Education versus indoctrination

by Judith Curry

The Wikipedia defines indoctrination as:

Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a a professional methodology.   It is often distinguished from education  by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned.

Randy Olson at the Benshi has a post entitled “A moment in climate history: when Al Gore tried to brush aside the entire climate skeptic movement.”   Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is a fascinating study in education versus indoctrination.   Olson rails agains the climate movement for it’s unwillingness to take a critical look at Al Gore’s movie, which he characterizes as “the single most important piece of global warming mass communication to date.”

When I say “a critical look,” I’m not talking about examining it’s factual accuracy. That was performed by numerous sources shortly after the release of the movie. . .  I’m talking about the critical assessment of how effectively the movie achieved it’s goals of awareness and persuasion. I’m talking about assessing “what worked and what didn’t work” about the film as an exercise in the mass communication of a major piece of science.

Olson’s essay is primarily concerned with the treatment of skeptics:

CLIMATE SKEPTICS: NOW YOU SEE ‘EM, NOW YOU DON’T! Gore symbolically dismissed the ENTIRE climate skeptic movement in his movie in this one scene that cited 928 climate papers affirming human-caused global warming, then said zero papers disagree with this “consensus.” It came from Naomi Oreskes Science paper. Certainly the substance of what he said was true. But the style of delivery sent a condescending, dismissive message to the already-enormous climate skeptic movement that “you don’t even deserve to be recognized.” Which might have been fine had they been a trivial group of crackpots. But they weren’t, as they forcefully showed with Climategate. And thus it failed as a tactic.

Gore’s dismissal of the skeptics seemed to signal to the climate establishment that this was the appropriate strategy.  Olson states:

Gore had attempted to send out the simple signal, “there is no debate,” which was an effort to use the idea that, “there is no SCIENTIFIC debate,” as a means of getting the public to think there is no broader debate in general. I have no way to quantify or really document this. I only know I got a big taste of it the year after his movie when I was filming “Sizzle” in the summer of 2007. I heard this phrase all over the place, and one prominent member of the IPCC said it to me forcefully in emails as he refused to take part in any movie that would give screen time to these supposedly fringe elements, the climate skeptics. A major television journalist barked the same message at me — “there is no debate.”

More importantly, you saw the major environmental groups involved with global warming simply turning a blind eye to this significant opposition force. There existed an opponent, but no one wanted to look them in their eyes. I was amazed in 2007 that virtually no one had been to see some of the major climate skepticsm(SingerMichaelsMoranoHaywardGray) to interview them for a film previous to me. There was just a big campaign to “ignore them and they will go away.” Aside from Naomi Oreskes (ironically the source of the numbers Gore cited) who was engaged in direct and blunt combat with them, no one seemed to be taking them on through any sort of mass media.

By 2008 when I released the film I began to get blowback from people at scientific institutions where we wanted to show the movie. Many said they believed there “is no debate,” and simply didn’t want to support a movie that suggested there is.

And then there was Climategate. Literally overnight the, “there is no debate,” voice vanished. The science and environmental communities finally learned there is a debate — not through effective leadership and communication, but by having their noses shoved in it.

Besides the point that Olson explicitly makes, it seems that there is a broader lesson to be learned here, of relevance to public engagement on this topic particularly in the blogosphere.  Many of the mainstream climate blogs present scientific material as authoritative, and people are educated (to some extent) by this transmission of knowledge.  Often, the purpose of this knowledge transmission seems to be to convince people to “act” or support certain climate change policies, rather than education.   True  education occurs when the learner is enabled to critically examine the material.   How can we we enable true education and engagement on the issue of climate change?

A comment from Michael Larkin on a recent thread provides some interesting insights:

As this is an open thread, I want to raise an issue that is dear to my heart, and would welcome any ideas or comments. I am a trained educator as well as one-time software developer. I’ve got my educator hat on for this post.

First, we have to distinguish between educating and conveying information that is, to some degree or other, generally accepted. The latter really represents varying degrees of indoctrination, and that isn’t always completely bad, but it doesn’t have much to do with education, if you believe, as I do, that that is about finding ways of training people to think for themselves.

To do that, one needs to be attuned to the state of mind of the trainee. The technical term sometimes used is “entry behaviour”. It’s not sufficient to be able to describe this; one needs to be able to empathise with it.

I read one study where it turned out there were only a relatively few key misapprehensions that inhibited the development of basic maths skills, for example. If you want to really know how a learner with naïve entry behaviour thinks, it pays to focus on what the key misapprehensions are, why they are prevalent, and develop strategies that from the very start deal with those quickly.

Education is, I believe, a key issue in the climate debate. A little over a year ago, I wasn’t much involved in it, and with the benefit of hindsight, I can see what my own entry behaviour was.

Take climate models, for example. A few years back, when I just accepted what the media said, there was a programme on TV – probably the BBC – in which there was announced an initiative to roll out a distributed-processing climate model simulation. I, and doubtless thousands of others, downloaded and ran the software, which fed back generated data via the Internet.

I didn’t have it loaded for long as I found it affected system performance, but it had a nice pretty picture of a globe with lots of swirly events going on. In my naiveté, I imagined that it was somehow creating a future prediction over some period or other – maybe centuries, and that that prediction could be reasonably accurately mapped spatio-temporally to the globe. So that – oh, I don’t know – maybe in thirty years, a specific location like Uruguay would be a certain temperature.

I didn’t know then how surface temperatures were measured. I certainly didn’t know about satellites and Argo buoys, for example, but it didn’t cross my mind to think that in recent times, temperatures were still being measured by common-or-garden thermometers which even I knew wouldn’t be much more accurate than 0.5 deg. either way. I assumed it was all some vague super-accurate technology, and whilst I imagined there must be some kind of central organisation collating and analysing all this data, I had no idea about the existence of the IPCC and the different groups of climate scientists associated with places like the CRU. I had no notion that temperature data was processed, either.

Then along came Climategate, and I started getting more interested in the nuts and bolts. I desperately needed to find a decent primer. But no one out there seemed to be clued in to my entry behaviour. They seemed primarily involved in one of two things. First, disseminating not things that would help me think for myself, but convince me one way or the other. Second, things which I could perceived had educative value, but which were presented at too demanding a level. I was often referred to scienceofdoom, and all sides seemed to think that site is worthy. But it started at too high a level, and from my viewpoint rapidly went stratospheric. I needed something to bridge the gap between entry behaviour and that.

I haven’t even mentioned all the emotional influences in the debate. Partisanship, disdain, defensiveness… and all the rest, which, once perceived (from whatever side), cast doubts on reliability.

Somehow, I had to negotiate my way through the morass. The only place I found that sometimes spoke to my ignorance was WUWT, and particularly a fellow by the name of Willis Eschenbach. Willis may not realise it, but he is a born educator; he has an instinct for how the naïve mind works, and does not speak down to it. Okay, sometimes he goes above my head, but there is no one else in quite the same league. Yes, he’s a sceptic, but in no ways a bigot, and he can be as harsh on misinformed sceptics as on proponents, and that impressed on me his likely integrity.

Now and then, as in Nullius in verba’s recent post on the recent thread about the physics of the GHG effect, something will rise to the same educative level. And just occasionally, something a poster says – it may well be in passing and incidental to the main point of the posting, hits a sweet spot and lifts a veil or two.

I hope climate cognoscenti are listening and that I am also lifting a veil or two for them. But I can’t really say at this point that I have a definitive point to make. It’s just something I wanted to express and put out there to see if it had any resonance and perhaps would lead to some constructive points, observations and suggestions, without getting into yet more pointless invective from any direction.

Just adding one thing, Dr. Curry does not always hit a sweet spot for me with her own writings. But she has another characteristic of a born educator: tolerance and respect for the learner, be s/he ever so naïve and, from her point of view, perhaps even plain wrong. She lets things play out, even lets some of the steam get vented, and, inexorably, at least in my view, that is raising the debate to a higher level. I’ve learnt a great deal since she started the blog, if not always here, through investigations elsewhere prompted by it. I think she is doing something very right here.

I have been criticized all over the blogosphere for discussing topics that I am not a particular authority on, or winging it is certain discussions.  Since I don’t view myself as any particular arbiter of “climate truth,” and I allow some pretty freewheeling discussions over here and don’t flag commenters for stating “mistruths” or providing “misinformation,”  I am viewed by some as misleading and confusionist.   How can we strike the best balance for true education, and I’m assuming here  that education and understanding should be the goal?

592 responses to “Education versus indoctrination

  1. I suspect that education and indoctrination were synonyms in George Orwell’s book, “1984”.

    We seem to be very close to that state of affairs.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

    • Not understanding 1984 would be like venturing down the rabbit hole without a torch. The starting point for understanding 1984 is to read Orwell in Spain. The book includes Homage to Catalonia, the essay Looking Back on the Spanish War, and correspondence detailing the struggle Orwell faced in getting things published in the Leftist media.

      Anyone with a detailed knowledge of any other Big Lie should quickly recognise Global Warming as just another Big Lie. The propaganda tactics for promoting and defending it follow the standard formula; name calling, ostracism, appeals to authority, appeals to consensus, refusal to engage in civilised debate, etc. If AGW were a serious threat, its proponents would recognise that an educational debate would now be the only way to progress. Such a debate would expose Global Warming for what it is, a Big Lie, so instead they get even more fanatical.

    • Endless ‘climatology’

      Some people have noted a remarkable point about Naomi Oreskes Science paper: in short, she asked a stupid question then got an absurd answer. (1) Yet they in turn missed the most remarkable point.

      Investigator Naomi Oreskes searched anything but ‘sceptics’ (whatever the ‘levels’ – we know the ‘initiation process’ in ‘global climatology’ to reveal there’s an almost infinite number of ‘levels’). No, she had the ‘silly’ (genial) idea to look scientific papers for claims to having demonstrated that there is no ‘man-made global climate change’.

      Far from bringing a support to the conjecture of ‘man-made global climate change’ against the sceptics, her inquiry and results unearthed the one big thread. Naomi Oreskes exactly asked the most inconvenient question. A question which is entirely irrelevant from the viewpoint ‘global climatologicy’ scientism, though it is so worthy of both normal scientific approach and human spirit (I doubt many ‘climate scientists’ had such a good idea, or took it seriously).

      Incidentally, she indeed demonstrated that there are no ‘climate deniers’, properly speaking. Problem is, doing so she reminded us that the ‘theory’ at stake can’t be falsified, which is exactly the point. One can’t deny something which is unreal.

      Besides, remember the reversal of the burden of proof. But this is only the beginning of the problem. The big, problem, the real one, is the monstrous social machine which usually develops on such a basis.

      The average guru knows that: the silver mine is when both the problem and the solutions are fictions; when the latter maintain the former, that’s the gold mine. Here you are.

      Oliver and Simon evoked Orwell. I’m afraid it was a very good idea. An even better idea would be to expose how machines like in ‘1984’ work, giving a few dozens of details about this so peculiar regime we call totalitarianism, which radically differs from standard tyrannies. Even if crimes and big signs of terror are a serious matter, they are the only one that most of the people recall. But there are a lot of other remarkable to understand about its logic. Hannah Arendt helped a lot.

      (1) As the reader will soon understand, my point isn’t Naomi Oreskes or anybody else in particular, and the issue would remains intact if that indirect quotation was erroneous.

  2. It’s too bad Larkin found WUWT to his liking, and especially Eschenbach.

    Speaking of indoctrination…

    • BAM! there ya go Derech, attack, move past what Mr. Larkin is trying to say. Proving one of his points.

      Why not try something like this instead, – Mr. Larkin, if you have not already discovered the blog skepticalscience, (insert addy here) you should try there for a more layman discussion of the science as seen by most climate scientists.

      pretty easy eh?

      • I’ve done that numerous times – even here.

        I can point a learner to knowledge, but I can’t make her think.

      • {Derecho64 –
        I’ve done that numerous times – even here.
        I can point a learner to knowledge, but I can’t make her think.}

        As Mr. Larkin is an educator, can you not see the irony of your reply?

  3. Interesting take on Olson’s part.

    Why do you consider Olson to be a credible critic, Judith, when he includes Marc Morano as a “skeptic”? Morano is little more than a hard-right political hit man, whose initial claim to fame was the swift-boating of John Kerry? Why give Morano, a political operative, with any credibility at all?

    Or have you decided to abandon the science of climate, and are more interested in the political? Why call your blog “Climate, Etc.”, and not “Politics, Etc.”?

  4. I think Michael Larkin is absolutely spot-on! It strikes me that those who are disdainful of WUWT completely miss the point that it is a great entry level site that doesn’t talk down to it’s readership. To suggest, as Derecho64 seems to, that WUWT is bad simply because it often deals with a very simplistic view of ‘climate skepticism’ is completely missing the point IMHO. I’m sure that many of the thoughtful contributors here have actually engaged in the science and educated themselves to a sophisticated viewpoint precisely because of Anthony Watts.
    It’s a great shame that the ‘establishment’ side of the debate have never engaged people in the same way…..until now, with this excellent site.

    • I have seen Anthony Watts invite pro-AWGers to post. Not many take him up on it. So, due to that and due to the fact I have learned so much there, I think WUWT is a useful medium.

      • Watts doesn’t get many takers because Watts, at his core, is dishonest.

      • Funny. That is how I feel about RealClimate, Romm, Tamino and almost every other pro-CAGW blog because of their relentless censorship of views that did agree with their creed. They simply cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that there are legimate criticisms of the science of AGW.

      • It’s one thing to make a legitimate criticism. The nonsense offered at WUWT isn’t legitimate – it’s all of the “it’s a conspiracy!” baloney. Tell me why a climate scientist would walk into that morass of inanity to try to do anything.

        It’s not like the community doesn’t know Watts. His reputation (from his “” project and his Heartland hit-job) precedes him.

      • Can you give a specific example of “nonsense” at WUWT.

        It was WUWT that taught me that about 5000 out of 6000 surface measuring stations were lost since 1990, and that the missing data is filled in by software!

        It was WUWT that taught me that the released temperature data is actually processed, and that the processing often seems to introduce a warming bias, even though the increasing Urban Heat Island Effect might lead one to expect corrections in the opposite direction.

        If you want to convince me, convince me that this isn’t true.

      • How about the assertion that about 5000 out of 6000 measuring stations have been lost since 1990, and that the published values for these locations are software generated. This, to me, is the biggest concern.

      • Read the links. Particularly examine Tamino’s analysis.

      • The link seems to relate to the change or lack of it that the dropped stations introduced. I don’t see the actual number of dropouts – my only numbers come from WUWT, where the figure of approximately 5000 dropouts from a total of 6000 is quoted. That would almost certainly render the data unusable to detect variations of a fraction of a degree of total global temperature.

      • Sorry, I misread your reply, and thought it related only to corrections, not to station drop-off. Reading your other link, I can’t find the percentage of drop-offs, because this is pretty important, mixing synthetic data with real data doesn’t seem a very good practice, and I wonder if everyone who used this data is aware of this practice.

      • > Can you give a specific example of “nonsense” at WUWT.

        Off the top of my head:

        Wills Eschenbach’s “conic” analysis of polar ice loss.

        The temperature baseline incident where embarassing old posts (and all comments that referred to them) were scrubbed.

        Lampooning of Mann’s litigious response to the “Hide the Decline” video, coupled with repeated censorship of any reference to Anthony having done the exact same thing (on more tenuouse grounds) and used the DMCA against Climate Crock of the Week.

        Gushing coverage of Monckton in any form, especially the glowing praise heaped upon his rambling and insulting response to Abraham’s specific criticisms.

        Iceberg, tip of.

      • steven mosher

        Ask walt meijer why he posts there.

        to correct mistakes. to have his say with people who need education.

        The reason why people who believe in AGW do not want to post there is that they believe they will be lending credibility to Watts.

        Somehow, if anthony posted 2+2=4, people would magically believe everything else posted there. stupid.

        Much of what gets posted at WUWT is in error. The folks who believe in AGW can change that. Gavin has an invitation, so does Mann, so does anybody who wants to write an article promoting their view. Its an open forum. It now attracts people who have been muzzled elsewhere. But with the huge readership only a fool would miss the chance.

        I suppose if you were advising a republican you’d tell him to not visit the inner city.

      • I posted at WUWT over a period of time and attempted to correct Watts’ (and others) mistakes of fact and interpretation of fact, and all I got out of it was Watts stopping just short of posting my home phone number and inviting the WUWT readership from harassing me.

        Since that’s one of the standard ways Watts and his fanboys respond to critiques of their errors, WUWT is a sewer. He’s more interested in scoring debate points than he is learning anything.

      • Dang – wish there was a preview function.

        “[…] all I got out of it was Watts stopping just short of posting my home phone number and inviting the WUWT readership to harass me personally”.

      • What name were you posting under? I’d like to check out whether this is true or not.

      • It’s not derecho because all that brings up is a very informative post on storms

      • I’m not giving out my name – I’m not that stupid.

        Watts has a nasty little habit of trying to “out” people with whom he disagrees. Honesty is viewed as a weakness with him.

      • steven mosher

        It’ll be fun

      • This behavior from Watts is true. I’ve also been banned from the mildest of criticisms by me. Because I dared to state them in a very succint (small paragraph) and in a provoking way (not at all insulting, btw, I am very careful at that kind of thing), I was immediately banned.

        This was four to five months ago. I can’t still post there. And then, when I lurk and read comments there about how RC censors “dissent” and how WUWT is so wonderful because it doesn’t, I just facepalm, without replying to such naive statements because, ironically and obviously, I’m banned.

        But I do understand WUWT’s appeal. It’s a bad site with bad info, I recall a month ago they asking “but why hasn’t the atms warmed as much as it should?”, and then listing a bunch of possibilities. I tried to say “Aerossols!!”, but I couldn’t, ah. And not one single commenter did.

      • A reply to Luis Dias | December 6, 2010 at 6:28 am

        Sorry to hear about your experience at WUWT. I wish i could help you.

        By the way, you weren’t going to post a single word comment “Aerosols” were you? You were going to detail what these aerosols were, where they came from, how long they resided in the atmosphere and quantify their affects hence demonstrating that if not for these aerosols, the T anomaly graph would have tracked CO2 emissions quite well, probably to 95% confidence levels.

        Am I right?

      • Baa, not much more I could state, rather than pointing out the obvious hole in their listing of “possibilities”. I am no climatologist, but even I can see where they are missing something. It’s not even about whether it is, in fact, true or not that aerossols provoke such cooling, but whether if this is the current explanation for why hasn’t the planet warmed so much more if the sensitivity is so high, which was the real question posed at WUWT at the time.

      • Luis:
        your Aerossols comment is plain to see on WUWT.

        This one and one other slipped through the net when new moderators joined the team.

        The comment that got you banned was submitted on 2010/07/14 at 11:24 am
        and got the following reply from the moderators:
        [snip – ad hom, insulting, and juvenile – you’ve been warned – permanent troll bin for you now Luis]

      • tallbloke,

        Thanks for finding that out. Well, that’s good news, albeit somewhat late.

        About the juvenile comment I can’t help you much with it, although I kindof remember stating that it was refreshing for me to see this kind of post in WUWT, good news I said or something to that effect. I meant it too. I got binned for it, roflmao.

      • Latimer Alder


        At least you got an explanation for why you were banned – and by whom.(and perhaps it was not your first transgression – not entirely clear from the commentary).

        Had you been posting at the ironically titled ‘Comment is Free’ at the Guardian newspaper, you are not even extended that courtesy. Your ID just becomes disabled from posting with no explanation. In the interests of free speech you understand.

      • “Dang – wish there was a preview function”

        A troll filter would be handy too.

      • Latimer Alder

        Whether or not he is dishonest (and I have long been of the opinion that he is far more fair-minded than Schmidt, Romm, D64 et al), why should such dishonesty prevent a Warmist from writing an aricle on the WUWT blog?

        It regularly get s a far wider, and more diverse readership than any other related blog. If the warmist arguments are good, they will get a hearing, if not they’ll soon be destroyed. But I see no reason not to engage when offered the opportunity. Can you explain?

      • If the warmist arguments are good, they will get a hearing

        Really? Do you actually read WUWT?

      • Latimer Alder

        Yep. Regularly. It’s on my list of things to glance at each day. along with a lot of other websites about lots of different things.

        Do you? If so, what do you object to about it?

      • Latimer Alder


        Do not fall into The True Believers trap of assuming that ‘getting a hearing’ is the same as ‘being agreed with’.

        Its not. But if the case is never put to its opponents, it cannot be debated or dissected. A lesson that some warmists would do well to learn…however much unaccustomed intestinal fortitude they may require to achieve..

      • steven mosher

        actually yes. I’ve posted articles critical of McKittrick and critical of other SPPI reports. Anthony has no issue. The editorial policy is simple: anything new or interesting that is related to climate science. I’d know because when he has to tend to personal matters I’m asked to fill in for him ( along with others) and the directions are pretty broad and open. You wanna write something? SACK UP and send me your best, otherwise get your own damn blog and see who reads you. if your not working to change minds in the place where they most need to be changed, then you are not serious about fighting climate change.

      • There’s no reward from posting at WUWT that’s worth the effort. Being called names and having one’s views misconstrued, taken out of context, and so on, as always happens on WUWT, pretty much guarantees that no-one in the community takes it seriously.

      • I think you’ve gotten WUWT mixed up with Real Climate. WUWT is a much more pleasant place than RC.

      • WUWT merely soothes the comfortable lies some folks would rather believe, and Watts always provides comfortable lies.

      • steven mosher


        I’ve gotten rewards from posting there. The name calling and such is par for the course. I learned to put up with that just by asking questions at RC. So, if your a thinned skinned ivory tower type, who puts his personal feelings ahead of the nobler cause of educating the people who most need education, then its best to stay away.

      • Watts got so angry with me for obliterating his “arguments” that he stooped to censorship, cyberstalking and very dirty tricks to try to get back at me. I have no patience with filth like that. Why you continue to endorse him and his sewer is a mystery.

      • steven mosher

        You are anonymous. second class netizen. I disagree with his views on things. I endorse open debate. If a site comes along that openly allows those with fringe views to discuss things I’ll support that as well. Go figure, I’m a white libertarian straight agnostic who attends a politically progressive, inner city, LGBT church. I like to hear different perspectives. messages I don’t believe from people I dont identify with. It’s fascinating.

      • Watts is in no way a nice, tolerant, benevolent blog owner. He’s spiteful, vengeful, bears a grudge, exploits his blog to engage in cyberstalking, reveals personal information, and happily lets his fanboys spread smears, slurs, lies and innuendo. He’s contemptible. He deserves no credibility and no stature. He deserves /dev/null.

      • Hmmm, I’ve been reading WUWT for some years now and never once encountered any of the behaviour from Anthony Watts to which you refer.

        I’m a little less sure about you, however, and – to my knowledge – I’ve only recently encountered you.

      • Saad, of course you didn’t find such things. He does that kind of a thing without anyone else noticing it.

        Just like many people at RC don’t even know that what they are seeing and reading in the comments page is already a messed up censored version.

      • I think you are so deep that a significant light speed time lag is taking place.

    • WUWT may not “talk down”, but what it “says” is utter bilge. Watts latches on to *any* story, no matter how silly, that he interprets to support his anti-science views. Reality contains inconvenient truths, and Watts serves those who prefer comfortable lies. He’s to climate science what Sarah Palin is to serious and fact-based political discourse.

      • I agree that not everything on WUWT has scientific merit but this is not the point. In my opinion Anthony Watts has done more to engage people in this very important debate than just about anyone else. I think you should credit people’s ability to make up their own minds about the various merits of the posts at WUWT……after all, you seem to have had no trouble reaching your own conclusions.

      • I wouldn’t rely on Watts to accurately tell anyone what “2 + 2” is.

      • randomengineer

        And yet… WUWT is the #1 climate site on the internet. Are you going to tell us that this proves everyone but you is stupid?

      • “Most popular” (via e-ballot stuffing, at least once) doesn’t mean “most correct”.

      • randomengineer

        Your google fu seems to be non-existent. Try Alexa. Nobody is referring to web award silliness. We’re talking numbers, you know, like how many people visit.

        And “most correct” isn’t germane. Dr Curry’s post is quite clear that the intent was to discuss the very reason WHY a site like WUWT is popular.

      • WUWT is popular like “Dancing with the Stars” is more popular than “Frontline”, “Nova”, “Mythbusters”, and so on.

        Since when does “popular” mean “quality”?

      • “Popular” certainly doesn’t equate to quality, but it does most definitely equate to influence. I suggest that you may be better off engaging with WUWT rather than dissing it – you may achieve more traction for your views..

        I’m sure Dr Curry probably disagreed with most of the posts at WUWT but I think she will readily admit that her involvement there was a positive experience on the whole – it has certainly hugely increased her sphere of influence!

      • I tried engaging at WUWT once. All I got for it was Watts’ cyberstalking, because I’d shown him wrong, immature and dishonest.

        That’s not how legitimate criticism works.

        WUWT is a sewer.

      • The comments aren’t worth it at all, agreed. On a previous thread I listed quite a few worthwhile posts from WUWT over the past few months (not going to repeat that exercise here, and now i can’t find it).

      • dereche

        You have no clue whatsoever about WUWT is, therefore your opinion about WUWT becomes slightly useless. Put some meat into your criticism and let us bite.

      • I know *exactly* what WUWT is.

      • “Most popular” (via e-ballot stuffing, at least once) doesn’t mean “most correct”.

        Do you, then, reject consensus among a majority of mutually admiring peers to be adequate validation of any scientific theory merely because it is enthusiastically promoted and endorsed by its eager proponents? Is that not likely to lead to “ballot-stuffing” of accepted evidence and peer-reviewed commentary in academic circles? Or is sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander?

        Just curious.

      • Funny, but the more you expose your stereotypical ideological extremism, fewer and fewer people take your opinion seriously.
        You are morphing into a parody of brittle uninformed reaction.

      • PLease feel free to snip this, if this quote is too long,

        The public do receive much of their education on the science and politics of ‘climate science'( the CAGW version) from the MSM. if the MSM tips, then life will beinteresting for the politicians

        Has this been noticed yet..

        A pretty solid article from the Daily Mail, very pertinent quotes, ie, ‘little known’ BBC Phil Jones Interview (ie statistically no warming, M Mann, saying there probably was a mediaval warm period…. not the previous ‘consensus message’

        No statistically significant warming for 15 years, etc,etc

        They would appear to know most of the pertinent issues….

        The Daily Mail 7 million readers,(one of the largest websites) the MSM are looking for the next big think, pulling some politicians down another peg or 2…

        The Daily Mail is of course howled down by many as a tabloid, sneered at, etc.. but it has 7 million readers, in the UK, by far he biggest newspaper in the UK.

        If the newspapers (Telegraph and Times, may be about to turn if Cancun fails) decide to go hunting alarmist politicians, it will be interesting… The MET Office IS a laughing stock amongst the General Public, has been for years now.

        Daily Mail: What happened to the ‘warmest year on record’:

        The truth is global warming has halted

        Read more:

        “the Met Office was at it again.

        Never mind that Britain, just as it was last winter and the winter before, was deep in the grip of a cold snap, which has seen some temperatures plummet to minus 20C, and that here 2010 has been the coolest year since 1996.

        Globally, it insisted, 2010 was still on course to be the warmest or second warmest year since current records began.

        But buried amid the details of those two Met Office statements 12 months apart lies a remarkable climbdown that has huge implications – not just for the Met Office, but for debate over climate change as a whole.

        Read carefully with other official data, they conceal a truth that for some, to paraphrase former US VicePresident Al Gore, is really inconvenient: for the past 15 years, global warming has stopped.

