economics, like the Chicago School of economics or Keynesian economics. It is named because the founders were originally Austrian and does not mean economists living in Austria.

        http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/AustrianSchoolofEconomics.html

        Many economists from the Austrian school did see the crisis coming but since they are not considered “mainstream” economists they were ignored. My point again is that trying to blanket blame “economists” for the crisis is a false argument.

    • The truth of the old saying about experts is very evident: X is an unknown quantity and a spurt is a drip under pressure. This can be shown by asking a few simple questions. Who certifies the experts as experts? Are they super experts in the field for which they certify experts? Who certifies those who certify experts? It is a problem of infinite regression. My conclusion is that there are no experts. There are only people who pretend to be experts and people who pretend to believe there are experts. It is actually nothing but turtles all the way down and rather ordinary turtles at that.

      How do I know? Am I an expert expert? No. I am merely a human who thinks for himself, studies things carefully, and makes his own judgements.

      I ask simple questions such as: “Have you done what you say you have done?”, “How did it turn out?”, “What are the consequences for me if you fail?” and more. I base my trust in the person answering the questions based upon the quality and nature of the answers, my own knowledge, and how much I am personally impacted by what is to be done. I suggest this is all anyone can do.

      • True, true… The superstition and ignorance of government and UN-approved global warming experts reminds us why the discovery of the scientific method was so important. Without it, we’re left with government science that is always right, leaves no room for argument and can be counted on to prove that the continuance of big government is imperative for our survival.

        The scientific method is no panacea. But without it there’s even more room for more bad ideas that assault our sensibilities and insult our intelligence. For example, a link on the Weather Channel took me to a hit piece about the ‘hefty environmental cost’ of cooking with charcoal this 4th of July due to its heavy carbon footprint compared to cooking with gas.

        Their argument goes up in smoke because we know CO2-alarmists are against cooking with gas too. Even so, charcoal is made from trees, a renewable resource. Replanted trees would take up any putative greenhouse gas emissions that weed-smoking anti-charcoal extremists might cook up.

    • Late 1990s, early 2000s – Austrians were mostly quiet about the tech/dot-com bubble. There were exceptions among academics (Christopher Mayer, George Reisman, Guido Hulsmann, Sean Corrigan) as well as practitioners (Jim Grant, Tony Deden). I remember discussions with David Tice during the early 2000s about how Austrians were missing a golden opportunity to stick their necks out on the forecasting block regarding the tech bubble.

      Well, I don’t know about “economists”, but I did:

      The result, of course, is completely predictable. The crash is inevitable, only the timing is uncertain. The better the original innovation, the farther it gets run up before it crashes. And the worse the wreckage left behind for the remaining, successful, enterprises to trip over. The run-up of the cattle business in the American West left a legacy of bitter memories of conflicts with farmers and sheep ranchers over water and grass. The run-up of the Internet business will leave its own legacy, still to be determined.

  42. Re the jump-to article, see the article about a researcher indicted for fraud and what Penn State should have done:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/researcher-charged-major-hiv-vaccine-fraud-case-24288252

    “Carome noted that Han’s misconduct wasted tax dollars and caused researchers to chase a false lead. He said such cases also undermine the public’s trust in researchers.”

  43. That’s a broad and diffuse field to get a grip on.I will just pick some aspects to comment on. The many categories involved are products of societal organization that confuse the situation thoroughly. In a way it boils down to IQ and development of individual interests. And that in turn involves curiosity and desire to learn more about a subject. It may lead to development of credentials or it may not. It is entirely possible for someone lacking any sort of credentials to become highly expert in a field that interests him, and this does not even require that he should have a track record. An example is a young patent office clerk who delved into completely new physics and published five world beating articles in one year. Journals were more inclined to look at the quality of work than credentials or track record then, but that was more than a hundred years ago. From what I see around me now this could not happen today because of the politicization and bureaucratizing of scientific publishing and the claimed monopoly of expertise by scientific institutions.

  44. troll feeding is an art best left alone.
    I had a long walk this morning with my wife [a warmist] and we were joined by a friend also a warmist and walked 6 kilometers with the only pleasant conversation I have had with one in the last year. This was because he was very tolerant of my views though he did not believe in them.
    There should be more love and tolerance in the world.

    • What are your views angech? Skeptics don’t really have “views”, but simply are just wranglers for a bunch of little uncertainty monsters.

      • CO2 should heat the world up but not happening.
        Feedback loops must be negative.
        Bunch of unreliable people with very pushy agenda’s, Mann, Lewindowsky, Cook, and spin offs eager to please them, Gergis and the ship of fools. Nutticelli and Gavin with jobs dependent on their rhetoric. People with skills like Eli and Tamino who use invective and cherry picking. Noble cause warriors like Stokes and Lacis and you and Fan.
        I would have more respect for any of you guys if you actually took people to task on your perceived side for the unethical and misleading arguments that get put up but apart from Josh and Steven, who is a skeptic after all this does not happen.
        Admit some uncertainty, get off your hobby horses and put some of the real science with both possible view points admitted.
        Or just ask about my views and dis them, it’s OK.

      • “Skeptics don’t really have “views”, but simply are just wranglers for a bunch of little uncertainty monsters.”

        Gates- you are simply wrong in that “snarky” comment. As an example, a rational skeptical position is that the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure is the best, most cost effective method of preparing for future adverse weather regardless of the cause. Unlike CO2 mitigation actions, (that can’t be shown to have ANY positive impact on future weather) it is a position that has measureable benefits to those paying for them.

      • ” the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure is the best, most cost effective method of preparing for future adverse weather regardless of the cause: – Rob

        Evidence-free assertion?

      • Shovel ready?

      • Michael
        I’ll agree that it would have been more accurate to have added imo, but it does seem pretty obvious.

        It is possible that some other action could lead to a climate that always has perfect weather and no storms, but that seems highly unlikely.

      • Michael, “Evidence-free assertion?”

        Some comments can inspire independent, innovative thought. Now how could that comment be wrong, right or irrelevant?

      • “CO2 should heat the world up but not happening.”
        —-
        Except of course the past decade was the warmest decade on record and May 2014,the warmest month on record– but other than these signs of “not happening”, the world is cooling according to Kim and Skippy Ellison.

      • “Or just ask about my views and dis them, it’s OK.”
        ——–
        Not “dis”, as in disrespect, but as in dissect. You claim the “world” is not “warming”, and so the only way to see if this is correct is to use science, data, and logic. To dissect this viewpoint to its essence and see both exactly what you think you are saying and if it true or not. There is a lot of muddle-headed thinking around, both intentionally to obfuscate, and accidentally via the parroting of ignorant memes, or simply out of willful ignorance.

      • nottawa rafter

        Gates
        Come on. It can be warmer than in the past but with a flat trend line it doesn’t mean the temperatures are continuing to go up. How is that OHC trend pre 1950 coming along, BTW? I am really looking forward to seeing it.
        And are you ready to cry “uncle” and accept that the rate of increase in sea level rise for the last 20 years has not risen? It just keeps truckin’ along at 3.2 mm per year.

      • RGates is suckin’ air a little lately, what with his ‘warmest decade’ foolishness, and trying to claim that the term ‘Human Carbon Volcano’ is not intended to invoke fear and guilt.

