Tracking the line between treatment and diagnosis

by Judith Curry

Do you consult with your dentist about your heart condition?  In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work.  If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a number of the proposed operations.

So writes Kevin Trenberth et al. in a WSJ op-ed entitled Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate, which was written in response to the op-ed written by a different group of scientists entitled “No need to panic about global warming.”

What’s wrong with the statement by Trenberth et al. is this.  The big issue is deciding whether or not you need the heart surgery.

Dotearth

Andy Revkin has a very interesting post today “In Climate Fight, Tracking the Line Between Diagnosis and Treatment.”  He addresses this issue in the following way:

The rebuttal began with a much-used metaphor for paying attention to the right expert: “Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition?”

The reality for most of the signatories of the rebuttal letter is that they are more akin to medical technicians — making sure the thermometers gauging a fever are reliable — and radiologists — interpreting a CT scan — than diagnosticians prescribing the appropriate treatment.

You don’t consult a radiologist about how to proceed when a scan identifies a tumor. And even with oncologists, you absolutely pursue multiple opinions.

I had a relevant experience yesterday when I went to my general practitioner to discuss various issues. My stroke neurologist (background here) has prescribed a full aspirin a day for the rest of my life — a wise course from her standpoint. My doctor said that guarantees a bleeding ulcer.

We’re figuring out a reasonable path navigating how to balance those very different risks.

Revkin then goes on to query a number of economists (presumably the experts on ‘treatment’) for their opinion on this.

JC comments:  I’ve received a number of emails asking why I didn’t sign the first WSJ op-ed.  Two obvious reasons:  I wasn’t asked, and I don’t sign group petitions or letters (with one exception back in 2006).   Which statement do I support?  Neither.  I generally agree with Revkin’s analysis, but his choice of economists to highlight was too narrow IMO, and I think the treatment requires input not just from economists (although in terms of treatment, I would listen to economists more than to climate scientists).

436 responses to “Tracking the line between treatment and diagnosis

  1. @JC – ” his choice of economists to highlight was too narrow IMO,”

    without explicitly agreeing or disagreeing, I like what Mendelsohn said (per Revkin)

    • billc –

      I like what Mendelsohn said (per Revkin)

      Mendelsohn? Really?

      I have read through the [op-ed article] and I believe that they have a point in that the climate community sometimes goes after authors who find contrary results almost like how the Roman Catholic Church went after heretics in the Middle Ages.

      His first sentence, IMO, put the entire rest of his comments in a suspicious relief – on the basis of condoning an analogy, that is, indeed, as tortured as one might expect of a heretic facing the Inquisition. .

      /hyperbole

      • Joshua –

        Fair point. But with the risk of being just slightly alarmist, reading a few dozen of Michael Mann’s emails is quite disturbing. The inquisition analogy is stretching it [don’t they all] but it is facing in the right direction. There is something a little bit chilling about the ‘team’, the ’cause’ and being ‘spoken to’ by the science. It’s enough to make one shudder..

      • Anteros –

        The inquisition analogy is stretching it [don’t they all] but it is facing in the right direction

        Sorry. I consider this to be useless moral equivocation. The rhetoric of the Lysenko analogy is useless, invalid, and worst of all, completely counterproductive.

      • Anteros –

        In the words of one of my most beloved “skeptics.”

        When there is bad-mouthing of a colleague by a peer, I am very skeptical of whatever is being said, I seek alternative sources.

        ’nuff said.

      • Sorry – the “’nuff said” were the words of one of my most beloved skeptics (not “skeptics”).

      • Joshua –

        I think you misunderstand me. I said nothing about the Lysenko analogy. Didn’t mention it; didn’t think about it. So no moral equivocation for me.

        You have my agreement about it. It sits at the bottom of both op-ed’s combined sour barrel.

        My thinking was solely about climate scientists and the (overwrought) inquisition analogy – which I said was facing in the right direction.

      • Anteros –

        You consider an analogy to the Inquisition qualitatively better than an the Lysenko analogy?

        I think that saying that analogy is “facing in the right direction” would be on the level of saying that Mussolini had the trains running on time.

        /hyperbole.

        To be clear, I’m not implying that I think you are morally bankrupt. But simply that I think that such use of analogies and their brethren is uniformly counterproductive in the climate debate. If you feel that Mann’s approach is unjustified and wrong, say it. Analogizing him to Inquisitors, IMO, lessens the credibility of your point rather than strengthens it. Further, counterproductively, it only further entrenches those on the other side of the battle lines.

        The only direction it faces is towards useless at best, and in my view more accurately towards counterproductivity. You don’t need to use such analogies to increase the conviction of your fellow “skeptics,” one iota, about Mann’s work. What is the point? Does analogizing Mann to an Inquistor convince one person of anything other than that you condone the use of hyperbolic analogies?

        In my view, obviously, the answer to that final question is “no.” Emphatically.

      • Anteros –

        Actually, I’ll add one caveat. Yukking it up about how Mann is like an Inquistor does, I have seen many times, produce similar chuckles among other climate “skeptics.” Ironically, given one of the themes of this thread, that likely reduces the blood pressure of some “skeptics” and likely will result, long term, in fewer deaths from heart failure.

      • Yes really. OK the first point about the Roman Catholic Church is hyperbole. But I think you are wrong to stop there, just as I disagree with that treatment by skeptics of anyone who starts a paragraph with a nod to AGW as a problem.

        But please – you read the whole thing, as did I, and I think it is right on.

        Particularly the middle >50%:

        “The general argument of the critics appears to be the lack of evidence to support “dramatic” programs of harsh greenhouse controls (e.g. 80% reductions in emissions). I personally believe the critics are right about this. The evidence to engage in harsh mitigation programs is very scanty.

        However, what the critics do not say is that they would support modest rational programs to begin reducing greenhouse gases immediately. I view this as a major weakness of the critics because such policies are what society should be talking about.”

      • And Joshua-

        Lots of commenters on this sight have dimissed the notion about “no regrets” climate policies from the standpoint that if they have other benefits, then they do not need problematic AGW to support their implementation.

        I say, I think AGW could be problematic, and I would support “no-regrets climate policy” strictly interpreted as policy that shows a benefit/cost ratio (BCR) such that BCR(n + AGW) > BCR(n)

        Ya with me?

      • Final note: I applaud Mendelsohn for his description of “modest rational programs to begin reducing greenhouse gases immediately” steering clear of an explicit reference to carbon taxes, a la Nordhaus, because I see other potential problems with carbon taxes, which is a subject for another day.

        An interesting aside: You can probably arrive at some interesting counterexamples of no-regrets climate policies that in the short term have a negative AGW benefit. Like electrification of urban transportation – urban electric cars, trucks and buses – which may be less carbon efficient than internal combustion vehicles – due to the current electrical mix in the US at least being ~50% coal – but with a health benefit due to reduction of near ground air pollution >> the negative AGW result. Depending on the number of exploding battery packs of course ;).

      • billc –

        As usual, you’ve given me some things to think about. No time now – I’ll try to get back to you on this.

      • John Carpenter

        “I say, I think AGW could be problematic, and I would support “no-regrets climate policy” strictly interpreted as policy that shows a benefit/cost ratio (BCR) such that BCR(n + AGW) > BCR(n)

        Ya with me?”

        I can’t speak for Joshua, but I can support that.

      • John – thanks.

        Joshua – motivated by Tamsin’s new post http://allmodelsarewrong.com/the-sceptical-compass/

        I submit for your consideration (I took the referenced test):

        Economic Left/Right: -3.75
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.87

      • billc –

        Just getting to some of this. Probably won’t have time for much. FWIW (didn’t require any thought to it rose to the top).

        Economic Left/Right: -5.75
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.08

        Pretty much right in between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

    • @JC- One competent economist would figure out that:
      a.) Closing the tailpipe of the once-booming West, and
      b.) Sending those CO2-generating industries overseas
      Simply altered the distribution wealth around the globe.

      Those who haven’t figured it out now are beyond hope.
      Even politicians are now mostly silent about Green Jobs!

    • The UN economists views highlighted in their new document is too broad.

      http://www.un.org/gsp/sites/default/files/attachments/GSPReport_unformatted_30Jan.pdf

      I don’t like it. That is my view.

      • Tom –

        I don’t like it either.

        I found it uncomfortable reading, but I’m not sure why. Possibly because every single thing discussed had to be assessed for its sustainability – sustainable intensification, sustainable housing, sustainable diets….

        And it ends up sounding like a papal edict – with sustainability substituting for moral righteousness.

        Is this the UN deciding, rather like modern climate scientists, that it knows how everybody should live, and eat and breathe and sleep?

        Am I going to be instructed on the way to walk down the street sustainably? Get drunk sustainably? Take a leak sustainably?

        I think we have a slight disconnect from reality where overarching concepts have managed to displace common sense. Does no-one have their feet on the ground anymore?

      • Anteros,

        It’s a report issued by the “High-level Panel on
        Global Sustainability” so it’s not totally surprising that the word “sustainability” featues quite prominently.

    • The competent climatologist with a superior track record
      for predicting weather and climate, Piers Corbyn, claims
      largely predictable vast changes in solar charged particle
      flux and sun-earth magnetic connectivity control weather
      and climate See: http://WeatherAction.com/

      Reputations are based on such track records of success

      • There is a very interesting article posted on the ICECAP blog concerning the variation in TSI and its influence on earth’s climate for the next umpteen years that may be of interest to you.

  2. You might want to look at Lubos post at the very same subject. More vitriolic, but makes a good academic point , namely that the argument used in the op could be used by astrologists, alchemists, homeopathists, etc. etc.

  3. Well actually if you need a tooth out you should chat to your dentist about any heart condition you have.

    • Not only that, but by a strange coincidence, I seem to remember there is talk of the bacteria associated with gum disease causing heart problems!

      If they had a reasonable argument to refute the original article, they would use it – but as it is, arguments like this, are obviously just an effort to avoiding digging themselves into a deeper hole!

  4. Judith,

    I think I could take apart every sentence of the Trenberth riposte, and comment on it critically. There is nothing here but re-assertion of old texts. I agree with you that the commencing sentence contains a false assumption.

    And the whole text does not answer the original op-ed by the 16. What it says, by contrast, is ‘Don’t listen to them! They are ignorant.’

    I think we will see more of the reality-check essays and op-eds appearing this year. Sooner or later someone of consequence politically will compare the two positions and find the orthodox position worryingly over-stated — especially if temperatures continue to remain relatively flat.

    • Why don’t you….I could do with a laugh.

    • What I had in mind about the false assumption is that in diagnosis terms I think we are not at the heart attack phase, where you have had one, and three specialists all give you the same diagnosis and treatment, but you listen to the man next door t=who says that chocolate helped his uncle (or something equivalent).

      Rather, you go to you doctor with some symptoms that worry you, and she does a history, and then discusses the possibilities with you. It might be this, and if it is what she proposes will give us a lead there. Or it might be that, and this test should tell us. Or it might be something else altogether. But let’s try the first two. And you narrow down the options that way.

      Isn’t that where we are?

      For Michael: the Trenberth letter consists of six paragraphs, and the third contains five sentences each of which is contestable, either because what is said is irrelevant, or incomplete, or not at issue. I think it is patheric response to the original letter. You don’t need me to do the analysis.You can do it yourself, and save the laugh.

      • Sorry for the mis-spellings. I didn’t check as I usually do.

      • Thankyou Don, that was very convincing.

        You went from an assertion of being able to ‘take apart’ every sentance, to one of just saying that you could ‘contest’ one paragraph……and not even doing it.

        Colour me surprised.

      • Michael you seem to think I had welshed at the task of criticisng the Trenberth et al letter, and on re-reading I ought to have said something else, or done the work. So I have done it.

        And it is such a pathetic letter!

        In what follows I have taken each sentence apart, where there is anything of substance to analyse. I hope that it is straightforward. I had it all nicely arranged with italics and bold, but transferring it to here robbed my text of all that neatness.

        Paragraph 1 Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition?

        I have dealt with this false premise above, and a dozen or so other posters have done so as well.

        Paragraph 2 Sentence 1 The letter by the 16 is ‘the climate-science equivalent of dentists practising cardiology’. Since the premise is false, this conclusion has no merit.

        P2 S2 ‘While accomplished in their fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science.’

        Really? What is ‘climate science’? I would call it a quarry, into which miners bring the skills they have developed in their own disciplines. There were no undergraduate courses in climate science when I surveyed this field in 2008, and few at the graduate level. Virtually no one 40 years or older can have such a degree, and in any case what are the fields of expertise of the 38? This is a bogus argument that collapses as soon as it is inspected.

        P2 S3 ‘The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert.’

        This is an assertion that comes without evidence of any kind. It is based on the bogus claim that there is a scientific field called ‘climate science’ whose boundaries include the 38 but not most of the 16. No evidence is given.

        P2 S4, 5 and 6 These three sentences serve to introduce the implication that the 16 are likely to think that HIV does not cause AIDS, and that smoking does not cause cancer; they are a smear and not worthy of discussion.

        P3 S1 ‘Climate scientists know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade.’

        It is wonderful that they know this, because on the evidence the long-term warming trend has levelled out if it has not stopped. Both my statement and the one in italics rely on the inspection of data averages, whose formulation is subject to a large amount of error, some of it non-random. The sentence is more a statement of belief than of fact.

        P3 S2 ‘In fact, it was the warmest decade on record.’

        This may be true, though I have no faith at all in averages of temperature that are expressed to three decimal places, notwithstanding that there are thousands of observations, for the reasons given above. In any case, since the world seems to have been warming in an irregular way since the Little Ice Age, this statement has little meaning.

        P3 S3 ‘And computer models have recently shown that during periods where there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean.’

        And what observations support these model predictions? None is mentioned.

        P3 S4 ‘Such periods are a relatively common climate phenomenon…’

        Mr Trenberth appears to be having his cake, and eating it as well.

        P4 S1 and 2 ‘…what one of us, Mr Trenberth, actually meant…’

        I guess most of us have read the ‘travesty’ remark. He is entitled to say what he thinks it meant. I would have to say that the ordinary reading — that it is an embarrassment to the Team that the world is not warming as it should — is clearer and more obvious.

        P 5 S 1, 2 and 3 ‘The National Academy of Science (set up by President Abraham Lincoln) … and many learned academies all tell us that ‘the science is clear’.

        Wow! What a wise old bird Lincoln really was. This is the argument from authority with a century and half of wisdom behind it. Trust us: we speak with all this contemporary authority, and President Lincoln’s as well.

        P6 S1 ‘Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused.’

        Now which research would that be? What did they agree to? Who asked them? How was the question phrased? Asking people questions in surveys is one of my fields of research, and it’s a new figure to me. I understand that Lawrence Solomon, who likes to follow these things up believes (and I quote him) that it

        ‘stems from a 2008 master’s thesis by student Maggie Kendall Zimmerman at the University of Illinois, under the guidance of Peter Doran, an associate professor of Earth and environmental sciences. The two researchers obtained their results by conducting a survey of 10,257 Earth scientists. The survey results must have deeply disappointed the researchers — in the end, they chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produces the 97% figure that pundits now tout.’

        You can read the rest in his column in the Financial Post. I really love ‘research shows’ with no mention of which research we are talking about. Perhaps Solomon got it wrong, and it comes from some gold-standard PhD thesis from Yale. Be nice to be able to study it.

        P6 S2, 3 and 4 Let me partly paraphrase the concluding flourish. The Republicans would be reckless to ‘ ignore the enormous risks that climate change clearly poses’. And shifting to a low-carbon economy ‘could drive decades of economic growth’. Finally, we return to the beginning: ‘Just what the doctor ordered.’

        If I compare the two letters, that of the 16 is much more measured and cool. The response is, as I said at the beginning, is pathetic, and weakens my already shaky confidence in the truth of anything the Team members say.

        Of course, my own bias could affect my reading of the two. So I would welcome correction where I am in error, and debate where there is more that I could have said.

  5. Well, you have to give Trenberth credit for organising so many signatories from his perch on the SS Groupthink!

    The op-ed reads like satire:

    “continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer”
    “settled science.”
    “know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade”
    “computer models have recently shown that …warming is occurring …in the deep ocean”
    “Such periods [without obvious warming] are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming”
    “President Abraham Lincoln”
    “the science is clear”
    “humans are primarily responsible”
    “Impacts are already clear”
    “more than 97% of scientists…agree”

    Every dodgy cliche in the book! Dunno where to start with this one. So won’t.

    • Thanks, Cui Bono. I haven’t been able to locate Trenberth’s article, but I find it hard to believe that he wrote some of the phrases you have quoted. He sounds desperate.

  6. Akin to Kevin Trenberth’s view is that of James Hansen in favor of alarm and government activism in “Cowards in Our Democracy.’ I review what in my opinion is Hansen’s ‘fatal conceit’ at MasterResource today: http://www.masterresource.org/2012/02/james-hansen-fatal-conceit/

    • Rob –

      I started reading your dissection of Hansen’s rant, and was enjoying it, but the colours began to burn my eyeballs! What about normal text and italics? Your words are plenty strong enough without pulsing neon.. :)

    • That’s a great link, it deserves a feature here. I’ll hold my breath and wait but it’s much too close to the actual mark than the mush flavored topics favored by Dr. Curry. Even if she put it up she will avoid direct comments on the substance which is radical eco-left politics that AGW top to bottom.

    • Loved it! Including the reader who mentioned the Spanish Inquisition. Bet you weren’t expecting that. :-)

  7. I thought Andy Revkin’s approach to the Trenberth statement was insightful and balanced (as usual) but I don’t think it went far enough.

    The heart condition analogy is misleading – verging on dishonest. Whatever climate scientists know about the future risks to humanity from the burning of coal, it is not in any way comparable to what a heart specialist knows about your heart.

    My biggest gripe about the likes of Trenberth and all the assorted fellow believers is that their attitude is one reminiscent of the high priesthood. We are the experts. We know what is going to happen. We should decide what everyone should do. Baloney.
    And the other mob aren’t much better.

    As Revkin points out, one of the major deciding factors in this will be economics. It also concerns – as has been mentioned a lot here recently – humanities collective attitudes to many things (risk, change, development, ourselves, our planet) that have nothing to do with the expertise of climate scientists.

    I thought both op-ed pieces were characterised by exaggeration, misleading assertions and a lot of dishonesty. Both were partisan advocacy and I think it is incredibly instructive that every single signatory claims to be a scientist..

    So when scientists claims their ‘method’, or way of going about things is solely concerned with discovering the ‘truth’ by objective means, and is fundamentally different and demarcated from other sources of knowledge, these two pieces give a marvellous testament to what that means in the hands of its practitioners. These two statements are the pronouncements of ‘truth seekers’.

    And we should trust them why? What authority do they deserve because they are scientists and on this one issue can divide into two groups saying two equally dishonest things?

    The fact that I ‘agree’ with many of the sentiments of the first op-ed is, sadly, irrelevant. The sentiments are buried beneath the mendacity.

    ***

    FWIW Judith I agree about the narrowness of the economic analysis – I would have enjoyed reading Richard Tol’s interpretation.

    • Anteros –

      One obvious difference between a heart surgeon and climate scientists is that the former have had thousands of cases documented, and probably several dozen or hundreds in their own experience.

      AGW has a sample base of one or zero, depending on which op-ed you believe.

    • randomengineer

      The heart condition analogy is misleading – verging on dishonest.