        This isn’t meant to be happening. Climate science orthodoxy, as promulgated by bodies such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU), says that temperatures have risen and will continue to rise in step with increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, and make no mistake, with the rapid industrialisation of China and India, CO2 levels have kept on going up.

        According to the IPCC and its computer models, without enormous emission cuts the world is set to get between two and six degrees warmer during the 21st Century, with catastrophic consequences.

        Last week at Cancun, in an attempt to influence richer countries to agree to give £20billion immediately to poorer ones to offset the results of warming, the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute warned that global temperatures would be 6.5 degrees higher by 2100, leading to rocketing food prices and a decline in production.
        Grip of winter: A woman and girl sit under a tree on a bench in South Weald Park, Brentwood, Essex, this week
        The maths isn’t complicated. If the planet were going to be six degrees hotter by the century’s end, it should be getting warmer by 0.6 degrees each decade; if two degrees, then by 0.2 degrees every ten years. Fortunately, it isn’t.

        Actually, with the exception of 1998 – a ‘blip’ year when temperatures spiked because of a strong ‘El Nino’ effect (the cyclical warming of the southern Pacific that affects weather around the world) – the data on the Met Office’s and CRU’s own websites show that global temperatures have been flat, not for ten, but for the past 15 years.

        They go up a bit, then down a bit, but those small rises and falls amount to less than their measuring system’s acknowledged margin of error. They have no statistical significance and reveal no evidence of any trend at all.
        When the Met Office issued its December 2009 preThere-diction, it was clearly expecting an even bigger El Nino spike than happened in 1998 – one so big that it would have dragged up the decade’s average.

        But though it was still successfully trying to influence media headlines during Cancun last week by saying that 2010 might yet end up as the warmest year, the small print reveals the Met Office climbdown. Last year it predicted that the 2010 average would be 14.58C. Last week, this had been reduced to 14.52C.

        That may not sound like much. But when one considers that by the Met Office’s own account, the total rise in world temperatures since the 1850s has been less than 0.8 degrees, it is quite a big deal. Above all, it means the trend stays flat.

        Meanwhile, according to an analysis yesterday by David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, 2010 had only two unusually warm months, March and April, when El Nino was at its peak.

        The data from October to the end of the year suggests that when the final figure is computed, 2010 will not be the warmest year at all, but at most the third warmest, behind both 1998 and 2005.

        There is no dispute that the world got a little warmer over some of the 20th Century. (Between 1940 and the early Seventies, temperatures actually fell.)

        But little by little, the supposedly settled scientific ‘ consensus’ that the temperature rise is unprecedented, that it is set to continue to disastrous levels, and that it is all the fault of human beings, is starting to fray.

        Earlier this year, a paper by Michael Mann – for years a leading light in the IPCC, and the author of the infamous ‘hockey stick graph’ showing flat temperatures for 2,000 years until the recent dizzying increase – made an extraordinary admission: that, as his critics had always claimed, there had indeed been a ‘ medieval warm period’ around 1000 AD, when the world may well have been hotter than it is now.

        Other research is beginning to show that cyclical changes in water vapour – a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – may account for much of the 20th Century warming.

        Even Phil Jones, the CRU director at the centre of last year’s ‘Climategate’ leaked email scandal, was forced to admit in a littlenoticed BBC online interview that there has been ‘no statistically significant warming’ since 1995.

        One of those leaked emails, dated October 2009, was from Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the US government’s National Centre for Atmospheric Research and the IPCC’s lead author on climate change science in its monumental 2002 and 2007 reports.

        He wrote: ‘The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t.’

        After the leak, Trenberth claimed he still believed the world was warming because of CO2, and that the ‘travesty’ was not the ‘pause’ but science’s failure to explain it.

        The question now emerging for climate scientists and policymakers alike is very simple. Just how long does a pause have to be before the thesis that the world is getting hotter because of human activity starts to collapse?

        Read more:

        The general public will decide, if they no longer give CAGW any credibility, it will be a foolish UK politician that keeps raising CO2 taxes and building useless windfarms

      • From the Mail article
        “Just how long does a pause have to be before the thesis that the world is getting hotter because of human activity starts to collapse?”

        More to the point is how many more record years will it take before the pause theory collapses? Also the initial rise is expected to be 0.2 C per decade, and getting to about 0.5 C/decade by 2100. The article misleads or misunderstands this point. It does not do the public any favors to make these distortions that the layman doesn’t recognize. Similarly Trenberth’s “travesty” is directed at the lack of routine measurements that can account for the global energy budget on a year to year basis. I think everyone would agree with him that is a travesty in this satellite age, because having a closed budget certainly tests the theories and models.

      • Funnily enough I was reading that Mail article just before I popped back t o the PC. It is one of the most blatantly innacurate and frankly dishonest articles I have ever read. And the author has form for previous offences.

        When you say

        The public do receive much of their education on the science and politics of ‘climate science’( the CAGW version) from the MSM.

        You are probably right, as is your assessment of the Daily Mail’s influence. Which just proves what climate scientists are up against andd why they are entirely right to take a more “activist” approach. And people simply cannot blame this kind of “skepticism” on the bad behaviour of scientists – this is wilful deliberate misinformation by someone who is either pursuing his own agenda or that of the organisation he is working for.

      • Latimer Alder

        Would you like to expand on why you think it is ‘blatantly inaccurate and frankly dishonest’?

      • But of course, you make assertions without pulling out anything specific…

        Lack of warming, look at the dataset..

        Phil Jones did make that interview..

        Michael Mann did ma did say that about MWP…

        and of course the Met Office does get it’s forecasting spectaculary wrong..

        Which part of the DM article is wrong and why?

      • Barry ,

        I will post a more detailed reply later, but just because Jones and Mann did make the comments Rose refers to does not mean he has honmestly represented their meaning.

      • Latimer Alder

        That should be an interesting read. To prove something is ‘blatantly dishonest’ when you can’t argue with the parties own words will be a very long stretch.

        And even if you think he did not represent their *meaning* fairly (i.e his interpretation of what was said does not match your interpretation , that is not the same at all as being ‘blatantly dishonest’.

        I’ll check back later for an update.

      • Barry, Latimer

        The central claim in Rose’s piece is that

        the data on the Met Office’s and CRU’s own websites show that global temperatures have been flat, not for ten, but for the past 15 years.

        This is simply untrue. If you look at the HADCRUT3 data set the annual temperature anomaly for 1995 (itself relatively warm compared to those on either side) was 0.275, for 2009 it was 0.443 and for 2010 so far 0.499, and all of the other major temperature records also show increases of varying amounts.

        To get around this Rose falls back on the old and discredited argument that

        Even Phil Jones, the CRU director at the centre of last year’s ‘Climategate’ leaked email scandal, was forced to admit in a littlenoticed BBC online interview that there has been ‘no statistically significant warming’ since 1995.

        Of course what Jones actually said was

        “Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.”

        I think most people here are familiar enough with the concept of statistical significance to understand that what Jones said and what Rose implies, ie that there was no warming in that period, are completely different things. Unfortunately this distinction may not be so obvious to many Mail readers and Rose must be aware of this. Neither does Rose explain to his readers that over relatively short periods natural variation can mask a long term trend.

        I also love the reference to the “little noticed BBC article”. This is of course the article which was plastered across about every “skeptical” blog and was quoted in much of the press. One newspaper gave it particular prominence under the headline “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995”. I will leave it to you to guess which newspaper that was.

        His claim that Michael Mann has made some kind of “extraordinary admission” is just laughable. Given that he devoted his 2009 paper to examining the MWP it is absurd to suggest that Mann has suddenly had a dramatic conversion. If someone can provide me with an actual quote which they believe shows otherwise I would be very interested to see it. Rose is deliberately trying to deceive his readers into believing that the “skeptics” have won some kind of victory over the MWP his readers are led to believe that this would have some bearing on the reality of AGW when actually in itself it doesn’t.

        He claims

        Other research is beginning to show that cyclical changes in water vapour – a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – may account for much of the 20th Century warming.

        Well for a start water vapour is not a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, this is simply wrong. Nor does he give any clue as to who has published such research.One again the intention is to sow doubt without providing any actual evidence.

        Jim D has covered the points about the long term rate of temperature change and the misrepresentation of Trenberth’s views, so finally I will just comment on his claim that

        Last week at Cancun, in an attempt to influence richer countries to agree to give £20billion immediately to poorer ones to offset the results of warming, the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute warned that global temperatures would be 6.5 degrees higher by 2100, leading to rocketing food prices and a decline in production.

        Hmm, well I’m not quite sure that the IFPRI claims to be the authority on global temperature projections, one has to wonder why Rose didn’t simply cite the IPCC’s figures. In any case I have searched quite hard and can’t find any reference to such a claim. In their just published report on food security and climate change they actually say

        “In 2050, the increases in mean surface air temperature relative to the late 20th century across all scenarios are relatively modest, on the order of 1°C; but they diverge dramatically in the ensuing years, with outcomes ranging from 2°C to 4°C by 2100”. In fact I actually emailed them and they denied that they have ever used the 6.5C figure. Their best guess is that Rose took his figure from a report that mentioned 6.5F and didn’t do the conversion, but since I can’t find any reference to any report giving that figure I think this is a charitable guess.

        So we have a mixture of factual innacuracies and mirepresentations of people views couched in highly loaded language. If I had more time I would demonstrate that the author has done the same thing more than once in the past.

      • Andrew,
        never mind what Phil Jones said to the BBC. 0.224C is within the bounds of error for thermometer readings.

      • I’ll only talk to Phil Jones’ quote- before one runs a t test(for significance) on a set of data one has to choose a level. 95% is routinely chosen because long experience has shown that it is acceptably effective in avoiding errors. Once you decide on a level it is just plain wrong to say “The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.” Once you’ve made the decision to use 95% there is NO basis to try and back slide and say “well, it’s close to significant”. One could as easily say “nothing there to worry about”.

        I would hate to say the number of times I’ve made the same mistake and taken “it’s close” to mean the effect was real; only to waste time on many more experiments and prove in the end that the original “not significant” result was correct.

        Second guessing one’s original choice of confidence level is just another way of saying “I’ve got a bias”. The real answer is to get more data. In this case that means waiting another 5 or 10 years(as long as the data collection doesn’t get manipulated).

        It is very unfortunate to see this kind of statistical ignorance among climate scientists. It gives the rest of us a lot of cause for doubts.

      • You know, if you have a point to make, you might make it better by using a lot less rhetoric, and supplying some serious examples of where WUWT gets things wrong.

        Scientific debate should not be stuffed with rhetoric, and that is part of the AGW debate that makes me suspicious. Imagine if you went to a scientific conference, and a speaker delivered his paper in the style of an evangelical preacher!

      • Michael Larkin


        I agree that some WUWT posts are what one might call rallying pieces that give those so inclined cause for a good rant. Basically, I don’t pay too much attention to them, or similar rallying pieces on blogs of all stripes. I exercise discrimination.

        I might even listen to you if you could find some way to modify your behaviour. I recommend you observe Fred Moolten. He and I differ in our views, but I respect his tone and his obvious knowledge of the subject, which appears to be far superior to mine. I have in fact learned a few things from him. There is no need for hostility, and it’s actually counterproductive.

      • Pick a single post from WUWT that you thought was good, and provide the link.

      • steven mosher

        this whole series

        there are others. You can help. write an article and send it to me. If I like it and its fresh and new ( no name calling) it could get published. if you are unwilling to write an article when the door is open, then that says a lot about you.

      • I’m not interested in soothing Watts’ ego by giving him undeserved credibility. His actions in the last time I was there have put him and his blog on my permanent no-go list. I went in honest, and he decided to play juvenile games.

        I’ve read over your first link – the analysis wasn’t bad (amazing that various observational data folks understand the same things you discovered, isn’t it) but as per usual, the commentary was garbage. There are still many folks utterly stumped by the concept “anomaly”. Given that level, no wonder Watts’ Big Book of Station Pictures project is held in such high regard.

        Overall, my view of WUWT hasn’t changed one bit.

      • Here I have to agree with Mr. D. Anthony does now and again let slip some personal info about posters that are opposed. Just recently, he let slip that one of the posters was using a university e-mail addy.

        Not kosher in my books.

      • If I remember correctly, Anthony said that the poster’s IP was a Reading University IP. He didn’t post the IP and he didn’t give the individual’s email address, or anything that could be used to personally identify her/him.

        Given the poster’s gutless ad hominem attack at WUWT while hiding behind a pseudonym, I felt Anthony’s response was measured and was proportionate. I felt Anthony’s point was well-made.

        I’m all for anonymity, if desired, on t’internet but with that anonymity comes a burden on the individual to act within the informal constraints of netiquette. If an individual abuses netiquette, their right to anonymity is proportionately forfeit.

      • As I remember it the fake email address used to post was:

        ie ‘wtf ‘ and ‘fu’ being rather rude….

        an IP address at a university is hardly identifying anybody…
        To its shame, Reading is my old University

      • Derecho64
        Your elitist, pseudo-intellectual, and ultimately failed progressive ideology is starting to seep through Marxist skin.

      • What is this? What’s your problem? Can’t D64 think for himself and have his own worldview? How does that in any way falsify the fact that Anthony is quite bully against anyone he sees as potentially dangerous to his comments page?

      • Luis – Despite the wearying abundance of opportunity Deranged has afforded us, those of us who frequent this blog have seen no reason to believe he thinks at all, let alone for himself. He’s had a perfectly good invitation from a sometime moderator of the blog he hates to post an article there, and he’s piked it. Doesn’t that tell you all you need to know?

      • lol, no of course it doesn’t, but I’ve already witnessed his behavior here and I don’t like him either. Still, it doesn’t make it okay to call the guy some “liberal” schmuck. Again confusing politics with science…

      • Your posts in this thread do not lend yourself or your arguments much credibility. Name-calling and generalized, unsubstantiated accusations from an anonymous entity – towards a well known public figure.

        This makes you one of millions doing exactly the same every day, and none of them deserve more than a shrug. And neither do you.

        If you are to bring personal attacks on named individuals, you do so under full name, providing documentation for your claims.

    • It sure is. You have to remember that many (including me) are entry level but we are not stupid or naive. It’s possible to read WUWT or SkepticalScience, enjoy the debate and use them as jumping off stages for further research while at the same time keeping in mind they both suffer their own biases.

  5. Derecho64, as far as I can see, Olson does not lend Morano any “credibility”, he just tells the story of how no recognized skeptic (the word used in its broadest sense) was asked for his opinion at a particular juncture. His words: “I was amazed in 2007 that virtually no one had been to see some of the major climate skeptics (Singer, Michaels, Morano, Hayward, Gray) to interview them for a film”. This advances no opinion on the merits of any of these people’s views.
    For the record, I also find Willis Eschenbach very able and clear when he explains his views on scientific matters. This does not mean I necessarily agree with his explanations.

    • Giving cranks, frauds, and liars a podium isn’t a good thing.

      Moderation note: these words are not allowed in reference to specific people.

      • Re: (derecho64),
        Then how would we know they are cranks, frauds and liars?

      • Latimer Alder

        Derech064 is the final arbiter. He keeps a list of ‘Good Guys’ (hurrah!) and ‘Bad Guys’ (boo!!).

        If a good guy says something it is gospel truth. If a bad guy says something different it is the work of the devil.

        This is science a la D64

      • Because I’ve read WUWT off and on since nearly its inception. The tenor Watts set from day one hasn’t changed.

      • In the age of the internet, no one gives anyone permission to post whatever they please unless one lives in a totalitarian state. I guess I don’t see what you are trying to achieve here. You aren’t a dictator and you can’t stop people discussing science on the internet, at least in free countries. Most of us here are taxpayers and we will demand transparency and explanations whether you like it or not.

      • I agree – but let’s be more skeptical of the piffle Watts and his ilk put up.

        When will McIntyre audit Watts? Got any ideas?

      • steven mosher

        when anthony does something with proxies that gets published.

        just as mcIntyre audited Loehel when he wrote a “skeptical” paper on tree rings.

        When will the GSA look at CRUs violation of FOIA? err never, its not in their remit.

        Steve’s focus is tight. I like that. so do his readers. That’s why he has them.

      • I would be surprised if Watts and McIntyre have an agreement not to audit each other’s turf. McIntyre is Batman to Watts’ Robin, as the latter clearly has nowhere near the intellectual ability of the former.

        ‘Course, it would be interesting, once Watts gets his mythical paper published, for McIntyre to bring his statistical “acumen” to bear on it. That will never happen (can’t have the “skeptic” community turn on itself) but it’s nice to imagine.

      • Latimer Alder

        Probably the day that the IPCC put Watts’s paper front and centre in all their publicity and wave it around their heads shouting ‘the sky isn’t falling’. That was the thing that provoked McIntyre into action over Mann’s work of fiction.

        But there’d be nothing to stop you producing such an audit if you’re that concerned about it.

      • Did you ever get around to reading Menne 2010? The audit has already been done, and Watts’ beliefs have been found wanting.

      • what he’s trying to achieve………blocking up this blog with his trolling nonsense. It’s all off topic and we need to get back to discussing Judith’s point. Ignore him and hopefully he will go away or if we’re lucky come up with something worth reading.

      • Agreed.

      • Judy
        The use of the term liar is not acceptable. Anthony would not tolerate a comment like that about you and i suggest that you don’t allow its use to describe him.

      • steven mosher

        Its the best strategy. Look how you have discredited yourself by being allowed to comment here

      • I dispute the esteem so many here have for the various “skeptic” gods, and that discredits me? I think those fellas have a few too many adoring fans who refuse to see the truth.

        It’s still interesting that the mod comes down on me for being nonspecific yet truthful, whereas others (Latimer, Mr. Smaug-Slayer) can smear climate scientists with impunity. Perhaps I’ve revealed a little bit more about this blog than the naive reader would see.

      • D64 said..

        “Perhaps I’ve revealed a little bit more about this blog than the naive reader would see”.

        Oh yes, you have revealed a ‘ell of a lot, but not as you know it Jim.

      • Maybe you can ask Latimer who the “shysters” are, since he won’t tell me. He says he can back up his assertion. Call him out.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        “Look how you have discredited yourself by being allowed to comment here”

        That is a hilarious and deep insight.

        Still, I hold hope that D64’s condition isn’t permanent. Who knows maybe Watts will email him with an apology and bygones can be gone!

      • “Specific people” implies a name. I used no names, ergo, I didn’t refer to anyone specifically. The mod’s hand is a little heavy with regards to me. I wonder how Latimer can get away with “shysters” with nary a mod comment.

      • To be fair to Judith, she did let you keep “cranks”.

        For all the good it’ll do you.

      • Judy does have a couple resident cranks. It does her blog no good to let them stay.

      • I see no reason for not allowing posts from those that you and I may view as cranks since this invites the situation where people that you or I view as cranks may not be allowed to post.

      • Whether or not Judy allows cranks to post is dependent on what she wants her blog to be known for and how it’s assessed by others as to its credibility.

      • Credibility in what area? Openess to varying points of views or the ideal view of a particular set of views? I was under the impression the concept was to have an open debate and eliminating the cranks opens the door for the slippery slope of elimnating opposing points of view which so many complain about on those blogs where their opinions are not particularily welcome.

      • Why not ask directly how concerned she is about your assessment of her blog.

        She might even give you an assessment of how cranky she thinks you are.

      • Look at it this way – if Judy is really interested in “repairing” the interface between climate science and the public, she will need to be seen as credible by the climate science community – they’re half of the interaction. If she’s not seen as credible, then the climate science community will not bother. If she’s seen as credible, then there’s a chance she’ll get some participation.

        Now, what increases credibility? Allowing cranks, or keeping them away?

      • Given Judith’s contribution to the field, her credibility is not in doubt. And she already has participation from both sides of the debate, despite your best efforts to derail it.

        Go and crank off somewhere else.

      • Derecho64

        “Cranks” is a bit to subjective a word to use in relation to blogs.
        Some people think that RC is run by “Cranks”

      • Latimer Alder

        Because I choose my words very carefully ?

        And make sure that anything I assert can be backed up?

      • I’ve asked you to provide the names of the “shysters”, and you’ve yet to do so. Is that what you call “backed up”? Are you using English or some language of your own invention?

      • Man, what a troll

      • Latimer Alder

        I have no desire to overstep the mark of civilised discourse by referring to individuals and so causing distress to our host.

        That you have been moderated for doing so, is yet another very good reason why I do not propose to follow your lead. In addition to the several hundred reasons I have already collected.

      • I’ll ask, then, that Judy moderate your commentary in the same manner and with the same rules as she does mine. If I can’t use “liars”, “frauds” and “cranks”, then, if she’s fair and objective, you can’t use “shysters”. That you haven’t been notified for doing so is quite telling.

        Typical Brit climbdown, BTW.

      • No climbdown involved.

        If Judith has asked us not to use such words about individuals, it would be an abuse of hospitality to do so. No point in you stamping your little foot and having a tantrum like a toddler. It just makes you appear very immature and naive.

      • Especially given that certain climate scientists have been clearly identified when ‘corruption’ has been liberally bandied about.

      • I took her comment as permission to use the words in the context in which you used them, a clarification on her previous moderation of your comment. As always I could be mistaken.

  6. First of all, excellent comment by Michael Larkin. This in particular resonated with me:

    Partisanship, disdain, defensiveness… and all the rest, which, once perceived (from whatever side), cast doubts on reliability.

    Some of the attitudes one finds in the consensus blogosphere are both offensive and counterproductive. It is very hard to communicate with someone when you start off by insulting them.

    The criticism that you’ve received for discussing things that you’re not an “authority” on is yet another example of “own goal” behavior – in two ways: first of all it turns people off when you imply that they’re not worthy to have an opinion and worse, the best way to learn you don’t know everything is to start thinking that you do.

    The last criticism, allowing free discussion, is the most eggregious example of their shooting themselves in the foot. Terms like “confusionist”, “false balance”, etc. sound all too like Cold War rhetoric and leave the audience cold. Ironically, allowing free discussion in the wake of an informative post is probably the best way to educate. While people do have a tendency to go with those who reinforce their biases, patient, quiet competence will win out with the reasonable ones.

    • Absolutely spot-on, Gene.

    • > It is very hard to communicate with someone when you start off by insulting them.

      Indeed. When someone says “I learned what I need to know about climate science by that wonderful site WUWT, and I’ve learned that, you, as a climate scientist, are a fraud and a liar”, it’s quite difficult to communicate.

  7. “It’s too bad Larkin found WUWT to his liking, and especially Eschenbach.”

    Ad Hominem and Poisoning the Well in a single sentence. Masterful use of Logical Fallacies.

    I respectfully note that Logical Fallacies have no place in civilized discourse between competent adults.

    • Whatever happened to Steve Goddard’s esteemed status at WUWT? Was it because the stupid was so strong in him that even Watts couldn’t countenance him any more?

      Is Watts still talking about CO2 snow in Antarctica?

      Where’s his paper on the “reliability” of the US surface temperature record?

      When will he present at AGU or AMS?

      • I see that Michael Larkin has failed to ‘lift the veil’ for you. What a shame, as I’m sure that beneath that haughty exterior lies a competent and knowledgeable scientist.

      • “Haughty”? No. Tired of all the BS slung at climate science by ignoramii because they think it’s all a political game? Most definitely.

      • You clearly did not follow any of those threads of conversation.

      • Re: (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
        It’s not necessary to be so harsh on Derecho64.
        What we have here is blog communication at it’s naked best.

        Communication, or even education, doesn’t necessarily have to be civil or courteous or even polite. I’ve heard some doozies amongst “civil” scientists. No they weren’t swearing or using ad homs, but the “educated/civil” underlying insults were, to me, much more offensive.

        How do we communicate with say, a pub full of hairy bikies? How do they communicate with each other? If we don’t communicate with them at their “style” of communication, we are not communicating with them at all, been there done that.
        In some instances, a quick smack in the mouth gets the message across to “Ape” much better than sitting down and saying, “Now Ape, was that a good choice to make?”
        Harsh I know, BUT REALITY.

        In this case of Derecho64, your polite reply “I’m sure that beneath that haughty exterior lies a competent and knowledgeable scientist.” may not gain traction, as reason dictates that if it could have, Derecho64 would have thought before posting those insults about Goddard and WUWT and would have, at the very least, reworded his post.
        So a more fitting reply may have been…..(self snip) Well, after further thought, I deleted what the reply could have been, we’re not in a pub with a bunch of bikies, are we Derecho64?

      • “Where’s his paper on the “reliability” of the US surface temperature record?”

        Forthcoming. January I hope.

        “When will he present at AGU or AMS?”

        When will they invite him?

      • Will you hold him to that January deadline?

        You don’t get invited to AGU or AMS, unless you’re an esteemed scientist. What one does is submit an abstract for a paper (or, for the kiddies, a poster) and then if it’s accepted in the given session, you present it. Seeing as how the deadlines for both AGU 2010 and AMS 2011 are long past, perhaps Watts can try for AGU 2011 or AMS 2012.

      • Derecho64

        Will you hold him to that January deadline?

        Deadlines are the stuff of the IPCC.
        That’s when work is rushed, errors are made/glossed over and left incomplete.

        Which do you prefer, a medal on the chest for meeting an arbitrary deadline, or good science?

      • Watts has had well over a year – two, perhaps – to get his paper published. What’s his problem?

      • Watts has had well over a year – two, perhaps – to get his paper published. What’s his problem?

        Am I my brothers keeper?
        It is you who seems to be obsessed with Watts. Ask him.

      • Menne did over a year ago, and they got ignored.

        I suspect the real reasons Watts hasn’t published his long-promised and long-awaited paper include (a) he’s over his head with the analysis – he prefers pictures; (b) the analysis shows his thesis (siting issues are the reason US temps are warming) wrong; (c) he’s bluffing and has no intention to publish a paper.

      • I think it has more to do with not enough sites have been visited thus far. The last ones are always a “long tail”, specially when it involves voluntary people.

      • Derecho64
        You left out the rest of your sentence, with your permission I’ll complete it for you.

        “What one does is submit an abstract for a paper (or, for the kiddies, a poster) and then if it’s accepted in the given session, you present it. Unless ofcourse Phil and Kevin keep it out somehow, even if they have to redefine the AGU/AMS process”

      • steven mosher

        You think everyone who has been invited to do a poster is an esteemed scientist?

        be careful. trick question.

        I say yes. That makes certain people you have critcized into esteemed scientists. and you dont even know who that is.

      • You mischaracterize what I said. Generally, most papers at big conferences like AGU and AMS aren’t specifically invited – they are submitted in response to a call for papers for a given session. Posters are usually reserved for those who aren’t ready for the big time.

        Giving a poster isn’t *a priori* a sign of esteem – undergrads do many of them.

  8. If the world had more Michael Larkins, education would be less formidable a challenge. Sadly, most individuals visit climate information sources seeking not enlightenment but ammunition. Having already decided what they intend to believe based on politics or ideology, they wish to reinforce their arguments with convenient talking points. Their intransigence is probably beyond the reach of even the most skilled educator. I believe this often to be true even among those whose opinions mirror my own.

    Is it true about me? I hope not, but it would be wrong to suggest that these very informative threads have caused me to change my mind about basic climate change principles. I would like to attribute that consistency to my prior knowledge of the subject, but perhaps I’m deceiving myself.

    On the other hand, and in a strange twist, I have in fact found exchanges that I’ve engaged in to be educational, even if not mind-changing. To some extent, this has involved claims that I have been forced to explore because they challenged my conclusions. In those explorations, I would like to believe that I enlarged my understanding rather than merely collecting ammunition of the kind I cite above. Perhaps.