        Stick to the science you know, RG; you have something there, but seem to have misplaced it.
        ============

      • “…and trying to claim that the term ‘Human Carbon Volcano’ is not intended to invoke fear and guilt.”
        —–
        No more so than a normal volcano. For an inquisitive person with a scientific curiosity, the term was always meant to be descriptive. Given the fact that humans are for the most part not responsible for their ignition of the HCV as such rapid increase in energy use is likely part of a pattern repeated many time throughout the galaxy as intelligent species reach a certain stage in their civilization. The question is– what next? And more to the point, will we now fully embrace our stewardship of a planet we dominate so completely, or does the ignition of the HCV inevitably lead to the Great Filter:

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Filter

      • Rob,

        It must be my public health background, but when we are actively engaging in activities with potentially serious negative consequences, prevention (ie stopping/reducing those actions) seems like a no-brainer, compared to adopting a ‘come-what-may’ attitude and hoping that we can deal with the consequences – no, let’s be more accurate – foisting that responsibility onto others in the future.

      • Classic. Calling it the human carbon volcano clearly winds people like kim up no end, so I say there must be merit in it.

        And the phrase “warmest decade on record.”

        Here’s another one, “globe is still warming”, “oceans heating up”.

        They also don’t like to be reminded that CO2 levels are now the highest they’ve been for at least 15 million years.

        Lots of little factual statements that some people just don’t like stated.

        “Caused by Man”, another disliked phrase.

      • OK Micheal…

        risk adversity….if something might be bad, do your best to prevent it.

        overspending on clean energy if it is unnecessary might be super bad. the percentage of society that operates in the lower income brackets gets put into stress when their expenses are higher.

        higher energy costs means higher transport costs, higher food costs, higher construction costs, higher manufacturing costs. inflation. potential for depressions and economic collapses. (Iceland)

        these aren’t maybes. these are the NOW results of our NOW actions.

        doing something bad now, in case we might cause something bad in the future, equals BAD.

        economic hardship kills dreams, and kills lives. WAY MORE lives than a titch of warmer weather, even if that were the case. And we are doing that NOW.

        in public health, you must have first hand awareness of the costs of stress? the costs of poverty? increased heart disease, increased mental illness, increased crime, decrease in educational levels, decrease in standard of living, more people working more hours. again, that is the NOW.

      • There is a lot of muddle-headed thinking around, both intentionally to obfuscate, and accidentally via the parroting of ignorant memes, or simply out of willful ignorance.
        Spot on R. Gates, you have nailed it in one.
        Would you care to indulge in naming a few examples, surely not Dr Spencer, R Pielke or or hostess for starters, too polite for that. Nor the pin up boy, Dr Lewindowsky.
        Perhaps the author of “Skeptics don’t really have “views”, but you would have to become a South Australian [obscure joke too deep for non Australians], and belong to the ABC [again Australian, sorry not the Hawaii store chain] where your funny line would get years of laughs. Heck I’m still laughing about it and it’s directed at my ilk.
        And you would have to become an honorary wombat OA.
        So it could not be you either.

      • Alistair Riddoch | June 25, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
        “OK Micheal…

        risk adversity….if something might be bad, do your best to prevent it.

        overspending on clean energy if it is unnecessary might be super bad. ..
        higher energy costs means higher transport costs, higher food costs, higher construction costs, higher manufacturing costs….these aren’t maybes. these are the NOW results of our NOW actions.”

        Yes, you’re right – we have higher energy costs NOW, and going to get higher in the future – just look at the crude oil price over the last 10 years.

        Renewable costs are going down…and will keep going down for some time into the future.

      • Hi Michael, (also please excuse my typo, when using your name earlier :-) )

        With the recognition that renewable prices are going to drop, my point with regards to them, is buy them after the price has dropped. Research first, implement second. Plan…do.

        Not do, while expensive, then as an afterthought realize how much more economical sense it would have made to implement at 3 cents per kwh, instead of 80 cents per kwh.

        The billions, and it is billions, invested in implementation would have accelerated the dropping of the cost. we would WIN.

        The way we are doing it is spend the bulk of our resources on implementation at 80 cents. After the fact, economically, it is certain that we will realize we LOST.

        Even if implementation of bulk solar had waited 5 years, the cost of implementation would have been half of what it has been.

        If we insist on doing something “in case” we should at least do it wisely.

        IMHO we definitely have NOT handled the situation even close to wisely.

      • Rob Starkey

        Michael writes-

        “when we are actively engaging in activities with potentially serious negative consequences, prevention (ie stopping/reducing those actions) seems like a no-brainer, compared to adopting a ‘come-what-may’ attitude and hoping that we can deal with the consequences”

        Imo, Michael writes a comment that is at the heart of the much of the debate regarding what should be done in regards to human released CO2.

        Michael let’s review your comment and thought process.

        You write “when we”—When you write this who is “we”? If you are meaning humanity as a whole then I suggest that there is no means to implement any solution because the world is not governed by a one world government but is made up of roughly 200 different nations with different goals. These nations will be impacted by a changing climate differently. Some will benefit while other are harmed. If you mean “we” the USA, then you should realize that US will not be the primary cause of the growth in CO2 emissions over the next several decades and the actions the US takes to lessen CO2 emissions would have no meaningful impact on the climate. If CO2 concentrations are at 450 ppm in 2050 instead of 452 ppm does it matter???

        You write-“engaging in activities with potentially serious negative consequences”.

        What are the potentially serious negative consequences and what is the source of information that makes you believe these negative consequences might or are likely to occur and when?

        Can these feared consequences be avoided or lessened by the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure? Would these “consequences” potentially occur regardless of human released CO2?

        Are additional “consequences” created by not allowing the release of CO2? (people in underdeveloped countries not getting access to electricity as quickly and being harmed as a result) People in developed countries paying more for power and thereby not having funds available for other necessities.

      • Alistair Riddoch | June 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        “With the recognition that renewable prices are going to drop, my point with regards to them, is buy them after the price has dropped. Research first, implement second. Plan…do.’

        No early adopters, no product to buy “after the price has dropped”.

        Fossil fuel prices are going up and will keep going up regardless.

        It’s a no-brainer.

      • I don’t agree Michael.

        Early adoption is not a necessity to product development.

        It is necessary for the reductions of cost that can be achieved through mass production, buying in bulk, process refinement, supply chain development.

        But definitely not a necessity for continued research.

        It is only a no brainer if you allow yourself to view it only in the short term. Panic thinking.

        In the extreme the sensibility of it is easier to see….we can make cold fusion now, provide slightly (slightly!) more power out than in. But early adoption now, would be ridiculous. A real no brainer. It would be expensive in the extreme. But wait 50 years, and cheapy cheapy, runs on garbage, I know, it was in the ending of Back to the Future One. (tongue in cheek to make the point, no offense intended). :-)

        Cheers,
        Alistair

      • Rob Starkey | June 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        “If CO2 concentrations are at 450 ppm in 2050 instead of 452 ppm does it matter???”

        What about 600?….800?
        Anything goes?

        ” what is the source of information that makes you believe these negative consequences might or are likely to occur and when?” – Rob.
        Physics

        “Are additional “consequences” created by not allowing the release of CO2? (people in underdeveloped countries not getting access to electricity as quickly and being harmed as a result) People in developed countries paying more for power and thereby not having funds available for other necessities.” – Rob

        I love this argument.

        We shouldn’t worry too much about the future and act now to prevent problems then….but what about the poor, and their future economic development!!

        Let’s just say I don’t have a great deal of respect for people who use the poor as their ideological battering ram.

