On e-salons and blogospheric argumentation

by Judith Curry

On a previous thread, I made the following statement:

I am striving for something different, sort of an e-salon where we discuss interesting topics at the knowledge frontier.

Lets take a closer look at how this might work.


Jean Goodwin has several posts that provide some insights:

Communication principles for an e-salon
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Madeleine de Scudéry is often credited with organizing one of the first salons, bringing together men and women across at least some class boundaries to share a pleasant conversation of the topics of the day.  Her novels centered around long conversational set-pieces, which she also collected and extended in multiple volumes of Conversations.  These works not only provided models for salon wannabes;  some of theConversations conversations were about conversation, and can serve as instructional manuals of a sort.
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There is one thing that all the characters in Scudery’s dialogues agree on:  Conversations must include both men and women.  All-female and all-male conversations are deadly dull.  Maybe policy/ideological/etc. differences should be treated in the same way in the e-salon? 

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JC comment:  Not sure what to make of this one, although most of my audience is male.  Re policy/ideological differences, yes that adds some spice, but some of the most interesting policy/ideological arguments here have been between two cool libertarian dudes (Chief Hydrologist and Rich Matarese).

The primary aim of conversationalists should be to keep the conversation going in a way that’s enjoyable to all.  And Bizell & Herzberg (The Rhetorical Tradition, 2nd Ed.) provide a nice summary of where conversations are supposed to end up:

Harmony among conflicting viewpoints, not the victory of one of them, should be the ultimate goal (and the topics discussed in Scudéry’s conversations are usually left unresolved for that reason).

Note that “harmony,” unlike “consensus” requires diversity.  We do in fact have to live with irresolution in the blogosphere.  But can we come to like it?

JC comment: well irresolution certainly describes much of what goes on in the climate blogosphere, including endless discussion on the existence of the greenhouse effect.   Both sides seem to have declared victory, the conventional academic argument seems generally unassailable to me (if not always communicated very effectively to the nonspecialist).  But judging by the continued interest by both sides in the greenhouse dragon threads, people seem to like arguing about this topic.
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One can’t openly “win” a conversation without breaking it.  But there is still plenty of room for competitive self-display, in the manner one expresses one’s points.  Getting the right word (we still stay it in French–le mot juste);  constructing prose that is clear, flexible and maybe even a bit fancy;  managing interpersonal relations in a subtle way:  the conversationalist can win on style points where outright victory is denied.  Now this would certainly be a nice thing to see more of in the blogosphere!

JC comment:  The cool thing about blogospheric dialogue is that you have more time to actually craft your statement.  There have been some occasional brilliant flashes of wit here (the most recent flash that I recall was the mosquito fist bump thing).  I know, an edit function would help, but not to be on wordpress.com
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And finally, I can’t resist posting this from Jean Goodwin’s post:
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Judith Curry in 1688?
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Debate in the blogosphere: a small case study
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Steve Patterson over at RAIL recently wrote a typically fine piece on How Comments are Killing the Commons.   Coming at the subject as a student of public discourse, I find myself a little more tolerant of the blogosphere’s “partisan clowning” etc.   Here are three things I learned about blogospheric debate, especially in contrast to communication in more face-to-face settings.
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Referring to a recent thread at ClimateAudit:
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Managing interpersonal tensions.  It’s long been recognized that in online discourse, the “cues” we rely on in face-to-face talk get “filtered out.”  In a conversational debate, we have signals of intonation and body language that indicate how upset or angry our opponent is getting.  Online, without these cues, it is easier for speakers to lose track of their audience’s possible feelings, and for audiences to misjudge a speaker’s intention to insult.  One result:  ”flame wars.”

Climate Audit manages this problem through what could be called an aggressive insistence on mutual respect, at least at the beginnings of posts.  After my comment, I was repeatedly greeted by name and “welcomed in.”  Less consistently but still noticeably, participants in the comment threads made an effort to avoid ad hominem attacks, identifying the target of their critiques as my work, as opposed to me.  As McIntyre said during the discussion,

I try pretty hard to be polite and I think that it pays off over the long run. I know that I occasionally do not live up to this policy, but I also understand departures from this policy are counter-productive and self-indulgent and still try to adhere to the policy.

Managing misunderstandings.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that many disputes–online and in person–are driven more by misunderstandings than by actual disagreement.  In face-to-face conversations, misunderstandings can be managed by a variety of means.  Participants often know each other, reducing the frequency of misunderstandings.  Further, possible misunderstandings can be detected through body language, and repairs can be sought quickly and easily.

None of these conditions hold in the blogosophere.  People may not share much common knowledge, the comment threads lack interpersonal cues, and the statements at the center of a misunderstanding just hang there, perpetuating the problem.  Speakers, diagnosing their audience’s lack of agreement as a misunderstanding, can begin to repeat their points over and over again, cluttering the comment thread and eventually irritating their fellow commenters.

Climate Audit appears to be managing this problem well by a general culture of patience;  commenters just let things go.  One indication of this is the relatively short thread “depth”;  only occasionally does a comment thread go beyond 3 levels of responses, and there isn’t a conspicuous jockeying to have the last word.  It’s my impression (at this point, undocumented) that several of the commenters are blog regulars, and resolve possible misunderstandings by listening to each other over a relatively extended period.  So this, too, is a good strategy for comments in the blogosphere:  let it go, try again next time.

JC comment:  occasionally the discussion at Climate Etc. goes off the rails, and occasionally I have deleted a whole string of comments.  I have struggled with levels of nested responses to allow; right now we are at the max that wordpress.com allows.  Thoughts?  Also, people that are “regulars” get to know the other “regulars,” and settle into a comfortable mode of sparring.  One person noted that he only looked at the posts aligned on the left margins, and not the replies.  I suggest substantive, lengthy posts not be made as part of a nested reply string.

Making arguments expensive
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What does a formal debate offer that the ordinary disorderly flow of arguing in the blogosphere doesn’t?  To pick up on a theme from my last post:  a formal debate allows the participants to control  what they are taking responsibility for–and to force others to take responsibility, too.  Roger Pielke, Jr. is a masterful debater, and his recent challenge to critics of “climate pragmatism” shows this strategy at its finest.

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There’s nothing much to stop people from selecting the strongest arguments to defend their valid point of view–or from cherry-picking evidence to support a blatant mischaracterization–on their own blogs.  How to stop such loose talk?  By making it expensive.  Pielke opens his post with an “invitation” to his critics to come to his blog and “to explain what is wrong with the math and logic presented below.”  
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Demand clarity:  One of the critics’ responsibilities to identify their points of disagreement.  Pielke is thus licensed to refuse to respond until his critics answer a “simple question, do you contest any of the 10 statements above?”

Refuse to acknowledge a comment:  The critics’ other responsibility is to offer some kind of a defense.  Again, Pielke can refuse to respond until his critic follows his ”Advice: if you want to make a claim that ‘X is false’ then you need to provide evidence and an argument.”

Critique the arguer for an inadequate argument:  Even when the critic puts some kind of argument forward, Pielke can refuse to reply in detail if that argument does not fulfill the critic’s probative responsibilities.  

In sum:  about half the debate consists not of arguments pro and con, but of Pielke’s reasoned refusals to respond–refusals justified by his critics’ failures to meet the probative obligations set up at the opening of the debate.

What can a critic do?  One possibility is obvious:  Meet the announced burden of proof!  Of course, that may be hard to do in the fast-moving blog world–the first critic in this debate, for example, came in only an hour after the challenge was issued.

A second strategy is to attempt to redefine the burden of proof.  One critic tries this midway by demanding that Pielke take responsibility himself, for producing and defending a solution to AGW.  Pielke of course refuses to make a case until his critic has offered an adequate counterargument under the responsibilities set up at the beginning of the debate, and refers the critic back to all his previous works.

A final strategy for the critic:  Refuse to engage, at least on the terms Pielke has set.  This strategy has a downside;  it allows Pielke to make (slightly indirect again) accusations of cowardice and sophistry.

The critic in refusing to debate can respond that he has dealt with the matter sufficiently on his own blog;  that he has other responsibilities to meet (like the need to craft his next multipage blog post);  that Pielke is unlikely to play fair;  and so on.  As the poet said, “the wise cats never appeared.”

This is why despite the many challenges to Climate Smackdowns, few have actually come off.  We in the audience would enjoy the drama of a definitive climate debate, we would relish the victory (at least, if our side won), and we would all benefit from the higher quality arguments participants would be responsible for offering.  But the debaters themselves seldom have incentives to take responsibility for what they are saying;  and so in the Gresham’s law of argument, cheap talk drives out expensive argument.

JC comment.  Climate Smackdowns or “cage matches” between two well matched opponents in a debate have great appeal, but they rarely happen.  Why?  Nobody wants to do homework on an assignment that someone else has given, although they might enjoy being a pundit and making comments on the topics.  So Roger Pielke Jr is certainly an effective debater, but his blogospheric tactics don’t engender many takers.  Does this allow him to claim he has “won”?  Not really, since the debate didn’t happen on his terms.

Morano vs Maslin

Randy Olson’s fine and amusing The Benshi characterizes the mini-debate during the Copenhagen summit between “skeptical” spokesman Marc Morano of Climate Depot and climate scientist Prof. Mark Maslin as a “K.O.”–in Morano’s favor, of course.  He’s right, and I want to use the first series of posts to examine why.  Here’s their exchange, via YouTube.

Goodwin provides a very interesting analysis of what works in debate vs what doesn’t, using the Maslin Morano debate as an example.  For people bemoaning that Morano invariably “wins” debates according to the public reaction, pay attention to Jean Goodwin’s analysis.

JC conclusion:  trying to figure out how to effectively communicate in blogosphere and run a climate blog is a work in progress.  The one thing I’ve figured out is that “echo chamber” blogs are much less interesting than ones with participants having a diversity of perspectives.  Also,  insulting people invariably ends up reflecting more poorly on the person doing the insulting rather than the object of the insult (that one is a very difficult lesson for people to learn.)

579 responses to “On e-salons and blogospheric argumentation

  1. Dr. Curry,

    I’m not convinced that an E-Salon is going to do anything to advance the debate alone. However, I do believe it would be a useful tool to develop each sides argument for a Live Debate.

    I offer that the denizens here can nominate teams and leaders of each team in order to prepare arguments for a live debate to be held sometime down the road.

    I have a relative who is a GT Alumni (PhD Nuclear Physics) who takes an interest in this subject and, from conversations they have, more than once mentioned other Alumni and colleagues who also take interest. I’m certain if they are confident the two sides will be well represented they would gladly pay to see such an event. The proceeds can go to Charity, Scholarships, whatnot. With the right teams and a little marketing, this would be a grand event that can produce a great deal of Charity in these tough times.

    While you are too busy to actually rebuke the GreenHouse Dragon Slayers, you have mentioned that students could champion for you. I don’t mean to sound unconvinced, but dismissing someone’s work and stating that you ‘could’ rebuke it if you only had the time is a bit disingenuous.

    In any event, it would give posters here an opportunity to collect and align their thoughts for what will be a very useful advancement of the overall debate. It is quite clear that a Falsification of the misnomer “GHE” will terribly hurt the AGW cause, where an absence of a Falsification would be a huge plus.

    What do others think?

  2. The description of a conversation reminds me of Bob Grumbine’s post on discussion vs debate (http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/08/discussion-vs-debate.html ), where the former is more constructive and interesting (to him) than the latter. Unfortunately, most find the latter more attractive.

    Can we come to like the irresolution (of the blogosphere, or of the societal climate debate, or of the UNFCCC process, or of the climate situation as a whole)? Guess we could if it were just a game. I’m afraid though that it’s a game with consequences.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I dislike that post because what he calls a “debate” is not a debate. It’s an argument. That sort of conflation irks me (I happen to have a love for debates). Not only is it annoying, it is misleading. Grumbine basically says a discussion is how one strives for understanding while in a “debate” one doesn’t seek understanding. This is wrong. In any true debate, participants should already understand both positions. They should already understand their opponent’s position so they don’t need to seek understanding. Generally speaking, one won’t have a debate without having had discussions earlier (which is where one comes to understand opponent’s positions).

      Now then, Grumbine’s conflation misses a key distinction. In a discussion, participants are trying to spread knowledge. The focus is primarily upon the participants. In a debate, the opposite is true. In a debate, the opponent is irrelevant. You do not seek to convince him of your position, in fact, you don’t care about him. Instead, a debate is all about the viewers. In a debate, there should be two (or more) parties who present positions and arguments to the viewers. Their goal is to get viewers to understand and agree with their position.

      Discussions are good in the same way research is good. They provide information. Debates are good because they provide a way to rigorously test positions. This provides accuracy.

  3. JC,

    The argumentative e-salon spirit that appeals to me is exemplified by the following quotes from the introduction to ‘Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy from Thales to Aristotle’ edited by S.Cohen, P. Curd, and C. Reeve.

    “[ . . . ] What they [ancient Greek philosophers] did, to put it boldly and oversimply, was to invent critical rationality and embody it in a tradition; for the theories they advanced, whether on nature or origins of the cosmos or on ethics and politics, were not offered as gospels to be accepted on divine or human authority but as rational products to be accepted or rejected on the basis of evidence and argument.” [ . . . ]

    “Obviously, there is more to say about the achievements of Greek philosophy that this. But bold and oversimple as our claim is, and standing in need of modification and elaboration as it does, it points nonetheless to something central and vital, something that will surely be borne in upon any reader of the texts collected here: The world of Greek philosophy is an argumentative world.”

    My view is the more argumentative an e-solan the better it is in all ways. Extremes of incivility, aggression and misuse of anonymity can be simply self-regulated just like the Ancient Greeks did . . . . just like modern science is (supposedly) does.

    The academies and forums of the Ancient Greeks and salons of turn of the 19th to 20th centuries were not anonymous, which made them very different in a fundamental way than the modern e-salon.

    John

    • John Whitman

      JC,

      Your assessment of the climate science did not go un-noticed nor did your judgment of the value of longstanding debate. Your assessment and judgment is quoted at the end of this comment.

      I am quite surprised that you miss the most important aspect of your blog; Education!! You are seeing people use the best possible educational technique that ever existed . . . direct active argument. There is a tremendous amount of education in both rational analysis and scientific discovery going on there. Why would you wish that to end?

      JC said, “ Both sides seem to have declared victory, the conventional academic argument seems generally unassailable to me (if not always communicated very effectively to the nonspecialist). But judging by the continued interest by both sides in the greenhouse dragon threads, people seem to like arguing about this topic.”

      John

      • I definitely don’t want it to end! With regards to the education aspect, there is debate as to whether the “authoritative information” approach to blogging (e.g. RC, SkS) or a more discussion/argument oriented approach produces the best outcome in terms of education (apart from the issue of whether the “authoritative information” is correct). Personally my goal is to provoke people to think critically about whatever topic is being discussed, rather than to persuade people to my view of things.

      • John Whitman

        JC,

        The participants on these blogs are adults who freely, independently and voluntarily pursue such goals as debate and/or informative and/or understanding. The authoritarian education approach is not only inappropriate but counterproductive. I think, without admitting it, the IPCC consensus has reluctantly learned that lesson of counter productiveness; although the grieving process in not yet over for the loss of their authoritarian approach.

        If the IPCC consensus arguments are substantial, open, honest and direct then in the open market place of ideas/arguments/science they should be prevailing. It appears they are not. The complicating factor of their failure to prevail is that such IPCC consensus products where inherent to gov’t funded research and to a UN chartered quasi political organization with a significant bureaucracy. There is no face saving mechanism for them when they do not prevail in the argument. Therefore very volatile will be the final stages of the argument toward any prevailing position that is not the IPCC consensus. Human nature. It will be ugly.

        John

      • With regards to the education aspect, there is debate as to whether the “authoritative information” approach to blogging (e.g. RC, SkS) or a more discussion/argument oriented approach produces the best outcome in terms of education (apart from the issue of whether the “authoritative information” is correct).

        For what it’s worth, my experience is that I’ve learned far more here and at the BlackBoard than on any other blogs. Perhaps that’s a reflection of the ideal of including both males and females in the salon as mentioned above or perhaps it’s just a reflection of my own dislike for indoctrination.

      • The so-called “authoritative approach” is often how education generally works, at least at a grade school or undergraduate level, since the “students” are not presumed to know the material. Depending on the topic, this is generally very productive, and I don’t find students protest the method very much. It may not be the best choice when reading a book and trying to interpret the meaning of various metaphors, in which case students are encouraged to critically think and engage about open-ended questions; however, it is useful for learning concepts like gravity, at which it is pointless to try to make students “discuss” or “debate” their preferences about the gravitational force being related to G*M1*M2/r^2. Deriving relevant equations, lab experimentation, and working through problems reinforces understanding better. Similarly, the physics of infrared radiative transfer is not subject to people throwing around their own pet theories, and if someone had such a profound insight that would overturn a century of physics, the appropriate venue to communicate this would not be in a blog.

        The problem with the “free for all” approach, to highlight Gene’s comment as an example, is that while casual on-lookers or participants may prefer this to being “told” something, but they may in fact be unknowingly picking up a lot of wrong information. Once this happens, many people won’t let go of this “information,” even when a scientist who knows what is going on comes by and works out why they are wrong. It is a dangerous game.

        It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

      • The so-called “authoritative approach” is often how education generally works, at least at a grade school or undergraduate level, since the “students” are not presumed to know the material.

        Chris,

        There are differences between K-12 and adult education. Those differences drive the approaches used. The “authoritative approach” is the more efficient (though arguably, not as effective with gifted students) when dealing with children. Children, especially at early ages, will absorb information “just because” and do so with less critical evaluation.

        The motivations and approach to learning of adults, however, render this approach increasingly less effective as they age. Adults tend to learn for specific reasons (employment requirement, personal interest, etc.). Additionally, they tend to spend more time questioning what’s presented, so as to integrate the new information into their frame of reference. It’s not a matter of “preferences”, it’s actively assimilating information. It requires more of the teacher in that “that’s what the book says” is inadequate as explanation or justification.

        The problem with the “free for all” approach, to highlight Gene’s comment as an example, is that while casual on-lookers or participants may prefer this to being “told” something, but they may in fact be unknowingly picking up a lot of wrong information.

        That is a possibility. However, the same possibility exists to a greater degree in the “authoritative approach”. The “free for all” gives someone with critical thinking skills the opportunity to evaluate the information being presented and the credibility of the presenter. The other approach does not afford that opportunity.

        Perhaps I should have noted that some of what I’d learned was trustworthyness of radiative transfer models and the utility of the anomaly method for temperature analysis. Did I go wrong?

        It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

        I think we may agree here, though for different reasons. I generally state it as a smart person is aware of what they know; a wise person is aware of what they don’t know.

      • How to get students to learn best must be a question that very many teachers of all levels think. My own experience is mainly from the university level, but as background I have had always in mind an observation a I made of my class in high school. Our class may have been more active than average, but at least for that group one realization was that many of us learned sometimes more, when the teacher was not convincing and even quite incompetent in our view. That led several of us to take an active approach, we might try to outwit the teacher. Doing that we almost certainly learned more than from a normal “better” teacher.

        When I try to analyze my own learning at the university, the impression is that at best the teaching provided good pieces of information, which were part of the full coherent picture, but which became coherent for me in my own mind, when what had been taught exceeded a critical threshold that was required by my brain to be able to put the pieces together.

        There are also a couple of examples of “adult education” of very special type. I have been working with more senior people, who are very competent, but somehow unwilling to accept anything told to them directly. As their views were important for us of the less senior level, we developed intentional strategies to influence them by feeding our thinking in small peaces and letting them put them together. One of my colleagues wrote a scientific paper ready, and started then influence his boss by this method. Only, when the boss had realized the result, took he the paper out and told, “I’ve already written that up”. That was the way to get the admission to publish with most credit given to him and not the boss.

        I have found it very difficult to apply those ideas concretely in teaching as a university professor. I might be able to use the approach for a fraction of my students, but the details should be different for different people. It’s difficult to get the students to be genuinely active. On some of the postgraduate courses I have had essentially more senior participants and some of them have been really valuable with their interruptions and questions, but the younger students have mostly been too passive.

        More activity might be induced by optimizing the content for that, but that’s not possible in general, because that’s a very slow way of proceeding on the extent of coverage. It’s not possible to concentrate only on the understanding of a few points. And after all for me the best results really came, when the coverage was large and the own understanding developed based on that with it’s own natural pace, perhaps often in bed waiting for sleep to come.

      • Ah, how refreshing… an appeal to authority even when a scientist who knows what is going on comes by and tells them why they are wrong.

      • Dr. Curry should continue her existing practices on her blog. She has created something of a salon environment which does a good job of promoting her main goal of encouraging critical thinking among a very diverse group of people. I believe that this blog will improve and exceed Dr. Curry’s wildest expectations. It will always be a collaborative work in progress and must be treated as such.

        Those who criticize Dr. Curry apply to her standards that are completely unrealistic. For example, some criticize Dr. Curry for providing links to articles that contain a falsehood. Dr. Curry is not the arbiter of truth for this blog and makes no pretense of playing such a role. It is commonplace for pretty good articles by rather good scientists to contain a falsehood or two. Dr. Curry provides discussants with a forum so that they can correct all such errors. Once a discussant has posted a correction to an error, the discussant should be overjoyed with their own brilliance, the opportunity that Dr. Curry has given them, and the unique robust freedom of speech enjoyed by Americans. The discussant should not feel bad that he/she was unable to persuade every reader of this blog that he/she has “nailed the truth” or that Dr. Curry did not first apologize to the discussant and then trumpet his/her brilliance to all far and near.

        Reading this blog, I see that critical thinking is taking place, that regular discussants are improving in critical thinking, and that much valuable information is being discussed by everyone who contributes, except for the occasional natural born troll.

        I am amazed that Dr. Curry has been able to bring to her blog the work of rhetoricians. Their contributions improve the mix of topics and provide an unfamiliar approach to critical thinking. The challenge of the unfamiliar makes us grow. I am not a rhetorician and do not care to promote the work of rhetoricians, but I can see that Dr. Curry has used their work to the benefit of all of us.

        Finally, consider that Dr. Curry has her own interests in her blog. I think that two of them are exploring the nature of debate on the internet and presenting an example to the world of a blog that promotes intellectual growth among its discussants and readers. Those who support some version of CAGW and who complain that one of their main problems has been poor communication to the public would do well to come here and see how people, all sorts of people, grow in understanding and critical abilities.

      • Thanks Theo, well said!

      • Theo Goodwin

        And thanks again to you for your wonderful blog.

    • I too am attached to the Socratic ideal of arriving at knowledge through debate. My favorite formulation of this is Milton’s:

      Where there is much desire to learn, there will of necessity be much argument, much writing, many opinions, for opinions in good men is but knowledge in the making.

      Unfortunately the “good” part of the statement is a higher bar than we might wish. Researchers in psychology have demonstrated very powerfully how the confirmation bias effect causes many people to become more strongly attached to their original opinion when confronted with counterarguments. Memories are selective, making judgements from experience difficult. Persuasiveness often travels on very different lines than truth.

      While, as I say, I respect the ideal of debate in the public sphere, in which anyone may participate, but the uncomfortable fact is that we’ve had salons and parliaments and councils and agoras for going on three thousand years, and the modern scientific method for barely three hundred years, and the record of the latter in advancing our knowledge and actually answering questions, as opposed to merely raising them, is much better than that of the former.

      One reason we have such animation in the blogosphere about climate science is because incompetents and partisans have, to their great frustration, failed to move the scientific discourse, which is less than impressed with their inflammatory rhetoric, sloppy reasoning, and lack of interest in evidence from observation. The success of science in rejecting their low-quality work, and the resulting dichotomy between the influence of this nonsense on politicians, media figures, and the lay public (modest but real) and its influence on science and scientists (what it warrants, which is not very much) creates a lot of the potential energy that feeds the anger and mistrust of the public discourse.

      I am far more interested in what science has to say about the e-salon than vice versa; the quality control of the science is far better.

      • Nice insults, Robert. Keep it up. (For as JC says, “…. insulting people invariably ends up reflecting more poorly on the person doing the insulting rather than the object of the insult (that one is a very difficult lesson for people to learn.”)

  4. I agree with the general ideas express in the “Making arguments expensive” essay. As the greenhouse dragon threads show, when arguments are free, no amount of polite explanation with evidence will prevent people from reiterating their demolished arguments, and endlessly demanding demonstrations of things that have already been demonstrated many times already.

    Of particular concern in climate discussions is a fallacy I like to call “My ignorance is a superpower,” in which people feel their lack of understanding, real or feigned, constitutes a failure on the part of others to convince them, and that lack of understanding, such as lack of understanding of the greenhouse effect, constitutes a critique and warrants a counterargument.

    There is a lot of debate about “consensus,” in the blogosphere, but I would suggest a definition of “consensus,” in line with the ideas of “Making arguments expensive” which is as follows:

    Consensus: those ideas which have been sufficiently well established, and accepted by most experts, such that the burden on the person denying the idea includes all of the following:
    1. They need to provide a better (more parsimonous, more plausible) explanation for their denial than the null hypothesis: they are ignorant, inadvertently or as a result of deliberate partisan self-programming.
    2. They need to demonstrate honesty and integrity, such that those expanding the energy to engage with the (probably wrong) denier can enjoy a reasonable hope that that denier will deal honestly with falsification and not simply rationalize it away.
    3. They need to demonstrate basic scientific literacy, without which the chances that they have falsified established science are vanishingly small.

    I think most people who like science and are interested in climate science would welcome more “skeptic” arguments that meet the above criteria. It is a relief, even when disagreeing, to have some sort of a common language and set of expectations. Without that, argument is pointless, or to put it another way: The first thing you need to prove to me is that your ignorance is something that concerns me.

    • Castigating skeptics when the Mann papers have not been castigated by non-skeptics is a waste of time and space Robert. Your side is a bunch of liars.

      There is no point in constructing a sound argument against IPCC propaganda when the even the most obvious lying propaganda is allowed into the IPCC and thoughtful papers are kept out by left-wing fanatics protecting their con.

      • Castigating skeptics when the Mann papers have not been castigated by non-skeptics is a waste of time and space Robert.

        Attacking Mann’s paleoclimate work, excellent example. It is worth cataloging the failures of skeptics in attacking the hockey stick, the repeated vindication of Mann, the reproduction of the hockey by other scientists?

        Not with Bruce. Fails step 1: most likely explanation is he is ignorant ignorant of paleoclimate research. He is ignorant by choice, so further explanations will not help him.

      • The Roberts of the AGW world will defend the hockey stick to the death, all the while criticizing any and all attacks on the church of AGW.

        Unless a rabid AGWer signs in blood that the hcokey stick is a fraud, nothing they can say can be believed.

      • The Roberts of the AGW world will defend the hockey stick . . .

        That’s exactly what I decline to do. The hockey stick needs no defense. Rather, you need to find some cogent explanation of why your ignorance of paleoclimate concerns me.

      • I suggest you read The Hockey Stick Illusion. The hockey stick has no defence.

      • I suggest you read The Hockey Stick Illusion.

        So that would be, what, five to ten hours of reading? Why should I invest that time in “The Hockey Stick Illusion”? Tell me why that would be worthwhile.

      • John Carpenter

        Seems to be a regular mechanism you employ when faced with materials that might challenge your own confirmation bias… eh Robert?

        T answer your question; It would be worthwhile to you if only to gain some inkling of understanding why some people think their is a lot to be skeptical about Mann’s ‘Hockey stick’. You may think it is a bunch of garbage in the end… but you will see where some skeptical points of view come from instead of randomly firing off at anyone who questions the validity of the research as a ‘denier’. Studying the opposing point of view might actually get you to think about where the weaknesses are in yours… No?

      • Deciding whether to invest in “The Hockey Stick Illusion” might be a good opportunity to try out the six criteria for expertise proposed in “Meta-expertise.”

        The author of “The Hockey Stick Illusion” is A. W. Montford.

        1. Credentials: Does the expert possess credentials that have involved testable criteria for demonstrating proficiency?

        Mr. Montford, a chartered accountant, has no advanced degree. His only scientific credential is an undergraduate degree in chemistry.

        2. Walking the walk: Is the expert an active practitioner in their domain (versus being a critic or a commentator)?

        Mr Montford has no peer-reviewed publication to his name and has not done any science of his own. He is a quintessential critic/commentator.

        3. Overconfidence: Ask your expert to make yes-no predictions in their domain of expertise, and before any of these predictions can be tested ask them to estimate the percentage of time they’re going to be correct. Compare that estimate with the resulting percentage correct. If their estimate was too high then your expert may suffer from over-confidence.

        We can’t ask him these questions, so this criteria is not very useful right now.

        4. Confirmation bias: We’re all prone to this, but some more so than others. Is your expert reasonably open to evidence or viewpoints contrary to their own views?

        I decided to test this by check the last twenty posts on Montford’s blog for anything critical of extreme skeptics or supporting or defending AGW.

        5. Hedgehog-Fox test: Tetlock found that Foxes were better-calibrated and more able to entertain self-disconfirming counterfactuals than hedgehogs, but allowed that hedgehogs can occasionally be “stunningly right” in a way that foxes cannot. Is your expert a fox or a hedgehog?

        Hard to come up with objective criteria for this one, and it’s not clear it’s better for your “expert” to be one or another.

        6. Willingness to own up to error: Bad luck is a far more popular explanation for being wrong than good luck is for being right. Is your expert balanced, i.e., equally critical, when assessing their own successes and failures?

        I did not see anything in those first twenty posts that resembled Montford admitting he was wrong. I did a search for “Bishop Hill” and “I was wrong.” There are a number of examples of him urging other people to admit they are wrong, none I could find of him admitting to being wrong himself. Perhaps his readers could offer some examples of him admitting error.

        Conclusion: Interesting process, if a little labor-intensive. Seems to suggest that there is not much reason to invest time and money in a book by this guy. But I am, of course, willing to listen to any argument that the book is actually a worthwhile investment.

        1. “How’s that new AGW communication strategy working out for you?”
        2. “Durkin blogs” — “Martin Durkin, the director of the Great Global Warming Swindle, has joined the blogosphere.”
        3. “Bradley interview” — “. . . of course the earlier paper MBH98 was not similarly caveated. The other point to recognise is that any caveats and uncertainties were dropped long before Mann completed his work on the IPCC Third Assessment Report.

        Bradley also steers into the realm of economics, claiming that controlling greenhouse gases will create new industries and jobs. True, but his erroneous conclusion that such controls are therefore good for the economy brings us back, once more, to the broken windows fallacy.”
        4. “Leaf lines”
        5. “Another confounding factor?”

        . . . and so on. A rare few don’t editorialize, but when they do, none of them (in the 20 I reviewed) criticize skeptics or defend non-“skeptical” climate scientists.

      • Montfords book is in the category of history of science, not exposition of physical science. So your arguments don’t really match up to what the book really is. The book is basic enough and heavily referenced, so that you don’t need any particular specialized expertise to understand it and evaluate the book. What other commenters write on his blog aren’t particularly relevant.

      • Numbered list should have been under #4

      • It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

        Sun Tzu

      • Robert

        Why should I invest that time in “The Hockey Stick Illusion”?

        Knowledge is power.

        Reading Montford’s book will give you “knowledge” you did not have before you read it.

        Therefore, it will give you power and make you stronger.

        And it is a much more enjoyable “read” (and will take a lot less time) than the 1000-page AR4 WG1 report (which I have read, by the way).

        Max

      • Montfords book is in the category of history of science, not exposition of physical science. So your arguments don’t really match up to what the book really is.

        He makes repeated assertions about and value judgement of technical literature, does he not? (I confess, I looked at the free chapter of the Kindle edition.) But let’s put it in the category of “history” and see what, if anything, is different:

        * Points #3-#6 are not affected at all.

        * “1. Credentials: Does the expert possess credentials that have involved testable criteria for demonstrating proficiency?” Montford has no training as historian, and not even an undergraduate degree in the subject.

        * “2. Walking the walk: Is the expert an active practitioner in their domain (versus being a critic or a commentator)?” — Montford has no peer-reviewed publications in any historical field. He has not published any work of history before.

        I don’t see how my argument is adversely affected by the distinction you are attempting to make: the man is no more a historian than he is a scientist, and all the same problems of hyperpartisanship and inability to admit mistakes are still just as applicable to a work of history.

      • well, it is your loss if you choose not to read it

      • Robert

        There are two aspects to the Mann hockey stick, which are worth discussing.

        First: was it based on sound science? That point is addressed in Montford’s book although as JC has written “Montfords book is in the category of history of science, not exposition of physical science”.

        Secondly, in addition to historical records and actual physical evidence there have been several studies from all over the world using different paleoclimate technologies, which all point to a MWP that was global and slightly warmer than today. These data make the Mann hockey stick irrelevant.