    The more interesting learning for me involved attempts to explain principles to others, the greenhouse effect serving as a salient example. The best way to find out what you don’t understand completely is to try to explain a point to someone else. Suddenly you realize, “Wait a minute, I can’t quite connect the logical dots. I must be missing something. What is it?” In that process, I believe I substantially improved my understanding of a process I thought I understood pretty well beforehand. Well, you never know, but it’s a tribute to Climate Etc. that this type of educational process is occurring, and I suspect I’m not the only one profiting by it.

    As to indoctrination vs education, I remain a bit cynical. I doubt that climate change opinions on the part of the public will change very much through any process in the near future. Much of the public is already aware in a vague way that there may be some kind of climate issue to worry about, but while the multinational economic recession is in full swing, they will prefer to dismiss that worry in favor of more immediate concerns. When the economics and hence the politics change, so will public opinion, but I’m not sure education will have much to do with it. Regrettably.

  9. I don’t agree that when science explanations are given on this or other blogs, they are often for a political purpose rather than to educate. They are most often given to help inform someone of the science basis on which they can make their own decisions with a better knowledge background, assuming they even want to form a political stance, and are not just trying to understand the science per se. As someone with a relevant science background, I cringe when I see scientific misconceptions perpetuated, and this sometimes makes me jump into the discussion. It is not for political purposes, as I don’t have a policy axe to grind, but to educate or often to just correct.

  10. My own interest in the global warming movement began after watching Al Gore’s move. All my BS detectors went off. I later realized that Gore made this film in order to increase shareholder value for Generation Investment Management clients. But since I enjoy technical analysis I’ve been attempting to make up my own mind. Progress was good until Gavin Schmidt’s little paper in nature that said his computer model said that if you take all the CO2 out of the air, the earth will become an ice ball. At that point it became clear that climatologists are depending entirely too much on climate models and not enough on common sense.

    • > My own interest in the global warming movement began after watching Al Gore’s move. All my BS detectors went off.


    • I later realized that Gore made this film in order to increase shareholder value for Generation Investment Management clients.

      This is a lie.

      • Latimer Alder

        Not sure whether it is a lie or not. Maybe shareholder value was just one of his motivations. Reclaiming the spotlight for his political career might have been another……

        But one might remark that it was a very fortunate coincidence for Big Al’s finances. And that he was hardly without potential conflicts of interest when he pontificated so forcefully.

        Remind me…is that conflict of interest pointed out at the same time as the nine errors of fact that must be highlighted if the film is to be shown in UK?

      • Latimer, all the money Gore has made from AIT and his green investments has gone into the Alliance for Climate Protection – a non-profit campaigning organisation. He’s not doing it for personal gain – let’s face it he’s rich enough not to need to.

      • Latimer Alder

        OK I didn’t know that. Where can I read the audited accounts that show this to be true?

      • I also think that his motives are of political ambition, not finantial. Either way, he’s hard to be ignored.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        According to Gore invested $35M into hedge funds – 2.5 years ago. Recall that when he ran for president, he was not rich and could afford nearly zero dollars for charitable donations.

      • Yes, but he basically made a lot of money in this decade because he bought a lot of AAPL and GOOG ;)

    • Gore’s movie was a transparent sales tool. Gore was acting exactly as a slick Wall Street promoter.
      I used to work in capital markets and my bs detectors went off as well. I was exposed to powerful people selling things that looked great but were mostly products of group think combining with greed.
      Gore’s careful inferences of massive flooding, his reliance on Mann, his use of science fiction movie backdrops, his fear mongering, and then implying that switching light bulbs would make a big difference, all stank of manipulation.

  11. What is the IPCC “doctrine”, Judith?

  12. Indoctrination is when I think I am right and I demand that you accept and acknowledge that I am correct. Education is when I think I am probably right and I demand that you to find out if I really am. Many concepts about what comprises education have a basic premise that knowledge is conveyed to a student by a teacher rather the knowledge is eagerly sought after by the student with a questioning mind. In my mind Larkin is correct that education is absent in the world of climate science which is currently held captive by opposing political views each claiming that they alone have the scientific truth. As a person with a questioning mind I set out to find out for myself about the notion of AGW. I have filled notebooks and my computer hard drive with information from BLOGS and the open scientific literature in climate science. I spend hours reading and studying what has been said and written in an effort to understand the climate science in the middle of a giant smokescreen of political debate. I have concluded the science of AGW isn’t settled yet and won’t be until there is an honest attempt by the scientific community in climatology to understand what each side is saying and a willingness to listen and civilly debate.

  13. randomengineer

    Skeptics are created.

    A new technology is on the horizon, one that can create fuel from CO2. Big news in the environmental circles that consider global warming as the mother of all problems. So the NYT journalist* reporting this solemly asks “Is having more fuel without more greenhouse gases an advance, or the road to yet more sprawl and gridlock?” and — WHUMP — another skeptic is born. Read the reporter’s line carefully. I’ll translate: greenhouse gases are a very bad problem that needs to be solved, so by solving this problem, we can use this as a way to impose things that the green “progressives” have wanted all along. That’s convenient.

    So, if you buy argument #1 (greenhouse gases are a problem needing to be solved) then you get two extra complete headaches for free. It’s a trojan horse. It’s the 3 for 1 special. The only way out of the headaches is to propose that that argument #1 is not correct. Instant Skeptic.

    The new Skeptic is now listening to otherwise silly radio commentators like Rush Limbaugh or reading online political pundits who claim the environmental problem to be a hoax and the political enemy wants to take away your way of life and ruin the US economy in the process. They would be half correct — the alleged problem may or may not be a hoax, but because the whole thing is politicised as per above, the political enemy DOES want to use this to impose his will. Of this there is little doubt. (Why did I say “enemy”? Anyone who threatens to change things in your life for the worse and offering nothing is certainly not your friend.)

    I’ll bet that fully 75% of skeptics are “Political Skeptics” in that they’re not by definition skeptical that there may indeed be an actual environmental problem that needs to be solved, but they are certainly and justifiably skeptical of the intentions of those who champion solutions. What else will they “solve?” We’re your friends, they say. And you say “As in you’re from the government and you’re here to ‘help’ me, is that about it?” Right thinking people know that’s the time to run for the hills.

    I’ll further bet that most people don’t have critical reading skills. Younger ones and those indoctrinated in eco-think look at the journalist’s writing and assume all is well. Older readers may look at this and feel uneasy, not because they translated as I did above, but there’s something about that reporting that seems… well, wrong somehow. They end up being skeptical of things they’re not even sure about, and the alternative to skepticism is to agree to a raft of stuff they don’t (and won’t) believe to be proper.

    In short, idiotic reporting and ham handed political agendas CREATE skeptics. It’s not about the science, despite the environmental blogosphere’s contention that people are too dumb or uneducated to get science. It’s about the politics.

    *this is a real life quote, not something made up.

    • “Skeptics” aren’t created by the media or agendas. Skeptics simply don’t like to hear the truth, because it’s inconvenient to their belief system, and so they withdraw to comfortable falsehoods, and try to deny that truth.

      • I’m sceptical of CO2 driven global warming, although not sceptical that CO2 has the ability to warm. AFAIK there is no empirical evidence including clouds to suggest climate sensitivity is high, whereas there is empirical evidence including clouds to suggest low sensitivity. There is also no evidence to suggest the signature of AGW exists

        Your belief that people who are sceptical of AGW are “deniers” is without foundation


      • And you are so certain you are on the side of truth. Why?

      • If the evidence changes, I will change my opinion, what will you do, sir?


      • It’s usually very bad to over-generalize what you regard as a single-explained “bunch” of people into a simplistic notion, specially when you summarize it into a basic insult.

        This is even more true when we are talking about skepticism. Skepticism, contrary to any ideology where people must take almost every step and accept almost every point that caractherizes it in order to be able to state that they are from ideology X, skepticism can be of *any number of set points* of any given ideology, for any possible reason. This generally means that you cannot put “skeptics” into one single bag. There are lots of skeptics of AGW, but they are so manifestly different from each other it’s incredible. The only thing they have in common is that they are at least somewhat skeptical of the general conclusions that AGW people promote. But the reasons why they are skeptical are radically heterogeneous.

        You’ll find people who don’t believe in it ” ‘coz itz da governmentz’ conspiracy to take us moneyy”, you’ll find people who are incredibly skeptical of cap and trade and all the tools employed to lower CO2 (Like Lomborg or Pielke Jr), and yet still labeled as “dangerous people”. You’ll find people skeptical of models, not at the basic science, like Lindzen. You’ll find people that are skeptical of MBH and the team’s tactics, but not at the rest, like McIntyre. To just paint the wider blush and say “all you: fooools!!” is just either ignorant on your part or just a dishonest dismissal, as if you’d wished all these contrarian voices just to disappear so you could sleep better at night.

      • I think this is a very good point Luis. Indeed I think the “consensus” advocated have failed to keep pace with the increasing sophistication of many sceptical positions.
        I think the gradual enlightenment of this large group of interested laymen from many academic backgrounds, starting out with sites such as WUWT then graduating via CA, Lucia, Pielke etc (and now here!) has led to the steady development of a much more nuanced debate.

        This has very positive implications for the future of the climate debate and I think Dr Curry is placed front and centre to facilitate a more collegial atmosphere which will further enable those with lesser scientific skills (ie: most people) to really take informed ownership of the subject.
        Conversely I think those who seek to argue from a dismissive authoritarian position will become increasingly irrelevant – their dogmatic approach already seems rather anachronistic.

      • Whoops – I meant “consensus advocates” – not “consensus advocated”- the wrong tense made it a verb rather than a noun!

      • The world is changing dramatically… the internet is transforming it into a very original beast. Things like Wikileaks scare the hell out of me, not because of what they *are doing*, but because of what may be possible to do within a couple of decades…

  14. What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline, or for that matter, held to standards which skeptics do not want to put upon themselves.

    On the first point, it is now apparently perceived as “bad” when scientists come to a conclusion that is robust enough to be well accepted by the majority. I have never seen claims of the sort that “gravity people” are engaging in indoctrination, or the indoctrination of cell theory, the indoctrination of soil science, or the dogma of electrons. Strangely, this only applies to conclusions about climate change, or maybe evolution (and especially in America).

    In most fields, consensus is thought of as a consequence of a convergence of evidence over time in a particular subject-matter, and one goes to authorities (doctors for medical diagnosis, lawyers for legal advice, etc) for insight. Most people seek the explanation with the most support, which is then echoed by the experts in the field. Some, on the other hand, will leave 100 doctors that give them a certain diagnosis, and then approve of the one that tells them to meditate, take secret forest herbs, and pray five times a day to cure their illness. People go to calculus textbooks to learn calculus, and yet no one goes to an sociologist to learn by the segments of the heart and brain. However, in climate science, apparently ‘authority’ is a logical fallacy, and textbooks and classrooms can be replaced by random opinions on a blog.

    What’s even more startling, is that the personal communiation of scientists through e-mails can actually change the laws of physics!

    What all of this shows is that many people simply cannot think rationally about climate change, nor do they have the capacity to diagnose proper information from nonsense. And once they pursue nonsense, it is very difficult to convince them that they are wrong. You cannot convince such people that Pat Michaels, Singer, Marano, etc don’t actually have anything to say, or that WUWT is a disinformation source. It’s not that the information to show they are nonsense is unavailable, it’s that the information MUST be wrong.

    It is also clear to me that climate scientists must now become babysitters to every half-baked idea out there, otherwise they are being dogmatic. They must write detailed responses to people who think the greenhouse effect isn’t real.

    It is also clear to me that the so-called ‘skeptics’ are allowed to make up whatever they want at will without consequence, and create a large but ill-thought out laundry list, and that we must play this game or else we’re being ‘dogmatic.’ If a climate scientist make one mistake, or a date gets screwed up in the middle of a 1000 page document about glaciers, it will receive international attention. However, if ‘skeptics’ toss out 8 conspiracy theories, 10 logical fallacies, and 17 arguments with ZERO thought put into them, then it is a good thing that we get to hear all sides. Then, when one item on the bucket list is knocked down, they can just jump tot he next item. In the meantime, they are just as valid as everyone else’s idea, since the criteria for acceptance is 101% certaintly in everything.

    • Bingo, Chris. There are those who want climate scientists and the entire climate science community to do nothing but play whack-a-mole. That way, the science doesn’t progress and the interests of the delayers (i.e., profits at the expense of the planet and the future) are kept intact.

      • ……and finally the truth is revealed: ” …profits at the expense of the planet….”. Do I detect a political agenda here?
        Incidentally, Avatar was a work of fiction.

      • Never saw Avatar.

        Note that I didn’t say profits were bad – they’re necessary. You see, I’m quite a capitalist, but not of the rapacious who-cares-about-costs-we-can-foist-on-others type. There are vast sums of money to be made from developing and exploiting non-carbon-based forms of energy, but the multitrillion carbon industry doesn’t want their short-term profits and power threatened by mere science. So, they dismiss the science and attack the scientists.

      • multitrillion carbon industry

        Card carrying members of the vast right wing conspiracy, no doubt. (sigh)

    • @chris colose

      ‘What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline’

      What is clear to the rest of us that live outside your inward looking self-satisfied ‘discipline’ is that academia has been working to standards well below those pertaining in just about any field outside the ivory towers.

      Audit, accountability, proof, record keeping, archiving, serving the stakeholders, and engaging with the wider community are all common. In commerce, in industry, in medicine, in transport, in IT…..the list is endless. As is attempting to achieve the highest professional standards of work, not grubbing along in the bargain basement where your only criterion is whether your mates will let your paper through peer review and then cite it nicely to boost your career.

      And those of us from ‘outside’ wonder how it can be that you guys seem to be not only allowed to get away with such shoddiness, but then have the effrontery to lecture us about the way we live our lives, because you have some special ‘climatologist’ insight, not achieveable by mere mortals who do not have a PhD in Radiative Physics.

      If dragging your professional standards up to the minimum level required in the outside world is such a burden to you, you have a couple of choices. Neither of them will be easy. But they will have to be made. A cold wind is blowing through climatology, politics and funding. Wrap up warm against it.

      • You’re mistaking the realm of politics with climate science. I think you have a big displacement error.

      • Latimer Alder

        Au contraire mon brave. It is *all* about making the science and the scientific conclusions as robust as possible.

        Shoddy standards in professional work lead to shoddy conclusions. True in any field..academia is no different, .science is no different, climatology is no different.

        Cowering away from auditability, accountability, reproducibility, robust scrutiny and all the other things that we do to take account of the vagaries of human nature is no answer. Doing so because the ‘outside world is not qualified to even look at our work’ is the talk of High Priests of Religion (or charlatans), not scientists.

        For the public to regain even the slightest amount of trust in climatology, the practitioners will have to not only do things according to those high standards, but be actively seen to do them.

        If you define that hard truth as politics, then so be it. I prefer to see it as a mechanism of scientific quality improvement.

        And assuming that the quality stuff gave the same results as the shoddy stuff we’ve had so far, then many sceptical arguments would be demolished overnight….surely a result that you would be hoping for.

      • Have you looked at the Clear Climate Code project? Are you aware that Spencer’s analysis very closely replicates CRU’s? Do you know that you can get the source code from a number of climate models? Do you know that all of the climate model output that was used for the IPCC AR4 is publicly available?

        You’re slinging around accusations without having a clue as to how transparent, open, and replicated the work of the climate science community is, and has been for a long time.

      • Latimer Alder

        Remind me of that long list of successful validated predictions from those models? You remember – the ones that are guiding our policies for the future and are so accurate that you guys don’t need to do experiments any more?

        And when you’ve done that please advise me how I can modify them to predict the winners for seven races at Kempton tomorrow.
        Simple task… good form guide, no more than 15 horses per race and pretty predictable weather and going.

      • Remind me of that long list of successful validated predictions from those models?

        Here you go.

      • You’re slinging around accusations without having a clue as to how transparent, open, and replicated the work of the climate science community is, and has been for a long time.

        It remains a remarkable assertion by warmists that their fellows are open and transparent in offering their data and the methods of their findings to be reproduced by others. Indeed, that very lack of transparency has been a highly conspicuous feature of their presentments, lately confirmed by contents of Climategate emails written by the most central figures representing the CAGW camp.

        A contemporary example offers evidence the same tradition of obscurantism continues afoot:

        “Before embarking on our discussion of their work, we must mention that, of the five discussants who performed analyses (DL, Kaplan, SMR, Smerdon, and Tingley), SMR [ Gavin A Schmidt, Michael E Mann, and Scott D Rutherford] was the only one who provided an incomplete and generally unusable repository of data and code. The repository created by SMR specifically for this discussion was, like that of the other four discussants, graciously provided and quite usable. However, we lacked clear and easily implementable code (i) to fit RegEM EIV ourselves and (ii) to draw new temperatures and pseudoproxies from their simulation model. Code for these purposes is archived by Mann at:
        Among other things, the RegEM EIV fitting procedure cannot be executed by a straightforward function call as is typical for statistical code libraries. Rather, the archives consist of a large number of files layered on top of one another and, despite a major effort on our part, we were unable to replicate published results within the publication time constraints of this rejoinder.”

        [emphasis mine]

        Rejoinder: A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures over the Last 1000 Years Reliable?


        You wonder there are sceptics? How could there not be?

    • randomengineer


      When you were in diapers, we were being told by a plethora of PhD experts and activists and sincere (and good looking) celebrities holding benefit concerts that by the time you hit high school, the precious Amazon rainforests and the cute creatures living in them would be history. Didn’t happen.

      When you were starting high school we were told by “the plethora” (see above) regarding Y2K that planes would fall from the sky, cars wouldn’t start, and banks would crumble. Society was going to expire. Didn’t happen.

      When you were starting your university studies we were told by “the plethora” (which now included a former VP!) that global warming was on the way and we were all going to fry. Inconvenient Truth indeed.

      (But this time, it’s going to happen. No, seriously. We have satellites and all sorts of computer data and… hey! Why are you yawning?)

      You have to realize that there’s a certain age bracket that’s been told so much utter nonsense over the years that frankly, if you were to announce that the sky was blue, they wouldn’t believe it. A key segment of your skeptic population are those who have been told one too many times that the sky, or at least a big chunk of it, is going to fall, and they’re not interested in hearing any more of it.

      Is climate science now being unfairly targeted (the sins of the father thing) by being asked to hold onto higher standards than other disciplines?

      Why YES, of course. It *is* unfairly targeted.

      But it’s been a long time coming.

      • > When you were starting high school we were told by “the plethora” (see above) regarding Y2K that planes would fall from the sky, cars wouldn’t start, and banks would crumble. Society was going to expire. Didn’t happen.

        Because the IT industry took the problem seriously and addressed it.

      • Richard Patton

        I have been a software developer for 30 years. The Y2K thing was blown WAY out of proportion. But it sure did help us sell a whole lot of software in the 90s.

      • I concur with Richard Patton.
        For starters, financial software had, for decades previously, been called upon to work with maturity dates of policies and investments extending well into the next century. Anyone actually working with software knew that there was no substance to the scare.

      • I’ll ‘third’ that. I was in IT in the late 90s, and I knew literally no one who believed the outlandish scenarios. The overwhelming majority of professionals assessed the risk of rollover to be minor, just as the overwhelming majority of scientists in the field predicted – and still do – that Amazônia will be halved by 2030.

        Surprise: people who know what they are talking about generally get things right.

      • steven mosher

        Will you please stop saying stupid things. you are making those who believe in AGW look like we tolerate stupidity in our ranks

      • “Will you please stop saying stupid things. you are making those who believe in AGW look like we tolerate stupidity in our ranks”

        There’s lots of lines there waiting to be used, but I have too much respect for you Mosh.

      • steven mosher

        hehe. now dont pull any punches on me.

      • randomengineer

        Amazingly, you missed the point.

        The public is starting to push back, and on a number of fronts. Witness, for example, in the US there’s the populist surge of the tea party, one of the themes being very much against climate science. Some of the leaders of this refer to climate science as a hoax or myth, and the point is that they have success in doing so by tapping into the same recent history of screeching do-gooderism and elite “expert” opinion. Are these leaders scoundrels out for personal gain? Why, of course they are. Any idiot can tell you that. But put the obvious aside for a moment. What they’re saying is working; what they’re channeling here is a deep seated resentment that has been building up for a long time.

        Take a good hard look at skeptics, political or otherwise, and you will see that certain age brackets seem to be over represented. Listen to what they say. Hear their experiences, their stories. Soon you come to realize that most of them are old enough to have lived through more than one big scare that turned out to be utterly wrong. They have learned — been taught! — to mistrust experts.

        Read the commentary section of any online article re climate change, whether US, UK, Germany, or anywhere else. The resentment and derision is palpable, the negative commentary is overwhelming.

        And no, it is *not* because these people are incapable of thought or otherwise ideologically compromised, unless of course you’re willing to posit that Germans or South Africans or Dutch all seem to be tapping into US tea party zeitgeist. Your insistence at political cheap shots based on US prejudices is remarkably short sighted.

        Many of the commentariat at web sites you despise are international, with just as many Aussie and NZ voices joining the chorus as your imaginary right wing influenced Rush Limbaugh fans. And as our host JC is discovering, most of the skeptics who are bothering to learn anything are in fact educated.

        (I’m quite sure that the topic du jour is relevant; older skeptics are never going to learn anything from mere indoctrination, which as far as I can tell, is something that works on the young.)

        What they all have in common — worldwide — is that they’re old enough to be tired of hearing political screeching about the bogeyman. The skeptical side is not sister chasing, knuckle dragging, NASCAR loving republicans from *Alabama. It’s WORLDWIDE.

        *no offense meant to either Alabamans, NASCAR fans, or republicans; I was parroting the condescending tone.

      • *”no offense meant to either Alabamans, NASCAR fans, or republicans; I was parroting the condescending tone.”

        but what about the sister chasers and knuckle dragers? lol

      • You forgot that when Chris’s parents had not yet met, we were told that that we would all freeze to death in the ice age that had already started.
        By those same sincere folks you mentioned.
        And before my Grandfather met my Grandmother, he told the story of how President Wilson set up a commission on what to do when the oil ran out in a few years.

    • Chris,
      You forgot to add that once the bucket list has been gone through they just recycle the list, demanding scientists continue to respond, or deeming them rude and abrasive when they don’t respond for the thousandth time.

      • Latimer Alder

        Ahh. Poor dears. How tewibbly fwustwating it must be for them to demean themselves to have to deal with them at all..the great unwashed are so dweadfully gwubby dontcher know. And some of them don’t even have a PhD in Raidative Physics!! Morons!!!

        It weally is far to much to expect them to come down to speak at the level of the genewal public.

        Its not as if the public pay their wages or anything is it?

      • Did your parents have any children who lived?

      • Latimer Alder

        Thank you for your helpful and considered remark.

        I will waste no time in thinking about it.

      • I think this makes the case entirely. You found McGee’s response rude, so you ignored it. Now imagine a legion of McGees emailing you at your workplace daily, demanding answers to questions about “Raidative Physics” while heaping insults on you and denigrating your life’s work as fraudulent.

        I’m sure your replies would be as prompt as they were cordial.

      • Latimer Alder


        We all get junk e-mail at work. It doesn’t take long to filter out the dross. Is it beyond ‘climate scientists’ to do so? Or just beneath their ever so precious dignity?

        But I don’t use getting unpleasant e-mails as an excuse for other deficiencies.

        ‘Sorry Mr. Taxman, I couldn’t file my accounts because a nasty man was horrible to me in an e-mail. And I probably wouldn’t like your aftershave’.

        or ‘I’m not going t show you my books Mr Auditor, because you’ll only be looking for something wrong (aka The Enron/CRU excuse)

        or ‘I just couldn’t be arsed to write any documentation coz it doesn’t like get me a paper innit nor any citation index bruv’

        Grow up and start living in the real world, not the persecuted intellectual torture of your imaginations.

      • Good, for you. I didn’t waste anytime reading your previous exercise in senility either.

      • Latimer Alder

        I should care that you have missed such an opportunity to learn something?

    • Bunk.
      Climate scientists are holding themselves to standards that are anti-scientific.

    • It is true that climate science is being held to a higher standard, and for very good reason. Science has a high tolerance for speculation, because that is where new ideas come from. But public policy has, in its way, a higher standard. Climate change is first and foremost a policy issue so the science is scrutinized unmercifully. Moreover ideology counts a lot in this game. This is how it should be, for it is one thing to publish articles in journals, but quite another to ask governments to force people to change the way they live. That the latter has a higher standard is entirely reasonable.

    • Chris, here is an example from WUWT that illustrates what I think Michael Larkin is talking about:

      In response to the discussion over here on the greenhouse effect, Willis Eschenbach wrote the following post:

      In response to my model verification and validation thread, Willis Eschenbach wrote the following post:

      There is nothing wrong technically with these posts (at least that I can discern in a quick read). They are consistent with the broad points made in my threads. But they actually present the information in a way that is much more understandable to most people.

      Are all the posts on WUWT educational such as these? No. Working with Willis to communicate complicated ideas to a broader audience would be a good thing. Does Willis always get it “right”? No, but more than often enough he gets it right.

      • “Does Willis always get it “right”? No, but more than often enough he gets it right.”

        I’m not clear how you reached this conclusion although there’s a lot of wiggle room in there for what “often enough” means.

      • I read Willis’ post called “Testing, testing” and found it execrable. Does he really think he’s shown that climate models are “wrong” with his little exercise in Excel-playing? C’mon, Judy – you ought to know better than that.

      • Could you be a little more specific ie: could you point out the ‘execrable” bits?

      • Why would one expect a climate model to replicate a small set of observations (tropical TS, IIRC) when climate models typically aren’t initialized with observations – certainly none of the CMIP3 models were. Likewise, what of all the other metrics one could assemble to evaluate climate models?

        If Eschenbach thinks he’s made some big discovery, then he’s woefully unaware of the considerable amount of real work done on the subject.

      • I’m not answering for Derecho64 but Steve Easterbook has written extensively on the topic of climate models and verification of them, I’d suggest having a read through his posts in order to see the argument not so much against testing but why Willis doesn’t understand what he’s proposing to test hence it’s neither realistic nor useful

      • Thanks for this – I’ll have a good read.

      • “There is nothing wrong technically with these posts (at least that I can
        discern in a quick read). ”

        Judith, how often have we heard you make this sort of comment? How about spending some time trying to work out whether something is worthwhile before you recommend it? Otherwise it sounds as though you’re promoting an idea you support but don’t think you’ll be able to defend…

      • I open topics up for discussion, point out things I find interesting. I do not put myself out there as judge on jury on anything.

    • Chris, not even close. Read Bishop’s, “The Hockey Stick Illusion”, and you will realize that climate scientists are generally without standards. If you want to see what real standards are like, look no further than medical scientists who interact directly with the FDA. Perhaps you need an oversight agency like this to restore any credibility you may have left.

    • Chris, there’s neither political nor monetary gain to be had from misleading people over gravity or electrons.
      If I, as a software engineer, produced work as shoddy as the stuff I saw from the CRU, I’d be frog-marched to the door,and fully expect never again to find work in the industry.

    • I think that Chris’s comment fairly summarized what many “climate scientist’s” believe to be true. I also think that looking more closely at his comment can help explain why I think many like him are so out of touch.

      Chris wrote:
      “climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline”

      My perception is that the reason for this is that some “climate scientists” have examined scientific issues, and have then extrapolated out what they believe to be the correct economic and political “policy” actions that should be taken as a result of “their conclusions”. They are being held to a higher standard because if “their conclusions” were to be followed there would be a vast economic impact on a significant percentage of society.