        But back to reality…….Rob maybe you haven’t noticed this, but the poor who you are so concerned about have been suffering the consequences of steadily rising fossil fuel prices for quite some time now. No end in sight – oh, unless we can work hard at the problem and continue to drive down the price of renewables.

      • re: Michael…”Let’s just say I don’t have a great deal of respect for people who use the poor as their ideological battering ram.”

        Some of us use the plight of the poor, because we ARE the poor. Some of us have kids that are struggling to find funds for education, and the 300-400 a month for electricity is a significant chunk of disposable, (and sometimes NON-disposable income.)

        Some of us use the plight of the poor, because we see taxes increasing, debt increasing, the cost of food increasing, etc.

        Sure fossil fuel costs are going up. the answer is to implement even costlier energy solutions prematurely???

        Most countries that I am aware of are operating with a national debt, and a yearly deficit. It is not us that is going to pay that off. It is the collapse that will eventually happen to right things, that will fix it, and that is a burden I wish we weren’t stickin to my kids, grandkids, great grand kids, etc.

        You may come from a different backgroun, but before you accuse of “using” the poor, you might want to ask the people on what grounds they feel enabled to at least partially speak to their plight. Battering ram?? Hardly.

      • Alistair Riddoch | June 26, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
        “I don’t agree Michael.
        Early adoption is not a necessity to product development.
        It is necessary for the reductions of cost that can be achieved through mass production, buying in bulk, process refinement, supply chain development.
        But definitely not a necessity for continued research.
        It is only a no brainer if you allow yourself to view it only in the short term. Panic thinking.”

        You just moved your goal posts.

        My point about early adoption was specifically in response to this comment from you;
        “…nenewable prices are going to drop … buy them after the price has dropped.”

        I’m glad you now seem to agree with me.

      • Michael,

        Ay yi yi, the limitations of the written word.

        I hope we agree. Back and forths can get tiresome.

        Is this what we agree on…
        Renewables will get cheaper.
        Better to implement them once they have been optimized close to perfection, when the cost per, will be much lower.
        Early implementation instead of increased research spending is not the smartest path to use.
        Once we have a good efficient method of solar energy collection, IF it is one of the smarter/efficient/not stupidly expensive ways to produce energy, we should implement lots and lots at that time, if CO2 is still considered to be a climate changer by the majority.

      • Michael, we seem to be butting heads a little. sorry.

        Rob – ” what is the source of information that makes you believe these negative consequences might or are likely to occur and when?” – Rob.
        Michael – Physics

        hmmmm, “physics” as proof of CO2 causality….Evidence-free assertion?

        you should read about the heliopause, it’s size, rate of travel, and the density of matter outside and inside of it. (38,000,000,000 km diameter, rate of travel is 26 km/s, and density/energy/magnetism content outside is 40 times that of inside. and we are flying through a magnetic cloud, that could be prone to variations in density, affected by the other stars in the local interstellar cloud.

        then consider whether that is likely related to the 30-40 year oscillations in solar output. and then check the relation of solar output to temperature (maunder and dalton minimums). then consider the thames NOT freezing since the early 1800′s (dalton minimum), the great lakes and Niagara falls almost totally freezing over this winter (rare since the 70′s), the current low solar output per graphs and charts at http://www.solen.info, especially the charts that compare past minimums to current solar output.

        I’m thinking physics gonna come down heavy on the warmists, and back up the notion of natural variability nicely for us incorrectly labelled “climate deniers”.

      • Alistair Riddoch | June 27, 2014 at 2:33 am |
        “Is this what we agree on…
        Renewables will get cheaper.
        Better to implement them once they have been optimized close to perfection, when the cost per, will be much lower.
        Early implementation instead of increased research spending is not the smartest path to use.”

        Well, on the first point, yes.

        But you can’t simply wait unti some mythical ‘perfection’ and then expect the product to be suddenly available – it just won’t exist.
        Solar PV is a fairly good exampleof the reality of this – they’ve been around for decades and have only fairly recently passed a threshold point of price that has seen a dramatic increase in their utilisation.

      • Alistair,

        If you think solar output is going to be the saviour, you’re going to be sorely disapoonted.

      • OMG MICHAEL, our back and forth is getting more and more frustrating as you seem to misconstrue almost everything I say!!

        NO I DO NOT THINK SOLAR IS A SAVIOUR.

        NO I DON’T BELIEVE WE NEED A SAVIOUR.

        What I believe is that physics is sorely underdeveloped. In it’s lacking of understanding, room has crept in for fools, opportunists, and crooks, to make a classic historical mistake that is made time and again. Believing WE MUST ACT THUS, in order to SAVE the WORLD. Two words: NOAH’s ARK, part of the “Greatest STORY Ever Told!”. Not to mention Native American Rain Dances, other societies in the world worshipping the sun, the skys, the thunder. Zuess throws lightning bolts because PEOPLE BELIEVED HE COULD. This is NOT the first time weather fear mongering has been used to control or sway a population. It’s not even the sequel, or the triquel. It is a lame, tired, overused, never proven, never realized FABLE.

        I DO BELIEVE the entire premise of CO2 causing spiralling runaway heat entrapment is hogwash. The hockey stick is statistically SO BOGUS it makes me cringe to believe everybody didn’t react exactly the opposite to the way they have. The determination of a current “average temperature” against which we benchmark current temperature is bogus.

        Statistics has a mottos similar to real estate, it goes, the three most important things in statistics are VALID Sample size, VALID sample size, VALID sample size.

        MINIMUMS. The sun doesn’t influence temperature much?? What fool can look at a historical pattern of temperature that includes minimums and not KNOW that the SUN DRIVES TEMPERATURE.

        What fool can then fail to realize if we can’t say why the sun gets more and less active, we can’t speak to why the earth gets more and less active??

        Do I think Solar is Saviour. NO! I think if fools insist in believing it is a necessity, at LEAST be smart enough to implement it in an economically most sensible manner, not a panic rush to implement at 10 times the going cost of electricity. Especially in light of the infinitesimally small difference it is, and is capable of, making.

        Do I think wind is a saviour? God, it’s the wind coming out of Mann and Gore’s mouths that got us in this mess. I think wind has good potential, can easily be made more efficient. Do we “need it”? NO. We don’t NEED anything, except to stop listening to fools who want to tell us the world is in jeopardy and desperately needs us to spend spend spend NOW or DIE. At least the idiots of the past that were willing to stick their neck out and predict the demise of humanity, only seeked attention or to sway our moral conduct. The current idiots are picking our pocket, and doing so significantly. Look up Predictions of Doom, and you will notice a VERY REAL HOCKEY STICK of FEAR MONGERING. Here’s the link…

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

        The underlying question being, if anyone single person believed any of those 150 plus official predictions of humanities demise, would you classify them as “expert”, “visionary”, “humanitarian”, “interested concerned citizens”, or absolute idiots, swayed by other absolute idiots? Since we are here, I vote for the latter.

        Interesting one of the predictors of the demise of humanity was CHRIST, he predicted we would be gone around 70 AD. Yet here we are, grown from a couple of hundred million to 7 billion.

        Anyone wanting to publicly claim THIS IS SO, AND WE MUST THUS, can add their names to the list of people whom history is going to remember the same way we remember all the other predictors of doom and gloom. Deluded, self centered, idiots!