      Doctors are experts in a well understood discipline. One that has data and field experience and actual results.

      Climate scientists abuse the doctor metaphor in claiming that they have expertise in a well understood discipline.

      A witch doctor at least has the term “doctor” in his title and frankly has a more trustworthy and believable claim.

      • Even there, there are issues. Iatrogenic damage is far more serious and widespread than publicly acknowledged, and a premier source of death and damage is misdiagnosis. Hammer-wielders seeing nails everywhere.

        CO2-suppression (“decarbonization”) is the hammer climate scientists want to use on every problem, and find every deviation from made-for-purpose “trend lines” to be a definitive diagnostic symptom of a climate disruption nail.

        Meanwhile, every nail so far identified has turned out on closer examination to be a twig or finger or toe. They are a rampant menace to all, in need of being disarmed and confined.

  8. The problem with analogies is at the very beginning. In this case, it is the choice of a cardiac condition as representative of the consequences of climate change. Worse, in this example the users refer to cardicac surgery.

    There are almost no points of equivalence between that situation and climate change and its effects. If you wished to construct an analogy you would choose a problematic but manageable chronic condition, something like obesity or diabetes.

    Then you could intelligently construct parallel pathways for successfully and unsuccessfully dealing with the condition over time–you could discuss comparisons between western medicine and homeopathy, you could talk about lifestyle changes as opposed to expensive and iffy interventions, etc. etc.

    Climate change is not projected to end civilization or humanity (except for some frankly lunatic exaggerations that have thankfully subsided in the past two years). Climate change is almost sure to be a real problem for a crowded world, whether it is anthropogenically caused or not. (And I think anthropogenic contributions are a significant factor in what’s coming down the road.) But it will be an ongoing problem that we will have to adjust to and live with.

    To compare climate change to cardiac surgery is really foolish. It’s almost as bad as saying a lump of rock has a fever. Oh, wait…

    • As the world has grown more “crowded” and developed, climate change has proved to be (relatively) less and less of a problem (per capita). That boogy-man doesn’t roar. Furthermore, as I have pointed out to you on your home turf, the best UN prediction tools (though not the ones it cites) say that population will peak and recede within slightly more than one generation, and is already beginning to plateau.

      Your assumptions and analyses are dysfunctional and contrafactual from the get-go. Neither hyping nor tweaking will improve, resuscitate, or rehabilitate them.

      • Mm, Brian H, I do not see what your comment has to do with the subject at hand. If you want to discuss population estimates over at my place, hop on over. There are many reasons to use mid-range estimates, and I’d be happy to give you mine–I didn’t realize this was keeping you up nights.

      • It’s the “Climate change is almost sure to be a real problem for a crowded world” meme, Thomas. Is the world crowded now? We could all live in 4-person bungalows on about 4300 sq’ lots within Texas, and leave the rest of the planet to itself, if you’d prefer.

        Per capita, climate change’s impact is declining steadily with development. Scare-mongering is so ’90s. The Club of Rome had its day and should be left in its crypt.

    • thomas –

      The problem with analogies is at the very beginning. In this case, it is the choice of a cardiac condition as representative of the consequences of climate change.

      Using that logic – what do you think of using analogies to Lysenko or the Inquisition?

      • Joshua –

        If you’re in the business of continually prodding people with “Ah, if you say that, then what do you have to say about this then?, perhaps you’d like to comment on James Hansen’s likening of coal freight to ‘death trains heading to crematoria’, or is it just a little different with the right tribal perspective?

      • Joshua, while I do not think climate science or scientists overall are trending towards Lysenkoism, there are specific instances where the comparison might be pretty close to apt. Anderegg, Prall, et al comes to mind, as does the more recent call for dissenting meterologists to face sanction by the AMS.

    • thomaswfuller2
      “Climate change is almost sure to be a real problem for a crowded world,”
      Please avoid the equivocation of “climate change” to mean only “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”.
      Global cooling would have far more serious consequences.
      It is not clear which will happen or to what degree, or when. e.g., see:
      Bicentennial Decrease of the Total Solar Irradiance Leads to Unbalanced Thermal Budget of the Earth and the Little Ice Age, Habibullo I. Abdussamatov, Applied Physics Research Vol. 4, No. 1; February 2012

      The overall long term trend is cooling from the interglacial maximum to the next ice age. We need all the “global warming” and CO2 we can get to increase food production and hold off the glaciers.

  9. Sean Houlihane

    The vast majority of dentists and heart surgeons are no more scientists than a skilled welder is. They just apply their knowledge and manual dexterity using pattern matching. Most physicists are able to make effective value judgements on experimental methods even outside of their area of specialism (such as how valid the results of a drugs trial might be).

  10. Let me return to a relevant theme of mine; validation. In the case of heart surgeons, they can present their patients with a litany of successful operations that they have performed successfullyover the years. Their technique has been validated; if it hasn’t then they would never be licenced to perform surgery by, where I live, the Royal College of Physicians of Surgeons in Canada.

    In the case of the climate scientists, they have absolutely no validation of their conclusions whatsoever. Their ideas are based solely on hypothetical ideas, with no observed data, whatsoever, to support them. When climate scientists can detect a CO2 signature in the temperature/time graph, then we MIGHT start to compare them with surgeons; certainly not before.

    • Jim –

      Since you have a theme of validation – would you mind validating analogies to Lysenko and the Inquisition?

  11. Yep, it was pretty bad. But consistent with their simplistic reliance on steady equilibrium states, radiative energy transport equilibrium, 0-D models, feedbacks, temporal chaos, the energy content of the Earth’s climate systems are monotonically increasing forever, ad hoc variations on ad hoc parameterizations, etc etc etc. The smoking-cancer thing is far far beyond its use-by date. But, if I correctly recall, they failed to mention the Opposition Machine which has been proven to be well-oiled with Big Bucks provided by Big Fossil, so that’s a little improvement. Still they are in dire need of kicking their game up several notches.

    If they keep this up, they will damage the Ph. D. brand much like they have damaged the Climate Science brand, and are starting to damage the science brand.

    BTW, before solutions are implemented, if there are in fact any actual problems, we grunts-with-feet-deep-in-the-mud engineers will be consulted

  12. No representatives from the CRU at the University of East Anglia signed on to the article. Did director Phil Jones and ass. director Keith Briffa refuse to sign on? Or weren’t they even asked?

    Would you rather have a surgeon with a 0% survival(prediction) rate work on you or would you postpone until you could find one with an acceptable survival rate?

  13. Robin Guenier

    I posted this on Bishop Hill’s blog this afternoon:

    Of course, [the] analogy is absurd. If I thought I had a heart problem, I would first consult a general practitioner (analogous to many of the original letter’s authors) for an examination and initial opinion – based, I would ensure, on wide real world experience. He/she might then refer me to a specialist (more specifically experienced with the real world) for a more detailed review. Then it might be necessary to see a surgeon. And I’d wish my advisors to ensure that that surgeon’s practice was based on a wide knowledge of general medicine, on the best empirical cardiac data and a history of practical success with real patients in the real world – i.e. not remotely analogous to these climate “scientists” with their computer models, unverified hypotheses and failed predictions.

    Another commentator (“woodentop”) observed that the general practitioner “might diagnose indigestion from last night’s curry and send you home”. Touché.

  14. 1) Economists have performed far more experiments than climate scientists. They have established for example that uncontrolled printing of money leads to hyper-inflation and that central control as in Stalin’s Russia doesn’t work so well. And still they disagree and still some push the printing of money and central planning.
    2) Dentists were the ones who discovered that gum disease leads to coronary risk.
    3) Surgeons can be far too quick to suggest an operation.
    4) You can ask your surgeon what is his rate of complications or death, and the good ones both know and will tell you–and their success rate is much much better than the accuracy of the climate models. No comparison.

    • Look – I think that the rhetoric of the Trenberth et. al. analogy is poor as well as tone-deaf.

      That said, I think that this type of response is little better.

      Is your list meant to imply that you’d selectively go to your dentist for consultation about a heart condition?

      I mean seriously, why fight bad rhetoric with bad rhetoric?

      • Josh, surely the elephant in the room here is Trenberth’s assumption that he, and his colleagues, have accumulated the same amount of knowledge about climate science as heart surgeons have about heart disease. They haven’t, when they can I might consult them. But if I want a cure I still wouldn’t consult them, they’re not engineers, they appear to be giving us the diagnosis and the treatment when they are totally unqualified to give us the treatment, and barely in a position to give the diagnosis as the patient stubbornly refuses to develop the symptoms they’ve given in their prognosis.

      • geronimo –

        I’m not defending the dentist analogy. I may not think that it tortured as you might think, I think it is less tortured than analogies to Lysenko or Inquisitors, but at the basic level I think it is a poor analogy in addition to being tone deaf. It is, basically, and ad hom, used to discredit opinions in opposition. Ultimately, it an empty analogy – not meant to shed light on an issue but, IMO, a counterproductive effort at all levels. Analogies are useful only in that they shed light on an issue – give you a new way to frame an understand something in a new way. We basically understand everything that we understand by use of analogies (and models), but some analogies are certainly better than others.

        I could pick apart the dentist analogy just as you can. In my view, Trenberth could simply have said that he believes that in balance, the views of people who study this issue in more depth, and who submit their work on their analysis on this issue to peer review, should be afforded more weight. That would be an arguable contention when taken to extreme levels – but I think it has some merit. It isn’t dispositive, but it reflects a certain (legitimate, IMO) take on probabilities.

        None of that changes my view that that many of the posts I have read on this issue that have been written by “skeptics” are facile – and reflect, precisely, the same kind of counterproductive tribalism reflected in Trenberth’s analogy.

      • Joshua

        Do you believe the peer review process on the identified “problems” and “proposed actions” is suitable?

      • Rob –

        Do you believe the peer review process on the identified “problems” and “proposed actions” is suitable?

        I tend to get hung up on semantics (I look at semantics as a bit like narcissism – a bit is a sign of psychological health, too much is a sign of a personality disorder).

        It depends a bit on what you mean by “suitable.” I think that the peer review process is fraught with problems – as is evidenced by much of what we have read about in these threads about the examples of false work that has been filtered through flawed peer review.

        So no, I don’t think that it is “suitable,” I guess. That said, I think that peer review produces work that, in balance, is probably more valid than work that has not gone through peer review. That is not, by any means, a logical supposition that all peer reviewed work is better than all non-peer reviewed work.

      • Joshua

        The question was worded carefully and you gave a reasonable response. I agree that a peer review process when conducted well can be beneficial. I also agree that in the case of the “potential problems” and “proposed solutions” the peer review process did not adequately consider the potential margin of error from the models used to make the assessments of future conditions and that the recommended actions were not assessed adequately by economists who would do proper cost benefit analysis

      • Rob –

        IMO, the thing that is most sorely lacking in the “climate debate” is comprehensive cost/analysis of future conditions likely resulting from present-day policies.

        In fact, I fail to see how anyone – from Judith to Trenberth to Lindzen – can fully engage in the climate debate without dealing more explicitly with how cost/benefit analysis of future conditions feed back into analysis of the implications of “certainty.”

      • Joshua said, “IMO, the thing that is most sorely lacking in the “climate debate” is comprehensive cost/analysis of future conditions likely resulting from present-day policies.”

        Nordous? has an attempt in his paper linked somewhere. Can’t do a very good job as the sensitivity range is now projected. The 2C limit appears to be a real limit, not because we are shooting for it, it is just the way things are going to be. That matches Manabe and Calendar’s projections. As Steven Mosher pointed out, with 2C the numbers are viable and the time to technology reasonable. At 4C, the radical Hansen estimated based on the theory of the Galileo of Global Warming and part time Eugenics theorist, Arrhenius, is quite likely not doable, affordable or potential effective. Since Hansen’s estimate was 4C, nearly every reasonably sane scientist in the world agrees the 4C is unlikely, due to CO2 alone, the real concern is future responsible use of the fossil fuels we have so we can enable the next great crisis, the population bomb revival.

        If the Hansen/Arrhenius theory was separated from the Manabe/Calendar theory, decision making would be greatly simplified. So would 2C be good for you, or are your more likely to trust the work of the long dead Eugenist :)

        Sorry, I couldn’t work Lysenko in there since that is part of my theory, inefficient Russian agriculture adding to warming.

      • Joshua and Captain,

        Nordhaus (USA) and Tol (EU) have done it.

        But it needs to be redone with an updated combination of climate modeling uncertainty (missing I think from the last round, they just took model projections at face value) and economic uncertainty (included I think).

      • Joshua wrote:
        “the thing that is most sorely lacking in the “climate debate” is comprehensive cost/analysis of future conditions likely resulting from present-day policies.”

        Actually, that is NOT a relevant final analysis. What is relevant is how much the proposed action is predicted to change conditions as compared to present policies and what the proposed action will cost.

        As an example it really doesn’t matter if a 100K people would be killed due to flooding in SW Asia every year if current policies were continued. The current policies are not to build the proper infrastructure to protect the local population from bad weather. If you could predict that only 99.9K people would be killed due to flooding if the present policies were changed does it really change the analysis? Build proper infrastructure!

      • RE a cost benefit analysis.

        I found this interesting because earlier this morning I was reading a news story (on NPR?) about overhead vs underground power service. Having just experienced a big winter storm outage – had me out on storm duty trying to get power back to a portion of the ~ 450,000 customers we had out – the topic of “Why doesn’t the utility company put their lines underground?” came up – as is usually the case following a big storm.

        The answer is simple – cost. It is about 10 times more expensive to underground power lines as it is to run them overhead on poles. It is also easier to access for maintenance. But I knew all that. What I found interesting is the discussion about how no one has done a cost / benefit analysis to see what the long term difference in cost is. Our customers currently are paying about 36 cents a month more on their bills to pay for the last big storm (2006) which cost us about $90 million in repair costs. That cost is being spread over a 10 year period. The $10 million or so this lates one cost will also get added to customers bills.

        The reason I mention this is that if an area as well known as power supply has never undergone such a cost benefit analysis, is there any reason to expect that climate change initiatives will? Even if the idea makes so much good sense.

      • Josh”:IMO, the thing that is most sorely lacking in the “climate debate” is comprehensive cost/analysis of future conditions likely resulting from present-day policies.”

        Isn’t that what the original 16 were doing using the comprehensive cost analysis of future conditions resulting from present day policies. They were accused by Professor Nordhaus of misrepresenting his work and replied as follows (from WUWT):

        “We have accurately represented Professor Nordhaus’s findings in our Wall Street Journal editorial of 01-27-12, while making and intending no statement regarding his policy beliefs and advocacy. In his 2008 book, A Question of Balance, Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies, Professor Nordhaus provided the computed discounted costs and benefits for a variety of policies, assuming the IPCC central value for warming due to increased atmospheric CO2 (3 degrees C for doubling of CO2).

        He finds (Table 5.3 of the book) that a policy of delaying greenhouse gas controls for 50 years gives a benefit-to-cost ratio just slightly less than his “optimum” policy. The optimum policy is a universal harmonized carbon tax, which Professor Nordhaus advocates. It starts small and is increased gradually over decades. In terms of net benefits, the 50-year-delay policy is far better than more aggressive policies that would severely limit atmospheric concentrations of CO2 or model-calculated global temperature rises.

        Both the 50-year-delay policy and the optimum policy allow world economies to continue to develop with relatively little disruption. Aggressive policies considered in the book do not have this characteristic and display sharply higher abatement costs and lower benefit-to-cost ratios.

        As we note in the Wall Street Journal editorial, several more aggressive policies are negative return propositions.

        Furthermore, in Chapters I and VI, Professor Nordhaus takes pains to explain that the requirement of universality of policy application is critical; regional, national, or group participation differences can be expected to lower policy effectiveness, perhaps substantially: “… there are substantial excess costs if the preponderance of sectors and countries are not fully included. We preliminarily estimate that a participation rate of 50 percent, as compared with 100 percent, will impose an abatement-cost penalty of 250 percent.” (Chapter 1, p.19). Therefore the optimum policy should be considered an ideal upper limit that may not be achieved in real world application.

        We wish to emphasize once again that the above assumes that the IPCC climate results are correct and that significant environmental damage would result, both of which we strongly dispute. The statements made in the Wall Street Journal editorial report Professor Nordhaus’s findings accurately and do not bear on his policy advocacy.”

        Hasn’t climate science come to a pretty pass when a scientist declares he’s been misrepresented and then is shown not to have been. What could Prof Nordhaus’ motive be?

        :

  15. Robin Guenier

    The letter is actually reassuring. If it’s the best they can do, it comprehensively demonstrates the weakness of their position:

    1. The “dentist practicing cardiology” analogy is – see above – ridiculous.

    2. The tired reference to the smoking/cancer link (supported, in total contrast to CAGW, by a wealth of published empirical evidence) is valueless.

    3. “The warmest decade on record” doesn’t mean there’s no abatement: if I climb a hill for six hours and rest for one, I’m higher for that hour than I was at any time during the previous six – does that mean that I’m not really resting?

    4. Their appeal to authority (“major national academies of science around the world and every other authoritative body of scientists active in climate research”) is not science. (Thomas Huxley: “The ultimate court of appeal is observation and experiment … not authority.”)

    5. The 97% claim is without foundation – and anyway reference to consensus is not science. (Huxley again: “In science, as in art, and, as I believe, in every other sphere of human activity, there may be wisdom in a multitude of counsellors, but it is only in one or two of them.”)

    6. And, especially after the dentist analogy, their claimed expertise in politics and economics is pathetic.

    • +1 R. You’ve put it perfectly. I don’t think there’s any equivalence between the ‘no warming’ op ed and the ‘warming aiieeee’ op ed and I’ll use Revkin’s equivalence as proof, given he’s such a warmy alarmist. If he thinks they’re equivalently flawed then we can all take it to the bank that the Trenberth letter was the worse of the two.

      • Often I find (what I see to be) Revkin’s reflexive positioning towards the middle to be more… well, reflexive, than situation-based. But I have to say, your comment here prompts me to reassess that viewpoint. Maybe he really is on to something.

        I give this comment an ironic +1.

    • Excelent summary Robin! Their position is laughably weak. They’re losing it.

  16. The 38 signatories to the rebuttal are part of the IPCC’s efforts to demonstrate man’s influence in global climate change. So, if I have a question about specific factors involved in man’s participation in climate change, I would ask any one of them. If my question is what are the factors involved in our ever changing climate, then I would expand that list to include scientists with other specific capabilities and interests as well as the 16 signatories to the original WSJ op-ed. As the science with regards to climate is complex, climate data very much incomplete, techniques to ferret out signal from noise can depend upon which specific question is being asked, I recognize that there are many sciences needed to be applied to the science of climate. The input from many more scientists seems warranted. I tend to search many fields, always trying to find individuals who can summarize these vast concepts periodically as I follow along. I have learned through my own experiences to listen intently to almost all sources. Gradually, I have also learned to tune out those whom I no longer trust. Maybe I am unjustly tarring the whole Group of 38, and embracing wrongly the Group of 16. Yet, I find that experience counts and those who have the perspective from long working in an area, surviving the political battles, understanding the limits of the science and the assumptions that go into an equation or concept frequently summarize an issue into meaningful statements, at least to me. When there is a shrill sound attached to the message, I know that something is wrong and I am hyper alert and suspicious of the messenger. When there is bad-mouthing of a colleague by a peer, I am very skeptical of whatever is being said, I seek alternative sources. And so it is with the Group of 38: shrill, bad-mouthing, and appeals to authority, a highly uninteresting group of folks.