      Chris wrote:
      “it is now apparently perceived as “bad” when scientists come to a conclusion that is robust enough to be well accepted by the majority.”

      I believe that Chris jumps to an incorrect conclusion here. No, there is certainly no problem when a majority of scientists agree, but on the issue of climate science what is it that the majority agrees upon?

      Does the majority agree on the specific percentage that increased human released GHG’s are on total warming? Does the majority agree on “a” curve that correlates increasing GHG’s to specific worldwide temperatures? Does the majority agree on any climate model depicting future conditions as a result of higher GHG’s? Do the majority agree that a redistribution of wealth worldwide is the correct response? I am sorry, but I do not see quite the level of agreement that you suggests exists.

      Chris wrote:
      “What’s even more startling, is that the personal communication of scientists through e-mails can actually change the laws of physics! ”

      My perception is that yes, there are certainly “bloggers” who do not base their positions on any science, but I believe those are the small minority.

      What I also see is people like Chris throwing out comments like that as a means of inferring that if you do not agree with all of “his conclusions” then you are dumb. and can not possibly understand that this is all based upon basic physics. Chris, if only that were true, and you actually fully understood all the variables. You could then insert them into your own climate model and then be so very very wealthy.

    • steven mosher


      “What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline, or for that matter, held to standards which skeptics do not want to put upon themselves.”

      Here are the standards I have tried to hold them to.

      1. If you expect me to believe your paper, share your data.
      2. If you expect me to believe your paper, share your code.
      3. If you run a journal that demands data sharing, inforce your policy.
      4. If I FOIA information, send it to me ( NOAA is quite good on this, they lost my request for 2 years and then sent me 500 pages )
      5. If a critic points out a mistake, correct it and give credit.
      6. If a critic suggests you discuss uncertainties in a document that requires you to discuss uncertainties, you should do that.
      7. Dont ask people to delete mails and attachments.
      8. dont send mails to journalists calling your critics frauds.
      9. As a reviewer, dont share the paper you are asked to review with others.

      I think I’ve been pretty consistent in demanding the same thing of skeptics

      • A very sound list of requirements Steven. I’m in a completely different industry but every contract I’ve ever signed has demanded the same sort of standards and deliverables from me and my company, to the point where if we don’t meet the terms we don’t get paid. Simple really……….now there’s an idea…..

      • Meanwhile, the Earth will continue to warm because of the way the increases in certain trace gases — the product of human industrial processes — respond to the light reflected off the planet. A scientific discovery first made by Joseph Fourier in the mid 1820s.

      • So what?
        Is it warming in a way that is dangerous or harmful?
        Now can we have our money back from the hype community, and can we get back to trying to create a rational energy policy?

      • Stout assertion is a very under-rated scientific technique.

      • I am not unsympathetic to some of Mosher’s points, but point 4 (FOAI inquiries and the like) is simply destructive. If someone is unwilling or unable to share a particular piece of information with you for whatever reason, simply move on or try to replicate or refute the result. If you want to discount a particular publication as a consequence then just do so.

        Once you start getting adversarial legal methods involved, you will get lawyers involved on the other side. Among the fundamental principles of the legal profession is to reveal nothing unless and until absolutely necessary. The scientists will be powerless to cooperate even if they wanted to.

        But of course, repairing the breach in trust is not most critics’ objective. They aim, rather, to tar the reputation of the participants in the science and of the body of knowledge as a whole.

        Another especially irksome aspect of it all is that after all the years of conservatives demanding that science run “more like a business” and more “competitively” the same people who made those demands are now retroactively insisting on total transparency! I am much more sympathetic to the latter, myself, but decades of government pushing science toward a competitive quasi-commercial model makes this quite operationally difficult in practice.

      • Tobis—with all due respect, I suggest that your biased position is clouding your judgments.

        It does not seem reasonable to simple “move on” as you suggest if someone has touted a scientific position, and that position has gained traction in the media; but the scientist is unwilling to release the data upon which the position is based. Your “belief”, that most critics are seeking to “tar the reputation of the participants in the science and of the body of knowledge as a whole”; appears to boarder on paranoia.

        It appears that many AGW supporters rushed to conclusions regarding increased atmospheric CO2 being a potential disaster for humanity and it is now being proven that people like yourself did not have credible information upon which to reach such a dire conclusion.

    • I think that most people here are missing the point. You are still thinking in 20th century standards. We are going past that. To just smug and shrug and state “this is the best we can do” is not acceptable. You are taken to more rigorous standards as all other sciences are also being put to more rigorous standards. Medicine is being criticized because too many obviously wrong papers are passed through peer-review, and many “conclusions” deriven from them are falsified less than ten years in the future. This happens even though the proceedings of medicine are far more rigorous than in climatology.

      But climatology tells us we should spend trillions of dollars to solve a perceived climatologic problem. Well, if that’s the case, we should better take care of the quality of that said work which is the base for such a spending, innit? Anything lower than perfection will be criticized and audited, and that’s no thing to cry about, that’s a thing to celebrate. The circling of the wagons by some climatologists is the disgraceful behavior we should correct in the future, not the voluntary auditing of independent people who are just trying to check whether their taxes are being well spent or not.

      I mean, Chris I respect you, but this “Tu Quoque” that is spread all over your piece is an intolerable excuse from your part. Beef it up, take your field to higher standards. Take the heat and make us proud of you people. If your warrant is to be taken to the same standards as conspiration theorists, then I am starting to understand where your problems are coming from.

      Last but not least, you should ponder about the troubles of “Consensus science” more than that little caricature you’ve made there. How can there be any consensus on the output of arbitrary-laden valued CGMs? How can these consensus be of any value at all, without any empirical feedback? There is a phenomenon known all too well in any statistical field, where if you *want* to find anything buried in a sufficiently sophisticated complex ecossystem, you will. It’s even acknowledged in biology, the bias towards the false positives rather than false negatives. If an entire field “fears” a certain mish mash of statistical results, they are bound to “find them”, even if they are not found at first.

      As an example you’ll have the “fingerprint” of GHGs that were missing, but then “found” when someone made a model using winds and stuff and “found out the missing heat”.

    • Chris Colose: excellent points.

    • Chris Colose; absolutely spot on.

  15. Chris Colose (December 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm) is partially right:

    Climatologists simply copied from the template used by space scientists for decades to hide evidence against, and to publicize evidence for:

    a.) The nebular model for formation of the Sun.
    b.) The obsolete model of a Hydrogen-filled Sun.
    c.) H-fusion as the heat source of the Earth and Sun.
    d.) A steady, well-behaved H-fusion reactor in the Sun.

    All of the above have been falsified by experimental measurements, but they are still preached as government truths (dogma, indoctrination) today.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  16. AnyColourYouLike

    I’d just like to say Michael Larkin’s experience resonates with me personally (similar experiences on blogs) and professionally as an educator. Too often those at the forefront of various technical fields view the general public as morons incapable of independent thought, but fall over themselves trying not to say anything quite so contemptuous publically.

    Part of my work involves educating adults who did not benefit from state education the first time round. Anyone who thinks these people aren’t sharp and will let you away with vague BS, should come and sit in on one of my classes. This issue affects us all and, as the peer-reviewed paper by O’Donnell, Condon, Lewis and McIntyre have shown once again “citizen scientists” (that vaguely patronising term) can often correct or even debunk elements of this “consensus”. This sort of thing (and it’s not the first nor last example) gives the lie to Chris Colose’s broadbrush reasoning “It is also clear to me that the so-called ‘skeptics’ are allowed to make up whatever they want at will without consequence, and create a large but ill-thought out laundry list, and that we must play this game or else we’re being ‘dogmatic.’ “

    • Interestingly, OCLM10 doesn’t “refute” Steig09, despite its being advertised as such on CA and WUWT.

      Einstein didn’t “refute” Newton, either.

      • *****
        Einstein didn’t “refute” Newton, either.
        That’s whopping stretch. The two cases are barely on the same planet, much less in the ball park.

      • So tell McIntyre to quit fist-pumping and gloating. He says Steig09 is “refuted” by his paper – not even close.

      • Steve gloats; pumps his fist.
        At long last he’s admitted
        To Steig’s Matlab class.

      • Latimer Alder

        OK – please give us your learned analysis of where McIntyre’s claim is wrong.

        He has done what you guys all say he has to do..publish a peer-reviewed paper in a scientific journal. It is therefore part of the accepted scientific literature and eligible for the next IPCC review.

        By comparison you make a bald assertion that he is wrong – with no evidence presented. Any passing reader might think that it was personal rather than scientific with you.

      • Like the true believers won’t move those goal posts.
        D64 is already moving that one.

      • I didn’t say O’Donnell10 was wrong – I said that it doesn’t “refute” Steig09, as McIntyre desperately wishes it did.

      • Steig was simply shown to be very sloppy with use of statistics. Some climate scientists think too much of their own abilities, it’s call hubris. Derecho, you complain about skeptics not knowing enough about climate science, but the truth is that climate science is so broad that no single person understands it. Making all taxpayer funded information public will allow more rapid and thorough corrections to sloppy work such as this.

      • What have you done with the vast amount of data already available?

      • Latimer Alder

        Irrelevant question

        Making the data available is partly at least a discipline on you make sure that your work is in a fit state. How it is used subsequently (if at all) is of no concern to you.

        Not every drunk driver is caught by breathalyser tests. But the hit rate is sufficiently high to make many people think twice about breaking the law. Not every invoice is checked in a financial audit. But the chances are that a good auditor will select a suitably broad range to check that it would be hard to escape.

        And if you think that all of this is unnecessary and that with your superior skills and knowledge you should be exempt from any such scrutiny, then I fear you will be in for some very unpleasant surprises in the next few years.

      • Why should anyone pay attention (i.e., people, hardware, software, money) to all the various data issues if in the end a few noisy folks manage to blurt the message out that all of it is “manipulated” by “shysters” and is utter garbage, even when that message is completely wrong and false?

        If you demand the data, and then do nothing, what motivation is there to continue to fund data access?

      • Latimer Alder

        Good question. The basic reason is to keep you guys honest. And your work credible.

        But it also leads to the next.

        If your much vaunted climate models can’t successfully make predictions, what motivation is there to keep funding the models and the modellers at all?

        At the moment I have not seen anything that would incline me to think there was any reason at all. They don’t do what they say on the tin, and show no signs of ever being capable of doing so.

        Why bother? The money could well be spent on other stuff of considerably more public utility.

      • Again with the orthogonal questions from ignorance.

        You need to read – lots. Start with Edwards’ “A Vast Machine”. Easily accessible.

      • Latimer Alder

        I looked for ‘The Vast Machine ‘and could only find it on sale for north of 20 quid at Amazon. So I looked at a sample chapter. There was some gushing about how exciting it all was, some wide-eyed enthusiasm for the magic of the IPCC and then an extremely micky mouse introduction to ‘infrastructures’.

        It just so happens that one of my little jobs in IT was as an IT infrastructure architect for about ten years. So when I saw what can only be described as the ‘Boys Bumper Book of IT Infrastructure’ complete with a drawing of the CRAY-1 supercomputer (last produced in 1982) standing next to a huge rack of good old fashioned 1/2″ magnetic tapes (probably of similar vintage), and annotated as
        ‘The global meteorological data, telecommunication, and forecast network as it looks today’ , I was not given confidence that my twenty big ones would be well spent. Nor that the author had the faintest clue about the technologies that he proposed to describe. Still, he was only a climatologist, so his grasp of anything concrete is not expected to be firm or definite.

        So instead I went to look in the index (very poor btw) and looked for interesting entries.

        Validation: No entry
        Testing: No entry
        Proof: No entry
        Experiments: No entry…

        nor anything concerning whether these things are any b..y use apart from a passing remark about ‘predictive abilities in early climate models’.

        So I think I’ll just keep my picture of the Queen and wait for the movie. But it was nice to be able to wallow in nostalgia about the technology of 30 years ago. Any other recommendations?

      • Wow. You’ve decided that the book is junk because you looked at it at Amazon.

        No wonder you’re a “skeptic” – reading is just too difficult.

        “The Economist” has recommended the book, and so have others, but, as I’ve found, you can be lead to water, but you can’t be made to think. You do your credibility a disservice with your reluctance.

      • Latimer Alder

        Nope. That is not what I have done.

        I have looked at it on Amazon, read the sample chapters provided there, looked at the index for references to things I am interested in (found none) and documented my findings, And I have concluded that I am not going to spend twenty quid of my hard-earned cash (that is a morning’s work for me) on such junk.

        In particular I note that it appears to have nothing at all to say about the two big questions:

        1. What are climate models for?
        a. To predict the climate futures

        2. Are they any good at it?
        a. No.

        I prefer this new paper which does not cost me twenty quid.

        They have a longer abstract, written in polite scientific language. Mine is shorter but says the same

        ‘climate models are crap’.

      • I can’t keep someone from leaving their comfort zone of ignorance. Remember, others are seeing what you write, and their estimation of you may change given your hesitancy at doing some light reading and some learning.

        Yet another “skeptic” shown to be a dogmatic clinger. Pity, I had such high hopes for you. NOT.

      • Latimer Alder

        I’m entirely content to leave those judgments in the hands of others as you suggest.

      • You like that paper because it comforts your beliefs.

        Try reading something that challenges your beliefs.

      • Latimer Alder

        Derrick me old pal me old beauty. Me old codger me old mate…

        All you have to do is to tell me where I can read the peer-reviewed papers that confirm just what a great job climate models do in making predictions that agree with subsequent observations, and I’ll gladly read it. But I first asked you for a reference to this wide corpus of literature about five days ago..and you haven’t produced it yet.

        Until then I’m obliged to rely on the only peer-reviewed evidence to hand..and that is from the Athenian paper. Which is summarised as

        ‘climate models are crap’.

      • You’re still not asking the right questions.

        I’ve pointed you to a couple of places to start learning, so you can ask questions with at least a modicum of understanding, and you’ve demurred. You’re hopeless at this point unless you change your distaste for knowledge.

      • I think your opinion of the ‘right’ questions are the few to which you have satisfactory answers. But sadly, it is not you that sets the questions any more.

        For this Joe Sixpack, I have asked the fundamental question that will come up again and again and again over the next few years. Every time you need more money, every time you go on telly, every time you publish a report, every time you meet non-climatologists. It will come to haunt you.

        They will want to know ‘how come you’ve spent all of our money and had all this time and still your models are crap’

        And you don’t have the faintest idea what to say Not a peep. Nothing, Nada. Zip. Rien. You can’t come up with anything better than ‘go and read a book’ – which turns out to have very little to do with the subject in hand.

        Maybe you are just so distressed by the revelations that this vast edifice of infrastructure, programmers, data centres and all that has actually produced absolutely nothing of any value that you are in shock. Because your responses are certainly pretty automatic and content free. I suggest you leave off blogging until the shock wears off. A nice sweet cup of Tea is said to work wonders,

      • steven mosher

        Ok, it debunked steig 09, it corrected, it refined, it improved,it embellished, it extended, it …..


        nevertheless we see this.

        bloggers do do science.
        bloggers are not part of the denial machine funded by Oil.
        Steig was wrong about certain things and the engineers were right.
        somebody tried very hard to prevent thsi improvement from being published.

        normal science?

      • …and it was published.

        normal science? Uhhh… what’s that?

      • A bad paper by Steig was published in Nature and given cover. Why? Its novelty was about how Antarctica was warming up as a whole, and its warmth was statistically significant. A good paper was published in a lesser journal, which refuted these basic points by Steig, although being harrassed by months and months by a single reviewer. Then mr Steig comes along at the AirVent and states that claims of “refutation” by McIntyre are “spin”, as if McIntyre wasn’t one of the authors of the paper and should just be ignored as a wannabe self-important dude. This is circling wagons once again. Steig just can’t come up front and declare “I was wrong, good job at showing it”. But somehow the problem is McIntyre…. sigh…

      • First author Ryan O’Donnel said in his guest post at tAV that according to him the paper shouldnt’ be thought of as a refutation but rather as an improvement. Quite different that McI and W’s post titles.

      • Bart, the term “refute” along with the others you cite was covered in an earlier post. If I recall correctly, “refute” generally equals “correct”, as opposed to “repudiate” to which the author would be properly offended. As opposed to improperly so. IMO.

      • Bart, it doesn’t matter what Ryan thinks. McIntyre was also the author of the paper, I guess he’s entitled to his opinion too. If you ask me, Ryan’s calls for appeasement just sound like that, political soundbytes for all of them to just “love each other”. It may also have to do with Ryan being very happy just to get his paper published.

        To say that McIntyre should not have his own POV on the importance of this paper wrt Steig09 just reeks of snobbery and bullying once again. Ryan has his own opinion, McIntyre has his own. Ryan didn’t make any arguments, while McI did. I think McIntyre’s interpretation is the right one. With this paper, S09’s “novelty”, that is, its non-trivial findings were refuted, and the scientific literature came back to the previous “consensus” about Antarctica’s warming patterns (or the lack thereof).

      • Steig et al2009 is shoddy work compared to the careful analysis conducted by the skeptical scientists. Misidentified stations, wrongly spliced data, incorrectly parameterized PCA analysis. And on and on.

        That D64 can’t (won’t) acknowledge this is a perfect illustration of why we will have to simply bypass and discard a lot of mainstream climate science’s output. Those who produced it are unlikely to revisit and correct it.

      • And most interestingly, Mann was guiding that flop on the floor.

      • > Those who produced it are unlikely to revisit and correct it.

        That’s just inane.

      • Inane? That’s just silly.

      • Did Mann stop his work with MBH98?

        Did Schneider stop with his paper with Rasool?

      • “Did Mann stop his work with MBH98?”

        Unfortunately not. And his ‘statistical skills’ are half the reason Steig et al is refuted. Same as MBH98 was. By some of the same people.

        Pity he didn’t pay attention to what Wegman was telling him.

      • Wegman didn’t tell anyone anything that hadn’t already been said by someone else. Pity Wegman chose to take others’ work and present it as his own.

      • No the pity is that people harrass Wegman for his plagiarism, rather than taking the criticism seriously. It matters not one atom whether if Wegman was being original or not in his criticism, but if the criticism was robust or not. Which it was, and the PNAS confirmed it, and this year another pair of statisticians confirmed it.

  17. Michael Larkin

    Dr. Curry,

    I am gobsmacked you gave my posting such prominence! :-)

    I have been reading the comments thus far with great interest, but will refrain, at least for the moment, from commenting much on them, as it was the feedback I was after, and I have already had a lot of my say.

    I will only mention a couple of things. Fred Moolten, there’s an old aphorism in educational circles. It’s phrased in slightly different ways, but it boils down to this: “you only REALLY start learning when you start trying to teach.”

    So often, a naive question will catch you with your pants down, realising that that same question has subconsciously been gnawing away at you for years, but you buried it in a deep hole.

    While researching the answer so that you can answer a learner, some new and quite profound insights can emerge. Good educators keep on learning; their students are their teachers and keep them on their toes.

    You don’t actually have to be “a teacher” to come to know this. All of life is about teaching and learning, but sometimes we try to teach in the wrong way, meaning we are purveyors of information we have, to some degree or other, accepted and not fully investigated.

    I mentioned that indoctrination isn’t all bad. Classic examples relate to rote learning. It’s quite possible that the most important things I have ever been taught are how to count, the times tables up to 12 x 12, and the letters of the alphabet – all indelibly carved out, through endless verbal repetition at primary school, into neuronal paths, and now as automatic as breathing, thank heavens.

    • Fred Moolten, there’s an old aphorism in educational circles. It’s phrased in slightly different ways, but it boils down to this: “you only REALLY start learning when you start trying to teach.”

      Absolutely, and not only have I discovered it for myself on more than one occasion, but I’ve also found it to be a useful pedagogical tool for student learning, as I’m sure you already know. Asking my granddaughters studying for an exam to explain a concept to me has helped them refine their own understanding more than if I had tried simply to explain the concept to them.

      • Michael Larkin

        Interesting and subtle example wrt your granddaughters, Fred – I’d classify it as a species of assisted autodidacticism, if that isn’t a complete oxymoron.

        Autodidacticism perhaps works best if one can recognise through internal reflection when one doesn’t understand something, and seeks to remedy that. The problem sometimes is that one may be aware of a lack of understanding, but doesn’t yet know enough to ask the right question. When one can, one is more likely to be able to understand the answer! :-)

      • Michael, if you haven’t already seen this, I suspect you’ll be interested in this fascinating example of autodidacticism.

  18. The example you use shows indoctrination on the left (e.g. Gore). The right also practices indoctrination in all areas and wants to modify history, replace evolution with creationism, and wants indoctrination in schools:

    The C street Senators use religion and actualy go around the world undermining our foreign policy as they somehow think they are on a mission from God:

    The point is not that people practice indoctrination here and everywhere, the issue is that people are not educated enough to refute the lies and think for themselves. The failure here is education, the failure is also those on both sides of every political and religious aisle who would exploit human nature and the simple inability to think present in most people, the failure is ours in not standing up and fightingagainst this at every turn and on every ugly corner where it appears.

    We need to teach that we are not that bright as a species and just because we think it or are told does not mean it is correct, crtiical thinking is very hard and we are very poor at teaching it, if we get better society improves and we get an economic advantage over other countries.

    • Sorry for the typos, ’tis late. To fix one:

      We need to teach that we are not that bright as a species and just because we think it or are told it does not mean it is correct, we need to teach critical thinking – critical thinking is very hard and we are very poor at teaching it, if we get better at it society improves and we get an economic advantage over other countries to boot.

    • Not all conservatives want to replace evolution. I think you should check your assumptions at the door.
      Please note that in fact the Texas school board voted for no such thing.

    • Sure, but this is a Tu Quoque. Yeah, it’s no wonder that creationists have preyed on ClimateGate and other things to get their own message. But that ain’t my or many other’s fault. Nor does it excuse tax-funded people from their mistakes that other insane people are taking advantage of these huge mistakes.

  19. The problem was the messenger, not the message. Gore’s film could have been about the fact the earth travels around the sun and it would have amassed the same “skeptics”.

  20. D64 exemplifies why new entrants to the naive learner group naturallly gravitate to the skeptical position.

    • Latimer Alder

      Seconded. Perhaps a few years of writing on heavily moderated warmist blogs has led him to believe that shouting ‘we’re right, we’re climatologists’ – ever more loudly, is a genuine substitute for evidence. It isn’t.

      • Phillip Bratby

        Agreed. D64 reminds me of some of the unpleasant characters at RealClimate who denigrate anyone who dares pose a question. People such as D64 don’t realise how influential they are in ensuring that scientists such as myself become sceptical of “mainstream climate science”.

    • Unfortunately I think you’re right. D64 sounds to me like he/she may be a very knowledgeable person on this subject but IMO he makes it really hard for himself because of the rather disparaging tone he continually adopts.

      I always try to react to the content of threads rather than the manner in which they are couched – having been a bit of a hothead myself in a previous life – but guys like D64 make this very difficult.

      • Latimer Alder

        I see no evidence of D64 being knowledgable about anything.

        Rather I see a gobby sixth former with a high opinion of himself based on nothing. When prodded a little he has never yet produced any evidence to back up his views other than his tiresomely proclaimed opinions.

    • Even if the whole world boils over and all the species become extinct tomorrow or the ‘day after tomorrow’, it is precisely for this reason that I will never become a member of the consensus.

    • Why anyone believes that blogs are where science is learned is the bigger problem.

  21. Indoctrination functions only if:
    1) the concept is plausible.
    2) the notion is constantly repeated.
    3. an environment of groupthink exists around the person.

    Kids believing in Santa Claus is an example. But over time, the groupthink, plausibility and the reinforcement wane, and eventually the child puts 2 and 2 together and realises he was duped.

    In climate science, they had palusibility, but now both groupthink and the constant repetition is falling apart. The people are putting 2 and 2 together.
    As for D64, this person to me is just another one claiming absolute knowledge. They are the last you can believe.

  22. Considerate thinker

    Derecho64 | December 4, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Reply

    You’re mistaking the realm of politics with climate science. I think you have a big displacement error.

    Forgive me D64, if I don’t fall down and kiss your feet in a way you would like to be accustomed to receiving us mere mortals in your presence, but those series of comments, including others above are a mirror image of your own shortcomings.

    At least, Judith Curry is trying to advance science, engage trust, promote logical thinking and the exploration of common ground by removing barriers to communication and learning.

    I hope Judith prevails.

    • I don’t exactly know what Judy is up to, but “trying to advance science, engage trust, promote logical thinking and the exploration of common ground by removing barriers to communication and learning” ain’t it.

      • Roger Caiazza

        Coming to this string of comments late in the game I have been tempted to respond to several comments but have held off. However, this one I cannot let go.

        Assuming that we might have the same ultimate goal (de-carbonizing society is a good idea) although clearly we don’t believe the same rationale for that goal, I want to point out something that you obviously don’t get.

        This attitude that anyone not in lock step with the “consensus” (exemplified by your casting aspersions on Dr. Curry’s goal for this blog) is doing much more harm than good for implementing that goal. As pointed out in previous comments many skeptics (and their votes) are born when BS meters go off. I believe Dr. Curry is trying to point out that to initiate trust and turn off the BS meters you have to have open communication. This blog is at the top of my list of what that represents.

      • Like I’ve already said, it’s hard to communicate when one party decides that the other is already “BS”. I’d like to know where and how that “BS” signal comes from. I suspect that in many cases, it’s come from the stolen emails and the breathless reportage in the MSM and on the “skeptic” blogs. Toss in a predilection for dismissing scientists as pointy-headed elitists in lab coats, and suspicions about anything UN-related and any science that’s uncomfortable, and the “BS” meter goes off.

        In short, very few self-labelled “skeptics” were truly interested in the science from the start. They’ve used the political games of the past year or so to merely confirm their prior biases and beliefs. Even if the stolen emails had never happened, their beliefs wouldn’t be any different.

      • Roger Caiazza

        The majority of skeptical commentators on this blog have raised questions without including the predilections that peg your BS meter. Moreover, many of them probably agree with my impression that many consensus commentators have prior biases and beliefs that affect their interpretation of climate change and the results of climate gate.

        My conclusion is that scientists should recognize that everyone has biases and beliefs that can affect the tenor of their work. Therefore, facts/data and opinions be clearly labeled so that the results can be judged on their own merits with no appeal to authority.

      • > The majority of skeptical commentators on this blog have raised questions without including the predilections that peg your BS meter.

        I’m skeptical that the “skeptics” here were in a state of *tabula rasa* until they saw Gore’s movie (or whatever) and out of the blue they decided the science was garbage.

        Add in the fact that given the number of times I’ve pointed out references or mentioned projects relevant to the issue, and have gotten back “That information is news to me” (whereas if one has actually studied the issue, the reference is a standard one), I’m very doubtful of the claim that “skeptics” got their beliefs without some serious preconditioning.

      • Michael Larkin

        A glimmer of an interesting observation for once, D64.

        I think that people on both sides of the aisle come to the table with certain inclinations, and that scientists aren’t excluded from that.

        It’s certainly true that I don’t want to believe that CAGW (note: not AGW) is correct, and it’s certainly true that others want to believe it *is* correct.

        That said, I recognise it *might* be correct, and as soon as that is proven to my satisfaction, I will accept it. As there are big stakes, it’s important that we get it right, otherwise we could cause much more harm than good. Without seeking to allocate blame on greens specifically, the ban on DDT was precipitate and caused the deaths of millions. Similar tragedies could result from precipitate overreaction in the present case.