        Max

      • There are two aspects to the Mann hockey stick, which are worth discussing.

        Oh, no one is claiming that climate science in general and the paleoclimate record in particular are not fascinating subjects. The question is whether you can present some compelling reason why your refusal to accept this oft-replicated science should be entertained. Assertion doesn’t get you there.

      • Robert

        You write:

        The question is whether you can present some compelling reason why your refusal to accept this oft-replicated science should be entertained. Assertion doesn’t get you there.

        The compelling reason is a) the extensive historical record from all over the civilized world at the time, b) physical evidence, such as vegetation and (more rarely) signs of earlier civilization found under receding alpine glaciers or Greenland permafrost and c) the many studies from all over the world using different paleoclimate methodologies, which all show a MWP that was slightly warmer than today.

        a) and b) are well-known and reported, and I can cite the links to c), if you wish..

        Max

      • John Carpenter

        Robert, you and I know it is a bit ironic of you to employ the 6 criteria for determining an expert… don’t we? Was it not just a few days ago you told me that it was the ‘quality of ones ideas’ and not credentials that mattered? Since criteria #1 is off the table for you, by your own words to me earlier, I can’t imagine you can hold to criteria #2 either… peer reviewed literature is the stuff of credentialed people. You punt on #3, you know you could ask him questions on his blog don’t you? See Judith’s response to you on criteria #4. You punt on criteria #5… clearly a fox is better over the long run wrt science knowledge, you might have to read the book to determine if Montford is a fox or a hedgehog. As for criteria #6, you have to observe your subject for a more extended period of time to see if that is true, 20 blog comments don’t quite meet that do they?

        Based on this more refined assessment, I would say Montford’s book is one you should take up and read. It’s only 5 to 10 hours…. so you don’t get that next post up on your blog right away… who’s going to notice?

      • Robert is in fact spot on, despite the attacks against his philosophy.

        Part of being really interested in science (as opposed to scoring points on blogs) is understanding what are fruitful lines of research, and also understanding how things that go on in various disciplines relate to the “big picture.” Even if the hockey stick turned out to be a big fraud, repeating this (or reading Montford’s book) would no more advance our understanding of climate than those that repeat that the “Piltdown Man was a hoax” enhances our understanding of evolutionary biology or human anthropology. Reading books about the Piltdown man is also a guarantee to make one an expert in conspiracies (regardless of whether they advance that conspiracy or not, they will be well educated in the chronological history of “what he said, what she said, what that person did, when that person was exposed, etc”), but they will never gain familiarity with the modern science.

        Moreover, I notice people use those conspiracies as a justification, consciously or not, for why they should never have to bother learning from experts or reading the science. It simply makes for a good argument for the purpose of point-scoring, and can be brought up even if it has no relevance to the topic at hand. Every topic in climate science on the blogs will invariably end up discussing Mann, as if all of science somehow hinges on it, or if every scientist actually cares about it.

      • Chris Colose: “Even if the hockey stick turned out to be a big fraud”

        If?

      • Yes, if. That the pattern itself is significantly in error has hardly been demonstrated, let alone acts of misconduct. This has been the topic of significant research and further reports/investigation, none of which I follow in heavy detail, but the confidence the wingnut conspiracy theorists put in their views about the hockey stick has not been justified in the academic literature. And if they had something better to offer, they would put another, better, reconstruction in the literature. That they don’t want to is proof they only want to criticize scientists and not advance our understanding.

      • if you want to argue intelligently about the hockey stick or about the climategate mails then you have these choices.

        1. read all the primary material yourself. This includes all the mails, the scientific papers, the blogs the blog comments etc.

        2. read secondary works that distill that huge pile of writing into a narrative.

        For example, if I ask you what role Stephen Schneider played in climategate and ask you to explain and defend his actions surrounding the publication of one of Wahl and Ammand’s papers, what are you going to do?

        A. drool
        B. go read the primary literature
        C. go read a blog that didnt read the primary literature
        D. change the subject
        E. go read a book ( or two) that summarize all the primary literature.
        F. rant
        g run away
        h. say it doesnt matter
        i. quote somebody else
        ( hint I’ve picked an example that’s not that important just to avoid a war about it , its for illustrative purposes only)
        I’ll suggest that you start with E. THEN if it interests you, proceed onto B. If you need arguments against what you read in E, then try C. many do, but guys like Bishop or me will just embarass you because we did B. If you like a challenge do B and then criticize E. I believe 2 people ( gavin and arthur smith) have found errors in what I wrote. I thanked them. getting the history and chronology right was important to me. Same with Bishop. Nobody that I know has found an error in what Bishop wrote, although there are a couple places where reasonable people can disagree.

      • steve mosher, I respect your efforts to become the Spencer Weart of the hockey stick, and to gain expertise in climategate. If I had multiple lives, I might spend one of them doing the same. Unfortunately, I have no inclination to do so, any more than I have the desire (or time) to learn biology so that I can argue about evolution “inteligently.” My own preference is to learn things relevant to the physics of atmospheric science or that will develop understanding of climate further.

        In any case, of your list, it takes only reading the primary literature (and reports such as those of NAS) to get a feel for where the scientific community stands, and whether convincing alternative theories have been proposed. In the same way, I feel very confident the evolutionary biologists have a better argument than the creationists, although I have not digested 1000 academic articles, books, and blog postings on the subject. I may not be up to speed on whether the climateaudit type crowd has a robust and convincing alternative for paleo-reconstructions that is better than the scientists (although I have seen enough disagreement from those in a position to know better than me that this also probably has not been done convincingly done). Though, I will certainly not learn a new topic just to defend a much broader theory from point-scoring attacks that are not directed toward advancing science. It is a useless endeavor, and life affords only so much time.

      • John Carpenter

        Chris,

        You seem to miss the point about what the issues are wrt the hockey stick. The problem is not so much with the shape of the hockey stick as with the straightness of the shaft and how sharp the blade turns up. However, the bigger issue, IMO, is not really the science part of the controversy, as is the behavior of the scientists involved that is much more troubling. It is the way the hockey stick was promoted and the way legitimate criticism was swept under the carpet so as to minimize any ‘uncertainty’ into what the shape meant. You have a lot of time in your early career to become more familiar with this, I suggest you do take the time to do so. How your peers behave and the way they interact with others outside of their ‘peer group’ is important. How you interact with a questioning public is important. If you feel that not sharing how you arrive at conclusions you make through your data, analysis methods etc… in complete transparency is important, you will raise the ire of those who will want to try to reproduce your results to the best of their abilities. You can not take this type of verification personally or you will go the way ‘the team’. If ‘the team’ did not take the inquiries personally, then that might suggests something else all together. You don’t need to worry about those who see the hockey stick as a hoax, their minds are made up already. It is those who don’t and legitimately want to verify the accuracy of the claims you should engage with, you (and I mean that rhetorically) can’t dismiss those people and expect to retain the image of credibility. Credibility is everything in science… am I wrong?

        Maybe you are much more familiar with the issue than I give you credit for… if that is the case, then you can dismiss my message as redundant ramblings… you might do that anyways.

      • John Carpenter- Thanks for the response. Here are some feelings I have on the matter:

        1) I do not believe the majority of people who criticize the ‘hockey stick’ are doing so because they care about getting the science right. If this were the case, they would have far more to talk about on their “own side” of things, including a number of journal papers by people like Willie Soon, Scafetta, Lindzen, Spencer, etc, or even on the same topic, people like Loehle. These people consistently advance arguments, which are even more obviously flawed than some of the more nuanced and technical details behind the hockey stick. But the standard for people like this is “if they screw up royally, give them a few days to try again, and keep letting them try until they finally disprove global warming.” The standard for Mann et al is “if they screw up, throw it in everyone’s face for the next decade.” This is not productive, and it does not constitute intelligent discussion or constructive criticism that leads to the advancement of science.

        2) I agree that people should defend their own work in the face of scientific criticism or public curiosity (although, as in point #1 I believe a large set of criticisms against certain individuals fall into an entirely different class of criticism, removing certain “gentleman” requirements of bothering to respond to many of these). Furthermore, climate science is itself a very broad discipline, with an extremely small fraction of people within in actually doing work related to historical millennial-scale temperature reconstructions. Aerosol experts, carbon cycle specialists, radiative transfer modelers, monsoon people, and many more really have a secondary interest in such matters and are not obligated to defend work far outside their expertise. For some reason, answering for Mann has become a default go-to line for skeptics, regardless of whether the discussion happening or the person they are talking to is appropriate for such.

        3) There are standard scientific protocols, universal across many disciplines and for a long time, for addressing scientific disagreement. Writing books referencing somebody else’s work being an “illusion” is at best, a personal choice and people have the right to read or not read it, but scientists are under no obligation to respond to it or take it seriously, and most educated people will probably be turned off by the tone of the very title, let alone sit through it for a few days to read.

      • Robert,
        Your hard work to remain ignorant is admirable.
        Rationalization fits you as well as your bad manners.
        Ignorance and true belief go hand in hand.

      • John Carpenter

        Chris,

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

        Ok, point taken on #1. As for #2, I am not asking you to answer for Mann, only recognize where ‘the team’ went horribly wrong with the way they deal with inquisition and to not repeat that type of behavior. I too am a scientist and I recognize this type of behavior as damaging to science in general… I hope you do as well. For #3, yes you are right, I infer you mean the peer review process, but scores of books are written on subjects refuting consensus viewpoints by lay people all the time. That doesn’t mean the experts should summarily dismiss them. The problem I have with commenters like Robert (someone who talks like an expert but does not act like one) is the way he dismisses the need to read certain material b/c he already knows what they will say. This type of ‘overconfidence’ in themselves is off putting and not a trait I would recommend. As an expert, one should surround themselves with as much of the relevant literature on the subject as possible, whether you think the material is bunk or not. Montfords book is relevant. If you choose not to, you will not speak as intelligently when the topic comes up in conversation and you will have less authority in your replies. Saying you didn’t bother because it is beneath you will not necessarily win you approval. The more relevant question to yourself is…’how will reading this material damage my ability to understand the issue?’ The answer has to be ‘it will not’.

      • Robert,
        Your uptake is so slow, and you are so resistant to critical thought, that book may take the rest of your life to read.

      • I’d question Andrew Montford’s motives. Is he really interested in the science of climate change or is he just grinding some political axe? Is he interested in science at all? If so why would he give it up after graduation, to pursue a career in accountancy?

      • But let’s put it in the category of “history” and see what, if anything, is different:

        Try this instead: ignore the opinions offered and instead consider the historical facts as presented and draw your own conclusions – surely the facts are not “challenging” to any reasonable, logical person?

      • The cowardice of our big brave true believers in rationalizing why they will not even see what climategate e-mails actually said is far more cowardly than Brave Sir Robin.
        Robert and Chris in particular stand bereft of anything like credibility, and are strutting around doing a rather embarrassing impression of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

      • What? Me worry, Robert,
        Silver hammer in his brain.
        Mad Mag me with spoon.
        ===========

      • The whining starts at 10:38p. Disorganized, frantic, hysterical . . . typical hunter.

        Then, without waiting for a response, hunter fires off another whine-fest at 10:47p — all of nine minutes later! :) All the same stuff, repeated. Then, and here’s where it really gets pitiful, he comes back less than an hour later, at 11:45p, with exactly the same insults and whining.

        Blessings and best wishes, hunter. :) I hope you get the help you need.

      • Robert,
        As I pointed out, your critical reading skills are lacking.
        Each post explores a different facet of your extremist bigotry.
        But thank you for highlighting more attention to the special person you are.
        Cheers,

    • 1. They need to provide a better (more parsimonous, more plausible) explanation for their denial than the null hypothesis: they are ignorant, inadvertently or as a result of deliberate partisan self-programming.

      I like this approach. Parsimony is also known as Occam’s Razor, and if there is one thing that blog discussions are good at is in advancing parsimonious explanations for some physical behavior that has seemingly irreducible complexity. Information theory applied to modeling has incorporated this with criteria such as AIC and BIC, which incorporates the number of independent parameters in scoring how well a model will fit the data.
      Are there simple parsimonious explanations yet to explore? I think so, and the same goes for the parsimonious counter-example, which is often used to disprove a wrong-headed argument.

    • Robert, a pleasure to read your posts as ever.. To address your 3 points:

      1- Incorrect. You only need to show problems with the proffered theory, not provide an alternative (although, I don’t think anyone would disagree that it would be NICE to offer an alternative!). The Null hypothesis is the default position taken against any theory being presented. Therefore, you are not trying to ‘prove’ the null, only show that the offered theory is inaccurate. The null then automatically takes its place.

      2- Climategate (hate that term) shows, quite conclusively, that the core group of scientists fail this category.

      For context, had I or anyone else in industry behaved that way (just talking about the content of the emails here, not the intentions or instructions behind) then we would be looking for new employment. It is, for example, classed as gross professional misconduct where I work.

      3- I would humbly suggest that your point 1 is at odds with your suggestion of point 3, at least for yourself. However I also disagree on the larger point. I would, for example, much rather trust an engineer’s evaluation of model validation than a climate scientists, or a statisticians grasp of statistics, over that of a climate scientists.

    • My views on the three points

      Consensus: those ideas which have been sufficiently well established, and accepted by most experts, such that the burden on the person denying the idea includes all of the following:

      1. They need to provide a better (more parsimonous, more plausible) explanation for their denial than the null hypothesis: they are ignorant, inadvertently or as a result of deliberate partisan self-programming.

      That’s too much to require, but the answer is not as simple as that given by Labmunkey either. It’s not that simple, because climate science is not about The Theory being right or wrong, it’s quantitative not binary logic. Therefore the main stream science is not invalidated by finding an deviation – it’s known all the time that it’s not an exact theory. It’s invalidated even in part only, when the deviation is shown to be significant, not just one of those inaccuracies that are known to exist and estimated to be of little significance. Because the main stream view is a complex combination of understanding where many features provide cross support to each other, it must also be shown at least at the level of plausibility that the new observation of error is not made moot by some of the arguments that are known on other features.

      Indeed bringing up an error is legitimate without an alternative theory, but giving evidence that “an error” is really an error, may require a lot more than presented in the typical criticism.

      2. They need to demonstrate honesty and integrity, such that those expanding the energy to engage with the (probably wrong) denier can enjoy a reasonable hope that that denier will deal honestly with falsification and not simply rationalize it away.

      Whatever one thinks about main stream scientists, the skeptic community includes both fully honest people and people, who do really break the rules time after time at a level no main stream scientist has been shown to have done. Often the worst are the most vocal.

      3. They need to demonstrate basic scientific literacy, without which the chances that they have falsified established science are vanishingly small.

      That goes really back to what I wrote on point 1.

      • Pekka, i understand and agree that the cAGW theory is based off a collection of assorted observations, theories and models and you’re right, to a degree, to assert that the disproval, or rather, highlighting of one (or many) errors does not invalidate the theory as a whole.

        However, the fact that the supporting ‘evidence’ for cAGW is so nebulous and ‘spread’, coupled with the fact that discrediting any or many aspects of these supporting facets is deemed to not materially affect the outcome of the theory does question the overall strength of said theory.

        Or to put it another way, there is no single, or group of supporting evidence that shows, convincingly that cAGW is likely, more that it is an outcome inferred from the available evidence- further ‘supported’ by models.

        The ‘multiple lines of corroborative’ defence has to be questioned, when any of these ‘lines’ is deemed insignificant when questions- though i digress (quite badly it would seem).

      • second to last line should read
        “deemed insignificant when questioned or invalidated- though i digres…..”

        oh but for an edit function.

      • My point is essentially that there are all kind of valid questions concerning our understanding of climate and the potential risks that continuing emissions of CO2 cause, but from the critical papers that come from the wide and diverse skeptics community, only a fraction is on the level of valid criticism. By volume and visibility most of the material fails any serious tests of relevance.

        That’s largely a consequence of the fact that anything can now be “published”, but the publicity that even the worst rubbish receives tells something else about this discussion, and also about the motives of some of the participants.

        When the ratio is such, some way of separating the significant from the noise is needed. For regular science, peer review is used (it has it’s problems as discussed in a thread here in the past), but when the peer review is for some reason not applicable, we have few tools. Informal reviews on the net go in that direction, but active protagonists of crazy ideas do their best to prevent the working of that mechanism. The peer review is relatively efficient in enforcing requirements for the technical level of presentation. Applying such requirements even mildly to the worst class of “papers” would get rid of most of those, because their weaknesses would become visible to everybody, when it’s required that the text is clear and specific in it’s claims and logic. (Now the weaknesses are hidden in the poor presentation and gaps of logic.)

        It’s clear that many skeptics are not at all happy about the state of matter. Why else would we see so often messages, where they tell that they accept the basic physics and that only few people take the worst rubbish seriously. By that they imply that the handful of people, who promote those papers, are really without wider support among skeptics. The fear that the weight of proper skepticism is reduced by those extremists may well be justified.

      • Peer review is for research. Skepticism is not research, it is criticism.

      • Perhaps so, but random incoherent and mostly erroneous criticism is of little value. If there’s too much noise the signal remains hidden. That’s largely the present situation and it’s made worse by those who increase the noise intentionally.

      • I disagree completely. For example, the fraction of comments on this blog that are incoherent is minuscule, certainly less than 5%. Given the debate, where both sides cannot be right, there must indeed be a lot of erroneous criticism but we have no way of knowing which is the erroneous part, for example, yours or your opponent’s. Your disagreement does not make your opponent’s view erroneous.

        It is true that there are many small technical errors but they are largely irrelevant.

      • David,

        this is where your stance I think really gets of the tracks.

        In the midst of a technical discussion, one cannot claim that,

        ‘It is true that there are many small technical errors but they are largely irrelevant.’

        If one were to get largely the idea of, say, the greenhouse effect, but miss understand one small technical point, I would agree with you. But the vast majority of those to resist the basic premise of such a physical process made so many small technical errors that by the end, their interpretation of the entire physical process is completely wrong.

        And what’s even more astounding is that you are correct, such reasoning could be valid in the sense that there is a specific logic that particular participants use to come to these physically incorrect conclusions. But validity is not enough to meaningfully enter into a technical argument with others who have worked much harder to attain a level of physical understanding of the world around us. One must posses the skill set necessary not only to engage with others on a high enough technical level, but also to realize when he/she is out of his/her league in terms of understanding of the technical material at hand.

        Most commenters here who will willingly participate in a technical conversation here and other places are totally unwilling to accept the fact that maybe someone who has spent a substantial portion of his/her life studying the subject in detail might know more. It’s really quite astounding. And when a particular issue does not make sense to these particular participants, they immediately find fault with the source of the information rather than their ability to understand it. It seems to be part of a broader push against specialized expertise that is coming out of the conservative movement here in the States.

        So Pekka point should resonate with you more. There is in fact a large group of technically achieved individuals here willing to engage with each and every participant of this blog. But the ‘signal’ in the information they are trying to get across is lost in the ‘noise’ of all of these ‘small technical errors’ because they add coherently into some totally incoherent mess in which expertise and hard work is valued less than applying some weird standard of ‘logic’. Even when particular technically informed individuals like Pekka and myself largely agree with many others interpretation of the general state of climate science or its case for AGW.

        It’s totally incomprehensible to me. And that a quite smart individual like yourself is conflating these nonsensical arguments with ‘issue analysis’ doesn’t make much more sense either. Even after time and time again I’ve tried to point out the very crystal clear ways in which there is no debate at all.

        I just don’t get it.

      • And perhaps more relevant to this subthread is the fact that the only way to get own valid critique appreciated is to write it well enough to get it understood and valued. With a lot of noise other will not do that without the authors help.

      • Now this is incoherent. You are missing some words, or something.

      • One letter is certainly missing from the last sentence ‘other’ -> ‘others’.

      • ‘way to get one’s own valid critique’ flows better.
        =========

      • Other authors may differ.
        ======

      • Kim is correct. You assume that your critique is valid while others are just noise. When discussing the debate as a whole, its structure and functioning, one cannot make that assumption. Issue analysis is a science, part of logic. Validity is independent of truth.

      • How can you conclude, what I accept and what not concerning the actual substance. You just guess based on your prejudices.

        I’m not commenting on that, I’m commenting on the quality of presentation and meeting the requirements for successful transfer of understanding. It doesn’t help that the author has a great idea, if he cannot communicate that.

      • Pekka, what requirements are these, of which you speak? That is, are you making a factual claim about how technical communication works today (something I study) or are you proposing some new requirement? If the latter how do you propose to implement it? If it is just a wish you are wasting our time. If it is a factual claim then it is incorrect. Sometimes the worst stuff gets the most attention.

      • I think i’d largely agree actually (especially about a some of the skeptical arguments being trash), however peer review as an ideal, is good, in practice it often falls short.

        I have in my career come across many peer reviewed papers (some highly regarded- though in different fields) that should never have been published.

        Similarly, we know that skeptical papers are being blocked, actively.

        So while i agree in principle, the practicalities are less clear cut.

      • Peer review has serious deficiencies. Very bad papers get published and papers that should be published get blocked, but working scientists need a filter. Reading even all worthwhile papers takes very much time. Trying to get grips of badly written papers takes even more time, because it’s necessary to stop to ponder, what’s wrong in the writing.

        One problem that the skeptics have, is that they may lack knowledge on, how they should formulate their message to have best change of getting it published. That’s often dependent on the common practices of the particular field of science. By the previous I mean form, not substance, and the value that the form has for the effective communication – and in being accepted for publication. Substance is the real message, but it’s lost, if the form is not satisfactory.

      • Again, i’d largely agree pekka- save to say again, it’s not this clear cut (as skeptical scientists know full well how to write a paper).

        The blocking of many skeptical papers was tactical and ideological, rather than anything substantive.

      • Trying to get grips of badly written papers takes even more time, because it’s necessary to stop to ponder, what’s wrong in the writing.

        It’s the most difficult because you actually have to get inside that person’s head and try to interpret where their line of reasoning went haywire. You try to guess and if you guess wrong then you also end up looking bad. It is better to just say that they are wrong and give a reference to the correct analysis. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make for a great e-salon discussion. The best ones are where the arguments reinforce each other or that they are mostly on the right track, apart from minor errors that can get corrected.

      • There is a fundamental confusion here. Peer review is for original scientific research. (Aside: there is plenty to support skepticism in the peer reviewed literature.) Skeptical arguments are not scientific research, so they have no place in the peer reviewed literature. Skeptical arguments occur at the interface between policy and science.

        Specifically, certain drastic policies have been proposed. Those making the proposals claim that the science supports them. Skeptics are questioning that claim, by examining the science. The skeptics focus is on whether or not the policy proponent’s claims about the science are correct. These arguments are not part of the science, they are about the science.

      • Whatever they are, they must satisfy certain quality requirements to be effective. They must be written so well that it’s not too difficult to find out, whether they have any value or are just crap. Some filtering is also very useful in spite of the problems of all types of filtering.

        It’s just not possible to state that something has to be given notice, when it’s classified as skeptic. Every contribution must earn being noticed. When it gets first over that barrier, it’s possible to start to judge, whether it’s of further value, but even getting noticed at all requires something from the contribution. The readers cannot be required to guess, what the author has in mind, or whether he has made the most obvious checks of sanity.

        The papers of G&T, Postma, etc. don’t satisfy that requirement. They have too many holes in the presentation.

      • Pekka, I really don’ t understand what you are trying to say, so I guess it does not meet your criteria. It is true that skeptical writing has to be deemed important to get noticed. The G&T stuff has certainly been noticed, so it must meet the requirements for getting noticed. Or are you calling for some new world that doesn’t exist? A world that meets your standards? I am baffled.

      • G&T has been noticed by being pushed by people, but it has also been noticed that it doesn’t fulfill the requirements of internal logic and specificity of the statements.

        The worst expression of that is that it presents strong conclusions that are not to the least supported by the main text. There is a gap wide as an ocean.

        The only really relevant criticism of the paper is that it’s empty of real content, but has a dramatic wrapping.

      • Pekka, I repeat, what requirements are these, of which you speak? That is, are you making a factual claim about how technical communication works today (something I study) or are you proposing some new requirement? If it is a factual claim then it is incorrect. Sometimes the worst stuff gets the most attention. Perhaps you should stick to physics and leave communication theory to the experts.

      • There’s always the dilemma between the experts of substance and experts of communication or philosophy or, ..

        Both groups think that the other is missing point. There is little value in theoretically correct communication or beautiful philosophy of science, if those are obtained by distorting the substance. As rather a substance expert than philosopher, I value the correct substance as the most important issue. Losing that, nothing else is of real value in my opinion.

      • I’m not sure i agree. It is entirely possible to publish a paper that analyses and presents a different viewpoint to that of the original work. That could be classed as a skeptical approach- especially if the ‘second’ paper was promted by a disagrement in the conclusions/approach.

        I think pekka’s mostly right on this one- arguments on both sides need to be clear, well written (or spoken) and ideally submitted as a paper. Where i differ with pekka is on the aplication of this process, not it’s overall validity.

      • It is virtually unheard of for a journal article to criticize someone else’s work. (Although ironically it has happened in climate science precisely because of the politicization.) Moreover, the vast majority of skeptical arguments are not criticizing specific research results, they are criticizing the interpretation of those results done by advocates (which may include the scientists who did the work, writing in an advocacy context). For example, criticizing the IPCC is not criticizing research results, it is criticizing the IPCC assessment of those results. Such criticisms are not journal material.

        As far as this “need to be clear” stuff, what do you mean? Are you proposing some new world standard for advocacy communication? Things are as they are, not as you want them to be.

      • Perhaps i wasn’t clear, i’m not talking about out-and-out criticism akin to that which we regularly see in the climate debate, but criticism of work.

        I.e.i class a paper that shows a different analysis technique is more valid as a criticism. Or a paper that highlights a data issue as a criticism. Perhaps i’m using the wrong term.

        However, i do disagree that the published journals are not the place to do this. In fact i’d like to see MORE of it. If a paper is junk, and it’s got through peer review, it should be higlighted and retracted. ‘Rival’ papers in ‘rival’ journals would create a nice, adversarial system to weed out the MANY poorly written and ‘suspect’ papers.

      • It is virtually unheard of for a journal article to criticize someone else’s work.

        Really? My experience is the opposite. Much of science is direct demonstration of the opposite.

      • (corrected intendation of the above message)

        It is virtually unheard of for a journal article to criticize someone else’s work.

        Really? My experience is the opposite. Much of science is direct demonstration of the opposite.

      • “the fact that discrediting any or many aspects of these supporting facets is deemed to not materially affect the outcome of the theory does question the overall strength of said theory.” Indeed, LM – it makes cAGW unfalsifiable, and therefore does more than question its strength – it means it’s not really a theory at all.

      • Therefore the main stream science is not invalidated by finding an deviation – it’s known all the time that it’s not an exact theory. It’s invalidated even in part only, when the deviation is shown to be significant, not just one of those inaccuracies that are known to exist and estimated to be of little significance.

        Surely there is a cumulative effect of all those (individually) “insignificant” errors? After all, it’s not the individual pieces of evidence that are convincing, it’s the bulk of them together that makes the case, and so it should be with the counter-evidence. Yet this appears not to be the case – it seems that no matter how many errors are found, they do not add up (perhaps they should even multiply?) to a case. It also seems to be the case that even though these errors “don’t matter”, they are not corrected – odd, because if they don’t change the main conclusions, why not correct them? My own suspicion is that correcting them would show clearly that they do matter – when considered in total. That’s not to say that they would, even in total, disprove the theory, but rather they would so increase the likely error bounds as to completely remove any sense of “evidence” to anyone who bothered to look at anything other than the press releases. But perhaps I am ascribing malice and coherent, planned action where sloth and ignorance will suffice – a common enough error!

      • I agree on the principles that you state. That puts the real question to your assertion:

        it seems that no matter how many errors are found, they do not add up (perhaps they should even multiply?) to a case.

        The totality of negative evidence from all deviations must be compared with the totality of supporting evidence and judgment done based on that. That’s supposed to happen all the time. Just asserting that it doesn’t happen is not enough.

        Sometimes the empirical data is directly contradictory. Then the reliability of each source must be assessed. Sometimes more can be reconciled by improved understanding of the issues. There are all kind of alternatives for the proper conclusions, and it’s the task of the scientists to search for the right conclusion.

  5. What humanity does not need, however, is an e-hive of ideologues fleeing a cold European winter and gathering in Cancun to grouse about the heat as the productive pick up the tab for their margaritas.

    • First place I could respond to the self exposing comments by robert and chris, I have always suspected their extreme close mindedness.
      But to open their mouths and remove all doubt as to any credibility they might ever have had is so typical of the team. May they live on blissfully ignorant while pontification about nothing of value, with the addition of Joshoa they waste more time on this blog just blowing hot air to stir up meaningless cr@p.

      • First place I could respond to the self exposing comments by robert and chris, I have always suspected their extreme close mindedness.

        It’s kind of you to spare us the full searing power of your scalpel-like intellect.

        I would suggest, if I may, that your incisive prose would be even more persuasive if you chose to investigate the power and beauty of the comma. :)

      • Thanks for not leaving me out, Richard.

        And thanks for your not “wasting time” comment. It always provides me with a chuckle when someone throws in a gratuitous insult as evidence of how they don’t “waste time.”

        Interesting that folks like hunter don’t reach your bar of “time wasting.”

        Oh, and always, thanks for reading, Richard. It’s nice to know that I can always count on you to “waste time,” purely of your own volition, and then whine about the decisions you make as if they’re my fault.

        Help me out – might you be one of those “personal responsibility” conservatives?

      • A feature of e-salons, it seems to me, that is without precedent in the historical salons of 19th century Paris, and the like, is the presence of trolls in the e-salon’s “conversation.” At their best, trolls are an amusement and a gadfly challenge to any prevailing group think and pretensions of the e-salon.

        The above two comments, one by Robert and one by Joshua, provide an instructive contrast in the art of the troll:

        -Robert, whose only gift is a certain brain-dead doggedness (and we’re talking chihuahua here) is otherwise a freaking, deadly bore. One tedious, dullard, mind-numbing comment after another. No wit, no humor, no good-fun, no-nothing. A natural for shewonk’s old-biddy blog, perhaps, but a misfit here.

        -Joshua, in contrast, is a thinking man’s troll. He always offers some intelligent play of ideas that often invite a second thought. A worthy opponent for some of the sharpest duelists on this blog.

        Personally, I think we should value our “good” trolls and, all kidding aside, accord them a proper respect and appreciation. In addition, to Joshua, I would cite Martha’s contribution to this blog (though I’m not quite sure she qualifies as a troll). Martha is no quitter and admirably keeps coming back despite the hot reception she usually receives here. And nothing can better shred an incipient group-think than one of Martha’s neo-Marxist petards. Finally, one of my favorite trolls is Louise, who I wish would comment more frequently. Except when she slips into her nag-mode, no one in the blogosphere can, in a few deft words, deliver more mean-and-nasty than Louise. Louise is a force of nature when she’s at the top of her game.

        .

      • John Carpenter

        Mike,

        You have Robert all wrong… you have to see his best talent on display at his blog. He calls it ‘quality work for it’s own sake’… he told me himself…really, because no one reads it. (ok… a few people do)

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/14/on-e-salons-and-blogospheric-argumentation/#comment-99545

        His secret is… he blogs so no one will notice him.. I know… your thinking the same thing I am… sheer genius of an idea.. the anti e-salon.

        Just wait… he’ll come by later and thank me for calling him a genius and then insult me by calling me a name… so predictable and so much fun…. I can hardly wait!

        p.s. This is also how Robert convinces ‘deniers’ to see the AGW light… genius x2.

      • -Joshua, in contrast, is a thinking man’s troll.

        I blush.

      • And MIke – a question:

        What earns me the label of a “troll,” in distinction from someone like hunter, who I dare say contributes to this blog at much the same level as how you described Robert’s contributions?

        Surely, it can’t simply be my orientation towards the theory that GW is likely 90% A – because we have seen “denizens:” all up and down this thread sprain their elbows patting themselves on the back for the supposedly non-partisan character of Climate etc. And in all fairness, although Fred Moolten is not infrequently accused of lying, dissembling, attempting to deceive, being a “warmist,” etc. by “non-trolls” such as hunter, Willis, and the Chief – I don’t think I’ve ever seen him labeled as a “troll.” So orientation towards AGW is not in itself, apparently, sufficient to earn me that label. But I suspect that somehow, my perspective that tribalism is equally abundant on the “skeptical un-convinced/denier” side of the debate as it is on the “skeptical convinced/believer” side increases the likelihood that I will be branded with a big “T” on my forehead.

        What do you think?