    • one word.

      Paragraphs.

      • The 38 signatories to the rebuttal are part of the IPCC’s efforts to demonstrate man’s influence in global climate change. So, if I have a question about specific factors involved in man’s participation in climate change, I would ask any one of them. If my question is what are the factors involved in our ever changing climate, then I would expand that list to include scientists with other specific capabilities and interests as well as the 16 signatories to the original WSJ op-ed.

        As the science with regards to climate is complex, climate data very much incomplete, techniques to ferret out signal from noise can depend upon which specific question is being asked, I recognize that there are many sciences needed to be applied to the science of climate. The input from many more scientists seems warranted.

        I tend to search many fields, always trying to find individuals who can summarize these vast concepts periodically as I follow along. I have learned through my own experiences to listen intently to almost all sources.Gradually, I have also learned to tune out those whom I no longer trust.

        Maybe I am unjustly tarring the whole Group of 38, and embracing wrongly the Group of 16.

        Yet, I find that experience counts and those who have the perspective from long working in an area, surviving the political battles, understanding the limits of the science and the assumptions that go into an equation or concept frequently summarize an issue into meaningful statements, at least to me.

        When there is a shrill sound attached to the message, I know that something is wrong and I am hyper alert and suspicious of the messenger. When there is bad-mouthing of a colleague by a peer, I am very skeptical of whatever is being said, I seek alternative sources.

        And so it is with the Group of 38: shrill, bad-mouthing, and appeals to authority, a highly uninteresting group of folks.

      • :-)

        Touché

      • Joshua

        Hmmm Strange. My wife says the same thing.

        Anteros

        Thank you for making the stream of consciousness more palatable to the reader. I still have a lot to learn.

      • RiHo08

        I just wanted to pretend that I’d written it myself – it is very powerful.

      • SoC – yeah, we need more of that.

    • Seeing how they came up with 38 authors against the 16 I was reminded of this.

      “If I were wrong, it would only have taken one.” –Albert Einstein, commenting on the book 100 Authors Against Einstein

    • “And so it is with the Group of 38: shrill, bad-mouthing, and appeals to authority, a highly uninteresting group of folks.” – RiH008

      Fascinating.

      On the one hand we have a groupp of experts in their feild commenting on their feild, on the other a group with almost nothing to do with the feild, expressing their views with near certainty. The group of 16 includes such relevant people as a geneticist.

      Someone has fallen for the ‘appeal to authority’…….and that would be you RiH008.

      • k scott denison

        Michael, A+ for completely missing RiHoo8’s point.

        Can you name a time in history where those scientists who were in the right behaved with shrill voice, bad-mouthing colleagues, and appeals to authority?

        Did you miss the comment re: Einstein? Was it Einstein who was shrill and bad-mouthing and appealing to authority (and in numbers)?

        Are your senses so fogged by your faith in CAGW that you can’t hear the warning signs of a group of desperate, control-seeking elites?

      • – k scott Everything I have ever read about Einstein makes me believe he would abhor the conduct of the present climate science establishment. I have been totally disillusioned by how low brow they all behave when confronted with conflicting science. Where is the open mindedness to entertain other ideas in search of the truth even when it proves you wrong

      • ksd –

        Very well put.
        Oh. And true.

      • scott,

        Newton was a real prick…….according to his peers at the time.

      • oh, and you know that Einstein gave up debating those who denied relativity.

        He though it was pointless (they could never be convinved) and a waste of his time.

        Hmmm…… sounds famiiar.

      • ceteris non paribus


        Are your senses so fogged by your faith in CAGW that you can’t hear the warning signs of a group of desperate, control-seeking elites?

        On teh internets, everyone’s an – except the climate scientists.

        Especially Albert Einstein – who, from everything I’ve read about him, would have been against carbon taxes and for Keystone.

        He was certainly no liberal socialist, that’s for sure…
        http://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism

      • ceteris non paribus

        …everyone’s an expert – except the climate scientists.

      • cnp, from Monthly Review,

        “For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.”

        That sounds somewhat similar to the Eisenhower science statement. So seeking non-scientific advice on human problems is not a bad thing, We even seek the advice of groundhogs on climate :)

      • Mike,

        The “experts” in their field argument gets tiresome. Particularly as “their field” is pretty much limited to climate modeling.

        I was studying “climate science” in grad school as far back as 93. That possibly puts me ahead of Michael Mann.

      • Tim,

        Then you must havebeen asleep most of the time if you think climate science is “limited to….. modeling”.

      • tim, in his disdain for ‘experts’, always takes his car to the hairdresser when it breaks down.

      • It isn’t distain for the “experts”. It is more like a tiredness of hearing how only a small group of self selected scientists are capable of commenting on the topic, even when the discussion moves into the realm of policy.

        If there is any disdain evident, it is on the part of people like Dr. Trenberth who discount people with advanced degrees in related subjects as being incapable of understanding what climate science is about. And let us not even get into a discussion of what they think of engineers.

        BTW – I don’t go to a hairdresser to get my hair (what remains) trimmed, so what makes you think I’d consider taking my car to one?

        And keeping with Trenberth’s doctor analogy, I know who I rely most on with regard to my physical health – my general care practitioner. I believe she is far more capable of helping me with my overall health than any specialist.

  17. Which climate scientist are we supposed to listen to? Hansen who claims that sea level will rise 20 feet? Or von Storch or Pielke sr? Who is allowed to have the final say? None of them in fact.
    Let me illustrate the fallacy of consensus one more time. In genetics, it was dogma that Lamarck was wrong and the genes can not be influenced by experiences in life. They are inviolable. For 70 years a sure way to end your career would be to claim otherwise. Now it turns out that epigenetics is huge. This is the non-genetic turning on or off of sections of DNA. It has been shown that starving or over-feeding mice affects their offspring in terms of gene expression. This was supposed to be impossible. It has also been shown that bacteria can under harsh conditions turn up the rate at which they allow mutations/variation. Again, wasn’t supposed to be possible. Finally, lizards and some fish (among others) are now known to reproduce asexually (no egg fertilization needed). Also impossible. The Trenberth types are far too quick to declare certain aspects of climate such as Svensmark’s hypothesis or Spencer’s internal cloud random fluctuation or endogenous ocean cycles or Lindzen’s analysis of sensitivity “verboten” and not even allowed in the IPCC reports. AR4 brushed off cosmic ray effects without ever mentioning Svensmark’s name IIRC. With this attitude and arrogance, don’t let these guys near any forecasting or policy vehicles.

  18. If Jim Hansen was a heart surgeon, would you get a second opinion?

  19. I like the comparison to the medical field myself. I am patiently waiting for an accurate differential diagnosis and a treatment plan with a reasonable prognosis before giving my informed patient consent.

    • Of course, but you won’t be asking for treatment advice from your accountant…..unless you’re very confused about the difference between the most effective treatment, and the costs of the different options.

      • k scott denison

        Michael, you must have done very poorly on the analogies section of the SAT I fear. You are uttering pure nonsense at this point.

        I don’t see how scientists criticizing scientists is at all remotely connected to accounts vs. heart surgeons.

      • Actually costs enter into the treatment plan quite often. Perhaps you were born independantly wealthy. Most people weren’t.

      • Steven,

        Of course you consider the costs…..after the heart specialist has told you your treatment options.

        Just change the profession in Judith’s statement and see if you would ever, in a million years, say this to a relative/friend who’s jut been told they have a heart problem;

        “I think the treatment requires input not just from your accountant (although in terms of treatment, I would listen to the accountant more than to your heart specialist).”

        Nuts, huh?

      • I think her statement makes perfect sense. What special ability does a climate scientist have in determining cost/benefit ratios?

      • So, you would say that to a relative with heart disease – ‘for treatment listen to your accountant more than your heart specialist’

        Really?

      • You missed the point. The “treatment” of climate would be a cost/benefit problem and not a cure the disease problem.

        Going back to the analogy itself. I think a more appropriate analogy would be a surgeon trying to determine if you need to amputate a leg based on an infection. We don’t know yet if the infection will kill you or if antibiotics would cure it or if it could even heal itself. To be on the safe side we recommend cutting the leg off. I say if the leg needs to come off we can make that determination after we have done a proper differential diagnosis and the symptoms are following the pattern explained to me by my leg hating doctors.

  20. I consider Trenberth’s argument a complete fallacy for the following reasons.

    A heart surgeon is a specialist in heart surgery, and has formal training in general medicine up to a qualification level of doctor. So on matters medical you know pretty much the process and standards that have had to be achieved to reach that position- and those standards and experience are all pertinent to the matter the Surgeon is to be consulted on.

    Trenberth’s example therefore breaks down at its most basic level.
    Climate Scientists are not specialist in statistics or programming, yet their models and analysis rely heavily on both.

    Climate Scientists seem to me to be generalists rather than specialists,so, as a pharmacist might give you generally good advice on a wide range of medical topics, if the matter looks to be important- seek wider verification.

  21. BREAKING NEWS IN THE CLIMATE DEBATE!!!

    By R.U. Kiddingme.
    Unassociated Press

    15 minutes ago

    “Realists” use analogy of scientists to dentists” while “Skeptics” use analogy of scientists to Lysenko (and Inquisitors)”

    Voicing “concern” today, “skeptics” all over the blogosphere weighed-in write blog comments objecting to an analogy used in a WSJ op-ed comparing scientists to dentists. This comes after much ado over the past few days, when “realists” all over the blogosphere weighed-in to write blog comments objecting to an analogy used in a WSJ op-ed comparing scientists to Lysenko.

    In other news, nothing ever changes.

  22. Do you consult a heart surgeon about flossing? Enough said. Most “experts” will recommend a treatment congruent with their expertise. It’s akin to confirmation bias and we all know where that leads. Multiple counselors lead to wisdom so leaving decisions — even decisions about what the data actually say — up to a single brand of expert is foolish.

  23. The four Ds of negligence, and malpractice. Climate Science had a Duty to pursue the science objectively. There has been a Dereliction of this duty. There are Damages from this dereliction, and Climate Science has been the Direct Cause of these damages.

    Yeah, I’ll take the medical analogies.
    ============

  24. Trenberth tries to make the point that scientists are experts on matters of policy. This is manifest nonsense. Even if their (his) diagnosis is correct (about CAGW), we still need to consult specialists what the best “treatment” would be.
    Dr. Curry mentioned economists. Why economists? Economists don’t have solutions to technical, engineering problems. You need to show them several alternatives, for then to be able to calculate their costs.

    What we need is an engineering solution to the problem of non-carbon energy.
    We need engineering inventors. (Maybe applied sciences).

    Trenberth (and most other scientists, including Dr. Curry) know absolutely nothing about solving the non-carbon energy problem.
    The “solutions” adopted so far are mostly empty and silly talk about commitment to “goals” which are un-practical and cannot be achieved, and those utterly useless windmills, solar panels, and biofuels, on which untold billions have already been wasted.

    No, when you seek solutions to technical problems you need engineers, not
    scientists.

  25. Who says Climate Science uses good analogies? Any Warmer who resorts to the Dreaded Doctor Analogy is like a shoplifter who proceeds despite knowing in the back of their mind that there is a video camera on them. They want to get caught. They are as tired of this charade as we are.

    Andrew

  26. “What’s wrong with the statement by Trenberth et al. is this. The big issue is deciding whether or not you need the heart surger………and I think the treatment requires input not just from economists (although in terms of treatment, I would listen to economists more than to climate scientists).” – JC

    What a clanger.

    So after being diagnosed with CAD, Judith tells the heart specialist that she’ll be talking to her accountant about the best treatment options.

    • I would look at it like this. The doctor can tell you what the problem is and what options you have for treatment (or maybe you need another doctor for this), he can’t tell you if you can afford the treatment. And vice versa for your accountant. So it would be unwise to agree to a course of treatment without consulting both the doctor(s) and your accountant.

      • Yes, that is more like it…….but that is not what Judith wrote.

      • Sure, no argument there.

        I would also make the point that I hope people who are quick to bemoan the limitations of future projections made by climate scientists are similarly skeptical about advice they get from economists about future costs of climate change policies given their track record of predicting future events.

      • What, you want consistency? Oh Andrew, you dreamer!

        How many times have we seen in comments here, people bemoaning ‘alarmists’ and ‘catatrophists’ and then immediately jump into a rant about how acting on CO2 emmissions will ‘destroy’ the economy and be the ‘end of civilisation’ as we know it.

        Just too funny.

        Remember, climate ‘skepticism’ is a one way street.

      • Michael,

        Well one can dream I suppose.

        Actually, having thought about it a bit more, let’s accept for argument’s sake Judith’s point that we should be going to economists rather than climate scientists for advice on climate change policy – maybe the scientific issues are understood with sufficient certainty for us not to need any further advice from scientists. So having decided that this is in fact a question of economics, who do we go to for advice? We go to economists, presumably ones which are well versed in the latest thinking on the subject, because they have the necessary expertise to give us the advice we need. Which is the point Trenberth was making.

      • Andrew –

        Actually, having thought about it a bit more, let’s accept for argument’s sake Judith’s point that we should be going to economists rather than climate scientists for advice on climate change policy

        I pretty much agree with that opinion of Judy’s – but the fact that she stated that opinion while not noting that the scientists in the first editorial misrepresented the views of the economist they referenced is..well, sorry to say, bizarre.

        (And michael – I give Judy the benefit of the doubt – and I am surprised by this turn of events. It isn’t something I would have predicted from her.)

      • Well I suppose if an economist is who we should be consulting, William Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University is as good a place as any to start http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/dice_mss_072407_all.pdf

      • Louise –

        Well I suppose if an economist is who we should be consulting, William Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University is as good a place as any to start

        That was just a blatant “appeal to authority.” Anyone who makes an “appeal to authority” is falling into a fallacy.

        Anyone who uses such an “appeal to authority” had no credibility.

        Imagine that a group of leading scientists would get together and use such a fallacy in an op-ed published in the WSJ. Unimaginable, isn’t it? If they did so, wouldn’t they lose credibility?

        Oh.

        Wait.

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html

        Never mind….

      • How does one differentiate between ‘appealing to authority’ and ‘consulting an appropriate expert’?

      • It’s all perfectly logical in skeptic-land.

        If you can mis-represent someone’s views they are a quotable expert, if their actually views become know they are “….wrong….full of crap.”

      • Louise,

        I’m not sure exactly but I’ve noticed that people who are quick to condemn appeals to authority do tend to show great respect for expertise when the discussion turns to a subject on which they consider themselves to be experts.

      • Joshua, I’m leaving you comments all over the place here. I don’t think the original 16, as stupid as their Lysenko reference was, really misrepresented Nordhaus all that much. I think Kip Hansen had a good comment at dot earth about this.

      • > Anyone who makes an “appeal to authority” is falling into a fallacy.

        Not exactly:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem#Questions_about_the_notion_of_an_ad_hominem_fallacy

    • Louise –

      How does one differentiate between ‘appealing to authority’ and ‘consulting an appropriate expert’?

      Apparently that distinction depends on which perspective you’re advancing.

  27. “If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a number of the proposed operations.”

    What’s actually wrong with Trenberth statement is that none of the nice climate experts has any experience of the surgery he proposes to practice. Besides the fact that the need for surgery is (hopefully) not so obvious, the very inconvenient truth is that climate expertise mainly relies on models, that have all been falsified due to their inability to correctly hindcast past observations, and to forecast current ones.

    The other very inconvenient fact is that climate scientists have not the slightest idea of the economic and social effects of the constraining policies they promote to “decarbonize” our economic. Knowing that wealth production is directly correlated to energy consumption (i.e. to CO2 production), there is no need for a Nobel Prize in economy to understand that CO2 constraining regulations are very likely to rush our already flickering economies into a deadly spiral of decline.

  28. “Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition?”

    Many think that dental helicobacter pylori infections are a major cause of heart valve damage and also contribute to damage to the hearts vasculature.
    About 85% of the heart attack patients have periodontal disease, compared with only 29% of controls.

    http://www.endotreatment.gr/media/files/GENERAL-HEALTH-AND-ENDODONTICS/International%20Journal-of-Cardiology.pdf

    Of course I am a brain guy, so I would worry about dental health and dementia.

    http://www.jneuroinflammation.com/content/8/1/90

    “In those studies where all types of spirochetes were detected employing neutral techniques, spirochetes were observed in the brain in 90.1% (64/71) of AD cases and were absent in controls without any AD-type changes. The difference was significant (P = 4.8. × 10-18; OR = 274, 95% CI = 32-11345, N = 102).

    • So you’d go to your dentist for advice on heart disease…….like hell.

      • With as poor a diagnosis as has been given by the climate scientists, you couldn’t help but get better advice from a dentist, even if he said nothing.
        ======================

      • You would be surprised how well trained and well read most healthcare professionals are.

      • What!, the dr. says you have heart disease? What a load of rubbish, you look fine……but I’ve got these great ‘healing crystals’ you should try!

    • Dang it! I saw the op-ed and this post at work today and couldn’t wait to get home so I could point out the very strong link between gum disease and heart disease. But Doc beat me to the punch. And all becasue I went to go to the gym and work out before going home and logging in. I probably would have been better off going straigt home, flossing and then posting. It would have been better for my heart and I would have beaten Doc.

  29. I have a hard time taking seriously climate scientists’ prescriptions for the most effective response to a theoretical problem. How much of an ever changing climate is due to natural causes and how much to anthropogenic influences, in particular CO2, is a scientific debate that will go on for decades and may never be resolved, since no control is available with which to scientifically prove the theory. Consequently, policy makers need to create a policy that works in either case. This is should be the case for maximum economic grow and wealth creation, which will provide countries, corporations and individuals the means to deal with the consequences of “any kind of climate change” from whatever cause.

  30. Revkin gets one criticism flat-out wrong.

    He says that climate scientists are more like medical technicians than doctors, suggesting that climate scientists are simply readers of the instruments, ala medical techs.

    This is way, way off base. The similarity is in the experptise required to interpret and understand the data – this is what dr’s do,and what climate scientists do.

    A closer analogy would have been that much of the current work is more akin to medical research – in that we are working on improving our understanding of how the system works.

    • Less of the ‘we’ Michael.
      What you’re doing is practising being a low-grade, ill-informed troll.

    • Except the analysis is pretty much statistics and programming, and climate scientists aint qualified specialists either of those disciplines.

      That is where I perceive that the true problem with climate science lies.

      I think they are technicians, and unqualified to interpret and understand the data, but that is exactly what they have been attempting to do.

      The cobblers have not stuck to their lasts, and we have ended up with and what we have ended up with is exactly that, a load of cobblers.

      • Sorry that last sentence should have read

        The cobblers have not stuck to their lasts, and what we have ended up with is exactly that, a load of cobblers.

      • That misunderstands the use of statistical methods and strays into the realm of ‘statistical fundamentalism’ – the the results of the whatever statistical methods you choose to use, is the ‘truth’.

      • Michael | February 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
        “That misunderstands the use of statistical methods and strays into the realm of ‘statistical fundamentalism’ – the the results of the whatever statistical methods you choose to use, is the ‘truth’.”

        Not at all.

        I am not a statistics expert, I am a programmer. I have written a business program in the past that used some complex statistics functions for analysis.