        Even if the range of projections for increases in temperature is correct, it’s by no means certain that’s a bad thing. It’s certainly possible to accept the projections and the underlying science, but be sanguine about the consequences.

        What is it that you are really objecting to? That people disagree with you, that they don’t understand the science, or that they have inbuilt inclinations (who doesn’t?) that differ from yours?

        What is it that prompts you to come to Dr. Curry’s blog and rudely disrupt it, to pour out your bile and express contempt for other human beings? What do you imagine you are achieving by it?

        I’ll say the same thing to people of similar disposition on the other side of the argument. To all such, you don’t want to learn even simple good manners, and all you are teaching is that you are incapable of doing so.

        Enough, D64. This is my last response to you. I hope others will also stop feeding you whatever nutrition you’re really after.

      • This cuts both ways. Please note how Chris Colose now mentions that certain atmospheric dia-atomic molecules can absorb in the so-called forbidden wavelengths (LW) today in this post

        Less than 1 year ago, on his website he said it could not happen. A reference to the Hitran DB seems to have corrected the issue.

        We do not know everything, and to present that we do is why the BS meters go off.

      • > We do not know everything, and to present that we do is why the BS meters go off.

        “Not knowing everything” isn’t synonymous with “knowing nothing”.

      • Mayber D64 is really a skeptic and is here to discredit the consensus position by the tone he adopts…..aaaarghh… another conspircay theory:)

      • RobB
        Exactly my thoughts. Initially I though D64 was just one of the self appointed and somewhat tone deaf guardians of CAGW orthodoxy still trying to win an argument by sheer weight of innuendo and insult. But D64’s level of “debate” has sunk so low that I’m wondering if they aren’t indeed a double agent. I’d class myself as lukewarmer, but every D64 comment makes me (irrationally) feel like throwing in my lot with the “CO2 can’t warm the atmosphere” crew, just to distance myself further from D64’s ilk.

  23. Nullius in Verba

    “Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?”

    “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”
    Milton, Areopagitica, 1644.

    Derecho64 gives an interesting and educational demonstration of the problem, for which we ought to thank him. It’s not as if we don’t already know that the position of orthodox climate bloggers is that sceptic blogs are founts of disinformation, so he’s not telling us anything new. At the same time, for anyone who isn’t already convinced of the orthodoxy, the abrasive tone combined with the lack of evidence/argument is a big turn off. (The trick in dealing with them, of course, is to spur them to ever greater heights of irrationality without deviating from being politely reasonable oneself.) By contrast, Chris Colose was up until now doing a good job holding up for the orthodoxy by responding politely and with content-heavy posts, despite the occasional provocation.

    It is a bad educator who blames the students when they don’t understand his explanations. That mostly happens, I have found, when the teacher themselves does not really understand either: when they have in their own past taken some statement on trust and then, knowing it to be true but at the same time not having any explanation for it, internalised it as being ‘obvious’. I find it endlessly fascinating to read the likes of Newton and Galileo and how they spent pages of argument demonstrating basic things that we would consider today to be obvious. Mathematicians do it too, having learned the lesson that things that seem obvious often aren’t.

    It is understandable that teachers in schools get impatient with this – they have the rest of the class to consider, and a fixed syllabus to teach in a limited time – so it is tempting to use their authority to cut short any questions. Students pick up on that, and eventually come to see those who ask questions as time-wasters, and those who don’t understand as simply stupid and beyond helping. They learn that there is no time to chase every detail, that you have to take most of it on trust, and you just need to know how to use the facts you’re given to succeed academically.

    The same thing has happened to science in the media – what they call ‘dumbing down’. Scientists have a strong belief that the general public are incapable of understanding technical arguments, so they have to simplify and distort to make it easy for them, and then rely on scientific authority to paper over the cracks. This has become a self-fulfilling prophecy – because the public is no longer used to seeing technical arguments, many of them no longer have the background knowledge to be able to interpret them when they do appear.

    We have drifted steadily towards the intellectual trap of Scientific Authority. The lesson we learned from Aristotle’s downfall, from the ipse dixit, is in danger of being lost. It has already taken over the public sphere, and I see it increasingly infecting actual scientific discourse. Why do most scientists outside of climatology support AGW? Most of them haven’t looked into it. They don’t know the details of adiabats and cloud microphysics. So how do they know?

    They have just looked at the reputations and authority of the protagonists, and taken ‘the consensus’ as being ‘Science’, and what a scientist should be supporting as a matter of principle. I’ve had scientists who are quite vocal about the dangers of global warming, and I’ve just asked them “why are the tops of mountains so cold, given that hot air rises?” and they don’t know. How can they possibly venture an opinion – how dare they back it with their reputation as scientists – if they don’t understand even the basics of meteorology?

    Tom Wigley said it in a Climategate email. “No scientist who wishes to maintain respect in the community should ever endorse any statement unless they have examined the issue fully themselves.” It’s an excellent statement, and a pity that it took Climategate for us to find out about it. But he was talking about political efforts to use the weight of opinion of the world’s scientists, and saying that most of those scientists simply didn’t know. Argument ad populam and argument from authority; yes, they really are fallacies.

    What can we do about it? Expose it. Point it out. Stand up for the principles of science; education, scepticism, openness, tolerance, integrity. Use Feynman-like honesty about the limits of our knowledge, even if it has bad consequences for funding or our political preferences. Teach by example.

    Let truth and falsehood grapple in free and open encounter. That’s surely what Science is all about.

    • Beautifully put, as usual!

    • “Scientists have a strong belief that the general public are incapable of understanding technical arguments, so they have to simplify and distort to make it easy for them, and then rely on scientific authority to paper over the cracks.”

      Well if you view science through that rather doctrinaire statement (or should I, say baseless assertion) the rest does logically follow.

      OTOH, applying some critical thinking to such assertions may lead to different conclusions.

    • Phillip Bratby

      Well said sir. I have just been listening to a tape of an interview with Richard Feynman. His words should be mandatory reading for all scientists. He was the ultimate sceptic, who insisted that evidence was paramount and he was a great communicator/teacher.

      Start with and work through the interviews

    • While I agree with the spirit of the post, if we’re to apply NiV’s judgement of D64, coatracked at the beginning for the pedagogical sake of having a whipping boy, we have to agree that it contains nothing new either. All that NiV said has been said here and elsewhere more than once. There is no real problem with that.

      Here lies a dilemma. Either we dismiss D64’s statement as repetitive, or we keep on repeating, which is something teachers do. Let the reader add himself “good” to “teacher” for self-edification effect. It’s more reasonable to agree to keep on repeating, since repeating is what we do, here and elsewhere, most of the times, our very own torrents of pet theories.

      So I would suggest that we criticize D64’s contribution for another reason and that everybody keeps repeating. And I would also take the opportunity to forewarn against trying to convey the idea that his attitude is what makes Us Do It. This would wrong, for the simple (and to me obvious) reasons that we’re all responsible for ourselves and for the situation we all play our part.

      Like truth, openness is only a useful idealization. When speaking of honesty, we should beware to distinguish persons from institutions. D64 is our in-house spiritual bumblebee. Our replies to him will be there online for ever and ever, for everyone to judge.

      Non nove, sed nove.

      PS: Arguments from authority are not always fallacious. Reconstructing everything from first principles was a good idea at the beginning. Nowadays, it has become impractical.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “Arguments from authority are not always fallacious.”

        Arguments from authority are always fallacious, but they’re sometimes useful.

        Argument from authority is a heuristic, like correlation implying causation, or post hoc ergo propter hoc. It has an above average probability of working, which is why the human brain has evolved to do it.

        But it’s a logical fallacy, and when building a chain of deduction hundreds of steps long, even small probabilities of error mount up. Science evolved from scholasticism, that consisted mainly of analysing and comparing citations of the experts and authorities, with the ultimate authority being Aristotle. ‘Ipse dixit’ they said – he himself said so.

        Science was founded by rejecting argument from authority. The fact that scientists still have to use it in practice is a flaw in the practice of science – a constant enemy that we only tolerate because we have no choice, like measurement error, or lack of funding. It’s never an answer.

      • NiV,

        You need to distinguish more carefully between an argumentum ad verecundiam and “arguing that the assertion made by an authority is true”:

        They are not the same.

        For instance, I believe that you rely on the implicit authority of the common knowledge of the educated to talk about scholasticism. That does not mean you’re wrong. That does mean, however, that it must be taken with a grain of salt.

        We always rely on one another, in science and elsewhere, while trying to oversee what others do, in science and elsewhere. That you consider it a flaw might be seen as evidence that you are holding a conception of Science that is a bit idealistic, perhaps even platonistic. (Simply note the capital letter to Science.)

        I must be wrong there: ipse dixit Feynman, I suppose. ;-)

      • Nullius in Verba



        But of course, if somebody was to be sceptical of my take on Feynman, I would be expected to back up the philosophy with further argument and reasoning, not simply say: “But it’s Feynman!!“. And since Feynman himself spent a good part of his time telling people what he didn’t know, I’m sure he’d agree.

        We aspire to the ideal, and fall short. But we shouldn’t therefore stop looking up.

      • “Arguments from authority are always fallacious, but they’re sometimes useful.”

        My view is more nuanced. Arguments from authority are useless when one has recourse to evidence that can confirm or refute the argument with 100% certainty. In science, however, we deal mainly with probabilities. This is true even when one can do controlled experiments, because we can never exclude the operation of variables other than the ones we control. It is even truer in a field such as climate science, where such experiments are impossible.

        For this reason, science must rely of information that alters the probability of a proposition rather than confers absolute certainty about its validity. This is the basis of Bayesian reasoning about many propositions in climate science unrelated to “authority” figures, but in the case of authority, the issue in terms of Bayesian “priors” is the probability that a view based on authority consensus will turn out to be correct in the absence of other information.

        The history of consensus in modern science is rather favorable to authorities when the matter at hand has been the subject of very active investigation for many decades. In these circumstances, authorities have been right far more often than wrong, and when in error, their views have generally required only refinement rather than rejection. Newton’s laws, Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and Evolutionary theory are examples that come to mind. Even plate tectonics, which took several decades for widespread acceptance, gained acceptance gradually as evidence accumulated.

        My point is not that authorities are always right, of course, but that the probability that they are right is an important element in arriving at conclusions of a probabilistic nature. Even if authorities are right only 51 percent of the time, that adds weight to other evidence. If they are right far more often than that, as history suggest, the weight of their opinion is even greater.

      • Fred “This is true even when one can do controlled experiments, because we can never exclude the operation of variables other than the ones we control. It is even truer in a field such as climate science, where such experiments are impossible.”

        This fallacy is one of the main problems I have with climate science as it currently is done. There are a great number of experiments that could be done in observing the earth, but only in the last few years(30 or so) have they been started- things like the Argo buoy system, the satellite radiation experiments, etc. Simpler things like getting a world wide standard temperature measurement system with some inherent statistical validity just wasn’t done because it would have been expensive and wasn’t seen as necessary. Most measurements were aimed at more prosaic things like getting the ships and planes through. But climate science needs a lot more measurement and experimentation. Models can be a useful adjunct to help design experiments and pick the right things to work with, but by themselves aren’t particularly useful.

        I was really impressed by Dr. Roy Spencer’s use of phase space analysis to try an tease out the difference between cause and effects with respect to GHG’s. It is an elegant attempt at a new way of looking at the existing data in order to better understand the underlying physics. Since the sign of any feedback is so important it is good to see someone actually trying to measure it.

        Just as an aside, are any of the climate models diurnal simulations run on a daily basis?

      • PS: Arguments from authority are not always fallacious.

        No, but they are always suspect. Critical thinking is literally impossible which is not grounded in scepticism. Persons insultingly sceptical of scepticism are those most gullible to novel narratives by charlatans who promise to make the trains run on time.

    • > Stand up for the principles of science; education, scepticism, openness, tolerance, integrity. Use Feynman-like honesty about the limits of our knowledge, even if it has bad consequences for funding or our political preferences. Teach by example.

      Clearly you don’t know how climate science operates. All of those principles are upheld each and every day.

      Everyone seems to think that the stolen emails reveal the opposite. What the stolen emails really mean isn’t that climate science is done in secret and manipulated – what they mean is that climate science and scientists have been targeted for dirty political tricks, because some perceive the science and scientists as a threat to their interests – financial and otherwise. Ergo, the world is given a carefully-selected set of documents intended to paint the community in the worst light possible, to damage their credibility. The intent of the crime was never to overturn the science – it was a politically-motivated attack on the science, nothing more.

      • Nullius in Verba

        The problem with making that assertion is that, unlike many pro-AGW sites, a lot of people here actually have read many of the Climategate emails and documents. We don’t have to take your word for it, we can see perfectly well what they were doing. So simply asserting that they weren’t and it was all political and that nothing whatever is wrong doesn’t cut much ice.

        But please do carry on. You can’t imagine how much damage to your side’s credibility you’re doing. :-D

      • If you watched a sporting event on TV and they showed only one team’s scores, you would believe that they had won and that the other team was pathetic. That’s exactly what the stolen emails and files did, and the intentions of the criminals who stole them, and their sponsors, have been fulfilled. You’ve bought their narrative.

      • randomengineer

        Funny you would put things that way, because one of the valid skeptic arguments is that the reporting from the media shows only the score of the “alarmist” side. Goose. Gander.

      • One of the real arguments from the science side is that the media tries to make the issue a 50/50 one, when it’s not even close to that.

      • randomengineer

        You’re absolutely correct, as usual. Good job.

      • Oh, come off it, D64.
        A year ago, virtually none of the MSM would touch the Climategate stuff, as they maintained that the information was illegally obtained. That’s the same MSM who are now falling over themselves to publish every scrap of dirt coming out of WikiLeaks.

      • Fox here in the US ran many stories on the stolen emails. Do you consider them part of the MSM?

      • I didn’t think you regarded Fox as being part of the MSM. ;-)
        Besides, I did say, virtually,/i> none.

      • oops, sticky caps key

      • randomengineer

        Whooooooooooops. actually…

      • AnyColourYouLike


        That seems like desperate wriggling, even for you. You purport to know for a fact that the emails where stolen, and furthermore at the behest of shadowy political forces. I wonder if you have yet contacted East Anglia Police with this important information? I’m sure they’d be happy for any leads.

        Anyway, whether they were stolen or leaked makes no material difference to their content. We can all read. If you believe this “carefully selected set of documents” paints a one-sided story, then why don’t the CRU simply release the rest of their emails so we may all observe the miraculous recovery of their scientific reputation by means of setting these misuderstood mails in context?

      • I’ve heard that the evidence gathered so far points strongly away from an inside “whistleblower” and that far more than the emails and files given out in “” were stolen.

        I’ll wait to pass final judgement until the investigative authorities publish their reports. That said, there’s really not a whole lot to support the non-criminal interpretation – even Mosher was left with a lot of handwaving when I asked him pointed questions with the “whistleblower” theory.

      • steven mosher


        I think I missed those “pointed questions”

        My position on the identity of the leaker has not changed since the begining.

        1. It’s immaterial.
        2. It’s a distraction.
        3. No evidence about the method of getting the files, the content of the files, etc, can illuminate the MOTIVE of the leaker. i’d even question a confession.

        As for objective evidence I have a this 70% of all hacks are initiated by people with legitament access to the system. I’ve seen NO objective evidence to sway me from that. The chance that the hacker did not have legit access is 30%. when you want to give me quantifiable evidence to the contrary, I will gladly adjust it. QUANTIFIABLE.

        But, for sake of argument, lets say it was a evil hacker who hates climate science. The upshot? nothing. Jones still did bone headed things, and those who defend boneheads are harming the cause.

      • Nullius in Verba

        No, I don’t think so. You see, when I saw what was in the emails, which as you say was mostly one team’s scores (although I have to say that some people, like Tom Wigley, came out of it rather better than we might have expected), what I fully expected and was looking forward to was to see the other team present their scores. To show us the context, the hidden evidence, the reasons for what we saw.

        And we got nothing. There were a range of commenters who said “nothing to see here, folks, move along” and a bunch of ridiculous enquiries that took great care not to look at or seek out the evidence, and everybody obviously hoping that if they kept quiet enough about it, it would all eventually go away.

        There are, actually, a number of things your side could have done to answer the claims. For example, when Jones wrote to Mann to ask him to delete information subject to an FOI request received the previous day, you could show us the emails Mann passed on to the others asking them to ensure the law was complied with, or better, show us the information and the computer logs to prove that it wasn’t deleted. Tell us what happened next.

        Tell us about Harry. At one point in the log, he says that a particular error in interpolation rendered a part of a peer-reviewed, published database “meaningless”. Was he right? What was the problem, and what was the solution? Can you show us the documentation to show how the error was identified, solutions considered, and the problem rectified? And the announcement to correct the published record and notify users of the data of the change?

        If you was to simply open up your bug reports and change logs, it would answer all of the damage the HRM did, and demonstrate your professionalism and your commitment to quality to the whole world. But it’s quite apparent from the climate community’s response, and indeed from what Harry himself wrote, that you don’t have any.

        So given that we can see all that, why did you think that asserting that we have all “fallen for the narrative of the ‘sponsors'” – without any evidence – could conceivably persuade anyone with any intelligence? Do you really think such a state of denial helps your side’s reputation?

      • Look at it this way – if the CRU’s temperature analyses were so manipulated and corrupt, then the analyses of the other groups would be radically different. They are not. Explain.

        For all your flowery profundity, your views are based on a narrative that was designed from the start to produce exactly what your beliefs are. You’re naive and gullible if you think the stolen files are the entire story. Likewise, any investigation that *doesn’t* result in Mann, Jones, tarred and feathered is automagically dismissed by you as a whitewash.

        It’s amazing to me the amount of non-reality-based dogma that has to be inside your head to believe what you do.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “if the CRU’s temperature analyses were so manipulated and corrupt, then the analyses of the other groups would be radically different.”

        That doesn’t follow logically.

        “You’re naive and gullible if you think the stolen files are the entire story.”

        So show us the rest of the story.

      • > That doesn’t follow logically.

        The other groups (NOAA, UAH, RSS, JMA, NASA) who create analogous analyses to the CRU give very similar results. If CRU’s analysis is irretrievably flawed because of manipulation and corruption (the “skeptic” argument) then how is it that these other groups produce very similar results? Perhaps CRU isn’t manipulating the data enough, or else all the other folks (including Spencer, remember) are also “in on the game”.

        Have you looked at the Clear Climate Code project?

        And I’ll let CRU decide if they’re going to release the other material. I have no connection to it.

      • Nullius in Verba

        Again, whether person B did it right has no bearing at all on whether person A did it right.

        Yes, I have looked at CCC. They were the ones who said in their presentation things like “Nobody has the patience to slog through this crap” and “Gisstemp was like the davinci code written by the shortbus crew” weren’t they? And last time I looked, are still trying to re-write it from the mess it was in using modern software engineering methods. (And about a quarter of the length.) Only when they have done so do they say they will they start to consider correctness.

        And again, whether person B did it right has no bearing at all on whether person A did it right. That does not logically follow.

      • CCC finished their rewrite of GISTEMP in Python, and were satisfied that GISTEMP correctly instantiated the methods described in one of Hansen’s papers.

        A couple of “skeptics” (Zeke and JeffID IIRC) have also confirmed that the CRU results are essentially correct. At some point, you’ll have to concede that the belief that CRU’s work is too tainted by manipulation and corruption to be credible is wrong.

      • Nullius in Verba

        GISTEMP is produced by NASA, not CRU.

        But since you evidently have the first clue what you’re talking about, have researched the issues to the point where you can confidently make such a statement, perhaps you can answer the question.

        So, why don’t you tell me all about Harry’s interpolation problem then?

      • Go ask “Harry”.

        You’ve got the transparency and openness you want; go ahead and run CCC’s code yourself.

      • Oh, my goodness, I’m supposed to take as gospel 64’s sanctimonious and dismissive citings of “truth” from CCC or any other source? I’m so happy that I have the option of choosing used car dealers, sources of useful information and bearers of advice.
        64 – I nominate you to join Patchy and Weaver in the hall of over-the-top rhetoric fame.

      • Go ahead, grabs CCC’s code, audit it, and tell them where it’s wrong. Otherwise, you’re just babbling.

      • You are naive and gullible to think the ‘temperature analyses’, or, for that matter, the ‘stolen emails’ are the entire story.

      • Latimer Alder

        I have already pointed out the easy solution.

        If you believe that the e-mails were ‘carefully selected’ to paint the participants in an unflattering light, then publish all the others and their virtues will be immediately apparent to even the most sceptical commentator. Shouldn’t take more than a few hours to do from the backup tapes. Ian Harris could help.

      • Why hasn’t anyone in the MSM spoken to Harry or Tim?

        Harry still works at CRU

        I know where Tim Mitchell works now….

        …. Ian ‘Harry’ Harris might still have some questions for Tim

        ‘Tims labyrinthine software” suites

        “What did Tim do! as I keep asking”

        Tim, a former Oxford Geography student, (no doubt programmer extraodinaire) did his PHD at CRU, that moved on to a higher calling… (left Tyndall in 2004)

        Tim is now an evangelical minister.. only a few miles down the road from ‘Harry’

        Someone let ‘Harry’ know….

        Tim wrote this whilst studying for his PHD, which concerns me that he may not be as open minded to the ‘null’ hypothesis (ie not catastrophic, but tenths of a degree AGW)

        Tim Mitchell: (CRU, Tyndall – the missing Tim, in Harry_Read_me.txt)

        “Although I have yet to see any evidence that climate change is a sign of Christ’s imminent return, human pollution is clearly another of the birth pangs of creation, as it eagerly awaits being delivered from the bondage of corruption (Romans. 19-22).

        Tim Mitchell works at the Climactic Research Unit, UEA, Norwich, and is a member of South Park Evangelical Church.”

        I found that out in about 30 minutes a year ago…..

        Let’s not pretend that the MSM have been doing any investigative journalism..

        Why no interview:

        ‘Tim, about this code of your ‘ Harry’ was trying to sort out for HadCrut

      • Latimer Alder

        Perhaps he will claim confessional confidentiality ..if evangelicals have confession???

        One of the founders of climatology – John Houghton – had similar religious views.

      • Google turns up this intriguing snippet, but the page has gone…

        Eastgate Lewes Baptist » Hot potato: (?/?/2010)
        week which includes a visit to the British Museum in London led by Tim Mitchell…

        Maybe the potato has become a bit too hot to handle. :)

      • Latimer Alder

        Please tell me that the South Park Evangelical Church is in Springfield and that the Ober Gruppen Pastor is a Reverend Timothy Lovejoy? Please?

        Then I will know that there really is a god with sense of humour……..

      • According to the document Barry turned up, Tim works for the
        “Climactic Research Unit”
        So I guess he’ll be ready for the rapture during the second coming…

    • Michael Larkin


      A staggeringly good post. I wouldn’t add or subtract so much as a comma from it. BTW, I loved the Milton quote, which I have not seen before.

      I’ve checked the “denizens” thread, but was disappointed that I couldn’t find an entry from you (unless you used a different pseudonym?).

      Can you be persuaded to remedy that? I hope so. :-)

    • Another excellent blast. NiV. You reinforce my belief that a scientist who is truly confident of his position is likely to be able to convey it lucidly to Michael Larkin’s “naive entrant”. Some eminent scientist made this point more pithily – can you remember who it was, and the quote?

  24. Indoctrination is teaching what should be perceived as ‘truth’.
    Education is teaching how to search for truth.
    Confucius said “Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it.”
    I prefer my late grandfather’s paraphrase:
    “those who are in love with ‘truth’ don’t know it well enough”.

  25. Judith and other may be interested in a blog, that a commentor at Bishop Hill started. Climate Lessons

    It is aimed at the educational indoctrination on all things CAGW in UK schools

  26. I’d suggest that one of the key differences between indoctrination (in its perjorative sense) and education is the formers preference for belief over knowledge.

    Though again, this, like the word game threads before it (think ‘heretic’, ‘ideology’ etc) , is likely to be all heat and no light, given the simplistic dichotomy set up by the (highly tenuous) juxtaposition of the 2 terms.

    It’s a pity, after the recent threads on the GHE showed how this could site could actually made a useful contribution and foster genuine discussion.

    • Well that is rather the point; let’s understand what is going on here in terms of discussion and education and critical thinking, and reflect on it. It this a better strategy than than insisting on the “truth” as a consensus sees it?

      • I just don’t see how your reliance on simple purported opposites set-up on these charged terms helps much in terms of discussion.

        Again the GHE posts stand out in stark contrast.

      • To my mind, these two terms starkly make us ask questions about how we transmit information, how we educate people, and how we engage with the public when science interfaces with a messy policy problem. Using the words communication and PR wouldn’t have made the same impact or engendered the same dialogue. There is some good dialogue emerging (not alot); lets see how this discussion evolves.

        Note, I generally post a nontechnical issue for discussion on Saturdays, with technical “meat” during the week.

      • The “truth” is just terminology. Science only demands that we get to the best approximation to it. The best way to explain this to people unfamiliar with science is to first make sure they understand that any science contains a series of facts that are agreed upon as being accurate because the best available evidence leads to this conclusion. All science is based on this consensus of evidence that leads experts to agree to a consensus. At some point we need to agree on certain elements, not as fundamental postulates, as seems to be the ridiculous prevailing accusation of climate science, but as the best available arguments to describe the real world. If the best we can do is agree “the world exists, nature is uniform, and there are symbols which stand for things” but we can’t use a consensus of evidence to describe what we know, then we are turning our backs on the best approximation of the truth, and therefore science in general.

      • Nullius in Verba

        You need to distinguish more carefully between ‘consensus of evidence’ and ‘consensus of experts’. They are not the same.

        “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

      • That’s what I am trying to get people to distinguish. But the two intersect quite frequently.

      • thanx g.,

        That is ‘the truth’ that I meant, though it’s clear from this blog and others that many commentators assume what scientists mean is The Truth. It certainly doesn’t hurt to remind poeple of this from time to time (including scientists).

      • Yeah, the main issue I have with threads like this is…basically, what Chris C said in this thread…

        It is also clear to me that the so-called ‘skeptics’ are allowed to make up whatever they want at will without consequence, and create a large but ill-thought out laundry list, and that we must play this game or else we’re being ‘dogmatic.

        No, demanding that other evidence be used to displace the best known evidence to explain phenomenon is not dogmatic, or being indoctrinated, or any other pseudo-scientific nonsense words that are used. It isn’t matter of trust, in the strict use of the word, as any evidence must undergo evaluation, but a belief that the scientific method is still the best way to get at the “truth”, and therefore, paying attention to the evidence on display is the best way to the “truth”.

        While developing other theories using the freedom of thought is the best way to attack our real world to find explanations, this does not one is required to ignore the best known evidence, but instead be informed enough about it to displace it with new scientific, rational thought.

      • grypo,

        I’m not sure I understand what a consensus of evidence is.

      • The evidence that agrees, as opposed to the scientists or experts that agree. This is a play on the usual phrase, I suppose, as evidence can’t purposefully agree, but I don’t how else to make the distinction that there is a reason FOR a scientific consensus, and it has nothing to do with dogma, or indoctrination of other experts, etc. So when Judith says:

        It this a better strategy than than insisting on the “truth” as a consensus sees it?

        I’m attempting to rephrase it as “best known evidence” not “best known opinion”. The insistence is by evidence, not people. Do you think that is clear explanation?

      • Nullius in Verba

        I assumed that what you meant was a collection of evidence and argument that had eliminated all but one possibility.

