Skeptics vs academics

by Judith Curry

I am trying to understand how sceptics and warmists can look at pretty much the same information and come up with two very different conclusions – Mike Haseler, the Scottish Sceptic

I thought this would be a fun topic for this weekend – two different perspectives on what differentiates skeptics from  non-skeptics/academics/warmists.

Skeptics vs academics

Last week I received and email from Mike Haseler, the Scottish Sceptic.

I am trying to understand how sceptics and warmists can look at pretty much the same information and come up with two very different conclusions and I have reach a stage I can tabulate some of my broader conclusions. I know this debate can get heated, but I honestly believe that on the whole both “sides” are trying their best to use their skills, training and experience on this complex problem.

I would very much appreciate your help and any views on this subject would be very useful. You can comment on the table in the article on my blog or by reply to this email. 

He has a blog post sceptics vs academics, where he attempts to differentiate skeptics vs non-skeptics.    I reproduce much of his post here:

This is part of a long term project to try to understand why the “two sides” in the climate debate look at pretty much the same information and come to very different conclusions. Having met both sides, and tried to understand their motivation and outlook, I am thoroughly convinced that both approach the subject in what they think is the right way and both are horrified at the “antics” of the other. If I have said anything that can be taken as derogatory, that was not the intention. I am sorry but I have done my best to describe what I see.

I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE COMMENTS FROM BOTH “SIDES”.

Sceptic Non-sceptic
(Academic/ “warmist”)
Employment sector Commercial & non-governmental Academia, public sector & campaign charities
Employment Electronic engineering, chemical engineering, energy engineering, general engineering, weather forecasting. Environmental science, life sciences, climate science, civil service, journalism, campaign charities & general sciences.
Main focus Prediction & hard facts. Understanding & empathy.
Viewpoint Individualistic, libertarian & conservative (not politically) Public sector, Guardian liberal.
Viewpoint of Natural variation Natural variation is around us everywhere and dominates natural systems. Many things vary naturally and we capture these in our models. With enough data, measurement errors can be processed  data so that we can ignore them.
Model of natural variation. Measurement = Nat.Var.
after careful work …
Measurement =
f(t) + Nat.Var.(t)

Theory = Natural system.
(After enough data measurement errors -> 0)

Main Expertise Prediction, design & decision making Theory, understanding and/or modelling through hindcasting. Communicating ideas.
Main Aim Best decision Best explanation
Attitude if prediction/model doesn’t match new data. Poor quality like this cannot be tolerated by professionals. Good decisions require good models which include normal variation.
Those involved should sort the problem out or find another job.
That is to be expected because this is how we improve our models.
Attitude if they don’t understand what is happening Real life is like that and you learn to cope. That is a dreadful admission. How can you say you can’t explain what is happening. A careless attitude like this cannot be tolerated.
Those involved should sort out their problems or find another job.
Attitude to long term forecasting. Forecasts get worse and natural variation increases the further away we try to predict from measured data. Errors become smaller with more data so over the long term measurement errors can be ignored.
Extra discipline skill set. Holistic, multi-skilled, complex, time & resource limited.
Includes practical economics, understanding how people react in real situations and how they reach decisions in the real world.
Used to complex systems with non-linear, non-deterministic behaviour, real time decision making, safety critical. Able to cope where there is not enough time or resources.
Single subject.
Focused on own area of expertise. Secure job with time to get to grips with subject. Reliant on peers to provide good data. Avoids messy, non-linear, non-deterministic systems operating in real time. Is almost never involved in commercial situations where there is too little time and resource (to involve academia).
Problem solving approach Bottom up
Start with the brass tacks facts, assess the situation to a professional standard & if there is time make make sense of it.
Top down.
Start with the overall picture & fills in the details as understanding improves. Ignore all extraneous detail which cannot be modelled.
Experience in decision making Real time, high cost, critical to company’s survival and/or safety critical. Resource & information limited. Which journal/newspaper to send latest work to?
What to do next to get next grant?
What quality means Getting it right first time Work accepted by peers, newspaper, manager as “novel enough” & interesting enough for publication

Addendum

Approach What is normal and is there any sign of anything abnormal happening which requires attention? How do we model the system and what do our models suggest will happen?
Basis for validation /falsification of hypotheses Empirical data derived from real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation. Model simulations based on theoretical considerations supported by interpretations of selected paleo-climate proxy data

Academics vs skeptics

For the flip side, here is a perspective from a non-skeptic academic: Stephan Lewandowsky.  I cite here a Guardian article entitled Climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists and free market advocates, study claims.  Excerpts:

If you answered yes to any of these conspiracy theories then a new study published today has found that you probably also think the science of human-caused climate change is some sort of hoax and you might think too that there’s no good evidence for vaccinating children.

The study, titled The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science and published in the journal PLOS ONE, also finds another strong predictor for the dismissal of the science of human-caused climate change.

That is, if you’re a conservative who believes the world runs best when businesses operate in a “free market” with little government interference, then the chances are you don’t think human-caused climate change represents a significant risk to human civilisation.

The new study is led by Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, chair of cognitive psychology at the University of Bristol, and follows his previous study which caused the metaphorical head of the climate science denial blogosphere to explode.

Sceptics rejected Professor Lewandowsky’s initial findings largely because he had used questionnaires posted on climate blogs to gather the data.

None of those accusations can be used to criticise this new study, Professor Lewandowsky says, because the questionnaire was carried out by a third-party professional survey company using a sample that was representative of the US population. By email, he said:

There are some other more subtle differences, and despite all that, the results are pretty much identical: Free-market worldviews are strongly associated with rejection of climate science and conspiratorial thinking is associated with the rejection of all scientific propositions tested, albeit to varying extent.

This is a pervasive pattern now that has been shown multiple times in the literature by a number of different authors. I am now fairly convinced that wherever there is science denial, there is also a conspiracy theory waiting to be aired.

In the new study, which surveyed the views of 1000 people in the US, Professor Lewandowsky and his co-authors write that people’s worldview “constituted an overpowering barrier to acceptance of climate science”. Professor Lewandowsky told me:

I cannot be sure of the causality, but there are multiple lines of evidence that suggest that the involvement of worldview, such as free-market principles, arises because people of that worldview feel threatened not by climate change or by lung cancer, but by the regulatory implications if those risks are being addressed by society. Addressing lung cancer means to control tobacco, and addressing climate change means to control fossil-fuel emissions. It’s the need to control those products and their industries that is threatening people with strong free-market leanings.

Many “think-tanks” and organisations around the world which reject or underplay the risks of human-caused climate change do also advocate “free market” principles. Many have accepted funding from fossil fuel interests and rich conservative philanthropists.

But the research is careful to point out the findings don’t mean that conservatives are, by extension, more likely to exhibit “conspiracist ideation” which the study categorises as a style of thinking rather than a distinct personality trait.

But the study says the two groups do share a habit of engaging in what’s known as “motivated reasoning” – the tendency to accept without criticism any evidence that suits your belief while you ignore or reject the evidence that challenges what you think.

JC comments:  I thought these two pieces were quite interesting when considered together.  The skeptic (Haseler) digs in and really tries to understand the reasons why educated people look at the same evidence about climate change and come to other conclusions.  The warmist (Lewandowsky) is looking to find evidence to support his ‘interesting’ ideas skeptics are conspiracy theorists, motivated reasoners, and something is wrong with their brains.

Help Mike Haseler with his study, discuss here and head over to his blog post for further details and discussion.

946 responses to “Skeptics vs academics

  1. That is a pretty thorough comparison/contrast. I am strongly in the “if you don’t know normal you can’t determine abnormal” camp.

    • That is a pretty thorough comparison/contrast.

      Wow.

      Really? That you, Cap’n?

      • Joshua, yep. From the skeptic side it is mainly the nuts and bolts involved in every stage. There are plenty of rules of thumb or gut checks used by engineers to see if things make sense and Occam’s razor in engineering is “where did I screw up.” Good engineers tend to triple check things before spending time trying to implement things.

        The radiant dominate GHE theory though starts with tons of assumptions then builds by assuming away the difficult parts. There is still a discussion on what Global Mean Surface Temperature is and whether it has any meaning. Then after 30 years of using an iffy metric, the shift it towards actual heat transfer. That is 30 years of pulling your pud. Not something you would expect in engineering. Basically, Climate science has spent 30 years getting to stage one but selling stock the whole time.

    • Capt’nDallas

      In another sphere, obstetrics, the same perspective is codified into duration of residency training. It takes 5 years to learn what is: ” normal labor.”

      Your in calm waters with this attitude. :)

      • The average birth in the USA costs $9,000.
        In the UK, with the NHS, the average cost for a home birth is £1,066, midwife-led births came in at around £1,450 and a doctor directed hospital birth costs £1,631.
        There is no ‘normal’ birth in the USA as the ‘John Edwards’ effect has triumphed, the medics must make damned sure that each birth proceeds without a law suit.

      • The problem with that comparison is that you’re looking at “list” prices. The in-system insurance payments are nowhere near that.

        The existing system is full of stupid, but not anywhere near as stupid as what’s coming.

      • For those of us on medicate and tricare (military) insurance the difference between the billed and the allowed amounts are huge.
        On average there may be about $800 allowed on a $9,000 bill.

        One doctor told me that with tricare they would be better off to hand us a
        $100 bill and go to another doctor

      • I’ve often found healthcare to be a very useful parallel with the climate debate. The two (conflicting) examples I use are:

        1. The debate between natural and doctor led child birth. I think this is relevant because it shows that “the experts” are not always the real experts – at least in how to put a mother at ease. In other words it shows that non experts can have a perfectly legitimate and rational reason to think differently from the expert.

        2. The other example I use is between the drug company scientist and the general practice doctor. Here we have a time served professional with hands on experience … but who has probably never researched drugs. And we have a scientist who is an expert on their drug. The question I then ask is “who would you prefer to prescribe drugs … the scientist or the doctor.

        I doubt many would say “scientist”, instead they would prefer a hands-on person who was used to dealing with problems. So why in the climate debate are scientists allowed to claim that BECAUSE they are scientists, they are the only people who should be allowed to make judgements about the climate … because that is tantamount to saying that only biochemists should be able to decide who is prescribed drugs.

      • I see it more as per the old joke: cleaned up some…
        The young bull and the old bull in the paddock, notice a some cows. The Young bull says “Let’s run down there and have our way with one!”. The old bull says “Nah, let’s walk down and have our way with all of ’em”.
        The warmists want us to “run down there” and “fix” the problem they see. The skeptics want us to take our time to define the problem and make sure the cure isn’t worse than the disease.
        The warmists are impatient and want to DO SOMETHING, NOW! They want to make a difference.
        The skeptics are patient and methodical and know from experience that ‘doing something’ is less important than doing the RIGHT thing.
        By preventing the warmists acting, the skeptics are seen as ‘being in the way’.
        By demanding action immediately, the warmists are seen as impetuous, arrogant and dangerous.
        Yes, dangerous – acting without sufficient information, even with the best of intentions, can easily make things worse.

        So actually, the two views ARE the same – it’s just that the warmists are young and inexperienced, and so are eager to make the world a better place, while the skeptics have already seen what can happen, seen how badly things can go wrong and who (and what) ends up paying for that folly, and so are more calm and – dare I say it – rational about the situation.

        YMMV.

      • In reality, the scientists (infected with greed and social justice training/indoctrination) see other people’s money and say “let’s have our way with it”.

    • I read the Lew thing and I note he separates the reasons for being a climate sceptic from those of being anti GM crops. His attempt at justifying this seems to be that the right hates climatology while the left hates big business. That was as scientific as it got.

      Personally I think Mike hits it on the head with his engineers take on things. We spent a long time learning about normal and how to make sure things work best for the lowest costs, financial and human. I have been a civil engineer for over 40 years and the environment I operate in today is not materially different from the one I started building things on and under in the 60’s.

      During all that time I have had to listen to social “scientists” telling me that I am wrong. They still drive on my roads, drink water from my dams, land on my airports and stay healthy thanks to my water and sewerage treatment. All designed and built using practically the same parameters right through.

      I think what Mike is highlighting is the difference between hard and soft sciences. Everybody takes the hard sciences for granted because they hardly ever fail while the soft sciences seem to be largely just fashionable opinions that get talked about because everyone has an opinion about them.

    • A pretty comprehensive list of cliché stereotypes.

      What he seems to be saying in his table is:
      Warmists are left-wing loons who could not earn a days money in the “real world”. Sceptics are smart, intelligent and have _real_ jobs, so we’re right about everything.

      He tells us more about himself than anyone else. Pretty much the same kind of trivial stereotype slurring the Lewkovsky does but leaning the other way.

      Of course both pretend that they are being totally objective, fair and open-minded so their results are scientific not personal bigotry.

    • Is it what Thomas Kuhn says about “incommensurability”…
      http://fr.slideshare.net/sandhyajohnson/the-structure-of-scientific-revolutions-thomas-kuhn-book-summary

      I observe that on the few subject I track.
      even on free market/protectionism.

      Maybe is it a Groupthink, a collective delusion, a Mutual assured delusion…
      as explain roland benabou:
      http://www.princeton.edu/~rbenabou/papers/Groupthink%20IOM%202012_07_02%20BW.pdf

  2. Mikey Mannhole.

    “Stephan Lewandowsky”. . . . Ahhhhhh crap. There I was reading along and then read the infamous name.

    Now I have to go and wash my hands and disinfect my computer screen. Professor Lewandrosky . . . Proving once again even good universtities can get their hiring tragically wrong.

      • Worse the RS thought it was a ‘good idea ‘ to hand me a load of cash too.
        If I was one of his students at Bristol I demand to be judge by his ‘standards ‘ knowing that meant I could use any old rubbish and still pass. ,

  3. I don’t know if its just me but on both Chrome and Firefox browsers I get the table overlapping the right hand side bar.

  4. “Public sector”

    Meeeeoooooowww! The cat’s out of the bag!

    Andrew

  5. Around 1972, there was a heated debate about ABM (Anti-ballistic missile defence). Two groups of competent scientists took the same data, used acceptable methodology, and came to opposite conclusions. The Operational Reasearch Society of Amercia did a big study, the report of whicn exists. I dont think this solved anything.

    Throughout the history of science this sort of thing occurs. Usually the issue is settled by empirical data.

  6. It can’t be a good idea to throw out the scientific method because liberal, Leftist schoolteachers think they’ve been chosen by their new God Al Gore and the Eurocomies of dead and dying Old Europe to save the a dumb and ignorant herd, comprised of the prouctive, from Americanism.

    • David L. Hagen

      Compliments Mike Haseler for your thought provoking comparison.
      Here are some rapid comments to further your analyses. (They need to be summarized).

      Publications vs commercial results
      I have migrated from the academic to the Engineering/Scientist/Applied Research camp.
      Having “published”, I now invent / research / develop / commercialize what is needed to solve major societal problems. e.g. provide replacement liquid fuels, develop direct local processing of natural resources to high quality products in developing countries, ultra clean combustion without catalysts, higher efficiency combined heat and power systems for more efficient lower cost energy generation with heat use. etc.
      Projects developed must be commercially successful.
      Therefore it must work better, cheaper, more efficiently, cleaner, lower risk etc. than what is available. No time to waste on iffy projects with poor prognosis.

      Start with what works, find the gaps, develop improved systems that work.
      Models must work accurately.
      No time to waste and no benefit from models far adrift from reality.
      Patents and successful business proposals are more important than publications.

      Fooled once, twice shy
      In 1990 I believed the warnings from the IPCC and prepared a 330 page report on ways to use solar energy to mitigate anthropogenic global warming.
      Hagen, D.L. & Kaneff, S. “Application of Solar Thermal Technologies in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Opportunities and Benefits for Australian industry” for Anutech Pty Ltd to Dept. Arts, Sports, the Environment, Tourism and Territories, Canberra, Australia, June 1991

      Now I find the IPCC models predicting from 1979 are going 2 sigma 95% outside reality of current global temperatures. E.g. see evidence by Christy in Roy Spencer’s evidence to Congress.
      For engineers, after 24 years of working at it, I would have expected steady improvement with temperatures falling well within the model error bounds. Instead IPCC’s CR5 models are so far removed from reality as to be off in La La Land, apparently by focusing on alarmable anthropogenic impacts while ignoring natural variations, or assuming that they will average out. The IPCC and academics hawking GCM’s now have to work doubly hard on validation and accuracy to become believable.

      E.g. see aerospace engineer Burt Rutan. He spent his life devouring large volumes of data, reviewing aerospace performance against models and making life/death decisions with 100 million dollar decisions. He was finally persuaded to look at global warming. Check out Rutan’s review for an engineer’s perspective.

      What get paid for
      Green environmentalists and academics appear to raise hundreds of millions of dollars and get grants from making alarmist predictions to pressure politicians. They get paid millions for insisting on “mitigation” policies that have very poor economics compared to reasonable “adaptation”. E.g., insisting on mitigation that costs 100:1 more than adaptation.
      Engineers raise funds to develop commercially successful projects based on accurate models and strong financial returns. Wildly unrealistic predictions with very poor economics are a sure fire way to bankruptcy, highly likely loss of job, and having to find new employment.

      Engineers and financial professional need models that work. Academics appear to prefer unexpected alarming results to increase probability and dollar value of getting the next grant.

      Conservative vs alarmist forecasting
      E.g. see J. Scott Armstrong’s compilation and handbook of major well established principles of Forecasting
      Most academics appear to hire grad students to dive in and develop models with little understanding of the principles of scientific forescasting or of strict commercial verification and validation. This appears to be gradually improving with GCM’s.
      However current GCMs appear to be nowhere near NASA standards established for the Moon shot. With the errors of current GCM models, spacecraft would more likely end up on Venus or Mars than on the moon.
      Few academics appear to be demanding full forecasting audits with commercial duty validation.
      Compare publications by Kesten C. Green , Armstrong & Soon.
      Contrast professional forecasters in commercial financial and engineering disciplines.

      Academics vs Einstein’s razor
      Einstein’s Razor “Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
      Forecasting experts first use the simplest models that achieve the best expectation of accuracy followed by declining accuracy with greater complexity and/or longer forecasts.
      J Scott Armstrong, Kesten C Green, Andreas Graefe 2013/7/11 Golden Rule of Forecasting: Be Conservative
      Armstrong & Green suggest that even the simplest naive model of no change is better than Al Gore’s/IPCC’s alarmist predictions. See Climate Bet where Armstrong’s naive no change prediction is winning over Al Gore’s 0.03C/year alarmist prediction.

      Then use the next improvement is to use a two parameter linear gradual warming since the little ice age. Then add the 60 year Pacific Decadal oscillation for a four parameter model. E.g. see Syun-Ichi Akasofu On the Recovery from the Little Ice Age 2010. And
      On the Present Halting of Global Warming 2013. Climate 2013, 1, 4-11; doi:10.3390/cli1010004

      The rise in global average temperature over the last century has halted since
      roughly the year 2000, despite the fact that the release of CO2 into the atmosphere is still
      increasing. It is suggested here that this interruption has been caused by the suspension of
      the near linear (+ 0.5 deg C/100 years or 0.05 deg C/10 years) temperature increase over the last
      two centuries, due to recovery from the Little Ice Age, by a superposed multi-decadal
      oscillation of a 0.2 deg C amplitude and a 50~60 year period, which reached its positive peak
      in about the year 2000—a halting similar to those that occurred around 1880 and 1940.

      Models that can forecast/hindcast from half the data to the other half of the data appear more believable to me than those that cannot. E.g. those by Nicola Scafetta
      Simple models that apply Einstein’s Razor and which give reasonably close projections appear far more believable to me than billion dollar Global Climate Models that are ALL running so hot as to be far adrift of reality. GCM’s are so far afield that they appear to be missing major physics and/or have climate sensitivity way too hot, or to have their cloud feedbacks far off or probably backwards etc.

      Statisticians vs Academics
      Academics / IPCC appear to be following the noble cause corruption where the end justifies the means. E.g. obfuscating errors by are acceptable to obtain the next grant. Novel models that show alarmist “hockey sticks” are basis for major academic kudos and must be advocated for greater grants — even when exposed as statistically invalid by multiple blue ribbon peer review. Academics developing GCM’s appear to assume natural variations will average out, therefore the major rapid increases must be evidence of anthropogenic warming. Ignoring natural ocean oscillations appears to be one of the major errors in current GCM’s.

      Statisticians find climate academics and the IPCC abysmally clueless. RGBatDuke exposes the numerous statistical errors of academics and GCMs. E.g.,

      The mean of many runs of INDEPENDENT GCMS is not a statistically meaningful quantity in any sense defensible by the laws of statistics. The standard deviation of that mean is not a meaningful predictor of the actual climate.
      . . . For EACH model ask — is this a successful model? Not when it spends well over 95% of the time too warm. Repeat for the next one. Ooo, reject it too! Then the next one. Outta here!
      In the end, you might end up with ONE OR TWO models from the entire collection that only spend >>80%<< of their time too warm, that aren't rejected by a one at a time hypothesis test per independent GCM. Those models are merely probably wrong, not almost certainly wrong.

      Academic “evidence” vs professional validation
      Professional engineering statisticians like Steve McIntyre expect documented validation of proposals. Used to mining industry quality due diligence McIntyre wrote:

      I innocently assumed that there would be some sort of due diligence package that had been prepared for his auditors . . .To my astonishment, Mann said that he had forgotten where the data was. It seemed that nobody had verified the study in the way that I was used to things being verified. . . .
      He chopped off the inconvenient portion of the Briffa tree ring data – the portion where it goes down – and tucked the end point under other data, giving a rhetorical impression of consistency. To make matters worse, the deletion of data wasn’t mentioned in the IPCC report and post-1960 values of the Briffa reconstruction were excluded from the archived digital version.

      In the view of finance and engineering professionals, such tactics by academics would land one in jail in the commercial world.

      Allow for the full range of natural variations.
      Civil engineers may have millions of lives at stake from floods and droughts due to their decisions. They must account for extreme events with recognition of climate persistence.
      See WJR Alexander’s opus magnum in collecting > 100 years of comprehensive data with evaluation of precipitation, stream flow and droughts/floods in Southern Africa. He finds significant 21 year Hale solar cycle driving floods/droughts – but little anthropogenic contribution. See:
      WJR Alexander Causal linkages between solar activity and climatic responses, Water Resources & Flood Studies, U. Pretoria, 1 March 2006
      WJR Alexander et al. Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development 2007
      See WJR Alexander’s publications

      Allow for climate persistance
      Climate modelers appear to come from the geek squad delighting in millions of lines of complex code including all the possible parameters – but with little connection to hard reality. Most appear to assume climate variations are random and average out. They do not appear to have heard of climate persistence, nor of Hurst Kolmogorov Dynamics. E.g., See hydrologists: Markonis, Y., and D. Koutsoyiannis,
      Climatic variability over time scales spanning nine orders of magnitude: Connecting Milankovitch cycles with Hurst–Kolmogorov dynamics, Surveys in Geophysics, 34 (2), 181–207, 2013.
      Alarmists seem to panic over seeing 2 sigma (>95%0 variations using conventional statistics based on random variations. They do not apear to realize that natural Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamic variations can be twice as large as random variations. Consequently the same event is just a 1 HK sigma (68%) event (if I understand correctly the statistics reported. See D. Koutsoyiannis et al. comparative evaluation of ice core fluctuations from random vs HK analyses.) especially fig. 10.
      Thus civil engineers are far more focused and concerned over the probabilities of 100, 500 and 2000 year natural events than over anthropogenic warming. They are also far more pragmatic in addressing the situations with can do practical engineering. E.g. see the Dutch allocating their land into numerous regions, each with its own plan for accommodating rising ocean and storm variations and rising rates. No panic. Just do it with realistic expectations and eyes wide open.

      Myopic decadal focus vs 100 million year geological event focus.
      The alarmists appear to come from trying to fit the last few decades with their global climate models. The rapid change must be anthropogenic argument appears to be primarily an unvalidated argument from ignorance rather than validated full accounting for all natural variations.
      By contrast civil engineers and geologists come from seeing major variations over centuries, millennia, to geological aeons. E.g. see Bob Carter, or Don Easterbrook.