        The algorithms were designed by a person who was a specialist in statistics, something I was not qualified for, but I turned those algorithms into a robust program (something the algorithm designer was not qualified to do).

        The problem with the climate science is that the truth seems to change depending upon which statistical method you use.

        If that is not an argument for getting expert (statistical) advice then what is?

      • It’s well recognised that, particlaurly in scientific research, there is no “specialist in statistics” that has the ‘right’ answer.

        What is recommended is that the best statistcal advice is likely to come from a scientist in that field with stats training, or a statistician who has had in-depth familiarisation with the topic, eg climate science.

        Having some knowledge of stats and just assuming the theoretically ‘correct’ methods are appropriate, is to be somewhat deluded.

        There are some well-known bloggers who need this tattooed on their foreheads.

      • Michael said, “Having some knowledge of stats and just assuming the theoretically ‘correct’ methods are appropriate, is to be somewhat deluded.

        There are some well-known bloggers who need this tattooed on their foreheads.”

        The most important knowledge to have is statistics is that you can lie to yourself with the numbers. Find what you are looking for, doncha know.

        Based on your comment, you don’t know that about statistics. The well-known bloggers compared various methods, because they knew that. Stieg’s statistical consultant didn’t and probably still doesn’t, know that.

      • “The most important knowledge to have is statistics is that you can lie to yourself with the numbers. Find what you are looking for, doncha know.”

        Yes, that would be a nicely matching tattoo for said person.

      • Yep, quite a few people that are willing to donate to the tattoo fund :)

        Malcomb Hughes, was quoted as saying the there is more information in tree rings than previously thought. I am inclined to agree with him.

        That is a simplistic attempt I made to see what method of “splicing” the instrumental to tree ring reconstructions might work reasonably well. It is just an average of the 17 year moving averages of the two. What if anything could be implied from that rough attempt?

    • Mike,

      One of my pet peeves is how some people can’t differentiate between model output and real world measurement and experimentation.

  31. How long must we be abused by the False Analogy between climate scientists and physicians? Kevin Trenberth states his version of the fallacious argument as follows:

    “Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.”

    Physicians practice healing of patients. Scientists create understanding of the universe. The two fields do not have the same goals and cannot be measured by the same standards. Does anyone believe that the surgeon who decided to cut a hole in his patient’s leg so that he could access an artery and thread a tube into the patient’s heart so that he could inflate a balloon on the end of the tube was practicing science? Of course not. Does anyone believe that the surgeon was justified in his novel actions because he had presented evidence of its likely success? Of course not. Does anyone believe that the surgeon was justified because he had done a large number of this kind of operation? Of course not. The surgeon was justified because all known means of treating the patient’s condition had failed and the surgeon’s unproven technique offered the only hope of relieving the patient’s suffering.

    No doubt the reason that people like Trenberth continue to compare themselves to physicians is that they believe that they deserve the respect that physicians receive from patients. But the comparison is made in vain because the respect that physicians receive is based on a record of success in relieving the suffering of patients. By that standard, climate scientists deserve no respect whatsoever. They have failed completely in their efforts to produce scientific theories which explain the behavior of our climate, which rest on empirical evidence, and which can be understood by the highly educated among the masses of humanity. They have failed just as completely in their efforts to offer reasonable paths to healing for what they see as the planet’s sickness.

    Some have suggested that Trenberth and friends are wedded to the fallacious comparison because they view themselves as physicians to the planet and to humanity. If there is any truth to this suggestion then Trenberth and friends are truly dangerous.

    The goal of scientists and the chief duty of scientists is to produce understanding of their piece of the universe. Climate scientists have failed to offer something beyond unvalidated computer simulations and nonempirical claims about proxies such as tree rings. On all the standard measures of scientific success, they have failed. The most telling failure is in their inability to present well confirmed physical hypotheses which explain the connections between rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere and the so-called “feedbacks” such as cloud behavior. Even Arrhenius knew that the effect of CO2 on Earth’s temperature could not be determined without the knowledge provided by such well confirmed physical hypotheses.

    Finally, climate scientists commit the fallacy of False Analogy because they want the trust that patients have for physicians who have a record of healing people like them. They do not want to be held to a standard of clarity and evidence. They do not want to explain their own science in a way that the prospective “patients,” consumers of science, can understand. To that attitude, I say “Scientist, explicate yourself.”

    • It’s not a question of ‘false anaolgies ‘ – many people seem to labour under this misconception that analogies need to be exact.

      It’s a matter of useful similarities with explanatory power.

      And this one is useful.

      • k scott denison

        “And this one is useful.”

        It would appear you are in the vast minority with that opinion.

      • An analogy is a comparsion between two things for the purpose of emphasizing one or more similarities between the two. A False Analogy is an argument that depends on a comparison that is false. I pointed out the comparisons that are false in Trenberth’s analogy. Scientists cannot be evaluated on the same standards as physicians because scientists seek to produce understanding of the universe while physicians seek to relieve suffering. Relieving suffering usually has nothing to do with science as I pointed out. Physicians get respect because they have track records of success in achieving their goal or relieving suffering. Climate scientists get no respect because they have not achieved their goals of creating well confirmed physical hypotheses which can be used to explain and predict the effect of rising CO2 concentrations on “feedbacks” such as cloud behavior.

        Would you care to respond?

      • simple- ‘evaluation’ is not the point of similarity that is the basis of the analogy.

      • A better analogy is preventative medical advice when danger signs or susceptibility to disease are seen. They might suggest you take flu shots for the upcoming season.

      • Yeah, a lot of people have gotten a lot of mileage ($$) out of it. And are bound and determined to work it for a lot more.

    • k scott denison

      Very well said Theo

    • Theo, the team regularly engages in pseudo-religious claptrap as in his recent essay..

    • Theo Goodwin

      That is a beautiful article that I have saved it.

      Thank you.

    • Theo –

      the fallacy of False Analogy

      What do you think of analogizing climate scientists to Lysenko or Inquisitors?

      • Or [for symmetry] people who doubt that humans are destroying the planet being analogised to holocaust deniers or racists?

      • Anteros –

        Or [for symmetry] people who doubt that humans are destroying the planet being analogised to holocaust deniers or racists?

        There is no creation of symmetry there. Both are poor analogies, unsupportable rhetoric, overt displays of tribalism that subverts reasoned dialogue.

        You don’t balance tribalism in one direction with tribalism in the other direction. You simply add to the imbalance between tribalism and valid reasoning.

        There is a difference in my perspective and yours.

        I’m not defending tribalism on one side by pointing to the tribalism on the other side. I’m doing two other things: (1) I’m expressing skepticism about any asymmetry in the tribalism and, (2) I’m expressing skepticism about the validity in the reasoning of tribalists.

      • Joshua –

        I expressed myself poorly. I didn’t mean to create a symmetry.

        I’m not defending tribalism on one side by pointing to the tribalism on the other side

        You say you are doing two other things. I heartily disagree. By relentlessly focusing on tribalism in only one place with all the rhetorical devices you can muster and frequently ignoring any symmetry [except when prompted], you create a very aggressive ridiculing bias towards a whole group of people you imply are fakes by putting their common designation in inverted commas.

        This is fine. You can be as one-sided and tribally motivated as you like, but to say you are doing something else is to misrepresent yourself. You strongly give an impression that [when pushed] you say you do not believe.

        I’m expressing skepticism about the validity in the reasoning of tribalists.

        Not true. You are heckling one group of people – not people who are just tribalists. There is no evidence that tribalism per se is your focus of interest whatsoever, only as it exists in one group of people.

        A reasonable conclusion would be just that you are anti a group of people, because it is the heckling that is the ever-present variable, not the tribalism.

        I just think you could be more honest about it – which would entail not obscuring substantive beliefs that obviously exist.

      • Anteros –

        I just think you could be more honest about it – which would entail not obscuring substantive beliefs that obviously exist.

        If you’re interesting in my beliefs – just ask me. I am more than happy to tell you what they are. I believe that I represent my beliefs here on a regular basis. As such, with the beliefs that I have expressed (here’s a hint – I generally say something like “IMO,” or “in my view,” or will express when asked, please, feel free to point out any inconsistencies or biases. That is why I express my viewpoints – to put them up to the scrutiny of others.

        The lack of symmetry in my focus may or may not show a bias or tribalism. It is a sign of such, but not a sufficient condition to proving it. As such, what I suggest is that you take apart anything I might say when I am expressing my opinions rather than assume a bias on the basis of conjecture about what it is that I don’t say.

        Please note – in this thread I have offered conjecture based on what Judith didn’t say – but that is in response to her contention that there is an asymmetry in the tribalism (when I feel that she could only feel that way by ignoring those elements that she doesn’t speak about).

        Please also note, that in fact sometimes, albeit less frequently, I speak to what I feel is poor reasoning on the “realist” side of the debate. I did it in this very thread.

      • And Anteros –

        You seem to think that I have ever made a claim that my perspective isn’t biased.

        I have never made such a claim, as to do so would contradict my basic thesis in these threads: as human beings, a foundational condition of how we reason, particularly when dealing with controversial issues. is a proclivity towards bias. That is the foundation of why I question that there would be some “asymmetry” in the biases. I think that bias on the “realist” side is a given – and my focus is on arguing whether there is proportionately less bias on the “skeptic” side of the debate. In support of my thesis, I point to the biases I see among skeptics. I don’t need to equally point to biases among “realists” because I take it as a given that it exists. If I were to “deny” tribalism among “realists,” then my thesis would be undermined. If you see me denying the existence of bias among “realists” bring it on. I am more than willing to discuss whether or not behaviors seen among “realists” are examples of bias. In fact, i believe that you and I have engaged in discussions about that on more than one occasion.

      • Anteros,
        It isn’t that Joshua isn’t baised, it just that he is such a pretentiouis wanker about his bias.

      • Anteros with 30/31 days in I am calculating -0.09 for UAH January 2012. 1 more day isn’t going to change it much.

        Let’s see how my black box algorithm does against the bets.

      • hunter –

        Anteros,
        It isn’t that Joshua isn’t baised, it just that he is such a pretentiouis wanker about his bias.

        No doubt. Are you a pretentious wanker about your biases?

      • dumbass just looked at Roy’s blog. I guess Roy scoops the public by publishing updates before the last day of data is in. I wish him and his family well. Anyway my bot got it right, so now I just have to teach it how to predict.

        So far, it seems like one can get a pretty fair shot at the monthly anomaly by tracking the daily data (calling JCH and Jim Cripwell) but it doesn’t help with the betting.

      • billc –

        I was just going to congratulate you on your estimate (having stopped in at Roy’s on my way here) but didn’t realise you’d been adding up as you were doing along ;)

        Glad, though to see the dailies add up to the monthly.

        FWIW Roy may have the full months figures before he publishes the last day or two?

      • Joshua –

        my focus is on arguing whether there is proportionately less bias on the “skeptic” side of the debate

        This seems to make no sense if you begin from the premise that there is a symmetry in all the human traits that we have talked about. I was [still am?] under the impression that you, like me, feel the symmetry is quite comprehensive. Why wouldn’t it be? Human traits are ubiquitous. *

        Your statement not only conflicts with that, it conflicts with what you actually do. Your blog behaviour is to shine the brightest light possible on failings almost exclusively in one place. You are not arguing whether there is less or more bias, you are arguing that there is more bias. Which contradicts your apparent belief in symmetry. That is exactly why it appears to all the people it annoys as heckling

        I have never observed you making any investigation of whether bias exists more in one place than another – because you do not make comparisons. No comparisons, no investigation – just heckling of one side.

        *My difference here is that for reasons of psychology and emotion-driven imagination, I think the beliefs of a large body of people are wrong. If the different beliefs [about governance or the economy] of the opposite group of people are arrived at in the same way, I would suggest they are equally likely to be wrong.

      • Anteros,

        What you said is what I meant to mean in my poor foundering English. I didn’t meant to imply Roy publishes before he has the data, just before we the huddled masses have it.

        As far as accurately replicating the monthlys from the dailys, I would say it was easy and not to my great credit. However I had heard I think both JCH and Jim Cripwell – fairly knowledgeable commentators on both sides of the aisle – express skepticism that it could be done. I think the current calculation is more closely pegged to the individual satellite for which the daily updates are given, than were older ones (didn’t one satellite fail last year?). Of course, maybe I just got lucks.

        As far as prediction and the betting – baby steps.

      • Anteros –

        At this point, we’re just repeating ourselves. I will leave off with this (basically a repetition) – and then I really need to go:

        You are not arguing whether there is less or more bias, you are arguing that there is more bias.

        IMO, that is a basic misunderstanding of what I am arguing. I am not arguing that there is more bias on one side relative to the other. I don’t believe that there is.

        I am shining the light on the ubiquitous bias I see among “skeptics” to refute a widespread argument I see among (some) “skeptics” that there is a “vast asymmetry.” If you don’t think that there is a vast asymmetry, or even a significant asymmetry, then indeed you and I are in agreement on that issue. .

        Have a good rest of the day (night).

      • And Anteros –

        I’ll add one more piece because I think it might help to explain my perspective and I haven’t said it before.

        I come from a tribe. As a result, I think it’s more fun to poke holes in the arguments of folks from other tribes than to poke holes in the arguments of my own tribe. That doesn’t mean that I think that the arguments of my tribe don’t have disproportionately fewer holes, let alone no holes at all.

        Some of the other tribe have a sense of humor about it – which sometimes makes it more fun.

        And some have no sense of humor about it – and that sometimes makes it more fun also.

      • er ….

        “That doesn’t mean that I think that the arguments of my tribe [do] have disproportionately fewer holes, let alone no holes at all.

        heh. Those Freudian slips get me every freakin’ time.

      • Joshua –

        Bravo!

        That’s one of the most reasonable and edifying things I’ve read on this blog for quite a while.

        As it happens, you did mention shortly after I arrived in this neck of the woods that you found it ‘fun’ to rib sceptics. Eminently reasonable too, but I think I needed to have it spelled out again.

        You may proceed with my blessing! (as if you ever needed that)

      • Arrgh! I walk away and then think of something else…

        I have a good friend that lives in NY. I anticipate that this Sunday I (along with other mutual friends who are from Philly) will burn down my phone’s battery sending him viciously mean texts if the Giants fall behind. There is little in life that I find as funny as giving him a hard time about ill-fortune for the Giants. Even if the Eagles were in the Super Bowl facing the Giants (don’t laugh) I’m quite sure we’d all be sending more texts to him each time the Giants took a misstep than we’d send to each other if the Eagles did something good.

      • Arrggh redux.

        And even if I and my friends from Philly did send each other texts about how badly the Eagles stink (we are painfully aware of each of their flaws, and don’t assume the Giants to be more flawed – far from it), we certainly wouldn’t let our friend in NY in on those texts, now would we?

      • Joshua –

        Ah – so in actual fact you’re quite like a sort of regular person after all..Glad to hear it!

        I’m using my imagination with the ‘football’ comparison. It always strikes me as unnecessarily complicated compared to, say, cricket ;)

      • Interesting question. I do not think that climate scientists are comparable to Lysenko or Inquisitors. There are people who support AGW who are comparable to Lysenko or Inquisitors.

        If you want to present me with an analogical argument then I will analyze it.

      • Josh,

        Apparently you have a couple of tricks you could have passed on to practitioners of the Inquisition. Asking the same question again and again, particularly one not all that germaine to the point of discussion, may possibly result in one confessing to anything, just to make it stop.

        So “yes, I was playing with Mrs O’Leary’s cow. It didn’t knock over a lamp. I was showing my buddies how to light cow farts.”

  32. If you want to analogize climate scientists to heart surgeons, here is a more proper comparison (leaving the poor disrespected dentists out of the picture).

    Would you consult a heart surgeon regarding whether or not to get a heart transplant if he: 1) could not demonstrate conclusively that whatever symptoms you have are caused by heart problems; 2) had never performed one before (nor had anyone else); 3) had only computer models to suggest whether the transplant is even needed; and 4) has no idea whether the transplant will resolve whatever minimal early symptoms the patient is experiencing.

    How many under such conditions would say…go ahead, cut my heart out.

    • k scott denison

      Gary,

      But, but, but, but…. THEY say they know and they’re “CLIMATE SCIENTISTS” so we just HAVE to believe them! /sarc

      I agree with what you say Gary. And for those who aren’t old enough to remember, there was a time when no one questioned the absolute knowledge of the physician either. But funny things happened. For example, we discovered that ulcers were caused by bacteria, not by stress as all those omnipotent doctors told us.

      The desperation of the analogy to physicians is very telling.

      • Ulcers – Established via researchers publishing in the peer reviewed journals.

        Lesson- if you really want to advance scientitic understanging and convince others, you do it by publishing in the journals, not dicking around on a blog playing arm-chair expert.

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        ‘Ulcers – Established via researchers publishing in the peer reviewed journals’

        Epic fail.

        It was establsihed by researchers doing EXPERIMENTS. This simple concept may be alien to climatologists. But not to Drs. Marshall and Warren.

      • Poor lati,

        After the experiments, comes the publication. It’s how you tell people what you found.

        Maybe it’s the other way around in magical thinking skeptic-land.

      • Michael | February 2, 2012 at 6:44 am |
        Lati,

        Yes, it’s the same with the HS.

        Different researchers using different data, in different regions, utilising diifferent methods, coming up with the same answer.

        You do know that there are differences in that same answer, right?

        When you do regional paleo to regional instrumental reconstructions you get a fair match for that region. When you allow for the divergence and true uncertainty in both data sets, the regional picture changes.

        The warming started around 1800 in this region, with plenty of uncertainty of course. Agriculture, coal use and CO2 started around then, but CO2 levels didn’t start to rise until around 1900 and supposedly didn’t become dominate until about 1950. Maybe Climate Science has a stomach ulcer :)

    • You forgot 5) had a history of misdiagnosing others with deadly conditions that they didn’t have.

      • “Lesson- if you really want to advance scientitic understanging and convince others, you do it by publishing in the journals, not dicking around on a blog playing arm-chair expert.”

        Ooo….bad example there Michael. In the case of ulcers, the scientists trying to establish that ulcers were in fact caused by bacteria living in the stomach, something that was thought impossible, we’re resisted heavily by the orthodoxy and their papers were not published until one of the researchers actually infected himself to prove that you could get stomach ulcers from the bacteria. Quite an extreme way for an ulcer ‘heretic’ to make his point against the consensus.

      • not at all.

        ‘skeptics’ regualrly get the story of ulcers convenienly wrong.

        Yes, their explanation was ‘resisted’……. until they published excellent proof in the peer-reviewed literature, ie. scientists were sceptical of the claim, until the evidence was good. It’s now the concensus!! Got a problem with that??

        The other aspect that the ‘skeptics’ don’t seem to understand in this story is that, if they applied their brand of ‘skepticism’, they would be heliobacter deniers – not all people with heliobacter have ulcers and not all people with with ulcers have heliobacter.

        Have you seen the data from the studies Agnostic?

        No?

        You just believe it ……surely not!

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        ‘Have you seen the data’

        Shaky ground here as well Mikeyboy. Have you seen the data from the Hokey stick? I imagine not. Yet I’m sure that you are happy to believe it.

      • I take it that is a ‘no’ from you lati?

        Yet you believe that bacteria causes ulcers.

        Amazing.