      • Joshua,

        No surprisingly, Joshua, you’ve made me think. As a sometime wannabe troll, myself, I regard the term more as a badge of honor than anything else–at least for those who pursue trollery as a craft. I suppose I would generally apply the term, in its worthiest form, to those who engage on a more-or-less hostile terrain, in “conversations” that have the quality of a duel of wits, and take on all-comers with elan, endurance, and style.

        While someone like Robert also gets termed a “troll” by me and others, I manage to maintain a distinction as the term applies to you vice Robert, for example. While all this is clear in my mind, I acknowledge it is all in my mind. So I have a felt need for a better terminology.

        So let me offer this proposal for your consideration. I would like to continue to apply the term “troll” to yourself, Joshua, unless the weight of the blog viewpoint shifts to favor your positions–in which case your troll shoulder-boards will be summarily ripped off, your troll-sword broken and you’ll be frog-marched into the new group-think ranks. At that point, hunter will inherit the distinguished title that was formerly yours. In the meantime, you are one of the this blog’s bearers of the troll-flame with the heavy responsibility to maintain the high reputation of trolls everywhere. The alternative is to discard the term, but that alternative seems to me too painful to bear and would reduce someone like you, Joshua, to the status of just another guy.

        Which brings us to Robert. Let me say that I checked out Robert’s blog and he’s obviously a smart guy with strong viewpoints and convictions about this climate science business. But in no way is Robert troll material. His model, I recommend, should be Fred Moolten. So for Robert and others like him another term is needed–one that recognizes they aspire to troll-hood but just aren’t hacking it. And the term I have in mind is one that would tend to discourage such non-hackers and the deadly-dull dead-weight they impose on the e-salon conversation. That term? “Pest.”

        I’m throwing it out there–a troll/pest distinction. One an honorific and the other a gentle hint that a stylistic make-over just might be a really good idea. Fire away!

      • The test of trollhood is simple: attracting flames. With that test, Fred Moolten is not a troll.

        “Goblin” sounds better than pest. The test for goblinhood is: outnumbering, shrieking and lacking weight.

        Identifying goblins in this e-salon is left as an exercise to the reader.

      • The test of trollhood is simple: attracting flames. With that test, Fred Moolten is not a troll.

        Except that Fred does attract flames – despite his rarely wavering adherence to civility and nearly unwavering avoidance of animus. He is accused of shrieking (“hand-waving”) and of lacking weight. (I’m not sure what you meant by “outnumbering,” used as a verb? or an adjective?)

        So, then, who be a goblin? Fred, (often outnumbered and categorized by his accusers as meeting your definition) or those who spend time insulting him and/or claiming his comments are without substance? Careful, there – because if you answer the later, then you are calling two of the oft revered anti-“consensus” (and I might add non-anonymous) denizens, Willis and the Chief, goblins.

      • Joshua,

        Attracting implies some kind of incentive by the troll. Fred is not enticing anyone to flame him. He does receive some heat, but that is all.

        Perhaps we should also add “rejoicing”. A troll comes alive when flamed. A troll becomes the life of the party. Then troll slayers jump in the moshpit. And everyone have a ball.

        My main contribution was to propose a way to distinguish minoritarian (oftentimes indirectly welcome) conterpoints that trolls provide from “majoritarian”, innocuous, recurrent piques.

        I’m not willing to discuss specific names as it should be a spiritual exercise. A troll is a troll is not a troll for everyone. Same goes with goblins.

        What matters is that once you identify a goblin, stop wasting your time on it. After all, it’s only a goblin. You don’t get much XP bashing a goblin.

      • Attracting implies some kind of incentive by the troll. Fred is not enticing anyone to flame him. He does receive some heat, but that is all.

        Fair enough. Point well-taken. Although I might quibble as to whether the fact of “attracting” implies an intent to attract, your point stands regardless of that semantic point.

      • OK.

        Given your clarification, I wear the troll badge with honor and all due humility.

      • And what, ‘nursemaid’ is demeaning? Ah, the poor sickly child.
        =================

      • Dang, threading’s gone wobbly. To be continued, J. This is getting the feel of a neverending stale, er tale.
        ==========

      • andrew adams

        It’s one of the more common and tedious fallacies in the blogosphere that commenters with dissenting views are dismissed as “trolls”. You see it on a lot of blogs (not just climate ones) where opinion is heavily skewed towards a particular viewpoint, and I include some blogs that I follow and generally like myself in that.

      • I think the term ‘troll’ is used for someone who enters the debate only to disrupt, rather than participate.

        A key identifier in a ‘scientific’ debate would be the refusal to look at contrary (to their position) evidence.

        The term ‘troll’ does get used far too much. I can only think of 2, 3 at the most on this blog who would qualify (which is a pretty impressive strike rate considering the subject material).

      • Labmunkey,

        Joshua’s comment that set this string of follow-on comments in motion considered why he was so readily labeled a troll while Fred Moolten, for example, was not. I think your comment provided a key insight.

        A troll as you define the term “disrupts” the blog debate. And it is this disruptive quality of a commentator’s participation that tends to trigger the response, “Troll!”, even if the “troll’s” intention is not purely a desire to disrupt and, indeed, even if the nature of the disruption is no more than a well-reasoned challenge to a rigorously protected group-think.

        I’m dwelling on this because I tend to prize disruptive speech and think it an essential preventative to complacency and group-think in the e-salon. So the distinction I’d like to make is between disruptive speech that does serve as a tonic to the intellectual acuity of the e-salon discourse and that which is a drag on the discourse. In doing that, I’d like to establish the term “troll” (which as both you and andrew adams have astutely noted is much abused) as a positive term describing a commentator whose disruptive speech has a positive effect vice the commentator whose disruptive speech weighs down the e-salon discourse (that latter sort of commentator being termed a “pest”).

        Mostly thinking out loud, labmunkey. I regret I’m having such a trial getting my thoughts together. But I kinda think I’m vaguely onto something and I hope someone out there can help me land this I’ve got hooked before it pulls me out of the boat.

      • Mike,
        I see where you’re coming from. I think we’d further need to define what constitutes a disruption and separate the ‘malicious’ (as it were) from the good intentioned.

        It is inevitable that any blog-based discussion will get dragged in all manner of directions, though this too is different I think from disruption (for the least part it’s more organic).

        I don’t think the term troll should, or could be used as an honorific; you’d be ‘fighting’ a fairly established and very widely used term and trying to give it a different meaning, in short I think you’re on a hiding to nothing there. Though that is not to say that I don’t agree with the points you made or indeed the distinction you are trying to achieve.

        It’s tricky; As I mentioned above a Troll is typically someone who enters the debate solely with the view to derailing it, or a facet of that discussion. It is too widely used as a tem, to widely applied to people (and often by those who would more fit the term) and again, to widely associated with a negative connotation to be used in any other way. I think it’d be entirely possible to tighten the definition and it’s use, but I don’t think we can shift it’s application.

        I’d suggest that ‘troll’ retains it’s ‘calssical’(!) definition and instead we find a new verb for what you’re suggesting (i.e. the act of confronting an established viewpoint/argument, while still maintaining the end-goal of furthering the discussion). So if someone accuses you of trolling you can say, ‘no, actually I’m [insert verb here]’. Though what that verb should be, is beyond my imagination at present- perhaps some play on the term ‘consensus’….

      • Oh, the spelling children! the spelling!

      • I’m a little amused that the most effective nursemaid to the narrative, Joshua, has little interest in the details of the science. The best that could be found doesn’t measure the little sickly one’s vital signs.

        Climate Science, a child in need of care.
        ==============

      • Labmonkey,

        It’s tricky; As I mentioned above a Troll is typically someone who enters the debate solely with the view to derailing it, or a facet of that discussion.

        That may be the ostensible definition – but the problem is that “derailing” is in the eye of the beholder. I am often accused of attempting to “derail” a discussion, or to “distract” or “divert” or to “silence” other commenters – when none of that is ever my goal in posting a comment.

        I think that how the term “troll” is used, often in reality, boils down to nothing other than “Someone who voices an opinion I disagree with.” I don’t think that Mike’s is trying to give the term a “different meaning,” because in effect, the term as often currently used is essentially meaningless (in that it’s meaning is context specific – contingent on the majority orientation on the blog, the accuser and the accused. My take is that Mike is trying to create agreement on how the term is best defined.

      • I’m a little amused that the most effective nursemaid to the narrative, Joshua, has little interest in the details of the science. The best that could be found doesn’t measure the little sickly one’s vital signs.

        So let’s examine this comment as an example. Is the desired effect of this comment anything other than to demean me, personally? If so, what is the point of that goal – to “silence” me? Does this comment serve to further the discussion in any manner, unless the function of the discussion is to demean my character?

        And I might also add, that kim displays here that he has formed a conclusion without any true knowledge of its veracity, other than an entirely subjective evaluation.

        In fact, I am quite interested in the details of the science underlying the climate debate, to the extent that I can understand them. That is why I read the comments of folks like Fred, or Pekka, who primarily concentrate on the science of the debate). But I am also interested in the details of the social and political extensions of that debate – an interest that is not mutually exclusive with an interest in the details of the science.

        And that is why I read comments of those who rarely add information about the details of the science also.

        Like kim.

      • Joshua,
        I see where you’re coming from, i also think it’s pointless to try to define the term ‘troll’ as it is purely subjective.

        Perhaps, given the origin of the word (and the age group which coined it) it would be best to abandone the term completely and just deal with people on a case-by-case basis, rather than coin yet another label in this debate.

      • Labmonkey,

        Perhaps, given the origin of the word (and the age group which coined it) it would be best to abandone the term completely and just deal with people on a case-by-case basis, rather than coin yet another label in this debate.

        Agreed. So I don’t ever label anyone a troll (recognizing the subjectivity of the term). But I think it is interesting to discuss how others use the term.

      • Seems sensible.

        “But I think it is interesting to discuss how others use the term”

        Agreed.

      • Heh, actually, I was tipping Joshua to the only manner in which he can become more effective, which is to examine the science.

        But he couldn’t resist warping it. Dare Nature approach such power? Dare such power approach Nature?
        ============

      • kim –

        When I begin looking to you to assess my “effectiveness,” I’ll send you a memo.

      • Joshua, once you lance the boil of reaction around the splinter of radiative effect for CO2, and examine the pus, you are going to be sick all over your memo.
        ====================

      • So let’s deconstruct Joshua’s 9:52 AM comment. His first paragraph imagines a strawman and speculates unwisely about intention. It was an intended side effect to demean not you, but your technique. And silence you? Heh, tu m’amuse.

        The intended main effect of my comment was to highlight that a very effective communicator for the alarmist science is ignorant of, and could care less, about the rot in climate science. Those cognizant of the science, and I believe, of the rot in the science have repeatedly demonstrated their poor ability to communicate. Even the fair communicators, as mentioned above by Joshua, F&P, are monomaniacal in defense of alarmism, and that is poor rhetoric. There is a very interesting disjunct there, which intrigues me.

        Where is the climate scientist with an open mind who can also communicate? Oh, hi there Judy.
        ===============

      • It may not surprise you, but I also value disruptive speech. We are engaged on the scent of the wild and wooly climate beast, and the Joshuas are flogging red smoking herrings from the sidelines. The value of such disruption here is to re-focus the attention, and the nose, on the trail and not on the temptation.
        ===================

      • It was an intended side effect to demean not you, but your technique.

        Really?

        I’m a little amused that the most effective nursemaid to the narrative, Joshua,

        I’d say that referring to me as a “nursemaid” would obviously suggest a “side-effect” of demeaning me personally, even it weren’t your singular goal. Grammatically, there is little ambiguity there – you substituted the term “nursemaid” for my name. But thank you for clarifying your intent. Hopefully you will be similarly specific in your future posts commenting on my “technique.”

        And silence you? Heh, tu m’amuse.

        Perhaps I should explain. I was ironically using the very same mistaken approach I was criticizing as illogical – through the use of rhetorical questions.

        Is the desired effect of this comment anything other than to demean me, personally? If so, what is the point of that goal – to “silence” me? Does this comment serve to further the discussion in any manner, unless the function of the discussion is to demean my character?

        Obviously, I have amply demonstrated that those kinds of comments don’t “silence” me. It should be abundantly apparent to someone who observes my posts as carefully as you. I was making the point that a determination of “intent” on the part of a poster is fraught with uncertainty by ironically employing the same technique.

        Let’s move on:

        The intended main effect of my comment was to highlight that a very effective communicator for the alarmist science is ignorant of, and could care less, about the rot in climate science.

        So – I have stated that I am interested in the details of the science. I am neither “ignorant of” (although my knowledge is obviously limited), nor disinterested in the “rot” of climate science. Quite the opposite – I am very interested in identifying and assessing the importance that part of climate science which is “rot.”

        So – despite my correction of your mistaken conclusion (ironically formulated without sufficient information – when reaching invalid conclusions is what you deem to be “rot” in the work of climate scientists), you insist that your previously reached conclusion is, indeed, valid. Despite evidence to the contrary. Or perhaps you could explain your insight into why I read posts that focus on the validity of climate science if i have no interest in their details or in ascertaining what is valid and what is “rot?”

        Finally:

        Even the fair communicators, as mentioned above by Joshua, F&P, are monomaniacal in defense of alarmism, and that is poor rhetoric.

        I am of the opinion that relative to many of the posters here, Pekka and Fred are decidedly uninterested in the “rhetoric” of the debate, but instead are admirably focused on the “details” of climate science rather than on the rhetoric of the argument.

        That you would label such an interest as “monomaniacal,” particularly in relief against the numerous posters who are (IMO) focused on rhetorical skirmishes, suggests to me that your determination of monomania is selectively influenced by your outlook on the science.

        I think that monomania is in the eye of the beholder.

        Where is the climate scientist with an open mind who can also communicate? Oh, hi there Judy.

        Interesting -I suspect that your determination of “open minded[ness]” is likewise selectively influenced by your interpretation of the science. Personally, although I don’t question that there are people involved (from both sides) in the debate who are close-minded, I am reluctant to attribute closed-mindedness to any particular participant unless I know them personally and have some form of interaction beyond what one gets through the exchange of electrons.

      • Meh, Joshua, you miss the point, but I’m not surprised. I use an old fashioned meaning for the term ‘rhetoric’, not your new mangled one.
        =========================

      • andrew adams

        Labmunkey,

        I think the term ‘troll’ is used for someone who enters the debate only to disrupt, rather than participate.

        Yes, that’s how I would use the term and I agree that there aren’t too many offenders here.

      • Joshua,
        Please. I do get muddy sparring wiht Robert, but do nto confuse being muddied with being the same as Robert.
        Fred has manners. He is a monotone on certain topics, but he is unflappable. If he taught like he posts, he would have been a well liked teacher/professor.

      • …but he is unflappable.

        Which raises the question – who tries to “flap” him, and why?

      • What amazes me is that people with the intelligence to understand climate science the way Stokes, Pirila, and Mooten do fail to see any flaws.

        Oh to be a woman, loved by such a man.
        =================

      • What amazes me is that people with the intelligence to understand climate science the way Stokes, Pirila, and Mooten do fail to see any flaws.

        If you think that they fail to see “any flaws” (at least with Pekka and Fred – I haven’t read enough of Stokes’ posts to say), then you apparently have been reading different posts than I. From where I sit – a broad mischaracterization of the certainty and dogmatism of those who give credence to the argument that GW is 90% likely to be A (and I’m not sure that either Fred or Pekka would agree with that 90% estimate), is one of the biggest flaws in the “skeptical” argument. In fact, such a mischaracterization, particularly when it is repeated over and over, to me, suggests that at least some “un-convinced skeptics,” are indeed deniers.

      • Joshua –
        a broad mischaracterization of the certainty and dogmatism of those who give credence to the argument that GW is 90% likely to be A (and I’m not sure that either Fred or Pekka would agree with that 90% estimate), is one of the biggest flaws in the “skeptical” argument.

        Both Fred and Pekka have been shown to be certain to the point of dogmatism on more than one occasion. That you don’t recognize those occasions is your own problem. Which I have neither time nor inclination to characterize at the moment. The mischaracterization you see is only in your own eyes and bears no relation to reality.

        Note – Fred and Pekka are both human. And I respect both of them. But that does NOT mean they are “right” 100% of the time. Nor does it mean they ALWAYS see as clearly as either they or you think. Both have been caught defending points that are indefensible. IOW – like all humans, they fail to see flaws in their beliefs. Or holes in their science. Or failures in their logic.

      • Note – Fred and Pekka are both human. And I respect both of them. But that does NOT mean they are “right” 100% of the time. Nor does it mean they ALWAYS see as clearly as either they or you think.

        I’m quite sure that neither of them would claim to be right 100% of the time, and you are mistaken in your apparent impression that I think that they are.

        Further – assuming that it is true that they display dogmatism in one area of the debate, to make broad characterizations as kim has done above (i.e., they fail to see any flaws, is, IMO, clearly unfounded – and unfortunately similar to many characterizations I see emanating from both sides of the debate. Such inaccurate claims undermine the arguments on both sides.

        Both have been caught defending points that are indefensible.

        I don’t have your background in the science – but I presume that your self-evaluation of your expertise is overestimated here. I see claims being made back and forth, by knowledgeable people far smarter than I: That defenses are being made of the indefensible by others.

        My take on that is similar to the sentiment that you suggest – only I am far more ambiguous about drawing related conclusions. From where I sit, what is and isn’t “defensible” is overwhelmingly reflected in the eye of the beholder – and rarely reflective of some objective truth (and, interestingly, often correlated to the social/political orientation of the observer. Correlation without causation? You can be judge. What I, personally reject, is that argument that it is causal on only one side of the debate.)

        Moving out of the scientific realm, I see (what seems to me to be) indefensible claims being made by those who elsewhere assert insight into the “truth” about the scientific controversies – as kim and Brandon have done in this very thread by drawing conclusions about someone else’s intent without having enough evidence to support their conclusions. The same would be true for some participants from the other side of the debate.

        When I see such assertions being made, it undermines my confidence in the objectivity of the “asserter”- FWIW.

      • And I’ll add another comment to note this irony:

        The mischaracterization you see is only in your own eyes and bears no relation to reality.

        So after arguing that we’re all human, and thus prone to mistakes, you go on to argue that the mischaracterizations I see emanating from the “skeptical un-convinced/deniers” side of the debate “bear no relation to reality.”

        I seriously love me some irony.

      • Heh, suppose I substitute ‘the flaws’ for ‘any flaws’? Oops, there go paragraphs of sophistry from you.

        Moshe asked me to be nice when I said Pirila was seeking entrance into Nick Stokes’ domain. Sure, Peka’s almost impeccable, but neither from him, from Fred, from Nick, nor from any of the prominent alarmist actors come any admission of error on the part of Mann or his fellow sad thespians. They shouldn’t wait until the fat lady sings. They don’t understand ‘the Works’.
        ========

      • I’m most certainly not right every time, but so far I have erred on Climate Etc only once so badly that I’m ashamed for that. That was related to the Annan & Hargreaves paper.

        Neither do I think that main stream scientists would not err, but I avoid personal condemnation of people, when I don’t know all the details. I have told that I don’t value highly many results of proxy analysis, but I don’t draw conclusions on the properness of the work that led to these results. Errors are a part of science.

        On this site I try to stay calm, but I may be impolite, when the other side is impolite, or when I cannot avoid drawing some unfavorable conclusions from the messages that I read.

      • Heh, suppose I substitute ‘the flaws’ for ‘any flaws’?

        And now the winnowing down, to defend the indefensible,begins…

        but neither from him, from Fred, from Nick, nor from any of the prominent alarmist actors come any admission of error on the part of Mann or his fellow sad thespians.

        And here it continues. So we from “any” flaws, to “the” flaws, to “errors on the part of Mann or his fellow sad thespians.”

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/02/trying-to-put-the-climategate-genie-back-in-the-bottle/#comment-93042

        or from Brandon:

        In a later exchange at RealClimate, Gavin admitted his claim was untrue, and that such a removal invalidated Mann08′s conclusions.

        Winnowing away
        kim reduces his world view
        by changing his words

      • Joshua –
        Once again – as is your habit – you misunderstand (whether deliberately or not) what I write.

        assuming that it is true that they display dogmatism in one area of the debate, to make broad characterizations as kim has done above (i.e., they fail to see any flaws, is, IMO, clearly unfounded – and unfortunately similar to many characterizations I see emanating from both sides of the debate.

        Where have you seen Fred support ANY paper by a sceptic? At what point in time have you seen him denounce Mann or the hockey stick – or disagree with some of the nonsensical AGW politicized science? My statement stands. And your objection is direct evidence of it’s accuracy.

        From where I sit, what is and isn’t “defensible” is overwhelmingly reflected in the eye of the beholder

        And that’s a certainty that’s indefensible. Do you really want to defend the hockey stick? Or Mann’s role? Or Climategate? Or “hide the decline”? Those things may be disputed – but only by those who lack any ethical basis for their life.

        I don’t have your background in the science – but I presume that your self-evaluation of your expertise is overestimated here.

        I doubt that. My recent education is in the philosophy, ethics and history of science. For 40+ years I worked directly with scientists, satellite-borne science instruments and the data from those instruments. Stil, I make no comments on many of the technical posts here because I know the limitations of my knowledge and education – which is apparently more than some of the denizens here are smart enough to realize.

        I see (what seems to me to be) indefensible claims being made by those who elsewhere assert insight into the “truth” about the scientific controversies – as kim and Brandon have done in this very thread by drawing conclusions about someone else’s intent without having enough evidence to support their conclusions.

        I also have considerable background in practical psychology, semantics and communication – among other things. I’ve never stopped studying those things that have interested me – and I’ve covered a lot of ground in the 50 years since my engineerilng degree. And your statement exhibits an apparent lack of realization that ones words reveal much of ones attitude, knowledge, education and —- intent.

        Intent, as you say, IS the most difficult and least obvious to determine. But it’s not always as difficult as you imagine.

        you go on to argue that the mischaracterizations I see emanating from the “skeptical un-convinced/deniers” side of the debate “bear no relation to reality.”

        How many times have you misunderstood what I’ve tried to tell you?

        IOW – you mischaracterize what you believe to be “mischaracteriations.” You read into what’s written much that is not there. And you sometimes fail to understand what IS there.

        And no – I won’t explain. This has already taken too much of the little time I have.

      • Pekka –
        You get the rest of my “blog time” for the day.

        I have seen both you and Fred make at least “one” definite mistake each – and other statements that I found questionable, but that I would not, or at least did not, consider important enough or within my knowledge level to dispute.

        None of that has reduced my respect for either of you. In part because, being human, I’ve made my own mistakes here. And in large part because each of you has maintained your “cool” and presented reasonable arguments – for the most part, even in those places that I might not agree with you.

        In addition, I’ve learned from both of you. You have many times presented arguments or information in ways that others have missed or neglected. And I have agreed with a lot of your views and arguments. You are valuable members of the debate.

        A debate, after all, requires at least two sides. If everyone here agreed on every issue, then all but one of us would be unnecessary. :-)

      • Dust in the winnowing wind has blinded Joshua’s view of the world. The hockey stick is corrupt, and all the King’s treasure and all the King’s wordsmiths can’t put that ikon back up on the wall.
        =================

      • Pekka, the failure to correct the errors of the hockey stick is not science, and you should be among the first to be denouncing the failure.

        I survey, and see you standing sturdily and politely with Nick Stokes, Fred Mooten, surrounded by hyenas with tongues hanging from the panting.

        Climate science inevitably has a future. Its integrity and security lie in a return to normal science with automatic correction of errors. This will happen, but faster if you’d help.
        ================

  6. Paul Vaughan

    Efficiently agreeing to disagree is sensible.

    For example, nested comment threads produce a “wasteland of tangled messages”, to quote one of my former online Stat 101 students who played a motivating role in my efforts to set up “Communication Guidelines” that eventually reduced my workload to 30% of its former level and helped elevate my “excellent” & “good” feedback to 70%.

    • But, agreement must be within an accepted framework. For example, can’t we at least agree that those those who profit from pushing a hoax and and a scare tactic onto the public for political purposes should be defunded should not be rewarded with public money?

  7. Also, insulting people invariably ends up reflecting more poorly on the person doing the insulting rather than the object of the insult (that one is a very difficult lesson for people to learn.)

    I think there’s a problem with this statement, but only because there’s no common definition of what an ‘insult’ is. It appears in ‘science’ debate, that saying someone is ‘wrong’ or ‘misunderstands’ or ‘ignores’ or ‘confuses’ is akin to an ‘insult’. Other examples include claiming someone is cherry-picking data, or “apparently refusing” to completely read and digest this that and the other before replying to a gauntlet that has been thrown.

    …I think some folks internalize anything besides glowing approval of whatever it is they just posted as ‘insulting’, and the need to redeem what they said can become more prioritized than furthering discussion.

    Do you think that what or how someone internalizes as an insult is just as reflective of them, as what or how insults reflects on the insulter?

    • These aren’t what I call insults. There are some real doozies that show up here, including insults laced with profanity that land in the spam filter.

    • Saying you believe someone’s opinion is wrong, is not an insult.

      Saying you believe someone’s opinion is wrong and he/she is therefore an uninformed idiot, is an insult.

      Insinuating that someone does not have the intelligence to figure out what is right, is also an insult.

      It comes down to attacking the person, rather than the argument, and is a logical fallacy known as “argumentum ad hominem”.

      Max

  8. To really be effective as a salon for ideas, what a blog needs is some very strong original research as a foundation. I enjoy doing the citizen-based science thing, so I am always on the lookout for such beasts. The top contender recently has been the AzimuthProject blog, which is about applying math to environmental science topics. This blog has a strong moderator and no name-calling is allowed. Blog posts from months ago get commented on and some discussion will invariably result, largely because of the recent comment activity sidebar (which Climate Etc also has). Any productive discussions on the blog then go into the community Azimuth Wiki pages, which has its own forum for commentary. If you want a prototype for an idea factory, that one is a good candidate.

  9. I think that it’s interesting that after 20+ years of Global Warming Science, somebody thinks that an open exchange of ideas about it might be a good idea.

    Andrew

  10. Off topic — how about a small prize for whoever posts comment #100,000? Coming soon!

  11. Again, JC is ducking the reality of the eco-left and it’s involvement in the agw agenda;

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/militant-environmentalists-call-for-executions-and-decisive-ecological-warfare/

    How’s that for “tone” of a debate?

    There are only 2500 climate scientists in the IPCC circle (this is a clear over count). We should get a political resume on each and we would be closer to the real truth of the debate.

    • The Blaze is outlining a truly disgusting trend.
      This is evenmore blatant than Hansen’s favorite, “Time’s up!”

      • Robert and Settled Science are easy to understand and therefore not very dangerous to the debate. In fact they help their opponents.

        Dr. Curry panders and plays ball with “no labels” and the false “middle ground” theory, that is far more dangerous. The world ends up sucked into an eco-narrative that has little defense based on science or logic.

        Could you imagine the media and expert class reaction if there was a comparable eco-fringe group on the other side? The media and elite hypocrisy is clearly exposed yet again.

  12. Judith Curry

    Your conclusions on “echo chamber” blogs versus open venues with more diversity of perspective are correct, as are your comments on the futility of resorting to insults, which reveal a basic weakness of the argument.

    I would also agree to the other points about running a blog site such as this as a constantly changing work in progress, that it is a good idea to have both men and women bloggers for balance and that a primary goal should be to keep the conversation going rather than simply to win an argument (no question that if your goal is just to win an argument, you will not succeed in keeping the conversation going.

    But back to Madeleine de Scudéry’s “salons”.

    First of all, the “salons” discussed largely philosophical issues of the time, whereas “philosophy” is only a small part of the ongoing climate debate.

    However, I think there is another differentiator. I’ve lived several years in French-speaking locations (French Switzerland, the Lyon area and a few months in de Scudéry’s home city of Le Havre). But my mother tongue is German (Swiss German) and I studied in USA so am also comfortable in English.

    I would submit that one root cause for the civil discourse of de Scudéry’s salons is inherent to the French language: a Latin language that has been superimposed on a Celtic mindset.

    In French it is often less important what you say than how you say it – “getting there is half the fun”. German and English (basically a Germanic language with many Latin words, thanks to the Norman Conquest) are different, IMO. The goal is to get the message across – usually as succinctly as possible.

    Just a small example. In English, we sign off a letter with: “yours truly” or “sincerely yours”. In French it is often with: “veuillez agréer, chère Madame, l’expression de mes sentiments les plus distingués” (roughly translated as: “would you agree, dear Madame, to the expression of my most distinguished sentiments”).

    Vive la différence!

    Max

    • I work with international graduate students and businesspeople who are trying to adapt to American academic and professional rhetorical conventions.

      The French are usually very interesting to work with. One French student told me that she understood that I was trying to get her to be more specific and more succinct, but objected because writing in such a manner is so “ugly.”

  13. Regarding Pielke Jr: the refusal of his critics to debate on his (reasonable) terms has both proximate and ultimate causes. The former is from a lack of courage of their convictions (what if I can’t carry this off?). The latter is because the controversy has become political (and utterly unscientific) in form and function. In this case,it follows the standard political rule: if you’re ahead, don’t debate. These people see themselves as politicians, fighting a political battle. And in politics, there is no responsibility to truth or reason or self-criticism – only winning counts.

    Regarding misunderstanding in the comment venue. I am a lukewarmer climate skeptic. When people talk about deniers, they’re talking about me. In spite of that fact, when I recently highlighted a recommendation to skeptics to be skeptical of their own position, I was attacked as the enemy because I had the nerve to criticize ‘our side’ against ‘their side.’ This sort of thing has been called ‘enemy talk,’ and can be found on any public comment thread that touches on any political topic. It shouldn’t need to be said that ‘enemy talk’ does not further discussion or understanding, and in fact seeks to cut off both.

    Finding value in a forum like this one (the comment section, that is) is a matter of wading through the irrelevancy to find the on-topic, rational discussion. A requirement that each poster type in the words “Yes, my entry is directly relevant to this thread” wouldn’t help much, but maybe, just maybe someone along the line would feel a twinge of guilt before hitting ‘Enter.’

    • MarkB,

      Reference to:

      A. Shewonk’s post “Denialist Chum: Curry Style” of January 16, 2011
      B. Shewonk’s post “The Climate Denier Dunce Cap” of January 25, 2011
      C. Stoats’s post “Curry” of April 23, 2010

      MarkB, I would like to compare some of your remarks in your last comment with those comments appearing in the threads of the above references under the author “MarkB.”

      You say, MarkB, “When people talk about deniers they are talking about me.” Given the above statement, I was surprised that I could not find a single instance in the referenced posts/threads where you were ever called a “denier” even though you shared those posts/threads with some of the blogosphere’s nastiest, “denier”-wielding greenshirts. Rather, I found comments in which you, or another MarkB, perhaps, rather freely employed the term “denier” and you, if it is indeed you, did not seem to be referring to yourself, at all:

      “Become a global warming denier, and you get noticed.” A:comment # 67

      “Oil addicts are often deniers.” A:comment # 67

      “[Climate Denier] Dunce cap for McIntyre.” B:comment # 72

      “I believe we have a strong Denier Dunce Cap Candidate.” B:comment # 25

      Note: Shewonk’s merry “Dunce Cap” post asked her hen-house dumb-clucks to nominate “deniers” “that belong in the corner wearing the climate denial dunce cap.” Curiously, the gleeful, jeering gibes that followed in some number revealed a gender bias. That is, almost all the comments were received from that all-too-familiar bunch of privileged-white-capons whose unhealthy attachment to shewonk’s old-biddy blog is one of the great unsolved mysteries of climate science.

      MarkB, you also bemoan the “attack” that was made on you incident to a previous post on this blog with the further admonition, “‘enemy talk’ does not further discussion or understanding.” Again, given your above remarks, I was surprised that someone named MarkB, possibly not you, has littered the blogosphere with comments such as:

      “So why would Curry promote such idiocy. Perhaps it’s to push an agenda…” A:comment # 13

      “Before her recent behavior, Curry’s attention was probably limited mainly to a few articles defending her hurricane research. Now she’s a celebrity…Such a role requires dismissing any rational discourse and scientific knowledge she may have learned studying science…” A:comment # 67

      “I generally assume good faith, but this assumption is getting continually more difficult to make with Dr. Curry.” C:comment # 58

      “Some of the rhetoric is rather clever, similar to concern trolling, and she [Dr. Curry] uses her apparent cred with the mainstream scientific community as a consistent rhetorical weapon.” C:comment # 58

      In sum, the above is some pretty mean-spirited, “denier”-laden, “enemy talk” stuff. So let me conclude with a question for you, MarkB. Do you truly think it appropriate for the person posting the above comments, under the name MarkB, to play the victim and give the rest of us lectures in effective communications?