      ”Anthropogenic” vs “Type B” error
      Academics appear to say “after accounting for volcanoes, aerosols and solar variations, the difference must be anthropogenic” – i.e, an argument from ignorance. From an engineering perspective, the wide divergence of GCM projections from real temperature data shouts massive “Type B” error with very unreliable models. (In this case systemic major systematic error.) Most academics do not appear to have even heard of “Type B” error. Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement – BIPM JCGM 100:2008.

      Alarms vs Pragmatism
      Academics appear to have a lemming like fascination with alarms over catastrophic global warming alarms. Geologists/engineers see much larger faster natural variations in the past. They take the pragmatic “Get over it. Mankind has adapted before and can again.”
      Natural cooling with the next glaciation appears to be a far greater threat to agriculture and cities than distant global warming. E.g. with massive famines from crop failures and with thousand foot glaciers bulldozing Montreal and Chicago.
      The current alarms over realistic scenarios of inches to a few feet of warming are minor by comparison and are readily accommodated. Flood plains like the Ganges delta rise with sedimentation to accommodate increasing sea level. Coral reefs naturally rise with rising sea level. What’s the panic over other than short term myopic focus?
      Academics appear to be very narrowly focused with a strong Chicken Little complex in contrast with the wide breadth of evidence of natural variations over time evaluated by civil engineers, geologists etc.
      PS There are few things that can be said about Stephan Lewandowsky in polite company besides numerous logical fallacies and unethical behavior.

      • “What’s bothersome, however, is how long a purely theoretical result can be milked for grants before the researchers decide to produce something practically useful. Worse yet, there often does not appear to be a strong urge for people in academia to go and apply their result, even when this becomes possible, which most likely stems from the fear of failure. You are morally comfortable researching your method as long as it works in theory, but nothing would hurt more than to try to apply it and to learn that it doesn’t work in reality. No one likes to publish papers which show how their method fails (although, from a scientific perspective, they’re obliged to).” (Anon, Resignation Letter to École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, published Sept. 9, 3013)

  7. Don’t you think his choice of questions indicates his bias?
    What about
    ‘Was JFK murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald acing alone?’
    ‘Did the CIA and agents trained in the “School of the America’s engineer the coup in Chile in 1976’
    ‘Do Jews have a disproportionate influence on American foreign policy?’
    ‘Do racial minorities contribute disproportionately to the number of violent crimes in the USA?’
    ‘Has the IRS been illegally targeting groups and individuals for investigation because of their possible political leanings?’
    ‘Did the Soviet Union infiltrate agents of influence in the US Government, media and academia?’

    I suspect that many ‘liberals’ would identify fact as false and disinformation as fact.

  8. Lewandowsky: “It’s the need to control those products and their industries that is threatening people with strong free-market leanings.”

    No, what is threatening is those who treat such control as a scientific conclusion rather than what it really is, a philosophical opinion.

    • Bingo! I would say that it is a decision-theoretic “conclusion.” You do not have to go all the way to “philosophical.” However, decision theory lives outside of science. Yet Alarmists swear that their conclusions are scientific. Bunk! Alarmists face the simple challenge that they have always faced: Where are the well confirmed physical hypotheses that describe critical matters such as cloud formation. They have none. Science fail.

      • My understanding is that climate academics see this as a problem of creating the best model they can in as scientific a way as they can.

        I don’t think we can argue with this approach.

        Where it goes wrong, is that they confuse “the best model” with “a model that is any use”. So they assume that just because their model makes predictions that these predictions must be acted on.

        As we say “in theory it works” … but “if anything can go wrong it will” …

      • Here, I finally disagree with ‘in as scientific a way as they can’. They may think they have been scientific, but lowly generalists with little practice find daily enough bad science in the methods of consensus climate science to try anyone’s patience.
        ===================

      • Steven Mosher

        ;Where it goes wrong, is that they confuse “the best model” with “a model that is any use”. So they assume that just because their model makes predictions that these predictions must be acted on.

        ############
        HUH?
        that is a gross over simplifcation. You need to be more skeptical of your own positions.

      • Theo Goodwin

        Scottish Sceptic | October 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        “My understanding is that climate academics see this as a problem of creating the best model they can in as scientific a way as they can.”

        You need to firm up your standards of criticism. You are giving them a “pass” without so much as demanding that they provide – for the first time – a clear explication and explanation of what they think they can achieve and how, exactly, they propose to do it.

      • Theo Goodwin

        It is fascinating to me that, as we have been writing, Willis Eschenbach has been posting articles at WUWT on evidence for his Thermostatic Hypothesis about how clouds serve as a negative feedback.

        Alarmist scientists could have been doing this work for decades but have avoided it like the plague. That they have avoided it makes sense when you consider that all their work is top-down. Regardless of their motivations, Alarmist scientists have some very serious explaining to do. Why have they avoided physical hypotheses like the plague?

    • Genuine enquiry doesn’t have a predetermined outcome.
      Progressivist advocate Lewandowsky and the IPCC know
      the outcome at the outset …like one of those old Stalinist
      show trials where the verdict was preordained.

  9. At first reading, I find it interesting that Lewandowsky finds fossil fuel and RICH conservative donors are creating a conspiracy, but the RICH foundations (Tides, Suzuki, Soros etc.) and left-leaning government grants do not. ???????

    • Walter Carlson

      R2Dtoo
      I think you read too much into the Lewandowsky article…it was The Guardian that wrote about conservative funding of thinktanks !! Personally, I believe that conservatives doing such funding are showing that they are far more greedy than caring. Had they any concern for their fellow man (or their grandchildren, for that ,matter) they would be financing more climate research to find more specifics about climate change.

  10. The skeptic (Haseler) digs in and really tries to understand the reasons why educated people look at the same evidence about climate change and come to other conclusions.

    Not so much.

    The basic premise is to compare an idealized form on one side versus a demonized form on the other. We can see this right from the jump, in his terminology of:

    ————-
    “skeptics”…. really? So is skepticism only exists on one side of the debate

    vs.

    “warmists”… a pejorative term.

    So we have the term preferred on the one side versus a pejorative on the other.
    ———-

    More, that is obvious with just a cursory look:

    Viewpoint Individualistic, libertarian & conservative (not politically)

    Really? Not conservative politically? Any evidence of such, as from what I’ve seen, there is a very obvious political divide that associates with both sides of this debate.

    In the end, what we have is no attempt at validation. We have no attempt to distinguish between highly engaged “skept-o-sphere” participants and the broader world of the vast majority of folks who call themselves “climate skeptics.” We don’t even have the most basic of requirements – a definition of terms and a quantitative approach to describing the phenomena discussed.

    It is simply an extended form of the usual nonsense: “Let’s create a matrix of attributes and fit broad caricatures of the participants into that matrix. We’ll pick a series of criteria, and paint a picture of all good on one side and all bad on the other, with no attempt to even approach qualifying the characterizations.

    Each and every one of the boxes in his matrix is subject to the same sort of failure to meet any kind of scientific (or skeptical) scrutiny. We have a proudly subjective analysis being passed off as somehow scientific in nature. In short, it is the antithesis of skepticism. It is “skepticism.”

    Criticize Lew all you want. Skeptical due diligence is entirely appropriate.

    Selectivity in applying diligence, however, is “skepticism.”

    • Nonsense Joshua.

      You seem to be suggesting that there is some begging of the question going on here.

      We are just all terribly interested in the difference betwen the well-meaning, open-minded warm and fuzzy sceptics and the ivory tower, variability-ignoring, error-hiding, grant-focussed, tax-payer-funds-guzzling elites and how they can look at the same info, and those dumb, lazy, waste of space, liberal, Guardian -reading, scum-bag scientists can get it so totoally f%uckig wrong when even my dog knows that this is all a big scam by the enviro-nazis to destroy the free-markets and install a one-world eco-fascist socialist government.

      And this seems a highly objective way to address the question.

      What’s your problem?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Joshua, you say:

      “skeptics”…. really? So is skepticism only exists on one side of the debate

      vs.

      “warmists”… a pejorative term.

      It’s always been curious to me what names are used in this debate. So I was curious—what terms do you use/recommend?

      I use “heretics”, “skeptics”, “lukewarmers” and “CAGW supporters”, but YMMV … me, I’m a heretic.

      w.

      • It’s always been curious to me what names are used in this debate. So I was curious—what terms do you use/recommend?

        I don’t recommend anything – except that people should use whatever terms they want to use.

        I use the terms “realist” and “skeptic” in quotes.

        Those are preferred terms on both sides, respectively.

        I put them in quotes to connote a putative usage.

        I have seen realistic “skeptics.”
        I have seen skeptical “realists.”
        I have seen unskeptical “skeptics”
        I have seen unskeptical “realists”
        I have seen unrealistic “skeptics”
        I have seen unrealistic “realists”

        The terminology is inevitably inadequate in such a complicated arena. But for me, the way to approach that inadequacy is through a precise definition of terms.

        What is a “skeptic?” People argue about what “skeptics” are and “aren’t” without even attempting to define the terms. No definition can be perfect, but at least if you define the term then we can begin to approach the conversation from a perspective of identifying interests and seeking synergies rather than flinging Jell-o to fight about positions.

      • Oops.

        I forgot:
        I’ve seen skeptical “skeptics”
        I’ve seen realistic “realists”

    • I have to agree that there is a slight bias in the choice of terms by the Scottish Skeptic. However, his comparison still seems close to the mark. What would be really worthwhile would be to have someone do as good a job from the [choose your own term for Warmist] side.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Such division and distinction is not accurate nor useful in terms talking about complex human behavior.

      • SS betrays himself when he writes “Which journal/newspaper to send latest work to? What to do next to get next grant?”

        This is a poor statement, and not a good distinguishing characteristic.

        I am on the skeptical side, and I do think that academics in climate “science” know very well that almost all the money goes to those espousing the climate alarmist view, and that view should be clear to get a paper published in a good journal. But it is close to farcical for SS to label these facts a “decision making” on the part of “warmists”.

      • Occum – Obviously, climate scientists are able to ascertain with 95% certainty that we’re going to fry based on insanely complex computer models, but are completely oblivious who butters their collective bread.

    • “Warmist” is pejorative but “denier” is not? Really?

      • “Warmist” is pejorative but “denier” is not? Really?

        ???

        Not sure where you’re getting that from.

        Of course “denier” is pejorative.

        My point is not to defend the use of “denier” by whining about the use of “warmist.” My points are:

        (1), If you’re “trying hard to understand” the dynamic of the climate wars, ideally you should at least advance your analysis beyond clearly tribalistic terminology (using a pejorative to categorize one side). The same would be true of attempts to examine the situation that use “denier” as a descriptor for one side (which Judith and others are rightly critical of). And further, even if you do use tribalistic terminology, (as the actual terminology itself does not necessarily speak to the validity of the underlying analysis, per se), you certainly don’t use those terms w/o any attempt, none whatsoever, to freakin’ define them. What does “warmist” mean here? What does “skeptic” mean? How can you possibly create this matrix and squeeze people into it if you haven’t even defined the terms?

        (2) that if you find “denier’ pejorative, and believe that as a matter of principle playing the man (or woman) and not the ball is counterproductive (which I completely agree with), then you shouldn’t engage in a similar approach to the debate (and let’s also note the recent trend where “skeptics” use “denier” to refer to “realists”).

        And no amount of “Mommymommying” will change the existing dynamic; instead, it will only perpetuate the same.

      • Robert Austin

        “Warmist” at least somewhat describes the position with respect tp climate change of the individual or organization being pigeonholed. “Realist” is irksome to non-realists in that it implies the those disagreeing with the “realists” views are unrealistic or deluded. “Skeptic” is also a loose term equivalent to “realist” in vagueness and implies that the opposition is unskeptical and credulous. But people want/need short snappy labels so that they do not have to write a whole paragraph in order to describe a certain climate faction.
        So perhaps we need pejorative free categories of climate belief that would be acceptable to both sides. Possibly five levels ranging from “the greenhouse effect is non-existent to man’s greenhouse gas emissions will cause catastrophic irreversible climate change.

    • Joshua,
      http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/30/ipccs-pause-logic/#comment-390550

      Did you appear here just to admit you “jumped the shark”? Shame, Shame Joshua

      • Brian,
        That whole exchange was indeed shameful, at least it would have been for a normal person. But not old Josh. He just keeps popping up, as if the countless ridiculous comments he’s made here were something to be proud of…

    • It certainly wasn’t intended to demonise, but having had feedback such as yours I can see that I did better on the sceptic side than the other and it needs improving and as you obviously feel it is unfair.

      I’m interesting in your comments about political outlook, but I haven’t seen a lot of evidence for political views being discussed on sceptic blogs so it is difficult to add to your comments.

  11. The table headings are incorrect: they should be moved down to be one of the rows. The actual table headings should be REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE and ACADEMIC CLOISTERED. That does seem to explain every single difference. If you are in a tenured ‘doesn’t matter if you get it wrong’ post where your reputation is based on the number of papers you get accepted, you will have none of the qualities of someone whose job is not secure and is expected to ‘get it right’ because people’s livelihoods and lives depend on their decisions. This then explains the skeptic being real world is always ensuring that the opinions of someone else are backed up with solid unfalsifiable data. Whereas the academic is interested in abstruse argument or clever algorithms and tends not to let themselves be drawn too much away from a hypothesis by mere facts as the abstruse arguments and algorithms, and the projections based on them will get published in a way mere observations will not.

    Given these two groups it is hardly surprising that politicians looking for theoretical support will go to tame grant seeking academia rather than to hard nosed real world.
    .

    • Spot on! Let me add a little realism. Everyone who works in the private sector has an immediate supervisor. That person might be the Executive Vice-President of Finance but he/she is still your immediate supervisor. In the private sector, your work must be totally responsive to the needs of your immediate supervisor. You go to work in the morning knowing that your work world can be turned upside-down by your immediate supervisor.

      In the life of all academics and most government employees, there is no person who plays the role of immediate supervisor. In fact, academics cannot envision, even in their worst nightmares, what having an immediate supervisor means. You might be the world’s greatest modeler but it means nothing if your explanation of your work does not satisfy your immediate supervisor. Talk about feedback!

      • Theo, when I was a public sector policy adviser I always had an immediate supervisor breathing down my neck. I never knew from one day to the next what I would be working on, either. And heaven help me if I got something factually wrong.

        Your generalisations may well apply in academia, but stretching it across the entire public sector is incorrect.

      • Johanna,

        Can you share with readers here what policy areas you were involved in and anything more you can tell us about your role and your experiences?

      • Peter, over more than 20 years I covered several different policy areas (one at a time) including health, housing, immigration, income support and telecommunications.

        Usually, the day would start with scanning the media and providing briefs for the Minister on questions that he/she might be asked, in or out of Parliament. A lot of the work was responding to specific requests from the Minister’s office for briefs on particular issues. Then there was supervising the preparation and passage of legislation. Also, input was provided to answers to letters to the Minister. Another task was commissioning and overseeing research relevant to current issues. There were a few dozen other tasks, but they were the main ones.

        It was high pressure stuff with impossible deadlines, but also very interesting – even if I did wake up at 3am wondering whether something I had put in a brief was exactly right!

      • Johanna,

        Thanks you for that detail. I now understand better what you were doing.

        You probably have an interest in the NBN project. You may have seen the article in the ‘Weekend Australian’ which lists how the rollout milestones have changed. The following is number of premises projected to be passed by June 2014 and the date the projection was issued:

        December 2010 ………….2.71 million
        August 2012……………….1.31 million
        June 2013…………………..0.98 million
        September 2013……………0.73 million

        That is, in December 2010 the NBN Corporate plan said 2.71 million premises would be passed by June 2014. The latest projection is 0.73 million premises will be passed by June 2014.

        If the NBN was required to report using earned Value, we would have reliable projections monthly of:

        Schedule variance
        Cost variance,
        Estimate at completion
        Variance at completion

        Major government projects require contractors to use earned value for reporting project performance, current status and estimate at completion. Defence requires all projects over $100 million to apply earned value so, IMO, it is unconscionable that NBN does not have to report to Parliament using Earned Value:
        https://www.google.com.au/search?q=earned+value&rlz=1C1CHNU_enAU490AU490&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=-hRRUsqsE6XBiQfgx4HIDw&ved=0CD8QsAQ&biw=1280&bih=739&dpr=1

      • Peter, happily the NBN came after I had left that area. My former colleagues tell me that it is not a fun thing to work on!

    • Academic cloistered – you nailed it there, Ian.

      I would add a heavy emphasis to “cloistered”, for unlike the academic agricultural segment which is connected to the real world and has thus greatly aided that industry, the climate scientists ignore expert statistical help, avoid learning much about tree/plant life, ocean/atmosphere/cloud interrelationships, etc.

      Freeman Dyson said it well when he pointed out that the climate scientists rely too much on the mathematical abilities of supercomputers and too little on basic science.

    • That’s the best summary I’ve read of the personality types on both sides of the debate.

      It’s always intrigued me how many sceptics are physical science and engineering graduates and how many devout believers come from maths, computer science biology and social science backgrounds.

      Basically the difference seems to be (generalising somewhat) between people who only believe what they experience and those who can believe what they imagine.

    • Concerned Citizen

      Those represented in the left column tend to have a much more highly developed BS-meter. We work in a competitive world where being wrong has consequences. Falling for the wrong story leads to a waste of resources, etc. Hence much less willing to “fall in line” when the evidence doesn’t seem to support the premise.

      • Skeptics look out of the window to see what the real world looks like.
        Academics / alarmists look at their models and ask each other what their opinion is.

    • Interestingly (to me), while the workforce participation rate dropped and the unemployment rate grew under Australia’s 2007-13 Labor government, the government and government funded/heavily regulated sectors accounted for 62% of employment growth: even during a mining boom, the wealth-creating sectors only had 3/8ths of the job growth. Only 13% of employees are in labour unions (much higher in the public service), but the ABS estimates that a high share of job growth involved union members affiliated to the ACTU. That is, the avidly warmist government favoured right-side employment. What a surprise. Then got less than a third of the vote at the recent election.

      • Faustino,

        Only 13% of employees are in labour unions (much higher in the public service), but the ABS estimates that a high share of job growth involved union members affiliated to the ACTU. That is, the avidly warmist government favoured right-side employment.

        Did you mean: “favoured left-side employment.”?.

        If not, I don’t understand what you mean.

    • Yes, Ian W, it”s about feed back loops isn’t it? Engineers need
      to build a bridge that don’t fall down … or else… In Academia
      the tenured can pose theories, make predictions, like Erlich,
      time after time. They don’t have ter be validated, may be
      falsified by experience, but their creators are not phased,
      or sacked, they just ‘invoke the outlier’ and continue unabashed, reputation and self esteem intact.

      H/t Philip Tetlock.

      • David Springer

        Tenure is a double edged sword that cuts both ways. It protects academic freedom of speech and in the case of tenured climate “scientists” it protects freedom of boneheaded speech and freedom to forget about due diligence in research. It protects the freedom to tell just-so stories like they were settled science beyond dispute.

      • David Springer, point taken but not life membership ter the
        cosy club.There’s a limit. Because then, seems ter me, in the
        cc it’s no longer protection of everyone’s free speech but only
        OUR free speech. )

        Beth the serf.

      • The problem in this context with tenure is that while it keeps someone from getting fired, it doesn’t guarantee funding. Put another way, it grants complete autonomy to spend as much time as deemed appropriate on fundraising. Problems in search of solutions can be helpful, but they can also be pernicious. Particularly when they connect with outside political interests.

        Tenured faculty often end up like rebels without a cause. They are all too soon found by causes.

  12. This is pretty much well-turned ground. Some random facts or interpretations from climate wars: Some skeptics are academics. People who believe in free markets want more certainty of climate science findings before more regulations or expensive government programs. Many people who are warmists have zero science training; they just accept whatever people like James Hansen, Lewandowsky, Al Gore, MoveOn.org, Green Peace, and Al Gore say. These people have a socialistic, communistic, or generally “progressive” world view. I note that this last bit of facts are almost never brought to light, but for conservatives, it is always posited that their world view colors their stance on global warming. Why is that?

  13. “The skeptic (Haseler) digs in and really tries to understand the reasons why educated people look at the same evidence about climate change and come to other conclusions” – JC

    It’s got little to do with climate change, per se.

    It’s applies to just about any topic where there is complex information to be disgested.

    And there is a ton of research in the psych/cog sci literature on this.

    No doubt this is will be the usual pointless food-fight. The early comments give a pretty good summary of ‘skeptic’ thinking – Al Gore is fat, SL is an idiot etc.

    • And there is a ton of research in the psych/cog sci literature on this.

      Exactly.

      So let’s break this down, “Scottish Skeptic” style:

      “skeptics”

      Ignore all scientifically approached literature. Fly by the seat of your pants. Make a matrix, and use completely subjective reasoning to analyize why people disagree on the facts.

      “realists”

      Take a carefully measured approach after thoroughly reviewing the exisitng scientific literature. Seek out any gaps in that liturature to identifiy unexplained phenomena. Propose an explanation for those gaps and carefully assemble evidence and data to see if the explanation can be validated.

      How’d I do? Maybe Cap’n will call that “a pretty thorough comparison/contrast” within the limited scope of just that one issue?

      Or maybe he’ll see it as an obviously cartoonish picture, that ignores any applicable caveats or qualifications, to = same ol’ same ol’?

      • Joshua, you forgot your sarcasm tags. ;)

        Both sides engage in both behaviors. There are skeptics that do careful work and are skeptical of conclusions that others make.

      • There are skeptics that do careful work and are skeptical of conclusions that others make.

        No doubt, JFP.

    • There is a ton of literature and it is all written by academics on the assumption that the reason they disagree with the rest of the world is because the rest of the world is wrong.

      Or to put that more formally. They view “abnormal” behaviour as anything different from what they would do. This might work when talking about criminal psychology but e.g. it is extremely difficult for academics to assess their own expertise & competence compared to other professions.

      • Fortunately, bloggers are immune to such serious shortcomings.

      • johnfpittman

        SS, you need to read Kahan’s work and engage at his blog. He understands that it is humans that view their opinions as normal and others’ as abnormal.

  14. After reading much here and elsewhere, I think I see a ray of light. And that is the modelers need to focus on the behavior of the oceans. I know one can’s surgically remove the oceans in a climate model to study them, but nevertheless, until they can recreate the patterns and timing of the ocean cycles, they are pissin’ into the wind.

    And that brings up another point. Unless there is some non-chaotic driver of the climate system that dominates its behavior, I still say it probably isn’t realistic to expect spatio-temporal chaotic climate models to replicate something like the global surface temp average. All the hubbub over the models not predicting that is wasted, IMO. What should be comparable, however, is the spacial and temporal patterns of ocean cycles, the temperature spreads and patterns of of various locations in the climate system, albedo change patterns; basically how various measurement spreads match the real world.

  15. Here’s what it all boils down to:

    You’re driving your BMW in the middle of a desert, in the middle of the ’empty quarter’ in Saudi Arabia. It breaks down. Who would you rather have in the passenger seat?

    a) The department chair of automotive engineering at U Michigan
    b) An automotive engineer at Toyota
    c) A BMW mechanic

    This isn’t a hard question.

    • It is an easy question, but you could make it a little bit harder thus:

      a) The department chair of automotive engineering at U Michigan
      b) An automotive engineer at BMW
      c) A Toyota mechanic

      Still not a hard question

      • On the one hand it still seems hard to me. It would depend, entirely, on the individuals involved, as well as the circumstances. There are mechanics, for a variety of reasons, that I would not choose. I’ve never met any academic department chairs of engineering schools, or even automotive engineers, but I would think that “it would depend”there, also.

        For example, suppose the problem was one that could not conceivably be fixed without more parts and/or tools. Which of those you list would be the better problem solver? Which one has desert survival skills. Which has useful and related experiences? Which one has a satellite phone to use in calling for help?