      • Latimer Alder

        Yep. I believe that some bacteria can cause ulcers. The experiments have been done enough times, reproduced independently by different physicians, different patients and at different times for there to be no doubt that some bacteria cause ulcers and that killing those bacteria can lead to a cure for the ulcers so caused.

        Now, remind me of the experimental evidence for the Hokey Stick and how it matches up with bacteria for reproduction, and replication?

      • “Have you seen the data from the studies Agnostic?”

        My friend, I had an ulcer as a child before this was discovered and was subjected to all sorts of chemical nonsense in the belief that this was how to treat it. The scientists in question are my contemporaries who went to my university and did their research there. They were ridiculed by the establishment for years before having to actually drink a solution of infected water. It took quite drastic action to prove the link between bacteria and ulcers.

        It shouldn’t have had to come to that. The reason it did is because of consensus opinion, close minded rejection of the idea based on the belief that the stomach was too hostile an environment for the bacteria, and vested interests such as drug manufacturers.

        Of the examples to draw on, this one serves the skeptic case much better than it does the pro-CAGW cause. Noting that your comments tend to be aligned to the latter, I would probably pass on using this to make your case if I were you.

      • Latimer Alder

        I am sick t o f….g death of hearing about ‘the consensus’. Nature doesn’t give flying f..k about what the consensus is. It is the experimental evidence that tells us what She is doing, not the interpretation of that evidence by a consensus.

        Einstein had it right when he said something along the lines of

        ‘It doesn’t matter if 100 people think I am right, it would only take one experiment to show that I am wrong’. He was not fooled by conseensus thinking and recognised the fundamental truths of hard sciecne, not the flimflam of popular acclaim.

        But many climatologits seem to come from the wishful thinking and half baked school of ‘soft science’ – so soft as to be often verging on souffle. They shy away like scalded cats when more traditional scientists demand that they should get a little bit closer to traditional standards of proof for their theories.

        And hide behind ‘consensus’. Pathetic.

      • Lati,

        Yes, it’s the same with the HS.

        Different researchers using different data, in different regions, utilising diifferent methods, coming up with the same answer.

      • Agnostics,

        Is that another no?

      • Latiti,

        Einstein is also claimed (dubiously) to have said – ‘only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity’.

        Somewhat unkindly, I would suggest evidence for the latter can be found here.

        And remember, ulcers caused by bacteria is now ‘consensus thinking’.

      • No – that would be a yes.

      • @michael

        ‘And remember, ulcers caused by bacteria is now ‘consensus thinking’.

        AARGGH

        It is immaterial whether it is consensus thinking or not. What lots of people do or do not think about it is irrelevant.

        What is relevant is whether you can conduct experiments that show the cause and effect. And whether you can reproduce those experiments independently.

        Please, go and learn a practical science subject – I recommend my own one-time specialisation of chemistry as an excellent example of such. You can have as many theories about how Nature works as you can shake a stick at. Several of you may have a ‘consensus’ that theory A is right…perhaps a lone voice in the wilderness believes just in theory Z. Maybe the consensus guys call the lone voice a ‘denier’. It doesn’t matter.

        It only matters when you carry out the experiment and see the results. Maybe A is right..maybe Z.. or maybe Nature does something completely unexpected. But I guarantee that whether A or Z got more votes beforehand was not any sort of influence on the result.

        The philosophers of the Enlightenment showed that the previous idea of appealing to authority (most likely Aristotle) was no way to really understand science.

        It is a sad reflection on climatology and climatologits that they collectively seem to have fallen back into this trap when faced with the slightest awkward question or ‘show me’ moment.

        I can only conclude that in their heart of hearts they recogise just how flimsy their ‘case’ is but can’t publicly acknowledge so lest their careers and standing take a nose-dive foe no longer adhering to ‘the consensus’.

      • Lati,

        Make up your mind.

        Is ‘consensus thinking’ a criticism or not?

      • Latimer Alder

        @Michael

        In matters scientific, ‘consensus thinking’ is irrelevant. It is the experimental evidence that counts.

      • @Latimer

        climatology and climatologits

        My fine pommy friend, let me correct your typo. Ergo..
        CLIMATOLO-GITS

      • Lati,

        Why do you get your knickers in a knot over the word ‘consensus’?

        You seem very confused.

        There is a consensus on bacteria causing ulcers, because the evidence for it is good.

        Likewise, there is a consensus on AGW, because the evidence is good.

      • Latimer Alder

        @baa humbug

        It wasn’t a typo.

      • Michael

        Excellent post. You have finally understood that it is not ‘the consensus’ that is important. But the evidence.

        I can take to my bed happy tonight that I have helped to make that that fundamental breakthrough in your education.

        Tomorrow, perhaps, we can explore how we can evaluate the quality (or lack) of the evidence for all the claims made about ‘climate change’. And we can confine that weasel word ‘consensus’ to the dustbin.

        Progress indeed!

        Bis gleich…..

      • Then why were you getting worked up about the use of the word??

  33. Trenberth and his team has no more credibility than doctors who routinely diagnose active children as being needful of psychiatric drugs.And has a cozy relationship with the drug company pushing the drugs.
    His team is like doctors who see every symptom as one pointing towards a need for the type of surgery they happen to specialize in.
    Trenberth and his team are descendents of those witch doctors who got their community to believe that dancing around a fire after sacrificing a young child would bring rain.
    His essay is little more than cargo cult posturing.

  34. Dr Curry: What’s wrong with the statement by Trenberth et al. is this. The big issue is deciding whether or not you need the heart surgery.

    That is only the first thing that is wrong. The other thing wrong is that you need a surgeon with a track record of success surgically treating the heart disease.

  35. I think this message by Trenberth is not new or effective (but I haven’t read more than the quote here). Those who are following the AGW scientists would say “Well, duh..”, and those who don’t believe any one of these AGW scientists have already made up deeply personal reasons for not doing so. The only thing that will get them to listen to the scientists will be the revelation of the warming in real time.

    • @Jim D

      “revelation” … a deeply personal Freudian slip there, Jimmy. Religions have “revelations”. [Science has observed, verified, systematic data]

      BTW, quite a few threads ago, when you had insisted that you knew all the forcings, I asked you which forcings or combination thereof, caused the Nino/Nina oscillations

      No answer yet (stating that these “cancel” each other out simply evades the question)

      • I was actually thinking of using a capital R. But the word is appropriate because global warming reveals itself over time, and many don’t trust what is as yet unrevealed to be predictable.
        On your question, I don’t regard any forcings to be responsible for ENSO because they are internal variations, and that is not just my view. By definition, internal variations decay over time because there is nothing to sustain them against the Planck response, which enforces the overall energy balance that is governed by the actual forcings.

      • Jim D, you think that no focings are responsible for the positive multidecadal ENSO trend?

      • Evasive gobbledook, Jimmy

        There are no predictions, just projections of “what if” scenarios, guessworked on unknowm thresholds of dynamic. non-linear and competing factors

        “Internal variations” of what forcings ?

        You’ve done very well … I won’t pursue this further, it’s pointless

      • ian,
        Jim D is such a true believer he no longer has an irony meter.

    • “The only thing that will get them to listen to the scientists will be the revelation of the warming in real time.”

      Quite so.

      • Tom – And the über-religious think that the only thing that will convince the non-believers is when the Rapture happens and the un-godly will be “Left Behind.” Warmists just can’t see their own belief system makes them judge normally objective observers to be Doubting Thomases. “How can they not believe? Don’t they know that means they will go to hell?!” In the case of warmists, it is slightly reworded as, “Don’t they know they are condemning the planet to be burned up and the seas to boil?” (The last, courtesy of James Hansen, BTW.)

        Don’t you see the parallel to Biblical prophets???

        In this year of 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar, warmists have a lot of competition for doomsaying.

        Just as the New Agers are going all silly about December 21st, 2012 – which will not be then end of the world – the warmists are wrong about the climate going all wacko and leaving our grandkids standing on a barren rock, fighting for breath.

        The science is flawed, people. At some point in the foreseeable future, the tree-ring proxies will be shown to be wrong. The Climategate emails show quite a few climate scientists who are totally aware of this problem – called the Divergence Problem. Tree-rings do NOT work as proxies for temps And without tree-rings, there IS no ‘past climate record.’ Ice cores? They use tree-rings as their calibrators, so without the tree-rings, none of the past climate is known. Throw out all you think you know about the past, folks, because it was all built on a house of cards. Dendroclimatology is not a science, merely a poser. DendroCHRONOLGY is a science, but not dendroclimatology.

        Add to that the ‘black box’ models – where who knows what is coded in (they won’t let anyone see it). Can you imagine a corporation deciding something important – like spending gazillions of $$$ – based on such hocus-pocus? Then there is the hanky-panky adjustments and cherry picking of data. Given all that, there is plenty of doubt as to what the past record is – much less measured within tenths of degrees. How could we not doubt it? (And how can you possibly accept it uncritically?!)

        I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that the science is just not done well enough to convince objective observers. You can call the objective observers ‘skeptics’ or ‘deniers,’ but it doesn’t change the fact that the science is poorly done. You all still believe Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick, nine years after it was proven to be flawed. (You did get the memo on that, didn’t you?) Mann (at the time just doing his doctoral thesis) was over his head on the statistics. Again, poor science, as judged by the objective observers.

        Please, some day wake up and get off the kneeling rail of the pew. You accuse the objective observers of not knowing their science, when in fact it is you who thump your Bible and cry “Heretics!” – because it is what you want to believe, and how dare we doubt what you want to believe? I mean, haven’t we all seen the light?

      • I think Steve has a good point.

        Well, actually I think he has several, but I’m going to comment on the Mayan calendar one. Since the world ends in a couple of days, why care about the climate? Me, I’m just pissed it ends a couple days before my birthday. That’s always my favorite day of the year.

  36. Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate .
    http://on.wsj.com/xHc0bL
    Kevin Trenberth et al.

    The National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. (set up by President Abraham Lincoln to advise on scientific issues), as well as major national academies of science around the world and every other authoritative body of scientists active in climate research have stated that the science is clear: The world is heating up and humans are primarily responsible.

    Kevin, anyone can compare the climate model projections with the observed data. This does not require any specialty in climate science. Any high school student can do the comparison. Here is the comparison:

    http://bit.ly/ADRqpM

    This comparison shows the observed temperatures are below the model projection if human CO2 emission were held constant at year 2000 level.
    Kevin, there is no evidence for manmade global warming!

    Why do science academies ignore the data?

  37. Prospective graduate students whose primary interest is in climate science and who want to become students in a department where scientists practice science and encourage the pursuit of truth wherever it might lead would do well to study the affiliations of the signatories to Trenberth’s letter. You have been warned.

  38. Judith –

    I have to say that it’s rather stunning that in discussing the op-ed wars, you neglected to note where Revikin asks Nordhaus about the discussion of his work in the first of the op-eds.

    Here’s what Nordhaus had to say:

    The piece completely misrepresented my work. My work has long taken the view that policies to slow global warming would have net economic benefits, in the trillion of dollars of present value. This is true going back to work in the early 1990s (MIT Press, Yale Press, Science, PNAS, among others). I have advocated a carbon tax for many years as the best way to attack the issue. I can only assume they either completely ignorant of the economics on the issue or are willfully misstating my findings.

    Questioning the dentist analogy is fair game, IMO – but focusing on Trenberth for inaccuracy while failing to even mention the flat out misrepresentation of Nordhous’ work in the first op-ed is, IMO, well, sorry to say, bizarre:

    • Bizarre? – no.

      Predictable – maybe.

    • Billions live in poverty NOW.

      Some want to artificially increase the cost of energy.

      Extremely Irrational.

      • Girma –

        You have the crux of it – nail on the head!!

      • This is why I believe so many who support climate change policies on the grounds of thinking about future generations are major league hypocrites. How can someone claim to care about future generations when they ignore the fate of people who exist today?

      • The notion of an ‘artificial’ increase in the cost of energy is what is “irrational”. Highly so.

    • Nordhaus lost his credibility a long, long time ago.
      His complaint is at best self serving.

      • hunter –

        Nordhaus lost his credibility a long, long time ago.

        Outstanding, hunter.
        Really. Outstanding.

        Did you read the first op-ed? The “skeptical” climate scientists cited Nordhaus as a reference (referring to the institution where he works, of course: “appeal to authority”?).

        So let’s look at your logic, shall we?

        The “skeptical” scientists cite someone you think isn’t credible, and to top it off, they misrepresent his views?

        What does that say about them?

        What does that say about you?

      • Joshua,
        Nordhaus is pushing the idea that implementing AGW policies will not only work, but create a more prosperous world. That is not supported by experience. It is AGW promotional bs, great for you and fellow believers/deceivers.
        As to your tactic of telling others what to focus on and hijacking the conversation, thanks but I am not playing your game.

      • hunter –

        If Nordhaus has lost credibility then what do you think about that list of 16 of the most prominent “skeptical” scientists who referenced his economic analysis?

        And further, what do you think about 16 of the most prominent “skeptical” scientists mis-representing the work of an economist in a WSJ op-ed?

        Your defense of what they did only gets more illogical as you go along. Well, that is, if you find those 16 scientists to be credible.

      • Joshua,
        Nordhaus is wrong.
        He makes basic misrepresentations.
        You would like to discuss this from his perspective that he is correct.
        He is full of crap.
        You are just trolling now.
        Enjoy.
        cya,

      • hunter,

        Dude – they misrepresented his views. Read the response he gave. I excerpted it above.

        If you need something more than his word that they misrepresented his views (I mean seriously, you’re saying that he isn’t the best judge of whether they misrepresented his views?), read his explication.

        Then get back to me. We’ll talk.

    • it’s not as bad as you think…

  39. “Check with Snake Oil Salesmen for Views on the Benefits of Snake Oil”

    Yup.

  40. Any good medical doctor will tell you that you should not start treatment until you have a good diagnosis.

    If the treatment is a radical one, such as risky surgery, you should have several alternate opinions before starting.

    We are still in the very early phase with our planet’s climate.

    We have seen some cyclical warming/cooling trends on a slightly tilted axis, which do not correlate well with CO2 trends over the same period.

    Despite IPCC claims to the contrary, we really do not yet have an earthly notion what the root cause of the observed warming has been or, even less, whether or not it will continue and, if so, at what rate.

    So, in effect, we have some hypotheses but no real diagnosis.

    Yet a very radical treatment is being proposed based on these hypotheses.

    And we are not even so sure that this radical treatment is going to achieve anything.

    It doesn’t take a climate scientist or a genius to figure out what to do in this case.

    Let’s wait until we have a proper diagnosis with a few alternate opinions and a treatment plan that will cure the problem before we start radical treatment.

    Max

    • Robin Guenier

      Max:
      See my comment above (https://judithcurry.com/2012/02/01/tracking-the-line-between-treatment-and-diagnosis/#comment-164816) – note especially woodentop’s indigestion point.

    • Max,

      I wish I had read what you write here before I added a post to my own above. It was in my head all day, and I put it down without reading all the other posts that have come in.

      You put it more crisply.

    • Indeed, when consulting ANY clinician, I can be reasonably sure that he has sworn the Hippocratic Oath, which I believe begins: “First, do no harm!” When Trenberth and his increasingly tatterdemalion crew get round to swearing something like that, I’ll start listening to Trenberth’s ill-posed analogy.

      • I think that this is their starting point – we appear to running a global-scale, real-time experiment in altering the GHG composition of our artmosphere.

        The do-no-harm principle would suggest we desist.

      • Michael

        Shutting down fossil fuel combustion globally and stopping developing nations from building up a low-cost energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels (as we have done), all before we have developed a cost-competitive non-fossil fuel alternate, would be a radical “experiment”.

        Let’s avoid taking a “bad drug” to “cure” a (maybe) minor headache..

        Max

      • Not all medical schools require graduates to take a hippocratic oath, and none of them start with any variation of “first, do no harm”

        http://www.imagerynet.com/hippo.ama.html

        and other sources namely wikepedia

      • Michael,
        The better view is that a group of people who claim to have not only discovered there is a problem are also seeking to prescribe a cure which ahs not been shown to work and who cannot actaully show harm from the problem they claim is so pressing.

    • “Any good medical doctor will tell you that you should not start treatment until you have a good diagnosis.”

      Max – I know quite a few good doctors and I don’t think any of them would agree with that statement.

      If you can’t figure out why, please feel free to ask.

      • Fred – I know a bunch of good docs, too – and that’s where I got the statement.

        I think you now what it means, but – if not – feel free to ask.

        Max

      • k scott denison

        And I know where you will find the BEST outcomes from heart surgery at the LOWEST cost: Rochester, MN and Salt Lake City, UT. Why?

        Because health systems in these cities use DATA and MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMS to develop their protocols for treatment, and, not surprisingly, this leads to better outcomes.

        There’s a lesson in there for studying the climate.

      • Max – The reason your statement was incorrect, and why no good doctor would likely subscribe to it does bear a rough analogy to climate change issues. Medical practice often involves a risk/benefit assessment in which one has to balance the benefits of waiting for better diagnostic information against the risks of having serious harm occur during the wait. It varies from circumstance to circumstance, and will differ in an Emergency Room setting from the office of a consultant asked for a diagnostic opinion.

        These analogies shouldn’t be pursued too closely, but if you’re going to analogize, you shouldn’t draw an analogy that misrepresents how medicine is practiced. Beyond that, getting into the fine points may not be the best use of time. In that sense, maybe this entire thread is devoting more attention to the topic than it deserves based on an article in the media.

      • Max, Fred is right. Treatment is often used as a diagnostic tool when a definitive diagnosis is impossible and postponement of treatment is not a viable option. Naturally the least invasive treatment is prefered. I have used treatments as diagnostic tools myself.

      • Primum non nocere & Max is right. If treatment hones your differential, you started with a tentative diagnosis. Maybe not in Fred’s world, but his patient is coding in front of him & he’s chastising a clerk for a yawn.
        ======================

      • Sure, there’s a lot that can be done to support vital functions before a diagnosis is known, but that also speaks to different meanings of the word ‘diagnosis. One can treat dangerous hypotension, initially, without knowing for certain the precise causes. But there is always some idea of causation, since the overweening demand of treatment choices is that the best one is the one for the correct diagnosis.

        Maundered on a bit, but Fred is either using one of these meanings of diagnosis when he initiates treatment, or he is shotgunning, acceptable, especially with dove diagnoses, or is just guessing, again sometimes acceptable with intuition gained through long practice and failures.
        =====================

      • Fred Moolten

        Sorry, Fred, you can rationalize all you want to but the statement I quoted has come from good medical doctors (and it makes sense to me).

        A classical case was brought to public attention by the widow of actor John Ritter, who died in the hospital from a thoracic aortic dissection, a tearing of the main artery supplying blood to the upper body and brain.
        http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20030912/explanation-of-john-ritters-death

        In this case, as was explained by his widow, Amy Yasbeck, Ritter suffered extreme pain during a rehearsal and was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital.

        As the article states:

        The pain is very difficult to distinguish from that of angina or a heart attack.

        One risk factor for thoracic aortic dissection is an aneurism in the thoracic aorta, which in turn can be caused by a bicuspid aortic valve (a valve with only two leaflets instead of the normal three). This is a congenital disorder occurring in 1-2% of the population (mostly in males).