      • MIke – sorry to get you so worked up, but this:

        ” “So why would Curry promote such idiocy. Perhaps it’s to push an agenda…” A:comment # 13″

        is not me.

        I don’t go into another person’s house and insult them. If I don’t like ’em, I get up and leave.

      • MarkB,

        No need to apologise–I enjoyed getting “so worked up” collecting and contrasting a small sample of your amazing quotes. But I am a bit perplexed at your innuendo that I insulted you. With the exception of one admittedly barbed question, all I did was quote and contrast your comments on this blog and others. And while my barbed question did, perhaps, raise the issue as to what sort of little game you’re playing–while possibly making you look just a little foolish and the hypocrite, as well–it was not, in any way classifiable as an insult.

        As far as the comment you disclaim goes–comment #13 on Shewonk’s “Denialist Chum: Curry Style” post was quoted accurately by me and the author of the comment was “MarkB”. But apparently that post was not yours (you should know MarkB) and you were the hapless victim of identity theft (and that clever thief even managed to convincingly mimic your style!). And I can see I added to your victimization by attributing that bogus comment to you, in public. What you might want to do, MarkB, to spare yourself further grief in this area is to disavow the bogus comment # 13 in the thread of shewonk’s post–something you’ve not yet done.

        Finally, my collection of improbable greenshirt ripostes received a handsome addition when you, MarkB–the Eddie Haskell of the blogosphere (now there’s an insult!)–in your best Mr. Manner’s mode slighted my comportment on this blog. Thanks, MarkB.

  14. And the source for this reactionary paranoia is: “http://www.theblaze.com”

    Per wikipedia:

    The Blaze is a conservative news and opinion website launched on August 31, 2010, by American media personality and Fox News host Glenn Beck, three days after Beck’s widely publicized Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C.. Beck has promoted The Blaze as an alternative to “mainstream media outlets,” which Beck says are “distorting facts to fit rigid agendas.”

    Should we run Glenn Beck past the six points of judging expertise?

    • What about the information posted Robert? Does the ad hom change the facts related?

      No.

      Beck only posted a link, like Drudge might and we get the usual disinformation express from a likely source.

      • “What about the information posted Robert?”

        Your source is unreliable. Therefore the claims are irrelevant.

        Be well.

      • What a delusional joke Robert! If he links to the NY Times you make the same pompous decree?

      • John Carpenter

        No cwon1, that is Robert confirming to us all his own confirmation bias he is so prone to preach others against. Hypocrisy surrounds Robert’s ideas on many levels. Try reading his blog… it’s like going to AGW church.

      • In Robert land the book does not exist since Glenn Beck is talking about it.
        One could call Robert an intellectual coward, but why insult intellectual cowards?

      • So if someone is unreliable in your view, nothing they say should be listened to?
        You are a maroon.

  15. I hope Judith will send a complete set of the works of Mlle de Scudery to Marc Morano, as he is in sore need of them– it would greatly raise the scientific level of the debate were climate skeptics to limit their citations to back issues of the peerless Mr. Addison’s Spectator.

    • Russell, the climate debated devolved decades ago. It probably peaked with the mitigation failure (05-08′) as a broad range. As with say , “talk radio” Morano couldn’t exist without the partisan, elite, arrogant MSM babbling for it’s counterparts in the political wings of the IPCC or the eco-left. He performs the function of equalization of ugly rhetoric of the eco-fringe. We might all wish it were another way but who really showed up with poison gas first? “Deniers=Holocaust Deniers”? Think a moment.

  16. Most AGW supporters are like Robert. Totally incurious. Smug. Hateful. Fanatics. If they run a blog they tend to be fascistic. And pretty darned ignorant.

    • Agreed. Why does JC play middle of the road with the culture? “No labels” is code for avoiding tribal accountability either in the present sense or past involvements.

      I could see her and most of the consensus at a Pete Seager concert, she should own up to it.

      • When Dylan went electric at Monterey, Seeger went looking for an axe to cut the power cable. Shame on me, but I thought there might have been some merit in Seeger putting an axe into a high-power electric cable … it might have ended with him in a “little box.”

  17. Dr. C., you’re such an optimist! I can’t tell you how much I respect your efforts at bringing some civility to the proceedings, but how is that ever going to happen when the Grand Poobah himself is running around insisting that “pseudoscientists are being paid” to spread false doubts? That stuff is pure poison, serving only to foster even more anger and hate in our already riven society. People hear that, and absolutely believe it. How can a civil discussion take place under such conditions?

    It’s clear to me that the more that legitimate doubt is cast on the orthodoxy, the more full of rage does the priesthood become. Poor Al Gore has really gone off the rails, with Michael Mann following close behind..

    • pokerguy

      Yeah. (Not so) poor Al has indeed “gone off the rails”.

      But why should he?

      He has received an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize plus reportedly made $100 million since being “the next president of the United States”.

      OK. The really big bucks have slipped away with the collapse of his carbon credits company, but he has still managed to do real well (by doing “good”), so he shouldn’t be bitter.

      Mike, on the other hand, hasn’t been able to squeeze any significant cash out of the AGW story so far, so has more reason to be disgruntled..

      Max

      • Really, I don’t think selfish money l motivation by any of the actors has much to do with anything. I do think the underlying political self-identifications are critical and often not disclosed well enough.

        There is no adequate poll but I’m confident 90% of the consensus would vote for Al Gore given the choice. It’s always very guarded as they love the role of being considered experts first without political disclosure. JC might have some shame but she voted for Obama (she gave money to the campaign) and there by Cap and Trade. Meanwhile we are lectured about civility and “no labels”.

        The Robert’s or Al Gore’s of the world are helpful because they are obvious. The obfuscation of the “consensus” political inclinations and culture is a far greater in danger since it’s sold as “science”. Many skeptics view JC and her evolution as progress but it has two edges. Why isn’t she called out on discussing “bias” but avoiding like the plague what the true motivation of what creates that bias? Left to her explaination the public is misinformed as if this is about competition or an academic feud where political cultures are secondary except for skeptics. This is wholesale nonsense. The IPCC agenda was always a left of center statist proxy outlook. JC has sympathy for that root culture but doesn’t directly admit it. How is that honest debate?

      • There have actually been a number of surveys of political identification and the attitude towards global warming — most notably, the “Six Americas” survey, which has been repeated several times. These surveys find that global warming deniers are right-wing (2% identify as democrats), incurious for more information, globally suspicious and mistrustful. But the converse is not true. People who believe in the basic science of global warming are politically diverse, open to new information changing their mind, and trust and mistrust various sources at levels similar to the general population, although the most concerned trust scientists more and the media and congress less (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fenvironment.yale.edu%2Fclimate%2Ffiles%2FSixAmericasMay2011.pdf&rct=j&q=six%20americas&ei=JX5ITtnzDdS80AGWqtiODQ&usg=AFQjCNFin-7d2Z_Sr5Dj8PYIim-VXHlwCQ&sig2=BEzZZGeX1B8C6TERaRFC6g&cad=rja).

        In other words, deniers who paint this fairy tale of leftist ideology motivating the pro-science crowd are projecting their defects onto their opponents.

      • Most people are of course moderate middle of the road types who tend to be cautious and are believers in democracy, free markets and individual liberties.

        In general we see the way forward being more in line with the Breakthough Institutes pragmatic approach than in extremes at either end of the spectrum.

        If people are not prepared to compromise – I suspect them of fanaticism. At this stage compromise includes ditching the failed mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, the nonsensical rhetoric of progressives and conservatives alike and in defining a pragmatic – and positive – policy agenda.

      • Chief, a lot of people like the free-market because it means they won’t be bothered by regulations that prevent monopolies, child labor, unsafe working conditions, air and water pollution, false advertising, and other things they would like to get away with.

        Of course when you say “free-market” you may mean some watered-down version of the real thing. Perhaps you could explain exactly what you mean.

      • Free markets derive from a functioning civil society – individual freedoms, private property, the rule of law and democracy. Free markets could no more exist in anarchy than communism. It is not a watered down version of free markets but the purest expression and can easily – in the theories of Hayek – encompass prevention of monopolies, child labor, unsafe working conditions, air and water pollution, false advertising and much else.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAw1E0S_gMc – talking heads

        There are a few rules in free markets – fairness and the rule of law, managing interest rates and not printing money to prevent asset bubbles amongst the most important. A government sector less than 30% of GDP allows for optimum productive activity. Laissez-faire economics are not an option in any real world – merely a didactic device.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk – much more fun

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQnarzmTOc&feature=relmfu – likewise

      • Chief, if your idea of a free-market is a regulated free market, why not call a spade a spade, a just say “regulated free market” instead of “free market.”

      • don’t you mean “regulated spade”?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Some regulation is essential to free markets. Just as in civil society there are laws against murder, robbery and other mayhem – and these do not diminish freedoms of the citizen but increase the freedom from the oppression of others. As long as it is a rule of law that has hard won constituational boundaries against the oppression of the state – it is at least bearable.

        The term ‘regulated markets’ seems to imply that any sort of regualtion we may imagine is acceptable. No – it just those regulations where there is some harm to others. Pollution is an example as is monopoly control, child labour, trade in endangered species or in the prevention of the movement of harmful substances across borders – are some I would appove of in that light. The wars on drugs – on the other hand – creates black markets and seems to cause more harm than it solves.

        Taxes on energy in developed countries seems to be pointless. Higher energy costs reduce global productivity – something that is much needed in todays world when there are billions with few options and many needs. But then there are many other strategies available likely to prove far more effective as well.

        You disparage grand language about human freedoms and that diominishes freedom itself. You trivialise our enlightenment heritage for what? Some mess of green-socialist potage of Marx and Malthus stewed by the Club of Rome.

        You have a far different agenga – and I do not approve of your idea of ‘regulated markets’.

      • “If people are not prepared to compromise – I suspect them of fanaticism.”

        You might also suspect them of lack of confidence in their science self-confidence as well. AGW could not have been advanced as far as it has without a large publically educated population trained to adhear to elite authority with weak science self-confidence. They might have some political bias as a group but AGW does reflect social decline in a variety of ways. It’s an Orwellian indicator. “Consensus” passed off as science is little more than a trapping of statism.

        As for being “extreme” you contradict yourself; “At this stage compromise includes ditching the failed mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol”. The whole point of AGW academic “consensus” theory is to act as cover for carbon restrictions, eco-regulatory excess and taxes. To the base of AGW supporters your statement is radical and “extreme”. That’s a better role than being a “useful idiot” of course. Pandering to the eco-fringe isn’t going to be judged all that well and the stakes are no less than the Eugenics movement of the early to mid 20th century.

        Once you know what the kool-aid tastes like why is there a conclusion that watering down the poison would be the best outcome? (Compromise) So all the pining for alternative carbon regulation that is common in lukewarm factions is nothing better than “denial” of just how dark the heart of AGW really is. “If only Hitler/Stalin/Mao hadn’t gone that far…..they would have been reveared by history??” So the world suffers under a carbon cartel (OPEC for example) as well as a would-be regulatory dictatorship (UN/IPCC) we live in practical compromise each day of our lives. Why should the world surrender it’s ethics and freedom at the same time over a trace gas that is a minor player at best in climate outcomes?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        So – predictably the same stupid rant from cwon14. Get a life – get some semblance of sense – get rooted as we say in Australia.

        The most modest ambitions for the world this century is 3% growth in food and energy per year for the rest of the century – doubling every 23 years.
        How to do that while conserving as much ecology as we can – something fthat only the rich can afford – while not pushing emmissions of carbon dioxide to 50% of the natural flux?

        Get some perspective – get out of your stupid sceptic rut and show some breath of understanding of the real world. Real people – such as the Breakthrough Institute we discussed recently – are looking for ways forward. You are part of the problem as are the bloody warmists – neither side has a clue and you should just rack off and leave it to people who don’t think entirely in stupid political slogans.

      • Yes we do sometimes say “get rooted” in Australia. But, I would advise caution in the actual use of the phrase when visiting antipodean parts.

        It doesn’t normally translate as might be indicated above!

      • Same 60’s “Population bomb” roots, different day Chief. Why should your bleak statist narrative be accepted?

        I can’t think of a reason.

        Less than 1% of land is farmed by the way. Another invented narrative, when the roots of hunger are more closely linked to central planning and people who surrender their freedom to fools.

    • “In fact, the past climate record shows unequivocally a strong role of CO2 in acting like a “control knob” for Earth’s climate”

      Just the opposite. It shows CO2 follows temperature.

      AGW is just repeating the same old fraudulent claims over and over.

    • I think we need a more nuanced approach. Perhaps a different sort of physics?

      It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

      Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication – http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/02/ellison

      Why does climate change? Natural climate variability occurs – as the Royal Society says – because climate is an example of a chaotic system.

      Our ‘examples lead to an inevitable conclusion: since the climate system is complex, occasionally chaotic, dominated by abrupt changes and driven by competing feedbacks with largely unknown thresholds, climate prediction is difficult, if not impracticable.’ http://www.biology.duke.edu/upe302/pdf%20files/jfr_nonlinear.pdf

      Is there a carbon effect?
      https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/07/carbon-cycle-questions-part-ii/#comment-98635

      As temperatures increase and ice retreats – biological activity in the warming world increases releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. There is a negative feedback to both warming and cooling rate limited by silicate weathering.

      Is there a recent carbon effect?

      ‘The overall slight rise (relative heating) of global total net flux at TOA between the 1980’s and 1990’s is confirmed in the tropics by the ERBS measurements and exceeds the estimated climate forcing changes (greenhouse gases and aerosols) for this period. The most obvious explanation is the associated changes in cloudiness during this period.’
      http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/projects/browse_fc.html It might be noted that there was relative cooling in the IR. This should be no surprise – I feel – given decadal Pacific variability and demonstrated ENSO cloud feedback.

      I see you as drilling down to ever finer detail in the carbon arena – as seen in the greenhouse dragon threads here – without ever putting a head above the parapets of the climate wars to attempt a ‘meta-theory’ of climate – a rambling, complex and uncertain narrative that integrates disparate science

      So in the spirit of the e-salon I propose that you and I discuss a meta-theory of climate.

      The first question to be resolved – I feel – is whether chaotic systems can coincide with ordered forcing. This gives us the underlying mode – or physics – of climate. I take the existentialist philosophic position that – like being and nothingness – chaos and order are mutually exclusive.

      You will have to step down from your high horse first.

    • Chris,
      Try just giving a straight answer, and not an echo:
      How does a control knob work if it moves after the thing it is supposed to control moves?

    • That’s more like a mindless patronizing grade 8 science teacher BS lecture, rather than dinner table conversation. I can’t believe you used “The Day After Tomorrow” where global warming causes an ice age. Next you will talk about how the dinosaurs were wiped out by a asteroid and use the block buster movie Ice Age 3 to explain it.

      • If you read it more thoroughly than a casual glance, I never actually supported the science in Day After tomorrow.

      • Chris,
        There was no more science in Day After Tomorrow than there was in Star Wars.
        The problem is you are supporting catastrophism.

      • Hi Chris, I would be interested in your views of the science in Chief Hydrologist’s comment just above.

    • This is random, so why did you post it? Do you randomly change the subject on your boss when you’re talking to her? Nothing is stopping you from getting your own blog and posting all the links you want. This is Dr Curry’s blog, and she set the topic. Simple manners would keep you on topic.

  18. CO2 in GISP2 ice core record,

    160ppm to 325ppm in the 1900m to 1650m depths.


    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2011/08/why-the-co2-ice-core-reconstructions-matter/

    What caused a 165ppm rise?

    • A large change in temperature coming out of a glaciation?

      CO2 being less soluble in warm water, it came from the oceans.

      Milankovic cycles.

      • All good answers.

        “The GISP2 also has 324.8 ppmv which is the same level that Mauna Loa recorded for 1969. GISP2 said that was the same level that happened 10,960 YBP.”

        10,960 YBP is slightly colder than it was 95 years ago.

        ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/isotopes/gisp2_temp_accum_alley2000.txt

        Could not CO2 be following temperature once again?

      • Well, CO2 always follows temperature with respect to the amount that is dissolved in seawater, but recent temperature changes are not comparable to the changes 10,960 years ago, and thus aren’t capable of causing the changes in CO2 concentration especially since we know CO2 is dissolving into the oceans, not coming out of it as occurrs when coming out of a glaciation.

      • “but recent temperature changes are not comparable to the changes 10,960 years ago”

        GISP2 95 years ago: -31.5913C

        GISP2 10,965 years ago: -34.963

        So it was actually 3.5C colder than 95 years ago.

      • That’s not the time frames I was comparing.

        I was comparing the temperature 19,000 years ago with CO2 at 160 ppm and Greenland temperature about -45 C, and 11,000 years ago with CO2 at 325 and Greenland temperature at -35 C, with the change from 95 years ago with CO2 about 300 ppm and Greenland temperature -31.6 C to the present with CO2 about 390 ppm and Greenland temperature about the same.

        What I am getting at is the temperature change coming out of a glaciation could cause a large change in CO2 concentration, but the temperature change in the last 100 years is insufficient to cause a similar change.

        But the ice cores show that Greenland varies more in temperature than Vostok from interglacial to glacial.

      • If 3.5C colder than 95 years ago can cause 325ppm CO2, then todays temperature can cause 390ppm.

        And since CO2 lags temperature, the end of LIA can easily cause current levels of CO2.

  19. Dr. Curry:
    You have one of the more stimulating blogs out there for the simple reason you draw “large guns” from both sides of the issue. Your best posts cause those with differing opinions to roll out papers, cites, and conclusions based upon their interpretations of what those papers or cites may mean. I do not comment often as I am rarely qualified to enter the discussion, but I can follow links and view evidence for myself and draw my own conclusions. So while I do not post much, I always read and share my discoveries with people in the real world.

    There is a lot of noise of course, perhaps there should be a rule of 10 posts without supporting evidence you are on time out. It is clear some (i.e. Robert) bring nothing to the table other then insults, and often the comment threads are directed down useless paths and wastes of time, by their silliness. I found it interesting that few seemed to know that Vaughan Pratt and Claes Johnson are both respected scientists, until you pointed it out. Know your “enemy”? Or at least the person you are accusing of not knowing what they are talking about.

    The best case I can make for your success is the Skydragons thread. It was well you returned to it recently. A vigorous debate ensued and the Skydragons lost. I know there is no admission of such, but they did. Does that mean they were 100% wrong? No, but until new evidence comes to light their argument is a dead end.

    Going forward, how to proceed? While the Skydragons did lose their debate, an important point is indirectly raised by them. It is similar to a point raised by Willis Eschenbach (whom I respect greatly), though I imagine both do not think it as such. It appears that a ‘climate sensitivity’ is assumed, measured, or estimated. What if the points they raise are valid in the sense that ‘climate sensitivity’ is not constant? There is no one value you can place on it, rather it changes based upon circumstances. If that were the case, it seems that may help us to understand the uncertainty surrounding it.

    To make my case, I would offer the following. Some have asked Mr. Eschenbach to show how his idea of homeostatic responses can explain the ices ages. Others have said that if the Medieval warm period was warmer then today, it implies greater ‘climate sensitivity'(Real Climate). The Skydragons have offered that it is not so straightforward that increased CO2 equals increased temperatures. It is possible they are all a little bit right, some more then others. We know the atmosphere of our planet is extremely complex, so why would there be a single ‘climate sensitivity’ number? We have how many different variables affecting the ‘climate’ of our planet? If A+B+C-X-Y-Z=’climate sensitivity’, then why would we expect it to be constant? It is clear an increase in CO2 should increase the ‘back radiation’ and warm the planet, but how does that effect every other variable?

    Since the GHE can be put to bed until new evidence comes to light, I would love to see your ‘Denizens’ focus on the next step: ‘Uncertainty in Climate Sensitivity’.

    Thank you for allowing me to post on your blog:

    Roy Weiler

    • I agree that having dispatched the skydragon argument about the existence of downwelling longwave radiation that can be proven with a simple measurement, the next questions relate to sensitivity. We had a thread a while back that started to address it with the no-feedback response where JC thought maybe we could get agreement. I think we did, and certainly all mainstream scientists including the skeptical ones, Lindzen and Spencer take this as a given, i.e. about 1 degree per doubling. No-feedback sensitivity is quite well defined, only requiring a one-dimensional model to solve it, but there are assumptions, which are reasonable, about the lapse rate staying constant to make it a solvable problem. The next logical step is sensitivity including feedbacks. I think some knowledge can be gained by staying with one-dimensional models to illustrate this. The primary feedbacks are water vapor and lapse rate feedbacks. Several papers go into this and the ideas date back to Arrhenius. Other factors like ice albedo and clouds could also be added later, but would muddy things at this first stage. So my response to Roy is that there are simplified sensitivities that are well defined and can pertain to approximations of the atmosphere, which should therefore be relevant to the climate discussion.

      • Jim:
        In principle I can accept that, but at this point we are taking rudimentary expressions about certain components and turning them into certainties. I am not convinced they are certain. Let us look at a game of chess, if we move a certain piece, it does not only affect the certainty of that piece’s role in that game, but the effectiveness of other pieces.

        My argument is not that we do not know the role of CO2, but we are not sure how it changes the expression of the other pieces in the game. We can make broad assumptions, but we have insufficient knowledge to know in any kind of reasonable certainty. As an example, Willis’ definition of current homeostatic theory may be correct under the current atmospheric formula, but not under other atmospheric formulas.

        I hope you can see what I am getting at here?

        Roy Weiler

      • I see that you are referring to a new WUWT post by Willis. I’ll check into it.

      • Jim:
        It is a rehash of what he has said before, but no less meaningful. He is pretty consistent on this, and has a published paper.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/14/its-not-about-feedback/

        Roy Weler

      • I think of climate sensitivity in terms of long-term equilibrium, while Willis is looking at time-varying non-equilibrium states and some kind of instantaneous sensitivity, which everyone would agree would not be well defined due to changing states and with his diurnal cycle producing changing forcing. In the climate system, the forcing is net of the solar forcing, and outgoing longwave and reflected solar, which according to sensitivity (homeostatic) arguments relates surface temperature changes to forcing changes after reaching a new equilibrium. Adding CO2 initially reduces outgoing longwave, and the climate has to warm (or perhaps reflect more) to cancel this before reaching a new equilibrium.
        Sensitivity can be a function of temperature for sure. It is quite clear that the sensitivity in the Ice Ages was greater, because the large ice extent provided a significant positive feedback that the current ice caps can’t. Sensitivity would also be a function of continental distribution and atmospheric gases. The idea that we are in a linear regime (that Willis objects to) is perhaps a simplification because there may be tipping points, such as Greenland melting or polar ice going away, but unless those tipping points are reached, I think it is fair to define a linear sensitivity for the current climate that should hold over the next century.

      • Abrupt climate shifts seem to occur far more regularly than that – 1909, the mid 1940’s the late 1970’s and 1998/2001 to be precise (in the spirit of the e-salon).

        Recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

        Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication.

        http://www.nosams.whoi.edu/PDFs/papers/tsonis-grl_newtheoryforclimateshifts.pdf

        https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/kswanson/www/publications/2008GL037022_all.pdf

        This is a summary of the 2002 NAS report Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises – http://dels-old.nas.edu/dels/rpt_briefs/abrupt_climate_change_final.pdf

      • This is about how sensitivity changes. I don’t count natural variation as changes in sensitivity, nor changes in forcing. The periods you mention can be regarded as changes in forcing, firstly the sun from 1910-1940 and then aerosols up until the 1970’s. Abrupt climate change can occur when the forcing changes, but does the sensitivity change?

      • It is in the nature of chaotic systems – which you were in fact discussing.
        And you can’t possibly have read the primary references I linked to.

        Our ‘examples lead to an inevitable conclusion: since the climate system is complex, occasionally chaotic, dominated by abrupt changes and driven by competing feedbacks with largely unknown thresholds, climate prediction is difficult, if not impracticable.’ http://www.biology.duke.edu/upe302/pdf%20files/jfr_nonlinear.pdf

        Nonlinearity – abrupt change caused when the system crosses a theshold – is the essence of climate. There are multiple factors in operation and simple explanations – the sun, sulphates – aren’t complete. Sulphates have a problem as well because of Arctic temperature variation – as high in the late 1930’s as it is today. Sulphates drop out in hours to days so why the same period in natural variation? (Chylek 2009) We know there is variation in the Arctic Oscillation and the NOA, the Decadal Pacific Variation and cloud feedback – etc. So natural variation of multiple types – that can lead to cooling over decades – is not in question.

        So if we are talking about climate sensitivity – what we have as a definition in a complex and dynamic Earth system is small changes in control variables pushing the system past a threshold and triggering abrupt and non-linear change. That is sensitivity – low when not in the vicinity of a chaotic bifurcation and extreme in the region of a threshold – whether the control variable is natural or as a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

        It has been known for a long time that climate over long periods – i.e. the Holocene – is chaotic. Now it is known to be chaotic at all scales.

        ‘Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.

        Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

        The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers….’

        ‘Modern climate records include abrupt changes that are smaller and briefer than in paleoclimate records but show that abrupt climate change is not restricted to the distant past.’

        It is different concept of sensitivity appropriate to a complex system. I can’t help with CO2 sensitivity – because the effects are impossible to disentangle I deny the logic of the idea. Climate is not linear and therefore sensitivity is not linear.

      • CH, OK, we have had this conversation before in some way. Yes there may be more than one climate that can exist at a given forcing. There are hysteresis effects and tipping points. Some you mention can be explained by large ice dams breaking, freeing up fresh water that modifies the global ocean circulation. Are we in a state where such a thing can happen? I think the most that could happen would be the Gulf Stream stopping which would have consequences for global temperature, or a large Arctic methane release. So, yes, we have to be guarded when saying the state has a particular sensitivity because we can’t be sure a tipping point won’t happen. But, as you say, tipping points are more likely during rapid climate change, which we are in now.

      • There are more subtle shifts that have consequences – for hydrology not least – in the Pacific, the Atlantic the Arctic and the Antarctic. The NAO, ENSO, PDO, SAM, NAM etc – the major modes of global climate variability. These result in shifts in snow, ice, cloud, dust and biology – which change albedo and thus the energy dynamic of the planet. They change on decadal and longer timescales.

        There is a solar driver for this natural variability – including solar UV drift and interactions with ozone in the stratosphere. But the modes interact as a global system with multiple feedbacks on winds, clouds, ocean currents (including THC) and rainfall – and these things shift abruptly.

        The big cooling changes are caused by ice sheet formation – for instance if warming reduces ice formation in the north west Atlantic in winter and THC slows – triggering growth of ice sheets in North America and Europe.
        Or the NAO intensifies – http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034008/fulltext – causing hemispheric cooling and again triggering runaway ice sheet growth.

      • JimD

        I think of climate sensitivity in terms of long-term equilibrium

        Equilibrium?

        In climate?

        Sounds a bit mythical to me.

        Max

    • Roy,

      I think you are correct in that it is time to put the skydragon to bed, but what to tackle next?

      I think it is too soon to go after climate sensitivity, even though I agree with you that climate sensitivity is not constant. It is variable due to a lot of the feedbacks occurring at different temperature. Melting of permafrost and albedo changes due to variations in ice are not constant with temperature but probably exhibit non linear behavior.

      I think a return to the carbon cycle or a banishment of the CO2 follows temperature meme would be good topics before tackling climate sensitivity.

      And I mean banishment by showing evidence that CO2 has spiked without a preceeding temperature rise.

      • bob,
        But spiking the issue based on that would be to ignore the entire point: CO2 variations have not led to ‘tipping points’, ‘run away feedbacks’, or other AGW community beliefs regarding climate catastrophe.

      • Not yet, but time will tell.

        Arctic sea ice is a rapidly vanishing thing, but it is changing the albedo as we speak, not much yet, but that is clearly a positive feedback.

        Methane is bubbling out of the melting permafrost, another positive feedback.

        But that’s the now, in the past, CO2 increases caused by extensive volcanic activity have resulted in climates much warmer than today’s with resultant sea levels a bit higher than today.

        Which means to me anyway, that the evidence contradicts your assertion that CO2 variations have not lead to tipping points or runaway feedbacks.

        If we continue on the present path, and get to doubled CO2, and the present trends for Greenland Ice sheet and permafrost melting continue, we will have significant challenges.

      • bob,
        Arctic ice is not in a death spiral, and permaforst methane has leaked out before.
        Greenland’s melting rate is something you might want to revisit and then consider how high up the list of worrisome problems it really deserves to be.
        As to ‘tipping points’, what do you understand when you read that term?

      • Hunter, odds are very good that there will be a record low in Arctic ice area this year, see CT.

        The melt season has a month to go and barely needs 300,000 sq km of melt to set a new record.

        Obviously, the Arctic has been ice free before, but what pray tell does that event correlate well with?

        Ice extent may or may not set a record this year but it will be close, current weather conditions favor continued melt.
        “A strong high pressure system with a central pressure of 1035 mb has developed over the Arctic north of Alaska, and will bring clear skies and warm southerly winds to northeast Siberia and the Arctic during the coming week, accelerating Arctic sea ice loss. Widespread areas of northeastern Siberia are expected to see air temperatures 4 – 12°C (7 – 22°F) above average during the coming week, and the clockwise flow of air around the high pressure system centered north of Alaska will pump this warm air into the Arctic.”

        that is from: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1879

        Greenland’s rate of ice loss is still accelerating but it may be a while before it starts to really affect sea level.
        And permafrost is still melting and releasing methane.

        Increasing levels of CO2 still remain as the bes answer to the observations.

      • And permafrost is still melting and releasing methane.

        The methane release is a worry, but experts think, at this point, that CO2 release from permafrost will be more of a problem: http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2011/08/permafrost-and-climate-change-primer.html

      • Call 9-11 for Bob Droege. He is so taken with the effect of CO2 that he’s tried hot-boxing it and is now gasping for oxygen. It’ll take awhile to work all that out of his system, but the gasping is a good sign. He can still gasp, anyway, a sure sign of life.
        ==========

      • try more poetry
        ad hominems don’t work well
        when evidence does

      • Sure, Bob sees some true
        Evidence of warmth’s effect.
        What causes the warmth?
        =============

      • Bob:

        I am not sure that is possible. We do not have proxies with sufficient resolution to determine if there is a 800 year lag between temperature and CO2 rise. The ice cores imply it, but their resolution is so low we cannot use them in a comparison between our 30 year satellite records and Mauna Loa. We would need to wait 800 years to see if CO2 rises, not very practical. I suppose if you wanted to press the issue, you could argue the recent CO2 rise is as a result of the Medieval Warm Period that was roughly 800 years ago. If that is the case, we should start to see CO2 drop as a consequence of the Little Ice Age that followed.

        To me there is far too much uncertainty and dearth of useful measurements, to address CO2/temperature lag or lack thereof. On the other hand, there are measurements and estimates we can make now to try to piece together the ‘climate sensitivity’ issue.

        The two examples you offer, albedo change due to the decline in Arctic sea ice and melting permafrost are interesting, and could offer a place to start. I am sure you are aware the glaciers in Alaska, for example, had been in retreat long before our official measurement of CO2 began at Mauna Loa. What is the consequence to the micro-climate (and thus local climate sensitivity) of those regions? Well there is more water exposed, which could absorb more energy from the sun, thereby increasing the local temperature and melting some permafrost, releasing methane, which could affect then local micro-climate, leading to more glacial retreat, etc.

        Or we could look at Mt. Kilimanjaro. Clearing forests at the base of the mountain, led to a decrease in the amount of precipitation at the summit, which led to a retreat of the glaciers there. Less ice, higher albedo. How does this affect the surrounding region? Does it make it cooler or warmer elsewhere? Does the extra energy stored at the top of the mountain lead to more storms in it’s shadow? What is the net effect of these phenomena together? Is a similar scenario happening in the Himalayas? Their glaciers have also been in retreat since before the addition of CO2. How does this affect the local micro-climate, and how could this lead to an increase in CO2?

        With respect to Arctic sea ice, your general observation of decreased albedo is correct. But how do we balance that against the low angle of the sun at that latitude, and the increase in Antarctic sea ice we have seen over the same period? Could phytoplankton be producing over a larger area (due to higher local temperatures) and increasing CO2? If so, how does that affect the climate in other areas?

        I have the impression there are real questions and answers we can get now with respect to ‘climate sensitivity’ that do not require 800 years to figure out. This is why I offer it as the next step in moving forward. The skydragon threads offered me information I could not discover on my own. It is entirely possible that the scenarios I outlined above (and others I have not yet imagined) , have already been addressed, but I may not have the time or the resources to locate them on my own. This forum seems to be useful in bringing many ‘researchers’ to the table, and finding many different facets of information to be examined. As a consequence, I believe the next angle to tackle is ‘climate sensitivity’.