        But be careful about assuming that this is the reason FOR a consensus of experts. If a consensus of experts only formed as a result of a consensus of evidence, then argument from authority would not be a fallacy.

        The fact that the consensus of experts has often been wrong shows that there are other reasons, ranging from scientific to the social and psychological. Scientists are human.

        And in this case, I wouldn’t even say that there is a consensus of experts – unless you define an ‘expert’ to mean a believer in the majority position, one who is able to get papers published in journals run and approved by other believers.

        It is normally the case in science that the evidence is unclear and is able to support multiple different hypotheses, and scientist will routinely disagree about them. Climate science is very young, as sciences go, and there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with it being in a state of flux and uncertainty (and probable error). Only with claiming that it isn’t when it quite obviously is.

      • Your points are well taken. Although, I am not assuming that the reason for consensus in any field comes about from any other reason but that there is a collection of evidence that proceeds it. Climate being “new” or having the ability to support other hypothesis does not change the available evidence, only the level of confidence, and it’s Bayesian probability anyway, as in the objective state of the current knowledge. There will never be a purified science where all freedom of thought is correct, it is only in the freedom of thought with rationality and current evidence do we come to any agreement on scientific fact at all.

        When current climate scientists agree on certain facts, they are only agreeing that the current evidence suggests a certain conclusion, not they are certain and not that there isn’t room for other ideas. This may be the perception, but it not borne out in the literature.

      • Nullius in Verba


        And what I’d like to see is for us to improve public understanding of the evidence, and to do something about that perception.

      • Until climate science shows that it can be self-correcting, consensus is worthless. Without replication, self-correction doesn’t happen. And when audits demonstrate clear error, but the community circles the wagons and attacks, it is clear that “science” is no longer the goal.

        When the laity observes all the above, the ‘expert” community no longer commands respect and their purported consensus deserves even less.

      • Of course, there are folks sitting on the sideline ready to pounce when a correction takes place, stating that what was done prior is now a “fraud” or “corrupt” or a “lie” or has been “refuted”. See McIntyre’s gloating over Steig09 for an example.

      • D64:
        “Of course, there are folks sitting on the sideline ready to pounce when a correction takes place, stating that what was done prior is now a “fraud” or “corrupt” or a “lie” or has been “refuted”. See McIntyre’s gloating over Steig09 for an example.”

        In what sense is McKintyre “sitting on the sideline” with the correction to Steig 09? Isn’t he one of the co-authors of the paper which has corrected its many errors?

        The low quality of the Steig paper should of course been spotted by the journal which published it, complete with lurid red melting Antarctica on front cover.

        It is these sorts of global warming propaganda stunts which have undermined public confidence in The Hockey Jockey’s science and their journal editor pals.

        Nature have taken such a hit on their subscriptions they are having a rethink. They’ve started publishing solar papers again for the first time in 5 years.

      • Nullius in Verba

        Or RC on anything at all by McIntyre, yes?

      • Given that McIntyre is well-known for making accusations that are unfounded, and letting his audience run rampant with slurs and smears, yeah, the RC crowd nails him every time it’s justified. There’s plenty on CA that fails the sniff test.

      • Nullius in Verba

        So…, you agree you have fallen for RC’s narrative, yes?


      • I haven’t “fallen” for anyone.

        I’m a skeptic.

      • Nullius in Verba

        But McIntyre publishes all his code, so you can just download and run it, yes?

        A little while back, you was telling me that being able to download a replication of a NASA product was sufficient to answer any questions about a totally different CRU product. So since you can download McIntyre’s code, and indeed ask him questions about it, by your own argument that refutes any criticisms from RC saying that there’s anything wrong with it, yes?

        Oh, you are marvellous! Are you sure you’re not being secretly paid by the oil conspiracy to do this?

      • Rerunning McIntyre’s code doesn’t tell you he’s correct. That’s something that the folks who insist on rerunning code over some data still haven’t figured out.

        That CCC’s instance of GISTEMP, which replicates CRU (and the other analyses as well) is much more persuasive.

      • Nullius in Verba

        You say:
        “Rerunning McIntyre’s code doesn’t tell you he’s correct. That’s something that the folks who insist on rerunning code over some data still haven’t figured out.”

        But earlier you said:
        “You’ve got the transparency and openness you want; go ahead and run CCC’s code yourself.”
        as a way of proving that the Harry interpolation issue had not rendered the CRU’s flagship gridded data product “meaningless”. After I had repeatedly pointed out that person B doing it right said nothing at all about whether person A had done it right.

        So which is it? Does the ability to run code show that an analysis (like Harry’s) is done correctly, or not?

        “That CCC’s instance of GISTEMP, which replicates CRU”

        No it doesn’t.

      • Sigh. Rerunning the same code over the same data doesn’t tell you that the code is correct in and of itself. That independent versions of an analysis method, even using different data, get essentially the same answers tells you a lot more about correctness. Given that all the analyses of temperature (whether from surface stations, satellite data, or what have you) give very similar trends, then we have confidence that indeed, the earth is warming.

        I’m much more impressed by independent analysis than I am badgering someone with demands of “Gimme your code, gimme your code, gimme your code”.

      • Latimer Alder

        What *you* are impressed about doesn’t really enter into it. These checks and balances are there to keep you guys honest.

      • That’s the nice thing about science – nature keeps scientists honest. Perhaps that’s a new concept to you.

      • Latimer Alder

        I’m very familiar with that concept. When I wrote upper atmosphere reaction kinetics models, we had a very tight coupling between theory and experiment. The theoreticians and the experimentalists were part of the same small research team in the same lab. I shared a flat with an experimentalist so we had a very clear understanding of each others’ work.

        And our objective in writing theoretical models was to come up with something that could be verified (or not) by the experimentalists. A verified experiment was a tick in th ebox for the theory…a failed experiment said that the theory had to be rethought.

        You are right up to a point..nature kept us honest in our results.

        But as climatology doesn’t work this way and there seems to be an absolute abhorrence of anything that could possibly be predicted and then measured, I cannot see anywhere where the natural honesty creeps in.

        Can you enlighten me with details to expand upon your fine-sounding phrase and how you think it applies in practice to your particular field?

      • see the new radiative transfer model thread, plenty of measurements :)

      • Nullius in Verba

        “Sigh. Rerunning the same code over the same data doesn’t tell you that the code is correct in and of itself.”

        No, it doesn’t. The point of publishing the code is that it is a complete and unambiguous specification of the method.

        You don’t have to spend days or weeks trying to figure out what data was used, which bits were extrapolated, infilled, mislabelled, mislocated, used twice, or used in obsolete or ‘grey’ versions. You don’t have to worry about the unstated use of non-standard algorithms, or implementation errors. You can compare against intermediate stages to more quickly locate where differences arise, and check other statistical diagnostics to set priorities for further investigation.

        If you replicate the study independently with no view of how the original work was done, and find your results differ, how do you locate the reason for the difference? Is it an error in the original? Or did you misunderstand part of the specification of what was supposedly done? Or did you simply make a different but equally acceptable choice at some stage?

        Code makes replication ever so much easier and more efficient.

      • NiV, as CCC found out, GISTEMP correctly instantiated the methods described in Hansen’s papers. The key is the method, not the specific implementation – indeed, the implementation is just a detail.

      • It’s useful to have access to someone else’s code if you’ve been unable to replicate their results using your own code. You can then see where you, or they, have gone wrong.

      • “Oh, you are marvellous! Are you sure you’re not being secretly paid by the oil conspiracy to do this?”

        It’s not the first time it’s occurred to me that Der(anged) may be a creature of Latimer Alder’s impish sense of humour. His interventions are tiresome, but a small price to pay for the harm they do his (ostensible) cause.

      • Latimer Alder


        I’m delighted that you enjoy my ‘impish’ sense of humour. And very complimented that you think I may have invented Derek64.

        But sadly, even I, in my wildest musings, could not have come up with such an outrageous stereotype of an egocentric academic of immense pomposity completely lacking in self-awareness or real world experience.

        Surely such a character could be nothing other than a figure of ridicule………

      • Nullius in Verba

        “NiV, as CCC found out, GISTEMP correctly instantiated the methods described in Hansen’s papers. The key is the method, not the specific implementation – indeed, the implementation is just a detail.”

        Jolly good. Now tell what on Earth that has to do with Harry’s problem?

  27. “At the same time, for anyone who isn’t already convinced of the orthodoxy, the abrasive tone combined with the lack of evidence/argument is a big turn off. (The trick in dealing with them, of course, is to spur them to ever greater heights of irrationality without deviating from being politely reasonable oneself.) .”

    Yes, the cleverest liars do so with the utmost of politeness, driving those who, niavely, think that the truth should always prevail, a bit nuts, further advantaging the mendacious.

  28. “What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline”

    This is incorrect.

    • Are climate scientists asked to practice basic scientific principles?

      Yes, of course.


      All scientists are expected to practice the same basic scientific principles.

      The public assumed , incorrectly it turns out, that all scientific disciplines were practicing the same basic scientific principles!.

      Thermometers are available to almost anyone to check the reports of climatologists. Climatologists simply exposed the corruption of science that the public could not detect in decades of misleading scientific reports about:

      a.) The Sun’s origin.
      b.) The Sun’s composition.
      c.) The Sun’s source of energy.
      d.) The oscillation of solar neutrinos.
      e.) The Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate.

      Former President Eisenhower warned about the danger of this happening in his farewell address to the nation, on 17 Jan 1961, soon after large federal bureaucracies had been established to promote science:

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

  29. Judith,

    This is the core problem in todays education of young minds today.
    We have litterly two areas truth and traditional education.
    I was brought up on traditional education but learned through research that it was NOT the truth. To much focus on having to follow the LAWS rather than following the science.

    There is an interesting pardox in climate science and physics.
    “For every action there is an equal opposite reaction”
    If this statement is true, here is the pardox. Solar radiation is straight forward energy in, reaction, absorbsion, deflection. Now we have electro-magnetics pulling energy down and atmospheric pressure exerting energy down. There has to be a release to this energy. The planet cannot just absorb all this energy like a battery. This is where centrifugal force is the opposite reaction. If this physics is incorrect, then we would still be piles of chemicals stuck to the planets surface.
    Physics NEVER understood how it was possible to store energy and slowly release that energy. In not understanding this, they deemed centrifugal force as a psuedo-science but acknowledge their is something there we don’t understand.
    This then puts climate science into a pickle as the core understanding to winds and evaporation are incorrect.

    • This all has to deal with planetary rotation and the energies it generates.

      • Latimer Alder

        Sorry Joe, I don’t think planetary rotation can ‘generate’ energy. It might be theoretically possible to convert potential energy into kinetic energy or ultimately into heat. But that is not the same as generating energy.

        Perhaps better discussed on another thread anyway.

      • It is when plants and animals give off gases, the planet gives off off- gases by eruptions and the energy force force evaporation of gases that are water(H2O).
        If you stop this planet the stored energy of the atmosphere being pulled along with the water and debris would sheer off at 1669.8km/hr.
        Precipitation and evaporation works day or night.

      • Latimer Alder

        The gases are not spontaneously generated from ‘nothing’. The atoms making up the gas are already there, and already moving at a zillion mph.The overall mass is retained. The overall angular momenta are retained. No energy is created or destroyed overall in these processes. A game of snooker will demonstrate this process.

        Your explanation fails.

      • I suppose the energy inside our planet is infinate…
        No, compressed gases turn to liquid and store vast amounts of energy. As the planet slows, the energy is relaxed from the centrifugal forces that are holding them compressed. Even after 4.5 billion years.

      • Plants and animal life convert liquids into gases. WATER is compressed gases!

      • Latimer Alder

        Hi Joe

        Water ( I assume you mean the liquid variety) is H20 between 0C and 100C at standard pressure. And contrary to your asssertion, you have to put energy *in* to a liquid to turn it into a gas (try boiling a kettle). You can only do the opposite by *removing* energy. Which is why liquid water is colder than steam (contains less energy). Compressing steam (putting energy into it) makes not liquid water, but hotter steam. High pressure steam is what is used in efficient steam engines, not water. The same principles are true for any other gases you care to study. (With some exceptions down near Absolute Zero where weird quantum stuff can take place. But thankfully these are not relevant here)

        All these effects are well known and formed the basis of the Industrial Revolution and the Science of Thermodynamics. You may care to get an O or A level textbook on the topic to find out more.

        And if you’re a real sucker for punishment you could study Statistical Thermodynamics and see how the micro level behaviour of molecules relates into the macro level of kettles boiling and steam trains moving (always a joy to hear a good chuff chuff).

        Hope you enjoy your studies!

      • Get help.

      • Dopamine dis-regulation causes loss of articulation when adrenaline levels rise, most commonly seen in stage fright.

  30. In a democratic society the education system must strive to educate young people to be critical citizens who shape their own view and opinion.
    Therefore, we teach them on some point not to trust authority without using their own head, especially not if authority comes across with an authoritarian touch. Moreover, it is a democratic necessity for citizens in a democratic society to discuss issues apart from authority.
    If they do so, we should not complain and use “ad hominem” statements against them.
    Any authority therefore needs to give a balanced view of opinions and respect other views, otherwise it gets rightly identified as authoritarian and it crosses the border to indoctrination.
    Sending a signal like “There is no debate” hopefully gets our citizens to be skeptical, because this is the best protection against totalitarian and authoritarian movements.

  31. ‘Skeptics’ are like everyone else : they represent a diversity of opinion. ‘Climate Change/Anthropological Global Warming’ ?
    Suddenly one is accused of cant and heresy by those attacking the messenger…because the message is ‘too hot to handle’.
    I think my comment on your previous thread gives an outline of what I think likely drivers for this hysteria – even if the original cataloguing source – LaRouche – is often hysterically called anything from fanatic to idiot. {That would be the ‘Climate in Contention’ info in my Topical Index.}
    But my ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ files included one citing Gore as cynical opportunist literally hated for his role in the rape of Russia. Search should tell you all you need to know.

  32. Upon glancing at some of the comments on this thread, I realize that if you don’t know anything about Randy Olson, this thread may come across as bash Al Gore, and supportive of WUWT.

    Here is some background on Randy Olson.
    He has a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard, went on to a tenured faculty position at the University of New Hampshire. In an unusual career move, he went to film school and is now a science film and documentary maker. Of particular relevance to the topic at hand, he did the film Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy. He is also the author of the book “Stop being such a scientist: talking substance in the age of style.”

    His position on global warming is staunchly with the consensus.

  33. Education versus indoctrination is a false dichotomy because indoctrination is a form of education. Specifically indoctrination is teaching someone a doctrine. So the problem with indoctrination is with the subject matter, not the methods, which are typically those of education.

    Doctrine usually refers to ideological, political or religious systems (although the Army’s training command is “Training and Doctrine” or TRADOC). As such the issue seldom arises in science education. However, because climate change is a major policy issue its various presentations have been elevated to the status of doctrine. There is no way to teach climate change without taking sides in an ideological dispute. This is a major problem for science education, as it is for science.

    Note by the way that most of science education is about teaching how the world works, not learning to think for oneself. That occurs in other venues. Creative thinking in science is an advanced art.

    • Point taken in terms of basic scientific education. The issue here is when the science is in dispute and the policy stakes are high (the postnormal environment). If it weren’t for the high stakes, we wouldn’t see this large public interest in climate science.

      • I would suggest that accepting the post normal premise is a first mistake.

      • postnormal is a word that characterizes situations when the science is uncertain and the stakes are high. if you don’t like the word postnormal, you can stick with the phrase “science is uncertain and the stakes are high.”

      • Dr. Curry,
        ‘post-normal’ is easier to write. My concern is over certain versions of post-normal that seem to make facts and truth variables to be tweaked. I withdraw any objection to its use as you define it. Yours is clear and useful. ;^

      • postnormal gets used in all sorts of unfortunate ways that were never intended by funtowicz and ravetz. Steve Schneider put a certain spin on it that I think has caused the problems with the trm.

      • Phillip Bratby

        “If it weren’t for the high stakes, we wouldn’t see this large public interest in climate science.” That is precisely why it should be carried out by the best brains to the highest scientific standard. I ask again that people look at what Richard Feynman had to say. He was arguably the greatest scientist and thinker/educator since Einstein.

      • I agree, we need more frequent citations of Feynman. I used to do this quite a bit, I will try to work in more Feynman.

      • You also need to consider the unfortunate inevitability that ‘Climate etc’ is need of posts moderating.

      • I’m starting to delete irrelevant and repetitive posts on the technical threads.

      • Latimer Alder


    • David, one other point re the advanced art of creative thinking in science. Based upon specific interactions with people from two leading university programs that study climate change (one in the U.S., the other in Europe), I am a bit worried about indoctrination in some of the university programs as well. I’ve written previously about the first experience, which occurred several years ago, when the Chair of a leading atmospheric science department visited Georgia Tech. Upon learning that Steve McIntyre had visited Georgia Tech, I was harangued for two hours at a dinner party on how I was misleading students by exposing them to skeptics and skeptical arguments (this literally went on for two hours). More recently, I was interviewing for a postdoctoral fellowship position a young scientist from a leading university who worked under the supervision of a famous climate researcher (someone who scores quite high on the PNAS power list). He mentioned that he really like Climate Etc and the openness of the discussion around here on the topic of climate change. He says this absolutely could not happen at his university, since his advisor was quite involved in climate change politics and is very concerned that the public understand the risk of climate change.

      I don’t know how widespread this is in the major university climate research programs, but this sample of two is already too large.

      • One can argue that it is exciting to be in a field that is at the forefront of conflict. When I was a grad student in the then new, radical field of History and Philosophy of Science there were just two journals. I was informed that if I published in one I would never publish in the other, either way. I took it as a measure of what we were doing. War is hell.

        If you are looking for a way out of here you are looking into the looking glass. (Citations: Bob Dylan and Lewis Carroll, two experts on confusion.) Mind you it is always interesting to stick one’s head up from the battle long enough to see a diplomat pass by. Best of luck.

      • Judith,

        Your objections sound like you have trouble accepting dissent. Some scholars view the interface between science and society differently than you do, and they make different choices.

      • I have trouble accepting dissent? that is an interesting perspective.

      • Well, the sample of two (disagreeing with your take on how to communicate on the interface of science, politics and the public) you already deemed too much.

    • David,
      Your statement:
      “Note by the way that most of science education is about teaching how the world works, not learning to think for oneself.”
      This statement is not true in the german education system. At least not in the high school part that is called “Gymnasium” and not at all at the university level. We strive for individual and exploratory thinking from the beginning also in science education.
      Best regards

      • Over here one typically only advances scientific thinking at the Ph.D. level. Very few, if any, of our high school students publish in the peer reviewed literature.

    • Michael Larkin

      David Wojak,

      “Specifically indoctrination is teaching someone a doctrine. So the problem with indoctrination is with the subject matter, not the methods, which are typically those of education.”

      I disagree. The methods of imparting doctrine have very little to do with education. Doctrine is based on belief, even if the belief is held to be knowledge. It can only be imparted through such mechanisms as repetition and reinforcement, in extreme cases being supported by coercion and threats of punishment of some kind, even if that’s mere ostracism.

      There are ways in which evolutionary theory, for example, can be presented as indoctrination, or as education. The methods for doing one or the other are very different. Indoctrination’s a bit like pornography: one may not be able to define it very easily, but one knows it when one sees it.

      • Michael,

        You’ve truncated the definition of doctrine – it can refer to religous or political dogma, but it frequently also refers to organizational rules (eg. the mention upthread of TRADOC). These rules wouldn’t necessarily fall into the belief system definition nor would they carry the same connotations.

        While the teaching of doctrine does differ significantly from traditional education (compliance rather than understanding is the goal and as you stated, there can well be some element of coercion), repetition and reinforcement aren’t the only tools in the box. In the past I’ve done some training for an organization. I found that having the trainees engage in some critical thinking and questioning helped cement for them the rationale behind the policies and procedures being presented. The end goal (compliance) didn’t change, but the nature of the indoctrination lent itself to more flexibility.

      • Michael Larkin

        Hi Gene,

        Thanks for your comment.

        I don’t think I was referring to doctrine only in a (strictly) religious sense. And as I’ve pointed to elsewhere, indoctrination ain’t always so bad. Being drilled in the use of my times tables as a primary school kid was immensely valuable and benevolent indoctrination, because those drilling me knew I would need it when I started to work on elementary arithmetic. They didn’t even have to explain why times tables were useful, I twigged that very quickly for myself.

        I suppose motive is quite important. Sometimes, maybe it can be most efficient to start off with the inculcation of ideas so that later you have the tools to move on to learning requiring independent thought. But when the motive is to make you a compliant automaton, it’s a different matter. I also suppose it could be important whether what you’re being drilled in is actually correct and useful.

        There’s a lot of drilling in the army, some of it aimed at the development of general self-discipline, but some of it probably useful in specific circumstances – such as learning how to assemble a rifle whilst blindfolded. Could be useful in some real-world battlefield situations.

        So maybe it’s not quite as black-and-white as I painted…

    • David, aren’t you creating unnecessary syntactical difficulties? Surely for the purposes of this thread we could agree that education refers to a complementary admixture of instruction in the state (with all its shortcomings) of scientific knowledge, and in the principles of critical thought? While indoctrination – whether or not what it teaches is true – not only neglects, but forbids, critical thought.

    • Truth, transparency, non-marketing, condemning alarmism, focus on science, for starters.

    • An example of the difference between indoctrination and education is that indoctrination leads to adopting policies even when they will not work that fail to solve a problem that is not proven to exist.
      Here is an example:
      Germany is committing huge amounts of public money, as well encouraging private money, to build wind power in aggressive, corrosive environments, paying huge premiums to do this, and facing infrastructure issues that results in not only significant offshore spaces being cluttered, but also onshore sites being degraded for new transmission systems. And the result of this much higher expense, lower quality and reliability, and no management of the climate.

  34. One problem with communication of climate science is the nonsequiteur claim. “Climate change exists therefore we must stop using fossil fuels.” when in fact the debate is about MAGNITUDES and COSTS and BENEFITS. The refusal to address these three words or even to admit they exist has swelled the ranks of sceptics. It is entirely possible that the harm from trying to prevent 2 deg warming is much more than the impacts from that much warming. Assessment of this possibility is prevented by hysterical talk about any warming equalling catastrophe and the denigration of those who find errors in the analysis of surface station or tree ring data.
    And by the way, Watts had Tom Fuller (a lukewarmist) post multiple times, and corrects himself when he makes a mistake. He also makes data available to the public that others try to hide. Kudos for those things.

    • Exactly.
      We change environments all of the time, all over the world, and have done so since ancient times.
      The question is how dangerous is this change?

    • Totally agree with your statement. I have been saying this for a long time, in much more complicated ways, your clear and simple statement is appreciated.

    • Craig

      > … the debate is about MAGNITUDES and COSTS and BENEFITS<

      I've asked these questions for over 20 years now, best summarised as:

      Please stop using adjectival hyperbole and start using numbers

      Hasn't happened yet. For example, what density of windmills is required to replace the brown coal fuelled generators in the LaTrobe Valley, Victoria, Aus ? This also obviously depends on the rated and usable capacity of said windmills, but the best-estimate answer so far is about 0.25 million, which would carpet the entire State. This answer is so unpalatable that the question is simply never answered, or even acknowledged, in public (ie. NO numbers). Rather, arm waving about retrofitting gas turbines is then put up, but the corollary question of cost and whose cost is sidestepped

      Education vs indoctrination, indeed

  35. Here is another in the same vein of what Randy Olson and I are talking about:

    Dan Lashoff of NRDC on NPR:

    LASHOFF: “We in the scientific community by and large said OK, the science debate is over, we are moving our efforts into what we are going to do about it. And that left the science debate in the public largely untended,” he says. “That has been recognized as a strategic error.”

    • Thank yo ufor posting the link. I heard this on NPR this morning.
      It is ironic that someone like Lashof, whose career is funded by donations and grants to the NRDC to fuel its public lobbying, would say that anyone on the climate catastrophist side of the issue has left anything untended regarding public policy.
      Additionally, it seems that Dr. Lashof only sees his problem as one of marketing, which is a complete misunderstanding of the situation.
      I was interested to see that NPR still cannot be bothered to actually talk to skeptics. The irony of the NPR editorial strategy and Dr. Lashof’s self diagnosis is fascinating: Both seem to deny the problem.

    • “we are moving our efforts into what we are going to do about it”

      I’ve not seen a viable plan as to ‘what to do about it’

      A whole lot of blathering on endlessly about how some global treaty enforced by the UN would fix everything. But treaties don’t generate electricity or power planes,trains and automobiles.

      Mr and Mrs’s John Q Public are left wondering whether they will end up sitting in the dark without heat if the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

      A huge portion of skepticism is fueled by a fear that ‘Climate Policy’ will push people into energy poverty.

      It doesn’t matter how ‘correct’ Climate Science is, if it means I’m going to end up cold and in the dark it’s just ‘bogus mumbo jumbo’ and will remain ‘bogus mumbo jumbo’ until I am assured that I won’t end up cold and in the dark.

      All one has to do is follow the British debate. In addition to ‘climate gate’, the British had a fairly frosty winter last year. At it’s coldest none of the Windmills worked.
      I would posit that the fact that the windmills didn’t work when UK energy demand was at it’s peak is just as large a factor in British skepticism as ‘climate gate’.

      • Latimer Alder

        They ain’t been working much this last ten days either. And its coooold again in UK.

      • So it’s cold everywhere? Really.

      • Latimer Alder

        At least try to keep up. Read the entire thread before posting. It’s part of what we call ‘professional standards’.

      • You’re in no position to insist on “professional standards”, what with your preferred choice of the word “shysters” to smear the entire climate science community.

      • Latimer Alder

        I think you’d have to look very hard to find anywhere where I have said that about ‘the entire climate science community’.

        I do not and have not included such good people as (inter alia) Judith Curry, Steve McIntyre, Anthony Montford, Douglas J Kennan, David Holland, Anthony Watts, Don Pablo de Sierra and my good friend Dung. And many other bloggers here and elsewhere. All of whom constitute part of the ‘climate science community’

        I *have* used that word with a more limited range, and I am content that it conveyed exactly what I wanted it to.

      • Provide a list of the names of the “shysters”, then.

        ‘Course, anyone whose primary presence is on a blog, and whose publication record is wafer-thin, is automatically much less “shyster”-ish in your estimation.

      • The Windmills in the Pacific Northwest aren’t spinning either.
        3 GW worth of windmills, peaked at briefly at 400MW on the 3rd other then that mostly in the 10’s of MW.

        Fortunately,Washington’s Governor recently faced up to reality and issued a 15 year extension for our coal plant. The Oregon governor was a bit less generous, just a 10 year extension. We had a 75% completed nuke plant that someone decided to demolish rather then keep in mothballs in 1995.

        Not sure who is getting ‘educated’.
        I’m pretty sure the rate payers who pay for nuke plants that are never completed and windmills that don’t work when it’s cold are learning a lesson about letting ‘environmentalists’ decide energy policy.


    • The NPR piece, “Climate Groups Retool Argument For Global Warming,” is a pitch-perfect example of the maddening, self-serving way climate change advocates frame the global warming issue.

      The problem of course is that the public is ignorant, in denial, and susceptible to the arguments of wily skeptics who tend to be conservatives, creationists, and hostile to scientists.

      Meanwhile, the scientists took their eye of the ball because of the success of “An Inconvenient Truth” — not that they are responsible for anything Gore said in his film — and now they have to retool their arguments for the frightened, misled public by toning down the catastrophic scenarios and assuring the public that global warming will have local effects.