        Although the diagnostic tools were available at the hospital (CT scan, MRI, etc.), which would have pinpointed the cause of the chest pain, the doctors did not make a proper diagnosis, but assumed Ritter was suffering from a heart attack due to coronary artery disease, so started treating this right away.

        Alas, this was just the wrong thing to do for a patient suffering an aortic dissection.

        The jury in a “wrongful death” suit later ruled that the doctors were not legally guilty, but the truth remains that treating before diagnosing contributed to John Ritter’s death.

        Yasbeck has gone on to found the John Ritter Foundation, an organization that aims to increase general awareness of this disease and of the steps to be taken if a bicuspid heart valve or thoracic aortic aneurysm is suspected or diagnosed.
        http://johnritterfoundation.org/ritter-rules/

        Moral of the story: get a good diagnosis before you start treating.

        Max

      • [reposted with corrected formatting – sorry]

        Fred Moolten

        Sorry, Fred, you can rationalize all you want to but the statement I quoted has come from good medical doctors (and it makes sense to me).

        A classical case was brought to public attention by the widow of actor John Ritter, who died in the hospital from a thoracic aortic dissection, a tearing of the main artery supplying blood to the upper body and brain.
        http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20030912/explanation-of-john-ritters-death

        In this case, as was explained by his widow, Amy Yasbeck, Ritter suffered extreme pain during a rehearsal and was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital.

        As the article states:

        The pain is very difficult to distinguish from that of angina or a heart attack.

        One risk factor for thoracic aortic dissection is an aneurism in the thoracic aorta, which in turn can be caused by a bicuspid aortic valve (a valve with only two leaflets instead of the normal three). This is a congenital disorder occurring in 1-2% of the population (mostly in males).

        Although the diagnostic tools were available at the hospital (CT scan, MRI, etc.), which would have pinpointed the cause of the chest pain, the doctors did not make a proper diagnosis, but assumed Ritter was suffering from a heart attack due to coronary artery disease, so started treating this right away.

        Alas, this was just the wrong thing to do for a patient suffering an aortic dissection.

        The jury in a “wrongful death” suit later ruled that the doctors were not legally guilty, but the truth remains that treating before diagnosing contributed to John Ritter’s death.

        Yasbeck has gone on to found the John Ritter Foundation, an organization that aims to increase general awareness of this disease and of the steps to be taken if a bicuspid heart valve or thoracic aortic aneurysm is suspected or diagnosed.
        http://johnritterfoundation.org/ritter-rules/

        Moral of the story: get a good diagnosis before you start treating.

        Max

      • Kim, one would hope you have taken your diagnosis as far as you can before doing diagnostic treatment. This doesn’t change the fact that sometimes treatment is used as a diagnostic tool. it wasn’t so long ago that even major procedures were fairly common as a diagnostic tool. Exploratory surgery has that odd name for a reason. I would love to stay and argue about this further but my flight awaits and my understanding is there is no internet in Timbuktoo, or where I’m going either.

      • I can’t disagree with you, steven, only regret Fred’s sophistry.
        =======================

    • manacker,
      Perhaps what you intend to make clear is that in medicine one would not undertake a procedure without reason to believe it would at the least do less harm than the possible problem.
      Sadly, since ~200,000 Americans die per year in hospitals, this is not always successful.
      Certainly, in December when I was suffering from excruciating upper abdominal pain I was happy they treated the pain. Even while waiting on the blood work. Since the pain was localized to upper right abdominal and the white count was up, it was reasonable to do an ultrasound to see if my gall bladder was showing some signs of trouble. It was and the next day I was separated from my poor infected gall bladder.
      Notice, however, the order of events:
      Distinctive pain. Worse than getting hit by a car. And I know that from experience.
      Treating the pain with something that would not compromise my ability to otherwise function.
      Gathering information: physical exam, blood and ultrasound.
      Antibiotics and surgery.
      From my perspective AGW is premised on a problem solving approach that is completely different from this.

    • The distinction people are searching for I think is the difference between treating palliative symptom treatment and root cause treatment. One thing that I think operates often in medicine is the idea that by “doing something” you can keep a patient off your case so to speak. An example might be lower back pain. I’ve heard that the studies show that surgical intervention is fraught with difficulties and doesn’t work very well. If a patient gets better with palliative treatment, that is the prefered way to go. One could mention my favorite example, vertabraeplasty, a treatment that everyone seemed to like and to have very positive outcomes in surgical follow up studies. The only problem was that in double blind studies, the benefit was marginal. The climate analog of palliative treatment is adaptation.

  41. What if you consult two specialists,and receive different advice?Which one do you choose?
    My doctor just referred to me to a specialist with the words”This man is lacking in people skills,but what I like about him is that he never operates unless he is sure he can help you,I can’t say that about all doctors”
    So if Linzden was my GP what specialist would he recommend?
    Reputation is everything,whose reputation is bad in climate science?
    Climategate put a big dent in some so-called experts reputation.

    • Noelene

      What if you consult two specialists,and receive different advice?Which one do you choose?

      Neither one. Get a third opinion.

      Max

  42. “The big issue is deciding whether or not you need the heart surgery”

    This makes sense only if she can show that with current medical knowledge, the majority of heart surgeons and their team of inter-disciplinary experts (which include experts in not only medicine but harm reduction, rehabilitation, etc.) would not overall agree on whether or not a patient with a particular health scenario needs a particular heart surgery.

    We often can’t do without expert opinion, these days. The point is to pragmatically and critically evaluate the quality of the information and sources of informatio: not just credible agreement, but credible dissent.

    We know that many surgeons used to perform unnecessary hysterectomies i.e., unnecessary even then with the knowledge they had, etc., so I’m not saying it’s outside possibility. However, I haven’t seen the medical evidence that would support her suggested counter-argument for heart surgeries. Yet. :-)

    • Martha,

      A great deal of your own decision making is by knowledge and understanding.
      Much of climate science DID NOT give society a very comprehensive view on the issue of climate change.
      The propaganda machine was in high gear pushing global warming, published material backed this along with government grants.
      Any dissent was not tolerated, published or funded.
      So, now we have a huge mess of extremely bad science based on bad science practices.

    • Martha

      I largely agree with you on this point. Imo the problem is the reluctance of people to be willing to address the specific suggested actions that they think make sense to address the perceived issue or problem. The question is or at least should be what specific actions you wish a specific country to implement. What will the proposed accomplish, and what will they cost.

      • Rob Starkey

        The question is or at least should be what specific actions you wish a specific country to implement. What will the proposed accomplish, and what will they cost.

        You have hit the nail on the head (but don’t expect any suggestions from Martha – or anyone else).

        So far we have had a lot of political posturing such as

        “we will commit to hold global warming to no more than 2 deg C”

        Huh?

        Then there are hollow vows to “reduce CO2 emissions to X% of what they were in year Y by year Z”

        But there have been hardly any actionable proposals backed by a cost/benefit analysis (how much temperature rise will be avoided by year 2100 at what investment cost today?).

        And those concrete proposals, which have been made, are extremely costly for hardly any (hypothetical future) reduction in warming.

        Not much (maybe, some day) “bang” for a whole helluva lot of (up front) “bucks”.

        Max

      • What should countries do? Simple answer. Carbon tax, to help (1) with adaptation, and (2) with moving away from fossil fuels. Otherwise it comes out of regular tax revenue.

      • What should people do? People will what people have always done. Sit on their can and starve, or adapt or move if necessary. Climate changes, it always has. Some places get better for people and other places get worse. Sometimes people can and do make changes for better and sometimes people cannot or don’t. In recorded history, people were not bailed out by taxes. They adapted or moved or disappeared. A carbon tax would make a lot of rich people richer, but it would not do much to get people to move or adapt. They must decide that for themselves. If it is determined that taxes should be used to help them, there is no reason that carbon should be the bad guy that is taxed. Carbon is responsible for our good life. Carbon is our friend.

      • Cereals love CO2 like Neptune loves Persephone.
        ========================

      • Jim D

        A carbon tax will do absolutely nothing to reduce global warming or change our climate (no tax ever did).

        In fact, I have not seen ANY actionable proposals that will make a perceptible change to our climate, Jim.

        But, hey, if you know of any, please cite them, along with a suitable cost/benefit analysis.

        The ball’s in your court, Jim.

        Max

    • “This makes sense only if she can show that with current medical knowledge, the majority of heart surgeons and their team of inter-disciplinary experts….”

      In the context of the climate debate, there are no equivalents of heart surgeons.

      Heart surgery is the process by which a known malady is treated by a known procedure with known probable results. There are no “experts” on decarbonization (the climate equivalent of heart surgery). It has never been done before.

      There are tons of wannabe diagnosticians, all with specialties in one minor area of the overall area of knowledge of what is called “climate science.” But there are no experts qualified on the science in toto, let alone anyone who has a clue how to “cure” it. Climate science is at the stage of development medicine had reached when placing leeches on patients was all the rage. (I thought about making an analagy to a certain “cure” once used to “treat” “hysteria” in women, but this is a mixed gender site so propriety prevented it.)

      The more I think about the analogy of “climate scientist” to heart surgeons, the more hysterical it becomes.

    • Markus Fitzhenry

      Martha says:
      “We know that many surgeons used to perform unnecessary hysterectomies i.e., unnecessary even then with the knowledge they had, etc., so I’m not saying it’s outside possibility.”

      :-)

      • Yeah, I saw that. That was not the “cure” I had in mind. It had more to do the doctor doing to the patient what the consensus wants to do to the global economy…. Less brutal, but funnier.

  43. Simon Donner provides a useful reflection on Revkin’s comparison between diagnosis and treatment (http://planet3.org/2012/02/01/whom-to-trust-on-climate-change/ )

    I agree with Simon’s point that a *generic* treatment can be given, based on the science and of course on one’s attitude towards risk. Just as a medical doctor can suggest a patient to stop smoking to protect their health. What the scientist-equivalent of a medical doctor should not do is to suggest a specific treatment (“you should take these nicotin patches”).

    I wrote about this dilemma here:
    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/the-public-role-of-scientists/

    It’s a fine line to walk though. I would have chosen to end the WSJ Trenberth piece a bit more open-ended, e.g. “Unabated CO2 emissions will very likely cause substantial climate change, with serious consequences. Society should decide its course of action in part based on this knowledge.”

    • Well, we should seriously consider the consequences. So far, the discussion has been unserious, and conducted in fear and guilt, not to mention hate.
      =============

      • Kim,

        Absolutely no mention on solutions or even openness to any suggestions.
        Just that they are absolutely correct even though there is a dump truck full of uncertainties and bad science practices.

      • The advantages and disadvantages of climate change will be regionally expressed, whether or not anthropogenically caused. Since I suspect the guilt is permanently attached, perhaps we can ameliorate that with assistance to the regions disadvantaged, but it will probably only fly politically, and work successfully, to the extent Man’s contribution becomes well defined.

        There’s a task even more difficult than climate understanding.
        ===================

      • Kim,

        Your absolutely correct on region.
        Regionally is extremely different and unique around the whole planet.
        As soon as you try to lump everything as global, then regions loose being unique as now AVERAGING cannot include anything outside of these boundaries.

      • Heh, solve N-S for the locally eddying.
        =========

      • Kim,

        Have you tried rotation and circulation on a slanted plane with velocity changes in latitudes?

      • Joe,

        “Have you tried rotation and circulation on a slanted plane with velocity changes in latitudes?”

        I tried this once.

        Made my eyes water.

      • Tom,

        I peeled those same damn onions…
        We were all taught from the same trough, just some said…”Hey wait a second…” :-)

      • Kim,

        “Have you tried rotation and circulation on a slanted plane with velocity changes in latitudes?”

        and I thought Anteros’ bad boy comment yesterday was risque’.

      • billc –

        I don’t know about ‘risque’. I was trying to be devious and subtle in my Turing test with sage kim – by introducing a Monty Python reference partially hidden..
        I ended up just wondering about my own Blade Runner botness.

        P.S. What of a reflexive Turing test – two ‘bot-not bots’ in conversation. What can be proven, learned?

        P.P.S Is this a reflexive Turing test?

        P.P.S. Testing Testing 1,2,3

      • I don’t think recaptcha would have stopped Rachel.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Oh no. Now we are in serious s… Kim is channeling Martha.

    • Bart,

      Scientists are funded MOSTLY by governments and hence have a bias already ingrained to keep the funding flowing. Having recognition and standing out is also on the agenda.
      Who would not defend YEARS of single minded and funded research to be proved that it was all wasted?

    • Bart,
      Can you see why many people believe that the sort of positions offered by the Trenberth and gang school of thought cross the line?

  44. Judith,

    Soooo….

    Climate scientists are supposed “experts of their fields” and yet many questions and answers are still in the uncertainty.
    Now if he was an absolute expert, the answers would be absolutely certain and correct to the point that no one can DOUBT the conclusions.
    When there is doubt and avoidance, then you know the expert is only full of himself!

    • Wow, that’s a real doozy.

      Now we’re being told that climate scientists must be 100% certain and any doubt renders them a failure.

      • Michael,

        Yes. Climate scientists NEED to understand ALL of the parameters of the planet to understand what has been changing and going on for the last 4.5 billion years.
        Just to jump into temperature data thinking it is like the human body is a vastly gross error!

      • k scott denison

        Michael, how about they at least start by admitting trees aren’t useful as thermometers?

      • Accepting that trees make lousy thermometers, that citing inverted Tijjander proxies was probably a bad idea, that pasting over divergent data was misleading and unwise, that it is likely the “missing ocean heat” may have drifted out to the blackness of space and we don’t really understand how that happened yet, that solar variability might be a lot more complicated than simple TSI measurements, that ocean basin variability has a profound effect on measured global temps, that we cannot quantify atmospheric aerosols and we have zero understanding of clouds and climate. These simple steps would go a long way towards restoring credibility to climate science. Right now the process looks blinded by confirmation bias.

        We are all human and subject to human error. The repeated covering over of errors or pretending they did not happen, or insisting that we know more than we really know, simply erodes credibility and feeds skepticism further. No peer review system can change that .

        We know that the earth is warming and RT suggests that mankind plays a significant role in that warming. Understanding the radiative properties of CO2 is but 6 pieces of a 1000 piece climate jigsaw puzzle. We have a very long way to go.

      • scott and ivpo,

        yes proxies are awful, just awful, and yet amazingly, all the skeptics know, 100% for sure, that it was warmer in the MWP.

      • No Michael, all proxies are not awful. Just the misused, contaminated, inverted, pasted over ones ;)

  45. Judith,

    I bet Kevin Trenberth does NOT understand ocean circulation.
    A slopping plane (like our orb) would just drain to the poles.
    You NEED centrifugal force to pull it back to the equator.
    Ops, my mistake again. THIS IS NOT TEMPERATURE DATA!

  46. Let me make a note on the QUALITY rather than the QUANTITY of the signatures. If the name of Sir Paul Nurse were to have been amongst the original 16 signatures opposing CAGW, this would have been equivalent to a magnitude 20 earthquake. I mean no disrespect to our hostess, of whom I have the utmost regard, but had her signature been there it would only have been like a magnitude 10 earthquake.

    With CAGW coming under so much pressure in recent months, it might only take our hostess’s signture on a document saying CAGW is nonsense, to drive a final stake in CAGW’s heart. Maybe if she did, she might be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.

    • I ceratinly did Jim.

      Most of them not working in the feild about which they make such certain pronounements.

      I’m glad a geneticist can clarify issues of atmospheric physics for me.

    • Jim –

      …to drive a final stake in CAGW’s heart.

      How many stakes were driven into the heart before the “final stake?” Seems to me, that just one stake into the heart would do the trick.

      Also, if you don’t mind answering, what is the point in driving the “final stake in CAGW’s heart” after so many “final nails” have been driven into CAGW’s coffin?

      BTW – what do you think of the credibility of scientists who write an op-ed in which they blatantly misrepresent the views of someone they offer as an expert analyst?

  47. I think Trenberth, the Fiddlestick Team members and their acolytes have a simple problem. The do not understand what being professional means. Any architect, engineer, lawyer, doctor or any other professional getting up to the antics revealed in the released emails would have been either severley censored or stopped practising by their professional body.
    Is there a professional body for self named climate scientists, I think not because of course a pre-requisite would be the need to act in a professional manner.
    The problem also with Trenberth is that he does not understand that someone with a D grade GCSE in camel hygiene can see straight through the nauseating perversion that climate change science is.
    Patient Trenberth “Doctor Doctor everyone is ignoring me”
    Doctor: NEXT :-)

    • “the problem also with Trenberth is that he does not understand that someone with a D grade GCSE in camel hygiene can see straight through the nauseating perversion that climate change science is.”

      Thankfully we have the blog scientists to rescue us from this sad state of affairs with their ever-so professional comments.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Yes.

        One wonders how real scientists ever did anything right before the invention of the blog.

      • Thankfully we have the blog scientists to rescue us from this sad state of affairs with their ever-so professional comments.

        Speak for yourself, Michael.

    • Stacey,
      It has been noted before that while people may not understand advanced calculus, they can still smell the aroma of BS.
      AGW stinks of BS.

      • ceteris non paribus

        It has also been noted that while people may not understand climate science, they can still fabricate stupid sentences about it.

      • ceteris,
        Yes, but my point was clever.
        ;^)
        I do like how you believers ignored the larger point- that the team’s behavior would have gotten them fired in most professional cultures- and ran instead to hide out critiquing a comment about that point.
        I think understand why you and so many believers have to avoid issues like that. My heart goes out to you all.
        If my guys were caught flat out like the team, and I had a faith that required me to ignore their behavior, I would ignore it as well.

      • hunter – the fact that there are some mean guys does not change the science as practised by the very many scientists who are not members of the ‘team’. Ask Bart Verheggen, Isaac Held, Nick Stokes or any of the other non-‘team’ members. How come you’re not on their web sites arguing your point?

      • Louise,
        Because here I get you and Martha *and* Joshua: a trifecta of believers.
        You know, the Trenberth team claim that they are doctors just looking out for our well being and that they just happen to not only have discovered the disease but also happened to find the cure reminded of a movie I bet you would like:

      • ceteris non paribus

        hunter:

        I think understand why you and so many believers have to avoid issues like that. My heart goes out to you all.

        You think you understand so much about “believers” (we used to call them scientists) that you don’t realize that they are right.

        I’ve read about so many “getting caught out”s and “stakes through the heart” and “days of AGW are numbered” that I can no longer keep track of the “whatever”-gate of the day…

        Someone should set up a blog… oh, wait.

      • cnp,
        Are you a scientist now?
        Climate science has many scientists working in it. Our hostess is one.
        AGW is to climate science what eugenics was to biology. AGW has believers (people like you), promoters (they might be climate scientists, or they might be English majors hired to sell AGW, etc.), profiteers (who can also be believers and promoters, but make a good living in either money or prestige) and others.
        cnp, are you really a scientist or do you just play one at this street theater?
        another question: do you think only climate scientists approved by the AGW community are qualified to assess this issue?

        By the way, whenever scientists actually implement the scientific method and act ethically, they usually get it right. I hope AGW believers will realize this soon and let science progress again.

      • ceteris non paribus

        hunter asked:
        “cnp, are you really a scientist or do you just play one at this street theater?”

        I never kiss and tell.
        But, like you, I’m always glad to acknowledge good street theatre!

        “another question: do you think only climate scientists approved by the AGW community are qualified to assess this issue?”