        Harold’s question is little other than yet another “skeptic” falling into an “appeal to authority” form of argumentation.

      • k scott denison

        You are proving the point of the table, Joshua. Your over-analysis of the question and the possible answers from both Harold and Bob show the distinction between the two groups quite well.

    • Clouds would be nice,especially rain clouds.. A BMW mechanic in the desert? Get real you would need a workshop not a mechanic. How about the RACV (Australian joke).

      • Heh, really what you need is an internet connection and parts and tools supply into the desert.
        =============

      • Ding ding ding. Kim gets the prize. I just finished unfooking a BMW that a ‘professional’ mechanic fooked by looking online at the Beemer forums.

        Maybe that’s cheating, but the thing runs now, and the ABS works again, like it did before I turned it over to said mechanic.

        Guy on innernet 1, professional 0.

      • Yer phone and the RACV and after that maybe a tow truck.(

  16. It looks like Judith Curry’s personal issues with her climate science peers has gotten to the point where she is willing to give a platform for the voicing of Mike Haseler’s self-serving table and praises the approach along the way.

    • Or maybe she just likes to bring all aspects of the argument to the table and let the spit fly. That’s simpler and less self-serving, on your part, explanation.

      • Or maybe she just likes to bring all aspects of the argument to the table and let the spit fly.

        Here is what Judith said:

        The skeptic (Haseler) digs in and really tries to understand the reasons why educated people look at the same evidence about climate change and come to other conclusions.

        Now I will agree that the conclusion about “Judith Curry’s personal issues” is more likely confirmation bias (how does someone else know how her “personal issues” overlap with her take on the climate wars?) than anything else, but this is not merely that she is bringing everything to the table to watch the spitting contest.

        She made a judgement of SS’s work – that it was “really try[ing] to understand the reasons…”

        Now maybe he really was trying to do so. Where is the evidence for her conclusion? Does he present a summary of the previous work that attempts to examine this issue, with a critical analysis of where it was lacking? Does he try to define his terms? Validate his conclusions and characterizations? Describe his sampling process?

        I see no evidence that he was “really trying” to do as she described, in comparison to “really trying” to confirm his biases, with little attempt to really “understand” the phenomenon under examination.

        But maybe Judith is right. How do you know? Where is the freakin’ evidence?

      • Joshua – Dr. Curry, just like the rest of us mere mortals, can’t do a details, controlled study before she says anything. She has to make on-the-fly judgment calls just like everyone MUST. So, while you may read some nefarious motivation into her statement here, you aren’t necessarily right – since, well, you didn’t do a controlled study of it.

      • So, while you may read some nefarious motivation into her statement here,

        I read no “nefarious motivation.” I have no idea what her motivations are other than what she states her motivations to be… to “build bridges” as she has described. That doesn’t mean that I have to agree that her bridge building engineering skills are particularly strong.

        Dr. Curry, just like the rest of us mere mortals, can’t do a details, controlled study before she says anything.

        Of course not. But when she says that something so obviously shallow and biased is an attempt to “really understand” a phenomenon that has been extensively studied, with absolutely no attempt to review that body of research, I think it is entirely reasonable to question her analytic process.

      • Joshua

        If you want to take specific issue with the analysis of Haseler, please do so.

        But your silly “maybe he was ‘really trying’ to…” and “maybe Judith was ‘really trying’ to…” blathering is just plain stupid.

        Grow up.

        Max

      • jim2 –

        And BTW – Please note that Judith has dismissed comprehensive, validated, scientific work that approaches this very same issue, with a thorough evaluation of the related body of research, as not passing her “bull— meter,” (paraphrasing).

      • manacker –

        But your silly “maybe he was ‘really trying’ to…” and “maybe Judith was ‘really trying’ to…” blathering is just plain stupid.

        As always, manacker, thanks for reading. You have no idea how much it means to me.

      • Joshua – I hope you’re not trying to defend SL by tearing down the SS. Why don’t you get off your duff and do an “unbiased” comparison? I, for one, would enjoy the laugh.

      • I hope you’re not trying to defend SL by tearing down the SS

        Nope.

      • Given that you already believe Judy to be the Cruella Deville of Climate Science, why do you continue to come here to pontificate?
        It is not as if you are buoyed by an enthusiastic base, so it can the adulation of the crowd that draws you back.
        So why the constant, ‘you are biased’, spiel? It is not like she has a sycophantic fan club who hang on her words and preach her gospel.

        Why not go and have a little think and come up with something worth contemplating rather than the bitter and twisted bile you continually present as argument?

      • Steven Mosher

        “She made a judgement of SS’s work – that it was “really try[ing] to understand the reasons…”

        She made a judgment about his EFFORT not about his conclusions.
        Its self evident that he is really trying to dig in. I mean he’s done a better job than any superficial Joshua job.

        His effort is flawed from the start, but on the surface it looks like he is really trying. Well, trying harder than Joshua or others.

    • self-serving table

      Geez. Ya’ think?

      What could possibly make you think that someone who is actively engaged in the climate wars, who makes no attempt to verify or validate his analysis, might make a self-serving table?

      What a bizarre notion.

    • RB

      “self serving table?”

      Check AR4 (and now AR5) for several of these.

      BOTH sides of the argument use “self serving tables”. That’s how the argument works.

      Haseler has put together a good analysis (in table form) of the differences in approach between those skeptical of the CAGW premise (as outlined by IPCC in AR4 and being repeated in AR5) and those who support or believe in this premise.

      If you want to take specific issue with his analysis, do so.

      But leave out the cheap shots – they only make you look foolish.

      Max

      • BOTH sides of the argument use “self serving tables”. That’s how the argument works.

        Well, well, “Mommy, mommy, they do it toooouuuuu.”

        Never seen that before.

      • k scott denison

        And, once again, you fail to respond in an adult manner and address the issue. Well-played Joshua.

      • I hear they have self-serving tables at McDonald’s.

      • k scot Denison

        Joshua is apparently physically unable to “respond in an adult manner and address the issue”.

        (Or he would.)

        Max

    • Saint Judith has always given space to both sides. She has published postmoderns who sometimes confuse science and literature. She looks for valuable nuggets.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Weekend entertainment for Judith. I wonder if she used to smack hornets nests with a stick when she got bored as a child on a lazy summer day?

    • RB, I admit the table is far from perfect (and no where near as impartial as I thought it was when I wrote it), but it is unfair to talk about “self serving”.

      As for the approach … I’ve certainly had a lot of feedback … and being public it also allows others interested in the area to use the information to develop their ideas.

      At the very least from response like yours I can see I need a lot more work on the non-sceptic column.

  17. tlitb1 | October 5, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
    I don’t know if its just me but on both Chrome and Firefox browsers I get the table overlapping the right hand side bar.
    …..same in Safari on an iPad.

    • And it’s quite difficult to read unless you look closely.

    • Luke Warmist

      You can overcome this problem by opening up the Scottish Sceptic blogsite” rather than simply clicking on the table here.

      Max

  18. People see what they want to see. Academics must fit into a largely progressive culture and thus they construe the world accordingly. They’re convinced they’re more intelligent, more moral, and more highly evolved.

    Meanwhile skeptics have parallel constraints on the conservative side, and construe the world accordingly. They’re convinced they’re more intelligent, more moral, and more highly evolved than those on the Left.

    it’s my opinion that WRT to AGW, the skeptics have the better argument but I’m not sure they can feel all that great about themselves as their opinions were to a great extent preordained.

    • This is also beautiful:

      Academics must fit into a largely progressive culture and thus they construe the world accordingly.

      Is Judith Curry an Academic? Lindzen? RPJr? Tsonis? Spencer? Christy?

      No. Of course not. Here’s what we get:

      1) Let’s describe “academics” in pejorative terms.
      2) Let’s artificially, subjectively, w/o any evidence, assign attributes to them that distinguish them from other humans who are actually subject to very much the same processes of cognitive biases
      3) Let’s exclude any “academics” that we might agree with from those descriptors – without any validating evidence, of course.
      4) Let’s call ourselves “skeptics” even though we formulate conclusions on the basis of subjective reasoning.

      • J’ever hear of the word “generalization?” I said academics must fit into a “largely” progressive culture. And what do you do? Name a few academics who aren’t progressives, as if that effectively rebuts my point.

        Joshua at his moronic best.

      • The subject of your sentence was “academics,” with no stated exceptions. Academics who have to fit into a “largely” progressive culture.

        Which would include all those academics that you agree with. Except, of course, it doesn’t – as you except those academics that you agree with from your generalization. Same ol’ same ol.’

        As always, PG, thanks for reading. You may shower now.

      • You just knew that would set Joshua off didn’t you?

        Joshy, The statement is a “generalization” about the many not the personal! Of course it’s very accurate, what planet do you actually live on?

        You’re reaction isn’t just drivel but reflects the pompous subculture essential to AGW believers historically. You’re a human confirmation of the chart.

      • “4) Let’s call ourselves “skeptics” even though we formulate conclusions on the basis of subjective reasoning”

        Just stunning. Unless you’re talking about strictly deductive processes, human reasoning is ALWAYS subjective..

        Do you even think about the things you write?

      • “Subjective reasoning” is pretty well how we got out of the caves and equipped ourselves with stuff like space shuttles & Ipads. The human brain has proved to be fairly good at it.

        It’s worth remembering that human development went a long way before it had to rely on scientific theories to help it along.

        Maybe if the leading lights of climate science had done a bit more “subjective reasoning” and a little less computer modeling they might be in a less embarrassing situation now.

      • Conspiracy theorist

      • In all but the hard sciences, it is routine for politics to dominate academic settings. No one with any experience in and around an American public university (or high school, for that matter) can honestly argue this point. I have have first hand experience with the results of political axes being ground, tenure being denied, etc. The best hope we have, in observing that politics has invaded “climate science”, is to remind ourselves that (as someone above pointed out) “climate science” is more soft than really a hard science.

        Note, vis a vis a comment above regarding “conservatives”, a (if not THE) fundamental tenet of conservatism is that political considerations should NOT influence your day to day observations, actions, ideas. It is the polar opposite of liberalism in which politics invades every aspect of culture, media, art, education, etc.

    • Skeptics have the argument on facts, warmers control most of the social mechanisms that decide policy; government, academia (including primary education), popular culture and of course most media disseminating for a bulk of people who really don’t care about most topics.

      It’s always interesting when liberals (leftists) like Lewandowsky cite the culture of others as “conspiracy theory” as they begin to discuss “big oil” or the idiotic “tobacco/agw meme” etc. There are no large scale of popular blogs arguing about tobacco regulations are there? It isn’t a remotely sensible straw-man argument. The basis of AGW belief systems is founded on conspiracy theory as well as the overwhelming need to control and dictate what’s best for others. Does the average leftist wonk ever consider their bias introspectively? Generally no.

      The chart is interesting and accurate. For example;

      Basis for validation /falsification of hypotheses Empirical data derived from real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation. Model simulations based on theoretical considerations supported by interpretations of selected paleo-climate proxy data

      I’d like Dr. Curry to state her choice for validation of the two, it really is that simple that “science” is something else that has lost a common language meaning in the post-normal society (Orwellian). Empirical Data and Reproducible Results are the Scientific Method. Yet those who have controlled the debate, based on their underlying political/cultural needs have moved the goal posts over decades.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Pokerguy said:

      “it’s my opinion that WRT to AGW, the skeptics have the better argument…”
      ——–
      Do they spend the majority of their time trying to find data that refutes their chosen position? If not, they are not true or honest skeptics.

      • Robert Austin

        Nice try in your attempt to put down “skeptics”, R. Gates. But no, “skeptics” only need to show flaws in the “realist” positions. After all, it is the “realists” that are demanding extreme changes to our society in the name of climate change prevention / mitigation.

      • David Springer

        R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist | October 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply

        “Do they spend the majority of their time trying to find data that refutes their chosen position? If not, they are not true or honest skeptics.”

        I don’t look for data. Data looks for me.

  19. Why Skeptics vs Academics ?

    I am a skeptic, an academic, and a former chairman of an academic department in a public university that granted tenure to faculty members that successfully generated external grant funds to support their research – mostly from the government.

    Therein lies the answer. Research agencies give grants to investigators who will find scientific evidence to support government policies.

    Universities grant tenure to faculty members who have been successful in attracting external grant funds.

    If your research findings disagree with government policies, your request for a renewal of funding will probably be denied.

    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor
    Nuclear Chemistry
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  20. Haseler has put together a very good summary of the differences.

    On his blog, I suggested:

    manacker says:

    October 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Scottish sceptic

    Good summary, but you are missing a key differentiator:

    Basis for validation/falsification of hypotheses

    Skeptic:
    Empirical data derived from real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation

    Warmist:
    Model simulations based on theoretical considerations supported by interpretations of selected paleo-climate proxy data

    Max

    Reply

    Scottish Sceptic says:

    October 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Thanks, that is a good one. I’ll add that to the list.

    Reply

    • Steven Mosher

      so you are responsible for that bone headed suggestion.

      • Steven, is that a light hearted comment or do I need to make a change?

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Models are tools that can provide insight just as gathering data. Both are subject to interpretation, and both are used by the honest skeptic/scientist/academic/engineer. The distinction is erroneous.

      • Steven Mosher

        Sceptic.

        Read R Gates below.

        More importantly. Ask yourself. How will you know when you get your classification right? or rather how will you know when you get it wrong.

        How would a skeptic do the classification? how would an academic.

        Finally, you need to study those in industry ( not on the web) who also study climate science. Your sample is horribly skewed. No wise skeptic or wise academic would accept the sampling methodology you used.

        Here is what you could do. You could confine your discussion to an analysis of TEXT on the internet. because that is all you have as data.

      • “Models are tools that can provide insight just as gathering data. Both are subject to interpretation, and both are used by the honest skeptic/scientist/academic/engineer. The distinction is erroneous.”

        An excellent example of the thought processes of progressives for whom there is no distinction between reality, and the world as it exists in their heads – or models.

      • Steven Mosher

        Well GaryM I’m a libertarian and R gates is Correct.
        His factual statement has nothing to do with politics.

    • How about the models are based on observed physical properties of matter, instead of that theoretical bs.

  21. Scottish skeptic,
    That is great. As a chemical engineer and construction engineer I am used to models and estimates of future behavier. I do recognize the source of these differences. I have read so many articles on future estimates of climate behavier that don’t reflect actual behavier. They don’t establish error bars of the initial estimates and publish projections out to infinity and beyond. The key determinant is don’t project and extrapulate beyond the accuracy of your data and the initial results estimated from them and the models. And down select the models that don’t reflect reality. Academics seem to move in the opposite direction. The new acid oceans mantra identifies dangers when we have no good measures of the existing range of ph during natural variations. Some type of behavier on the temperat;ure hiatu;s and the response of clouds over the ocean. How pie in the sky.
    Scott

    • As Lucia once said (paraphrasing), models do great modelling airplanes flying straight at cruse altitude. The don’t do so well flying sideways.

    • Scott, explain to them whats the difference between a 50 ml, 5 liter and 5,000 liter reaction vessel, and how scaling works in chemistry.

      We had a Post-Doc fired who had an explosion whilst making one gram of an organic azide, rather than three times 100 mgs as he was instructed.

      • I remember fondly the moments after a small chip of elemental sodium went into the sink, pitched there by several curious students gathered laboriously together in chemical experimentation.

        One whispered quickly the cause and the class was soon informed that it was the reaction that had put man on the moon. The thrills of relieved laughter(no injury) helped clear the haze.
        =================

      • Chemistry class in the old days. When we could handle mercury in our hands without the HAZMAT crew in the moon bunny suits.

  22. John Greenfraud

    If you want to make a conservative angry — lie to him. If you want to make a liberal angry — tell him the truth. Old cliche for an old truth.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Thank you for your econo-science inquiry cwon!

      For further analysis, aee Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets.M=

      “Smart investors can see that investing in companies that rely solely or heavily on constantly replenishing reserves of fossil fuels is becoming a very risky decision. The report raises serious questions as to the ability of the financial system to act on industry-wide long term risk.”

      This risk-assessment is pure economic common-sense, eh cwon?

      Thank you for both your continuing curiosity and your commitment to politely rational, science-based public discourse, cwon!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Never heard that one before. Thanks.

  23. The cultist aspect of Warmism is barely touched by Haseler. Those despicable people refuse even to talk to anybody who has a different opinion, and entire works have been written about skeptics without mentioning a word by them.

    That’s far worse than tree-hugging and much more widespread.

    • Spot on! I doubt that Dr. Curry is turning down offers from AGW modelers who want space here to explain and then debate why using models as substitutes for scientific theory is justifiable.

  24. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    The biggest single predictor of the denialist-skeptic-scientist spectrum?

    That’s easy: math level.

    Creative-math level  Computes radiative/thermodynamical transport coefficients, writes/rewrites large-scale simulation codes (and improves them), analyzes raw paleo data. Result: accepts climate-change science

    Applied-math level  Cannot compute radiative/thermodynamical transport coefficients, runs large-scale simulation codes (without understanding them), analyzes processed paleo data (without appreciating its raw-data origins). Result: varying degrees of climate-change skepticism

    Minimal math level  Minimal understanding of quantum thermodynamics, incapable of running large-scale simulation codes, plots paleo data in Excel (but no more). Result: varying degrees of climate-change denialism

    Recommended  A short film about The Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (with Steven Hawking!), which sponsors programs like Mathematical and Statistical Approaches to Climate Modelling and Prediction including in particular Assessing climate uncertainty: models, meaning and methods … not to mention dozens more terrific talks on climate-change

    All of these videos (especially the first short one) are highly recommended to Climate Etc readers.

    Conclusion  “Climate-change denialists” may be defined as “useful idiots that protect Big Carbon’s assets-in-the-ground by remaining resolutely ignorant of the mathematical elements of climate-change.”

    So it’s mighty plain-and-simple, Climate Etc readers … the higher the math-level, the more evident the reality of climate-change.

    It helps that Cambridge University just celebrated its 800th anniversary. Yes, top-rank universities are far more long-lived than any systems of government or economics. That’s the common-sense reason why top-rank mathematicians embrace multicentury time-frames in regard to climate-change!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • You are actually a fan of less discourse

    • Another chart confirmation. Conspiracy much? “Big Carbon’s assets in the ground”.

      AGW is largely linked to a conspiracy theory. The social impact of the 60’s and later the Oil embargo of the 70’s can’t be minimized.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Whoops! Fixed linky!

      Thank you for your econo-science inquiry cwon!

      For further analysis, see Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets.

      “Smart investors can see that investing in companies that rely solely or heavily on constantly replenishing reserves of fossil fuels is becoming a very risky decision. The report raises serious questions as to the ability of the financial system to act on industry-wide long term risk.”

      This risk-assessment is pure economic common-sense, eh cwon?

      Hmmm … “stranded carbon assets” … that sure sounds mighty bad to some folks, eh cwon?

      Thank you, again, for both your continuing curiosity and your commitment to politely rational, science-based public discourse, cwon!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Different link, same conspiracy theory rationalization.

        You realize AGW and Greenshirt activity helps raise profit margins on carbon to date?

      • johnfpittman

        Yep, Fan, I was correct: a glossy trying to sell an idea. The vetting took 15 seconds, mostly to cut an paste “has revealed that fossil fuel reserves already far exceed the carbon budget to avoid global warming of 2°C..”

        It is based on a non-realizable future condition. The capital will not be stranded, we are not going to hit the 2C limit if the 3C+ ECS in a short time frame are correct. Would take time to tell if they are using a 3C or a 4.5C ECS.

        As I stated, it is economic baloney. It is based on us leaving recoverable fossil fuels in the ground. A more realistic scenario if we ban carbon is that they would be more useful for production, and the assets would appreciate. Really stupid. But then Lord Stern seems to be who they read; too bad they don’t write with understanding.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        johnfpittman boasts “My vetting [of Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets] took 15 seconds”

        That speed is possible only to folks who postulate a Bayesian prior of zero for the likelihood that Hansen’s worldview is right,” isn’t that correct johnfpittman?

        However, responsible risk-assessment businesses uniformly reject denialist postulates … ain’t that *also* correct johnfpittman?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • johnfpittman

        No fan, you are incorrect on several points. Again. It took less than 15 seconds to understand the basis was that we were going to stop obtaining fossil fuels. This ignores the use of fossil fuels for other purposes. So, not it was not Bayesian, it was economics. The economics of the link are terrible. It has nothing to do with Hansen, so your strawman/misdirection is once again wrong.

        From your other link “”Joseph Stromberg reports at the Smithsonian that if there’s one group has an obvious and immediate financial stake in climate change, it’s the insurance industry and in recent years, insurance industry researchers who attempt to determine the annual odds of catastrophic weather-related disasters say they’re seeing something new. ‘Our business depends on us being neutral. We simply try to make the best possible assessment of risk today, with no vested interest,’ says Robert Muir-Wood, the chief scientist of Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a company that creates software models to allow insurance companies to calculate risk. ” This has a fallacy. The catastrophic nature has been shown by Pielke,Jr to be explained by increased density and costs, not weather. Further insurance companies use actuary tables for this, so they also would have data that agrees. What it is, is another sales glossy. Short on facts/science and long on sales/speculation.

        You fail to make a good argument again, Fan. Your links do not have scientific support concerning what I post. I am being to believe you are a bot, since you continue to show little, if any, reading comprehension.

    • ‘analyzes raw paleo data’
      What is the ‘forcing’ of aerosols and CO2 in the ice-core record?

    • Fan:

      “The biggest single predictor of the denialist-skeptic-scientist spectrum?

      That’s easy: math level.”

      Tomas Milanovic:
      “There are scientists who equate chaos to randomness. I’d put that category at 90%.
      There are scientists who equate chaos with Lorenz. They have seen the butterfly attractor picture one day or the other. They know that chaos is not randomness but not much more. I’d put that category at 9%.
      There are then scientists who know what is chaos and really understand it. I’d put that category at 1% and much less for the climate scientists.”

      Thank you for another insightful comment Fan!

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Ragnaar believes [wrongly] in the mathematical ignorance of climate scientists  “Scientists who know what is chaos and really understand it. I’d put that category at 1% and much less for the climate scientists.”

      Thank you, Ragnaar, for this opportunity to increase your understanding of climate-change mathematical culture!

      The Isaac Newton Institute has made available on-line 82 hours of high-level mathematical analysis of Judith Curry’s favorite subject: Mathematical and Statistical Approaches to Climate Modelling and Prediction, including in particular lectures like A perspective on turbulent flows: cascade dynamics in rotating flows and TonyB’s favorite Application of the Maximum Entropy Production principle to turbulent fluid mechanics and planetary systems , not to mention Climate entropy production based on AOGCM diagnostics and the survey talk Grand Challenges in Probabilistic Climate Prediction.

      Conclusion  The level of mathematical reasoning of climate-change scientists is reassuringly greater than the level attributed to them by Ragnaar (and skeptics like him).

      It is a pleasure to help improve your mathematical appreciation of climate-change science, Ragnaar!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan

        Thank you for the name check. Intriguingly your link led to University of Cambridge where I was yesterday as I returned my son to his college.

        Its fun to go in the University bookshop and ask earnestly if they have any books by sceptics and watch them recoil in shock and horror. :)

        Even more interesting is attending dinners with the academics who in private are much less certain of the science than you appear to be.
        tonyb

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Tony B. said:

        “Even more interesting is attending dinners with the academics who in private are much less certain of the science than you appear to be.”

        —-
        There are also those academics who feel the IPCC has actually watered down the data and does not go far enough talking about the risks of AGW and will tell you that in private.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        TonyB, are there *any* books by climate-change skeptics that contain high-level mathematics? My observation has been that the more vehement such books commonly lack even an index, much less substantial mathematical analysis. How uncivilized can yah get?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fanny, let me introduce you to Lubos:

        http://motls.blogspot.com/

        Now go try to BS him, and report back how it went.