        BUT I am impressed by the genuine concern that is in the hearts of people, allowing them to believe we may be causing such disastrous events as that the earth will not recover. the number of people wiling to say they care more about the planet and more about other people, than they do about living their own lives. which obviously makes it great political fodder. The way it has been since the greek, the romans, the christians, and many many other cultures of the past.

        History is so clear. how people can be so IGNORANT of it, and yet be so sure that they version of calamity is correct and above question, makes me laugh!! Believe on faith. Well that’s a new one!! NOT.

        A jungle in sahara, a mile of ice over top of Toronto, a closed bering strait, ice ages, we weren’t around enough to cause any of them.

        So again, do I believe Solar is the Saviour, NO.

        I think rational thought, cognizance of history, continued research in physics, and plain old common sense dictate that there IS no SAVIOUR (sorry religious peeps, but when the world starts spending my tax dollars on follishness, it peeves me a little).

        My frustration has bade me speak a little harshly, and I do apologize I have to some perceptions been harsh. (When your two year old insists on removing the safety from the electrical outlet and sticking forks in it, a little spank on their ass might save their life! Not to hurt, or punish. To communicate when words are not usable for lack of experience and understanding to properly interpret their intent).

        So I expect a bit of backlash. Fine. I will listen to any and all.

        If you want that done with an open mind, one that will really listen to your objections and refutations of what I say, you will have to tell me you have watched:

        this history of humanity’s history, as determined by the the decoding of branches of DNA, here: at http://bradshawfoundation.com/journey/

        this list, as above, of predictions of doom here at:

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

        this list of alternate potential physics theories:

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

        or I am afraid I will have trouble giving your counter arguments any credence.

        if one wishes to refute my thoughts and HAS followed the above links, I am happy to return the favor, and listen with an open mind, and follow links or thoughts of yours.

        closed minds that don’t exchange are a waste of time.

        experts are only as expert as the context they work within

        and that is my way more than two cents worth.

        (and in retrospect, I apologize for my harshness and manner, born from my frustration of having my prior words and opinions mis-understood. my need for clarity got a little over excited.)

        so with all due respect to the rational and open minded in the crowd, please understand that NONE OF the above is speaking about, or applies to you).

        ONLY FOOLS AND IDIOTS NEED BE OFFENDED BY MY REMARKS.
        AND ONLY BECAUSE THEY DESERVE TO BE.

      • Michael
        I hoped for a more serious reply on your part.

        In response to my question- “If CO2 concentrations are at 450 ppm in 2050 instead of 452 ppm does it matter???”

        Michael responds–“What about 600?….800? Anything goes?”

        We do not know in 2014 what technologies will be available in the year 2100 and how much CO2 humans will be emitting at that time. The issue comes down to what actions would have to be taken to lessen/eliminate human CO2 emissions and what those actions would cost vs. what benefits would result from those taking those actions. If in the year 3000 CO2 was at 600ppm instead of 700 ppm is the world better off? Neither of us know.

        I asked ” what is the source of information that makes you believe these negative consequences might or are likely to occur and when?”

        Michael responds—“Physics”

        Michael—You know that answer is a lie. You have no reliable physics to support you answer. Please stop being untruthful and be reasonable. Physics can’t tell you today that more atmospheric CO2 will make life for humans a net positive or a net negative.

        Regarding people in developing countries getting access to electricity you seem to try to avoid reality. It is not difficult to analyze the situation realistically. I am not claiming to have some special affinity for people in undeveloped countries, but I do analyze situations based on the facts.
        The fact is that people in undeveloped areas want electricity. The fact is that the countries in which those people live want to provide that electricity as inexpensively as possible on a long term basis. The fact is that making the cost of getting that electricity higher will delay access to electricity for those people in undeveloped countries.

        Those are undisputed facts- sorry if they are inconvenient but they are true today.

      • Pat another dung BRIC on the wall.
        Pray it dries and sticks before it falls.
        Praise the Lawd, the sun has rose
        For all of us and some of those.
        ===============

      • Kim….
        Pat another dung BRIC on the wall.
        Pray it dries and sticks before it falls.
        Praise the Lawd, the sun has rose
        For all of us and some of those.

        CLASSIC.
        A+

      • Rob Starkey | June 27, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        “We do not know in 2014 what technologies will be available in the year 2100 and how much CO2 humans will be emitting at that time. The issue comes down to what actions would have to be taken to lessen/eliminate human CO2 emissions and what those actions would cost vs. what benefits would result from those taking those actions. If in the year 3000 CO2 was at 600ppm instead of 700 ppm is the world better off? Neither of us know.”

        And for that precise reason our current course of action is quite stupid.

        Better that our CO2 levels stay near as possible to what we know has been conducive to our present situation.

        Taking a step off a ledge in the dark, don’t know if it’s 10cm high or 10m? – best course of action might be not to do it.
        …………………………………………………………….

        “Michael responds—“Physics”
        Michael—You know that answer is a lie. You have no reliable physics to support you answer. Please stop being untruthful and be reasonable. Physics can’t tell you today that more atmospheric CO2 will make life for humans a net positive or a net negative.” – Rob

        Physcis teel us that the we are increasing the earths’ radiative imbalance. It will warm. Sea-leves will rise. Ice will melt.

        That’s physics.

        Maybe that will all be a net good.

        That’s wishful thinking.

        Physics vs wishful thinking, which will I choose?
        ……………………………………………………………….

        “The fact is that people in undeveloped areas want electricity. The fact is that the countries in which those people live want to provide that electricity as inexpensively as possible on a long term basis. The fact is that making the cost of getting that electricity higher will delay access to electricity for those people in undeveloped countries.
        Those are undisputed facts- sorry if they are inconvenient but they are true today.” – Rob

        More undisputed facts;
        - increasing prices of fossil fuels have aleady been pushing electiricity prices up. Way up.
        - there is no end in sight to this rise.

        Why do you want to force the poor into never-ending increasing electricity prices?

      • Michael writes
        “Better that our CO2 levels stay near as possible to what we know has been conducive to our present situation.”
        My response- Except that you choose to ignore that keeping CO2 levels as near as possible to current levels has a very high cost to humanity. Either you need to reduce the human population, of force a portion of humanity to forgo the benefits that they would otherwise receive if they were able to emit CO2. What is the proper amount of CO2 that should be allowable to emit in your world view? There are many issues here you seem to ignore.

        Michael writes-
        “Physcis teel us that the we are increasing the earths’ radiative imbalance. It will warm. Sea-leves will rise. Ice will melt. That’s physics”

        My response- Yes we are adding atmospheric CO2 and yes that will most likely result in some warming over time. There is a great debate over the rate of temperature change and it appears to be much slower that was believed by some a few years ago. It does not necessarily mean that the resulting environment is worse over all for humans. It does not necessarily mean that the rate of sea level rise will increase significantly. It most certainly does not mean that the net long term benefits of having released the CO2 were outweighed by the net harms created by the CO2 being released.

        Michael writes-
        “increasing prices of fossil fuels have aleady been pushing electiricity prices up. Way up.
        - there is no end in sight to this rise. Why do you want to force the poor into never-ending increasing electricity prices?”

        My response- It is you that seem to want to force people in undeveloped countries to only use electricity generated by the methods of your choice and to force people in the US to have less of their resources to use as they wish. The people in developing countries should be able to choose what they think is most effective for themselves.

      • @ Alistair Riddoch | June 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm |

        My what a lot of capitals.