        Roy

      • I think you are right about the 800 year lag between temperature increases and CO2 increases, and it shows that CO2 increases due to temperature increase. It fails to explain the current increase in CO2 as being due to temperature increase during the MWP which was about the right time frame. But nobody can provide temperature reconstructions of the MWP that are the necessary minimum 6 C warmer than today to produce the increase in CO2 we are seeing now.

        The change in glaciers that predate the CO2 emmissions are generally thought to be the result of decreases in volcano activity and increases in solar activity.

        Arctic sea ice is decreasing and the Antarctic has a negative anomaly at this time as well.

        Sensitivity is a closing argument, all other topics need to be settled first.

      • Light dawns on Bob. Tell me more about this new found yellow orb.
        ==============

      • you mean that thing that varies in brightness by 1 part in 700 that causes temperature changes on earth of 1 part in 30?

      • Yes, its brightness varies less than does climate. Now tell me how the sun controls climate without having hypersensitivity in the system.

        Clearly not by brightness. So, now, tell me more. We’ve a while before the full strength of the sun is felt.
        =================

      • Bob:

        I am not sure where you get this:

        “But nobody can provide temperature reconstructions of the MWP that are the necessary minimum 6 C warmer than today to produce the increase in CO2 we are seeing now.”

        You agreed with me the proxies do not have sufficient resolution to tell us much (with any degree of accuracy) and then indicate a 7 C rise was needed in the MWP to explain the current rise in CO2. That appears a bit spurious.

        This presents problems:

        “The change in glaciers that predate the CO2 emmissions are generally thought to be the result of decreases in volcano activity and increases in solar activity.”

        I have not seen either of these put forth as a possible reason for the extreme decline in glaciers prior to the modern CO2 period. Do you have a paper on this I can examine? I am not being trite, as I indicated earlier, I am genuinely interested.

        “Arctic sea ice is decreasing and the Antarctic has a negative anomaly at this time as well. ”

        It might happen that we are lower this year in Arctic sea ice then 2007, it is a pretty close race. I am not sure on your information concerning Antarctic sea ice. It appears to be basically zero anomaly(-.13) for this year, but a slight rise over the last 30 years.

        I do not view sensitivity as the closing argument, as really it is the only argument. The individual pieces we are examining are all related to determining that value. It moves up or down based upon that analysis. Perhaps you misunderstood my objective. I want to look at these pieces and see how they create that value. In my mind, all the same process.

        Roy Weiler

  20. “It is clear an increase in CO2 should increase the ‘back radiation’ and warm the planet”

    We already know this is not always true. The squiggly line sometimes goes down.

    Andrew

    • Andrew:
      That is if all things remain equal, I am making the argument that they may not remain equal. For instance a shift in CO2 may cause a shift in some other component (i.e. water vapor, clouds, albedo). Variable variables. Get it?

      Just for the record, I am not a CAGW individual. I am looking for truth, not politics.

      Roy Weiler

  21. Roy, I agree with you. Just wanted to point out that the squiggly line going down already confirms your “they may not remain equal.”

    Andrew

    • Well then thank you. Clearly there is more to this then meets the eye. The two extremes do not seem to see the middle ground sometimes.

      • “The two extremes do not seem to see the middle ground sometimes.”

        Roy now I have to disagree with you. (I think) ;)

        There is no middle ground on the “science.” It’s obviously inadequate

        The middle ground on the politics…It’s all part of the war zone. And, there’s no such thing as middle ground to an indoctrinated statist. If they don’t get what they want today, they’ll try again tomorrow.

        Andrew

      • Andrew:
        Yes, but if we do not inform them correctly, little can be gained. You will never change the ‘opinions’ of indoctrinated individuals. In the end, they do not matter! This is about mainstream individuals. These are the people I speak with and influence on a daily basis. They are not interested in the middle ground, but as much truth as they can get. I want to see the debates on ‘climate sensitivity’ so I can inform them, not shape them!

        Of course I tell them temperatures and GOHC has gone down, but that tells little to most people. They want to know what that means! That the role I try to fulfill.

        Roy Weiler

  22. In any dialogue, honestly by both sides (or all participants, depending how you decide to look at it) is paramount, and I don’t see that from you, Judith. In the short time I have participated here, you have promoted a lecture by a former classmate, for no reason you would state except that it “could revolutionize AGW science” if it is true (You also said “wow” but that is only an exclamation, not a reason.), but despite repeated requests for some comment on the merits of Salby’s “ideas” from both thingsbreak and myself you have so far said absolutely nothing about whether his claim is even plausible.

    It is not.

    In the discussion of that article, you recommended an article in which Jo Nova states the opposite of the truth about isotope signatures.

    “Fossil fuels are, after all, made in theory from plants, so it’s not surprising that it’s hard to tell their ‘signatures’ apart.” (Joanne Nova, in an article recently recommended by Judith Curry)

    That is demontrably false.

    I asked you whether you believe her statement is true.

    How “hard” is it, really? Can it be done?

    Off hand, I think it can be done, and I think that it’s not even particularly difficult with the right modern instruments.

    But again, you ignored the inconvenient question about the scientific merit of a claim made by a “skeptic” you have chosen to promote.

    “Off hand” I was right, it is very easy, “with the right modern instruments,” to distinguish the isotope ratio of carbon dioxide from living plants, from the isotope ratio of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels.

    “These changes can easily be measured using modern isotope ratio mass spectrometry, which has the capability of measuring 13C/12C in atmospheric CO2 to better than 1 part in 10^5 (Ferretti et al., 2000).”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-3.html

    The carbon contained in CO2 has two naturally occurring stable isotopes denoted 12C and 13C. The first of these, 12C, is the most abundant isotope at about 99%, followed by 13C at about 1%. Emissions of CO2 from coal, gas and oil combustion and land clearing have 13C/12C isotopic ratios that are less than those in atmospheric CO2, and each carries a signature related to its source. Thus, as shown in Prentice et al. (2001), when CO2 from fossil fuel combustion enters the atmosphere, the 13C/12C isotopic ratio in atmospheric CO2 decreases at a predictable rate consistent with emissions of CO2 from fossil origin. Note that changes in the 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 are also caused by other sources and sinks, but the changing isotopic signal due to CO2 from fossil fuel combustion can be resolved from the other components (Francey et al., 1995). These changes can easily be measured using modern isotope ratio mass spectrometry, which has the capability of measuring 13C/12C in atmospheric CO2 to better than 1 part in 10^5 (Ferretti et al., 2000). Data presented in Figure 2.3 for the 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa show a decreasing ratio, consistent with trends in both fossil fuel CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios (Andres et al., 2000; Keeling et al., 2005).

    The isotopic signature on the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is Settled Science, and Jo Nova is either scientifically illiterate, or lying when she claims the opposite. So is Murry Salby. Whether either or both are incompetent or liars, it reflects poorly on your site, and does not foster the “e-salon” atmosphere that I see you saying above that you want. I expect you to allow climate deniers to lie, if they take the trouble to login on your blog. That is what they do, and to include them in the conversation, their lying must be tolerated. But when you yourself recommend blatantly false statements on others’ websites, that makes this look like just another hub of climate denial propaganda.

    • You called me a liar in the carbon thread. It’s true – we climate deniers always lie – and sniff bicycle seats and eat babies and spit out the pips on the street.

      ‘There are three major forms of fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. All three were formed many hundreds of millions of years ago before the time of the dinosaurs – hence the name fossil fuels. The age they were formed is called the Carboniferous Period. It was part of the Paleozoic Era. “Carboniferous” gets its name from carbon, the basic element in coal and other fossil fuels.

      The Carboniferous Period occurred from about 360 to 286 million years ago. At the time, the land was covered with swamps filled with huge trees, ferns and other large leafy plants, similar to the picture above. The water and seas were filled with algae – the green stuff that forms on a stagnant pool of water. Algae is actually millions of very small plants.

      Some deposits of coal can be found during the time of the dinosaurs. For example, thin carbon layers can be found during the late Cretaceous Period (65 million years ago) – the time of Tyrannosaurus Rex. But the main deposits of fossil fuels are from the Carboniferous Period. For more about the various geologic eras, go to http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/help/timeform.html

      As the trees and plants died, they sank to the bottom of the swamps of oceans. They formed layers of a spongy material called peat. Over many hundreds of years, the peat was covered by sand and clay and other minerals, which turned into a type of rock called sedimentary.

      More and more rock piled on top of more rock, and it weighed more and more. It began to press down on the peat. The peat was squeezed and squeezed until the water came out of it and it eventually, over millions of years, it turned into coal, oil or petroleum, and natural gas.’

      The children’s version – http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/story/chapter08.html

      C14 decays and therefore can be used for dating. C13 is a stable isotope – so appears in the same ratio as contemporary organic sources of carbon. The decline of C13/C12 ratio occurs as organically sourced carbon – from both contemporary and carboniferous sources – increases compared with volcanic sources. So the isotope argument is not a valid criticism of Salby’s discussion.

      It is you who are mistaken in a very elementary way – and rude to boot. Isn’t that always the way?

      • Yes, I did call you a liar. I stand by it. I called you a liar because you are a liar. You claimed “contemporary biological sources can’t be distinguished (from) fossil fuel sources on the basis of C13.” That is a lie.

        The truth is that those “changes can easily be measured using modern isotope ratio mass spectrometry, which has the capability of measuring 13C/12C in atmospheric CO2 to better than 1 part in 10^5 (Ferretti et al., 2000).”

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-3.html

        I am not mistaken. I have cited multiple authoritative sources which verify exactly what I claim. Your sources do not support your claim that “contemporary biological sources can’t be distinguished fossil fuel sources on the basis of C13” and do not even say anything at all about distinguishing fossil fuel sources from biological sources. They only express your ignorant assumption about how isotopes are used to positively identify the human fingerprint on the currently rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.

        “Note that changes in the 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 are also caused by other sources and sinks, but the changing isotopic signal due to CO2 from fossil fuel combustion can be resolved from the other components (Francey et al., 1995).” (Ibid.)

        The isotopic signature on the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is Settled Science, liar.

      • If it is true that we can know what part of the C12/13 ratio is caused contemporary biological sources there must be a great reference on how the biomass of earth has changed over the last century or so. I have been trying to find such a reference. Can you tell me what it is?

      • Several are listed on the page from AR4 that I already linked. Let me know if you have any trouble understanding what they say.

      • ‘Note that changes in the 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 are also caused by other sources and sinks, but the changing isotopic signal due to CO2 from fossil fuel combustion can be resolved from the other components (Francey et al., 1995).’ IPCC

        ‘CHANGES in the carbon isotope ratio (δ13C) of atmospheric CO2 can be used in global carbon-cycle models1–5 to elucidate the relative roles of oceanic and terrestrial uptake of fossil-fuel CO2. Here we present measurements of δ 13C made at several stations in the Northern and Southern hemispheres over the past decade. Focusing on the highest-quality data from Cape Grim (41° S), which also provide the longest continuous record, we observe a gradual decrease in δ13C from 1982 to 1993, but with a pronounced flattening from 1988 to 1990. There is an inverse relationship between CO2 growth rate and El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events which is not reflected in the isotope record. Thus, for the ENSO events in 1982, 1986 and 1991–92, we deduce that net ocean uptake of CO2 increased, whereas during La Nina events, when equatorial sea surface temperatures are lower, upwelling of carbon-rich water increases the release of CO2 from the oceans. The flattening of the trend from 1988 to 1990 appears to involve the terrestrial carbon cycle, but we cannot yet ascribe firm causes. We find that the large and continuing decrease in CO2 growth starting in 1988 involves increases in both terrestrial and oceanic uptake, the latter persisting through 1992.’
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v373/n6512/abs/373326a0.html

        The only relevant reference is Francey (1995) – abstract above. I can’t access the study so can’t really comment. Anyone?

        Why don’t you tell us what it means for comparing ancient to modern plants SS. You have read it I assume?

      • You know exactly what is meant by your ‘authoritative reference’? You’re not just whistling in the dark? You’re not just pissing in the wind and wasting everyone’s time? You’re not buying a pig in a poke? You’re not all hat and no cows? You don’t have a few roos loose in the top paddock? You didn’t come down in the last shower? You’re not comin’ the raw prawn?

        Let me know if you have any trouble understanding – drongo.

      • Tell me the one that includes the oceans. That is the one I was having trouble finding.

      • When there are several different sources and sinks with variable C13/C12 ratio, it’s an mathematical impossibility to conclude from that ratio, the amount of fossil fuels burned and the total increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, what are the sizes of the various fluxes. There are more variables than constraints making that inference impossible.

        Thus all conclusions are based on adding more constraints. Oxygen isotopes provide one, and any model of dynamics fills the rest, but such results are dependent on additional input and assumptions contrary to the claim made in the IPCC report. The claim

        Note that changes in the 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 are also caused by other sources and sinks, but the changing isotopic signal due to CO2 from fossil fuel combustion can be resolved from the other components (Francey et al., 1995).

        is definitely false, when formulated as IPCC has formulated it. Francey et al does not present such evidence. It looks at shorter term variation between oceanic and terrestial sinks, i.e. only two sinks, which makes the result unique, but not generalizable to the full question.

        CO13/C12 provides one important constraint, but doesn’t alone tell very much. That’s certainly one point of Salby and on that point one cannot but agree, while I don’t find the rest of his presentation as convincing.

      • Oxygen isotopes provide one, and any model of dynamics fills the rest

        Is there anyone that has done the convolution of the fossil fuel CO2 emissions with the CO2 impulse response function with as much care as I have? That is the dynamics part of the equation and it is pretty striking. I was able to fit it with a CO2 baseline of 294 ppm.

      • ss,
        You have lost any credibility you could have ever hoped to have.
        cya, loser.

      • No, Judith Curry has, loser.

      • Yes, it is Dr. Curry’s lack of credibility that got her through grad school, published, tenure, invited to speak around the world, and a blog that in less than a year is going to have over 100,000 posts.
        Meanwhile, your credibility gets you laughed at whether you are posting as Robert or settled science, and your communications disorder drives more people to question AGW daily.
        Please continue your excellent work. I am certina Dr. Curry will continue hers.

      • But maybe I misunderstood.

        Your quote – “Fossil fuels are, after all, made in theory from plants, so it’s not surprising that it’s hard to tell their ‘signatures’ apart.” (Joanne Nova, in an article recently recommended by Judith Curry)

        You – ‘That is demontrably false.’

        Did you mean that the plant origin of fossil fuels or the difficultly in distinguishing the isotope signature from the oxidation products of carbon from contemporary plants was false? In the interests of precision only – because either case is nonsense. The very notion of measurement relies on preferential uptake by plants of the carboniferous era of 12C.

        ‘Organisms preferentially take down light 12C, and have a δ13C signature of about −25‰, depending on their metabolic pathway.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%9413C#Reference_standard

        ‘Unlike 14C, 13C and 12 C are stable isotopes, so their abundance does not change over time due to radioactive decay. But the ratio of
        13C to 12C in the atmosphere does change because land based plants have a slight preference for 12CO2 over 13CO2 during photosynthesis… In addition, fossil fuels (originally plants) contain relatively more 12C, so as fossil fuels are burned atmospheric CO2 increases while 13C decreases.’ – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/newsletters/newsletter_2011.pdf

        So this is very simple – carbon in fossil fuels was derived from plants. Carbon in respiration is derived as a result of plant uptake. 13C is a stable isotope so abundance doesn’t change over time.

        You give me quotes you barely understand – and are rude and noxious. If you are not going to try and learn – but insist on some silly and wrong headed point – I think you should just go back to some other less civilised place in the blogosphere.

      • Your IPCC source fails to mention that C4 metabolsim plants (of which the massive corn and sugar cane crops among others) have a C13 preference.

        http://www.ecowho.com/blogs/132/Atmospheric_carbon,_man_made_Co2_measurement_problems/-cdf48

      • Shove your ‘blog “science” back where you found it, and look up each of the various studies cited on just that one page of AR4. If you have any intelligent questions about any of the Settled Science, I will answer those. I will not waste my time on your ‘blog “science.”

      • I you trying to kick the asses of CWM? You dont make very many points for our side by ordering people around. Now get off the blog.
        see?. that doesnt work very well now does it.

      • settledscience | August 15, 2011 at 12:47 am | Reply
        Shove your ‘blog “science” back where you found it, and look up each of the various studies cited on just that one page of AR4. If you have any intelligent questions about any of the Settled Science, I will answer those.

        So you are only prepared to discuss science the IPCC believes is supportive of its position. Confirmation bias in action.

      • “Shove your ‘blog “science””

        I thought a simple explanation might get through to you.

        And then I realized you are probably just Robert’s other account.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        settledscience, you are wrong, and you are wrong in an unacceptable and insulting way. You say:

        Yes, I did call you a liar. I stand by it. I called you a liar because you are a liar. You claimed “contemporary biological sources can’t be distinguished (from) fossil fuel sources on the basis of C13.” That is a lie.

        You do nothing to establish this is a lie. You simply claim it. As such, your insult is baseless. For what he said to be a lie, he must have known it to be untrue when he said it. A person can easily be wrong without lying. You claim to show Chief Hydrologist is wrong, but you never make any claim of showing he knew he was wrong. This means you called Chief Hydrologist a liar without any basis. You insulted him without any justification.

        Insulting a person is always questionable, at best, but insulting a person without basis is simply bad. Regardless of who is right about the issue you two are discussing, you come across as untrustworthy.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Er, sorry for forgetting to close the blockquote tag there.

      • Do you understand the fact that what he said is untrue?

      • Even if it were, that wouldn’t make it a lie. Nor would it excuse your rudeness. Nor would it make you any less stupid.

      • Ignorance is not a defense, idiot.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Ignorance is a perfect defense to accusations of lying.

        The idiocy here is limited solely to your comments and insults.

      • Jim is correct. A mistake is not a lie and neither is ignorance.

        For example are all swans white?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Whether or not what he said was untrue is completely irrelevant to my comments. Your response ignores everything I said while attempting to sidetrack the discussion.

        That is nothing more than trolling, even if it is in’t intentional.

      • Wrong. I’m not “attempting to sidetrack” anything. I’m sticking resolutely to the one point that I first posted in this discussion to make, about honesty, not about your opinions about civility.

        In courts, ignorance is never a permissible defense.

        An “e-salon” in which liars are able to use their ignorance as a defense is just another hub of climate denial propaganda, and a waste of electrons.

        If you don’t really know, don’t claim you do. Ask a question instead.

        Get your stuff right, boys, or don’t put it in the form of an assertion at all. It is dishonest to claim to know something that you don’t.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        You say:

        Wrong. I’m not “attempting to sidetrack” anything. I’m sticking resolutely to the one point that I first posted in this discussion to make, about honesty, not about your opinions about civility.

        You are “sticking resolutely to the one point” by ignoring the response to that point while discussing a response I didn’t raise. I said nothing about the accuracy (or lack thereof), as that is irrelevant to my comments. The issue is demonstrated best when you say:

        In courts, ignorance is never a permissible defense.

        This is completely untrue. For an example, consider perjury. It is a serious offense. For a person to commit perjury, they must knowingly testify to something which is untrue. A witness saying something which is wrong, but that they believe to be true, is not guilty of perjury. In the same way, a person saying untrue things is not lying if they are ignorant of their mistakes. This point has been raised multiple times, and you have never addressed it. Instead, you have simply made up claims which are obviously untrue.

        Whether or not it is your intention, your behavior is that of a troll. You have made baseless accusations, and you have repeatedly refused to address direct criticisms of those accusations. Your responses are utterly without merit.

      • Ever since Al Gore’s recent unhinged, sore-loser meltdown, this blog has seen one wretched greenshirt dead-ender after another (curiously always one at a time) show up here and make a zany spectacle of themselves. And, for my tastes, you’ve been the most entertaining of the lot “settledscience.” Don’t change a nutso thing–that’s my advice.

        Probably I shouldn’t enjoy this sort of thing like I do, “settledscience.” I mean, the CAGW hustle has pretty much come unglued and is taking your lefty dystopian hopes and dreams with it and all that good stuff. But, I gotta say, there’s something about a greenshirt parasite in a panic attack mode that just tickles my funny bone.

      • This is, truly, one of my favorite lines of blog argumentation.

        The determination of who is sidetracking and who isn’t is completely subjective.

        But further, what is the logic behind responding, repeatedly, to a “troll” who you think is trying to “sidetrack” the discussion? To prove that you are gullible?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Joshua, you make a ridiculous comment:

        The determination of who is sidetracking and who isn’t is completely subjective.

        This isn’t true at all. If a single point is being discussed, then one person tries to discuss a different point, he is the one sidetracking things. The person insisting on discussing the original point cannot be sidetracking things. However, while that comment was ridiculous, you do ask a valid question:

        But further, what is the logic behind responding, repeatedly, to a “troll” who you think is trying to “sidetrack” the discussion? To prove that you are gullible?

        Unfortunately, you phrase it as a rhetorical question and provide an answer of your own. Unsurprisingly, that answer is wrong. There are times when it is appropriate to respond to a troll (or anyone trying to sidetrack a discussion). In this particular exchange, I felt it was worth responding as much as I did in order to ensure the areas of contention were as clear as possible. This was so people don’t get mislead by the attempted sidetracking. However, once I was satisfied that had been done, I had no intention of responding any more. As it happens, Had settledscience posted again, I most likely would not have responded.

      • <blockquote<If a single point is being discussed

        The only one who even remotely is in the position of determining what “single point” is being discussed would be Judith, and even then it would be a stretch. Anyone and everyone can make their own interpretation as to the point being discussed, or as to the point that they wish to make, or as to the point they choose to respond to, or as to a point they find to be of interest. No one person’s determination is, objectively, any more right than anyone else’s. People extend others’ posts all the time to address topics of their own interest. Virtually any comment does that. That you appoint yourself the arbiter of what the “single point” is, doesn’t actually invest you with that power in reality. Anyone and everyone also has the perfect right to simply ignore any comments that don’t jibe with their interests.

        This was so people don’t get mislead by the attempted sidetracking.

        How magnanimous and self-sacrificing of you to take your precious time to lend your insight so as to prevent the unsuspecting from getting misled onto a side track.

        There are times when it is appropriate to respond to a troll (or anyone trying to sidetrack a discussion).

        By what supernatural power are you able to determine what another poster is “trying” to do? Maybe the commenter in question was pursuing an area of interest to him – and was no more trying to “sidetrack” the discussion than you were, for pursuing the direction that was of interest to you. My presumption is that no one who isn’t interested in a topic I address need respond to my posts. I’m not trying to “sidetrack” anyone, but to offer comments to those who choose to respond out of their interest. I don’t assume that any other commenter has any different motivation – and I certainly would see no reason to claim, as you have done, that I have the ability to know what they were intending to do.

        Ironic, indeed, that you were just chastising SS for claiming to know something that he couldn’t possibly have known.

        Once again, if you respond repeatedly to a commenter (and yes, the determination of who is or isn’t a “troll” is very often very subjective also – is “hunter” a troll?), if you are being “sidetracked,” it is only because you, yourself, decided to respond to someone’s post.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Joshua, practically everything in your response here is a misrepresentation. It’s to the point where it is just silly. I’m going to make two brief comments, but they won’t do you justice. First, you claim:

        The only one who even remotely is in the position of determining what “single point” is being discussed would be Judith, and even then it would be a stretch. Anyone and everyone can make their own interpretation as to the point being discussed…

        This response depends on the “single point” being discussed being the point of the blog post. That is obviously not the case here. In the exchange at hand, there was a disagreement over a specific point. This is nothing like what you discussed, and thus none of your comments have any relevance.

        By what supernatural power are you able to determine what another poster is “trying” to do?

        I certainly would see no reason to claim, as you have done, that I have the ability to know what they were intending to do.

        I didn’t say I (or anyone else for that matter) could know what someone was intending to do. You quoted me as referring to “anyone trying to sidetrack a discussion,” but referring to a type of person doesn’t mean I claim to be able to tell who is that type.

        I cannot begin to imagine how you came up with this response of yours. All I know is it is absurd to the point where I lack the words to describe it. The only thing I can say is if you reread the discussion, perhaps you’ll be able to understand what has actually been said.

      • Sophists so simply confuse themselves.
        That others do wonder is thanks to the elves.
        Wrapped up in the wondrous words and the wit,
        Unconscious and pretty as a bird at its twit.
        ================

      • This response depends on the “single point” being discussed being the point of the blog post

        Actually, that’s not what I was referring to, which ironically proves my point.

        I was saying that while you might have a “singular” point of reference in what you or someone else posts – anyone and everyone might choose to find a different frame of reference. There is no objectively definable “single point” in anyone’s post. Judith has the power to determine, in effect, if someone’s post has strayed off point by deleting a comment she deems irrelevant. But even there, her determination is inherently subjective. By virtue of owning the blog, her subjective evaluation can become reality – but you will note that not infrequently posters voice disagreement with her evaluation of what is or isn’t on point.

        So I wrote a post focusing on a specific point, and you drew from it to focus on a different point. Should I consider you as “attempting to sidetrack” the discussion? I don’t see it that way – I see you as focusing in a direction different than what I foresaw. A simple fact. And I am not assuming anything about your intent.

        I didn’t say I (or anyone else for that matter) could know what someone was intending to do.

        Really?

        You referred to a specific commenter, and said that he was not on point, and intending to “sidetrack” the discussion, in your following statement.

        Your response ignores everything I said while attempting to sidetrack the discussion.

        So, I disagree with your determination of what is on point (he obviously did not “ignore” what you had to say – but simply did not remain within the parameters you chose to limit him to in responding, which you mistakenly characterized as “ignoring”), but further, it sure seems to me that you said that he was “attempting to sidetrack” the discussion. An “attempt’ to do something, clearly, implies intention. As I see it, you thus gave yourself the power to determine someone else’s intent – without the information sufficient to make such a determination. I fail to understand how you can get from your comment to saying that “[you] didn’t say [you] could know what someone was intending to do.” Perhaps you could elaborate?

        That you should do so in a thread where you criticized the very same poster for assuming the intent is beautifully ironic, IMO.

        I cannot begin to imagine how you came up with this response of yours.

        Funny comment.

        I think that the links are clear, and explicitly stated.

        But even if they weren’t clear, or not clearly stated – you, yourself, indicated that you believed my response was rooted in a (arguably) misinterpretation of your posts. So, in fact, you did “imagine” how I came up with my response.

      • It’s clear the vague assumptions of the co2 fingerprint are deep religion for some. “Salby is a liar”??? The article was peer reviewed which in climate science that favors agw is treated as if came down from Mt. Sinai on tablets. His politics are largely left of center I would bet since I haven’t seen a the lefts dog meat slander attack yet on his politics and he’s associated to a left-wing university in that bastion of right wing activity Boulder Co.!

        Settled Science is a good example of why Marc Morano or Rush Limbaugh need to exist. A retort to thug orthodox in any public debate.

      • I called you “liar” strategically, expecting that something like this pitiful pile-on of climate science deniers would occur. I didn’t expect you’d be such a crybaby that you would move the disagreement to the most current thread, but I’m glad you did. Now, that many more people get to see this point spelled out for them.

        Running around claiming to “know” things that are only your wild-ass guesses and you know it, is just as dishonest as stating things that you know to be false, you liars.

      • “name calling” isn’t much of a strategy

      • He’s winning hearts and minds. As a believer in AGW I wish I didnt have people like SS on our team. Make’s saving the planet a wee bit harder

      • The planet is in no danger from AGW. But people will die from the unreliable power scheme’s foisted onto gullible governments as the cure for AGW.

      • Save the people or save the planet. False dich; we can and will do both.
        ===========

      • True except for the assumption that the governments are “gullible”. AGW enables the state and the parasite mediation class (consensus promoters for one group), people suffering and dying is quite secondary to the process.

      • Do you think it’s an accident that there is so much hate in the AGW proletariat?

      • Interesting.

        Read through this thread. Is the “hate” limited to the “AGW proletariat?”

        If not, why is your the focus of your comment so limited?

      • One side’s hated ‘cuz it’s thought to be bought,
        Other side’s pitied ‘cuz it’s stuck on one thought.
        ================

      • ss,
        The only pitiful behavior is your back peddling after getting caught out as a maroon.

      • “crybaby”???

        Joshua!!!!!!!!!

    • The sign of the true loser is to attribute dishonesty to the host or anyone else offering ideas they cannot successfully challenge.
      Thanks,ss for demonstrating this so clearly.

      • I did not just attribute dishonesty, you loser, I showed you exactly where your priestess is guilty of it.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        You did nothing of the sort. As with Chief Hydrologist, you claimed dishonesty, but you never demonstrated it. Instead, you simply conflated “wrong” and “dishonest.”

        Not only are your insults petty, wrong and embarrassing, they are idiotic. Any reasonable person would easily see your claims of dishonesty are baseless. As such, your insults can do nothing but hurt you and any position you might advance.

      • Do you understand the fact that what Chief Hydrologist claimed is untrue?

      • settledscience –
        I did not just attribute dishonesty, you loser, I showed you exactly where your priestess is guilty of it.

        No. The only thing you’ve showed anyone is your own rudeness, incivility and stupidity.

        Your screen name here is, in itself, a point of stupidity. And your certainty is an indication of your ignorance wrt science.

        If there’s a loser here, it would be you.

      • What I have shown is that I don’t gladly suffer fools and liars.

      • Call me Robert – the appellation is a reference to the Simpsons. It’s just a game I play for fun.

        You still haven’t answered my question.

        Did you mean that the plant origin of fossil fuels or the difficultly in distinguishing the isotope signature from the oxidation products of carbon from contemporary plants was false? In the interests of precision only – because either case is nonsense. The very notion of measurement relies on preferential uptake by plants of the carboniferous era of 12C.

        This is very simple – carbon in fossil fuels was derived from plants. Carbon in respiration is derived as a result of plant uptake preferentially of 12C. 13C is a stable isotope so abundance doesn’t change over time.

        Terrestrial C4 plants have a 13C deficit (compared to a standard sample) of about 22% to 30% (average 26%), C3 plants about 10% to 14%, marine plants 23% and methane 50%. Carbon fuels have a deficit of about 28%.

        C4 plants – grasses and herbs – are about 15% of the total. None of this requires referencing as it is common knowledge. Grasses and herbs have evolved since the Carboniferous period I believe – flowers being a relatively late innovation.

        But we would expect the 13C/12C ratio of Carboniferous Era carbon deposits to be roughly equal within some broad limits of plant variability to contemporary carbon dioxide emissions of biological origin – i.e. deficient in 13C.

        I never lie – it is beneath the dignity of my high office – and only occasionally gild the lily. I fail either to see that I am wrong but if so – will diligently examine an alternative explanation.

        ‘I’m about to listen to the podcast, but I already know that Salby is wrong because of isotopes. Sorry folks, but we already know the C13/C12 ratios in fossil fuels, and we know how much the C13/C12 ratio in atmospheric CO2 has increased since ~1970, and that is lab science, much more credible than the indirect measurements Salby is trying to con you with.’

        Obviously an open mind – and wrong about the ratio increasing in the atmosphere. It has in fact decreased.

        ‘In short, he says that both plants and fossil fuels have lower C13 ratio than the atmosphere and therefore we cannot distinguish one cause of increasing atmospheric CO2 from the other. But that is false, because they have different C13 ratio from one another,’

        This I mildly suggested might be wrong – without even saying so. I hate people who start every post with – you’re wrong, you’re mistaken, you’re full of sh.. Actually – as an Australian the latter is much preferable marking as it does a colloquial bonhomie.

        I guess I’m with Salby rather than SS on the isotope ratios of modern and ancient plants – what a surprise. SS has really just been mistaken – as we all are on occasion – and raised the stakes by being a dickhe@d.

      • ss,
        You said, “What I have shown is that I don’t gladly suffer fools and liars.”
        What you have really shown is that you would have better choice to be silent and let people wonder if you are a fool rather than speak out rashly and remove all doubt.
        You can call Chief many things. “Fool” and “Liar” are not on that list.
        You can say many things about our hostess. To call her a “liar” is to demonstrate not only profound ignorance but a personality disorder to boot.
        True believers in AGW seem to suffer from an inability to perform introspection beyond the most superficial levels. You might try to think about the implications of that, if you can.

      • settledscience –
        What I have shown is that I don’t gladly suffer fools and liars.

        You may or may not be a liar, but in the process you’ve certainly made a fool of yourself.

      • ss,
        You are in over your head, and we are not in the ddep end.
        Why don’t you quit while you are only somewhat behind?
        Having your manners surgicallly removed apaprently had the side effect of reducing your reasoning ability as well.
        Can you check into seeing if the failed operation you underwent can be reversed?