      • johnfpittman

        Too bad they don’t have:

        Browning, G. L. and H.-O. Kreiss: Multiscale bounded derivative initialization for an arbitrary domain, JAS, 59 ,1680 -1696, or Initialization of the Primitive Equations by the Bounded Derivative Method

        Which would show Fan that skeptics have more reassuringly greater mathematical level attributed to them than is appreciated by Fan (and alarmists like him).

      • Fan admirably furthers the discourse:

        “Ragnaar believes [wrongly] in the mathematical ignorance of climate scientists  “Scientists who know what is chaos and really understand it. I’d put that category at 1% and much less for the climate scientists.” “

        Yes I am sorry. I’d say Milanovic was generalizing yet perhaps conveying the situation in substance.

        I did not mean to imply that the Scientists at issue can’t do linear math until the cows come home, but rather that there are limits with that. I retain the title of the mathematical ignorant for myself.

        At Fan’s valuable 1st link:

        “Our best estimates of future climate are based on the use of complex computer models that do not explicitly resolve the wide variety of spatio-temporal scales making up Earth’s climate system…”

        It was a nice surprise to open the chaos theory door and find Fan inside, having arrived early.

        Linear tools, non-linear problems. Who is making the non-linear tools?

    • That is the first contribution from a non-sceptic which added to what I said so thanks.

      I feel there is a valid point in there, particularly as it fits the generalised “more theoretical” and “more practical” divide that seems to have much agreement.

      However, as given it would place someone like Sir Paul Nurse (geneticist head of Royal Society) as a “denier”.

      Also, I don’t understand your terminology. Is “creative” a technical specific course & would this be equivalent to pure maths (seems unlikely).

      Are you suggesting it is practical experience with the models that is important (if so what about all the non-sceptics who are not modellers). Also it was my perception at the Royal Society that the modeller’s views were closest to sceptics whereas the impacts people were least sceptical.

      When you say “compute” do you mean can program or is able to carry out the computation?

    • You nailed it Fan! Freeman Dyson dismisses climate alarmism due to his poor math skills. Likewise Koutsoyiannis.

  25. It all boils down to critical analysis. Can you or can’t you engage in it?

    Progressives can’t, or won’t. Cognitive dissonance does not mix well with introspection. A progressive’s concept of self is tied up in his/her being a member of an elite that has the power, and the right, to manage the lives of the rest of the world. Being personally wrong is anathema. (It is why they virtually never change their minds or admit being wrong about anything.) So it is better not to think about what you believe. Spend all your time criticizing what others believe.

    Conservatives can. Being a conservative means your self confidence does not depend on you personally being right. Your confidence is in the principles you defend that have been conceived, improved, and survived over millenia of trial and error. Being wrong personally can be embarrassing, but it is not an existential threat to one’s self worth. (It’s why almost all conservatives were previously progressives, moderates or independents – having admitted they were wrong on some of the central issues of their day.) So it is worth the risks of introspection/critical analysis to get it right.

    Libertarians, moderates and independents can on some issues, can’t on others. It is as important to them as to progressives to be “right” while everyone else is wrong. They just get to claim to be intellectually superior to a greater proportion of the society – both progressives and conservatives. So you get the benefit of being a member of the elite, while claiming to also look to fundamental principles. (it’s why so many were former progressives – but can’t become conservatives, which would require an admission they were wrong to begin with.) In reality, you are just adopting some progressive principles, and some conservative. Critical analysis is then possible on some issues, but not on others.

    Libertarians, moderates and independent want to be like the mama bear in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Not too far left,. not too far right…just right – in the middle. Which is great for porridge and beds, but is disastrous on public policy.

    • A little anecdote here to demonstrate your first point. A few days ago, a friend of mine went to the local gym to work out. Some old grey ponytail was playing his NPR loud, which led to a confrontation over Israel/Palestine. She had the facts, and he didn’t. He finally left in a huff, unable to articulate anything.

      Then he comes back in a few minutes later and says something to the effect that in a different set of circumstances, they could be good friends, because he was a good person.

      When I heard the story, what jumped out at me was the sheer narcissism. It wasn’t about the Middle East, it wasn’t about right and wrong, it wasn’t about the facts. It was about him. The only thing that mattered to him is what others thought. Meanwhile, my friend is concerned about buses that blow up in Tel Aviv. Very illustrative.

      • Harold,

        That is a good example of what I am talking about.

        You may also notice that the progressives/moderates/independents/libertarians who respond to what I write, take it as a personal insult. I write how their philosophy (about which they really know so little) is wrong, and to them I am claiming personal superiority. Because that is how they define it. Being “right” makes one superior.

        Yet I have known many progressives who were intellectually superior to me. They were just wrong. I have known many creationists(in the sense it is used here) who were morally superior people to me. They lived much better, more charitable lives. They were just wrong on their theology.

        Most around here cannot wrap their heads around the concept that being right or wrong does not define the quality of a person. It is why they are terrified of ever being wrong.

        There are even those who comment here who try desperately never to state their own positions, just criticizing what anyone else says. Because if you never tell anyone what you yourself think, then you minimize the risk of being proven wrong, and thereby “inferior”.

      • @garym “You may also notice that the progressives/moderates/independents/libertarians who respond to what I write, take it as a personal insult. I write how their philosophy (about which they really know so little) is wrong, and to them I am claiming personal superiority. ”

        Gary, And yet, back up a second. You’ve insisted that progressives aren’t capable of admitting mistakes (which is crap of course), while conservatives are. THis to me seems pretty damn close to claiming moral superiority. If you want me to go back and dig this statement up, I’ll do it, though I hope and expect you’ll be honest enough to admit you’ve said this.

        NOBODY likes to admit they’re wrong, and doing so is not exactly a popular indoor sport. But the notion that somehow conservatives are more honest is just false. And silly.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Gary M,

        I’ll gladly tell you my perspectives and debate you on any point you like if you can remain civil, but in the past, you seem to slip rapidly into ad Homs which shut down the process of honest discourse rapidly.

      • pokerguy,

        “Gary, And yet, back up a second. You’ve insisted that progressives aren’t capable of admitting mistakes (which is crap of course), while conservatives are. THis to me seems pretty damn close to claiming moral superiority. If you want me to go back and dig this statement up, I’ll do it, though I hope and expect you’ll be honest enough to admit you’ve said this.”

        Where to begin. Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin, and many other conservatives formerly supported AGW as it was originally framed, ie. mitigation of CO2 emissions, until they realized what was being sold was CAGW, a political movement to decarbonize (ie. centralize) the energy economy. So they changed their minds.

        Moreover, as I have stated frequently, most conservatives, including myself, have admitted they were wrong about some of the most important issues of the day, because they were formally more progressive. They changed their minds as they learned and gained experience. David Horowitz (who wrote a book on it “Radical Son” that explains the experience) and a host of others, have left progressivism behind.

        Name a prominent progressive who was formerly a conservative? It virtually never happens.

        How about naming one prominent progressive who changed his/her mind on decarbonization, and remained a progressive?

        And I have addressed your comments on “moral superiority” on the other thread. My clear position is that conservative principles are morally superior to progressive principles. Whether one individual is “more moral” than another in most cases don’t interest me at all. But there are systems of governance that maximize the ability of evil people to do evil. And there are those that make it more difficult. There are systems that enable and even celebrate bad/immoral behavior, and those that counsel against it.

        But to be able to even engage in that discussion regarding progressivism and conservatism, you would have to be able to identify progressive principles, and conservative principles. Neither of which are taught in most western educational institutions anymore.

        if you don’t know what the principles are, how do you judge which is morally superior to another? So it is a debate that goes no where because people can’t. or won’t, even agree on basic definitions.

      • Steven Mosher

        wow you and GaryM are too scientific

      • R. Gates,

        I have a better idea. You pick the topic. But you argue the conservative position, and I’ll argue the progressive position. It would be an interesting measure of the capability to fairly and accurately state the opposing position. A real test of the ability to engage in critical analysis. (which has been my underlying point)

        Oh, and no googling. You arguments should be based on your current knowledge of the3 opposing position.

        I have made this offer many times on the past here in response to such proposals, but so far, no takers. Nothing too technical, but anything I have commented on would be fair game. (Not hyper-technical please, I make no pretensions of scientific expertise.)

      • GaryM, it would be entertaining to see you give the progressive view of a carbon tax.

      • Jim D,

        Piece of cake.

        A carbon tax can be used to do several things, all beneficial to the populace as a whole. 1. It raises the cost of carbon based fossil fuels thus reducing emissions of CO2 and the resulting risk of serious consequences in terms of rising temperatures/severe climate; 2. it internalizes the heretofore externalized costs of CO2 emissions, those gaining the benefits of the use of the fuels contribute to mitigating/adapting to the negative consequences of those emissions; 3. it provides a source of revenue that can be used to ameliorate the negative impact of the tax on the poor, and subsidize research into alternative fuels.

      • Jim D,

        Now why don’t you state the conservative position against a carbon tax, without the Skeptical Science straw man treatment?

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Gary M.,

        Not being opposed to nor in favor of a carbon tax, I haven’t really followed that issue, though I would imagine that conservatives would be opposed to it base on unnecessary siphoning of capital ft hat could be used for other economic investment.

        As I tend to be a fiscal conservative but social progressive (yes, we don’t exist according to you) we might agree more on economic issues. But I absolutely think Faux News is a pile of dung, so it is certain we can find something to disagree on.

      • GaryM, the way you put the carbon tax argument it is hard to argue against it, isn’t it. I could give up and leave it at that, but since you did it, I am trying.
        In fact, I can’t find an equally coherent argument against it. There are several themes, however. 1. A carbon tax is opposite to the free-market ideal and is therefore harmful to private enterprise. 2. A carbon tax hurts poor people who will no longer be able afford their fuel and gas bills. 3. A carbon tax raises the cost of living by raising the fuel prices to transport goods again hurting poor people. 4. The cost of implementing a carbon tax outweighs the benefit of reduced emissions.

      • Fixing Jim D’s points:

        1. A carbon tax is opposite to the free-market ideal and is therefore harmful to society in general

        4. A carbon tax cannot be rational unless CAGW is true. But we are nowhere near knowing this – all we have is the self-interest propaganda of
        corrupt government shills claiming this.

      • Gail, yes, silly me, I would never make a conservative. On the first point yes harming private enterprise harms society in general by the trickle down theory, and of course on the second point, yes carbon tax makes no sense when CAGW is impossible in the first place. I did miss those.

      • Jim D
        “and of course on the second point, yes carbon tax makes no sense when CAGW is impossible in the first place. I did miss those.”

        I said we had no idea whether CAGW was true or not, not that it was impossible.
        Not sure why you feel the need to be more moronic than usual.

        (But perhaps I’m being unkind, not taking on board that you’re in the usual alarmist kneejerk rut of of thinking all non-truebelievers must deniers – a strawman you lot seem unable to live without).

      • Gail, yes, these conservatives think that while they are uncertain that 700 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere has any catastrophic or expensive effect, the carbon putting it up to those levels should not be taxed or regulated in any way.

    • It all boils down to critical analysis. Can you or can’t you engage in it?

      Progressives can’t, or won’t. Cognitive dissonance does not mix well with introspection.

      The above quote must be a result of critical analysis, and a proof that GaryM can engage in it.

      • Actually it is. But it is the result of critical analysis, not an example of it. The process by which I came to the conclusion was itself an exercise in critical analysis. I read progressive writers. Do you? I understand what they write. Do you? and I was formerly much more progressive myself. I used to think it was best to alternate between conservative and progressive governments. That conservatives were better at creating wealth, and progressives were better at redistributing it, which seemed at the time to be the logical way to help those in need.

        My becoming more completely conservative was a result of critical analysis of the views of the progressives themselves, and of conservative writings and theory. Since I went to a Catholic university for undergrad, I got a typical liberal/progressive education, which means I had to find 95% of both ideologies outside my formal education. I did read Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao in polic sci and philosophy course. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was the sole book of conservative economics assigned, in an economics class. But virtually nothing else. No Hayek, no Friedman, no Alinsky, nor many others.

        Progressive academics don’t teach conservative political and economic theory. Nor do they teach the real history and philosophy of the progressive movement. Which accounts for the wide spread ignorance on the issue.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Gary M.,

        In all your “enlightenment” to find the truth of conservatism, tell me you don’t sit and lap up the dribble on Faux News?

      • R. Gates,

        Most of the commentators on Fox News aren’t all that conservative. I do watch their news shows, and they do a fair job of presenting conservative news. But I watch CNN, the major networks, even MSNBC on occasion. Unlike you, I am not afraid to hear opposing views from the source, rather than filtered and processed for me by someone else.

    • Conservatives can. Being a conservative means your self confidence does not depend on you personally being right.

      Please don’t forget, that being a “conservative” (according to the book of GaryM, that is, because he knows when conservatives aren’t really conservatives) also means that you’re not elitist, even as you rail on and on about how basically anyone (e.g., 70%?, 80%?, 90%? of the American public} are inferior to you intellectually and morally.

      • There are medications for this Joshua.

        “Elitist”?? Who is trying to regulate (tax and control) who in the AGW meme and on what rationalized basis? Right, academia, government, media, rent-seekers all making an unproven claim based on a morphed and corrupted word “science”.

        Who really (collectively Joshua, not personally) exercises imagined intellectual superiority as a matter of routine in AGW discourse?

        This isn’t a hard question but I expect you to get it wrong.

      • “‘I want to pleasantly shock the room and say I’m a fiscal conservative,’ de Blasio said, responding to a questioner seeking lower hotel-occupancy taxes. ‘I’m a progressive-activist fiscal conservative, but I’m still a fiscal conservative. We can’t talk about tax cuts in any sector until we sort out our financial situation.’”

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-04/de-blasio-says-he-s-a-fiscal-conservative-raising-nyc-taxes.html

        I’m a progressive, but I’m a conservative.

        No, you’re a hard left progressive. End of story. Progressives don’t get to redefine their language to hide what they really believe. They try constantly. But that doesn’t mean the definitions actually change.

    • I agree with some of what you say GaryM but one can also be a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.

      On the concept of being right, if you had a vested interest in being right it would probably be quite important and meaningful to you. If it was a simple opinion probably not-so-much. So there must be degrees of severity for the importance of being right?

      • M. Hastings,

        The world is full of people who pick and choose among issues like that.

        There are conservative positions on issues, and progressive positions on issues. And hybrids as well. But whether a position is progressive or conservative depends not on who holds it, but the underlying principle that informs and determines the choice.

        There are fundamental reasons why a conservative holds the positions he does. There are fundamental reasons a progressive holds the positions he does. (And in this sense I am referring to small subset of most people who are conservative or progressive, those who know and understand their respective philosophies.) They are fundamental ideologies, and they are fundamentally at odds. A conservative can explain why he holds a certain position, what the weaknesses of his position are, what the progressive position is, and its strengths and weaknesses.

        Progressives are certainly intellectually capable of doing the same, but they are “incapable” of doing it in the sense that they have been taught not to think critically of progressive positions; do not for the most part have the knowledge of what conservative positions actually are; and have been taught that such critical analysis is unnecessary because conservative positions are stupid, evil or crazy, or all three.

        This is a matter of culture, but also a matter of tactics, by the movement progressives who control the western education establishment, media.and cultural outlets.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        “I agree with some of what you say GaryM but one can also be a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.”

        —–
        Indeed we do exist…many of us, and it could make the beginnings of a whole new part as we stick to the proper roles of government and cast the personal and social intrusions aside.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Gary said:

        “by the movement progressives who control the western education establishment, media.and cultural outlets.”

        —–
        Except for Faux News…right?

      • R. Gates,

        In fact, Fox News has only one actually conservative host. Sean Hannity. The reason you progressives are taught to ignore the network is that they do present conservative views fairly – not the Skeptical Science straw man homogenized version that is the only formula the progressive mind can process.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        I don’t watch Fox News because I work in the business and I find their journalistic professionalism a bit lacking. I specifically resent the top down perspective that Murdock infuses into the network. I specifically don’t know much about Sean Hannity, but I shall take a few moments to observe this rock of conservatism that you hold in such esteem.

      • “I don’t watch Fox News because I work in the business and I find their journalistic professionalism a bit lacking. I specifically resent the top down perspective that Murdock infuses into the network. I specifically don’t know much about Sean Hannity, but I shall take a few moments to observe this rock of conservatism that you hold in such esteem.”

        I don’t watch any of them.
        But I would say, Hannity, is more Republican than Conservative.
        Though he and others might not see the difference.
        For news I might watch Daily Show or Redeye.
        But mostly internet.
        In terms of live reporting it doesn’t matter much- nor do I spend much time watching a car chase.
        I would guess that Megyn Kelly is better choice for a conservative.
        Conservative tend to be more skeptical of all kinds of government- and a conservative could pick Dem. There is simply fewer and fewer Dems which are vaguely conservative. Bill Clinon’s “the era of big government is over” is something that would appeal to Conservatives. But of course Bill Clinton was also Slick Willy.

    • R. Gates,

      Not surprising. I commented elsewhere on the “fiscal conservative/social liberal” elsewhere on this thread. From what I have read from your comments, I doubt you are a fiscal conservative in the actual definition of that term. I suspect you are using it the way it has been “reframed” for use by progressives.

      But there are people who hold conservative positions on some issues but not on others. Dr. Curry for example has a somewhat conservative view of the climate debate, but rejects conservative positions on any number of other issues.

      But people who are part conservative, are not conservative in the normal definition of the word that I sue. A conservative is one who holds conservative positions on free market economics, Judeo-Christian ethics on social policy, and strong national defense and realism on foreign policy.

      Those who hold some conservative positions on one or two of those three areas may be comparatively conservative with respect to others, but they are not “conservatives”.

      Oh, and if your comment below is intended as presenting the conservative position on carbon taxes, it is an epic fail. Which surprises me not at all.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Gary M. said:

        ” A conservative is one who holds conservative positions on free market economics, Judeo-Christian ethics on social policy, and strong national defense and realism on foreign policy.”
        ——-
        Oh, I see, you are referring to conservative in the very narrowest of meanings, related to your own very narrow view of the world. Your Judeo-Christian ethics driven view. In your view, Vietnam was a good war to fight? Korea? Iraq? We should use our military to secure private economic interests? Jesus and napalm make a great combination? Onward Christian soldiers?

      • R. Gates,

        You can’t even get the conservative position on a carbon tax right, though you have been reading comments about it on this blog for a long time. So it’s not surprising you are clueless on other issues, and can only offer your Skeptical Science straw man version.

      • ” ” A conservative is one who holds conservative positions on free market economics, Judeo-Christian ethics on social policy, and strong national defense and realism on foreign policy.”
        ——-
        Oh, I see, you are referring to conservative in the very narrowest of meanings, related to your own very narrow view of the world. Your Judeo-Christian ethics driven view. In your view, Vietnam was a good war to fight? Korea? Iraq? We should use our military to secure private economic interests? Jesus and napalm make a great combination? Onward Christian soldiers?”

        Narrow?
        What other ethics are there other than Judeo-Christian?
        I am not Christian or Jew but I don’t have particular quarrel with the ethics of last 3000 years of Western civilization.
        How can this be construe to be narrow?
        I might think there something in Eastern morality, but also there not a lot differences either. Or not a lot of conflict- there are difference.
        It’s more difference of how rather than what.

        And what nation does not want to defend itself. That US wants prevent a large global war in the age of nuclear weapons- could debated about- but few want something like WWI and WWII to occur again.
        Free market also fairly broad, Nixon and his price control could seen as something somehow fitting into a concept of free markets. People tend to imagine the BBC as a free press. So a government controlled news media as fitting the definition of free press. Silly. But it doesn’t stop people from thinking it somehow related to a free press. And there are idiots who think the only “true” free press is a government controlled press.
        The problem isn’t that it’s too narrow- it’s too broad. All it really excludes is worshipers of Soviet Union style totalitarian State. But considering that USSR wanted to defend it’s nation, and it’s people follow Judeo-Christian morality, it misses only in sense of “free markets”.
        So free markets, which have been existing since the beginning of human history is too narrow?

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        gbaikie said:

        “Narrow?
        What other ethics are there other than Judeo-Christian?”
        —-
        Oh my. Do you think that this tradition is the center of the world or that ethics is the exclusive domain of the Judeo-Christian tradition?

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        gbaikie said:

        “I might think there something in Eastern morality, but also there not a lot differences either.”
        ——-
        Your ignorance is both sad and rather scary.

      • “gbaikie said:

        “Narrow?
        What other ethics are there other than Judeo-Christian?”
        —-
        Oh my. Do you think that this tradition is the center of the world or that ethics is the exclusive domain of the Judeo-Christian tradition?”

        I would say it originated in major trade route of the world.

    • Craig Loehle

      An example of progressives never admitting they are wrong. Doomsayers like the ecologist Paul Ehrlich way back in 1970 said 2 billion people would starve by 2000, England wouldn’t even be a country, we would run out of oil etc ad nauseum. Every single prediction he made turned out wrong. Every one. Did he admit a single thing? No. And he is still loved by progressives (why I don’t know). And John Holdren wrote a book with him and everything Holdren said also turned out to be wrong. These people get prizes.

      • Craig Lohle,

        Ehrlich, Carlson and DDT, acid rain, peak oil, the ozone layer, the hockey stick, Hansen 1988, heck even the Rosenbergs. Reality has no impact on true believing progressives. The world in their heads is the real world. The one the rest of us actually experience is irrelevant.

      • Craig Loehle,

        Excellent point. And John Hlodren is now the US President’s science czar.

        I have a 1982 book “Energy Risk Assessment” about the comparative risks from generating electricity by different technologies. Even in those decades ago, the analyses showed that nuclear power was about the safest way to generate electricity. John Holdren wrote a highly emotional critique of the book and continued a long vitriolic attack on its author. The author included the full text of the crtique in the published book. John Holdren never retracted any of it and never changed his hatred of nuclear power and love of renewable energy. he and Amory Lovins sang from the same song sheet. Holdren continues his nuclear scaremongering to this day but, given his position is more cunning and kills it wit faint praise.

        Holdren is Obama’s science adviser. He is highly influential. He is an example of the sort of people the President has surrounded himself with to advise him. No wonder \he is the most ‘Progressive’ (i.e. dud/incompetent) president the USA has had.

      • An example of progressives never admitting they are wrong.

        interesting use of the plural.

        So let’s find an example of a “conservative” not admitting he’s wrong and with that, we can describe all “conservatives,” as differentiated from “progressives,” on that basis?

        And with that, I suppose I can call myself a skeptic?

        Let’s take our much beloved “skeptic,” GaryM. He laughably claimed that the pollsters were “skewing” their polls to advance Obama’s chances during the election. In fact, it turns out that the polls underreprestend Obama’s performance with exactly the opposite outcomes than GaryM’s laughable theory. Has he admitted his error, although I’ve asked him to do so, many, many times?

        Nope.

        Well, then, it’s settled. “Skeptics” never admit error. Glad we’ve cleared that one up, eh?

      • Joshua

        Are you giving us a “Look, Mommy, they’re doing it toooooo!”?

        Max

      • Craig Loehle

        Yeah.

        And Holdren was the genius who actually suggested shooting sulfuric acid into the stratosphere to stop global warming.

        Yikes!

        Max

  26. Dr. Curry and Mike:
    There are much better studies than the Lewandowsky. About the only supportable part of his papers is that one can have trivial conspiracy ideation through a lack of information. The other conclusions and claims don’t have much to them. If you want to get to some good work in this area, Kahan, Slovic, and Frischhoff are much better. Lewandowsky and Dana subscribe to the knowledge or information deficit explanation with bias considered for skeptics as a moral or some other short coming. The three above and others have good work that indicates risk acceptance/rejection, and cultural orientation provides better explanation.

    Mike has done a decent job of listing areas where they differ. KSF provide an explanation as to why.

    Mike I would suggest you add risk management. What the two groups also differ is capital conservation versus resource/environment conservation wrt risk. Management relates to hierarchical economic knowledge base (benefit/cost*likelihood matrix) for skeptics versus an axiomatic moral knowledge base (moral*harm*likelihood matrix). There are other ways to formulate this. I just point out that the basis for the risk and risk management are different. That is one of the overriding reasons that to date most “green” solutions to climate change are so woefully weak and so expensive, IMO. It is a cost and harm clash.