        You may have misunderstood me re: “solar output”. I was alluding to your comment about solar cycles and warming,ie we are at a solar low point, so when the sun gets it’s mojo back, the ‘pause’ will go paws up in a major way.

        The rest – hope you feel better.

  45. “In any even, anyone who self-characterizes or is characterized by others as an expert needs to accept that their claims to knowledge and authority will always and everywhere be contested.” – JC

    When wasn’t it??

    The whole thing smacks of historical delusionalism.

  46. “But that means that Climategate didn’t undermine the case for human-caused global warming at all, says Collins. Rather, it demonstrated why it is so hard for ordinary citizens to understand what is going on inside the scientific community—much less to snipe and criticize it from the outside.”
    - Collins is simply acting as an apologist for the incompetence and politiking that Climategate revealed. The next time there is a political scandal, will he argue that the public should hold no opinion on it, as they lack political expertise?

    “That’s why we can’t listen to climate change skeptics or creationists.”
    - By lumping skeptics with creationists he couldn’t have set out his stall more clearly.

  47. Re: experts and enquiring amateurs.
    One of the less understood features of global climate is the origin of the North Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, or its better known de-trended version, the AMO.
    Many a hypothesis have come and gone, possible hundreds of scholarly papers written, but no avail the ‘mystery’ still remains.
    Some 3 years ago I thought I came across something worthwhile, Dr. Curry was very encouraging in her reply to my email:
    …“my main suggestion is to go back prior to 1920; 1850 if possible (the data in north atlantic should be good enough)”…
    Since then I analysed data files, read numerous papers, blog comments, still nothing… Few months ago the Curry-Wyatt new refreshing stadium wave hypothesis appeared, incorporating the AMO.
    Dr. Curry “The AMO sets the signal’s tempo, while the sea ice bridges communication between ocean and atmosphere.”
    I would substantially agree, but not entirely.
    No, I have not resolved mystery of the AMO, but have come across even more curious one. Currently, I think for the AMO and its ‘partners action’ I would use a less known analogy:
    refrain (from Vulgar Latin refringere, -wikipedia – Sometimes refrains vary their words slightly when repeated; recognisability is given to the refrain by the fact that it is always sung to the same tune.
    Although, refrain is a feature of many hymns (including the USA one), last 30 seconds of this little tune (with appropriate visuals) demonstrate it well

    but I digress, important note: in the AMO case, it looks as the cause and its consequence are often transposed

  48. Collins is just new age of reasoning hack, like so many others, it’s required if you are trying hard to sell something that has so little classical science support involved.

    This is how it gets translated by the wing closer too political power;

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/billionaire-obama-adviser-punish-companies-that-ignore-climate-change/article/2550111

    While the Obama administration has called for polluters to clean up their operations, the former government and business leader said the hammer should come down on business that ignore the potential impact of climate change on their companies and rewards such as greater investment be doled out to those that do.

    The domestic “Prison Planet” arm of the AGW movement.

  49. beththeserf | June 25, 2014 at 12:57 am

    “Mann et Al, like other experts of failed predictions,
    Erlich, Stiglitz etc continue their expert pronouncements
    unabashed.”

    They are there to make money. Aren’t we all?

  50. From the Hank Paulson Doom Report:

    “The report found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, by 2050, between $66 to $106 billion of existing coastal property in the U.S. will be below sea level. This would grow to up to $507 billion by 2100.”

    The experts are learning, make no predictions that can be proven false in less than 30 years.

    • By 2050, Oceans will be lower than now. By 2100, Oceans will be lower than in 2050. When oceans are warm, When oceans are warm and ice is melted, moisture is sucked from the oceans and placed on land. This lowers oceans and builds ice volume on land that will advance us into the next cold period, similar to the Little Ice Age. Every warm period is followed by a cold period. Warm periods are when ice is replenished.

      Consensus Theory and Models build ice volume in cold periods, when oceans are cold and when they do not give up their moisture.

      Cold periods are when ice melts more every summer than gets replaced every winter. That is when ice recedes and warming occurs. We warmed out of the Little Ice Age as Ice Receded. The warming did not cause the ice to recede. The warming resulted when the ice receded.

      Look at actual data. Oceans are warm and wet and the ice does not still recede. Albedo of Earth has been flat during the flat Temperature years.

      • Rob Starkey

        LOL–so you are confident that the very long term trend of sea level rise will suddenly reverse sometime in the next 40 years. If you publish your model, and if it matches observed conditions over the next few decades, you will be famous. Imo—highly unlikely to occur, but not impossible

      • As long as the net mass of ice on the planet continues to decline, there is no chance if the sea level declining over the long term. Warmer oceans mean more snow in winter but none of it survives the summer. That’s the nature of an external forcing to the system– more net energy added means less net ice over the long term– basic physics.

      • “As long as the net mass of ice on the planet continues to decline, there is no chance if the sea level declining over the long term.”

        A factually incorrect statement. Somehow Gates believes he knows that melting ice water can’t possibly go anywhere except into the oceans.

      • Rob,

        The largest percentage of water from melting glacial mass does in fact go directly to the ocean, as the largest percentage melts from the bottom through direct contact with the ocean in both Greenland and Antarctica. Certainly some glacial water goes to groundwater, but the percentage is low. A climate system gaining energy through external forcing, as ours appears to be, will see rising oceans until such time as all the glacial ice is gone.

      • Gates
        I am not disagreeing that there is a very high probability the sea level would continue to rise. I am disagreeing with the “no chance” portion of your comment. There is some probability it would not go to the oceans

      • Your are right Rob, I should have been more accurate and said as long as the net glacial mass is declining as the Earth climate system continues use to gain energy there is a 0.001% chance the sea level would decline over the long-term.

    • As Christian Schlüchter, Bernese geologist, recently came into conflict with the human-caused CO2-alarmists recently when he brought to our attention that Hannibal didn’t cross the icy Alps: his army crossed a forest. Schlüchter found that that glaciers come and go on a lot faster Earthly timetable than we realized (i.e., they were gone both 2,000 and 4,000 years ago not just 10,000 years ago) and, the reason for their demise obviously had nothing to do with us moderns injecting our CO2 into the atmosphere. Christian Schlüchter says that solar activity, tectonic movements (shifting the seasons in the northern hemisphere) and volcanoes all trigger the fluctuation of glaciers.

    • Maldives 50 years, no sea level increase. The average altitude in this nation of islands, is 4 feet above sea level. If anyone in the world is qualified to report on what the ACTUAL sea level is, it is they.

      Everyone knows, and many realize it when they think about it, that melted ice in a glass of water, does not change the level.

      But there is land based ice.

      But the crust fluxes under pressure from above. Mariana’s Trench is the DEEPEST place in the world for a reason. It is the heaviest crust. Add more water to the ocean and what will happen to Mariana’s Trench? Get’s deeper.

      But don’t have to believe me….

      MALDIVES

      http://myweb.wwu.edu/dbunny/pdfs/Ch7Elsevier.pdf

      with plenty of photos of the sea level, REAL information. Not “adjusted”, not “corrected”. the actual sea, and the actual land.

      MARIANA’sTRENCH
      At the bottom of the trench the water column above exerts a pressure of 1,086 bars (15,750 psi), over 1000 times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. At this pressure the density of water is increased by 4.96%, making 95 litres of water under the pressure of the Challenger Deep contain the same mass as 100 litres at the surface. The temperature at the bottom is 1 to 4 °C.