        Of course not. Free speech and all that. But some assessments are worth much more than others. Opinion good. Informed opinion better.

        “By the way, whenever scientists actually implement the scientific method and act ethically, they usually get it right. I hope AGW believers will realize this soon and let science progress again.”

        Your opinion is noted.

      • cnp,
        Do you not support the idea of scientists employing the scientific method and behaving ethically?

      • ceteris non paribus


        Do you not support the idea of scientists employing the scientific method and behaving ethically?

        Not in the least.
        I think scientists should use tactical nuclear weaponry to win arguments and influence people. :-)

    • I’m surprised Einstein ever managed to make any headway without a cacophanay of blog-scientists to tell him he was ‘only in it for the money’, or ‘just wrong’ or ‘a so-called expert’.

      Must have been hard for him.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        Wasn’t hard at all for Einstein, Michael, he wasn’t Gaia biased.
        The science is mounting against AGW. The opposing theory has gained a lot of traction.

        ATE puts us into a supersonic era of Climate Science.
        Losers will just have to weep for a while. Don’t worry they will get over it, with a bit of help from the good old physicians.

      • Oh,

        What “opposing theory”??

        This should be fascinating.

      • ceteris non paribus


        The opposing theory has gained a lot of traction.

        Right. Except that no one knows what this “opposing theory” actually proposes, or whether it’s supported by evidence, or even if it’s falsifiable – but it’s all the rage on certain blogs. Teach the controversy.

      • CNP and Michael

        No “opposing theory” to the CAGW premise of the “mainstream consensus”, which is being promoted by IPCC?

        Huh?

        Suggestion: Get up-to-date on what’s going on out there.

        Max

      • The opposing theory, if you can call it that, is that we don’t know enough about what doubling CO2 does to take any action. It is not really a scientific theory, more of a philosophy about the state of the science.

  48. If I were to use a health care analogy for solutions to climate change, I think the most appropriate one is not cardiology but what to do if you have an ulcer. The medical establishment was quite certain that the only cure for an ulcer was surgery or you could treat the disease with stomach acid blockers like Prilosec and Nexium. So surgeons could make a pretty penny on the cure but it was quite painful, had many complications and not desirable to many who considered their ulcer just a nuisance. (The surgeons are the people like Hansen who want to close every fossil fuel power plant.) Then you had pharmaceutical companies with patented prescription drugs that would treat your problem at a moderate expense but there would be no cure. (I consider emissions trading schemes and some renewable energy solutions in this category.) So along comes an Australian who says you’ve got it wrong, it can be treated with an inexpensive antibiotic and your cured without any long term complications. After initially being laughed at, his persistence paid off and he eventually proved that his low cost cure was the course of treatment for ulcers.
    I bring this up because I think what happened next probably speaks volumes about what will happen to the climate science community and the people with climate corrective prescriptions. It turns out that the surgeons are still operating on people’s stomachs but as a treatment for obesity and the pharmaceutical guys are still selling the same high priced drugs just not for ulcers. So if mother nature decides to tip her hand in the next few years about what’s really important in climate science, I expect the players in this game to continue beating the same drum, just in a different venue.

    • sean –

      I agree. I get the picture with ‘solutions to climate change’…..

      There are one or two assumptions in there that I think need poking and prodding!
      A much better venture – though oddly sounding – would be ‘solutions to climate’. Climate change as a result wouldn’t need any solutions at all (as if it ever did)

  49. Do you consult with your dentist about your heart condition?

    An interesting analogy.

    My wife has been looking after an elderly woman (now 101 years old) with a heart condition for more then 25 years. As far as I am aware she has never been to a heart specialist. She is still of sound mind and until very recently pushed her own shopping cart at the supermarket.

    When ‘younger people’ (70-90) learn of her advanced age at the grocery store the first question they ask is ‘who is your doctor’.

    Sometimes ‘management’ of an illness is more effective then curing it.

  50. You live in fear about those around you making big mistakes. So, do you consult with your dentist about neighbors asking their girl friends to become their wives? In life, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work, right?

  51. barn E. rubble

    RE: “computer models have recently shown that …warming is occurring …in the deep ocean”

    So, Dr. Trenberth has found a ‘tumorous heat sink’ (THS) in you. His diagnosis is based entirely on a computer model. (A computer model that was specifically programmed to find ‘THS’ in you.) He tells you ‘THS’ can be fatal unless immediate and drastic action (on your part) is taken, IE: It’s gonna hurt lots and cost way more than you have.

    However, to-date, all blood tests, x-rays, scans, rubber-glove examinations and the like have yet to find ‘THS’ in you. The good Doctor tells you that’s because all those tests are inadequate, the data incomplete &/or lacking, the detection equipment not sensitive enough and of course, observation can be misleading &/or mistaken. Tapping his computer screen, he says with complete certainty,”That’s where the truth lies.” And with straight face adds, “No pun intended.”

    Do you seek a second (or more) opinion? Or simply accept the authority of the Distinguished Doctor, and allow him to prescribe your treatment – however painful that may be – and bend over?

    Alto it has never occurred to me to ask for proof of qualification from any health professional I’ve sought advise &/or treatment from, I’m assuming those that directly pay for said advise &/or treatment (government &/or private) actually do need proof. Something our Climatologist practitioners need to understand. That and seeking second opinions should not only be expected but encouraged.

    -barn

  52. When you are considering incorporating into your personal life the Ezekiel-like warnings of people like Kevin Trenberth, Al Gore, Jim Jones or followers of Heaven’s Gate or any catastrophic doomsday cult it’s probably best to consult a psychiatrist first.

    • ceteris non paribus

      Unless of course you happen to be Ezekiel – in which case, it’s probably best to consult scripture and leave the shrinks guessing. :-)

  53. ceteris non paribus

    Judith Curry wrote:
    “…in terms of treatment, I would listen to economists more than to climate scientists”

    Coming from someone who has argued for extra-large error-bars in climate science, this seems a tad ironic.

    Economists are about as useful for prediction and prescription as a dart board. And they use models too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_model#Tests_of_macroeconomic_predictions

  54. I think the problem, at heart, is political. We have politicians who seem to know most about the construction of “sound bites”, and grooming themselves to appear knowledgeable on TV. Even then, they have spin doctors, image consultants, and speech writers to help them!

    Hardly any of them can actually think about the problems they claim to be handling.

    Is it surprising that lunacy like decarbonisation ultimately takes hold?

  55. I think our climate doctors are like the maniac GP in the film Kings Row who keeps amputating peoples limbs to punish them (R. Reagan: “Where’s the rest of me?!”).

    O/T, but just reading the AR5 FODs. Ch 8, end:

    “Therefore, although carbon dioxide is the main control knob on climate, water vapour is a strong and fast feedback that amplifies any initial forcing by a factor of typically three.”

    How much time & money has it taken for not one darn thing to be changed in 5 years?? :-(

  56. Chief Hydrologist

    I can’t get past my horror at the thought of Kevin (surely it isn’t decadal) Trenberth as my heart surrgeon. Sure Kev – whatever you reckon – I’ll just be leaving now.

    • hehe.
      “Let me through, I’m a climate scientist!”.
      “Is there a climate scientist on board?”
      “Don’t worry, I have plenty of experience with gang Green”.

    • Chief, surely you’re kidding!

  57. Is it not fascinating that the Trenberth team is claiming in effect that we are very fortunate indeed:
    He and his pals have discovered, just in the nick of time, buried in the margins of error and barely noticeable, a fatal disease. And not only that, Trenberth and his pals have also discovered the cure for the disease they identified.
    Now what are the chances of that?

    • Latimer Alder

      Imagine the dreadful consequences if they hadn’t been born for another 30 years! Think how lucky we have been.

      I will sacrifice a goat to give thanks to the Gods for our deliverance

      /sarc

  58. Steve McIntyre

    The image of Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Jones and Briffa doing heart surgery is a bit unnerving. They’d get the same answer whether the patient was upside down or rightside up.

    • steve,
      And of course if the patient died, they would simply hide the demise…….

      • !! :)

      • The Yamal — the original Ten Disciples of Mann, upon whose rings the Church of Warmanism is founded, and through them spreading the Gospel of liberal utopianism. Through the power of the Spirit Gum of the Ten Yamal, there is no Medieval Warm Period and no Little Ice Age and all Twentieth Century Warming is vanquished before the time of the magic blade of the sacred `hockey stick’ that shall inexorably point toward Heaven’s Gate and the path to salvation for all believers on the dark side of Comet Hale-Bopp, after the global warming Armageddon.

      • anteros,
        you win! first to get it it, lol.

      • This after I already cast my vote for best comment.

      • Steve, as usual, has the key insight. The surgical team is operating from the posterior through the Right Kidney to reach the Gall Bladder, anteriorly. The novel statistical blade needed was called the Sen Sword.
        =================

    • ‘World temperatures may end up a lot cooler than now for 50 years or more,’ said Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at Denmark’s National Space Institute. ‘It will take a long battle to convince some climate scientists that the sun is important. It may well be that the sun is going to demonstrate this on its own, without the need for their help.’

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2093264/Forget-global-warming–Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html#ixzz1lGPdyPn1

    • Would they know the difference between bark-stripping bristlecones and stripped varicose veins?

    • What’s more unnerving is the amatuers saying that they could do it better ’cause they carve up the turkey at home.

      • Michael,
        If you come up with an argument that is not based on authortiy, please flag it so we can know you have posted something worth reading. tia,

      • Over the last 10 years I think my dog could have done it better.

      • What’s more unexpailable, Michael, is the “professionals” who actually suffer the delusion that they’re doing a good job.

    • ceteris non paribus


      The image of Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Jones and Briffa doing heart surgery is a bit unnerving. They’d get the same answer whether the patient was upside down or rightside up.

      The notion that heart surgery has an “answer” is making me wonder what you think the question was.

    • Why don’t you go core your own trees, or better yet find a nice deep puddle of mud and pull your own log out of it?

  59. Markus –
    Can I introduce you to our friend Oliver?

  60. Anetros, how close did you get to the pot of quataloons?

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/02/uah-global-temperature-update-for-january-2012-0-09-deg-c/

    This drop was lead by the tropics? Interesting. A narrowing of the tropical belt would sure tick off some of the gang :)

  61. What I am skeptical of:
    First, understand that I am not a scientist, climate or otherwise.
    Second, I postulate that the climate is changing; it has a multi-billion year history of changing, why should I, or anyone else, expect it to suddenly stabilize, absent anthropogenic influence?

    A couple of days ago a letter writer responding to criticism of the WSJ article provided a list of planetary temperatures since 2000 as provided by the Met. They differed in the second decimal place. Another writer supplied temperature anomalies from another source which also differed in the second decimal place. I am skeptical that we have a planetary temperature monitoring system that is capable of providing climate scientists with the annual temperature of the Earth with an accuracy and resolution of hundredths of a degree C.

    There are a lot of climate models floating around, all with differing predictions (none of which, apparently, matched the empirical data of the last ten years). With all of the predictions, would it be unusual to find that at least one of the predictions matched future climate fairly closely for the next few years and, in the event, would that confirm that the model was accurate or that the match was serendipitous? I lurk on several climate change discussion groups and based on the exchanges among real scientists, climate and otherwise, I am skeptical that at the current state of climate science that climate scientists can provide an exhaustive list of the physical processes that affect climate, let alone assign values, or in some cases, even signs, to their relative influence. There are ongoing arguments as to whether clouds provide a positive or negative feedback, for example. Although I do not believe that we understand everything that influences climate, we ARE aware of a large number of them and among these, a good number vary randomly in amplitude, time, and location. The creation of models capable of handling multiple random inputs and producing reliable outputs is a thankless task. Other factors, correlated with climate, vary with some degree of periodicity, but we have no understanding of the coupling mechanism between the physical phenomenon and climate. Or whether the correlation is simply coincidence.

    Randomengineer provided this in a previous comment: “Climate scientists abuse the doctor metaphor in claiming that they have expertise in a well understood discipline.” At the current state of climate science, I am skeptical that we know enough about climate, what influences it, and the degree to which each known factor influences it, never mind the ‘unknown’ factors, to model the climate accurately long term, especially since a good number of required inputs to the model are random. I am also skeptical whether our existing data collection system can supply data of adequate precision into a climate model that COULD provide accurate long term climate prediction if such a model were available.

    And I am ESPECIALLY skeptical of climate models which claim to show that regardless of the large number of factors known to influence climate and others factors whose influence is still being hotly debated, random and periodic, with periods ranging from tens to thousands of years, the temperature of the earth is essentially a function of the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere, even though CO2 and temperature are apparently not strongly correlated.

    The fact that the CO2 theory is being used to justify a massive expansion of government power does little to temper my skepticism.

  62. This analogy (heart-surgeon/dentist etc), completely fails to win the argument. The work of physicians is verified and falsified on a daily basis. If their treatments, diagnoses and explanations of disease are wrong people generally find out very soon. With Climate Science, this is not the case.

    But we can look at how successful Climate Scientists are at describing and predicting weather and climate patterns based upon their “superior knowledge”. Any graph you care to look at shows how poorly GCMs model climate. These people can’t even predict the weather 5 days hence with any accuracy, yet we are expected to trust our economies and our lives to their theories. They then have the temerity to suggest “cures” for our ills that break the hippocratic oath, like mediaeval doctors determined to let blood and apply leeches to the body, they drain public money by prescribing ugly, expensive windfarms all over the place.

    Placing trust in consensus-touting Climate Scientists over the “problem” of climate change, and how to solve it, is like placing trust in a homeopath to cure cancer. There is an analogy that holds up.

  63. Don’s diode went blooie, and he’s getting a rebuilt alternator. Checking out the heater core, too. It got kinda blown out with all the frosty weather.

    Back on the road again. Will flats or fuel outs tardive the touring?
    ===========================

  64. Some thoughts about Kim following Anteros comments.;-)

    Mysterious Kim,
    Is Kim ‘her’ or ‘him’?
    Inscrutable sphynx or divine oracle,
    Far seeing prophet or quicksilver Ariel?
    Only those
    Who’ve seen Kim
    W/out softwear
    Really knows…

    ( Even Judith Curry doesn/t know.)

  65. Let’s not badmouth or attack our host here for the Trenberth op-ed in WSJ, which makes the silly comparison of climatologists with surgeons.

    Judith has stated often enough that there is great uncertainty regarding the causes of past climate change as well as the severity of future human-induced climate change.

    She has officially challenged the “mainstream consensus” conclusion that “most of the warming since 1950 was caused by human GHG emissions (principally CO2)”.

    And she has testified under oath that there is great uncertainty regarding the magnitude of AGW , that it is unlikely to be an existential threat over this century even in its worst incarnation.and that we should first clear up all the uncertainties before we embark on a program of action whose unintended consequences we cannot foresee.

    To put it in medical terms, she is telling us quite clearly that we do NOT yet have a diagnosis – and that we should, therefore, not rush into starting treatment or surgery

    This is a recommendation that makes a lot of sense (maybe not to Fred, but to me at least), but it is definitely NOT Trenberth’s message.

    Max

  66. Kim at 1.09 am:
    ‘A yellow crocus bloomed and cast a shadow,except
    when a cloud passed.’

    ‘I think I never heard so loud
    The silent message in a cloud.’
    Or in a crocus either, ‘ O sun flower!’

  67. OT
    UK climate change minister Chris Hughne resigns!

    • Not so much resigned – as leapt once the authorities announced that they will be prosecuting him and his ex for perverting the course of justice.

      A joyous day nonetheless that this odious man has left public life.

      And the new guy is pretty second-rate so will have less scope to ruin the economy and the environment with his daft expensive ideas.

  68. Surprisingly, most commenters (including Judith) evidence little to no real understanding of an argument from analogy, never mind this particular one.

    Trenberth’s argument is a comparison of situations that require us to appeal to expert knowledge and evaluate information and sources of information.

    Every day in modern society, we have to rely on all kinds of expert knowledge (from the knowledge of the engineers who built your apartment building to the industrial plant manager who ensures you can eat your canned goods). Accidents happen however for the most part, expert knowledge like this from many fields affects your life every day. People either rent an apartment and eat, or they don’t. Recognizing that we cannot do without expert knowledge is a basic step in understanding the argument. And so is learning to pragmatically and critically evaluate sources of expert information.

    There is a need to acknowledge individual vs collective decision-making. Many heart patients would be dead without their specialists and surgeons. Are you going to decide this for other people? No, you’re not. But not so fast with the perception of individualism because individual patients participate in and decide, collaboratively with their doctors, how to proceed; and those decisions are connected to the decisions of many patients and doctors who came before them. The knowledge base and decision-making is far more of a collective effort than it might seem.

    These are the kinds of considerations that go into reflecting on the analogy made by Trenberth.

    I’m not sure everyone is understanding that an argument from analogy is strong when there is more relevant comparison elements vs contrasting elements. As it was stated by Trenberth, it may be quite strong but recognizing this depends on one’s understanding of similarities in addition to recognizing the central argument, moral ideas, etc. Some similarities between both of these expert fields may be that both are highly technical, both collaborate extensively with other knowledge streams, both communicate information and then expect people to decide, both have rational and organizational constraints on their mistakes, actions and knowledge claims, both are highly accountable and both are international fields of knowledge.

    Etc.

    cheers :-)

    • Martha, What you refuse to acknowledge is that expert knowledge can ONLY be based on the ability of the expert to predict the future. When one considers doctors, one the key questions when one is being diagnosed for a condition is, “Doctor, what is the prognosis?”. In Canada, no doctor could possibly be licenced by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons if they cannot answer this question with complete competence. And the same is true for engineers, and any other experts you might care to mention. These people MUST be able to predict the future with considerable accuracy, and have an excellent track record, otherwise they are not experts.

      I defy you to show that there are ANY climate scientists who have any sort of good track record predicting the future; except for extremely short term weather forecasting. Not by any stretch of the imagination could I ever describe ANY climate scientist as an expert. Do some of them do an excellent job in the face of the difficulties that they face in their profession? Of course they do, but dont compare this the way Trenberth is trying to do.

    • Martha, no analogy is perfect. Some times the analogy selected is an indication of intent though. Trenberth’s doctor analogy is an appeal to authority, implying he is a better authority that the other guys. But what is his field of authority? Predicting the unpredictable? His assumption that models have an accuracy of +/- 0.18 Wm-2 because the direct measurement of flux is too course to measure the estimated 0.9Wm-2 seems to indicate that he thinks he is.

      There are other methods of determining flux imbalances. Dr. Roy Spencer is an authority on remote sensing, part of which is determining the atmospheric temperature and flux magnitudes. He doesn’t seem to care about consulting someone with expertise in the field that is causing him trouble.

      There is more than one way to skin a catfish, Trenberth appears to lack the imagination required to find other ways.

    • Martha,

      “Trenberth’s argument is a comparison of situations that require us to appeal to expert knowledge and evaluate information and sources of information.”

      Skeptics’ argument is that consensus scientists are lacking expertise (somewhat and not all) and on top of that show no healthy scientific/skeptical attitude (see Feynman). There’s also a clear conflict of interests.

      Regarding expertise, those who lack it can appeal to expert knowledge, I don’t care. But don’t tell those who don’t (for instance engineers with good knowledge of thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, physics, chemistry, complex systems…) to shut up and listen to the “experts”. The experts seem to be fake, after the evaluation.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Edim:
        People are notoriously bad at self-assessment. Engineers, in particular, seem to be vulnerable to the Dunning-Kruger effect. And people of true genius tend to underestimate their relative competence.