    My opinion is that in a real way, we have the wrong people in charge. But one of the problems is that the correct persons/matrix would indicate we most probably only do “no regrets” money expenditures; and that is unacceptable to those who use the moral*harm*likelihood matrix. The real issue is cultural difference.

    • JFP –

      Mike I would suggest you add risk management.

      I agree, completely, that risk management is a huge part of this issue – but where I disagree (I think?) is that it is a distinguishing characteristic between groups.

      People’s approach to risk management is subjective and dynamic; it changes according to the influence of a wide variety of factors.

      Do you see it as distinguishing, or only a (very important) box to the matrix – into which people from the different “sides” would be included, variously?

      Personally, I think that you’d have to use Venn diagrams or a thematic web to be begin to organize the various factors with any degree of complexity that approaches the complexity of these issues. A binary organizing theme, such as that SS uses, is inherently polarizing, and I would argue, in the ends sheds no light but only energizes and entrenches the polarization.

      • And JFP –

        If you think about it, SS’s matrix is a very interesting example of how this is (IMO) mostly about identification – which is what “motivates” (in the sense of motivated reasoning) so much of the climate wars.

        IMO, that chart is little other than a repetition of the same “us” vs. “them” paradigm that people on both sides reflexively return to, over and over. It’s about defining the “other” by solidifying a back-patting, chortle-chortle, lovefest. Scorched earth. Zero sum game. Same ol’ same ol’.

      • It was for Mike. He is using a 1-D model whereas Kahan uses a 2-D model. This is to help him. To get to what has more explanatory power, one needs to read KSF. Yep, the other side uses 1-D models as well with the same lack of definition in the final answer.

        In terms of defining the climate change wars, it has to be understood that both sides consider they have a moral and morally correct position. The approach to risk underscores where the 2 sides differ, perhaps differ the most. If there is something that is needed, I would say it is the Kaya identity.

      • “Personally, I think that you’d have to use Venn diagrams or a thematic web to be begin to organize the various factors with any degree of complexity that approaches the complexity of these issues. ”

        Joshua, I am not as familiar with the “thematic web” as I am with the “semantic web” . The rationale for the concept of the Semantic Web exists is to categorize and classify knowledge so as to minimize misinterpretation and ambiguity among concepts.

        I was responsible for a large Semantic Web project the last few years, where we organized interactive environmental models (of land,ocean,atmosphere) according to an ontology. We worked with the people at NASA JPL, and incorporated their SWEET ontology (Semantic Web for Earth and Environmental Technology) into a semantic web server which we called the Dynamic Context Server.

        I have one instance of the DCS hosted on a cloud server here:
        http://entroplet.com

        The name derives from the fact that a context model is a model of the surrounding environment which one can use to develop systems or analyze data.

        This is all open-sourced code and I am currently using my blog at http://ContextEarth.com to keep a running commentary on how this is progressing now that the original development phase ended.

        The bottom-line is that this kind of knowledge repository is going to transform the way that we use and apply environmental and earth science information in the future. Climate science is not the only game in town when it comes to the environment. The earth is a dynamic system and the natural resources and fossil fuel reserves also play a big role, and understanding how we can leverage what the earth provides is a good path to follow.

        The hope is that semantic knowledge will help resolve the uncertainty and ambiguity from various sources of information.

        Cheers.

      • WHT, yes there are many environmental issues besides climate change and peak oil. And one of the big problems is a lack of good definition. I wish you and those who are working on this success. This lack of good definition has been a continuing problem in controversial issues. It allows purposed obfuscation.

      • JFP –

        The approach to risk underscores where the 2 sides differ, perhaps differ the most.

        To the extent that is true, what you are describing is a context-limited phenomenon – not broadly characteristic.

        But going with that, can you describe what you’re saying more? I’m not seeing a broadly differentiated approach to risk on each side, respectively. For example, consider the oft’ made claims from “skeptics” about the deaths of tens of millions of children due to DDT (based on an ill-supported counterfactual), or about the certain starvation tens of millions of poor children from mitigation-based policies w/o: (1) a complete cost/benefit analysis of fossil fuel negative externalities and (2) assumptions about the benefit of cheap energy w/o isolating the impact of cheap energy from myriad other social and economic factors.

      • johnfpittman

        “”For example, consider the oft’ made claims from “skeptics” about the deaths of tens of millions of children due to DDT (based on an ill-supported counterfactual), or about the certain starvation tens of millions of poor children from mitigation-based policies w/o: (1) a complete cost/benefit analysis of fossil fuel negative externalities and (2) assumptions about the benefit of cheap energy w/o isolating the impact of cheap energy from myriad other social and economic factors.””

        DDT as presented is counter factual. Present it differently. With the regulation of DDT and phase out as a pesticide, overproduction ceased and production costs due to hazardous waste rules and regulatory oversight increased. The US banned use of DDT 1972. Starting 1998 and finalized in 2003 was a legal binding treaty to control and eliminate emissions of DDT and other POPs. The last manufacturing plant of DDT was dismantled and sent to Indonesia in 1983. The UN is listed as the third largest used of DDT in the world where it dispenses DDT to the 25 countries listed as less developed legitimate DDT users. From malaria.org “Though cures exist, malaria claims several million lives every year. Deaths occur most often among malnourished people in countries that can’t afford adequate treatment. WHO has joined several other UN agencies and health organizations in advocating the retention of DDT for malaria control….. Jorge A. Polanco of the Ministry of Health in Belize described one such situation. Spraying rural homes with DDT all but eradicated malaria from Belize in the early 1960s, he noted last February in Washington, D.C., at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

        When his country tried to phase out DDT spraying in the 1980s, cases of malaria surged. The government resumed occasional DDT spraying but had to again abandon the insecticide in 1999, after a manufacturing plant in Mexico—the last Western Hemisphere source of DDT—shut down.

        Unable to find a backup source, Belize has turned to deltamethrin, a pyrethroid that costs three to four times as much as DDT, Polanco reports. Purchases of the alternative insecticide now eat up 89 percent of the country’s budget for malaria control, he says, leaving little for surveillance, eradication of mosquito breeding grounds, or malaria treatment.

        Despite the support of such organizations, politics and economics may soon make DDT unavailable in many malaria-stricken regions, including the places where it’s needed most.””

        Appears to me that those who claim no deaths due to the banning of DDT live in the same fantasy world that CO2 is not a GHG. The same argument can be made for we are starving people with mitigation by using arable land and driving up costs locally. Another known problem is grain exports cost function wrt to biofuel. How much impact is a counterfactual, in a sense, for the reason that the measurements are indirect. Though, it is another case of fantasy to think it does not. It is untrue that we had to kill people when we got rid of, or tried to get rid of DDT, but we did. It is untrue that we have to kill people today with mitigation, but that is what is happening… etc.

        As we have agreed before, there are inefficiencies in markets and governments, but that does not change the cause of death. The measurement takes counterfactuals. But that should not be a problem, the whole mitigation of GHG’s requires the acceptance of a counterfactual.

      • David Springer

        ROFLMAO

        WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | October 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

        “I was responsible for a large Semantic Web project the last few years, where we organized interactive environmental models (of land,ocean,atmosphere) according to an ontology. We worked with the people at NASA JPL, and incorporated their SWEET ontology (Semantic Web for Earth and Environmental Technology) into a semantic web server which we called the Dynamic Context Server.”

        The link to the JPL SWEET project

        http://sweet.jpl.nasa.gov/ontology/

        has a dozen broken links at the top of the page and hasn’t been updated in over 2 years.

        Bitchin’. Exactly what I’d expect of a project that you were involved with.

        ROFLMAO


      • David Springer | October 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm |

        ROFLMAO

        The link to the JPL SWEET project

        http://sweet.jpl.nasa.gov/ontology/

        has a dozen broken links at the top of the page and hasn’t been updated in over 2 years.

        Bitchin’. Exactly what I’d expect of a project that you were involved with.

        ROFLMAO

        You are one so funny fellow Springer. The architect of the SWEET ontology unfortunately passed away two years ago coming up this January.
        http://www.cigi.illinois.edu/cisg/rob.php

        Good work lives on and we will continue to fly the flag of Rob’s work. Life is tough and we do the best we can.

      • JFP –

        IMO, there is much that you missed in your discussion of DDT, but even though your terminology of “banning” is highly problematic from a factual standpoint, I wouldn’t argue that there were “no deaths due to the banning of DDT.”

        It is certainly true that there were some deaths attributable to the difficulties some countries encountered with accessing and acquiring DDT.

        But you didn’t address my point – which is that the argument about “tens of millions of deaths” due to “banning” of DDT is a counterfactual, one often made by “skeptics,” that fails to reach the standard of evidence that a counterfactual argument requires: Specifically, a careful analysis of what would had happened had various policies w/r/t DDT not been enacted.

        I don’t want to get into the weeds of the DDT argument (although I think that your take on the situation is simplistic and flawed, it is an argument I’m sick of engaging on), but that isn’t really germane to my point anyway.

      • David Springer

        Webby,

        What a great memorial to let the guy’s website fall into disrepair. With friends like you who needs enemies?


      • David Springer | October 6, 2013 at 12:18 am |

        What a great memorial to let the guy’s website fall into disrepair. With friends like you who needs enemies?

        I will send a note to ask if some of the dead links weren’t the result of government shutdown activities. I am sure they will be interested to note that there are some haters out there.

      • David Springer

        Pukite,

        open the page with firefox, press f12 for developer tools, go to html tab, mouse over items until object of interest on the page is highlighted, expand objects by clicking + until you drill down to a broken link

        the first is

        http://eis.jpl.nasa.gov/fil/images/top_nav_left.gif

        take that and go to archive.org wayback machine and find date it became broken

        broke here on 2/22/13

        http://web.archive.org/web/20130222190653/http://eis.jpl.nasa.gov/fil/images/top_nav_left.gif

        and not broke here on 7/4/2009

        http://web.archive.org/web/20090704125527/http://eis.jpl.nasa.gov/fil/images/top_nav_left.gif

        so no it has nothing to do with government shutdown as it became broken between the two dates above

        you do web development and you don’t know how to do something simple like that?

      • David Springer

        By the way I’m not a hater I’m a lover.

        Write that down.

      • johnfpittman

        Joshua, I don’t disagree with you about the simplistic; the post was long enough as it was without exact history and nomenclature of the banning as a support for the different effects in different parts of the world that would be needed to accomplish a less simplistic post. My point was that there were deaths due to the banning since the banning caused closing of manufacturing. I have not counted the deaths. However, I would point out neither have you shown where you have counted them. We do know there were deaths due to the ban. Trying to separate poor support is also another counterfactual. I have seen a fairly decent estimate, but it was a low ball because they excluded all support related deaths. There are 3 million deaths per year. There have been sourcing problems since 1999. To offset population increases, that would be 22 million deaths. Based on what malaria.org has at the site: no we did not kill 10’s of millions by cutting off DDT, it is only millions. A fair estimate is about 2 to 4 million. However, that does not count “partial death” as a cause of early death, which is 500 million per year. If we use the same reasoning as was done for PM, SO2, mercury and a host of others, then yes, we could say the ban led to millions of direct deaths and tens of millions of early death.

      • I see that Chief Petty Officer Springer is up to his old tricks of nitpicking.

        What obviously happened at NASA JPL is that they archived Rob’s original folder structure out of respect and placed it under a subdirectory
        http://sweet.jpl.nasa.gov/ontology
        And now Tom is maintaining the current distribution here
        http://sweet.jpl.nasa.gov/

        I take blame for linking to the archive. OTOH, Springer is able to score some points off of other people’s misfortune. How petty. Yet par for the course in Springer’s world of spite and hate.

      • David Springer

        Glad I could help, Webby. A bigger man would thank me for it.

      • JFP –

        Ok, I said I didn’t want to, but I have a little time to kill so I will add this much more.

        Chiefly:

        There wasn’t a ban. The difference is not just semantics, but an important part of dismantling the misleading rhetoric.
        Appropriate usage of DDT requires an extensive governmental infrastructure, and the continued misuse of DDT – which was the target of the international agreements – would have likely caused deleterious effects. W/o controlling for those deleterious effects, it is impossible to determine the net effect (in terms of lost lives) that might have resulted from those international agreements.
        Those international agreements included provisions for continued use of DDT for vector control.
        Malaria deaths increased in places where the use of DDT continued.
        In terms of reducing deaths from malaria, DDT is one tool that can be used as one strategy within a well-rounded approach. It is not a magic bullet, and the efficacy of DDT needs to be viewed within the full context of what other measures would be equally or more effective, depending on context.
        There are epidemiological studies that show an overall net benefit from discontinuing the widespread misuse of DDT. That wouldn’t mean, however, that a given individual life might have been saved.

        The problem is that making an argument about DDT, one way or the other, without fully exploring the counterfactual nature of the arguments, becomes nothing other, IMO, than a rhetorical tool – that in the end exploits tragedy for …. well, for what reason, exactly? To make the trivial point that there are sometimes unintended consequences to the actions that government takes? If the point is to learn lessons from the missteps of government actions, then we need to be careful about the arguments we make. We have to be thorough, and scientific. What are the lessons that can be learned from the impact of international agreements to stop using DDT in widespread agricultural applications?

        I think you might find this interesting
        http://blog.gutenberg.edu/2012/rachel-carson-ddt-and-malaria/

        In case you’re interested – as for my own perspective:
        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2012/06/22/the-lessons-and-echoes-of-silent-spring/#.UlFoFxC8nXU

        The comments here from “thingsbreak” are particularly informative, IMO:
        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2012/10/22/speaking-truth-to-green-ideology/#.UlFojRC8nXU


      • David Springer | October 6, 2013 at 9:05 am |

        Glad I could help, Webby. A bigger man would thank me for it.

        Thanks to the Intelligently Designed Flying Spaghetti Monster.

        Springer will never evah understand just how much people are laughing behind his back,

      • JFP –

        Not sure you’ll find this amidst all these comments, but here goes:

        This comment from Craig Loehle will serve very nicely to illustrate my point – which was not really contingent on a comprehensive argument about DDT.

        In the progressive mind, what matters is the story. If you are doing something noble, that is what matters, whether it works or not. DDT is bad, therefore we must ban it. Unintended consequences are not to be considered (can’t be considered). Thus the complete inability to admit that windmills are killing birds or that golden rice might save lives or that urban renewal might put people on the street or that biofuels might turn rain forest into palm plantations.

        So here we have a noted “skeptic” who promotes ridiculous arguments to find a supposed categorical difference between “progressives” and ??? “conservatives” ??? He even goes so far as to describe “the progressive mind.”

        Notice how in his analysis, there is a facile presumption about the “unintended consequences” of DDT, not to the carry-on facile arguments related to windmills, biofuels, etc.

        We have an argument based on correlation, without a careful examination of causation.

        This is an example of a particular approach to risk analysis, one that serves an specific end.

        Since Craig focuses on political orientation as a factor correlated to cognitive development, let’s consider something else: I think that you’ll agree that “skepticism” about climate change is associated with “conservative” politics. I think that you’ll also agree that the broad popularity of the invasion of Iraq among “conservatives” is instructive about the approach towards risk management of those same “conservatives.” What does that tell us about “skeptics,” as a group (certainly not individuals, as I would imagine that there are a few individual “skeptics” here that were not in line with most “conservatives” on the invasion of Iraq), and their approach to risk analysis?

        I would say absolutely nothing – except that for “skeptics,” as for everyone else, views about risk analysis are highly context specific and influenced by myriad factors.

        Do you really think that there is some broadly categorical distinction to be made between “skeptics” and “realists,” that is related to attitudes towards risk analysis?

      • David Springer

        re; laughing behind my back

        You obviously have me confused with someone who gives a shiit what the cowardly hyenas are doing behind my back. I laugh in your face.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Springer says we can model a cake that can unbake itself. Perhaps his model failed halfway through and his cake remains only half-baked?

      • RG, I think Springer left his cake in the rain.

        It hasn’t been a good day for Springer. He started by making fun of my colleague’s misfortune and it all went downhill in the direction of entropy from there.

      • johnfpittman

        I have some time too. From your first link “The result was the rise of the environmental movement, and DDT was ultimately banned in 1972.” What was banned was use of DDT as a general pesticide in the US. So, hitting my argument about ban while linking to one that uses the same words and date seems a bit counter to your argument.

        You state: “Appropriate usage of DDT requires an extensive governmental infrastructure, and the continued misuse of DDT – which was the target of the international agreements – would have likely caused deleterious effects. W/o controlling for those deleterious effects, it is impossible to determine the net effect (in terms of lost lives) that might have resulted from those international agreements.” Your use of “appropriate” “extensive” and claim of “deleterious effects” likewise need good definition and backing. Further this statement ignores data ” Purchases of the alternative insecticide now eat up 89 percent of the country’s budget for malaria control, he says, leaving little for surveillance, eradication of mosquito breeding grounds, or malaria treatment.” If malaria is not treated it causes death. Using this example, assume 11% can go to treatment. With the odds 500:3, one can now make the argument that based on this data most of the deaths are due to increased costs of alternatives. It is not a minor issue. Your call for extensive government infrastructure agrees with “banning” DDT causes death, since where DDT for malaria is legal is in the poorest of nations. Your likely would have caused deleterious effects is a poorly supported argument unless you can, as you pointed out, assign a monetary figure to the lives lost and the cost of these very likely deleterious effects. I have not seen it.

        “”This is DDT’s “D50” concentration.”” The information is lacking on this one. This is one of my areas of expertise. You need to know the safety factor 10,000, 100,000, 1,000,000:1 ? It is not about the LD50 for humans. That is why the author had safe in parentheses. There is also disagreement: “John Tierney and a number of scientists believe the benefits of DDT spraying outweigh these detrimental effects.” If we are going to argue belief, I believe when the poor countries cannot support treatment of the disease using a replacement due to its cost, either deaths will go up or the number of infections will go up. Once again, using the logic of health as applied by EPA and others, this means, yes we approach 10’s of millions of deaths are due to the extensive governmental infrastructure or lack of wealth. Note resistance is just that. It is often from misapplication such as too little, not too much which would indicate that the EGI is screwing up again, or the fact that the countries are just poor. I believe lack of wealth myself.

        I remember both of the collidascape. I read them and comments. It has more opinion than facts and more about approach to policy rather than what policy has caused. I think the posts were thoughtful.

      • johnfpittman

        Found your post on RM wrt Loehle. ;)

        You ask: “Do you really think that there is some broadly categorical distinction to be made between “skeptics” and “realists,” that is related to attitudes towards risk analysis?”

        Yes, you point to ones that reflect how they do risk analysis. “DDT was banned without considering the benefits.” I am not talking about what you or I would perceive as true, but how the RA or RM is done.

        You state “This is an example of a particular approach to risk analysis, one that serves an specific end.” I agree that for both groups, your skeptics and realists.

        Your statement: ” I think that you’ll agree that “skepticism” about climate change is associated with “conservative” politics.” I would make: ” I think that you’ll agree that “realists” belief and policies about climate change are associated with “liberal” politics.” Then agree with both your statement and mine. If our brush is that broad, may as well paint both equally.

      • David Springer

        R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist | October 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

        “Springer says we can model a cake that can unbake itself. Perhaps his model failed halfway through and his cake remains only half-baked?”

        It can’t unbake itself in the real world. We can reverse the arrow of time in a computer model. Gates is so mired in the warmist philsophy that computer models are the same as reality he doesn’t understand how computer models can run backwards in time. I asked him repeatedly to signal to me that he understands that classical physics is time reversible. He doesn’t understand. That must be the end of this discussion as it’s simply too far over his head to go further.

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | October 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm |

        “He started by making fun of my colleague’s misfortune”

        That’s simply a lie. If you do anything like that again I’m contacting your employer to inform them of how you’re spending your time the office. Got it?

      • Not necessary. Web is doing his own performance evaluation but won’t be able to see the results.
        =============


      • David Springer | October 7, 2013 at 8:29 am |

        That’s simply a lie. If you do anything like that again I’m contacting your employer to inform them of how you’re spending your time the office. Got it?

        The weakling Springer has to rely on threats cuz he got so embarrassed over his Sunday’s contribution to the discussion. What a little wimp.

      • David Springer

        http://www.baesystems.com/contact/BAES_025969/Curt-Gray

        Lie about me again. I dare you.

    • [… O]ne of the problems is that the correct persons/matrix would indicate we most probably only do “no regrets” money expenditures; and that is unacceptable to those who use the moral*harm*likelihood matrix. The real issue is cultural difference.

      AFAIK it’s also unacceptable to many “skeptics”, who seem to me to nitpick over costs and ROI, or ignore, e.g. spin-off value from R&D, while trying to equate “risk unproven” with “no risk”.

      • I would not disagree with that but point out that many skeptics consider advancement in technology as a reason NOT to start something now. That something could be actually a no-regrets implementation. Many use ROI, as they do uncertainty to win an argument, not to have a consistent approach to a problem. Unfortunately, I see the warmists make the claim of polyannaism when skeptics want to use it. Both sides fight like 14 year-olds. Go figure.

      • many skeptics consider advancement in technology as a reason NOT to start something now.

        An argument that may have merits, until you apply it to political/financial changes increasing the incentives for R&D. A strong societal investment in R&D pointing towards replacing fossil carbon for energy would certainly be “no regrets” in terms of overall ROI, assuming any realistic modelling system for spin-off technology. (Of course, the individual economic units doing the investment might not get the same ROI. I’m reminded of all the money “invested” in the internet during the late ’90’s, that benefited society but not the start-ups doing the investment.)

      • I don’t disagree AK. But I would point our that most of the skeptic POV I have read is the forced support of unproven technology in the marketplace. That is a different activity than R&D. It may be you know some who fit your description. I can’t say, because I would ignore the argument as political. In other words, my POV is R&D good no matter who pays for it. YMMV.

      • Right AK. The invention of the internet isn’t all positive. It has enabled various parts of the US government to create a “Big Brother” society where everything we do on this wonderful internet is captured and analyzed. I’m not seeing the benefit of this.

      • @jim2…

        “Everything” most people do is also captured and analyzed by “private” marketing operations as well. Anybody prepared to learn how can block the vast majority of both types of tracking. Most aren’t or don’t.

      • AK – Private Corps don’t usually attach a name to the mining data. Our U.S. Gov. does.

      • David Springer

        jim2 | October 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

        “Right AK. The invention of the internet isn’t all positive. It has enabled various parts of the US government to create a “Big Brother” society where everything we do on this wonderful internet is captured and analyzed. I’m not seeing the benefit of this.”

        Yes, there are times I regret having invented it. But man was it a wild ride being an engineer on the inside at one of the Four Horsemen of the Nasdaq – Cisco, Dell, Intel, and Microsoft in the 1990’s. What a rush. I realized how big a splash it was going to make in 1993 when I started developing a laptop for Windows 95. Sony was our partner. I’d been involved in networking (ethernet, arcnet, Novel Netware) and an active participant in electronic forums (CompuServe and others) for a decade prior. The big stumbling block was hardware and software that just wasn’t ready for primetime. A few nerds and dweebs who could type and had a few thou$and to spend on a home computer or academics with DarpaNet/Usenet access. Windows 95 plug & play plus under-$1000 personal computers with the power to run a pre-emptive multitasking GUI-based O/S opened up the intertubes to humanities students, bored housewives, and porn surfing dimwits the world over. Not to mention that automating supply chain management end to end saved businesses untold moolah that sunk so quick and fast to the bottom line that no business could compete without getting wired into the global network. Man that was sweet. The party ended in 2000 after the Y2K scare had pushed computer purchases ahead a few years and the bottom fell out of the market for a few years while the premature replacment cycle played out. I started cashing in my chips in late 1998 in anticipation of the soft market following the turn of the millenium. My timing was exquisite and I retired in January 2000. Sweet.

      • Steven Mosher

        “The party ended in 2000 after the Y2K scare had pushed computer purchases ahead a few years and the bottom fell out of the market for a few years while the premature replacment cycle played out.”