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

      so sea level rise??? get me a picture, to undo the impression of the pictures I have seen, and maybe I will re-open the subject mentally.

      but show me a graph of amalgamated, extrapolated, adjusted, corrected, factored, chosen data….keep walkin

      • Rob Starkey

        Alistair-

        How any specific location has been impacted by changes in relative sea level is virtually meaningless. At a local level changes in the land height frequently dominate actual changes in sea level.

        The best data available on actual changes in sea level come from the satellite record frm late 1992 to present. It has shown a pretty consistent rate of rise and no acceleration due to AGW. The rate of rise is about a foot per century

      • … sea level rise a foot per century? Not according to the experts–e.g.,

        “Not only are the aquaducts of Caesaria (REIFENBERG, 1951) and the columns at Puteoli still in the original positions of construction (two things which would be almost impossible if there had been a tectonic movements of 3 m vertical amplitude since their erection) but many other old buildings in the reputedly unstable Mediterranean area are still vertical, a sign that the instability in many places was not great enough to cause a tilt. At the old shore the Etang of Vendres, near the mouth of the Aude, are the ruins of a Roman Therme of the 1st or 2nd century A.D. (locally called the temple of Venus). There the walls have been washed out by waves so that they now have a deep double notch about 1.80 m above present sea level (Fig. 4C). The remaining walls of the “temple” are not tilted at all.”

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/07/12/historic-variations-in-sea-levels-part-1-from-the-holocene-to-romans/

      • Rob Starkey

        Try reading what I wrote more closely.

      • Levels then rose significantly through the Roman period peaking around the 700 AD Byzantine period at levels higher than today, which concludes at this period of study for Part 1.

      • That’s only local levels around the Mediterranean of course.

      • From articles found online…

        “In an interview with Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner (head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden, past president (1999-2003) of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, and leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project – he has been studying the sea level and its effects on coastal areas for some 35 years) by EIR (Argentine Foundation for a Scientific Ecology) [http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Calen7/MornerEng.html] he talked about the IPCC misrepresentation of sea level data: “Then, in 2003, the same data set, which in their [IPCC's] publications,… was a straight line—suddenly it changed, and showed a very strong line of uplift, 2.3 mm per year, the same as from the tide gauge… It was the original one which they had suddenly twisted up, because they entered a “correction factor,” … I accused them of this at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow —I said you have introduced factors from outside; it’s not a measurement. It looks like it is measured from the satellite, but you don’t say what really happened. And they answered, that we had to do it, because otherwise we would not have gotten any trend! That is terrible! As a matter of fact, it is a falsification of the data set. … “

      • Only problem is no-one with any sense takes Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner seriously.

  51. “Give me two hamburgers today and I will gladly pay you next Tuesday.”

  52. That Feynman quote in full:

    Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers in the preceding generation … Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
    - Richard Feynman

    And another:

    Have no respect whatsoever for authority; forget who said it and instead look what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, “Is it reasonable?”
    - Richard Feynman

  53. “Trust us, we are doctors”

  54. Climate scientists get bothered that, as the ‘experts’ they are not listened to. Yet they do not listen to the experts in mathematics who question the validity of their models. Nor do they listen to the expertise of computer scientists and programmers who turn pale when they see their disheveled fortran codes. Nor do they listen to the experts at mathematical modelling who suggest writing a massive code in fortran, hard wired to grid sizes (which makes it impossible to do grid studies) using old school finite difference solvers might be less than optimal.
    Climate scientist need to get off their high horse.

    • High horse? It looks like your hobby horse is kvetching about the way things ought to be done.

      So explain how it should be done, otherwise you are all talk and no action.

      • “High horse? It looks like your hobby horse is kvetching about the way things ought to be done.”
        ?? Now you are predicting my moods and hobbies? So not only can you predict the future of the world but every detail of everyone’s personal life as well. Impressive!

      • Ooh, a low blow, that one about predicting. Only a yellow card, though.
        ==========

  55. Quote
    “Experts might instead need to pick a side, join the fight, and accept that their claims to knowledge and authority will always and everywhere be contested. – Jason Wilson”

    If this is indeed the case, how does this square with the supposed role of “Political” appointees such as the position of Chief Scientism advisor as in the UK or
    Political appointees such as Holdren as Presidential Scientism advisor??

    Seasoned Science Advice ( ?? )

    http://blogs.royalsociety.org/in-verba/2014/06/19/seasoned-science-advice/

  56. What is Al Gore’s expertise?

  57. In first year engineering I was let in on a little secret about ‘experts’. ‘X’ is an unknown quantity and a ‘spurt’ is just a drip under pressure. Climate ‘science’ has unfortunately provided a 97% fit to that thesis and I am committed to that concensus. I cringe whenever I am approached the provide ‘expert’ opinion or court evidence.

    As the great Australian rebel Ned Kelly said just before the hangman pulled the lever “Such is life.

  58. The easy way to determine Collins isn’t worth reading – Chris Mooney agrees with him.

  59. The Left believes we are all polluters with every breath we take and those Chinese are the biggest polluters of all, even more than Americans.

  60. Climate change heretics teach us more than scientific skeptics about the truest measure of expertise is the field of climate science: understanding global warming is digital crystal balling.

  61. Matthew R Marler

    A cautionary tale about claimed expertise: http://news.yahoo.com/judge-bad-science-led-murder-arson-sentence-144735103.html

    These come up in diverse fields from time to time.

    Are Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren “experts”? Should we trust their “expertise”. How often can an “expert” be seriously wrong and still be “trusted”?

  62. Walt Allensworth

    About record highs… draws from random distribution about a fixed mean will produce new ‘record highs’ from time to time, even though the trend is flat. So we can have a new high for May even though temperatures have been flat for 17 years and 9 month. Meh.

  63. Indeed who is an expert?

    One of the striking aspects of climatology is how many fields come into play. A proper climatologist should be an expert in chemistry, physics, biololgy, thermodynamics, geophysics, astronomy, meteorology, oceonography, statistics, numerical computation, and probably a dozen other fields as well.

    This means there are no broad experts, but only a diverse group of specialists all blindly groping different parts of the elephant.

  64. I heard Harry Collins being interviewed by Chris Mooney. He had quite few interesting things to say about his experience in researching the social aspects of hard physics but hearing his discussion of climategate he struck me as a guy who only recently hastily tacked on some analysis of the subject onto his body of work.

    For instance, his books’ description of the “trick” and “hide the decline” episode is very shallow.

    Here it is in total:

    As to the second quotation, taken in context it turns out that the ‘trick’ that was mentioned was scientists’ normal way of talking about a neat trick’ for accomplishing some technical transformation, while the ‘decline’ was in tree rings and not temperature.

    When you see Collins links to Skeptical Science’s “hide the decline” page at the end of that quote, I think it should illustrate Collins really hasn’t put much effort into analyzing that episode! ;)

    The irony for me is that in the Mooney interview earlier, he says about his respect for scientists:

    [The] group of scientists I was studying – the Gravitational wave physicists – it seemed to me were pretty moral people, they were really, really interested in the knowledge. They weren’t interested in winning political battles, they were interested in finding out how the world worked.
    And I would prefer, however successful or unsuccessful it is, the people who are trying to find out what the world consists of are people with a sincere interest in it, rather than people who are trying to win a political or a financial battle.

    But in Collins shallow analysis of Phil Jones actions, in the “decline” episode, he misses, or ignores, Jones desire to shape the most prominent take-home appearance of the World Meteorological Office policy document using a graphic deception.