        “Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.” – Rene Descartes

        I wouldn’t tell anyone to shut up – but I nevertheless think we should listen to the experts. Fake experts are fairly rare – and those that exist will only be outed by understanding where they’ve ‘divided by zero’.

      • Ceteris
        What is it that makes you believe someone who calls themselves or is called by others an expert?
        Regarding climate studies, if someone is unable to demonstrate that their predictions are accurate isn’t it more reasonable to doubt their predictions of the future than to accept them on face value?

      • ceteris,

        I agree that people are sometimes bad at self-assessment and that people of true genius tend to underestimate their relative competence. I see the consensus scientists vulnerable to the D-K effect, they sure don’t underestimate their competence (a hint).

        I said engineers with good knowledge of the relevant fields, not just any engineers.

        At the end, the nature is the only judge. The next decade(s) will tell.

      • cnp –

        “Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.” – Rene Descartes

        Nice. I imagine that if he had ever seen the “blogosphere” he would certainly have considered it to be an absolute confirmation of his observation.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Rob:

        What is it that makes you believe someone who calls themselves or is called by others an expert?

        I don’t believe in people – I believe in propositions. One person can be say both true and false things. Even experts.


        Regarding climate studies, if someone is unable to demonstrate that their predictions are accurate isn’t it more reasonable to doubt their predictions of the future than to accept them on face value?

        Sure. It is always reasonable to doubt predictions to some degree. Just not to the degree that the doubting becomes unreasonable.

        Edim:

        At the end, the nature is the only judge. The next decade(s) will tell.

        How long to wait? 1 decade? 5? 50?
        We already have some evidence – we already know some of what nature has decreed.

      • ceteris, the sooner the better – I think one decade will be enough, especially if the atmospheric CO2 change follows the cooling, which I expect – it did in the past ~50 years.

      • ceteris non paribus


        …especially if the atmospheric CO2 change follows the cooling, which I expect

        OK – Which alternate universe are you posting from?

      • This universe ceteris. Annual atmospheric CO2 rate of change closely follows global temperature indices. Check it out.

      • ceteris non paribus


        Annual atmospheric CO2 rate of change closely follows global temperature indices.

        Not CO2 rate of change – but absolute quantity, i.e. ppmv. Check it out.

        And, previously, it was the “the cooling” (that hasn’t been measured by anyone) that I was questioning.

        (Yes – I am aware that the UAH temp anom for Jan 2012 is negative. Let me know when there are at least more negatives than positives.)

    • Martha
      Isn’t it reasonable to evaluate the degree to which the so called expert actually has mastered the topic under discussion? The relative ability of doctors has improved greatly over time. In hindsight, was it wise for people in the past to rely upon so called expert doctors who wanted to “bleed people” in order to cure them or drill holes in their head to let the evil out? (there are many examples of people claiming expertise who were subsequently found to be largely incorrect)

      Climate science is a relatively new field. When you get into the details you find that many climate scientists claim to know more about how the system works and what will happen in the future than there is evidence to support. Accepting the opinions of an expert, who cannot reasonable, demonstrate that their opinions are highly accurate seems very much the same as a person supporting any particular religious perspective Imo.

      • Hey Rob :-)
        Let’s extend it to both experts and critiques. Most commenters here haven’t remotely mastered the topic of climate science but we still have to evaluate the information and sources of information. People have the skill to do this, at least pragmatically.

        I read the literature all the time and on the whole, all things considered, I honestly find your characterization of the science and scientists is just not accurate. I say this even though I am well aware of the paternalism, bureaucratization and interests at play in the institutionalization of both science and medicine. ;-)

        The thing is to overall evaluate, not just express a partial opinion on one aspect of a detail or situation (like so many denizens). Trenberth consistently demonstrates excellent overall ability to think about things, when he communicates. Instead of responding to his arguments in a meaningful way, the majority of comments on this thread show no effort to think, and they offer alot of misinformation.

        If the majority of people at ClimateEtc don’t set standards for the quality of their opinions it will just be more of the same, with no change. So far if anything, the pattern is even more entrenched. I’m not sure that’s what Curry intended, but in many ways, she has encouraged it and failed to lead by example. :-(

      • Martha

        I would agree that most here have not “mastered” overall cliamte science, and I would not claim that I have either. I would claim that I and many of the posters here have a pretty good understanding of the relevant issues on the topic
        however.
        I would tend to agree that people frequently become overly committed to their positions and are reluctant to change their position when additional information becomes available. I strongly disagree, based upon my personal experience that the bias is worse on the skeptical side than on the side of those fearing about additional CO2.

        I have visited sites visited overwhelmingly by those who support taking pretty aggressive steps to reduce CO2 emissions and have found that people there are generally unwilling to discuss topics that might make their conclusions “questionable”. I agree that there are some here who exhibit the same behavior, but generally here I find the discussion to be on the merits of the evidence to support a conclusion. (or at least those are the posts I tend to look at more- Judith does like to have more psychology oriented posts than I wish but that is my bias).

        So to the evidence and merits of positions- where would you agree disagree? Please answer.
        1. We do not yet understand within a reasonably tight margin of error what impact additional atmospheric CO2 will have on temperature
        2. We do not have ANY reliable models that can predict what the world’s climate will be like as a function of differing atmospheric CO2 levels. We simply do not know what areas (or nations) of the world will benefit or be potentially harmed as a result of a change in the climate
        3. There is a very low potential to realistically lower CO2 emissions rates over the next several decades. The financial situation in the EU and the US puts both regions in a dire situation regardless of the CO2 issue.
        4. The overwhelming majority of potential harms of a warmer world can be very cost effectively adapted to via the construction of proper infrastructure.

    • Martha

      Trenberth et al:

      Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade.

      http://on.wsj.com/yJW2IT

      Here is the data from the Climate Research Unit that shows the trend in the last decade:

      http://bit.ly/oZgufE

      This data shows the globe has a cooling trend.

      Martha, why do they make statement contrary to the data?

    • “Trenberth’s argument is a comparison of situations that require us to appeal to expert knowledge and evaluate information and sources of information.”

      Analogies are funny things. You make one to demonstrate a particular point, but others are free to make their contrary points by showing the limitations of the analogy. Free speech…sucks doesn’t it?

      Perhaps a better analogy would have been of climate scientists to, say…brain transplant surgeons. No idea if the diagnosis is proper, no idea of the future outcome, and enormously high risk of the death of the patient. Who wants to volunteer to be the first subject?

      If you have to compare climate science to heart surgery, it is at best analogous to being the first patient to have an artificial heart implanted in your chest. If I recall correctly, Debakey’s first patient only lasted a few days.

      Too bad we only have one climate, and one global economy, otherwise we could let the mad climate scientists experiment a little more. The problem is, they want to treat the real world the same way they do their computer models.

      • Hello Gary,
        Analogy is a form of reasoning and argumentation. Never too late to learn new skills.

        I gave an example of how you might examine one side of the equation for this particular analogy. There is an entire other side that I can also argue.

        You are not interested in arguments or reasoning, and fair enough. However, since I value reasoning, I’m not very interested in opinions that don’t demonstrate reasoning skills or at least an interest in thinking. :-(

        One more thing: if this was an entire thread of women, rather than men, saying such stupid and misinformed and irrelevant things 24/7, it would immediately be the joke of the internet.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Martha

        One more thing: if this was an entire thread of women, rather than men, saying such stupid and misinformed and irrelevant things 24/7, it would immediately be the joke of the internet.

        I have some news for you… :-)

      • Hello Martha,

        I will try to match the condescending nature of your response. I’m not sure I am up to it, but I’ll give it a shot.

        An analogy is a way of trying to make a point by showing the similarity between the two things analogized. (Sorry, “analogized” has 5 syllables, but it’s the only word that works. – Is that condescending enough?). If you are actually interested in discussion or argument, then the way to do so is to discuss whether the similarity the writer claims exists in the analogy does or does not in fact exist.

        That is what is called argument. What you want is a monologue, but for that you are in the wrong forum.

        Trenberth compared climate scientists to heart surgeons in his analogy because he wanted to show the similarity in the respect they should be given as authorities. What I and numerous other commenters have pointed out are the dissimilarities between heart surgeons and climate scientists with respect to the issue of whether their “authority” is sufficient to justify deference by the public. In other words, our criticism was direct, on point, and in the proper context given the use of analogy.

        That is why I suggested a more apt analogy (meaning greater similarity, since that is supposed to be the point of an analogy). If you are going to make an appeal to authority, and use an analogy to do so, it only makes sense to pick an alternative that is in fact similar to the subject of your argument. Trenberth, as is his wont, prefers misdirection to logic.

        (Methinks Martha wants to take the semantic quibbler chair away from Joshua.)

    • Martha,
      Most of us understand the argument very well, but we notice that Trenberth and team behave in ways incompatible with trust worthy experts, have no track record of good predictions, and offer cures that are seen to not work.

    • Martha,

      Actually, I think we all understand the “argument from analogy” business–all of us. Rather, what’s really going on is a battle for the narrative high-ground.

      Incidentally, Martha, did you see that a couple of the leading Lysenkoist, sell-out, “neo tobacco-scientist”, heart-throb “heart-surgeons” of the CAGW scam are off on some sort of carbon-glutton, PR-stunt, yacht-based expedition to Antarctica with the greenshirts’ leading, Nobel-prize/academy award-winning “dentist” –Cap’n “Al” Gore? Pretty amazing bit of tone-deaf, carbon-piggery, huh? My guess? I’d say the CAGW scam’s “biggies” realize their hustle is now pretty much toast and so they’re blowing what’s left in the kitty on one last party-animal, bunga-bunga bash for themselves and their pals and their most useful, tag-along stooges. I mean, you know these guys, Martha–isn’t that just the sort of thing they’d do with all those widow’s mites that not-too-bright, lefty do-gooder gulls have dropped into the Big-Green collection-plate over the years?

      In the meantime, us conservative-old-white-men, motivated soley by our disinterested, altruistic, noble sense of good-citizenship duty, continue, on our own frugal, no-frills, low-carbon dime, to jam-up the CAGW-scam juggernaut and its lavishly financed, re-distributionist, Lysenkoist, watermelon-friendly, preposterous hypocrisies, false-pretenses, and obscene carbon-gluttony.

      Like I said, it’s a battle of the narratives.

      • ceteris non paribus

        “…what’s really going on is a battle for the narrative high-ground.”

        “Like I said, it’s a battle of the narratives.”

        Welcome to post-modernism – The overly-verbose, politically-loaded, hyphenated-adjective edition.

      • mike –

        That was your offering for the “high ground” of narrative?

        Can we reduce this to a more simple metric so I can adopt your strategy? Is the height of ground a function of hyphen usage? Insult to word ratio?

        Let a buddy in on your secret.

      • Josh, ceteris,

        The “secret” of my ability to reduce ceteris to a sputtering, zit-git nag-butt and Josh to timid little, don’t-get-the-guy-mad, flustered shade of his former, big-mouth troll-bopper self, is simple:

        I DON’T HAVE TO CHECK IN WITH ANY HIVE-MASTERS BEFORE I NAIL YOU GREENSHIRTS AND YOUR CAGW HUSTLES AND SCAMS OR BEFORE I DEAL YOU DOOM-BOTS A WELL-DESERVED NOOGIE OR TWO!

        Think about it. I mean, like, when I want to comment I don’t need to, first, go through an eye-stalk and antennae heavy-petting session with some creep-out, youth-master controller. I also don’t have to, first, get any glands cranked up and spewing good-comrade, I-need-back-up pheromones. And I also don’t have to, first, consult the quivers of any hair sensor “thingies” projecting from any hive-issued exo-skeleton for deviations from the latest hive-vibe.

        No. Unlike you guys, I just load-and-go. And that allows me to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee–to quote a famous American.

        So now that I’ve answered your thread-jacking attempt, Josh, let me ask what you think of Gore-of-Antarctica and his latest doom-butt, carbon-porkie bit of greenshirt street-theater? And, please, don’t tell me that what goes down in the Southern Hemisphere stays in the Southern Hemisphere.

      • mike –

        Gore is a blowhard. That you think that there’s any possibility that I’d think otherwise (hence your question to which the answer is obvious) is a solid indication of the quality of your reasoning.

      • and mike –

        So now that I’ve answered your thread-jacking attempt, Josh,

        I’ve said this before, and I’ll likely say it again, but the sheer illogical perfection of that sort of comment will always deserve special appreciation.

        It’s my thread-jacking attempt because you answered my comment?

        Spectacular!

      • ceteris non paribus

        Joshua,

        You missed the memo. This is mike’s thread.
        It only seems like this blog is hosted by Dr Curry.
        I will now let your consciousness return to the hive-mind.

      • ceteris,

        I can see you’ve been programmed to always have the last nagging word. So, ceteris, could you in your next, trite-with-no-bite, hard-coded, conditioned-reflex, zit-git riposte please–pretty please–do your nag-ninja, doom-bot best to offer up your pre-programmed thoughts on Al Gore and his latest carbon-hoggie, agit-prop rip-off underway in Antarctica?

        Incidentally, Josh called “Big Al” a blow-hard. Which proves he’s a real person. Can you say the same, ceteris? Can you prove you’re a real person, ceteris?

      • ceteris non paribus

        mike:
        You really need to get out more often.

  69. Norm Kalmanovitch

    “Do you consult with your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a number of the proposed operations.”
    An enlarged heart can be a sign of either congestive heart failure or a very healthy heart from over four decades of competitive cycling.
    My dentist knows that I cycle but my heart cardiologist who is not a specialist in sports medicine ignored my resting heart rate in the low 40’s my very healthy blood pressure and the fact that I ran up the four flights of stairs to his office without even puffing and signed me up for a stress test which had me running full tilt to get my heart rate up to the required level for the thallium injection.
    My dentist was right and my cardiologist was wrong but I am intelligent enough not to take the word of my dentist over that of my cardiologist and unlike Trenberth who ignores data and only accepts fabricated computer projections; my cardiologist looked at thye stress test results and concluded that my large heart capacity is healthy and not a sign of angina.
    I did not argue with my cardiologist because his prescribed action was to test his hypothesis not to take unwarrented action based on it as Trenberth Hansen and the rest of the modelling crowd have falsely compelled the world to do.
    My cardiologist is a scientist who tests his hypothesis with experiment and rejects the hypothesis when it is found to be faulty.
    Can the same be said of those who never tested their hypothesis and in the light of evidence that refutes all model, projections still promote the ridiculous notion that CO2 emissions are causing the Earth to warm at a catastrophic rate sa the Earth continues to cool!

  70. Chief Hydrologist

    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.

    The discussion around the science is more or less sophisticated. An understanding of subtlety and complexity is there in the real science – but rarely in the blogosphere or in the political arena – of which this is a manifestation.

    “Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values. Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.’

    As Mike says – it is a battle for the moral and intellectual high ground. A renewed narrative of hope, optimism and a better future for humanity. Free markets – democracy – technology being the key elements of resilient human cultures. We need to recognise that battle is joined – recognise the enemy and what they stand for – and frame our narrative around positive human values. These are the traditional enlightenment values that seem under threat in the world today. ‘The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.’

  71. Note: Washington has joined California and New York in creating a requirement for insurance providers to conduct a climate risk audit. More paperwork that does what exactly?

  72. Joshua: In commenting on my post you said: “I was waiting for the tell. Usually I don’t have to wait until the end to find it. I commend you for that.”

    Well, in the face of a counter argument like that I will suppose that I will have to de-skeptify myself. Just to be clear, with those three very concise sentences you have shown that my skepticism is unwarranted by proving that:

    a. Climate scientists are in fact confident that they understand all factors affecting climate and routinely incorporate them into their climate models.
    b. The climate models easily account for the large number of known influences on climate that vary randomly in location, frequency, and magnitude and that the randomness of so many inputs to the models should in no way arouse skepticism as to their validity, even though there is little demonstrated correlation between previous predictions and subsequent data.
    c. We actually DO have validated climate models that show that planetary temperature is a known function of the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere and Rob Starkey is simply wrong when he says “We do not have ANY reliable models that can predict what the world’s climate will be like as a function of differing atmospheric CO2 levels.”
    d. The instrumentation system that has been in place for the last hundred years, and certainly for the last ten, is in fact perfectly capable of measuring the annual temperature of the earth with an accuracy and resolution of +/- .01 degree C.
    and, apparently most importantly, because it was the only part of my post that you addressed and, contrary to my ‘tell’,
    e. Climate models showing that the climate is warming at an unprecedented rate as a direct consequence of anthropogenic CO2 and that the warming poses an existential threat to humans specifically and to the planetary biosphere in general are NOT being used to justify greatly expanded government power.

    • Norm Kalmanovitch

      Climate models cannot attibute anything to atmospheric CO2 without a CO2 forcing parameter and the CO2 forcing parameter used is a complete fabrication with no ground truth verification for its relationship.

      c. We actually DO have validated climate models that show that planetary temperature is a known function of the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere and Rob Starkey is simply wrong when he says “We do not have ANY reliable models that can predict what the world’s climate will be like as a function of differing atmospheric CO2 levels.”

      This is a completely ludicrous statement because if notjhing else the 2ppmv/year increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration produced warming for 13 years up to 1998 but no warming since!
      It also produced warming for 32 years from1910 to 1942 but did not produce any warming for 33 years from 1942 to 1975.
      The forcing parameter in the climate models was fabricated to produce warming from increased CO2 so there is no possibility that anyone can say with a straight face that “We actually DO have validated climate models that show that planetary temperature is a known function of the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere” because the models get it backwards over half the time.
      http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf ERBE vrs climate models in figure 2 shows that 11 models disagree with ERBE and this does not exactly confirm your belief in the validity of the climate models !!
      Also if the climate models were correct in any way in their prediction of a decrease in OLR from increased CO2 this would be seen in the satellite measurements of OLR and in the 31 years of data there is absolutely no indication of this occurring.
      The correct statement should be that climate models fail to predict the effect of increased CO2 on climate because most of the effect from CO2 is the effect previously from clouds and water vapour so any possible effect from CO2 is not at a detecatable level which demonstrates that the models are not using a proper relationship for the effect from increased CO2 as demonstrated by 23 years of failed predictions from Hansen’s models based on Scenario “A” “B” and “C”!!

    • Bob Ludwick

      Your irony is superb, but maybe Joshua won’t catch it.

      I did.

      Thanks.

      Max

  73. The real comparison is do I consult someone who has made computer models of my heart which does not look like the scans of any heart and has parts in the wrong places to make it produce numbers which agree with my heart’s history but which fails in its predictions of what my heart and those of others do in the future or do I consult someone who has observed real world hearts and has a track record of successfully identifying a treating heart conditions.

  74. Snake oil in any bottle remains snake oil, no matter how many doctors have signed the label.

  75. The fundamental flaw in Trenberth’s argument is that your health professional can give you reliable statistics on the outcome of interventions demonstrated of many thousands of cases and real outcomes. Climate scientists are dreaming if they think they can predict the outcome in 100 years based on foggy data which is reliable at most for about 30 years.

    If your doctor says you will live to be 200 by taking the snake oil magnetic potion for the next 50 years at a cost of 1000 per month, do you believe?

  76. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

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  78. Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally taking time and actual effort to make a very good article but what can I say I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.

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