        Thats not why the bottom fell out dude: Tantalum caps.

      • Tantalum caps? That’s a new one. Let’s hear it.

      • David Springer

        Yeah I’m a bit curious myself. I know for a fact that a zillion corporate purchasers pushed the replacement cycle ahead by one to three years to make sure everything they had was Y2K certified.

        Make sure you provide links, dude.

        Here’s a paper by the St. Louis Fed supporting my story. They blame the whole boom and bust on accelerated Y2K purchasing. I agree. I was in the thick of it on the supply side and made a fortune riding it.

      • David Springer

        re; tantalum caps

        Figured it out. Mosher was trying to make a funny. There was an incident in the 1990’s where a Dell laptop started smoking in someone’s lap on a commercial airline flight. It got a fair amount of press coverage at the time. Tantalum caps notorious for going into thermal overload. They rupture, smoke, and spit out a stream of silver colored globs of tantalum. Presumably the bottom could melt out of a laptop.

        Har har har. You should go on stage Mosher. There’s one leaving in a few minutes.

      • I was working for a bank during the runup to Y2K, and I got the distinct impression the Fed was keeping interest rates lower than strictly according to policy. Although nobody ever said anything, I suspected this was partly to make sure money was available to pay for Y2K, and I certainly expected the Fed to raise rates right after the potential problem was over. IIRC it did.

        This may have been locked into a positive feedback relationship with the replacement cycle.

      • Electronic techs typically work on benches with switched outlet strips. They, the ones I worked with and I, would just switch off the whole strip upon leaving work. As a practical joke, we would on occasion put a tantalum in one of the outlets. When the tech switched on his strip …

      • David Springer

        The junk that sprays out of a tantalum cap in thermal overload looks so much like mercury that spills out of a broken thermometer it always made me avoid coming in contact with it. However I looked it up just now and found tantulum is so non-toxic and inert it’s used to coat body implants. You learn something new every day!

    • Risk management would bring out the two types of skeptics. One set, like Judith, would say there is too much uncertainty to even assign a probability to any risk, and it could equally well be above as below the IPCC range. The solution to this is an extension to the IPCC risk management which is to consider low-probability high-cost risks seriously in planning. The other type of “skeptic” preaches uncertainty, but is actually, when you read what they say, sure that the whole uncertainty range is below the IPCC range, and therefore they are certain no action is needed.

    • David Springer

      Lewandowsky cherry picked the conspiracy theories.

      Had he asked about the Koch Brothers, Big Oil, Hillary’s “vast right wing conspiracy”, he’d have gotten results a bit harder to spin the way he wanted, eh? LOL

      • This was the mark of projection from the gitgo.
        ===========

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Springer,

        Still waiting for those links that show climate models running backwards…time reversible and all that, remember?

      • David Springer

        Remember? It was like three hours ago. I don’t hang on your every word. I watched the Klitchsko fight in the meantime. I don’t want to be a spoiler for anyone who didn’t watch but it was the best fight I’ve seen in the last couple years IMHO.

        So here ya go. Ask and ye shall receive.

        http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/CMU.htm

        The ultimate test of validity of a climate model is empirical; i.e., does it pass the backcasting test? Such backcasting is generally not done or if it is done it is not released to the public. Patrick J. Michaels in his book, Meltdown, gives the backcasting of two climate models from about 1993 back to 1905. One is the first Coupled Global Climate Model (CGCM1) from the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis and the second is British, from the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. The data presented below were scaled from the Michaels’ graph. These backcast made considerable use of current past data to reproduce some approximation of the past temperature time series.

        In the interest of teaching a man to fish read up fo yosef. The first hit is a wickedpedia article which uses climate models as an example:

        https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=&oq=climate+model+hindcast+&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4LENN_enUS461US461&q=climate+model+hindcast+&gs_l=hp…0i22i30l2.0.0.0.9112………..0.ah_b1Kzo8Ns

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        David Springer:

        Your link is not to models being “run in reverse”, but to backtesting, whereby previous climate states are shown using the models. You stated quite clearly that the models were “time reversible” and could be run in reverse, but that has nothing at all to do with the backtesting discussed in the link you provided. You apparently don’t know the difference but your exceptionally large ego won’t allow you to admit you haven’t a clue what you are talking about.

      • Rgates

        As promised I am providing details of climate around the 1257 or 1258 volcano. I have gone a few years before and after so you can see the context that it was warm, then turned cold and wet 5 years before the volcano then a couple of years after turned warm again. There is no trace that this volcanic event started the LIA. We were in a somewhat cooler phase from around 1220 for a century but with many warm years as well and things warmed up in the 1300’s. Sorry for the very long extract.

        “1252 very hot and dry summer, very wet autumn heat of the sun so great that all the earth became dry no fruit grew on trees. At end of harvest there was great flooding breaking bridges mills and houses adjoin the rivers

        Matthew paris notes in most of march and the whole of the months of april and may the ground was burnt up by the sun the wind continuing from south west north or east. The sun rose up to its solstitial culmination and its immoderate and intolerable heat so burned up the earths surface and multiplied its warmth that the herbage withered away. Moreover the heat continued into the night and generated flies flea and other injurious pests.

        He also writes in april may june and july heat and drought prevailed intolerably without beneficial sprinkling of rain or dew. Meadows were stripped of their grass, plant foliage withered. According to john de taxter ‘this year many died from the excessive heat of the summer.

        There was much thunderstorms. Robert of Gloucester noted in 1270 ‘in the year of grace 1252 the summer was so dry and hot that even until this day there has been none hotter .’short cold spell around oct 13 which was very wet.

        1253 dry summer and wet autumn with in spring and summer a prolonged drought. Flooding in autumn which dried up after the feast of St Michael happened in spring (drought) contrary to the nature of the season, for at the time of the equinox with the whole weather moderate there is customarily peace in the elements
        Brooks and glasspole believe 1252 and 1253 to be the driest of which we have any historical account; see Meteorological magazine 63 1928, page 4.

        1254 cold weather in jan and feb ceasing on march 12th. ‘ Mathew paris notes ‘also on this day march 12th the bitter frost ceased which had continued nearly the whole winter that is since the night of the circumcision. ‘

        Much north and easterly wind continually blowing in the spring for three months and several days which blasted the flowers and fruit about the calends of july namely in the time of the solstice quite suddenly inundations of rain broke forth with very violent hail of a kind not seen before which lasted for an hour or more breaking off tiles and parts of houses and stripping branches of trees.
        M paris notes; Very unseasonable summer from the day of ascencion to the feat of all saints hardy two or three serene days passed without continual disturbance of the air.

        In the autumn all the ground bounded by and in the neighbourhood of the sea which they had sown diligently was saturated by salt and found to be devoid of crops as the sea had occupied the land during the winter time

        1255 gales in feb and march. From the feast of st valentine for a month a violent wind with heavy rains day and night both by land and sea caused unheard of disturbance.
        There was then very unsettled weather the north wind blowing nearly the whole spring which is very inimical to the flowers and sprouting trees. And through the whole of april neither shower nor dew moistened the dry earth or gave it any warmth. The air was parched by the blowing of the north and east wind.
        In this summer there was a drought due to the east winds continuing from mid march to the calends of june.

        Rain followed and on the third of the ides of july a great tempest of hail in the trent valley marvellously beyond the ordinary nothing like it had been seen before with widespread destruction of crops by floods of water in the valley of the trent such as had not happened for a long time

        1255/6 a great gale and rain the whole winter from the feast of all saints until whitsun-this is likely to refer to nov 1st 1255 to june 4th 1256

        1256 severe thunderstorms july 25 gales on oct 5th and oct 26th which was unprecedented overturned houses and shook down stones. Possibly duplicates a great storm from oct 26th 1254

        Another thunderstorm on nov 16th and on dec 28th, this latter one was very severe with much flooding it was accompanied by a fierce whirlwind. ‘the thunder sounded a sad prophecy for it was in the middle of winter and the cold was more like that of February. Unsettled weather then lasted for three months.

        1257 from the first day of February until the first of may the whole of england was turned into a bog and a quagmire by the turbulent winds and the foul storms. (this description might refer to 1256)
        Excessive rains in summer with much flooding destruction and loss of hay. Another chronicler noted that before the octave of st benedict there commenced such floods of rain that the earth was downed bridges houses and mills borne away, roads made impassable. Probably lasted until august as some crops were saved.

        Mathew paris notes; the past year was sterile and meagre whatever was growing was choke by the floods of autumn for there was neither a temperate nor a serene day nor was even the surface of the lakes hardened up by the frost as is usual, nor were icicles hanging but there were continued inundations of rain until the purification of the blessed virgin

        1258 the serene air of autumn and its temperateness continued until the end of January so that nowhere and at no time was the surface of the water frozen up. But from that time to the end of march the north wind continually blew frost snow and intolerable cold prevailed the face of the earth was bound up cultivation was suspended ad young cattle were killed.

        The north wind blew continually, when april may and the principal part of june had passed the flowers of plants had scarcely germinated.
        Great tempest of flooding rain, snow ice thunder and lighting on the 12th of june causing great flooding on the river seven around bristol and Shrewsbury. Much loss of life. Note; This might refer to 1259.)

        General scarcity and expense of wheat due to inundations of previous year. In 1258 autumn crops nearly rotted by autumn rain. Very late and tedious autumn on account of the continual and persistent rains.
        Matthew paris notes; now this past year was very dissimilar to all previous years that is it was unhealthy and mortal stormy and exceedingly rainy so much so that although in summer time the harvest seemed promising by the time of autumn continual heavy rains choked the crops .

        Terrible thunderstorm on december 1st.

        1259 everything grew in moderate abundance and the dry weather presented an unexpected sufficiency.

        1260 great and prolonged summer drought so that barley and oats remained hidden in the ground even until autumn . however showers then caused germination but they didn’t ripen due to lack of warmth.
        Great thunderstorm on june 23.
        MP noted, in this summer great and enormous portents happened in the air so that some people said the last judgement was near.so many continuous thunderstorms that hardly anyone was bold enough to leave his house. (the London annals confirms these storms)

        During the christmas period there was such continued fine weather and serenity of the air that one would have said that it was pleasant summer time rather than winter.

        1261 in february when spring was due there was 15 days of snow and ice that no one had seen for several years.
        Another commenter notes there was a bitter winter and another that for a month from st Nicholas day the thames was frozen so men could pass on horseback.

        Note; The met office editor notes that this freezing over of the thames was the first time any writer had noted this.

        1262 hot summer

        1263 hot summer in Ireland with a great drought
        Also in England, in which year the earth by the fierce heat of summer was so dried up there was no fruit and at the end of autumn there was so much rain there was flooding. Aurora noted on july 29th in London
        Notable storm on oct 1st”

        ——- ——- ======
        The 1258 conditions might have been accentuated by the volcano, but things were bad beforehand and improved soon after
        tonyb

      • David Springer

        Right you are Gates. Climate models based on classical mechanics can be time reversible as classical mechanics is time reversible. I may have been presumptuous in believing that climate models were based on classical mechanics rather than hodgepodge collections of equations and kludges created to fit known curves and a hope and a prayer that such ugly constructs would predict an unknown future.

        I hereby recant my assertion that climate models do or have been run backwards in time. The only way they are made to reproduce the past is to initialize them with known conditions in any given starting year then run them forward through history and see how the model evolution matches real world evolution. The models are evidenty more poorly designed than than I thought.

    • John, thanks. Indeed, one of the reasons I missed the beginning of this discussion was that I was reading up on risk management.

      Earlier works are quite helpful, but unfortunately, the later work relating to climate is very biased toward academics and against sceptics.

      One of the biggest problems is that there is almost no sociological work about academics. This is making progress difficult because e.g. I have very little hard data on how academia differs from the rest of society or even what percentage is non-sceptic/alarmist or subdivision within the subject.

      I am very dubious about the possible causality of politics->view on climate. I wouldn’t dispute that the attitude & experience that makes people predisposed to right of centre parties also makes them predisposed to consider the sceptic arguments, but if those in the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum were typical, then about 3/4 seem to be became sceptics because of the evidence.

  27. Judith’s summary statement is not quite fair.
    “The skeptic (Haseler) digs in and really tries to understand the reasons why educated people look at the same evidence about climate change and come to other conclusions. The warmist (Lewandowsky) is looking to find evidence to support his ‘interesting’ ideas skeptics are conspiracy theorists, motivated reasoners, and something is wrong with their brains.”
    The skeptic came up with his own ideas of what is going on, while the warmist actually went out and did a poll to get data. If only the skeptics would look at data rather than inventing stuff from their minds. Do a poll. Check Lewandowsky’s results independently. If he is wrong about the correlation of free-market thinking with anti-AGW thoughts, that should be easy to check with a few pertinent questions. An informal sampling of the people’s ideas on this site indicates that he is right. Get data. That is how science is done.

    • Is it fair to say the core AGW believers are pro-collectivist in nature?

      Why isn’t that the basis of discussion?

      • Among non-scientists, there might be a correlation of pro-AGWers with people that are more concerned with the world’s less well off. That should be checked. I could believe that.

      • It colors the discussion…, with a questioning of old versus new ideas…, and notions of pragmatism and idealism…, and an underlying desire to sacrifice Judeo-Christian principles and morals on the alter of liberal Utopia?

      • “Among non-scientists, there might be a correlation of pro-AGWers with people that are more concerned with the world’s less well off.”

        Collectivists, aka socialists/progressives, tell themselves, and everyone else, that they are “more concerned with the world’s less well off.” But if you ignore what they say, and look at what they do, it quickly becomes apparent that “the poor” and “the children” and “fairness” are just means to an end.

      • “War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery.”

        Mr. FOIA was very concerned with the world’s less well off and that was his motivation to release the climategate files.

      • Unlike the US where there is a clear divide in the UK all parties (at least publicly) enthusiastically endorsed the global warming idea. The left might be more enthusiastic, but if anything the strongest supporters have been the “centre-left” not the far left.

    • johnfpittman

      Jim D perhaps you do not note that with the policy that is commonly, if not universally applied wrt to AGW, it would be an unusual free market thinker who would not be opposed to the policy. Since Lewdandowsky’s poll cannot support the differences of policy disposition or predisposition; it was about conspiracy ideation. It is not how science gets it done. Go read Dan Kahan’s and Yale’s site on cultural cognition and see how that particular science gets done.

  28. “I am trying to understand how sceptics and warmists can look at pretty much the same information and come up with two very different conclusions – Mike Haseler, the Scottish Sceptic”

    I look at the current observational data and determine a TCR of 2C for a doubling of CO2
    http://contextearth.com/2013/10/04/climate-variability-and-inferring-global-warming/

    This is also the consensus mean among models, paleo, and modern instrumental evidence.

    OTOH, skeptics such as DocMartyn and Clive Best take that data and find a TCR of 1.7C.

    Therefore, a “warmist” is someone who estimates the TCR to be 2C. A “skeptic” is someone that defines the TCR as 1.7C.
    Somewhere in between 1.7C and 2C is the boundary between a skeptic and a warmist. Let’s say this number is TCR = 1.85C. If you are above this number, you are a warmist, and if you are below this number you are a skeptic.

    Isn’t it bizarre what this argument has come down to? The difference between a warmist and skeptic is less than 20%.

    • Projection; a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world.

      • Doc, How’s your R^2 compared to mine?

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/05/16/docmartyns-estimate-of-climate-sensitivity-and-forecast-of-future-global-temperatures/

        You want to try projecting that?

        There is obviously something more going on here than just a disagreement over the numbers. Why else would you need this marginal discrepancy other than to set up some strawman distinction between good and evil ?

      • ‘mines bigger than yours’, for Christ sake get out of mothers basement and meet some women, or men if that is what flies your kite.
        A R2 value is meaningless for a guesstimate; you can’t transform data, fling in ‘factors’ and then claim a ‘better’ R2 and expect a sweetie.

        You think any fit to an ‘average global temperature’ means anything?
        What is important is the dynamics of the system, ask simple things, like why does reality have such a poor response to volcanic aerosols, but the models such a large one?
        Why does CO2 have such an instantaneous slowing of rise in response to response to volcanic aerosols and yet sea surface temperature remains stubbornly flat?

      • Doc, You obviously must realize that you wrote that top level post on estimating TCR.

        But now when you get confronted by a better scientific approach you find the need to lash out.

        This says a lot about your adherence to pure science, which is the quest for physical truth.

  29. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    Such a gross black and white view of complex human nature and perspectives is never helpful as the most important things are always in the finer unique details.

  30. Heh, it’s the curious vs the credulous.
    ==================

    • Let’s see. Fan, Gatesy, Webby and JImmieD. You have four of a kind all projecting as sure as all get out, Doc..
      +4. To your comment and even better they cannot see it.
      Possibly too black and white for them.

      • I am so emotional right now; for months I have been tied to the phone like an expectant father, and now I realize that Stockholm is going to be calling Web and not me.

      • David Springer

        Stockholm just called Webby and said they want their Sydrome back.

  31. Haseler forgot a key difference,

    Skeptics think that modeling is an initial value problem and warmists think it is a boundary value problem.

    Tell me why you disagree if you do.

    Also, skeptics talk the talk about uncertainty. but don’t walk the walk. Warmists are better at admitting and dealing with uncertainty.

  32. Here’s the problem with the Lewandowsky study:
    “That is, if you’re a conservative who believes the world runs best when businesses operate in a “free market” with little government interference, then the chances are you don’t think human-caused climate change represents a significant risk to human civilisation.”

    It is not necessary to believe the first part – it is trivially and demonstrably true and only an out-of-touch academic could argue otherwise. How else did the West become wealthy – so wealthy in fact that it can afford Climate Science and useless academics being chairs of cognitive psychology – when those countries with more interventionist and frequently corrupt governments did not so thrive, and eventually collapsed under their own weight of incompetence? We in the West became rich through free trade with minimal government interference.

    I found a post by Tim Worstall at the ASI interesting: http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/economics/talking-about-controlling-conflict-minerals. An activist on a different subject that Tim spoke to had no idea of the costs or benefits of the change of law he was promoting.

    This illustrates the point in the first table. The Climate Activists (and many of the scientists) can be wrong – but will suffer no personal problems because of it. After all, they were ‘trying to do the right thing’. Those of us who work in commerce know that one wrong decision – if its a bad one – can be fatal to your business. So we look at cost/benefit and Opportunity Cost analyses as a matter of course. You just don’t see this thinking in the debate, and activists look at your with baffled contempt if you even try to suggest that not doing anything may be better than many of the ‘solutions’ they espouse.

  33. The inconvenient Truth:

    Approach of Western AGW Climatists:

    Top down.
    Start with the overall picture & fills in the details as understanding improves. Ignore all extraneous detail which cannot be modelled.
    And,

    Masturbate feelings of superiority over everyone who fails to see your vision and sense of entitlement.

  34. Matthew R Marler

    JC cpmments: I thought these two pieces were quite interesting when considered together. The skeptic (Haseler) digs in and really tries to understand the reasons why educated people look at the same evidence about climate change and come to other conclusions. The warmist (Lewandowsky) is looking to find evidence to support his ‘interesting’ ideas skeptics are conspiracy theorists, motivated reasoners, and something is wrong with their brains.

    Clearly it is only 1 skeptic vs one warmist, so we shouldn’t probably try too hard to characterize this as “skeptical” approaches vs “warmist” approaches. Haseler’s approach is clearly more systematic than Lewandowsky’s, and I find his table compelling.

    Another aspect might be focus on achievable goals (skeptics) vs. alternation between “helplessness” and “grandiosity” (warmists.)

    I can’t read all of Haseler’s table clearly because it overlaps the blog roll and other right-hand stuff.

  35. Dr. Elliott Althouse

    In my albeit limited experience, I have never met a person who is both a warmist and a scientist, health care provider, engineer, I have never personally met a “climate scientist”. Those who have a “gut” feeling that anthropogenic influence is real are quick to point out that at this point there is no credible science to validate the feeling. Is there anyone who has no financial or political stake in this topic and is a scientist or science based professional who buys AGW hook, line and sinker? With the shenanigans the warmists do and the shoddy science they treat as gospel, I can’t fathom how anyone can. How can anyone with any credibility call Dr. Curry a “serial climate disinformer” after receiving millions in grants from a graph of spliced independent datasets? How hard they try to keep McIntire and McKittrick out of publications. How they try to (and sometimes succeed) in getting people fired as state climatologists.
    At the end of the day it is simple. The warmist looks at the data and manipulates it to fit a preconceived notion, while the skeptic looks at the data and asks, “What does this really mean?”

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Dr. Elliott Althouse asserts “In my albeit limited experience, I have never met a person who is both a warmist and a scientist, health care provider, engineer.”

      So you ain’t never been to an Isaac Newton Institute Seminar, Dr. Althouse? That is regrettable.

      Fortunately, there is good news for you! The Isaac Newton Institute hosts dozens of video recording of its high-level climate-change research seminars.

      Your present lack of experience will soon be sensibly relieved, Elliott Althouse!

      Thank you for both your continuing curiosity and your commitment to politely rational, science-based public discourse!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • You need to look for Andy Lacis here for the climate scientist’s viewpoint. Unsurprisingly his scientific viewpoint is very certain, even claiming previous IPCC Executive Summary is not scientific, but too political and the wording legalese. He is very willing to engage in talk about actual physics with those interested, but has perceived that many here are not and he is not afraid to tell them so.

    • Welcome to this blog then and pleased to meet you.

      I am of the warmist persuasion, and somewhat of a scientist, I could get that title with a lateral move, do some engineering if operation and maintenance of equipment used to produce radioactive tracers qualifies, since those tracers are used in the medical field, I am at least in the healthcare field.

      It’s not a gut feeling, it’s well established that CO2 is produced by man, the increase in the atmosphere’s concentration is due to man and CO2 has the physical properties necessary to raise earth’s temperature. And the theory is falsifiable.

      I have a financial stake in this, though it would take some research to determine which side my portfolio is most at risk or favors.

      I don’t object to different data sources being placed on the same graph and find it boggling that some people find this fraudulent. And I don’t find that many examples of shoddy science or shenanigans. I am more offended by people who read other people’s mail. Fourth amendment and all.

      Mic and Mac can try and do some real science if they want to get published, no one is stopping them but themselves, and I don’t think they have it in them, good science that is.

      Then you go into tinfoil hat area, all climate science is not conspiratorial.

      • Hi bob –
        I’m afraid your 3rd para as it stands is a narrative, probably a consequence of flawed problem-solving. Let me add some context:

        “…it’s well established that CO2 is produced by man”
        – true, but take our emissions as the unit. The ocean consumes ~1x, and continental vegetation in season consumes 2-3x. Our emissions are important, but not (yet) urgent.
        Geology sequesters CO2, so we should be exploiting this in our technology development (are we?).

        “…the increase in the atmosphere’s concentration is due to man”
        – not yet proven. A ½% change in ocean chemistry could double or negate the last century’s atmospheric CO2 increase. I’d expect widespread discussion of this contribution to trends. No doubt we’ve added some.
        Also, the experts on the geochemical carbon cycle call it the biogeochemical carbon cycle; any CO2 modelling that excludes life is incomplete.
        Those experts suggest that the recent rise may be from a (geological) historic low, so the Earth has been here before.

        “…and CO2 has the physical properties necessary to raise earth’s temperature”
        – true in principle, but ask what else does, and where CO2 ranks. What I see suggests that any effect will be small and diminishing (and also that anyone claiming to model the system to <0.1% is remarkably confident), but you should form your own opinion.

        "…and the theory is falsifiable"
        – arguably, (as it stands) it already has, as it fails to explain the last century (notably ENSO, PDO, AMO) and the current no-warming.

        I don't doubt that there's good science in all of this, but the synthesis is incomplete.

      • Peter,

        Yes the oceans and plant life consume CO2, but not all of it. The rise in CO2 is totally due to man and that is what the empirical evidence shows, whether that has been “proven” is irrelevant.

        Lets here from the geological experts then, I don’t take your opinion as fact. Provide some sources that confirm the recent rise is natural or from an historical low. Other than Salby of course.