      • My “priestess”?
        Certainly you are uninformed of my relationship with Dr. Curry, as well as my theology.
        Dr. Curry is a respected hostess and academic in a field dominated by rude ignoramuses like you. I disagree with her on many topics- politics, the imporatnace of climate science irt solving problems on Earth, and I am certain other areas.
        But she is our hostess, and she is running a great virtual cocktail party where some excellent conversations take place.
        That does not, however, make her my ‘priestess’ by any informed definition of the word.
        As to what you have show, you have shown that you are confused as to the meaning of ‘truth’, ‘lie’, ‘fact’ and ‘opinion’, as well as demonstrating no socialization skills that would, the real world, keep you from getting tossed out of a cocktail party on your rude drunken behind.

      • hunter –
        In this case, the word to describe SS is not “ignoramus” but rather “ignoranus.”

      • “My “priestess”?”

        How ignorant. Everyone knows that hunter worships only himself.

        “demonstrating no socialization skills that would, the real world, keep you from getting tossed out of a cocktail party on your rude drunken behind.”

        Your childish whining and incoherent insults are infamous across the blogosphere. You are familiar with the proverb about the pot and the kettle?

      • Robert,
        I admit it: you are far better at childish whining and incoherent insults than I will ever be.

      • You sell yourself short, hunter.

        Given the amount that you practice on these here threads, I would expect you to be better than you are – but you are quite accomplished nonetheless.

      • As a primitive student of rhetoric I admit to occasional awe at the elegance of Joshua’s sophistry. What intrigues me so, though, is the rot at the center of it. To be so adept, but without care as to the essence of the truth of the matter, seems so cynical as to be self-destructive.
        ====================

      • A sophist I am
        Says “denizen” kim, cleaving
        Art from artifice

      • The art of Nature
        Holds little appeal for some.
        Keep painting the lily.
        ========

      • In the end the troll can never be appeased. SS isn’t worth the time.

      • Speaking from experience, I see.

      • When ever I see your posts Robert I can only wonder when the last old woman in Red Square wandering around holding a picture of Stalin will finally be gone?

        Face it Robert, your like a bad haircut from the 70’s. You have no impact here or I imagine most anywhere.

    • settledscience

      I doubt if you realize it, but calling Professor Murry Salby a liar or incompetent makes you look like a dunce (even if you really aren’t one in real life).

      Max

      • It would certainly be more correct to say not that he is a liar and an incompetent, but rather that he is a liar or an incompetent. It’s one or the other, but it need not be both.

    • Why are you the least bit concerned that Judith points to crap for people to read? why? And why do you think that Judith should answer your questions when you dont exist. Thingsbreaks doesnt exist either. You basically have no standing to ask questions or dictate terms.

      • Why are you the least bit concerned that Judith points to crap for people to read?

        Because Dr. Curry is an accomplished scientist with the ability to identify this crap as such and not feed it oxygen. She has the right to publish whatever she wants, and other people have the right to expect her to exercise her judgement and not promote nonsense.

      • So you think that by hosting the sky dragons,for example, and feeding it oxygen that magically more people now believe that crap? Really? On what basis do you believe this. A while back I accused people like Thingsbreak of being afraid to let people hear nonsense and decide for themselves. Am I wrong to think you share his fear. And what makes you think you have any right to expect anything from her. She doesnt owe you jack. who are you?

      • I’d reply to this incoherent mess of a critique, but there’s no need, because I “don’t owe you jack.” After all, who are you?

      • Who are you?

      • I am myself. If I am not, who will be?

      • “I’d reply to this incoherent mess of a critique, but there’s no need,”
        projection is so entertaining to watch.

      • but you replied. And you know exactly who I am.
        That means I have to face my words for the past 9 years on the internet.

      • Exactly. As soon as you start ‘hiding’ people then others start believing that you have something to hide.

      • I could add that giving them oxygen just serves to make them burn out quicker

      • “I could add that giving them oxygen just serves to make them burn out quicker”

        I have three threads totaling well over 3,000 comments that says you’re wrong.

      • …now just imagine if it took even longer

      • John Carpenter

        Peter317,

        You have to go back pretty far to find any comments on Roberts blog. I went back about 60 threads and found…. about 50 comments. He did get 21 one day…. the majority are goose eggs. I’m not saying Robert didn’t have 3000 comments between 3 threads, but…. if you can find them, they are not the norm. You’ll have to decide for yourself what you think Robert’s point was… I have my own idea already.

      • “…now just imagine if it took even longer”

        The fallacy here is that it’s not over. The comments continue. No one has been persuaded. Deniers continue to deny.

        “You have to go back pretty far to find any comments on Roberts blog.”

        Three posts . . . do you have trouble counting to three?

        Oh, well — I guess you’re not much of reader, huh?

        “the majority are goose eggs.”

        That’s the trouble with insecure people like you — your only measure of value is whether people notice you. The concept of doing quality work for its own sake is, unfortunately, beyond you. :)

      • John Carpenter

        “That’s the trouble with insecure people like you — your only measure of value is whether people notice you. The concept of doing quality work for its own sake is, unfortunately, beyond you.”

        I’m wounded… I feel so.. so.. unnoticed.

        Well, at least not by Robert :)

      • Unless you are capable of showing different 13C/12C ratios in modern plants than ancient – you continue to show yourself to be both foolish and noxious.

      • Robert,
        Your defensive and intellectual cowardice is quite visible, no matter how many rude untrue and misleading things you say to distract from it.

      • Dial back on the projection, buddy.

        Your insecurity is showing. ;)

      • Robert,
        Thank you for the advice. I accept it in the spirit in which it was offered, and will certainly give it all due consideration.
        Cheers,

      • Judith should answer them because they’re good question, and because ignoring them further impeaches her waning credibility.

        And speaking of who doesn’t exist, which Steven Mosher are you?
        The coder that links on his WordPress ‘blog to the two most dishonest climate denier frauds of all time in his “blog roll,” first to Weatherman Watts and then to Steve McIntyre?

        “Mosher Has Misled Congress”
        Or, are you the dishonest religious extremist and misogynist Steve Mosher that lied to Congress in 2003 for the “higher purpose” of infringing on female US citizens’ privacy rights, AND that “was expelled from Stanford University due to ‘illegal and unethical conduct?'”?

        Or, are those unsavory characters both the same person, you?

        And why do you think that Judith should answer your questions when you dont exist… You basically have no standing to ask questions or dictate terms.

        I don’t see “real names” in the rules of this sector of WordPress, but now that you have claimed that those are The Rules of credibility, if you don’t identify exactly which Steve Mosher you are, then by your own “standards” YOU “have no standing to ask questions or dictate terms.” Those are not Judith’s standards.

        Those are the “standards” YOU asserted. Now, can you live up to them?

      • I think you’re skating on thin ice here.

      • An amateur skater, no less. Kerplunk.
        ============

      • When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.

      • If we all followed such a process, this blog would be… well, exactly as it is, I guess.

      • Heh, you got my opinion, but Judy took it away. Give it up, SS; Joshua and I on the same side? Say it ain’t so.

        Better, leave your cheap and errant shot. The slate is showing through the felt.
        ================

      • I once upset Andy Revkin by calling another poster a ‘bag of bones which cages your soul’. It seems we have another caged beastie here for the menagerie.
        =======================

      • Oops, this squalling fledgling’s been denested.
        ======================

    • I see a lot of personal commentary in reply to one over-the-top vocabulary decision, but I see no “skeptical” critique of the hostess of this forum by those who presume that moniker.

      In any dialogue, honesty by both sides is paramount, and I don’t see that from you, Judith. In the short time I have participated here, you have promoted a lecture by a former classmate, for no reason you would state except that it “could revolutionize AGW science” IF it is true (You also said “wow” but that is only an exclamation, not a reason.), but despite both thingsbreak and I repeatedly requesting some comment from you on the merits of Salby’s “ideas,” you have so far said absolutely nothing about whether his claim is even plausible.

      It is not, nor is Jo Nova’s assertion correct. Judith Curry recommends and promotes people who claim blatant falsehoods in the guise of “skeptical” critique of science, and she refuses to comment on why she recommends them. This is not an honest forum. This is just another hub of climate denial propaganda, dressed up a little more self-consciously in pseudo-scientific pretense than the average hub of climate denial propaganda, but that’s just appearance. Beneath the surface, this is no better than the Heartland Institute’s not-IPCC project and periodic climate denial conferences.

      Judith Curry does seem to have the ability to do better. I hope she will start.

      • Judith Curry does not have time to interact and personally evaluate everything that is discussed here. Rather I spend my time putting out interesting or otherwise provocative topics for people to discuss. And if you think that climate science is settled, you probably won’t find what we do here interesting. People come here to learn and discuss, not to be preached to by me. If you think i am promoting the skydragons, well you are wrong. I have been harshly critical of this group. I am trying to slay the skydragons, but having them engage with other scientists that can point out the flaws in their reasoning and analysis.

      • No, I have noticed that. Your comments to “the skydragons” are exactly the reason that I think you can do better than promotion of “skeptical” clap-trap like Salby and Nova.

        I can’t speak for thingsbreak on this point, but I for one would be satisfied with just a comment on the technical merits of Salby’s claims, within the reasonable constraints of the understanding of the carbon cycle that you have acquired over the years. I accept that it hasn’t been the focus of your research and so you won’t go into great detail, but if you found it interesting, there must be something you found interesting about it.

        I don’t plan to bother asking you these two questions again. You’ve seen them before, and if you choose not to answer them, I assume you never will.
        (1) Is there anything interesting about Salby’s lecture except that it “could revolutionize AGW science” *IF* it is true?
        (2) To your knowledge, does Joanne Nova accurately characterize the challenge of distinguishing natural from anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions?

        Fossil fuels are, after all, made in theory from plants, so it’s not surprising that it’s hard to tell their “signatures” apart. (Joanne Nova, in an article recently recommended by Judith Curry)

        How is she assuming that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are distinguished from natural emissions? Is her characterization correct? Is it complete? Or, is it a straw man that suggests far more scientific uncertainty about the anthropogenic cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2 since the 19th century than there actually is?

        If you don’t know, I’ll accept that. But I also plan to continue pointing out the incongruity of touting some new claim of physical fact as interesting or important or “Wow” while being unable to comment, in any way, on the scientific merit of the claims you’re promoting but refusing to endorse. Consider me “skeptical” that such a fine line can even be drawn.

      • Salby is not claptrap. His arguments about the carbon cycle may or may not be correct; lets wait for the publication and the ensuing evaluation. But the topic and argument he puts forward is something that we should discuss, given the myriad uncertainties and unknowns about the carbon cycle. I am interested in unsettled science (not whatever you think is settled science).

      • If the presentation he gave in Sydney is worth discussing, then let’s discuss it.

        Of course, I don’t expect you to agree to the pejorative “claptrap” for a work you’ve just promoted. But I do expect you to acknowledge this clear, blatant error he made in Sydney, in the section I’ve transcribed below. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a specialist in the carbon cycle to spot this whopper! It’s extraordinarily simple logic at which he fails: the determination that
        A != B [or A B depending what programming language you prefer]
        does not require that either
        A = C
        nor that
        B = C.

        6:01 – 6:38

        The historical interpretation is that opposite changes of CO2 and carbon-13 (the green and the red curves) are the signature of human emission. For this interpretation to be valid, other sources of CO2 (natural sources) must have the same concentration of carbon-13 as the atmosphere, which would then be left unchanged. That is, CO2 emitted by natural sources must not dilute carbon-13 in the atmosphere. The observed increase of CO2, and decrease of carbon-13, can then follow only from the human source.

        That is obviously false. Of course, the situation he describes would make fingerprinting the human source much easier! But it is equally obviously not necessary. The atmosphere and natural emissions do not have to be identical to distinguish natural emissions from human emissions — any more than distinguishing a church from a bank building requires one or the other to be identical to its background. They only need to be different from one another, and I haven’t seen many places of worship that have even similar architecture to financial buildings, plus the old God vs Mammon stuff, I thought made a stark contrast, ideal to illustrate my point.

        His entire argument depends on that assumption that plant-emitted CO2 must be identical to “background” CO2, and that assumption is obviously false. All we need to find the human fingerprint on CO2 increase is for natural and fossil fuel CO2 to differ from each other in carbon-13, and they do. So, for a given increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, a certain decrease in carbon-13 corresponds to fossil fuels, a different value corresponds to natural sources of CO2, and intermediate values indicate some of each, and even indicates the proportion of plant and fossil CO2.

        You did not adequately vet his assertions before declaring that “it is sufficiently important that we should start talking about these issues.”

        In fact, it is “sufficiently” obvious that the content of his presentation is not at all “important,” that “these issues” he raised do not really exist, and so there is no reason for anybody to “start talking about” them.

      • [or A B depending what programming language you prefer]

        That would have been “A not equal to B” using angle brackets, but of course those don’t show up in a forum that allows any html tags, which I appreciate btw.

      • Settledscience,

        My position is a bit awkward as I have essentially the same view as you on the overall evidence about the human contribution to CO2 increase, but as I disagree strongly on the argument you present above.

        The ratio C13/C12 provides on constraint on the CO2 fluxes. When sufficient additional assumptions are made, as is done in the paper of Francey et al referred to in AR4, the analysis of that paper is possible. The whole point of Salby’s work is to allow more flexibility in other fluxes, which each have their own and different isotope ratios. When this additional flexibility is given, one constraint cannot provide answers. It tells that most combinations are not allowed, but it leaves also a wide range of alternatives that are consistent with the history. As far as I understand, this is indeed the main point of Salby. On that point he is right.

        Where I come closer to you, is in that I consider the other information sufficient to justify essentially the results of Francey et al, and more generally the conclusion that the increase in CO2 is largely due to human influence. Whether the CO2 concentration would have risen or declined a little without the human contribution, that I have no idea about, but that change would almost certainly have been very small in comparison with, what has been observed at Mauna Loa and elsewhere. I’m very confident about that, but not based so predominantly on the data about C13/C12 ratio.

      • @ Pekka

        I don’t believe you need to feel awkward. I make no argument for the human fingerprint myself, I only cite the extensive research which Salby willfully ignores. Unlike Salby, I don’t pretend to know it all, and to know it better than all the leading experts on the carbon cycle — a subject on which Salby has never before published, by the way!

        Where I come closer to you, is in that I consider the other information sufficient to justify essentially the results of Francey et al, and more generally the conclusion that the increase in CO2 is largely due to human influence… I’m very confident about that, but not based so predominantly on the data about C13/C12 ratio.

        In fact, I agree that the human source of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is concluded scientifically on much more information than just C13/C12 ratio.

        Do not assume that I am trying to articulate the entire case for human influence by myself. On the contrary, I expect the reader to do as you have begun to do: read the evidence assembled over the years, beginning one’s research with AR4 if one sincerely wishes to know what is known from the best available climate science. The reason I have commented on the C13/C12 ratio is not because I claim that it alone makes the human cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2 “Settled Science,” which seems to be your inference.

        I have commented on the C13/C12 ratio because while we wait for his allegedly peer-reviewed research to this effect to appear in some undisclosed journal, Salby’s assertion about the C13/C12 ratio from 6:01 – 6:38 is a falsehood so egregious that it requires no graphs or citations of source data to know that Salby is lying* (or too shockingly incompetent to believe). The audio alone is sufficient for that determination, whereas other critiques of Salby’s “work” will have to wait. And the crucial point about my discussion of C13/C12 ratios is that Salby made that the foundation of his argument that anthropogenic CO2 cannot be distinguished from natural CO2, not me. I only noted that such assertion is untrue. I make no claim whatsoever as to how much of the evidence of the anthropogenic fingerprint comes from that datum alone, and my comments here should not be confused with an exhaustive argument for the human fingerprint.

        On a side note, I did not perceive in his lecture any such attempt to advance the scientific understanding of the carbon cycle as you implied. I only heard denials of various aspects of the consensus position on the carbon cycle.

        The whole point of Salby’s work is to allow more flexibility in other fluxes, which each have their own and different isotope ratios.

        In what I heard, he never once attempted to identify individual nor regional biological sources and sinks of CO2. He never once suggested a method of making such determination more robust. In what I heard, he only attempted by sophistry to pretend that flux = trend, ie that since the short-term fluxes are natural, therefore the long-term trend must be as well, which is also fatuous, but not as easily deconstructed from a short clip as his false claim about isotopes, which is plain untrue on the face of it.

        * The alternative to “lying” is that he’s ignorant of carbon cycle facts that I, an amateur, found in five minutes on Google. Of course, the proper null hypothesis when critiquing any scientist’s work is that he is honest, and essentially competent but human and therefore prone to some minor errors. But in this case, competent and honest are mutually exclusive, and Salby has a career that disproves such extreme incompetence. The only plausible explanation that remains for such a blatantly false statement is that he lied.

  23. I feel I should commence by denying that my views are tinged with libertarianism. In the zeitgeist of the e-salon I insist on precision in language. As an aside, precision in language is not to be compared to the florid or the turgid. Shakespeare is florid and turgid in turn. The visionary poets – Blake, Villon, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Whitman – even Bob Dylan in his most sublime expression – on the other hand have a precision and exaltation that transcends the pedestrianism of linear thought to come close to expressing the ineffable. A most important if indefinable function of language.

    I call myself a classic liberal to both distinguish from the American use of the term and to affirm a common enlightenment heritage of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. If we lose that we lose everything – and there does seem to be a danger that might loosely be termed eco-socialism. The classic liberal more recently harks back to Friedrich Hakek and the Austrian school of economics. The details of how to manage free market – something sadly neglected in recent times – are not relevant here. But the essay on ‘Why I am not an Conservative’ and the book ‘The Road to Serfdom’ – provides guides as to the role of government in a functioning civil society. I agree with all of it. So if I am not a conservative – I can hardly be a ‘cool dude’ either. Indeed, how can anyone who reads Rimbaud be conservative?

    ‘War

    When a child, certain skies sharpened my vision: all their characters were reflected in my face. The Phenomena were roused. At present, the eternal inflection of moments and the infinity of mathematics drives me through this world where I meet with every civil honor, respected by strange children and prodigious affections. – I dream of a War of right and of might, of unlooked-for logic.

    It is as simple as a musical phrase.’

    Apposite to the climate wars? I quite like the idea of an e-salon where we can be elegant, erudite, witty, cosmopolitan – now if only I could get a decent free and fair trade e-coffee.

    • Apposite to the climate wars? I quite like the idea of an e-salon where we can be elegant, erudite, witty, cosmopolitan – now if only I could get a decent free and fair trade e-coffee.

      I ran across this quote recently summarized by a professor of design:
      “if it is edifying, it isn’t scholarly. If it is erudite, it isn’t understandable.”
      Someone else said that this attitude can lead to things like the infamous Sokal hoax. As I said elsewhere in this thread I can go for the parsimonious and edifying.

      • Well we have obviously a different outlook – because I get a little bored at times and simply like to play with words and ideas. Judith indulges me for some reason – usually. Did you notice my neat juxtaposition of being and nothingness and chaos and order above?

        But it is a very different matter than to deceive – I wish to build a boat.

        “Quand tu veux construire un bateau, ne commence pas par rassembler du bois, couper des planches et distribuer du travail, mais reveille au sein des hommes le desir de la mer grande et large.

        If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
        — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      • Saint-Exupery
        Still transports through the dark nights.
        Winged wonders wheeling.
        ============

      • Words startling and brilliant shining in my mind like stars in the clear desert night. A magical trick using words to evoke a visual experience – no one compares.

      • re:parsimony “Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n’y a plus rien a ajouter, mais quand il n’y a plus rien a retrancher” (it is as if perfection be attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away). Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Terre des Hommes 1938

      • Exactly – the perfection of poetry. But we have that other perfection as well. The excesses of grand guignall, the exalted and profuse nonsense of Rebelais, the larger than life chivalric peregrinations of Don Quixote – the lack of any of which would sadly diminish the charm of existence.

        ‘The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom.’
        William Blake

  24. “JC comment. Climate Smackdowns or “cage matches” between two well matched opponents in a debate have great appeal, but they rarely happen”

    No doubt you recall the cage match we staged for you lucia and dr. B.
    Bender and I enjoyed that.

    • That was enjoyable! Isn’t it about time for the most recent melt data?

      • I believe I could sell tickets to certain thunderdomes

        Rules: 1v1. all questions must be answered. no help from outsiders.
        I choose these not necessarily for their scientific interest but because they would make good theatre. Judith and Lucia with Dr. B was so predictable AWESOME because a certain party responded exactly as I imagined said party would.
        Lets see:

        Mann versus McIntyre.
        Gavin versus Scaffetta

        Santer is also on my list… finding a pairing for him would be fun. street fighter

      • Anastasios Tsonis vs Tim Palmer – not so much knock ’em down but illuminating nonetheless.

      • Hell ya. I cannot get enough of Tim Palmer. He is another voice that needs to be heard more often on the AGW side. He is personable ( we had lunch, nice chap) and humble ( watched him graciously sign a textbook for a student) and wicked brilliant. Hmm Tonis, dont know him

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

        Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.
        http://www.nosams.whoi.edu/PDFs/…/tsonis-grl_newtheoryforclimateshifts.pdf

        ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denotes time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space. Prognostic equations for ρ, the Liouville and Fokker-Plank equation are described by Ehrendorfer (this volume). In practice these equations are solved by ensemble techniques, as described in Buizza (this volume).’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

        Palmer talks about the Lorenzian Meteorology Office – Tsonis shows it working in the real world of oceanographic and atmospheric data. I think they are both on the side of science.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Let’s try this link – ttps://pantherfile.uwm.edu/kravtsov/www/downloads/GRL-Tsonis.pdf

      • Clearly you have to pair Santer with Pat Michaels. The Climategate grudge match. Pat is a tough little Irishman.

      • I was thinking John Christy as the natural match.

      • Slice and hoplite dice,
        Sturdy stand the skeptic ranks.
        Macedoine Hepar.
        =======

      • The question remains who will walk and who will be carried from the plains of Gaugemela.

      • Steve’s charge at the middle of the massed hockey sticks echoes through history.
        ========

      • Clatter resound clash
        As cold water sobers all.
        Massive melt of faith.
        =========

      • No I though Santer destroyed Pat in front of congress. I would not give Pat a rematch till he sharpened his game. I was way more impressed with Santer in person than in the mails. He runs at walls with his head.

        Monkton and Santer.. contrasts make for a good fight. Santer and pat are cut from the same cloth, but Santer has more presence. Sorry Pat, luv ya .

        Again, I’m talking theatre here.

      • Anthony Watts vs Jim Hansen
        Roger Pielke Sr vs Thomas Karl
        Richard Lindzen vs Kevin Trenberth
        Roy Spencer vs Phil Jones

        These would be good theatre as well, except I think Roy Spencer might go too easy on Phil Jones.

        I would have said Richard Lindzen vs Kerry Emmanuel but it’s been done.

      • I miss Dano. I can only find him on blogs at which I’m banned from commenting, but we had our season in the sun.
        ================

  25. > I have struggled with levels of nested responses to allow; right now we are at the max that wordpress.com allows.

    In my humble opinion, flat threads are more cohesive, more readable, more focused.

    I can’t see how someone without a RSS reader can follow nested comment threads.

    Simple quoting conventions can facilitate who answers whom.

    Nested threads make me think of parlour games.

    • I disagree strongly. Issues have an underlying tree structure, which nesting captures. Without nesting a response can be 100 comments below, with no way to know it is there. What would be useful is a way to search by name or keyword. Even better would be a visualization of the entire thread, but that is advanced technology.

      • Perhaps nesting captures tree structures, although I thought bulldozing them in a linear structure was a common technique in modal logic.

        But the RSS readers do not capture all the comments at Judith’s.

        This is a problem, unless of course we want to keep parlour games untraceable.

      • Ha, reminds me of the first plot program I had to write to drawing deeply nested tree diagrams. trees rock.

      • Most web browsers have a Find function. I use it all the time here. Of course, it is limited to the current thread (page).

      • Indeed. Besides, nothing would prevent commenters from linking to the comments on which they wish to comment.

        Goblin comments would go down the drain, reducing the number of comments. This might not be a welcome side-effect.

      • If only a hyperlink to the replied-to comment was automatically inserted in the reply, both chronological and logical structure could be captured, without the visual distraction of indenting replies. This reply would then appear at the very bottom of the conversation, indicating chronological order, but it would also contain a hyperlink directly to your comment, preserving logical structure.

  26. The first comment on the Patterson blog post was priceless (bolding is mine):

    Thank you, Steve, for addressing this yet-to-be-resolved issue! Some years ago I experienced tumult of the worst sort on a closed (!) social discussion forum where the members had a very low threshold for disagreeing with each other. This was at Mensa Finland, which I chaired at that time.

    I take it as confirmation that for all our differences, we’re all human, with all the baggage that entails. Civility does not come naturally and attempting to impose it is futile. It must be cultivated as a shared value or it won’t exist. If those who frequent the forum frown on those who conduct themselves poorly, that’s the most effective moderation there can be.

  27. “JC conclusion: trying to figure out how to effectively communicate in blogosphere and run a climate blog is a work in progress.”

    Like the horrors portrayed in “Monster Hospital” by Metric:

    “I fought the war, but the war won.” – Metric.

    Blood overflowing from the sink & sockets symbolizing TMI (too much info).

    ‘Big Guitar’ belting out propaganda symbols & nuclear mushroom clouds in perfect time… (climatic from 2:30 onwards…)

    Censorship & ghoulish intimidation earlier on.

    Mindless drumming of models trying helplessly to shine light in dark, frightening places…

    Ultimately:
    Unanswered pleas.
    “Stop, for the love of God…”
    “I fought the war, I fought the war, but the war won…” – Emily Haines – Metric.

    Dr. Curry, maybe you’ll wake up from a bad dream, like Emily did.

    As the French say:
    Bon Courage.

  28. Cha, cha, chacha chat.
    What a wonder where you’re at.
    Take me to Tango.
    ===========

  29. Mac wrote: “Yeah. (Not so) poor Al has indeed “gone off the rails”.

    But why should he? He has received an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize plus reportedly made $100 million since being “the next president of the United States”.
    OK. The really big bucks have slipped away with the collapse of his carbon credits company, but he has still managed to do real well (by doing “good”), so he shouldn’t be bitter.Mike, on the other hand, hasn’t been able to squeeze any significant cash out of the AGW story so far, so has more reason to be disgruntled..:

    Mac, This has nothing to do with money, or very little. Al Gore has more money than he needs. And M.M’s an academic, not an entrepreneur. Gore’s gone wacky because he’s hitched his career and reputation to AGW. When this thing finally blows up, which I suspect he understands on some level is inevitable, he’ll be destroyed. Same deal with Mann and the whole bunch of them.

    The kind of rage these guys are showing is perfectly understandable.
    They have to call us skeptics “deniers,” and they have to pretend that a secret cabal of “psuedoscientists” are being paid by BIg Oil to lie to the public…

    Don’t you see? To the rational observer they appear borderline insane. But if they admit to the slightest doubts they’re exposing themselves to humiliation and disgrace. Gore has backed himself into such a corner there’s simply no escape..

    • Shocka Rocka Boy
      Scientist and is he mad.
      Who the Gods destroy.
      ============

    • They have to call us skeptics “deniers,”

      It’s this odd compulsion we have to tell it like it is — you know, tell the truth? Not ringing a bell? The truth? Words conforming to objective reality?

      I guess this is a difficult concept for you, so you need to make up reasons why people in denial are called deniers, which they are, and not “skeptics” which they are not.

      “and they have to pretend that a secret cabal of “psuedoscientists” are being paid by BIg Oil to lie to the public…”

      I don’t think you can call them “secret” after Willie Soon’s million-dollar slush fund was exposed. They’re just plain old psuedoscientists. They probably advertise. :)

      • Richard S Courtney

        “They’re just plain old psuedoscientists.”

        Oh! I must have missed something because I thought you were talking about Willie Soon.

        Until the statement I have quoted I did not understand you were talking about Jones, Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Briffa, Schmidt, Hansen and Steig.

        Richard

      • So you have trouble telling the difference between real scientists and psuedoscientists? Do you have this problem with other scientific fields, such as evolution or vaccines, or is your difficulty in recognizing real science limited to the area of climate science?

      • What is the defination of a scientist?

      • Richard S Courtney

        Robert:

        I know the difference between a scientists and a pseudoscientist but it is very clear that you don’t.

        A scientist attempts to disprove a hypothesis and amends it or rejects it as an when he/she finds evidence that contradicts the hypothesis. Thus, a scientist attempts to work towards the closest possible approximation to truth.

        A pseudoscientists attempts to find evidence that supports a hypothesis and ignores or rejects any evidence that contradicts the hypothesis. Thus, a pseudoscientist attempts to bolster what he/she chooses to believe is true.

        Richard

      • You’re right.

        They have to call us skeptics “deniers,”

        It’s this odd compulsion we have to tell it like it is — you know, tell the truth? Not ringing a bell? The truth? Words conforming to objective reality?

        An example of why you’re right and the “skeptic” label is incorrect is available right here, in the replies to your correct characterisation of climate deniers. BS (Brandon Shollenberger) and others insist that the hockey stick is wrong.
        The National Academies of Science say the hockey stick is right. They conclude less confidence than Mann initially did of global mean temperatures over 1,100 years ago, but more importantly, they uphold the fact that the Medieval Warm Period was not global, and therefore the present high global mean temperature really is in fact unprecedented in the human historical period. That is now Settled Science.

        This is not one R2 vs RE quarrel. The National Academies reviewed all the relevant evidence, and made clear conclusions that no person can credibly dismiss nor reduce to a ‘blog quarrel between two amateurs. Arguing the validity of the hockey stick in terms of ‘blog quarrels and denying the existence of the NAS report is not “skeptical,” it is denial.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Settledscience:

        So, you think ‘hide the decline’ was science?

        Only an anti-scientist or a pseudoscientist could think that.

        Richard

  30. The e-salon can work but it requires a good deal of effort on the part of the participants and a recognition that basic rules of decorum need be observed. Stating “you are mistaken” (and here’s why) is far more likely to be productive that a flat out “you are a liar” which implies not only that a person is factually incorrect but is so deliberately and with the intention to mislead. Invective such as that is usually beyond proof and does nothing to advance the argument.

    Arguments which reflect the inherent uncertainties which bedevil everything from temperature measurement to relative levels of GHG contribution to what may or may not be a warming are welcome; arguments which take one side or the other as the inerrant word of God are a bit of a waste of time.

    As well, some attention needs to be paid to the level of certainty required for policy making purposes. A good guesstimate is not really a very solid foundation for policy action which will impose significant costs.

    A salon which took into account the state of the science, the state of the unknown, the robustness of the results and the expense and efficacy of proposed “solutions” might well lead to stimulating conversation. It might also take some of the rancor out of the climate discussion by shunning the dead enders on both sides.

  31. Brandon Shollenberger

    I dislike an idea put forth in this blog post:

    Harmony among conflicting viewpoints, not the victory of one of them, should be the ultimate goal (and the topics discussed in Scudéry’s conversations are usually left unresolved for that reason).

    In some conversations, it makes sense to not have “victory” as a goal. For example, it would be mostly pointless to try to reach a conclusion about which football team is the “best.” This is, largely, because that answer has a subjective element to it.

    On the other hand, in many conversations, one should not “live with irresolution.” For example, upthread Bruce, Robert and others discussed Michael Mann’s hockey stick. In that sort of conversation, irresolution should not be accepted. There are not multiple views which are compatible. It is not subjective. Mann’s work was either right or wrong (it was wrong). So long as their is disagreement on this topic, one side will remain wrong by virtue of denial. That should not be tolerated (though there is no need to randomly bring it up as Bruce did).

    • Brandon, science is always wrong. The earth is not flat. But it’s not a sphere either. Any model of the Earth you make is wrong, by definition, since it’s not the Earth, it’s a model.

      The question for science is not “right” or “wrong”, it’s what piece of understanding gets us *closer* to the truth. What model of reality is “least wrong”, among those available to us. That’s what’s relevant. And there will naturally be debate about that because each of us comes in with different Bayesian priors on what is likely and what is less likely about the reality we inhabit.