      Completely missing in this narrative are the Climategate scandals, the arrogant, hectoring tones of climate change advocates, the rigged blog discussions, the smearing of skeptics, and the ducking of public debates.

      Until climate change scientists and advocates come to grips with and acknowledge their mistakes, I doubt that they will recover their credibility. From what I’ve seen on this blog from that side, except for Dr. Curry, they are nowhere near doing so.

      You could say that the climate change side is in … denial.

  36. Here is how committed climate catastrophists deal with skeptics:

  37. Why do “Climate Groups” ignore evidence of misleading science and “Retool Argument For Global Warming” ?

    We are headed for disaster! More distorted science is not the answer.

    The “cat is out of the bag”!

    Arresting the founder of Wikileaks will not reverse the irreversible damage done to the reputations of climatologists and world leaders who left the public behind when they went to the Cancun Climate Conference.

    Professor Curry, do you have any words of wisdom for those who see the need to resolve peacefully the issues without further damage to the world’s economies and its peoples?

    I am concerned that the world leaders in Cancun may now feel trapped in a rapidly crumbling falsehood, and that could be dangerous for us all.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  38. Judith knows that teaching without learning leads to the stagnation of the knowledge base.
    Trapping ones self in one area to the exclusion of all others and then deeming oneself an expert is a huge mistake. And leads to errogance of why should I talk with lowly you(you little bug).
    Innovative thinkers will be ignored and a great many good ideas that could further science is lost.

    Am I persuing “peer-reviewed” writing on the science I have learned?
    No. Tried it once and didn’t like the taste. Tried NASA on numerous occasions but it is totally enclosed only to achedemics and all research belongs to NASA.

  39. In some sense, for better or worse, everything in life is education.

    In a more narrow sense, education has a positive connotation – being something that is absolutely necessary to function successfully in a civilized society. Indoctrination, on the other hand, has a negative connotation as being something that is imposed involuntarily on a vulnerable population, such as a religion (that we don’t approve of), or a political ideology (that we don’t approve of). Is the teaching English education or indoctrination? It must be education, since it makes good sense to learn English (at least here in the US).

    What about evolution and creationism? We would classify the teaching of evolution as education, and the teaching of creationism as indoctrination. Perhaps we would go further and classify creationism as ‘anti-education’ since creationism really tries to deny what an objective scientific analysis of the biosphere has come to conclude.

    Along these same lines, I would classify the teaching of climate science as education, and the anti-climate science pronouncements coming from such places as the Cato Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, the Heritage Foundation, among others, are deliberate efforts at anti-education – all for the purpose of confusing and bamboozling the public into thinking that global warming is some sort of climate conspiracy, and not something that is actually happening with the climate system.

    I try to explain global warming and climate change in terms of the basic physics on the basis of which everything in nature operates. While physics may have the undeserved reputation of being something that is difficult and esoteric, basic physics is actually a common sense way at looking at the world that most people actually do in everyday life, without ever thinking that it is “physics” that they are making use of.

    The basic concepts of conservation of energy, cause and effect, delayed response because of atmospheric and ocean heat capacities, changes in solar insolation causing seasons to change – all these are common sense concepts that are central to understanding the global climate system. Climate models are used to look at these basic concepts in greater detail. Climate science is the education process by means of which these details of how the climate system is changing are communicated to the public at large. This education process would be a lot smoother if it was only education that was involved, and we did not have to simultaneously deal with the ongoing anti-education effort that is being conducted by a well organized group of global climate change deniers.

    • This education process would be a lot smoother if it was only education that was involved, and we did not have to simultaneously deal with the ongoing anti-education effort that is being conducted by a well organized group of global climate change deniers.

      If you accept that the purpose of education is to promote critical thought rather than mere acceptance/acquiescence, then this statement is a bit problematic. What solution would you propose to deal with those you’re deeming “anti-education”?

    • Andy, have some faith in your fellow man, man!
      Most of us deal with kids and their little “truths” or advertising that is patently false, or “how do you know a politician is lying? his mouth is moving”

      I find it incredulous that so many of the cosensus group believe that the lay person is an utter and complete idiot. Then spout this BS, then wonder why the common lay person dismisses them and their message so easily.

    • There isn’t an organized group of ‘Global Climate Change Deniers’.

      What exists is a very large group of people who are quite happy not to be suffering energy poverty and an even larger group of people who are not at all interested in being locked into perpetual energy poverty.

      There isn’t a way to ‘address climate change’ and ‘end energy poverty’ at the current time. The Chinese need 1600 GW of electricity generation to end ‘energy poverty’ in their country. They currently have 900 GW of generating capacity.

      That leaves them 700 GW short.
      The maximum amount of Wind Power one can put on a grid without ‘storage’ is 15%. The Chinese are committed to taking their grid to 15% Wind by 2020. But thats just 200 GW.
      They still need another 500 GW to be provided by other technology.
      So they are adding another 200 GW of hydro, pretty much anything larger then a drainage ditch will have a hydro dam on it.
      That leaves them 300GW short.
      If they double their nuclear build rate every 5 years they’ll get to maybe 100GW nuclear by 2020. If they more then double the build rate they will be running the plants with poorly trained and inexperienced staff. A Chernobyl waiting to happen.

      That leaves them still 200 GW short and the friendly folks at Peabody Coal have assured them they can provide enough coal to run another 200 GW of coal fired plants indefinitely. So another 200 GW of coal fired plants it will be.

      Wind,Hydro and Nuclear are all cheaper then burning coal in China.

      Are they spending ‘extra’ to burn coal because they are ‘Climate Change Deniers’ or are they spending ‘extra’ to burn coal because they know if they don’t lift their people out of energy poverty soon there will be civil unrest and possibly a violent overthrow of their government?

  40. I have one concern that keeps coming up as more and more blogging goes on. Have there been any support groups set up for the hard-core, inflexible, frothing drum-beaters of the appocolypse when the climate refuses to cooperate with Hansen and Gore. I am serious about this. Will there be a new business in treating the D64’s of society, or will they be left to move on to their next religion, suffering in small groups, mumbling about polar bears and George Bush?

  41. If anyone is interested I have recently done research on the basic structure of US science education that might be useful here. Education policy is a world of confusion, but the structure is well defined. In the last 15 years K-12 science education has become a regulatory regime. What is to be taught and when is specified by law, in the form of state standards. My team has cataloged these standards here:

    Our goal was to develop a search engine that finds scientific education content by grade level, which Google and the other general engines do not do. Our prototype is running at In the process we cataloged every concept taught in K-12 science, then estimated the average grade level at which each is taught. See

    Several facts stand out:

    Students get only about 100 hours of science instruction per year. On a full time basis this is just 2.5 weeks a year, which is not much. If one wants people to learn more science then this time needs to be increased, but that requires cutting something else down or out, which no one wants to talk about.

    The instruction is very intensive, on the order of one to two basic concepts every hour. I call it a marathon of sprints. Some people complain that science education is a mile wide but only an inch deep, but science is a mile wide. In other words every one of these concepts is important and no one wants to say which ones should not be taught. My overall assessment is that US science education is just fine, given the time available and the intensive content standards that have to be met. The common complaints range from unfounded to unrealistic.

    Climate is taught in high school and only briefly. It is barely mentioned in most state standards. The College Board recently proposed a new national curriculum with climate change taught rather extensively, and in middle school. This looks like an effort at indoctrination, but no state has adopted it that I know of.

    The basic point is that K-12 science education is very well defined, but the people talking about it don’t know that.

    • In the U.S. public schools, science education is very much oriented to “teach the facts”. In high school honors courses and advanced placement courses, there is more of an emphasis on process and critical thinking and the scientific method. The students that go to university and study technical subjects at the top research universities generally have a pretty good science education at the high school level. As for the rest (the majority), the level of scientific knowledge that one gets in the U.S. from K-12 is pretty meager.

      • I see nothing meager about K-12 science education. Most people have no need for detailed science. Is there something in particular that you think should be added to the roughly 2000 concepts that are presently taught? What would you drop to make room for it? Reading, math, history, social studies, phys ed, or what?

        By the same token, it is not the job of K-12 science to prepare scientists, as they are a tiny percentage of the workforce. Advanced placement is a different story as these are people who are going to major in science. Scientific method is tedious in the extreme, mostly a study in careful measurement, not something a normal person needs to know. As for critical thinking I see no particular connection between that and science. Every discipline involves critical thinking. As I said, I have concluded that most of the criticism of US science education is rubbish. Happy to debate this.

      • Well, other countries in Europe and Asia are eating us for lunch on this. Science education is in the interest of competitiveness and economic development. The educational system should motivate more students to want to study science in university.

        I guess you don’t live in the state of Georgia. Science education is very uneven in the U.S. At the lowest common denominator, its a matter of science literacy, being able to comprehend things in the news, even.

      • You are articulating what I consider on careful study to be common fallacies. But then I am a skeptic. More tomorrow.

      • The bible here is Rising Above the Gathering Storm (RAGS) which a a classic case of hyping a scare. Skeptics should look at it. They mix up two very different things, the rise of developing countries like China out of poverty (which is good) and test scores (which are questionable).

        For example, China is producing ten times as many engineers but they need them since they are industrializing. They are also building a science research capacity, so their science numbers are growing while ours are not. This is all good.

        Many countries have a much higher percentage of graduates in the physical sciences and engineering, but this is because we have a large need for psych, econ and enviro scientists, which they cannot afford.

        It is highly questionable whether a single test of a small number of students can meaningfully rank countries in science capability. Is Japan’s score of 55 significantly different from the US score of 52? I think not. But the USA does pretty well. RAGS only includes the 8th grade TIMSS scores but the US comes in 8th, behind places like hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, etc., but the differences are mostly small. More to come.

      • If people want science scores or knowledge to go up the simple solution is to teach more science. That is, increase the 100 hours per year to 120, 140, etc. But something else has to be cut back, unless we go to year round schooling. But apparently no one wants to do either, so instead we blame the teachers.

        By the same token it is not the schools job to steer students into specific careers, such as science. And again, which careers should the schools steer students away from in the process? There is a huge zero sum game here that everyone is simply ignoring.

        As for competitiveness, whatever that means, why not push business and engineering skills, which would seem to be far more important than basic science? The present science curriculum includes neither engineering nor IT, so maybe we need less basic science, not more, to make room for applied (competitive) science.

        Again there is a huge cognitive zero sum game here. I call it the “cognitive budget.” People can only learn so much in a given time. The science education debate seems oblivious to the cognitive budget.

        This is especially true of the so-called “inquiry” movement, which wants students to figure things out for themselves. I estimate that it takes from 2 to 4 times longer to learn this way, compared to instruction, which is very efficient. Thus inquiry and literacy are in fundamental opposition. If we want students to learn how to learn, instead of actually learning, then they are going to learn a lot less.

      • very good point about the applied sciences, this is probably the main issue, but this requires a basic foundation in math and science. And personally I vote for learning how to learn.

      • Let’s assume conservatively that inquiry methods make it take twice as long to learn a given amount of scientific knowledge. (I have seen cases where it is much longer. For example teaching Newton’s law by designing a seat belt for a race car. A popular case.)

        This means that if we implemented these inquiry methods fully the average 12th grader would only know as much science as today’s average 6th grader. In short they would be scientifically illiterate (but they would know how to learn, whatever that means, but it sounds really good). Is this really what we want? Do you vote for this much scientific ignorance, for that is what it is? Core knowledge and inquiry methods are mutually exclusive.

        My point is that this debate has yet to even be recognized. Everyone wants their thing piled onto the teachers and the students. More knowledge, more inquiry, more engineering, more computer science, critical thinking, team skills, communication skills, it goes on and on. The very concept of an engineering limit to learning, or a cognitive budget, is missing. In 40 years of troubleshooting federal programs I have never seen a confused policy mess like this.

      • Hey Dr. Judy, maybe you have a guest post waiting to happen from Mr. David Wojick. It looks like it would fit quite smoothly into this sub-set.


  42. The real irony, of course, being that no matter how solid the science, how logical, rational, fact- and evidence-based the argument, there will always be those who dismiss it all and choose to believe what makes them happy and comfortable. For example:

    “It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said.

    • Latimer Alder

      And have you encountered any such people on this blog? Or in real life? Or do you just have one such example from a single radio show?

      There used to be a dog that could apparently say ‘sausages’ regularly on a popular TV show in UK. Should I have concluded that all four legged animals with fur and a tail can say ‘sausages’? Or only the ones called ‘Cumberland’ who do not also say ‘miaow’?

      • Bravo
        You’re too funny Latimer. You’re posts are a pleasure to read.

      • Latimer Alder

        You are far too kind. But don’t be late home tonight, son. Mum and I will be waiting up. :-)

      • Hah!! Dad it’s 6:48am Monday here in Brisbane.

        I’ve been up allnight on flood watch. It’s quite cool too. We need a little global warming

      • Latimer Alder

        Just make sure it’s nice and dry in Adelaide. The Brits have important things to do today. Like taking 11 Oz wickets.

      • Not *exactly* like Mr. Dennison, but a quick perusal of (say) SoD’s site will show folks extremely incapable of understanding even the most basic aspects of the science, because those facts, reason, and evidence don’t comport with their personal belief system.

      • why not engage with people on this blog, that do not fit that stereotype..
        I heard Professor Arnell, IPCC author of the 2nd 3rd ,4th and on the next report, decribe Hansen as alarmist with his pronouncements…
        does that mean all ‘climate sceintists’ are alarmist?

        Very easy to pick an extreme case, of any side, and pretend to yourselve everybody that disagrees with you is out of the same mould.

        Why not take a long perusal of Climate Audit, or the Air Vent, or Bishop Hill.. I tried Climate Progress andRealClimate but they just delete people.
        They could not delete Judith Curry, because someone important might notice their behaviour (ie Judith Curry!) The commentors there did not know how to handle the situation, because any voice that did not agree with the ‘RealClimatee consensus’ was kept away from them, thus the skills at debate were very poor.

      • I’ve perused all the standard “skeptic” sites. The amount of ignorance of the basics of the field is astounding.

        What I find particuarly (by turns amusing and galling) are the legions of commentors who, after skimming some of the *other* “skeptic” blogs, present themselves as experts on subject X, and more the ready to denounces honest-to-goodness scientists (who are internationally renowned as experts) as “frauds”, “liars”, “criminals” and “shysters” because, well, they *know* stuff from a blog!

        When said commentors are pointed out to the standard references texts and papers on subject X, they’re blissfully unaware of them. Now, they may stay in Holiday Inns on a regular basis, but I’m sorry, visiting blogs over the course of a year or two in no way makes one as credible on a subject as a full course of graduate and postgraduate study, plus a career devoted to studying the subject. Of course, being ignorant has never stopped some people from making statements as if they knew what the heck it was they were talking about.

        IMNSHO, if you’re unfamiliar with the basics of the science, and the standard texts and papers aren’t known to you, you’re in no position to smear and slur the climate science community.

      • Latimer Alder

        I do not need to know anything at all about how climate models are constructed, tuned or verified to ask the simple question.

        ‘show me the outputs from the models that have been validated by experiment/observation. And to discover that there are none. And to conclude that they aren’t fit for purpose.

        I do not need to be a professional footballer to observe that a team that has lost 21 out of 22 games is not very good and unlikely to win the league.

        I do not need to be a professional surgeon to know that a building where no patients leave by the front door but all by a hearse is not a good hospital.

        In my own field, you do not need to be a professional programmer to know that a program supposed to print an invoice but instead plays Prince’s Purple Rain on your granny’s iPod is not doing what it should.

        Of course it is not sensible to argue in detail about things for which one is uneducated. But the flaws in climatology are so blatant that it requires no more than a reasonably diverse experience of the Big Wide World to see them.

        Perhaps the climatologists real problems come down to the fact that they have never known anything other than school, college, academia. And so have no ‘compass’ from the outside world to guide them?

      • You don’t know enough to even begin to ask the right questions.

      • Latimer Alder

        The only question that matters is as I have stated before.

        Which of the models has a track record of predictions that have been verified by observation? And of not making predictions that aren’t verified by observation.

        If they fail that test they are junk. However clever the programmers can persuade themselves they have been.

      • Start with “A Vast Machine”, by Edwards. Then you can take a look at Trenberth’s “Climate System Modeling”. Or, if you’re comfortable with decent math, Washington’s “An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling”.

      • Latimer Alder

        Do any of them tell us about the track record of verifiable predictions? As it seems to be a subject that you are very anxious to avoid, I hope you are no trying to divert my attention.

        I have no great desire to understand the internal workings of the models – I moved on from programming to wider IT management a long time back. Please assure me that I wouldn’t be wasting my time.

      • If you don’t understand the why and the how of climate models, then you can’t ask the right questions about them.

        Claiming that Excel is a lousy program because it doesn’t do “World of Warcraft” very well is something quite akin to what you’re asking.

      • Latimer Alder

        Spectacularly wrong. Here are the questions you find so hard to answer.

        1. What are climate models for?
        a. To predict the future of the climate.

        2. Are they any good at it?
        a. No.


      • Latimer Alder

        And btw – I don’t claim that Excel is a lousy program in the abstract. It ‘s a great program for doing lots of things.

        But it is not good at game playing. Nor is Grand Theft Auto a serious platform for preparing tax returns. They can be as internally beautifully elegant and well-crafted and documented and cleverly coded as you like, but in judging whether they are ‘fit for purpose’ for a particular job, these are minor factors.

        Are climate models all of the good things above? I really don’t care. But little I have read on this blog tells me so.

        Are they fit for the purpose of forecasting the future of the global climate? There is no evidence that they are.

        Is there a serious plan to improve them and validate their results? None apparent

        Then why do we have them? No idea. Even climate modellers cannot coherently articulate their purpose.

        Is there any justification to continue funding them? None apparent.

      • DR64 is doing the typical true believer dodge.
        Avoid the question, distract by blaming the questioner, and flee in a cloud of rhetoric.
        I used to see this from UFO believers when I would bother to see what the UFOols were up to.

      • Latimer Alder

        A Miracle Has Occurred! (2)

        You guys will, I’m sure, be very interested in a recently published peer-reviewed article that gives a cogent explanation of exactly why you haven’t been able to answer my Joe Sixpack question about the ability of climatology to forecast the future.

        Because we can now move from the argument that ‘there is no evidence, so I do not believe that they are any use’


        ‘We now have positive evidence that they cannot do the job’

        Please see here

        I look forward to your considered observations on their conclusions that

        ‘It is claimed that GCMs provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. Examining the local performance of the models at 55 points, we found that local projections do not correlate well with observed measurements. Furthermore, we found that the correlation at a large spatial scale, i.e. the contiguous USA, is worse than at the local scale’

        which appears to me to be scientific speak for

        ‘these models are total crap’.

        Snow in Copenhagen, Climategate, Confirmation that models are crap…you’d almost conclude that the Gods are trying to tell us something. That their chosen vessels this time come from near Mount Olympus may be no coincidence. ;-)

      • You’re asking the wrong question. Learn more.

      • Latimer Alder

        No. You tell me what you think I am missing. You are (supposedly) the professional.

        I will (metaphorically) sit at your feet and you can teach me what is at all of public utility about climate models apart from predicting the future, and why they should be publicly funded yet again.

        It will be good practice for you for the next Congress. Who will be asking exactly the same question…but perhaps not quite as politely. Go ahead. I’ll be listening to the cricket anyway.

      • Latimer Alder

        Thanks Michael.

        With a Masters in Atmospheric Chemistry, (reaction kinetics a speciality) I reckon I should be able to follow most of the science without needing basic tuition.

        But you are still missing my point.

        If my old Mum buys a motor car, she wants to use it for driving around in. If it breaks down ten times a month or won’t start on a cold morning or fails its MOT certificate, it is not fit for the purpose she wants it to do.

        The answer to that is not to say ‘look at how carefully this engine manifold has been milled’ or yes but its got a mirror for you to check your hair’ or ‘but you like the colour’ Or even worse – ‘you don’t know enough about car design to be even capable of making an assessment’.

        As a car to serve its purpose it is no b….y good. And that is obvious to anybody who thinks as far as

        ‘what do I want this car to do?’ and ‘does it do it?’.

        I don;t care about the internal workings of climate models anymore than I care about the intricate details of undercarriage design when I get on an aircraft. I want to *use* these things to do something *useful* to me.

        How it is done is of supreme indifference. They are ‘tools’, not endeavours in their own right. And if they don’t do the job, they are useless.

        I’ve been an IT manager long enough to know that 98% of my users are not geeks. They just use computers to help them do their jobs. Geekspeak turns them off….all they want is for the machines and programs to help them. If they fail, they are useless.

        Is this all too difficult to understand? I could recommend some reading if you wanted me to.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “Most people, from what I can see in comments here, need to start at a basic science level and move on from there. […] Sadly, for all the drive-by experts, who, without displaying any basic competence in maths or physics, know that the complex and detailed stuff is completely wrong, it actually does takes time and real effort to develop an understanding of the science.”

        That’s a fair point, so long as it is applied generally. I’ve come across plenty of people arguing in favour of action on global warming who similarly do not understand any of the maths or physics, and quite frequently get it wrong.

        So for all the drive-by experts who without any technical knowledge know with certainty that the complex and detailed stuff is completely right, the exact same observation applies. Wouldn’t you agree?

      • Nullius in Verba

        The above comment should have been a reply to the comment below.

      • This isn’t a suitable medium for the sort of learning you need to do; perhaps a visit to your local library (I assume you see the public utility in them) will get you going. I won’t even bother with links, because if you know how to Google, you can readily find them.

        The ball’s in your court, as it were.

      • Latimer Alder

        So you actually have nothing at all to suggest, apart from a trip to the library? Lots of books in the library.
        Any particular one you recommend? Or would I need to renew my card at the Bodleian?

      • Yeah D,

        What are you thinking? A thead on education and all you can do is suggest the library – where people are likely to find a wealth of good text boks that will allow them to educate themselves on the relevant science (instead of whining on blogs all day).

        Shame on you.

      • H’mm

        I don’t think that my local public library will have many books on climatology easily to hand.

        It caters more for Mills & Boon, Agatha Christie and Catherine Cookson – with the occasional foray upmarket to Alan Titchmarsh or downmarket to Rajendra Pachauri – than for more esoteric works of the imagination.

        And last time I looked it had never heard of a Reaction Kinetics text by my old Research Supervisor that I just happened to want to consult. One or two well-thumbed GCSE Maths primers, though.

        But you are of course right. When a great guru such as Deriech064 comes down from the mountain to grace us with his presence, we should all just sit here, rapt in adoration, perhaps taking the odd note of his utterances and hanging on his every word. Small groups of us could even meet in secret afterwards to discuss his meaning and perhaps to publish slim samizdat pamphlets entitled

        ‘The new science of Derek 64 – assertion without evidence’ or

        ‘The opinions of Dereiech064 – Hot New Guidance for the Unwarmed Age. With a useful appendix on avoiding the question and changing the subject’

        And of soure, recognising that his guruness is not quite ready for full public appearances, we should never even think to ask him for any justification for his loudly trumpeted thoughts and opinions.

        Waddya think this is – some sort of blog already?

        Still, he at least just reinforces the increasingly common view that climatologists (for indeed he does appear to be one – which is not a good sign for the field), are suffering from a bad attack of severe intellectual self-importance and arrogance. This is not good news for them.

        My earlier remarks about Congress coming knocking on the door and looking very hard at climatology funding were not made in jest. They are already taking the topic seriously, as their followup remarks to Judith indicate. Public funding is the way that politicians exert their influence, and is eventually the way that your magnificent arrogances get kept in punch cards and coffee…and career structure and journals and IPCC boondoggles. There isn’t a fairy with a magic wand that ensures that such funding is guaranteed to stay at current levels, nor be immune from major retrenchment.

        We’ve seen several very cogent arguments that we need a worldwide maximum of three climate models, not thirty. And three models do not need the same number of support staff to write and tend them as thirty.

        Congressional investigators may not even have the same level of scientific background as I do (see my bio), but you can be very sure that they will not take kindly to being told that they are too stupid to even ask the right questions.

        Your choice. But I suggest that you tighten up your act – and take a long, long look in the mirror before they come round to ask what value your work is, and why you should get another chance – having failed so spectacularly this time around.

        Your choice.

      • Heck,if you think you’re up for a full climatology course striaght-up go for it.

        Most people, from what I can see in comments here, need to start at a basic science level and move on from there. Something your local library should have no trouble helping with.

        Sadly, for all the drive-by experts, who, without displaying any basic competence in maths or physics, know that the complex and detailed stuff is completely wrong, it actually does takes time and real effort to develop an understanding of the science.

      • Latimer Alder

        So go argue with them about their views over at their blog. Why are you wittering on at us poor souls?

        But while you’re there I must just tell you about the very interesting time that I met a werewolf in the street. And he had a ‘AGW Nein Danke Badge on! and a dog, but it didn’t say ‘sausages’. That just proves that all warmists are werewolves who may not be carnivores because they don’t seem to like sausages…..

      • Latimer;
        was the werewolf wearing canvas sneakers? You can tell a lot about werewolves from their choice of footwear. On the assumption it was a German werewolf, maybe the dog was a dachshund. You don’t buy a suasage dog and bark yourself…

      • Latimer Alder

        :-) :-)

        I will try to explain this to Benjie, our Dachshund. But I think he has language issues once we get away from hochdeutsch. Which is ironic, since hoch is the last thing he is. I can confirm he does like sausages.

      • Latimer,
        I doubt you would have done well at the Salem trials.
        Drowned if your innocent and burned if you survived.

      • Latimer Alder

        Fired in The Crucible of debate?

  43. Perhaps you would like to explain the basics of clouds in the climatic ssyetm.. and the actual feedbacks and sensitivity of CO2…

    With experiments (non computer models) and observed data..

    Last chap that said ‘anti-science’ – Gordon Brown… didn’t do so well

    he had a PHD in history of labour politics.

    people that believe their own pr, do not understand the opposition, as A Lacis clearly demonstrates.. Most prominent sceptics, ie Mcintyre are clearly not well funded, deniar machines… as Judith Curry and Fred Pearce have observed…

    How would you classify this new blog… – cost £8.95..
    and I count consensus establishment ‘climate scientists’ as good friends.. it is the politics and lobby groups that have caused the problems, the scientists have got caught up in it all…

    • I also have degrees in relevant hard sciences, not soft environmental sciences or the alike..

      so less of the anti-education propaganda please, everyone that uses this PR tool

  44. Didn’t get the HTML as promised. Pity. Reference:

  45. In the battle against tyranny and the misuse of government science as a tool of indoctrination, we must keep in mind that our ultimate goal is “peace on Earth, good-will to men”, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in the concluding verse of his Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” on December 25th 1864:

    “God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,

    With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

    There is a great, new, inexpensive book for Americans who want to contribute to peace on Earth by taking a stand against tyranny this season, “A Time to Stand” by Jerry Clinton Oliver.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  46. Judith – you ask “How can we we enable true education and engagement on the issue of climate change?“.

    The last part of the question is redundant, since global warming is just today’s issue. If we don’t enable true education, then we will fall into similar dark holes again in future.

    The answer to the question is ultimately very simple, though it will take time to bear fruit : add philosophy (as in ways of thinking) to the essential school curricula.

    Or to put it more simply still, the 3 R’s must become the 4 R’s : Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic and Reason.

    • Interesting reply Mike. I was just out at a Christmas Brunch with my family, and my eldest is in his first year of University. He is taking a Philosophy course and may even minor in it. I can say this about that, our discussions have taken a very interesting turn, as he is finally starting to understand what I have been harping on him for so long, about thinking for himself, i.e. critically.