        Is the modeled temperature within 0.1% of the actual temperature or not?
        Maybe not, but it is pretty close, I am of the opinion that natural unforced variability is at least 0.2 C but not much more than 0.3 C.

        The current no warming is not substantiated by the empirical evidence. There is difficulty modeling the stochastic properties of climate such as ENSO and the others you mentioned, that doesn’t come close to falsifying anything.

      • So you don’t take my word for it?
        Good.
        I present the links below not as Authority, but work & data cited by “skeptical” sites. If you find your own, you don’t need to trust me.

        If you know radio-tracers, the “Bomb Curve” may interest you:
        http://www.false-alarm.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/paper1.pdf

        Geological CO2:
        http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Reference_Docs/Geocarb_III-Berner.pdf

        All models are based on assumptions (explicit or not), so the rules must be much stricter. Deviation (and I don’t think 2C° is “pretty close”) is an indicator that you may have a wrong or missing assumption, and your model thus *not* verified.
        Inability to generate something recognisably similar to an ENSO event to order indicates you’re missing something that can’t be fixed by fudge-factors. If you don’t do science this way, you *will* look silly.

        For the “pause”, see:
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1941/to:1979/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1941/to:2013/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1979/to:2001/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2001/to:2013/trend

      • Peter,

        The Geocarb paper is not evidence either way with respect to the modern change in CO2 concentration.

        Yeah the bomb curve tells us CO2 will drop if we stop emissions.

        And look what I can do with your pause

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1941/to:1979/trend/plot/uah/from:1941/to:2013/plot/uah-land/from:1979/to:2001/trend/plot/uah-land/from:2001/to:2013/trend

        If it is that easy, it means that short term trends are nothing to make any decisions on.

        Could be ENSO no?

      • I note your early and unforced recourse to manipulation of data.
        “By their fruits shall ye know them”.
        You bring warmism into disrepute.

        Unless of course this is The Conspiracy at work.

        …or The Conspiracy conspiracy?

      • Peter,
        I note your recourse to accusations of misconduct and fraud when you are losing the argument.

        I did not manipulate any data, I just changed the source of the data and your cooling trend turned into a warming trend.

        Which supports the argument that short term trends are useless because the uncertainty of those trends is greater than the observed trend.

        The lack of a pause is hurting your cause.

        If you bring in garbage arguments, you will be called on it.

  36. When issues are complex most people tend to reverse the logic from down-to-top to top-to-down (or at least I believe that’s the more common approach). Often that’s justified.

    By reversing the logic I mean that they form first the final conclusion and then search justification for that. They do that for themselves, but they try to influence others by the down-to-top argumentation, because that appears better suited for persuasion.

    Drawing conclusions at the top level is often justified, because there are, indeed, very many issues for which people have reasonable conclusions even when they don’t know any valid down-to-top support for them. Everyday experience gives often better guidance for top-to-down than for down-to-top logic.

    When the issues are as remote from everyday experience as climate change and also other large issues of environment and development the success of top-to-down logic is likely to disappear. Unfortunately also the applicability of down-to-top logic may suffer at the same time severely as data or necessary consensus is missing for some critical steps (like for calculating discounted net values).

    • Isn’t it more that as the situation gets more complex that we tend to use less deterministic rules and start to adopt “rules of thumb”, analogy with experience and lessons learnt from others (i.e. argue from authority). In other words we tend to go away from the deterministic linear causal world of science to the nebulous itty-bitty soft-touchy personality world of arts subjects.

      Part of the problems we have is that climate forecasting & the philosophical integrity of climate forecasting is far too complex for straightforward science. Science is the metaphorical hammer to build a hifi. When the job is relatively simple (as in many natural systems subject to relatively simple laws) the simple tool of science can accurately and reliably model the natural system.

      But as the system gets more and more complex, … more or less like the butterfly effect, the scale of system interactions become too complex to model reliably and accurately by scientific means.

      The obvious complex system we all understand is human behaviour. We intuitively know from experience and rules of thumb reasoning what may happen. But only in the simplest of very controlled situations can a scientific model be created to predict that behaviour. So, the correct & proper way to predict human behaviour is not through science but through other disciplines.

      Likewise the correct and proper way to assess the problem of CO2 is not through science but through an approach more suited to systems that cannot be fully modelled or verified by the normal methods of science.

      • I notice on your website you write: “Climate varies naturally. Most of the CO2 rise occurred in the latter half of the 20th century. If this change were man-made the global temperature change for the early and latter 20th century should be very different. They are not. This suggests a natural cause for much of the 20th century warming.”

        Can you explain the logic of that?

        Why should the change for the early and latter be “very different”?
        Take a look at for comparison of CO2 and temperature: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7b/Temp-sunspot-co2.svg/731px-Temp-sunspot-co2.svg.png

      • SS,

        Your discussion in switching to use of rules of thumb is close to what I mean.

        Then to more general comments on your post.

        Having read your comments on this thread (and also the original post) it seems that you have misconceptions of what scientists do. That’s very common in the discussions of blogosphere. One reason for these misconceptions is in the way science is presented both in MSM and also when scientists themselves appear in public. Such public appearances overemphasize dramatic conclusions and hide the huge amount of work and the typical internal critique that forms the basis for the success of science.

        Climate science is subject to problems from the somewhat contradictory requirements of the scientific process (slow by nature) and requests for prompt policy advice. Some of your comments reflect this issue correctly, but even there the situation is much more nuanced.

        More specifically you simplify seriously the role of models and empirical data in the scientific understanding. You largely skip the totally essential role well established theories have. These theories are taken advantage of in models but they are used also more directly in transferring empirical knowledge from one set of experiments to another area of application. Some use of models has features of applying a black box, but it’s also very common to use models as practical tools in combining empirical data from various sources adding little extra uncertainty in the process. The motives you describe for scientists are caricatures, not full descriptions.

      • Tell me more, Pekka, about climate science’s ‘typical internal critique that forms the basis for the success of science’.
        ======================

  37. Theo Goodwin

    I believe that Mike has given us a good beginning. I will try to visit his site and make recommendations (focused recommendations – not generic arguments). The really big one that I want to make now is that under “employment” on the skeptic side Mike should include Corporate Planning. Corporate planners are most likely the world’s greatest source of expertise on the USE of models for planning. I know they are the world’s greatest experts on histories of models and the use of feedback for criticism and improvement of models.

  38. Ye Olde Statistician

    I cite here a Guardian article entitled Climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists and free market advocates, study claims. Excerpts:
    If you answered yes to any of these conspiracy theories then a new study published today has found that you probably also think the science of human-caused climate change is some sort of hoax

    Proof again that amateurs should not be allowed to do statistical “studies” without professional supervision. That a questionnaire is an “instrument” is laughable enough, as is the notion that self-reporting is a sample; but when the body of the article actually reverses the header, there is a basic loss of reason. There is a world of difference between

    Climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists
    and
    Conspiracy theorists more likely to be climate sceptics.

    • Ah, the old, “climate skepticism is a conspiracy of conspiracists” acorn.

    • His conclusions were
      A. free-marketeers are more likely to be climate skeptics.
      B. conspiracy theorists are more likely to be climate skeptics.
      People who failed logic then inferred
      Z. climate skeptics are more likely to be conspiracy theorists.
      This rattled the skeptics, hence the controversy.

      • His conclusions were BS, jimmy. There was a time when I thought there was some hope for you.

      • I don’t see how he could reach any conclusions at all, given that he did not have a proper sample in hand.

      • I haven’t seen the opposition do their own poll to refute this yet, so perhaps they have and couldn’t refute it, therefore didn’t publish, otherwise it is hard to explain the lack of opposite studies. The original work came out a long time ago. As I mentioned, informal sampling here seems to support both these hypotheses, A and B.

      • That does it, jimmy. You are ridiculous. You are going on my “ignore this clown list”.

      • No need for any opposition research, Jim D.
        All Denizens to recall is that
        The pause is killing the cause.

        Let’s kill the IPCC.

      • You are going on my “ignore this clown list”.

        Can I get on that list, too? You keep promising to put me on it, but keep reneging on your promise.

        Not that I don’t find your non-ignoring of me amusing, of course. I’d prefer to stay off it, but I’m mostly just curious to see if you can actually follow through on something.

        Here, give it a shot.

      • John Carpenter

        “All Denizens to recall is that
        The pause is killing the cause.

        Let’s kill the IPCC.”

        Heh, a Denizen conspiracy no doubt

      • I also notice that the skeptics here are much more angry and stressed out than the warmists. May be worth hypothesizing why that is so. Can we have a post on moodiness and AGW belief? Fits with the social stuff we see here.

      • I am putting you on my not worth wasting time on this clown list too, willy.

      • John Carpenter

        “I also notice that the skeptics here are much more angry and stressed out than the warmists”

        And you measured that how? One can always project which emotion one thinks should fit the comment if one wants to. How do you know your interlocutor is angry and stressed? Written language alone does not usually suffice as a means to measure this.

      • David Springer

        Stressed and angry? I think global warming is a joke. The debate is entertaining, the achievements in winning hearts and minds and money with the warmist narrative are minimal and completely ineffectual, mother nature is making fools of all the warmists in no uncertain terms, and the solution to the non-renewable energy problem (which is the only real problem) is inevitable.

        Does that sound stressed and angry to you?

    • Besides, skeptics are in the pay of “big oil” and toads to industry.

      Play the Internationale listed on the page as you consider the words above.

  39. If you answered yes to any of these conspiracy theories then a new study published today has found that you probably also think the science of human-caused climate change is some sort of hoax and you might think too that there’s no good evidence for vaccinating children.
    But this doesn’t cover the groups of people who simply don’t believe in AGW and have NO conspiracy theory beliefs in their past. I think the above statement is misleading and so narrow as to be almost meaningless. Climate change = hoax? His choice of rhetoric demonstrates to me an obvious bias.

    • I’ve always thought that “hoax” is a poorly defined term that implies “conspiracy”. A conspiracy requires people to “conspire” usually in secret toward a goal. Entire cultures simply don’t act that way on core political beliefs. The NYTimes or the AGW narrative might appear conspiratorial but it’s just large or small populations with similar beliefs acting often in unrelated concert. People self-select their groups, polarize and associate.

      Just imagine a Grateful Dead concert or the reaction someone is seeking wearing a “Che” tee-shirt. They’ve reacted to their social condition, perhaps built for generations. It isn’t a conspiracy that thousands of tee-shirts of murder and terrorist are sold every year or that particular pop culture attracts similar people. My son goes to Penn, last year at the Princeton vs. Penn football game the band formed a “Hammer and Sickle” and played the “The Internationale”;

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk69e1Vcmvg

      The sociology of that is far more rich than stereotypes about “deniers”.

      AGW “hoax” is short-hand at best. AGW is a social political meme miles deep among many classes and educated populations as well as the less educated. So is post-normal “science” and the destruction of the Scientific Method required to perpetuate it.

      • The Princeton band by the way.

      • The use of these terms is to group everyone with AGW views together in order to dismiss them all in one big conspiracy. Because each scientist arrives at their views independently by looking at their part of the evidence, it becomes much more tricky to dismiss them, because there are just too many individual views to argue with. But that is how scientists work. They come to their views individually from the evidence they have seen and sought out. Each one does it in their own way, and you end up with a spectrum of views based on different subsets of the knowledge.

      • I think the term conspiracy is often misused when discussing climate science. I’ve been labeled a conspiracist simply by posting the IPCC mission statement and asking “What do you expect them to do”?

      • The Princeton band is a humor outfit that puts on parodies and tries to provoke. They occasionally get into hot water for insulting a visiting team or offending somebody. I wouldn’t take their homage to Communism as an endorsement–you’d have to hear the accompanying announcer’s script to see what the attempted joke was.

      • Steve, I wonder if they player the Panzerlied it would get the same sociological reaction;

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awehbFe3P3U

        You seem to miss the point of the hypocrisy involved or the canard of Greenshirt activists such as Joshua or Lewandowsky.

      • cwon14, getting murdered by Marxists is your fault, but being murdered by Nazi’s is their fault; gulags good, concentration camps bad.

  40. Schrodinger's Cat

    I got involved in this debate a few days ago and found that it was fairly easy to understand and define how the sceptic arrives at being a sceptic – at least to my own satisfaction. I found that others had similar views. However, I suspect that most of us involved in the debate were sceptics anyway.

    The attempts to speculate how warmists arrive at a different view was very genuine and constructive but we may have got it wrong. I would very much welcome some comments from people who are willing provide an insight from that side of the debate.

    It is interesting that even this constructive debate has drawn negative and destructive comments during its brief appearance on this blog.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Skepticism is not a destination but an approach to gaining knowledge. It is a tool. Hence, I am a skeptical warmist with skepticism the tool I arrived at my warmist position. The other hallmark of the honest skeptic is that they focus on trying to find data that would refute or alter their position.

      • David Springer

        Don’t kid yourself Gates. You arrived at your position by being an uncritical dimwit.

      • Rates

        I don’t have access to my records on the 1257 volcano on this device but if you see me around tomorrow do remind me if you want

        Btw if some academics thinks the ipcc were being too modest with predictions in which field do you believe they are underestimating the situation?

        Tonyb

      • Morselly earnest.
        ===========

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Tony,

        Always like to see your historical climate data.

        In regards to underestimation, the only ones I’ve personally corresponded with privately relate to the cryosphere. Not saying I agree, but they raise interesting points.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        David Springer,

        Did you conveniently miss this in the midst of your incessant self-indulged blathering:

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/05/skeptics-vs-academics/#comment-393822

      • David Springer

        I answered in one of the other threads where you were hounding me. Fercrisakes Gates I was doing something else for a few hours. Gimme a break. Do a ‘find on this page’ for hindcast to locate it. Thanks for playing by the way and better luck next time with a ‘gotcha’. One of these days you might actually score. Stranger things have happened.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Springer,

        Your confusion between simple “backtesting” and actually running a model in reverse indicates once more that you are mostly clueless.

      • David Springer

        Insofar as the models are based on classical mechanics the equations themselves are time reversible. You objected by saying information about the state of a system is lost as time moves forward because of statistical uncertainty. This is true. But the same statistical uncertainty applies in both time directions. So the model runs as faithfully in either direction.

        To your point I had assumed that for validation purposes climate models could be run in either direction. That may not be the case. Validation/calibration consists of initializing the model to the known conditions in any given year and running it forward from there. The result, where published, isn’t good. Gross features of historical climate records don’t get reproduced. Ocean cycles don’t emerge. Flat to declining global average temperatures such as from 1940 to 1970 and from 2000 to ???? don’t emerge. At this point in time objective observers are all coming to the realization that the models are flawed and the most likely flaw is that they overweight CO2 sensitivity via water vapor amplification. The radiative physics is the easy part of the model but the earth is a water world and the surface energy budget is dominated on the cooling side by latent flux not radiative. The hydrologic cycle is not modeled well enough by half and given that clouds alter how much shortwave reaches the surface to warm it by orders of magnitude more effect than non-condensing greenhouse gases the models will simply not be reliable until water in all its phases is accurately modeled.

      • All your phase are belong to us.
        ====================

  41. One possible line of research would be to cross-reference the comments of posters on this blog to their self-description in Denizens. It could include marking them down for the trolling comments, as the positive side like their ability to present a cogent argument, tolerant behaviour towards the other side and how they handle counterfactuals. That would show whether Haseler or Lewandowsky had a better handle on the two groups.
    Of course, if one wanted to be a true consipiracy theorist, our host is already doing this.

  42. My background is academic and I have served in the public sector, yet I most closely align with what I will call the “academic skeptics,” meaning people like Judith and Patrick Michaels and Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre — people who have immersed themselves in the data and models, and can no longer tolerate the fiction that the naked emperor actually is wearing clothing. A bit of an anomaly on the Scottish Skeptic’s scoreboard, given my background.

    How did I migrate from someone who took on faith what environmental groups and government told me, say 30 years ago, to someone who takes virtually everything about climate change, from any and all sides, with many grains of salt?

    The answer is continual exposure to accurate analysis. Most people don’t have the time, but to me, reading about this stuff is actually an act of passion, intellectual passion though it is.

    So I think the problem gets down to tribalism. If you don’t have the time or inclination or training to immerse yourself, to find out for yourself, you go with your tribe. Happens on both sides.

    That is what I would add to what the Scottish Skeptic has to say. Many an individual’s view may have little to do with thorough analysis of the situation as he, a thoroughly analytical person, seems to view the issue in large part. Which is why it has taken so long to get people just to acknowledge the pause, among other things.

    Most people don’t actually look and analyze carefully before they open their yaps, they parrot what their chosen authorities say at one end of the spectrum, what their friends say at the other. That isn’t as harsh as it may sound, we are in fact tribal animals and it is hard to go against the group, much easier to go with the group.

    • How did I migrate from someone who took on faith what environmental groups and government told me,…

      Really? You took on faith what environmental groups and “government” told you?

      Can you give an example of what “government” told you that you took on faith?

      • Joshua, here is a recent example. I went along with the idea that mercury emissions into air would be poisonous in many ways, when the idea was first widely spread in the media, in the late 1990s. EPA and mainstream environmental groups said so, why would I not believe them? Examples given of mercury poisoning included the Minimata Bay disaster in Japan in the 1950 (mercury from factories got into the bay, got into fish, people ate the fish and got the severe neurological disease now called Minimata disease). That certainly got my attention. See:

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

        When EPA put out its mercury regulations in 2011, it published a regulatory impact analysis. In that analysis, it analyzed the costs and benefits of the new mercury rule.

        I was stunned to see that the sole mercury benefit that EPA found was a nationwide IQ reduction of 511 IQ points, to children born of about 240,000 pregnant women each year who eat fish whose mercury levels would fall as a result of the rule. You can see that in Table 1-2 of this link:

        http://www.epa.gov/ttn/ecas/regdata/RIAs/ToxicsRuleRIA.pdf

        On page 5-79, EPA summarized the mercury specific benefits thusly:

        “Most importantly, the benefits of the 2016 Toxics Rule scenario (relative to the 2016 base case) are estimated to range between $4.1 million and $5.8 million (assuming a 3% discount rate), because of an estimated 511 point reduction in IQ losses.”

        It turns out that the dose makes the poison, and there won’t be any Minimata disease in the US. Yes, I felt misled. Not that I wish any IQ impairment on anyone, but these benefits are so small no one could detect any effect in any child. Why did we go though a period of accusation and counter accusation, to learn that the only benefit we get from less mercury in the air is so small that no one could detect it?

        Back to Table 1-2, you will also see that about 99.8% of the calculated benefits of the rule are “co-benefits.” These are calculated as the number of people who won’t die prematurely, almost entirely as a result of tiny sulfate particles that won’t form from sulfur dioxide emissions downwind of coal plants, because the sulfur dioxide is removed by the control options for removing mercury. Each estimated premature death is given a value of almost $10 million per death for purposes of the cost-benefit analysis. Whether such a value should be applied to someone within days or weeks of perishing, assuming EPA is correct that any tiny particle of any type will kill someone, is an issue debated in the economic literature, but this isn’t the place to start that discussion.

        Sticking only with the mercury issue: would you, or anyone on this blog, think that a 90% reduction in mercury emissions from US power plants would produce, as its only mercury-specific benefit from reducing mercury, an increase in IQ of 2/1000 point per child, totaling 511 IQ points nationwide, which EPA values in this document at about $5 million per year, based upon lowered estimates of lifetime earning power?

        I certainly didn’t expect such tiny benefits ($5 million annually) from mercury reduction. (The rule is estimated by EPA to cost almost $10 billion annually, which takes money out of people’s pockets, mainly due to higher electricity rates and marginally higher unemployment).

        So here is a case where I feel that both government and mainstream environmental groups like Sierra Club and NRDC (I want to be careful not to paint all environmental groups with the same brush) really did mislead me as to the damages of mercury in the environment in the US.

      • John, I think that mercury is a very nasty environmental neurotoxin and believe that we should go out of our way to stop its release into the environment. I am happy that the USA is making sure that emissions of mercury from power stations.
        What I am completely confused about is the fact that the EPA has gone to all this trouble to stop mercury getting into the environment and then allows the sale of compact fluorescent lamps, which contain 5 mgs of mercury each. Sales are at 8 billion a year.

        Power plants released 50 tons of mercury in 2005 and now CFL’s will release 40 tons a year.

        Why is one politically correct and not the other?

      • Joshua, one more example. If you remember, in 1981, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences predicted that in 9 years, by 1990, half of the non-acidified lakes in the Adirondacks would become acidified. When 1990 came along, the number of acidified lakes in the Adirondacks had not changed, even though the acid raid legislation wasn’t passed until the same year.

      • John –

        Thanks for those examples. The are interesting. I don’t know much about them. My suspicion is that the situations are more complicated than what I get from your description, and I’ll do some poking around… but just to clarify: you are saying that you simply took what “government” told you on those issues based on faith? Faith that “government” couldn’t possibly have been mistaken, or that the situations could be more complicated than what was generally believed at the time? If you were “mislead,” was it because you took what environmental groups and/or what “government” said on faith?

      • Thanks for your added question, Joshua.

        Yes, about 35 years ago I really did pretty much believe what I read, what the TV said. It was a very different time, we didn’t have constant reminders of the need to be cynical. Just 3 TV stations, Walter Cronkite, good investigative reporting (Watergate), Cleveland’s river had actually caught on fire due to so much flammable industrial garbage in it. You felt you knew who to trust. Industry really did make up stuff to justify whatever they did, and the environmental groups were the ones who did the digging, did the analysis, found out what was what, and reported on the fabrications. They were heroes. Really.

        It took a long, gradual time to learn that the environmental community has been using similar tactics to industry. Certainly the Climategate emails, hiding the decline, gatekeeping, getting editors fired, keeping articles out of print even if it requires reinvention of peer review, all that stuff, was the icing on the cake, but my suspicions had been raised well beforehand.

        FYI, I’m sorry I cannot find a link to the NSF body which in 1981 said that half the lakes in the Adirondacks that hadn’t been acidified in 1981, would be by 1990. I led off with the mercury example because I could provide links.

      • John –

        Thanks for that background. It gives me a better understanding of your perspective.

        I grew up in a household where never belonging to any group that would have you as a member was a bit of a loose guideline. So I come from a different orientation – where the kind of faith that you describe was never extended except w/o, perhaps, exceptional proof that it was warranted. Maybe that’s why my reaction to the phenomena you describe is not as strong in the other direction.

    • John, I’m not sure that everyone would agree with you that the more you learn the more you tend to be skeptical, but for myself it has worked out that way as well.

      • M Hastings, Maybe it depends on where you start from. I started on the liberal side of the spectrum, but a late friend of mine started as a rock ribbed conservative, and as he learned, he went toward the center, as I did. Just from a different direction.

    • To Doc Martyn:

      There is a history of damage from too much mercury, I agree. Not just Minimata bay, but also the Mad Hatters, people who handled mercury with their hands all day, to make the top hats of the time, a couple of hundred years ago, and after doing this for a decade or so, literally went mad. There were people in a place like Iraq, in the 1970s, who had seeds that had been treated with a mercury-based fungicide or pesticide. These seeds were for planting, not eating, but the people were starving, so they ate them. Some of those people died. So, yeah, mercury is quite harmful at the high doses to which people in different situations were exposed to.

      So that is why I was so surprised that EPA found virtually no damage from mercury at today’s levels. I was expecting mercury to be linked to considerable harm. In a way, I’m happy. It looks like today’s mercury emissions are much less harmful that I had thought they might be. But how could that be?

      I wonder if a reason for this is that mercury is constantly being emitted by volcanoes (on land and in the oceans) and undersea rifts? Volcanoes on land emit a few hundred tons a year. Have humans over millions of years developed tolerance for the low mercury levels that are always in our bodies? Is the harm from mercury not from the low levels we always carry, but from much higher levels, when we fill a Minimata bay with the stuff?