    Since the WMO document was designed for the eyes of policymakers this deceptive action by Jones can only have been for political purposes, and in effect “hiding” the reality of what the world consists of.

    All Collins does is aid in the furtherance of the myth this was only about hiding the temperature record.

    Quite an eye opener fro me on how people professing high standards can, from their shallow ignorance, blindly trample over the very same standards in their very next sentence .

  65. “Interactional expertise” sounds a lot like how committees increase the odds of screwing up. Read the Wisdom of Crowds.

  66. So notwithstanding the statements of the IPCC AR4 who assert a sea level status quo from ancient until modern times, there are many studies that point to a picture of relatively static sea levels after the initial Holocene rise. These then show that some 3000 years ago there was a further inundation (think Lyonesse in Cornwall) and in early Roman times levels were somewhere around current levels. Levels then rose significantly through the Roman period peaking around the 700 AD Byzantine period at levels higher than today, which concludes at this period of study for Part 1.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/07/12/historic-variations-in-sea-levels-part-1-from-the-holocene-to-romans/

  67. As can be seen above our expertise about the world around us varies over time like the rise and fall of the seas.

  68. In the often puerile PC atmosphere of blog discussions, where EVERYBODY’s view is supposedly worthy of a hearing, the more penetrating question might be: “What is NOT expertise?” To the scientifically mature, the answer to that question is so patently obvious, however, that it almost never gets asked. That’s how junk science continues to prosper.

  69. Geoff Sherrington

    The term ‘expert’ is convenient but irrelevant.
    Traditionally, the valuation of the worth of a scientist has been conducted by performance. E.g. in my career field of mineral exploration, those who found viable new ore deposits found ongoing funding for both research and productive work. It mattered little what personal attributes were the subject of gossip, nor how many letters, as degrees or affiliations, were after the name.
    An expert delivers the goods.
    This definitional approach is not always applicable. E.g. It takes time for external conditions to reveal emergent performance.
    The key word might be ‘accountability’. In the mineral example, funding is strongly conditional on research directed single mindedly on discovery, then more discovery based on progressive learning.
    There is a reluctance in the climate science community to accept accountability and performance. There seems to be an absence of defined targets, of rest and review points, of expression of null hypotheses and the like.
    Personally, I concede that research for mineral exploration is more mechanistic than many of the climate related projects. An inability to create a parallel climate experiment as a control for Nature’s way weakens my analog
    However, there is no innate licence to downplay performance. The literature about expertise in climate work is ful of excuses for avoiding action. Worse, the mineral explorer is seldom characterised as a political animal, prominent climate workers often are, because of their activism. They stray far from the tight path of acountability for their funded work and seldom deliver vital goods such as an accepted value of climate sensitivity, a rather basic measure that underpins the whole ghg hypothesis.

    It is easier to work to deliver the defined gods than it is to write tomes about how to avoid that accountability. True science is interested in good data above all else.

    • Yes, ‘experts deliver the goods,’ but in CE seems to be some
      miss-identification of goods as grants.

    • True science has always been interested above all else in developing reliable quantitative insight into the workings of nature. As important as good data might be in empirically verifying theory (especially in primitive stages of development), without such insight it remains simply a bunch of numbers whose meaning is unclear and is subject to endless, fruitless speculation.

  70. michael hart

    There’s also the maybe-the-universe-is-trying-to-tell-you-something expertise.
    To whit:
    “I recall giving lectures in the past when there would be one person who would disagree with something or all I said in an invited talk. The internet has allowed all these people to find one another unfortunately.”-Phil Jones climategate email #2621

  71. There’s nowhere near enough Feynman in this thread.

    “I’ll never make that mistake again, reading the experts’ opinions. ”

    “Philosophers say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science, and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive, and probably wrong.”

    “There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.”

    “The experts who are leading you may be wrong.”

  72. Since a “track record of success in making sound judgements is the best way for lay persons to choose between experts” then skeptics are obviously the experts and climate scientists are anti-experts since most of them are 100% wrong all the time about everything – Except when they predict two opposite effects for the same cause (eg drought and flood), which is quite common.

    Too much use of the phrase ‘experts predict’ in the media and not enough use of the reality: ‘researchers wildly speculate’!

  73. Dr. Curry. It appears you have reason to be uneasy! Obama thinks you are a Republican!
    From the article:

    He said Republicans in Congress are out of touch with the American public, who “don’t just say, ‘No, I don’t believe anything scientists say.’ Except — where? — in Congress. Folks will tell you climate change is a hoax or a fad or a plot — a liberal plot.”

    (end quote)

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/barack-obama-climate-skeptics-lcv-dinner-108334.html

    You are also a member of “fringe elements.”
    From the article:

    Barack Obama has turned up the political heat on climate deniers, making fun of Republicans in Congress for catering to “a bunch of fringe elements”.

    (end quote)

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/26/obama-attacks-republicans-for-appeasing-climate-deniers

    • I’m reminded about past recent witch-hunting. Only Scott Ritter predicted there were no WMD’s in Iraq – because he had actually checked. Yet what a lot of stick he took for that! One of the few economists to predict the financial crash was Roubini – because he had bothered to stick to old-fashioned ideas rather than fancy new models. For his pains he was called Dr Doom. So much for what experts think!

      80% of the US public were persuaded that Iraq was behind 9/11 and scorned anyone who disagreed: Even wearing a ‘Peace’ T-shirt was disallowed. The US presidents ratings have always been lock-step with the price of gasoline at the pumps. They demanded cheap gas from their politicians and anyone who didn’t promise it was rejected! So much for what the public think.

      Time and time again it is the minority view that is correct – as it has been throughout the history of science and contrarians were always derided for it by the mainstream; eg Faraday, Pasteur, Copernicus, Semmelweiss, etc, etc..

      When these ‘pause deniers’ discover that the pause leads to a temperature drop, followed by a further recovery from the little ice-age at a moderate rate, as predicted by skeptics – based on nultiple observations that nature is still in charge of climate, not man – then we’ll see who is the climate denier. Of course in the middle ages the fanatical witchfinders were blaming so-called witches for the bad climate. We never care to learn anything from history. Dogma is far more preferable!

      • As long as this guy does not use government power to get what he wants, some of his ideas are OK. But I have a feeling if he were in charge, HE would be the dictator.

      • Bet you a buck he would show us his birth certificate.

    • The same people who babble about the Koch Brothers and “big oil” have the audacity to label others observations of their conduct as seeking a “liberal plot”. In short conspiracy a fringe, obfuscating their daily memes.

      Collins above is an example of the thought and social standards corruption that is required to advance hard-core left-wing agendas like climate. There is a media equivalent;

      http://hotair.com/archives/2014/06/26/epistemic-closures-back-and-its-called-explanatory-journalism/

      “Explanatory climate science”, it’s sort of the inverse of a nun hitting you with a ruler in the 1950′s and so much more socially destructive. They simply have to be removed and exposed for what they are.

  74. Kenneth Fritsch

    From the excerpts from Collins and Mooney writings on this thread one might be lead to believe that expert judgments are incapable of challenge from outside the area of expertise of these experts. I doubt that that conclusion could be seriously upheld and is in fact much too general. Many of the people outside the area of expertise would no doubt be incapable of making valid judgments of experts whether that judgment concerned technical, motivational or data handling leading to conclusions. Perhaps one could straw man the argument for the expert importance and playing down challenges from outside by pointing to some of these people outside the expert’s area and their unsophisticated and technically erroneous counter arguments. It happens all the time in the world of climate science.