      I disagree strongly with much that Judy Curry has done here, but I do find it interesting that she has managed to get such a broad spectrum of participation. It’s hard to set up an environment where that can last. I spent months studiously not commenting while occasionally visiting – even when my name was brought up directly. But it’s become strangely irresistible. Not sure why. Judy’s surely doing something right in all this…

      • ‘We are cooling, folks;
        For how long kim doesn’t know’.
        Arthur’s documents.
        ==========

      • kim,
        Are you familiar with the work of Edward Gorey?
        Your writing in some ways reminds me of “Amphigorey”.
        http://www.edwardgoreyhouse.org/
        http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47559.Amphigorey

      • A is for Arctic, a cess of ice.
        B is for Bears of the rare Ice type.
        C is for Climate, all hot and bothered.
        D is for Death Trains, Hansen conducts them on time.
        E is for Energy, mutable currency.
        F is for Forests of carbon-based trees.
        G is for Gaia, or what is her name?
        H is for Hurricane, pray for some rain.
        I is for Ions, clouds sprout from the charge.
        J is for Joules, surface adornment.
        K is for Kilowatts, watts up with that?
        L is for Long Waves, unseen but the rave.
        M is for Man, genetically potent.
        N is for Normal, thick as a post.
        O is for Osprey, fall prey to Wind Fangs.
        P is for Palmer, Peninsula pants.
        Q is for Quarry, the Coal Miner’s Daughter.
        R is for Rays, cosmically cloudy.
        S is for signal, we breathe through the noise.
        T is for Tau, how far does it gau?
        U is for Ultraviolet, sultry, insane.
        V is for Vanity, for such is Man.
        W is for Weather, which way blows the wind?
        X marks the spot, or else forty-two.
        Y is for Yellow, a bow for the sun.
        Zees is the End, oh may we all go.
        ===============

      • kim,
        Edward Gorey, in his Gothic existential after life, would be honored, I am cure.
        And you even found a Hitch Hiker’s reference, to boot!
        You never fail to amaze.

      • Heh, thanks; I keep the kit all rolled up in my towel.
        ============

      • Heh.
        I keep my sunglasses handy at all times.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Arthur Smith, I have no idea what the point of your response was. The only connection I can find between anything in your comment to anything in my comment is your semantic quibbling over what “wrong” means (in which you misleadingly state all science is wrong). Even if you think I shouldn’t have used “wrong” the way I did, the meaning of my comment was quite clear.

        To elaborate on my point, Mann’s work was not “wrong” in some ephemeral sense. It was wrong because it is systematically flawed, has unsupportable conclusions, and in the case of his original hockey stick, was presented in an intentionally misleading way. The IPCC inappropriately selected it for special focus, and it misrepresented data to make the hockey stick seem more sound than it was. The hockey stick is completely without merit, and it is only because of gross distortions and extreme dishonesty one can hold it up as evidence for global warming.

        And that is why it is unacceptable for people to “live with irresolution” in this case. Irresolution simply means gross distortions will be put forth as the truth, and that is unacceptable. Anyone who wants to put forth the “truth” is obligated to address flagrant untruths.

        Of course, you and I have discussed Mann’s hockey stick before. As I recall, you completely refused to address the issues.

      • John Whitman

        Brandon,

        Respectfully, you have just been given an astute circumspection by a pro. Congratulations.

        Personally, I would feel it a privilege to receive a comment from Arthur Smith, seriously.

        John

      • That’s not “wrong”, that’s scientific fraud. And yet none of you would outright tell me where the evidence for Mann’s fraud was. No investigation seems to have gotten to the bottom of it yet either. Why is that?

        You make many assertions about Mann’s work. I simply don’t have time to verify any of what you say on the matter, and from what little I have read I have not seen any strong evidence in support of any of it. Yes, he made a couple of minor errors here and there. All scientists do that, particularly in frontier work, for which he’s been recognized for. Point to a clear concise and reputable (ie. not written by some “partisan”) summary of exactly what was done that supports your claims of “gross distortions and extreme dishonesty”, and I’ll be most interested to read it. From what I’ve seen of Montford and Mosher’s work, even they don’t claim what you are claiming here, so you can’t use them as your support.

      • ‘Tis plain as the face
        Of young innocence outraged.
        Potemkin bends it.
        =============

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Arthur Smith, first I want to reiterate what I said to you over a year ago:

        To be honest, I don’t get the obsession people have with “fraud.” In the simplest sense, would it matter if a person’s work is “fraudulent” rather than just “stupid”? Does it matter if Mann’s issues came from dishonesty rather than incompetence? On some levels, yes. But for the most part, why worry about it? Wrong science is wrong. If something is found to be wrong, it should be pointed out and fixed.

        If you want to call Mann’s work “fraudulent,” that’s fine. I don’t particularly care whether or not it was fraud. I’m content to simply show , time and time again, it was deceptive and wrong. People can take from that what they want. With that said, there are two things in your response here I need to respond to. First:

        That’s not “wrong”, that’s scientific fraud. And yet none of you would outright tell me where the evidence for Mann’s fraud was. No investigation seems to have gotten to the bottom of it yet either. Why is that?

        The answer to your question is simple. You’re full of it. You and I previously discussed Mann’s work. For simplicity, I decided to focus on a single, specific issue, the R2 verification scores for MBH. I provided full evidence for my claims. You responded by saying you would look into the issue later,

        To be clear, not only were you provided the necessary evidence, you acknowledged your awareness of it. Despite this, a year later, you claim nobody has provided you said evidence. Put bluntly, you are full of it.

        Point to a clear concise and reputable (ie. not written by some “partisan”) summary of exactly what was done that supports your claims of “gross distortions and extreme dishonesty”, and I’ll be most interested to read it. From what I’ve seen of Montford and Mosher’s work, even they don’t claim what you are claiming here, so you can’t use them as your support.

        This part of your response is nonsensical. You say “Montford and Mosher’s work” don’t claim what I’m claiming. That’s hardly surprising, and it certainly isn’t meaningful. Presumably (I’ve never had a chance to read their books), their work focuses on things like the scientific literature. Despite your portrayal, I never claimed “gross distortions and extreme dishonesty” could be found there. I said:

        The hockey stick is completely without merit, and it is only because of gross distortions and extreme dishonesty one can hold it up as evidence for global warming.

        If you’ll note, I didn’t specify where the “gross distortions and extreme dishonesty” can be found. Now then, while I can provide many examples of what I referred to, I don’t know how I could “[p]oint to a clear concise and reputable (ie. not written by some “partisan”) summary of exactly what was done.” There are dozens of examples spread across many blog posts and other medium. I can provide many examples, but not some single summary of all of them.

        Now we’re at a crossroads. I provided you evidence of what you called “fraud,” and you said you’d look into it. You now claim that evidence has never been provided. If you can admit your mistake and look into the evidence provided, a legitimate discussion may be possible. If you do anything else, you firmly place yourself in the ranks of the dishonest.

      • Brandon, as I recall, I *did* look into the R2 issue. There were good arguments against using R2 as the criterion, put forward by the RealClimate folks. They made sense to me. I need some objective independent source to describe what’s wrong with what they said on the matter; my knowledge of statistics is quite insufficient to judge for myself. So far all I’ve seen is partisan jibing, and the issue itself seemed to be one of absolutely marginal significance to any scientific conclusions. But maybe I’m misremembering.

        That’s the problem with these discussions – the burden should be on those crying “fraud” to state their case clearly (and don’t go around saying you’re not saying it’s fraud. Your exact words were “gross distortions and extreme dishonesty” – what else could that mean?) not on those they are trying to convince to go prove them wrong. The null hypothesis is that scientists are human and make small mistakes, but are basically competent and honest. Your job is to show convincing evidence that that null hypothesis is wrong.

        The reason my original response focused on the concept of wrongness was because you talked about Mann’s work being either “right” or “wrong”. Well, I agree, it was wrong. That’s not unexpected at all for scientific work. But it was largely pointing in the right direction. The wrongness consisted of some unconventional statistical usage and an underestimate of error bars (as far as I can tell) in the early years of the reconstruction. More recent work, the NAS review and a number of other reconstructions have given a clearer picture of temperatures over the past thousand years at least, and perhaps earlier. That’s what I understand of the issue. It was wrong – but in the right general direction, it brought us closer to an understanding of the truth. Good science, and not the fraud you claim.

      • Bah, Arthur, your ‘other reconstructions’ are also garbage and you know it or you should know it. The least rubbishy reconstructions show that climate varies globally on a millenial scale. Your alarmist reconstructions point in the wrong direction. The shaft of the stick wobbles, and the blade has blunted.

        We are cooling, folks; for how long even kim doesn’t know.
        ============

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        kim, you remind me of one of the most annoying things I’ve experienced with people defending the hockey stick. At the same time as defending the indefensible, they make vague references to other papers which get the same results. Naturally, they don’t even bother to understand those papers, so the fact the papers are flawed gets ignored.

        In a similar vein, when Mann08 came out, we were told any issues with MBH didn’t matter because Mann08 was better, and it got the same results. Of course, it turned out Mann08 was flawed in basically the same way as MBH (undue reliance upon questionable proxies). Had defenders of the hockey stick actually examined the paper before promoting it, they’d have realized it was wrong too.

        It’s incredible what ways people find to avoid having to deal with things they don’t want to hear.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Arthur Smith, you say:

        Brandon, as I recall, I *did* look into the R2 issue. There were good arguments against using R2 as the criterion, put forward by the RealClimate folks. They made sense to me. I need some objective independent source to describe what’s wrong with what they said on the matter; my knowledge of statistics is quite insufficient to judge for myself. So far all I’ve seen is partisan jibing, and the issue itself seemed to be one of absolutely marginal significance to any scientific conclusions. But maybe I’m misremembering.

        This response is utter nonsense. Whether or not R2 should be used is irrelevant (though anyone with any statistical knowledge would know R2 is far a better measure than the RE Mann’s defender supported). The issue is Mann published good R2 verification scores while hiding bad ones (and then lied about having ever calculated them). Your response completely misrepresents the issue even though the issue has been clearly explained to you multiple times. This qualifies as one of those “gross distortions” I referred to. Ironically, this very distortion was raised, and dealt with, in the exchange I linked to, specifically in this comment.

        That’s the problem with these discussions – the burden should be on those crying “fraud” to state their case clearly (and don’t go around saying you’re not saying it’s fraud. Your exact words were “gross distortions and extreme dishonesty” – what else could that mean?)

        I clearly established my reference to “gross distortions and extreme dishonesty” was not simply a reference to Mann’s work itself, but rather a general reference to the defense of Mann’s work. You ignore this. Instead, you insist I said Mann’s work contained “gross distortion and extreme dishonesty,” and thus I was calling his work fraudulent. I don’t like being misrepresented, but rather than focus on it for now, let’s deal with the major issue at-hand:

        I provided you a link an exchange which details the R2 issue and provides all the evidence you would need on it. You were a participant in that exchange. Despite participating in the exchange, and despite having the link provided directly to you, you grossly misrepresented the issue being discussed. I have no idea how you managed this, but to avoid any confusion, I’m going to restate the issue. Tell me which of these points you doubt or dispute (preferably with an explanation of why the evidence provided wasn’t sufficient for you):

        Mann calculated R2 validation scores.
        Mann’s reconstruction failed R2, a fact he hid.
        Mann claimed to have not calculated R2.

      • You say:
        “Mann calculated R2 validation scores.”
        This is unproven. The code he used may have calculated them, but to say “Mann calculated” means he actually was making use of the results and not discarding them automatically through whatever code he was running or procedure he was using. If my computer does something which I never see, does that mean I did it? I think not.

        You say:
        “Mann’s reconstruction failed R2, a fact he hid.”
        You assert deliberate hiding, but if your first point is invalid, there was nothing he was aware of to hide. Even if your first point is correct and he was aware of the R2 issue, not putting it in your paper is far from necessary proof of “hiding” – there are always length constraints on any manuscript and it may simply have not been viewed as important enough, even if he was aware of it at the time. Or, even more likely, perhaps he looked at it once, turned to other calculations, then wrote up his results weeks later completely forgetting he had ever looked at it.

        The null hypothesis is to believe Mann regarding what he did or did not do. You have to provide a lot stronger proof that his claim is false than you or anybody else has on this.

        More importantly – so what if what you claim actually happened? This is something that is of at best marginal relevance. One statistical relevance criterion failed, another that the scientists involved felt was more appropriate in that instance barely passed. Either one indicates that there’s considerable uncertainty in the results. Use of the first would have meant acknowledging slightly greater uncertainty – something that would have been a good thing to do, sure, in hindsight. But it’s hardly a huge deal.

        Typical real scientific fraud involves actual manufacturing of data, putting numbers in that come not from observations but out of somebody’s head. Or, frequently, just copying random data from somewhere else, adjusted to get the result you want. There’s no evidence of anything at all like this in any of the Mann saga.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Arthur Smith, you respond to me saying Mann calculated the R2 verification scores with:

        This is unproven.

        In our previous exchange, you made this exact claim. I showed you were wrong, and you chose to never respond again. You now repeat this exact same claim. As I explained to you before, figure three of MBH98 shows the R2 verification scores for the 1820 step of Mann’s reconstruction. Anyone who has ever read at MBH should know he calculated the R2 verification scores.

        blockquoteEven if your first point is correct and he was aware of the R2 issue, not putting it in your paper is far from necessary proof of “hiding” – there are always length constraints on any manuscript and it may simply have not been viewed as important enough, even if he was aware of it at the time.

        Mann viewed the positive R2 verification scores as significant enough to merit inclusion in one of his seven figures. You are advancing the position Mann may have felt good scores were important, but bad scores just didn’t matter that much. This is perfectly rounded out by you saying:

        More importantly – so what if what you claim actually happened? This is something that is of at best marginal relevance. One statistical relevance criterion failed, another that the scientists involved felt was more appropriate in that instance barely passed. Either one indicates that there’s considerable uncertainty in the results. Use of the first would have meant acknowledging slightly greater uncertainty – something that would have been a good thing to do, sure, in hindsight. But it’s hardly a huge deal.

        This is complete and utter bull. First off, you continue to ignore the fact Mann published R2 scores when they were helpful for him. That point alone completely invalidates your defense. Second, in science, there is never any excuse for hiding adverse results. Any adverse results one discovers must be admitted. You act as though nothing is wrong with hiding adverse results, but no true scientist would ever agree.

        Finally, you grossly misrepresent the significance of Mann’s reconstruction failing R2 verification. You claim publishing the R2 scores “would have meant acknowledging slightly greater uncertainty.” In reality, publishing the R2 scores would have meant MBH’s claims were unsupportable, and it would have meant MBH wouldn’t have been featured prominently in the IPCC report. This means the hockey stick would not have become a major issue. So what, indeed.

        Arthur Smith, you are completely and utterly full of it. You persistently make bold claims which are obviously wrong and have no basis in reality. You have aptly demonstrated why those defending Mann’s work have no credibility, At this point, I can see no value in attempting to have any sort of discussion with you.

        I’m content this exchange has reached the point where anyone reading it can determine for themselves who is right, and as such, I’m finished with it. I’ll still respond to questions for clarification or evidence if they come up, but that’s it.

      • There are some who give an innocent explanation for the use of the term ‘censored’. I would be inclined to go along with an innocent explanation, but for Mann’s subsequent behaviour.
        ===================

      • You claim:

        publishing the R2 scores would have meant MBH’s claims were unsupportable, and it would have meant MBH wouldn’t have been featured prominently in the IPCC report. This means the hockey stick would not have become a major issue.

        Really? Explain why, in your own words, please! I am mystified why you think this is even close to the truth.

        In the physics I’m familiar with, results are often quoted that are still quite uncertain. In fact, the IPCC report is *filled* with statements that are only barely more than 50% certain, according to their standard likelihood phraseology. In particle physics, few people are ready to believe a new entity really exists until the signal is at least 5 standard deviations above the noise – far more stringent than the typical 2 sigmas of typical statistical relevance. And yet articles are regularly published with much lower signal to noise ratios, because they are useful steps on the way to determining whether something is real or not. Just because something is somewhat uncertain doesn’t mean it is not interesting or useful.

        What substantive difference is at issue in this case? Can you describe it clearly please, what difference your statistical relevance claim makes? Maybe I’m just missing something?

      • And for Arthur’s behaviour.
        ===============

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        kim, you say:

        There are some who give an innocent explanation for the use of the term ‘censored’. I would be inclined to go along with an innocent explanation, but for Mann’s subsequent behaviour.

        You are wrong to make any issue of the name of the directory. It is perfectly normal to test conclusions by running your analysis on only a portion of the data you have. When doing so, the data you hold back is considered “censored.” The name of that directory sounds odd at first, but it have a perfectly innocent explanation.

        Of course, the fact the name is acceptable doesn’t mean things are fine. The data in that directory shows Mann ran his analysis without the bristlecone proxies and saw that he couldn’t get the hockey stick without them.

        It’s akin to the “trick” issue. The problem was never that people used a trick. The problem was what the trick was. It’s important not to get bogged down with semantics and definitions. Those aren’t important when the issue is outright dishonesty. The only reason to focus on the name of that directory is to keep people from focusing on what the real issue is.

        We’ve just seen Arthur Smith, a dedicated defender of Mann, make things up again and again, all in an apparent attempt to avoid admitting simple and obvious problems with Mann’s work and behavior. Don’t give people like him more ammunition.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        For fun, and for those who haven’t heard me discuss the issue before, here is one example of what I refer to as extreme dishonesty, partially discussed on Arthur Smith’s blog, Gavin falsely claimed (in an exchange on Keith Kloor’s blog) removing the Tiljander series from Mann08 didn’t affect the results, not even if you also removed tree-ring series. People responded by pointing out the evidence he offered directly contradicted him, and he responded by refusing to post anymore. In a later exchange at RealClimate, Gavin admitted his claim was untrue, and that such a removal invalidated Mann08’s conclusions.

        Now then, do I think he knowingly made false claims? No. I think he was mistaken, and that isn’t dishonest. However, Gavin has never made any effort to retract or correct the misinformation he spread about Mann08. He knowingly allows people to be mislead by his errant remarks. By failing to make any effort to correct mistakes when doing so would hurt his “cause,” Gavin is extremely dishonest. The false defense he offered is still used by people to defend Mann08, and thus Gavin’s extreme dishonesty is a source of defense for the hockey stick.

        By the way, if anyone needs me to track down the links for all the things I reference in this example, I can. I just didn’t feel like doing it if it wasn’t going to matter to anyone. So sue me, I can be lazy at times!

      • I’ve asked a fair number of people why they haven’t gotten Gavin’s memo. Some of them are going to be intelligent enough to wonder how they got stuck defending the ‘Stick’ when even Gavin won’t. Some may even wonder why he slunk so stealthily from its defense, but those are being infected with the ‘draught of denialism’, insidious as the Red Death.
        =============

      • Arthur,
        You seem very concerned about the dangers you perceive in our modern technologies. What will have to happen to world population to achieve the the low energy intensity future you envision at your blog?

      • Your assumptions on my attitude toward technology are completely and absolutely false. Try again. Try reading, in fact. One of the main groups I’ve been responsible for had the following mission statement: “Our focus is on what you can do to make a prosperous, environmentally sound, energy-rich future a reality. “

      • Arthur,
        Please note I was not making false assumptions. I was trying to ask questions, calmly and quietly.
        If I upset you or had mis-perceptions of your perspective, please accept my apology. No offense was intended.
        Your blog is interesting, and I look forward to reading more of it.

    • Randomly bring it up? I was responding to the “lecture” from troll Robert sho said: “The first thing you need to prove to me is that your ignorance is something that concerns me.”

      Robert is ignorant. There is no basis for discussion about AGW that starts with “the Hockey Stick is correct and unassailable”.

      The true statment is

      “the Hockey Stick is part of a very large con game and until the AGW side acknowledges that and apologizes, nothing they say should be believed.”

      • You think that’s the basis for a discussion about AGW?

      • In 1998, the Lancet published a paper link autism with the MMR vaccine.

        It was a fraud.

        In 2010 they retracted it.

        http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-retraction.htm

        Until Mann’s paper is retracted, and all papers that relied on it or used data that “hid the decline”, AGW is a discredited religion.

        AGW has gone down a path denying the existence of the MWP and the LIA because of the hockey stick.

        AGW is discredited until it confesses its fraud.

      • AGW doesnt even need the hockey stick.. ie the flat blade

      • steven mosher

        AGW may not “need” the hockey stick, as you write.

        But why does it cite its conclusions as a key paragraph under “A Paleoclimate Perspective” (AR4 WG1 SPM), long after the study itself has been comprehensively discredited?

        Max

      • Basically the HS has iconic status or its like the shroud of Turin. In fact Overpeck asked Briffa to create something more compelling that the HS. Briffa was uncomfortable with this. The symbol is used to “prove” the exceptional nature of man’s impact. That’s really not necessary to the case, in fact the certainty asserted for this isnt that great. BUT the image is great. It’s improved , as an image, if the blade is flatter.
        Nothing about the SIZE of the MWP hump changes the facts of radiative physics. It cant.

      • Steven,

        It’s not about the facts of radiative physics. It’s about effects of radiative physics, in particular radiative properties of CO2, on global climate. The leap from the radiative properties of CO2 to CO2GW is simpleton science.

        The exceptional nature of man’s impact is very important for AGW. That was the fuel of AGW.

      • steven,
        When you say “AGW”, what do you mean?

      • Very simple. moshpit AGW:
        1. GHGs warm the planet they do not cool it
        2. Man’s activity increase GHGs, it does not lower them.
        3. The Sensitivity to doubling falls between 1 and 6C

        Hint: Sensitivity is not significantly constrained by short term paleo. That is, if the HS vanished tommorrow that range would not change. The HS is a sideshow. Iconic, but a side show. here is a hint, when you find a vociferous argument that’s the first clue that the issue is immaterial. We tend to pick fights over ‘satillite’ issues such that winning or losing on them does not affect the case in chief

      • steven,
        Thank you.
        Then by your definition I am a believer, albeit in the very low range of sensitivity.

      • AGW needs a flat handle that pretends there is no MWP and no LIA because the claim is that CO2 drives climate, not natural variability.

        AGW needs “unprecedented warming”.

      • andrew adams

        AGW doesnt even need the hockey stick.. ie the flat blade

        Completely agreed, and I would also probably agree that in the past it was given more prominence than was just justified by a) it’s significance and b) the level of certainty in the findings.

        But it’s still part of the overall picture and is still our best understanding of what has happened to our climate over the last couple of millennia (and it’s not just about Mann). It would be wrong to throw it out of the window because it would be politically convenient.

      • “AGW doesnt even need the hockey stick.. ie the flat blade”

        Maybe not, but CAGW does.

      • Yeah, I think Moshe meant ‘flat shaft’.
        ===========

      • The MWP and LIA show a strong feedback to small solar variations. They support the idea of AGW-levels of climate sensitivity. Other more recent solar variations confirm this view.

      • ‘Feedback’?
        I think you might be looking for ‘direct response’.
        Here is a hockey stick whose absence in AGW is absolutely necessary:

      • Take the LIA, for example. To directly cause a half-degree cooling, the sun would have had to cool by about 4 times what is considered reasonable, and no one has any estimates anywhere near that for the solar activity in the Maunder Minimum. Apart from this, the 11-year cycle and its relation to surface temperature gives clues about the positive feedback, which again seems to be quite high, almost 1 K per W/m2.

      • Oh your TSI;
        Large, sparse, South Hemispheric,
        Maunder on sun spots.
        =================

      • CO2 rises
        The temperature rises
        Science is settled.

        (haiku response)

      • Upside down science;
        Temperature rises then
        CO2 rises.
        ======

      • Can’t argue this way.
        Haiku is too limiting.
        I prefer straight prose.

      • Give it to me straight.
        How does the sun change climate?
        Constancy, I see.
        ==========

      • Yes, the sun changes.
        Remove two parts per thousand.
        Get an LIA.

      • I see your straight path
        Winding crook’t and incoherent.
        Don’t you see the sun?
        =============

      • Needs more than the sun
        volcanic activity
        Franklin’s red sunsets

      • It’s just as I thought.
        The sun acts in unknown ways.
        Now that’s some straight talk.
        ===========

      • Bruce,
        A reasonable aproach to the HS might be:
        The HS is an integral icon of the AGW movement. It has been reviewed by outside qualified groups and individuals and found questionable in terms of methodology, data sourcing and validity. Perhaps a discussion of those critiques would be worth discussing if one is interested in knowing if the HS is worth its important role.

      • Bruce, you’ve illustrated Brandon’s point. You brought up your ignorance of paleoclimate not to expand your knowledge, or even in a misguided attempt to communicate the mythology you had absorbed, but simply as a substitute for the series of childish insults you now have lost the ability to restrain . . .

        Unfortunately there is still nothing about your ignorance of paleoclimate that is my concern. Be well! :)

      • The most influential tree in the world.

        “Coming to light in recent days has been one of the most extraordinary scientific detective stories of our time, bizarrely centred on a single tree in Siberia dubbed “the most influential tree in the world”. On this astonishing tale, it is no exaggeration to say, could hang in considerable part the future shape of our civilisation. Right at the heart of the sound and fury of “Climategate” – the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia – is one story of scientific chicanery, overlooked by the media, whose implications dwarf all the rest.”

        “At the forefront of those who found suspicious the graphs based on tree rings from the Yamal peninsula in Siberia was McIntyre himself, not least because for years the CRU refused to disclose the data used to construct them. This breached a basic rule of scientific procedure. But last summer the Royal Society insisted on the rule being obeyed, and two months ago Briffa accordingly published on his website some of the data McIntyre had been after.

        This was startling enough, as McIntyre demonstrated in an explosive series of posts on his Climate Audit blog, because it showed that the CRU studies were based on cherry-picking hundreds of Siberian samples only to leave those that showed the picture that was wanted. Other studies based on similar data had clearly shown the Medieval Warm Period as hotter than today. Indeed only the evidence from one tree, YADO61, seemed to show a “hockey stick” pattern, and it was this, in light of the extraordinary reverence given to the CRU’s studies, which led McIntyre to dub it “the most influential tree in the world”.”

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6738111/Climategate-reveals-the-most-influential-tree-in-the-world.html

    • No, Brandon, you are wrong.

      The National Academies of Science say the hockey stick is right.

      Against the National Academies of Science, you don’t even count.

      They conclude less confidence than Mann initially did of global mean temperatures over 1,100 years ago, but more importantly, they uphold the fact that the Medieval Warm Period was not global, and therefore the present high global mean temperature really is in fact unprecedented in the human historical period. That is now Settled Science, and if you disagree with that statement, then you just don’t understand the stature and role of the National Academies of Science.

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

      Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many*, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified.

      * Not “most.” If they meant “most,” then “most” is what they would have said. They did not. It was a Warm Period compared to the average over the whole period, but it was not warmer than present globally, only in “many” but not “most” regions.
      This is not one R2 vs RE quarrel. The National Academies reviewed all the relevant evidence, and made clear conclusions that no person can credibly dismiss nor reduce to a ‘blog quarrel between two amateurs. Arguing the validity of the hockey stick in terms of your quarrels with random guys on the Internet and ignoring the existence of the NAS report is not “skeptical,” it is simply denial.

      • From what you have posted it appears the many* you have selected to concentrate on is refering to recent temperatures, those in the last 25 years from the date of the paper. Did you copy it incorrectly? Do you hold firm to your analysis despite this?

      • I will not nit-pick through all 146 pages of the report for you. The basic conclusion is perfectly clear.

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

        And that conclusion is from a better source than ‘blog “scientists” like Brandon. That is the point. End of conversation.

  32. Judith,

    There is no argument.
    I’m right.
    Trying to push bad generalized theory as correct is bad arguing strategy to good solid evidence.

  33. John Whitman

    JC,

    You do not need to create the perfect e-salon. It already exists here.

    Let it naturally evolve as needed. Please do not force it into un-natural acts.

    SUGGESTION: Why don’t you enlist several voluntary moderators whom you respect based on their behavior at this site since it began? That would benefit us because you would have more time to tee up the posts, which is the key to good e-saloning. N’est ce pas?

    John

    • I’ve struggled with the moderation issue. I try to at least glance at all comments, but today I was travellling, and there was a huge number of comments, no way I can catch up (better to spend my time on a new post). in principle, i am focusing any moderation on say the two most active threads, and also the technical threads. I’m not sure how I would even articulate guidelines for volunteer moderators.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        One possibility is you could have someone (or more than one someone) be responsible for flagging comments for you to look at. They wouldn’t delete anything. Instead, they would just draw your attention to potentially problematic comments. That would free you from having to worry about making precise guidelines for moderators.

        I know people can contact you to let you know about problematic comments, but something more systematic might be useful.

      • Judy – This is somewhat peripheral to moderation per se, but not entirely irrelevant, since it affects the tone of discussions. My perception is that anonymity can be an invitation for a participant to engage in debate in a manner he or she would not do if identifiable, and which often coarsens the quality of discourse with a plethora of insults or other forms of personal aggressiveness.

        You’ve stated previously that you understand the reasons why some participants remain anonymous, but “reasons” are not necessarily justifications. In general, we expect to be held to a standard of accountability for our words and actions even if that involves some risk, and so it’s my sense that anonymity, if justified, is rarely so, and should be discouraged. My guess is that whatever “risk” individual participants believes they are taking could be minimized by proper decorum and respect in their manner of commentary. If there are exceptions, I doubt they are numerous.

        Regardless, I don’t believe it is ever acceptable for an anonymous participant to launch a personal verbal assault on another participant, and rarely against a third party. If there is to be anonymity, I believe the price of remaining anonymous should be a level of courtesy that would be desirable for everyone, but enforceable with particular rigor for those who remain anonymous.

      • I could not agree more. Personally, I would like to see an experiment where the anomarati where held to a higher standard of conduct.
        Interesting experiment.

      • Perfect comment – given that in many comments on many threads you have insulted me, despite that as an anonymous poster, I haven’t insulted you once.

      • Ah! but you deserve it, Joshua! ;)

      • touché

      • John Carpenter

        Thank you Fred

      • Fred – are there not many “coarse” comments, on this blog and virtually every other blog, posted under full names? Do we not see ubiquitous coarse comments in the political sphere made by folks whose main interest is in promoting the widespread recognition of their names? Are the frequent insult-filled comments written by non-anonymous posters any less coarse than those written by anonymous posters?

        Let people’s comments stand on their merits of what they write. Seeking to control the tone of the discourse by policing anonymity, IMO, would be a waste of time.

      • It would be an interesting experiment. Long ago and far away some of us designed experiments like this and other to see how internet discourse changes when you change certain rules. I would not be so incurious.

        For example, Judith need not punish or outlaw churlish behavior. Reward systems work much better to change the tone and behavior of blog discourse.
        One of the best was the ‘star’ system at Slate

        http://www.slate.com/id/2070246/

        To get one you had to make good contributions. when I got one I cleaned up my act even more. And commenters practice social grooming as well. usually when you hit dunbars number..

      • Reward systems work much better to change the tone and behavior of blog discourse.

        Not from what I’ve seen. Check out Little Green Footballs sometime. IMO, the rating system there mostly promotes group think. When I first started posting there, I was heavily “down-dinged” and called a “troll” (sound familiar) for going against the prevailing sentiment (more specifically, for calling out one of the website’s darlings for speciously analogizing the Tea Party to “proto-Nazis.”). Subsequently, that very same poster (an AGW extremist, btw) was driven out for being, essentially, a lunatic.

        Or check out this Fox News thread highlighted at Little Green Footballs

        http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39026_Fox_News_Commenters_Respond_to_Somalia_Story_with_Deluge_of_Racism

        The post details how overtly racist posts at Fox News were “rewarded” (not an uncommon event).

        IMO, you’re seeking unrealistically simple solutions for an intractable problem that is inherent in the medium – and indeed, also inherent in the tribalistic nature of people from differing perspectives interacting with each other.

        But maybe you would stop insulting me if Judith gave you brownie points?

      • I was seriously ill from 2000-2009, initially with shingles, Ross River virus and post-viral syndrome, subsequently exacerbated by work-related depression. I worked as an economic policy adviser in a corrupt system where, I’m told by a sympathizer, my honesty, integrity, intellect and analytical rigour (my professional stock-in-trade) were seen as a threat. Late in the piece, my head of department made totally false and professionally damaging allegations against me. I was warned by senior staff, HR and external consultants that if I responded I would be subject to attacks so vicious that my health would be seriously damaged. My employer would not accept medical advice re my continued employment and recovery, including from two government-employed specialists, and I was forced to resign for the good of my health.

        I was for some time very isolated and de-socialised. Eventually, I decided to venture back into the fray via posts on Australia’s Online Opinion blog. It was fairly clear that if I critiqued state government policy, I would suffer venomous attacks, which I could not cope with. I therefore adopted the pseuodnym/nom de net “Faustino,” which probably only my brother in the UK could associate with me. I subsequently used this name widely, on a variety of blogs, so that it developed a “brand-name” quality. I no longer need it as a defensive measure, but I see little reason to discard it.

        Vide some comments on this blog, I don’t attempt to pontificate on scientific matters beyond my competence, I try to contribute from my perspective as a former senior policy officer and as someone who places great value on truth, honesty and integrity. And I have rarely, if ever, been abusive, insulting or even impolite (except perhaps to the late Pete Seeger in this thread). So I’ll maintain the pseudonym, while admitting to being Genghis Cunn in some fora.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Hi Michael,

        Ross River fever is a terrible thing – I am sorry to hear of your travails.