      I wholly support your position on this!

  47. Lord BeaverBrook

    So, topically Cancun gives an example to be debated:

    ‘The 16th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP16) on Saturday reached its first consensus by approving a proposal on education, training and consciousness as part of efforts to mitigate climate change.

    The working group charged with drawing up the document came up with a definitive proposal that would be approved by the COP16 implementation body and then included in the Cancun accord.

    The proposal commits signatories to promote formal and informal education strategies covering the climate change phenomenon.

    It also pledges to strengthen information and coordination regionally and locally to promote training programs for all citizens. ‘

    So is this education or indoctrinisation?

    For my own thoughts it could be either, so far it is a political committment at an international conference. The question has to be asked on the content of the proposal which will of course be influenced by those putting it forward, but in what manner and who has been tasked with this starategy?
    Perhaps a global education policy has had interrim meetings over the last few years with the leading minds in education for all the countries that are present at Cancun, taking into account regional and cultural differences but I suspect not.

    If it turns out that the strategy has been put together at the behest of interest groups then there could be an explosion of political unrest that will again dwarf the scince.


    Regarding what can or should be defined as a consensus view, since this terminology is commonly used, I decided to post these poll results so that individuals may make up their own mind on what the consensus should extend to.

  49. Hi Judith,

    I am a teacher myself and the area of my doctoral studies was education. I believe the usual terms of discourse are education and schooling, the latter implying an acculturation component. Many of us have a lofty view of education, but I think there is no way to ignore that, in some ways, the aim of any education is convey a view of the matter at hand. I see middle school kids on a daily basis and I can tell you that many of them are genuinely terrified that the world is going to end because of global warming. I was disturbed and immediately suspicious when Al Gore offered 10,000 free copies of his movie to schools. Young students are not critical consumers of information – they are easily taken advantage of by appeals to authority and that includes what is shown in class. If the teacher does not present a balanced view of a topic, what results is schooling or, in the topic of this thread, indoctrination. I do not believe this is innocent in this case. In my opinion, students are being targeted by AGW proponents precisely because they are not critical, and definitely not because they are open minded. They are also easily frightened, evidenced by the awful tick-tock ads of not too long ago. Frightened populations are easily manipulated and this is, I think, the ultimate goal of the campaign.

  50. As human beings, we all use methods of indoctrination and education to teach. Modern US military is a good example of using this two-pronged approach. The military indoctrination method takes boys wanting to be men and using modern psychological tools instills the ability to kill. It is well documented that prior to the Viet Nam era, most soldiers would not fire their rifles in combat. The rate is now north of 90%. Military education, at it’s simplest is marksmanship. Combine the two and you have a very lethal and effective group of guys who will gain a 5 to 100 to 1 kill ratio depending on the enemy.

    Both RealClimate and WUWT employs education and indoctrination techniques to sell readers on their respective points of view. In a free society, it is the responsibility of the individual teacher and student to decide when to sell or be sold and when to teach or be taught.

  51. The influence that AIT has had on attitudes to AGW extends way beyond forming opinion among the general public, as Olsen makes clear. As an exercise in indoctrination it has even affected a public authority in the UK with statutory obligations to provide protection against precisely the kind of authoritative bias that the film employs.

    The UK Broadcasting Code requires due impartiality concerning major matters relating to current public policy, and that output in this category should provide an appropriately wide range of significant views that must be included, and given due weight, in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes.

    When AIT was shown on two public service broadcasting channels here in April 2009, I complained that that the Code had been breached to Ofcom, the UK broadcasting regulator, citing the decision of a High Court judge, Mr Justice Burton, in the Dimmock case. Burton found that the film was partisan, part of a political crusade, purported to reflect mainstream views while departing from them, and that it belittled opposing views.

    Fifteen months later, and after three reviews of my complaint at different levels of the organisation, they handed this decision:

    “ The Committee then turned to the question of whether the due impartiality rules might apply to the broadcast of the film because its subject matter was current public policy or because it related to current public policy.

    The Committee considered that the film’s principal subject was Anthropogenic Global Warming and that this in itself was not public policy and would not therefore trigger the Code’s requirements for due impartiality for that reason.”


    “The Committee concluded that the subject matter of the film An Inconvenient Truth – namely, that Anthropogenic Global Warming is taking place and that public attitudes needed to be changed in order for preventative action to be possible – was not a matter relating to current public policy.”

    This clearly stands logic on its head, and the only explanation that I can think of is that this organisation simply could not countenance any criticism of a film that has become the holy writ of the warmist cause.

    I have written up what happened here:

    It is a very long post, but it seemed unlikely that anyone would believe what happened unless every step of the way was documented.

    Harmless Sky

  52. The Cancun Conference is further evidence of an international alliance of politicians, scientists, and other scoundrels who have an inflated, self-righteous but delusional view of their important roles as saviors of planet Earth.

    Their actions confirm Eisenhower’s 1961 warning about the dangers of a government-funded scientific technological elite one day controlling public policy by education (indoctrination)

  53. Dr Curry,

    Would it be possible to post this again and delete all the constant haranguing from derecho64? I don’t want to be mean but I’m finding it really hard to focus on some of the excellent discussion points because of what, IMHO, amounts to trolling. I just wonder if this particular thread is the right place for someone with such a massive axe to grind and so little regard for reasonable discourse.

    • My advice is to not engage with people that you don’t think are making constructive contributions. On the nontechnical threads, I do allow comments that don’t violate blog rules. So D64 hasn’t really violated blog rules, but if you find his comments distracting, I suggest that they be ignored.

      The education issue, particularly issues raised by Wojcik and Larkin, probably deserves another thread (technical this time, with moderation), I am open to a guest post on this by either David Wojcik or Michael Larkin (possibly others) if they are interested.

      Lets discuss what a new thread on this topic would look like, there are so many comments here, I should probably start a new thread on this later today.

      • Notwithstanding blog rules, I have to agree with Saaad – I came here to escape the kind of discourse that has been taking place in the comments above. I understood the purpose of your blog was to promote a reasonable debate of the issues without the politically charged rudeness. The Best of Greenhouse post (and the way contributors debated it) was the best of your endeavours IMHO but this one has been a disaster really.

      • When the opening premise is a false dichotomy, the resulting chaos is all too preditable.

      • I know what you mean about “false dichotomy” and in a strictly semantic sense you’re right: but my feeling is that the essay(s) that followed clearly defined what was meant ie the dangers of indoctrination overwhelming education and I think this is a hugely important issue.

        Right now the anarchy of the blogosphere has overtaken the mainstream media as a source for “truth” in the climate debate, precisely because the environment reports of many mainstream media outlets are simply regurgitating press releases from environmental pressure groups who have chosen to take “the science is settled” as their own mantra that covers every harebrained scheme under the sun. People have become wise to this precisely because they have been able to read for themselves contrary views on the web. As a result the “baby” ie climate science has been “thrown out with the bathwater” ie environmental advocacy. Cranky extreme views, such as “climate change is a conspiracy of the Marxist left” have become popular simply because the vacuum created by the lack of an insightful mass media has been filled by the anarchy of the blogosphere. This is why it is so important that sites such as this continue to breathe rationality into the debate.

        There’s heaps more to say on this subject, but I’ve really got to do some work!!!! (Aaarghhh!)

      • Dr Curry,

        I notice that there’s a proposal at Cancun that seems to be gaining traction that there should be some sort of international effort to better educate people in the science of climate change – although I suspect it has the rather less honorable intention to ‘educate’ our youth to adopt a particular political viewpoint to the issue rather than engage in any real way with the science debate.

        This makes the subject of education particularly germane to the whole climate change debate – perhaps a discussion considering the blurred edges between science, advocacy and the media. I know that’s sort-of what this thread was about but I’m sure if you let messrs Larkin and Wojcik loose it would make for a fascinating discussion – with the corollary that it’s moderated for relevance, as you mentioned.

    • kill file is your friend.

      Though if I kill filed all those with “an axe to grind” or “little regard for reasonable discourse”, most of the threads would be hundreds of comments shorter.


      • I’m really not trying to have d64 ‘banished’. Actually I’m convinced that d64 has alot more science “chops” than I do and probably has some very valuable contributions to make.

        It was just that the threads were getting interminably long and more and more contributors – myself included I’m afraid to say – were becoming distracted by d64s constant barrage of provocative but largely valueless comments (IMHO).

        I take Dr Curry’s point on board to ignore posts that I find distracting but that is not always easy when you’re tracing a long line of reasoning through a thread.

      • D64 is certainly not alone.

        That we focus on him alone is very telling.

      • d64 is a great “button pusher”. If he could just check his bitterness at the door and use that clearly sharp mind to positive ends I think he’d be well worth listening to.

      • ….and your view on “Education versus Indoctrination” is?…….

      • More or less a bag of the same rhetorical tricks we already saw on this blog: indoctrination bad is, indoctrinate my opponents do; education good is; education I do; hmmmmmm.

      • Seriously mate, I’m having trouble decoding what you actually mean. You sound a bit like Yoda!

        This is not about opponents – it’s about the nature of information, the way important ideas concerning climate change are conveyed to people who may struggle with the intricacies of the science….and I’m one of them.

        Sorry Willard, but you’ll have to do better than that.

      • Latimer Alder

        Has anyone ever seen willard and d64 in the same room?

      • FWIW, I believe D64 is from Colorado, and likely works in or with UCAR or NCAR or the like. I have been reading for awhile and thought I would throw that out there as I once had a similar discussion with him on the local paper’s site. Denver Post if you care to look. Can’t be too many Derecho64s out there.

        I always had the impression he knew what he was talking about, but he came across arrogant then much as he does now. He once tried to convince me and others that the new NCAR facility in Wyoming would be powered by wind. He failed to mention that it would only be 10% of the power and that the rest would come from good ol’ fashioned coal.

        Also, he is most definitely not a skeptic posing as an alarmist scientist based on my experience.

      • Latimer Alder

        If anyone can be arsed, here’s D64’s account of what happened with him and Anthony Watts

        ‘At one time, I posted under my real name at WTFWT, and got under Anthony’s skin. He proceeded to cyberstalk me, posting various work-related information about me, and using my IP address to insinuate I was violating my workplace’s policy. At the same time, I was making some comments over at climatefraudit, also under my real name. I made a couple of ill-advised statements there that Anthony took out of context and posted at WTFWT. I suspect he contacted Morano, who then linked Watts’ post at his site. That was noticed by my bosses all the way to the top, including the legal department. I haven’t used my real name since’

        Looks to me like he got caught blogging in work time, got into deep boss/legal doodoo and blames it all on Watts grassing on him.

        If the ‘ill-advised’ remarks were of the same quality and style as we see here, then my sympathies lie with Watts.

      • So it IS true that Anthony Watts stalked him? He DID reveal personal details about him?

        Bad form and one reason why I don’t give my full name on blogs.

      • Latimer Alder

        Read the article. This is D64’s version of events…which clearly did not turn out in a way he liked. We do not know Anthony Watts’s version. Nor , I submit. are we likely to. And after a few discussion with D64 here, I note that ‘accusation heavy, evidence lite’ is his usual style.

        I note also that D64 admits that he was posting under his real name at the time. There are many ways in which his ‘ill-advised’ forays into the blogosphere could have been brought to the attention of his boss and the legal eagles. ‘Stalking’ by Watts is one…there are plenty of others..including the chance that a colleague, or his boss just happened to be reading WUWT too. They seem to be all ‘climate-related’ guys and WUWT is a popular blog.

        So my money would be on it being a self-inflicted wound with D64 having been moderated for some reason and taking exception, rather than on Watts indulging in cyberstalking. But there’s no absolute proof either way.

      • you got it a55 about.

      • > Looks to me like he got caught blogging in work time, got into deep boss/legal doodoo and blames it all on Watts grassing on him.


      • Latimer Alder


      • Thanks for looking at my web site, it would have been nice if you had bothered to look around a bit, I would really like a serious long term evaluation of the past three years of weather forecast I have presented.
        With you midlevel NCAR @ Boulder position from which you blog, I would greatly value your opinion on my presentation of data, and hypothesis on my web pages, comments welcome on the research blog parts of the site.

        Thanks for the interest Richard Holle

      • AnyColourYouLike

        “Has anyone ever seen willard and d64 in the same room?”

        What about AEG, has he been spotted since the inception of the D64 chronicles? ;-)

      • Here is the last paragraph of Judith’s post:

        > I have been criticized all over the blogosphere for discussing topics that I am not a particular authority on, or winging it is certain discussions. Since I don’t view myself as any particular arbiter of “climate truth,” and I allow some pretty freewheeling discussions over here and don’t flag commenters for stating “mistruths” or providing “misinformation,” I am viewed by some as misleading and confusionist. How can we strike the best balance for true education, and I’m assuming here that education and understanding should be the goal?

        I surmise that “opponents” fairly describes those “all around the blogosphere” who are criticizing Judith, and “some” that are viewing Judith as “misleading” and “confusionist”.

        The question at the end of the paragraph has been answered by what Olsen and Michael Larkin are being taken to say by Judith, at least implicitely.

        The antagonization is quite blatant, as blatant as the false dichotomy already observed by Michael.

      • D64 is a gift that keeps on giving….to recruit more skeptics.
        I indulge myself by responding to his jaw leading opportunities, but this is just blogging, not personal. He is probably a great guy in person and would likely be able to discuss even cliamte issues in a civil way, if this was a real and not virtual Agora.
        But I am at ehart an optimist. ;^)

      • D64 is certainly not alone.

        That your very self deem to talk about D64 is very telling.

      • willard,
        This is a blog. Everyone talks about everyone.
        Get a life.

      • In this very thread, hunter and others are talking about D64, not “everyone”, which actually would be less susceptible of being considered “cherry-picking.”

        And since hunter so gently admonishes, I already got a first life:

        The more indulging hunter is, the more happy real skeptics are.

        Join the bandwagon!

  54. Considerate thinker

    Phew, wading through the ankle deep stuff, and then finding in between some thought provoking stimulation and real gems, makes the slog worthwhile
    Thanks Judith.
    Could not be bothered replying to D64…. he is doing such a good job kicking own goals!!

  55. Good grief – after reading the posts I had to go back to the begining of the article to remind myself of the original issue.
    Much is being said on this thread about the qualifications of the scientists. I have no qualms respecting most of the legitimate scientists. However, Mr. Gore in Earth in the Balance and An Inconvenient Truth went much further than science. He added religious hyperbole, manipulated graphs and photo shopped images. This is propaganda, pure and simple. Had it not been for Mr. Gore, my skepticism would have been greatly reduced.

    Since I’ve been reading Dr. Curry’s blog, I am leaning m0re and more to believing the impact of AGW (but not the politics).
    I’m reminded of a poster I once saw from Nazi era Germany where Einstein was pictured and his theories derided as magic; I pray we never go that far.

  56. I think D64 is really a skeptic. He’s repeating standard alarmist talking points in an effort to sabotage the alarmist side. Very clever.

    • ……perhaps D64 is Anthony Watts ……black ops – wouldn’t that be wild!!

      Sorry, it’s 2am here in Australia and I couldn’t resist…….Now, back to work!!!!!

  57. Dear Judith,
    I was an educator in the Arts and an artist until retirement, but have always done other things as well, such as engineering, electronics , construction, etc, which enables me to retain my passion for education. I once took climate science on trust until I really began to examine the science, a process which left me with more questions than answers. I turned to the blogosphere to find out how the basic data is collected, for starters. A simple question about this got me jumped all over by a Greenpeace activist who had no compunction about using foul language and making silly personal attacks which, of course set off my internal alarms. An acquaintance introduced me to WUWT, and I have been able to make statements and ask questions there without any kind of similar attacks on me. Because I am not educated in the sciences does not mean I am unable to understand scientific processes and read scientific papers, although I am quite slow to arrive at an understanding of much of the maths. I have come to regard Anthony Watts as an extremely fair-minded person whose main demands on his blog are for civilised discourse and language, which seems fair enough to me and I find deroch065’s bitterness regarding WUWT quite difficult to understand. I have come to have enormous regard for Willis Eschenbach as a natural educator and communicator even though I disagree with some of his concepts. Many of the WUWT posters are thoughtful and knowledgable and are usually worth the time to read and digest. WUWT is first on a reading list each day, and my science education continues apace. I visit many blogs, yours included, which I enjoy, but rarely post a comment unless I feel I have a contribution to make.
    Alexander K

    • Can I just say Alexander K that my experience at WUWT was much the same as yours. It was a place where one could question this huge climate change Behemoth without being called an idiot.

      Of course, times have changed now since “Climategate”and the fact that such eminent scientists as Dr Curry are now engaged in the debate bears testimony to a public dissatisfaction with the MSM reportage that has led to a great popular ‘revolt” of sorts, of which you and I have both been a part.

      What I think we are witnessing here is a new opportunity, both in terms of education and enlightenment. The anarchy of the blogosphere is as inspiring, dangerous, informing and unpredictable as the printed “sixpenny sheets” must have been during the French Revolution….not that I’m suggesting that any heads should be cut off – just reprising the spirit of Rousseau which I think is alive and well, and thriving on the anarchic oxygen of the blogosphere.

      Mind you, I still visit WUWT every day, without fail. After all, it was Anthony Watts who first gave voice to my own doubts.

  58. I would be very interested in the opinion of readers here regarding the The US Supreme Court’s announcement that it will give further consideration to a lawsuit filed by environmentalists, eight states and New York City blaming the problems associated with global warming on the carbon dioxide output of five major power companies. The states claim the power companies have caused irreparable environmental harm by allowing its plants to produce excessive levels of carbon dioxide. They claim people have died because of their actions and others have been directly impacted by the resulting smog, decreased fresh water supplies, land erosion and rising sea levels.

    Who do you believe has the stronger case Plaintiff of defendant? Why?

    • Hi
      yes i thought about this some time ago when it was first flagged.
      I’d put my money on the defendant for many reasons but just one will do i.e.

      The plaintiff will need to prove that it was the CO2 from the defendants emissions that caused the problem. There are so many emittors (including the judges car, home and that of the plaintiffs)
      Even if a pro rata(?) blame was considered, it would take the judge (and the judges in the inevitable appeals) years upon years to decide apportioned blame, especially since the atmosphere has no borders. (Good luck getting money out of China and India)

      Further, assuming they are successful, what are they going to do if the power companies (private corps) are threatened with bankruptcy or worse, hike prices steeply to cover their liabilities. The general populace wouldn’t take kindly to this and it may be difficult to hold the trial by candle light.

      Worse still, what if the power companies hike prices NOW because of the threat of liability. They gotto make a living too.

      • I wonder how this action was ever brought. Given that: “states claim the power companies have caused irreparable environmental harm by allowing its plants to produce excessive levels of carbon dioxide.” It would seem impossible for the states to prove that point to be true. Does anyone disagree?

    • This is an interesting question.

      Firstly there is no doubt that the atmospheric pollution caused by coal-fired power stations costs lives. This is primarily as a result of chronic Asthma and other respiratory disorders that are exacerbated by the particulate emissions. There is also some evidence that the risks of some forms of lung cancer may be statistically increased by coal-fired power station emissions. There are plenty of papers on this – I just can’t spend the time right now to look them up.

      As far as CO2 is concerned I think the case is monumentally weak. By bringing the case to court the plaintiffs are requiring that the “balance of probabilities” is in favour of the power companies putting people in harm’s way through their output of CO2.

      Here we go again with the heart of this particular thread, in terms of people’s understanding of the science compared with what they’re exposed to in the MSM.

      Firstly, the fact that CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas is a given.

      Its effect on climate change on both a global and local level is, however, far from settled science and the fact that public policy has rather ‘jumped the gun’ in its enthusiasm for this notion will not stand the critical tests of the Supreme Court IMHO.

      It’s understandable that, given the prominence in the MSM of press releases from environmental pressure groups who have taken full advantage of the headline-worthy nature of their dire predictions, the plaintiffs would feel there is ample evidence for their case.

      But my own sense is that whoever instigated this action – and I strongly suspect it would be any one of a number of CAGW advocacy groups – have probably scored a major own-goal.

      The most interesting outcome could be a further boost for the Nuclear option .

      • “A further boost to the nuclear option’

        The nuclear option is off to a slow but encouraging start in the US Southeast. The economics of coal are less then favorable in the Southeast do to distance from cheap Wyoming coal.
        At the moment the major impediment is NRC reviews which are taking longer then originally anticipated as the NRC lost a lot of it’s review skill set in the 20 years it didn’t do any reviews at all.

      • IMO, for nuclear energy to “take off” again in the USA, it will require strong federal leadership to establish “standard designs” and a vastly simplified regulatory approval process. I have been disappointed thus far in seeing no one propose such an approach. Currently it is difficult for investors to support nuclear power because it is so difficult to predict a payback due to the uncertainty of the approval processes.

      • In Australia, mentioning “Nuclear” is still a bit like farting in Church, if you’ll forgive the analogy. It’s amazing – we supply the World with so much of its Uranium, we have an anti-coal movement (and Australia could survive on cheap energy for the next 1000 years at least on its coal reserves) that has demonised coal to the point where advocating it as an energy resource is like supporting DUI…….and yet….and yet, no-one in parliament is courageous enough to promote Nuclear power as an alternative clean baseload power generator. Amazing!

        We’re going to have the unfortunate advantage of watching the UK run out of baseload power thanks to its ludicrous “sustainable” (whatever that means) energy programmes, only to repeat the mistake!

        Strange days indeed.

      • There is lots of coal in KY and TN and TVA runs a huge number of coal fired plants.

        FWIW, Barry Brook has a good blog on nuclear issues, Brave New Climate with an antipodean focus

    • One has recused, so it could end up 4 to 4. Tie goes to the runner?

    • In this legal environment, I believe a state of mourning for the formerly free and great United States is in order. I will be thrilled of defendants prevail. I would be vastly more pleased if the case was tossed out in such a way as to force the plaintiffs to be sanctioned and pay the defendent’s costs.
      But I believe what will happen is that plaintiffs will prevail and our new national industry, torting, will destroy yet another piece of our civilization.

      • I’d be a little more hopeful than that, hunter. The great democracies of the world are still focussed firmly around the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, despite repeated efforts from all sides of politics over the years to subvert the process. The process is more “robust” (I hate that word) than you may think.

        In other words, if the plaintiffs won – which is a truly massive stretch but could happen I guess – they would be destroyed on appeal. Either way, I think they were ill-advised to start this action: I suspect they fell prey to that all-too-human weakness from which we all suffer from time to time – they believed their own publicity !

      • This sort of legal action has to be thought thru very very carefully. The winner may infact turn out to be the loser in reality. (and big time)

        Towit, presiding judges cannot be expected to test the science, even scientists can’t agree on the science. Judges will have to rely on expert witnesses, and in the case of climate, the expert witness are the recognised institutions and their representatives.
        Currently, ALL the recognised institutions are pro AGW, so a win for the plaintiffs is not stretching the imagination.

        The real crux of the matter though is the affect a win would have on not just the defendants, but potentially ALL emittors in western nations who usually take precedents from each other.
        And you can bet London to a brick, activists such as WWF and Greenpeace will pursue emittors all over the world in all juristictions.

        The wheels of justice turn slowly, in this case at about the speed of cold molasses. In the mean time, emittors (coal miners, power generators, car manufacturers, large industry etc etc etc) are not going to wait around like sitting ducks. they will endevor to protect their companies and shareholders, THEY WILL RAISE PRICES ASTRONOMICALLY, and since we can’t live without emissions (at least in the medium to longish term) we will lose our standard of living substantially. (Not to mention new investments screeching to a halt).

        But as I said earlier, wheels of justice and all. Whilst this is playing out slowly, there will be such a massive movement by the electors, politicians will HAVE TO change/introduce laws to stop this. They may even introduce laws that say CO2 is a trace gas essential to all life, hence not a pollutant (or similar)

        The winners (advocates) now are the permanent losers.
        They must think this thru.

      • “Currently, ALL the recognised institutions are pro AGW, so a win for the plaintiffs is not stretching the imagination.”

        Baa, recognised by who? Many of us see the best hope for reversing the alarmist ratchet in a court trial, precisely because the plaintiffs DON’T get to pick the experts. (Oh, and also because the alarmists would make their first acquaintance with forensic thought). These plaintiffs may have been too overcome with their sense of their own virtue to imagine such a thing, but the court may (and certainly will, if it wants to avoid seeing its findings reversed on appeal) choose to accord no less weight to the evidence of a Richard Courtney or Richard Lindzen than a Ben Santer or a Michael Mann.

        I say, Bring it on.

      • It can’t go to appeal, as it is the U.S. Supreme court that has taken the case from the lower courts. They may rule that this is a political issue that is not in any court’s jurisdiction.

      • The Power Companies should just apologize for been so horrible and then turn the power off!

    • I don’t understand the logic of NYC nor those eight states. If I were a resident/taxpayer of any of those jurisdictions I would be heavily lobbying the politicians to drop this action because regardless of who “wins” the litigation, the taxpayer will lose/pay.

  59. randomengineer

    The states claim the power companies have caused irreparable environmental harm by allowing its plants to produce excessive levels of carbon dioxide.

    Obviously the case is idiocy being flogged by fanatics. Hopefully what’s happening here is that SCOTUS will use this case to put a swift end to all of this type of lawsuit (this is most likely one of n similar suits.) I don’t know of a rational resaon why the court would consider it otherwise.

  60. BlueIce2HotSea

    Thank you Latimer Alder for that link.

    I am prepared to believe that D64 actually is an AGWer and not a denier trying to win over converts by posing as a hyperbolically repulsive personality. And I am confident that D64 can contribute interesting and valuable comments provided the topic does not broach his enemies list.

    I would not ban him as a troll, however, if I had the option, I might filter to shorten the number of comments on Judith’s blog.

  61. I would say that D64’s solid attendance during a 7 hour period daily says a lot about his work habits. It seems as if he thinks this is his blog, as he posts more than 10X as much as Judith. In most of the cases where the discussion gets derailed into the multiple line of response, d64 is the driver of the drivel.

    IF he had some clear logical assessment of the topic under discussion, and used real links to supporting data, it would make it easier to tolerate him.

  62. I’m curious as to why I’ve become a topic of conversation – enough that Judith has to make a point to keep the discussion contained to this thread. Why is it that some people can’t focus on the issue and would prefer to gossip about the people?

  63. This is one of my favorite all time pieces of the grbage at watts (tht hasn’t been scrubbed):
    “On December 30, climate scientists from the UK Met Office and the University of East Anglia projected 2009 will be one of the top five warmest years on record. Average global temperatures for 2009 are predicted to be 0.4∞C above the 1961-1990 average of 14 ∫ C. A multiyear forecast using a Met Office climate model indicates a rapid return of global temperature to the long-term warming trend, with an increasing probability of record temperatures after 2009.

    We know now that the alarmists’ prediction for 2009 didn’t come true.”

    The didn’t come true part is a link is this watts story:

    Which as you can see from the link is about the USA.

    But Mann’s prediction had nothing to do with the USA. It was a global prediction. How’d he do:
    It was 2nd according to NASA.
    And based on Spencer’s satelite data ast the time it was 4th (and now has slipped behind 2010).

    Sound like a pretty good prediction ot me.

  64. It ought to have been a good idea to launch this discussion thread – the topic is an important one after all. But the disruption of the comments by a handful of posters has in itself become the most prominent ‘learning opportunity’, despite there being some excellent comments. The inchoate interruptions and diversions off topic do little credit to the disrupters, but do give the rest of us a tiny bit more insight into the calibre of some of those who are agitated beyond reason by a certain trace gas in our atmosphere.

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