    Experts, on the other hand also have their failings that can lead to erroneous conclusions and interpretation of evidence. In climate science we see experts publishing and reviewing papers that overlook rather obvious statistical problems, e.g. the selection of proxies in temperature reconstruction after the fact of knowing how it performs against the instrumental record. We see experts who obviously let their advocacy color the claims they make for the evidence presented in their papers. It is not at all difficult with some effort for the interested and reasonably capable layperson to make judgments on these experts works.

    When it comes to using the expert findings for making government policy, the end result, after the government (politicians is a better choice here) decides how to use it, will effectively take the exclusivity of the experts judgments in a technical area out of the picture, since that would require a judgment on governments’ capability to carry out the policy. In the current expert and policy environment with AGW it is rather obvious that policies that are being or portend to be adopted by governments around the world will be based more on politics than science and further it is obvious that the involved scientists advocating for immediate government actions are well aware of this situation.

    A current example of an expert consensus on a finding that has been accepted over the years is the connection between fat in human’s diet and heart disease. Recent investigations point to no real evidence for that conclusion held these many years. Perhaps this is evidence that experts tend to value the judgment of experts outside their field of expertise without really bothering to analyze or question their findings. That situation would certainly account for the various levels of the consensus of experts concerning AGW in the past, present and future where a climate scientist concentrated in a very specialized field will offer a consensus vote that requires that experts judgment on other areas where he has no expertise.

    • That’s ‘skepticism’ for you.

      61% say that the Earth is warming.

      The 54% claim is a bit of a fudge.

      • spam filter pickd up the ‘f’ word.

        cwon might be interested in another number very similar to the 36% of USAians who don’t beleive/don’t know if it’s warming.

        33% of USAians believe that the great sky-fairy waved his magic wand and created man, ie evolution is (another) fr@ud.

        I’d bet my house there is considerable overlap between the 2 groups.

      • damn judith, you’re too fast!

    • cwon might be interested in another number very similar to the 36% of USAians who don’t beleive/don’t know if it’s warming.

      33% of USAians believe that the great sky-fairy waved his magic wand and created man, ie evolution is (another) fraud.

      I’d bet my house there is considerable overlap between the 2 groups.

      • Timeless straw-man of the secular extreme left.

        The more people study the topic the more skeptical they become and for all the reasons carefully filtered out of the “consensus” talking points. Namely, the political corruption of the greenshirt authority becomes understood over time.

      • Is it the same with evolution?…..or is that what you were referring to!

      • ==> “The more people study the topic the more skeptical they become …”

        Evidence, please.

        Be careful about your assumption of cause-and-effect.

      • Michael and Joshua run on to the beach to play as the tide goes way, way out.
        =============

      • http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/10/15/some-data-on-education-religiosity-ideology-and-science-comp.html

        I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.

        But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).

        So our Yale Professor pretty much self-identifies as a pro to-typical left-wing pinhead of the worst order but still it comes back that the target of the smear survey fails its mission. He deserves credit as most of his peers would just torture the data longer to get the desired agenda results.

      • There’s the irony: The House is affirming science; the Administration not so much. There’s much more fun in this in the future. It’s always wonderful to shake off fear and guilt, and the manipulation of those critically human attributes is all the alarmists have left.
        =============

  75. from the “Experts” at NASA…

    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml

    “The Maunder Minimum
    Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715 (38 kb JPEG image). Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past. The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research.”

    …Do ya think??

    • The Maunder spots were ‘large, sparse, and primarily Southern Hemispheric’. I think the Livingston and Penn Phenomenon may explain ‘large’ and ‘sparse’, but not ‘primarily Southern Hemispheric’. I think there is a big clue in the hemispheric asymmetry.
      =============

  76. Ironic that some (not I) do percieve solar as the saviour, when it is much more likely that solar is the source of the fluctuations in the first place!!

    http://www.solen.info

    p.s. as a method of understanding, for those of you who don’t already, I strongly recommend, when googling things, to also use google images, where possible. you hone in on “understanding” much faster that way, in many cases.

    example Google Images: Maunder Minimum

  77. I’m tellin’ ya’, Ed & G & Candice & Melinda was the best bet evah in ya’ life.
    ===============

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  79. social and natural sciences need to be more open about their political entanglements, and more comfortable with signalling them.

    Which is so spectacularly not happening in climate science – a hugely dishonest field not merely entangled in politics, but which is a fully-fledged arm of politics/the state, totally funded as it is by politics/the state, and so unsurpisingly quite blatantly working to furher the interests of politics/the state – by preaching alarm in order to justify an expansion of politics/the state in society.

    The farce of vested interest funding masquerading as disinterested ‘consensus’ continues.

  80. Climategate didn’t undermine the case for human-caused global warming at all, says Collins. Rather, it demonstrated why it is so hard for ordinary citizens to understand what is going on inside the scientific community … They simply don’t grasp how researchers work on a day-to-day basis

    What nonsense. Confronted with strong evidence that the *standard modus operandi of climate alarmism is to cheat and lie* – for that is what the deafening silence of the climate science community to the rank dishonesty exposed in Climategate clearly shows – ordinary citizens find it *extrememely easy* to grasp *exactly* how climate researchers work on a day-to-day basis.

    The longer the deafening silenece continues, the more sure the ordinary citizens logically becomes of the dishonesty unpinning the alarmist ‘consensus’.

  81. And it’s not merely the policy-relevance of climate science that Collins misses/deftly avoids, it’s the huge vested interest of the monoply funder of it.
    Government-funded climate science is inherent;y about as trustworthy as tobacco-funded research on smoking was.

  82. Climate science is unusual in requiring so many disciplines. It is very much an interdisiplinary study. It would be very challenging to develop a modelling team for climate. Many eminent scientists have participated. but what can you expect when they start off with the initial condition that the ‘science is settled’, and all we need is a few economists to work out the costs and politicians to run with it.

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  86. There comes a time to stop beating a dead horse, and take it out and bury it with as little fanfare as possible.

  87. Quite a discussion on expertise. I tend to think any field that needs to identify experts, isn’t really science. The most famous scientist of the last century was an unknown in 1905 when he published four papers that revolutionized physics. He didn’t meet any of the criterion for expertise, but since his field was objective science, that wasn’t an issue. The fact that there was general agreement among physics ‘experts’ that Newtonian mechanics was correct didn’t prevent him from proving them all wrong.

    Working in aeorspace, I’ve used many computer models. I’ve been amazed at the extent to which modelers belive their model, even when laboratory data is availiabe. The best analog to GCM’s I can think of is trying to model vibration with a finite element model.

    Modeling vibration should be straightforward, since, unlike the climate, we understand all the mechanisms at work. Still, I’ve seen models which vastly over estimate vibration amplitude. As structrual vibration reaches high levels, non linear damping comes into play. Metal begins to yield, energy is dissipated. This is not impossible to model, but it does require departure from a simple Hook’s law model.

    The validation of any theory, is it’s ability to predict reality. The GCM’s have so far failed this test. I’d like to see the result of GCM’s prediction of the climate over the period for which we have both temperature and CO2 data. This is a simple task. If the result were to validate the model, I’m sure we’d see it widely circulated. Since we don’t, the answer is obvious.

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