        My nom de plume – deriving as it does from a Simpsons character – is a subtle mockery of an attitude of superiority manifested in an imperious manner or in presumptuous claims and an all too smug adoption of an air of infallabillity in handing down incontrovertible writ to the great unwashed. I must be especially unwashed as I get it from both sides of the climate wars.

        I have spent a lifetime cultivating the hydrological arts – and I was wondering just this morning if I should call myself a hydro-climatologist. But decided that was far too pretentious for an Aussie bushman with a ballad on my lips and a bull between my legs – yee hah. As we say at the Great Western pub and rodeo in Rocky – the only pub in the world where a man can drink, ride broncos and swear at the same time – we have both kinds of music. Country and western. As an Environmental Scientist, however, no knowledge is beyond my ken.

        I think the true purpose of an e-salon called climate etc in the 21st century is to discuss a natural philosophy of climate. A unifying theory of all the disparate elements of climate – there are thousands at least – with a view to create a coherent narrative. One that incorporates the known, the unknown and the unknowable defined in some sensible and practical manner. I believe that the first unknowable is the future – inherently because of irreducible imprecision in models and the complexity and non-linearity of climate. That seems like a fine starting point – but I have had little success in undermining the fatuous certitude of either side of the climate wars.

        On the other hand – I have little trouble in insulting anyone. The terms pissant progressive or hillbilly buffoon being amongst the mildest. My name is freely available at the click of a button – and if they do want to duke it out behind the Great Western on any Friday night by all means.
        This seems an unlikely response from the effete denizens who are, I am certain, all hat and no cow.

        I am glad to hear that you are feeling better – and look forward to future discourse.

        Cheers
        Robert I Ellison
        Chief Hydrologist

      • Chief,
        Well said.
        I would dispute the uniqueness of your bar, however.
        http://www.billybobstexas.com/
        But at either Great Western or Billybob, it would be a pleasure to share a cool beverage or three with you and many who post here.

      • son of mulder

        My perception is that idenifiability can be an invitation for a participant to engage in debate in a manner he or she would not do if unidentifiable. Many find it difficult to talk truth to power, particularly when they may have something to lose.

      • Charles has guidelines. Just ask him

      • I’m sure that focusing on the most recent threads is the most efficient you can get. I can’t suggest any way to make that easier, but regarding technical discussion threads, why not limit participation to those whose technical expertise you respect? By participating in your ‘blog, we’re all agreeing to your rules anyway. That would seem a fair, efficient way to separate wheat from chaff in advance, once (or rarely, when you add somebody to that list), rather than in a more challenging, time-consuming, ongoing process.

        As a bonus (to a large number of your readers) it would also exclude me from those discussions. But I suggest it anyway, because I think the distinction between experts and amateurs is important and I’m comfortable not pretending to have more expertise than I do.

  34. I’ve long considered the internet a wondrous blessing, because arguments don’t have to end in fisticuffs, or, worse yet, agreement.
    ==============

  35. “Climate Audit manages this problem through what could be called an aggressive insistence on mutual respect”

    I prefer Climate etc. as a forum to Climate Audit exactly because such “respect” only goes as far as not allowing knock-down arguments from either side and snipping many irrelevant posts (including the more offensive ones). I like to read the opinions on both blogs, but find more respect here, agressive or not. Steve is doing a useful job, as are a number of the CA regulars, but I find many of the posts there are simply “me too” rather than adding to the debate. Just my view.

    • Compared to CA, BH and Climate Etc I think Anthony at WUWT has the moderation approach at an optimum setting. The light touch and almost continuous pre-moderation is effective. Congratulations Anthony.

      As I said in an above comment, JC’s blog with a light handed group of volunteer pre-moderators would put moderation here at an optimum too. Given her well-deserved popularity causing such a work load, I think it is just too much for JC to try to do everything herself.

      John

    • I agree Paul. The balance here is unparalleled. Most climate blogs are dominated by one side or the other. This is an e-salon, a great one. Nothing more is needed.

  36. Maybe a step back from the skydragon and a discussion of Maxwell-Boltzmann temperature distribution and the second law of thermodynamics would be helpful as it is obvious to me that there are still arguments being made showing a lack of understanding of these topics.

    • Mentioning a topic in a baiting way is not the way to get it not discussed. Your suggestion is self defeating. Very funny in it’s way.

      • You are right, I am not doing a very good job at getting it not discussed. If I had a dime for every post on this cite that gets the 2nd law wrong, I could buy a very nice dinner.

        For the most part, lots miss the “no other effect” part.

      • Whatever you do, don’t think about elephants! ;-)

  37. The global alarmists have been reduced to ‘arm waiving and ad hoc explanations’ to keep their hot air balloon aloft.

    “Writing in 2005, Hansen, Willis, Schmidt et al. suggested that GISS model projections had been verified by a solid decade of increasing ocean heat (1993 to 2003). This was regarded as further confirmation the IPCC’s AGW hypothesis. Their expectation was that the earth’s climate system would continue accumulating heat more or less monotonically. Now that heat accumulation has stopped (and perhaps even reversed), the tables have turned. The same criteria used to support their hypothesis, is now being used to falsify it.

    “It is evident that the AGW hypothesis, as it now stands, is either false or fundamentally inadequate. One may argue that projections for global warming are measured in decades rather than months or years, so not enough time has elapsed to falsify this hypothesis. This would be true if it were not for the enormous deficit of heat we have observed. In other words, no matter how much time has elapsed, if a projection misses its target by such a large magnitude (6x to 8x), we can safely assume that it is either false or seriously flawed.

    ~ William DiPuccio

    • Speaking of arm waving, your comment has nothing to do with the thread of this post. You are just making a disconnected speech. Have a go at the topic.

    • http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/first-quarter-2011-update-of-nodc-ocean-heat-content-0-700meters/

      the latest data point shows an uptick, and it looks like the long-term trend continues.

      Nothing in ocean heat content to falsify AGW at this point.

      • Now a global climate crisis comes down to a one-quarter uptick of tiny proportions?

      • No, the uptick means the falsification of AGW is a little premature.

      • But not premature by much.
        And certainly does not support the idea of a global climate crisis.

      • More up to date. Not very helpful to AG? (I removed the W because Warming seems non-existant).

        http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/mid-july-2011-sst-anomaly-update/

      • Anytime you post a graph that doesn’t encompass a time frame longer than the noise divided by the trend you are not making an argument that warming is no longer happening.

      • bob,
        That standard invalidates a basic leg of the AGW stool, that what we are experiencing is unusual.

      • What standard are you referring to?

      • The time frame longer than the noise divided by the the trend part.

      • Then you have the basic leg of the AGW stool wrong.

        No AGW proponent expects the noisy signal to all of a sudden stop being noisy due to the addition of greenhouse gases.

        I do realize I just made the no true scotsman fallacy.

      • bob,
        Thank you for clarifying your point.
        Nor am I trying to play gotch’s with outlier positions of extremists.
        But I would point out that the alleged AGW signal of CO2 climate catastrophe is certainly not outside the range of error.
        I do not believe that I have that leg incorrect.

      • Hunter,
        Maybe I could clarify my position as well.
        And I would agree that the CAGW signal (also the first I’ve used CAGW I think) is not evident at this time.

        And clearly, when you compare Bob’s red line on the OHC graph here

        http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/first-quarter-2011-update-of-nodc-ocean-heat-content-0-700meters/

        with Hansen’s prediction in fig 2 here

        http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2005/2005_Hansen_etal_1.pdf

        or Real Climate

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

        I find the current OHC is closer to the GISS predictions than Bob says it is and is actually reasonably accurate.
        And far from falsifying AGW.

      • bob,
        Since we agree the CAGW signal is not present at this time, why cannot we agree that the issue has been over blown significantly?
        I may be hopelessly idealistic, but I believe the public square should focus discussions on dealing with problems that actually exist, rather than ones that may someday exist.

      • Because extrapolation of the current trends leads to a climate with a higher probability of catastrophic results.
        The reason we should address the issue now is that it will take a while to get off of fossil fuel use
        A smoother transition with a minimum disruption to everything.
        And with all the catastrophic predictions still aways off, it would be premature to call them overblown at this time.

      • bob,
        I think those projections are proving very worthless.
        Meanwhile, we have infrastructure that needs upgrading, a growing need for clean drinking water,and toxins to remove from soil, water and air.
        CO2 can wait.

      • Thats funny coming from the someone who wrote “the latest data point shows an uptick”.

      • Which was in respons to someone saying

        “Now that heat accumulation has stopped (and perhaps even reversed), the tables have turned. The same criteria used to support their hypothesis, is now being used to falsify it. ”

        Tell me again what the longterm trend is.

      • Lately, up. Less lately, down. Long term, up & down. Honest, that’s top drawer stuff. Wear it.
        ===========

      • Some of the less lately is up not down, some of the less lately is down more less lately but up more lately. You can take that to the bank, but realize that your clothes don’t match.

      • Well there is a period of warming from 1976 to 1998 that some people have foolishly mostly attributed to people. Other than that it is all pretty much just natural variability.

        Long term trend? You have to be kidding.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Noise doesn’t exist – every change has a cause. Even chaos is deterministic. So if there is a theory for non-warming – and there is – the change is meaningful. Specifically a change in cloud radiative forcing after the other great Pacific climate shift from 1998.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You are pinning your hopes on an ‘uptick’?

        First of all go to the source – http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

        The reason it is happening is largely because of cloud changes in the Pacific. Burgmann et al (2008) discuss this in terms of a Pacific Decadal Variation (PDV) – and describe the sea surface temperature signature as ‘characterized by a broad triangular pattern in the tropical Pacific surrounded by opposite anomalies in the midlatitudes of the central and western Pacific Basin.’ Their study uses a variety of data sources to examine decadal variability of surface winds, water vapour (WV), outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and clouds. They conclude that the ‘most recent climate shift, which occurred in the 1990s during a period of continuous satellite coverage, is characterized by a ‘La Niña’ SST pattern with significant signals in the central equatorial Pacific and also in the northeastern subtropics. There is a clear westward shift in convection on the equator, and an apparent strengthening of the Walker circulation. In the north-eastern subtropics, SST cooling coinciding with atmospheric drying appears to be induced by changes in atmospheric circulation. There is no indication in the wind speed that the changes in SST or WV are a result of changes in the surface heat flux. There is also an increase in OLR which is consistent with the drying. Finally, there is evidence for an increase in cloud fraction in the stratus regions for the 1990s transition as seen in earlier studies. Together, these results suggest that there are decadal-scale changes in the atmosphere involving circulation, water vapor, clouds and radiation that may play a role in PDV, and are worthy of further study.

        Burgman, R. J., Clement, A. C., Mitas, C. M. , Chen, J. and Esslinger, K. (2008), Evidence for atmospheric variability over the Pacific on decadal timescales GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L01704, doi:10.1029/2007GL031830, 2008

        ‘Earth’s global albedo, or reflectance, is a critical component of the global climate as this parameter, together with the solar constant, determines the amount of energy coming to Earth. Probably because of the lack of reliable data, traditionally the Earth’s albedo has been considered to be roughly constant, or studied theoretically as a feedback mechanism in response to a change in climate. Recently, however, several studies have shown large decadal variability in the Earth’s reflectance. Variations in terrestrial reflectance derive primarily from changes in cloud amount, thickness and location, all of which seem to have changed over decadal and longer scales.’ http://www.bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/

        About a 2W/m^2 increase in reflected SW (relative cooling) after 1998.

        This is a decadal phenomenon – a cool PDO associated with more intense and frequent La Nina – and likely to persist for a decade or 3 more.

        Verdon and Franks (2006) used ‘proxy climate records derived from paleoclimate data to investigate the long-term behaviour of the PDO and ENSO. During the past 400 years, climate shifts associated with changes in the PDO are shown to have occurred with a similar frequency to those documented in the 20th Century. Importantly, phase changes in the PDO have a propensity to coincide with changes in the relative frequency of ENSO events, where the positive phase of the PDO is associated with an enhanced frequency of El Niño events, while the negative phase is shown to be more favourable for the development of La Niña events.’

        Verdon, D. and Franks, S. (2006), Long-term behaviour of ENSO: Interactions with the PDO over the past 400 years inferred from paleoclimate records, Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2005GL025052.

        Understanding ‘natural climate variability’ provides a insight into the modes of climate change without which mothing is known.

      • “Nothing in ocean heat content to falsify AGW at this point”

        Maybe not, but what about CAGW? Elsewhere in your reference:

        “Looking at the NODC OHC data during the ARGO era (2003 to present), Figure 2, the uptick was nowhere close to what would be required to bring the Global Ocean Heat Content back into line with GISS projections.”

      • I think that red line is in the wrong place.

  38. It is called hijacking.

  39. “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

    http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/2011/08/in-climate-where-science-is-being-raped.html

    • Isn’t wanting a revolution one of the criticisms used by Conservatives against environmentalists?

      You know, red on the inside, green on the outside. All that sort of nonsense!

      • We don’t think it’s nonsense. We think you’re a commie ratbag with the sense of a potato.

      • So I rattle your cage and you growl at me! OK, fair enough, I suppose. But, it would be more fun, for everyone, if you could inject a touch of wit into your growls. Most of us have outgrown school yard name calling.

      • If you don’t want short and sweet rejoinders – say something with some semblance of substance.

        The Chief is clearly a fan of irony.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Joshua

        If you don’t like clouds or chaos – it is of little matter. ENSO not your metier? Hydrology? Maths? Physics? Science of any kind? No. How about poetry then? I have such a love of words. Did you catch my Saint-Exupéry quote? Miraculous words entirely suitable for an e-salon post – whenever I get bored with pissant progressives and green-socialist buffoons such as yourself.

        But I think my meaning was clear. Say something useful if you want a considered reply and not just to indulge in this pointless and foolish riposte. If there is something to be said say it – don’t mischiefly insinuate a falsehood.

        ‘Irony (from the Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία eirōneía, meaning dissimulation or feigned ignorance) is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions.’

        Irony is hardly my strong suit. Maturity is hardly yours.

      • Sorry – reposting in proper nest:

        But I think my meaning was clear. Say something useful if you want a considered reply and not just to indulge in this pointless and foolish riposte. If there is something to be said say it – don’t mischiefly insinuate a falsehood.

        My assumption what that you’d figure it out, Chief. Seeing as how you didn’t, I’ll spell it out.

        I agree with your observation, and found it highly ironic that you’d speak about someone else’s post lacking a semblance of substance after launching into another of your pointless and foolish insult-filled rants.

        Irony is hardly my strong suit.

        I beg to differ, as you now wag your finger at me regarding my maturity, after yet another bout of name-calling. Irony built upon irony.

        And Chief, regarding irony – one would expect that the outcome of a lecture on substance and foolishness would be something other than insubstantial and pointless insulting. One would expect the outcome of a lecture on maturity would be something other than insubstantial and pointless insulting.

        Oh, and I’m a descriptivist – and FWIW, I find prescriptivism rigid, turgid, pedantic, and boring.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Prescriptivism?

        ‘1.Ethical sentences do not express propositions.
        2.Instead, ethical sentences function similarly to imperatives which are universalizable — whoever makes a moral judgment is committed to the same judgment in any situation where the same relevant facts obtain.’

        I’m agin prescritivism too – maybe – if it means that I have to be consistent. I reserve the right to make it up as I go along – especially when I meet heroes of the fatuous in dark corners of e-salons.

        As Kim suggests, however, this nest has entirely fallen out of the tree. But rather than irony – TT accused me of lacking humour and wit in my noting the resemblance of the boy to a potato for the habit of dropping in with a pointless and inane comment from some primitive tribalistic perspective.

        How could a student at the feet of the Master – Rebelais – resist such a challenge? Adept as I am at making the two backed beast while inventing new philosophies a dozen at at time? I have just this morning consumed six whole boar, a giraffe, three monkeys and a platypus – drank 16 barrels of the finest wine and cuckolded three dozen husbands. All whilst conflating defelationism with flatuationism in a declamatory orotorical style to the thunderous applause of the e-salon denizens. How could you hope to keep up?

        What I objected to was this poor form of dropping in with an insubstantial and distracting snipe – disturbing the steady flow of thought of the denizens gravely cogitating at the eges of the known universe. This seemed an appropriate thread in which to have some fun but also to affirm the value of reflection and substance in posts – despite my many and varied divergences from sober, serious and let’s face it – self satisfied and smug – utterances of apparently great import.

  40. Surely runaway global cooling should be an interesting topic on the knowledge frontier, right?

  41. As Andrew Montford has been mentioned on this blog, and I have accused him of being politically rather than scientifically motivated, (btw that makes him a denier in my book), I’ve just been looking into his actual views.

    He seems to be keeping quiet about them but there are a few snippets in the early years of his blog when he did manage to talk about issues other than the climate change “hoax”:

    “Jan 8, 2007
    Ruth Kelly: ‘I want to do the right thing for my son’

    Bishop Hill: So do I, but I can’t because you’ve taken all my money, you hypocritical cow. ”

    Now, I’m not sure who Ruth Kelly is but would I be right in thinking that she’s probably a UK Labour politician? And would I be right in thinking that his comment ” you’ve taken all my money, you hypocritical cow.” means that the good “Bishop” thinks his tax bill is rather on the high side?

    • tempterrain

      Early quotes by Andrew Montford may be entertaining (he appears not to have been salon-trained by Madeleine de Scudéry, or our host here), but I think the more pertinent thing from our perspective here is his well-researched book, The Hockey Stick Illusion.

      Besides exposing some of the strange skullduggery surrounding this icon of phony pseudo-science, it;s a good read in itself.

      Have you read it? If so, how would you rate it?

      Max

      • Max,
        Max,

        I certainly wouldn’t want to actually spend any money in advance! If anyone would like to send me a free copy of the book I’ll take a look. I’d send our good Bishop a donation to his church if I thought he deserved one, afterwards.

        I take Robert’s earlier point, or rather six points, that Andrew Montford doesn’t qualify as serious scientist. I might be slightly more forgiving than Robert on those, but I like to look beyond what people like Andrew Montford, and Nic Lewis, for example, might be saying in a supposedly scientific manner.

        I don’t particularly care what the politics of anyone might be, providing that it’s not those politics which is determining their science; but, I have to say that I’m just not satisfied, after reading the Bishop Hill blog, that this is the case with Andrew Montford’s views on climate change.

      • Mr. Potato’s ‘just not satisfied’. What are we gonna do, Lobster Lady Tuidsmere?
        ========

      • Then nothing Chris Mooney writes should be read by anyone who thinks Robert’s list is a valid way to judge the value of something.
        But don’t forget Robert’s other rule: If Glenn Beck discusses something, that something should be ignored.

      • Since manacker asks, here is a random sentence (p. 21):

        > One can almost detect the germ of a [sic.] idea forming in the minds of the scientists and bureaucrats assembled in Geneva: here, potentialy, was a source of fundinf and influence without end.

        Auditors might ask themselves what our benevolent Bishop is asking his readers next:

        > Where might it lead?

        Alternatively, auditors they might simply brush up their Social Network Analysis and follow the blogroll of our benevolent Bishop.

        For a background on SNA, auditors might recall Steve McIntyre’s pioneering work on the Kyoto Flames:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/5874729706

    • Tempterrain

      Even by the low standards of British Politicians (of all parites) Ruth Kelly was an extremely inadequate minister. I would imagine the Bishops comments about his son were beause she was an abysmal education secretary.
      tonyb

      • I would imagine our beloved Bishop is stating his beliefs about Kelly.

        This beliefs are that Kelly: **stole** Bishop’s money; **is** an hypocritical cow.

        Correlating that kind of rhetoric with libertarian claptraps is left as an exercise to the readers.

  42. The comments on this blog are virtually unreadable because of the enormous quantities of what is effectively spam from a number of ‘usual suspects’ (from both sides of the debate) who ignore the topic of the thread and post the same comments again and again.
    I think the only solution would be to limit the number of characters and number of comments from any one IP address, if this is technically feasible.
    Plus much tighter moderation from a team of reliable volunteers, deleting the off-topic spam and the abusive insults.

    • It’s a curious view Paul, not that I don’t see what you are suggesting but it misses what is the core fault of climate disscusions; it really isn’t a serious science debate at all. No offense but most people couldn’t care less on either side about the “science”. It’s the social transfer of authority, tax and regulatory stakes that make the debate what it is.

      Without these stakes this blog would not exist. The ad hom nature of the debate should tell you what you need to know about the over all quality of the field itself. It’s a process of crude measures, cherry picking, vague results in a dynamic system that has never been in equalibrium that will never be resolved likely in or lifetimes. So very quickly the board discussion finds its way to what people know is important as the science doesn’t measure up to the political stakes.

      The climate “science” is like the arms race, each side must invest on the hope of the magic “proof” but knowing the that the mere effort of surrendering to the null result would mean political defeat. So it goes on. It’s hard for any “expert” to admit this basic truth about 30 years + of academic and social infighting. It isn’t that climate science in itself isn’t a field of study it’s simply been elevated socially and scientically in stature by the broader political consequences. There was a time during the Cold War where most of knew all the great names in current nuclear physics. Now, not so much.

      So there can be some improvements of chat board technology but it doesn’t change the fact that most of discussion points on science become stale very quickly. Do you think a report on the carbon cycle is going to change the minds of anyside? Skeptics were very slow in the arms race because thay stuck with basic of the scientific method; we need a proof. Politcally this was a huge mistake
      as warmists invested heavily in the narrative with a massive investment (IPCC) in vague science, talking points and abstractions. The gap has been closed to some degree but science method has suffered all around in the race to the bottom in the debate. So no matter what forum options you will remain disappointed.

      You can go over to Real Climate where they make more of an effort to hide their bias with charts, equations to obfuscate their political goals but is that any better for you? The last vail of “we are objective scientists” personna needs to fall before the debate is finalized. Censoring through board protocal isn’t going to change what is lacking in those claiming “it’s about science” when in fact it largely isn’t.

  43. One of the problems is structural to the blog. The nesting routine makes it possible and fairly common for comments to different posts to accumulate in one place, instead of connecting to the specific post. I doubt if the nesting tool available to this blog was developed to handle the high volume that has grown here.
    As for the conversations taking place, the free wheeling and bare knuckled conversations, dialogs, etc. are lively and can be instructive.
    Gregory Benford, in “The Ocean of Night” and “Across the Sea of Suns” captures how free wheeling conversations with large numbers of people can flow and create a synthesis of ideas.
    To capture this idea, he uses a chaining technique in those scenes to link the conversations.
    There is some of that here in the way threads intertwine.
    I think very little could be done that would improve things here, and most of what could be done would serve to hurt what makes this blog the excellent place it is.

    • Alexander Harvey

      hunter,

      I don’t know Benford’s view but it sounds interesting. Does he claim more than that synthesis can occur. Does he have the view that it is a natural tendency to organise productively? About this I should hold some doubts.

      Here, we have available, a seeming wealth of parties that we might attend. Who turns up and who stays to the end, if there is an end, depends on how the party is run, who hosts it, and the terms for admittance and expulsion.

      Right now, if you want people to turn up, running a blog is all the rage. It is an odd sort of party, it is themed, but moves between rooms, much is scribbled on the wall, and the party rolls on. It is a shepherded sort of affair. People love it, at least for now.

      One might say that the older parties, the boards, should make for better parties, where people could start the topics, choose to establish courts, as they did, and some would hang out in the kitchen or the garden and form cliques and organise and often form alliances and set independent agenda, etiquettes, etc. They are fine but will people turn up. The rise of the blog, says that people like attending blogs.

      Yet we miss the old parties, we still want to start topics, lead conversations and build empires. So that creeps back in.

      It is obvious that this is a popular party. So it must be getting a lot of things right in terms of hosting a party.

      It is almost inevitable that parties will from time to time join together people with the skills and of the mood to create a synthesis. That was part of the old dream of the internet. Running against that is the bumping and jostling of unlike minds, and a dawning of a new remoteness, I don’t think this was initially foreseen and was not part of the original hopeful dream of the community that would spontaneously organise and synthesise.

      I think that we thought we could create global villages and we did in a way but they were rather manicured, narrow sorts of places, and not really like villages at all, more like a cafe society but held in a rowdy bar.

      We like to party and we can, there are plenty of venues. I am not sure that we can tell ourselves that it is much more than that. For certain things do happen facilitated by the hubbub, does Benford think it is more than that? Is his chaining technique analytical or can it be use to promote synthesis in real time. The internet is still very immature and seems to thrive on immaturity. I expect it to take huge leaps in the next dacade or so particularly in the addressing (in the postal sense) of ideas, content, knowledge, in ways that the search engine will not be able to dominate in its present incarnation. I expect that anything as well contained as the blog or even the website might be but a passing phase. We will not give up on the old dream of the self organising network easily, if we can we may attempt to let the ideas, the content, organise itself. We are getting there. I think it is inevitable and goes beyond such notions of whether it is a good or bad thing. In the meanwhile any ideas on how to organise better parties and promote synthesis need to be heard.

      But there seems little point to hosting a party if no one shows up.

      Alex

      • Alex,
        Frommy view, Benford sees the chattering consensus building as a two edged sword.
        In fact, a major aspect of the book has to do with a constructive consensus building event thgat leads to amazing discoveries and a destructive consensus building event that leads to a terrible confrontation.
        I think what you are calling immaturity could also be called robust and vital. I think of the Agora in ancient Greece- a combination of marketplace and talking forum that endured for many hundreds of years.
        http://www.stoa.org/athens/sites/agora.html
        From what I have read, it was often a free-for-all up to and including physical violence.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Since you are looking for guest posts to help during the upcoming school year, you could do far worse than to get Gregory Benford to do a post or two.
        http://www.gregorybenford.com/bio.php
        He has written some ideas on the environment and a strong concern for the environmental future runs through his work.
        And he is in no way a skeptic, fwiw.

      • Alexander Harvey

        hunter,

        Thanks for the information.

        I meant immature in a nice way and to say that it is rapidly developing and may be as different from now in 2025 as it is from 1995.

        Alex

      • Alex,
        No problem. It was clear you were referring to a young process. It is radically different from 1993, when I first ran across the internet.
        We can only hope it does notevolve to become a topic for a version of harlan Ellison’s “Deathbird” series.

    • An “ignore” button is tempting and Robert and Settled Science would be the first on my list. It would take time to take effect as others would still reply and I would have to view that traffic noise but over time it might help. Also, you can track your own comments on an individual basis is a good feature. Then you could click back on the areas that you thought were of interest and view the replies that way.

      I read once that Huffington Post estimated that over time for a typical user, 70% of the comments would become invisible because of an ignore feature. That’s why they didn’t add it. Traffic stats trumps misery.

      • Perhaps an ‘invisible mind’ will snatch that little mistaken corner of legacy capitalist business model into the irrelevance it deserves.

        Huff & Puff; blow the mouse down.
        ============

      • How is it that the hard core of climate alarmism is usually but not always part of the radical left mantra?

        How is it that the media always obfuscates this link whenever possible? How is it that Dr. Curry avoids and ducks under “No label” rhetoric when confronted?

        How could real climate science by hyjacked by a political narrative? Why are there so many politicaly correct protocols within the consensus that deny the linkage of their poliitcal inclinations?

      • cwon14,

        After Dr. Curry does these posts:

        1. Money and Climate Science
        2. The Abuse of Language and Climate Science

        she can do

        3. Ask and Dr. Curry Straightforwardly Answers Climate Science Related Questions Fridays. lol

        Andrew

      • Dismisses the vast majority of climate science by baseless association with “the radical left”: IGNORE.

        The Science IS Settled. “Debate” of it by amateurs on ‘blogs is ludicrous.

      • ss, tucking into that last bit of partisanship by Schneider is like sucking on your thumb in a corner. Such a nice warm cuddly feeling.

        Brother, it’s snowing outside and the power bill is out of reach.
        ===============

      • You live in a world of Orwellian dogma;

        http://www.norcalblogs.com/post_scripts/2010/10/agw-consensus-debunked–.html

        “baseless” link to the radical left? What a joke, you have zero credibility.

      • You link to a ‘blog as an authoritative source, but I “have zero credibility?”

        Now that’s what “Orwellian” really means, chump!

  44. After her ‘Money And Climate Science’ post, Dr. Curry should do a post that explores AGW proponents’ use of imprecise language and wholesale destruction of the meanings of English words.

    Andrew

    • I think Orwell covered that best.

      • But it is always worth a nice update.
        My bet is that at its peak of influence eugenics was creating new definitions for words.
        The AGW rebranding of global warming, now in its vX.0 revision, is an interesting aspect of this.

  45. Dr. Curry’s report could be AGW-specific. There is a treasure trove of material currently just waiting there and more comes in every day.

    Andrew

  46. A missing element in this thread is the lack of any summary at the end. 500 comments and if there is any measurable progress in the understanding, acceptance, or refutation of specific points, it is buried in the ream of posts.

    A physical definition of “Work” is =Force*Distance.
    If no progress is made in evaluating claims and counter claims, if the bar is not advanced, there is zero distance and thus zero work regardless of the force and passion applied in the posts.

    What to do about it? JC make initial comments about the source material of each posts. After 2 or 3 days, JC or a trusted moderator could the bullets of the progress, preferably with a searchable phrase found above in the thread. You could allow threaded comments to this post, but be strict that any following comment must be of summary format or it will be deleted.

    That’s my summary two-cents.

    • So you wish to form a consensus view based upon the opinions of people with positions of authority. And you see no obvious problem with doing this considering the nature of the audience?

      • I did say “allow threaded comments” to the summary post as long as summary format is followed. That allows for crowd sourcing of an index.

        JC is the one who chose the salon metaphor. Wrap-up, distillation of the ideas, is part of that process.

  47. I’m not sure what the work load entails running this blog. I’m sure it is considerable. The blog is highly successful. If the changes you would make aren’t made to make your job easier I would recommend making no changes. If it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

  48. But I think my meaning was clear. Say something useful if you want a considered reply and not just to indulge in this pointless and foolish riposte. If there is something to be said say it – don’t mischiefly insinuate a falsehood.

    My assumption what that you’d figure it out, Chief. Seeing as how you didn’t, I’ll spell it out.

    I agree with your observation, and found it highly ironic that you’d speak about someone else’s post lacking a semblance of substance after launching into another of your pointless and foolish insult-filled rants.

    Irony is hardly my strong suit.

    I beg to differ, as you now wag your finger at me regarding my maturity, after yet another bout of name-calling. Irony built upon irony.

    And Chief, regarding irony – one would expect that the outcome of a lecture on substance and foolishness would be something other than insubstantial and pointless insulting. One would expect the outcome of a lecture on maturity would be something other than insubstantial and pointless insulting.

    Oh, and I’m a descriptivist – and FWIW, I find prescriptivism rigid, turgid, pedantic, and boring.

  49. curryja | August 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    “Personally my goal is to provoke people to think critically about whatever topic is being discussed, rather than to persuade people to my view of things.”

    Reading this blog, I see that critical thinking is taking place, that regular discussants are improving in critical thinking, and that much valuable information is being discussed by everyone who contributes, except for the occasional natural born troll.

    I am amazed that Dr. Curry has been able to bring to her blog the work of rhetoricians. Their contributions improve the mix of topics and provide an unfamiliar approach to critical thinking. The challenge of the unfamiliar makes us grow. I am not a rhetorician and do not care to promote the work of rhetoricians, but I can see that Dr. Curry has used their work to the benefit of all of us.

    Finally, consider that Dr. Curry has her own interests in her blog. I think that two of them are exploring the nature of debate on the internet and presenting an example to the world of a blog that promotes intellectual growth among its discussants and readers. Those who support some version of CAGW and who complain that one of their main problems has been poor communication to the public would do well to come here and see how people, all sorts of people, grow in understanding and critical abilities.

  50. Sacré bleu. Al Gore’s newest documentary on global cooling ‘features a lonely zebra shivering to death in Tanzania’

  51. Is there an eco-fad greater than the AGW movement?;

    http://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2011/08/18/eco-fads_feel-good_policies_replace_science_106249.html

    Until the “whys” of bias and agenda science are explored the discussion will remain a strong #2 dismal science in regard to climate.

  52. The iconic ‘hockey stick’ once fancied by Al Gore, as the head fabricator of it Raymond Bradley now concedes, was built like an ‘outhouse.’

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

    This is an excellent argument settledscience, now all you have to do is find someone that thinks it was warmer during the Little Ice Age than now to use it on.

  54. There is nothing unique or particularly complicated about climate change. It cannot be regulated because humans cannot regulate the Sun.

  55. hello

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