      Here is a link to a recent study which found that one volcano in Nicaragua emits 7 tons of mercury a year:

      http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2008/080625.html

      This website says Mt. Kilauea emits 270 tons per year, but that seems high:

      http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/book/export/html/151

      This link suggests about 700 to 800 tons a year from all on-land volcanos, but this also might be high, my memory is about 300 to 400 tons per year from on-land volcanoes (maybe my memory has now been bypassed by better info?):

      http://www.cprm.gov.br/33IGC/1286824.html

      The big unknown is how much mercury is emitted undersea. Many such sources have been found, but how do you confidently scale up? Since about 70% of earth is covered by water, you could multiply volcanic emissions on land by 7/3 to guesstimate undersea emissions. If you do that, you might get around 1,000 to 2,000 tons per year. Such undersea emissions, likely somewhat variable over time, have been happening every year for hundreds of millions of years, so there must be a balance between annual emissions of mercury into the oceans, and deposition in sinks. Large pelagic fish (swordfish, large sharks, bluefin tuna) bioaccumulate mercury. These top of the line predatory fish have about 100 times more mercury than seafood such as salmon and scallops and flounder because of bioaccumulation, and those mercury levels seem to come from natural sources, the hundreds of millions of years of mercury emitted to oceans. You are right if you think that mercury levels in such fish can be harmful, if we eat too much, but it doesn’t seem, now that EPA has calculated damages, that human emissions have much to do with these high levels.

      This is the best I can come up with for the twin conundrums of (1) how do people NOT get harmed by the mercury that is in our bodies at all times, and (2) what is the fate of natural emissions of mercury?

    • To Doc Martyn: We agree that mercury is a poison. That is why I was shocked that when EPA had its opportunity to identify and value all the bad things that would stop when utility emissions of mercury were cut, all they could come up with was a nationwide loss of 511 IQ points across 240,000 children. I was shocked there wasn’t more.

      Aren’t you?

      • The way to get rid of mercury emissions from fossil fuel power stations and other furnaces is to fit wet-scrubbers to flue gasses, and these remove particulate and toxic metals.
        Now power stations are built near to where people live, and their particulates and heavy metals directly hit local residents.
        How you measure harm is very, very difficult. The difficultly of saying ‘this’ environmental pollutant causes ‘this’ outcome is huge; no one can ‘prove’ that lead in gasoline really did cause brain damage in children. The postulate makes a lot of sense, on all levels. The same is true with mercury. Mercury is a neuronal toxin, I can demonstrate this in human neurons and astrocytes, we can do it in mice; we cannot demonstrate it in human babies because of ethics and we cannot unambiguously demonstrate it in populations that are exposed to pollutants, because poor people live in more polluted environments, and have worse outcomes, than wealthy people.
        Removing rather a lot of unhealthy crap from smokestacks cost each American $33 per year. That, in my opinion, is a reasonable price.
        I know that mercury/organomercury is a neurtoxin.
        I know that some human populations are highly sensitive to mercury/organomercury.
        I know that babies suffer long term brain damage on exposure to mercury/organomercury.
        I believe that we should try to restrict our release of mercury into our environment and food-chain.
        I believe that the Cost/Benefit of fitting and using scrubbers on gas flues is <1.
        I believe that the Cost/Benefit of allowing mercury to be used in domestic lighting is >1.

  43. A good way to summarize the background/viewpoint of skeptic is from a talk I once saw entitled “If the market isn’t efficient then why aren’t you rich?”

    In Finance, an efficient market is one that has incorporated all (publicly) available knowledge into the price of securities. Then to say the market is inefficient would be to show you can find data, that will help you price securities more accurately – in effect find a strategy that consistently “beats the stock market” – something that would of course make you rich.

    Beyond the perfect example that is the stock-market, many companies face the types of decisions that could they consistently out predict their competitors, they would be the dominant force. And it is this sobering realization which you face consistently: that even with a supercomputer and lots of data, you are still not promised success predicting the things you want to, the things you need to.

    I know McIntyre has made comments regarding his experience with seeing hockey-sticks in mining yield data which motivated his investigation into MBH98.

    • David Springer

      I did make millions in the stock market as did tens of thousands of my peers and colleagues at companies like Cisco, Dell, Intel, and Microsoft. They called us the Four Horsemen of the Nasdaq in the 1990’s. My group in particular are known as Dellionaires and our stock was the best of the four to own. The meme you cite is taken to be true because >99% of the public doesn’t get rich in the stock market. Those that did will tell you the market isn’t as efficient as you might believe.

      • The “efficiency of the market” does not refer to the making of profits. It refers to the ability of the market to efficiently allocate resources. The pencil maker is able to obtain the wood, graphite, metal, rubber, ink and packaging he needs, in the form he needs, at a price that allows him to produce his pencils at a price at which customers will buy them, and at which he can make a profit.

        All without central government planning. Oh, and the same goes for pace makers , in spades.

        Betting on stocks has nothing to do with it.

      • David Springer

        Gary a book titled “If you’re so smart why aren’t you rich?” was specifically cited:

        http://books.google.com/books?id=aVXuWaltYicC&pg=PR8&lpg=PR8&dq=if+the+markets+aren't+efficient+why+aren't+you+rich&source=bl&ots=FJLiNimrYK&sig=NMTYdGrCHpYaqL4vEMmmqHAIKdM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JOtQUo-PB5TU9ATa8YGYCw&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAw

        “An efficient market prices assets accurately vis-a`-vis what is known about their …
        Be assured that: If you take risks, sooner or later you will incur losses. You will …”

        You might as well ask the question “If you’re such a lady’s man why aren’t you married to a super-model?”. Some men are married to super-models just as some men did get rich off inefficient markets. I know a a bunch of them. Ones that got rich off the tech boom not ones married to super-models I mean. You couldn’t swing a dead cat at Dell in 1999 without hitting a Dellionaire. Many were worth 8 figures and one in particular 10 figures like in Hey Mike smooth move taking Dell private last month.

      • David Springer

        Oh and you’re completely wrong, by the way. The efficient market hypothesis was mentioned and I know exactly what that is. You would too if you bothered to look it up. Let me help:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient-market_hypothesis

        I swear… some people’s kids.

      • I was responding to your comment, not SUT’s. I assumed you were speaking of the broader sense of efficiency of the market, because your comment has nothing to do with the financial efficient market hypothesis.

        Making profits in the short term, no matter how large, is irrelevant to the hypothesis. Mark Zuckerberg was an overnight billionaire. But I wouldn’t let him near an investment fund. In fact, the tech boom you are talking about comes as close to proving the hypothesis as I can imagine.

      • David Springer

        GaryM | October 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm |

        “I was responding to your comment, not SUT’s. I assumed you were speaking of the broader sense of efficiency of the market, because your comment has nothing to do with the financial efficient market hypothesis.”

        Well you assumed wrong. SUT’s comment and citation was about the efficient market hypothesis and specifically the book “If the market isn’t efficient why aren’t you rich”. I responded that the only reason people accept that meme is because the vast majority who read it aren’t rich and want to believe it’s because the market is unbeatable not because of any failing of their own. I take you’re among that number and were offended at the inference to your own lack of success.

      • David Springer

        A very successful investor I knew who was a financial analyst for a big oil company told me it’s a lot easier to identify mismanaged companies going down the toilet than to find well managed companies rising to the top. He made his money shorting the worst managed companies he could find. In general I’d agree the markets are efficient enough so that even investors who do the hard work of finding opportunities still have to beat the market by more than the cost to make the trades and more than the cost of capital tied up in the trade.

        Sometimes it isn’t so hard. Anyone who looked carefully could see the accelerated replacment cycle happening in IT in the late 1990’s as they all scrambled to ensure they had Y2K compliant hardware and software. It didn’t require a supercomputer to figure out that with an artificially accelerated replacement cycle there would be depressed sales following it. The thing about computers is they can’t find what a programmer doesn’t program them to find. What computer market analysis could figure out that corporate IT managers were inspired to cover their asses i.e. better safe than sorry. Timing is everything. In the stock market there’s an awful lot of “me too” investing that goes one. People see a stock running up, or running down, and get in on the trend after the trend is obvious. That’s where most of the efficiency comes from. Information is priced into securities but with a lag. Opportunity lies in the lag. I bought early and sold early based on my judgement that computer sales were overheated in the several years prior to Y2k and would be compensated by a dearth shortly thereafter. So I was buying my company stock (much of which I could purchaase at an employee discount) from 1995 to 1998 and then in mid-late in 1998 when the buying craze was still in full swing I started selling into a rising market and by the year 2000 was largely out of it. I’d say there was a 12-18 month lag between when the information about an accelerated IT replacement cycle was available (~1997) and when it was fully priced in (~1999). By 1999 the psychology of people investing in high tech was it was a like a casino where everyone was a winner. No computer filtering market data can figure out the psychology of an irrational herd. Therein lies the inefficiency of the market.

    • The irony I love in that story is that the pamphlet he saw was state mandated public information distribution.
      ===================

  44. Isn’t the division into skeptics and academics false? Many non-skeptics are not academics. We see plenty of them here. The true academics are a third category who actually study the stuff and do the work for a living, the famous 97%. It is flattering that the non-skeptics are confused with academics just because they are more accepting of and have a better understanding of the scientific findings, but they are not academics.

    • John Carpenter

      “Isn’t the division into skeptics and academics false?”

      Yep. I have fallen into that trap myself but find no supporting evidence that such a division actually exists.

    • “Academics” is definitely an inadequate label. Perhaps “data-oriented” vs. “model-oriented.” Neo-Pythagoreans would seem a bit too abstruse, but there is definitely a tendency to ascribe reality to the computer models rather than to the physical data. There is some value to this: mathematical models often do approximate reality closely enough that their outputs are predictive, and this is very much like the numerology of the neo-Pythagoreans that took root in the Renaissance. But this may be no more than the age-old conflict between Aristotelian empiricists versus Platonic idealists.

      • There is another academic category, including those in other sciences (NAS, RS, APS, etc.) that also tend to support AGW even if they don’t directly study it.

    • The word “academic” can be either an appeal to authority or a pejorative depending on the greater context of how it is included. Same for “skeptic” or “science” at this point.

      So great is the cultural divide.

  45. Of course the two link into one another. Skepticism taken to extreme is the foundation of conspiracy ideation.

    Christopher Monckton is skeptical that Obama was born in the United States for example. He hasn’t seen sufficient proof!

    You can also see how 9/11 truthers operate. A lot of them simply don’t trust the official line, the consensus if you will. There might be a consensus of engineers who say the towers were brought down by planes, but we can’t trust consensus right? If it’s consensus, it isn’t science and likewise if it’s consensus, it isn’t engineering.

    But then who to trust? There are plenty of engineers among the ranks of the 9/11 truthers who swear the collapse looked like explosives inside the building going off.

    So the “skeptical” approach seems to be that because it’s such an important issue we have to demand a high level of proof. We can’t trust the experts (feynmann), so we have to admit there is great uncertainty. Each of us has to form our own opinion, and if we don’t know anything about engineering that opinion has to be an open mind. We cannot believe the official line, we have to accept that 9/11 truthers have a point and the science isn’t settled and there should be a debate.

    This is more like the skepticism I know of from climate skepticism than the list ScottishSceptic draws up.

    • Well done. I can see exactly how you constructed that argument. You could do something similar with vaccinations.

      Here is the problem. The consenses on 9/11 and vaccination were formed on the basis of independent agreement by lots of investigators who didn’t care if there was a consensus. With CAGW, the consensus was explicitly mandated by the U.N. political process. Of course we could also go into the weeds and show why the 9/11 and vaccine consenses are much stronger than the Urgent Mitigation consensus, but I think even most UMists would agree on that point. Or am I wrong about that?

      • “The consenses on 9/11 and vaccination were formed on the basis of independent agreement by lots of investigators who didn’t care if there was a consensus”

        That isn’t the case. It’s trivial to assert that those who investigate 9/11 or vaccinations either have a motive to find in favor of the official line, or are scared of contradicting the official line. Virtually impossible to disprove such an assertion.

    • lolwot studied strawman polemics at SkepticalScience U.

    • Lolwot, Moncton is sort of like the Al Sharpton of his particular cause. You don’t want to take him seriously, nor do you want to link him or his ideas to the many thoughtful and knowledgeable skeptics (not deniers), like Judith.

      Maybe a different formulation would be that Moncton = Gore. After all, didn’t Gore produce and market a movie that no knowledgeable climate scientist would take as anywhere near scientifically accurate? How is that different than Moncton? Aren’t they both propagandists for their respective causes?

  46. 9/11 and vaccine conspiracies are absurd.

    • It depends what you mean by “vaccine conspiracies”.
      We know that vaccines carry the risk of injury or even death. Not only is this known, but the US and other countries have funding bodies to pay compensation to the victims of adverse reactions to vaccines.

  47. The title is a straw-man in itself, what makes Dr. Curry think most “academics” are pro-warming and that there aren’t many who are skeptical?

    It’s probably true but for reasons that of course have little to do with empirical science.

    A “tell” for sure.

  48. craig hamilton

    People who believe that government control is a good solution generally feel that global warming is a real problem. This is not a conspiracy, it is just how they see the world. Academics are prone to this world-view, not just because they are paid by government, but because they are smart people who think that smart people should be in charge.

    • hmmm.

      they are smart people who think that smart people should be in charge.

      So which be the case?: (1) “Skeptics” aren’t smart people or, (2) “Skeptics” don’t think that people who are formulating policies should be “skeptical,” (3) “skeptics” think that dumb people should be in charge?

      • There are well recognized character traits of people who want to be cops, and well recognized character trait of cops. The same attitudes that make them good enforcers make them terrible jurists. Holding the “blue line” is a well recognized impediment to fair trials, even in the freest of societies.

        That is why the wisest systems not only remove the power of judge from the police force, but create an adversarial relationship to it. There is a parallel to this notion on intelligence, at least in conservative thought: “I’d rather a government made of the first 1,000 names in the Boston phone book, then the combined faculty of MIT and Harvard”

      • David Springer

        “I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.” ~William F. Buckley, Jr.

        I thought an attribution was in order.

    • David Springer

      craig,

      I’ve known way too many smart people who don’t have a lick of common sense. I’ve been accused of such lack myself. I have a tested IQ in the 99.97th percentile. The thing is I’m an engineer so have a keenly developed sense of what’s practically achievable and what isn’t. I therefore must incorporate a basic tenet that there is no politically or economically practical way to reduce CO2 emission enough to make a dime’s worth of difference in “global warming” even if the warmist hypothesis is 100% correct. The solution, the ONLY solution, is for science & engineering to come up with an alternative source of energy that they will willingly take up because it’s cheaper. There are some good candidates and I have the utmost confidence in the hard sciences and engineering (climate science is a soft science) to come up with that alternative. There are some good prospects but wind turbines and biofuel produced from feedstocks grown on arable land aren’t among those alternatives.

      • David, I have a bit more confidence about our ability to reduce CO2, if we have a time frame of decades (see below), in that I think we can make “a dime’s worth of difference” if we don’t rush it. If we try to do what the EU is doing, we will reduce taxes when we need them most, and reduce jobs when we need them most.

        The Financial Times had an article about 3 months ago comparing electricity prices in the EU, Japan, and the US, with 2006 as the starting point. Since then, EU prices have risen almost 40% vs. the US, they have lost industry that uses lots of electricity, and have made their situation worse. This link might not be paywalled:

        http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4370d5c0-c22d-11e2-ab66-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=intl#axzz2gxJb3LJA

        I’m not an engineer, but like you I have good aptitude for math and statistics, which helps SO MUCH in dealing with all the issues we deal with today.

        Here’s why I’m optimistic: I think in 20 years or so, solar will become cheap enough to be competitive with alternatives in much of the world. The reason I say that is that Moore’s law has been right for almost half a century. We really have predicted, accurately, that every 18 to 24 months, the costs per unit of semiconductor had been cut in half, its power doubled. I don’t think solar technology is immune to something comparable to Moore’s law.

        Once solar gets cheap enough, it will be pretty hard to build anything else, unless temperatures have actually gone down between then and now, which I’m not anticipating. Solar can go on rooftops, eventually on windows, in deserts from the Sahara and Kalahari to those in India, Pakistan, and western China, Australia, Peru’s Atacama, and elsewhere.

        If I believed we were looking at 3 degrees C climate sensitivity, I might try a solution like the EU’s. But since it seems like climate sensitivity is most likely to be half that, I think we have time to develop solar (and other technologies, but not landscape industrializing wind machines), without increasing unemployment and decreasing tax base in the near term, just when we need more jobs and taxes.

  49. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    cwon14 is appalled  “The [Penn State] marching band formed a “Hammer and Sickle” and played the “The Internationale'”

    It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it cwon14?

    Progressives are smuggling COMMIE MUSIC into America’s popular culture.

    Commie Air Force One (aka, the Internationale)

    Commie Simpsons!

    Commie Good Bless America!!

    Commie Tetris!!!

    Sob … Commie ***Tetris!*** … are there no limits? … d*mn that Bob Dylan! … WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE? … The world wonders!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • David Springer

      Yer no longer employable are ya, fanny?

    • Heaven help us, it’s not Penn State a former home base of criminal Michael Mann but UPENN in Philadelphia. It wasn’t the Penn Band but the Princeton Band that performed the act.

      If they were singing Hitler youth songs would your reaction be the same? I pointed this out to expose a clear hypocrisy shared by the common culture.

      Even the public collective vilification of Hitler in the left doesn’t make much sense. Hitler was a socialist, anti-capitalist and vegan Green. His legacy of statism and dogmatic propaganda is a alive in well as a practical matter in much of the AGW movement.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Like you cwon, I am shocked, SHOCKED that college students would ever outrage their elders with bad-taste music, excessive drinking, rowdy parties, and outright rebellion against authority!

        It’s a clear sign that civilization is crumbling … and has been for the last 800 years, eh cwon?.

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  50. David Springer

    Sceptics vs. academics?

    I wasn’t aware the two categories were mutually exclusive. This immediately raises a red flag. So right from the gitgo the author’s objectivity and/or knowledge of the players is suspect. I suppose it could have been worse. At least he didn’t title it “Deniers vs. Academics” or “Skeptics vs. Sheltered Liberal Pinheads”. ;-)

  51. According to the table, i am not a skeptic. In which case the table is not necessarily correct.

    Skepticism has its roots in the philosophy of science. Hypotheses must be rigorously tested experimentally. The scientific method when properly applied will weed out snake oil salesmen and junk science from “scientific truth”.

    That the sun is a ball of hot gases make no sense. The sun makes more sense as a ball of molten iron +/- fission core. Earth has a hot core perhaps 6000K and is largely iron+nickel. The moon has a hot core perhaps 1300K thought to be iron nickel.

    So in the history of science, which will fall first – the gaseous sun or CO2 global warming?

    • David Springer

      We can see gas clouds in the galaxy from generations the same as those that produced sol at all stages of evolution. We can determine precisely the composition and ratios of elementary components using emission and absorption spectroscopy.There isn’t enough iron for the sun to have an iron core and to presume the iron was fused flys in the face of established nuclear physics. It’s crank science in other words. But hey, on the bright side you aren’t suggesting the sun formed less than 10,000 years ago so it isn’t the crankiest of crank science by a wide margin.

      • David, work out the mass of the sun with an iron core with a thin layer of gas

      • David Springer

        ok – homey can play dat game

        actual mass of sun 1.989E30 kg

        volume of sun 1.4E27 cubic meters

        mass of cubic meter of iron 7.3E3 kg

        mass of iron sun = 10.22E30 kg

        an iron sun would mass a bit more than 5 times as much as the actual sun

        thanks for asking

        any more fairy tales I can put to bed for you?

      • David Springer

        ps doc I suggest you look into what’s called the Chandrasekhar Limit

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

        O. Manuel (yes, the one who posts here) is Dr. Iron Sun the father of the hypothesis. He posits the sun has a pulsar core as it’s a supernova remnant. All the iron is from a supernova which is the only way it could have got there because, as I said initially, there isn’t enough iron in the gas clouds that form class M stars of Sol’s generation to put it there in the initial collapse.

        Unfortunately for the theory the minimum mass of a pulsar is 1.44 solar masses which is the Chandrasekhar Limit. Pressure needed for electron degeneracy into neutrons is extremely, no make that EXTREMELY, well established nuclear physics. It doesn’t pass the sanity test in a number of different ways such as the mass calculation you asked me to do. Manuel himself doesn’t pass the sanity test IMO which appears to date back about 45 years ago to this:

        http://archive.columbiatribune.com/2008/feb/20080204News013.asp

      • David, you have just used a model to falsify a hypothesis.

      • David Springer

        Yeah but it’s called “The Standard Model” and it’s incredibly well tested unlike some other models you might know about.

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

  52. David Springer

    P.S. The table in the OP is messed up. It runs over the top of the right hand vertical nav bar making it pretty much unreadable. I tried IE9, Firefox, and Chrome. Broke in all of them.

  53. Is it worth mentioning that Prof Lewandowsky lied about his methodology in LOG12. Decieving the journal and his peers.

    Ie the non posting of his survey at Skeptical Science, which the paper depends on for it’s claim of a broad diverse audience with a 20% sceptical audience.

    Which makes Lew ( and UWA and the journal Psychological Science) very much on the right hand side of that table. I’ll add ethically challenged to that list as week.

    Lewandowsky went one better than Jones.

    Lew was asked for his data after he had sort extensive pre publication press coverage. He said he had had a key part of. But had lost it. Then it turns out it never existed. When this was pointed out to the three authors and John Cook ( the same 3 authors as this latest paper)privately by a fellow Skeptical Science author and moderator, no less.

    They still published anyway.

    Tom Curtis has written on his own blog now about those events

    • Tom Curtis writes about Lewandowsky (and the other 2 authors if this new paper) and John Cook

      Here:
      http://bybrisbanewaters.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/skeptical-science-and-lewandowsky-survey.html?m=1

      Lew cannot prove his methodology happened for LOG12. Therefore junk not science. As he knew this before publication, should we not add academic misconduct as well?

      Pity it happened in the flagship journal if the APS – Psychological Science

      • David Springer

        Evolutionary psychology is even more entertaining. It’s all just-so stories. You can take virtually any common psychological response and invent a narrative about how evolutionary pressure created the response mechanism. It’s a target rich environment for publication of useless speculation.

  54. Warmists are usually the ones to bring up the Big-Oil funding meme which is really just a conspiracy theory.

  55. Well, I find this whole thing fascinating. I’m a mathematician, so an abstract kind of guy. My take on climate change is essentially that it’s obvious that CO2 affects climate, but very unclear how much. I’ve felt this way since the first good ice cores made it clear that CO2 followed warming, not vice versa. My other issue has always been that no one in the modeling community ever seemed to want to really test the models, for instance I assume that many of the models are time reversible, no? So why hasn’t anyone run them backwards to see how well they track prior climate changes? Models only get you so far, and there are plenty of examples of great seeming models which make terrible predictions, economics anyone? The thing I’m most amused by is the whole “free market types are skeptics.” I think it is true that many right wing nutjobs are climate skeptics, but they cannot explain reasonably why they are. There are plenty of skeptics who are not right wing nut jobs, and who can explain why they feel the way they do. Me, I’m a Marxist. I wouldn’t even try to make a prediction, I don’t think we have nearly enough information. If you twisted my arm, I would say my best guess is that, with no changes in CO2 emissions, and no attempts to cool the planet, we’re looking at .5 – 1 degree C in the next century. That said, I could easily see half a degree less or more.

    • Would Marxists view academics as elitist? The anti-science movement is often based in political roots, so being someone who first defines themselves as political raises these types of questions about motivated reasoning, even if it just hoping those elitist bourgeois university types are wrong:-)

    • Dr. Elliott Althouse

      They have all been run backwards and they all fail if NOW is a starting point. If you go backward from 1996 they work because they were created with that data in mind. They were created to affirm the theory not test it.

    • David Springer

      Suetonius | October 5, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply

      “My other issue has always been that no one in the modeling community ever seemed to want to really test the models, for instance I assume that many of the models are time reversible, no? So why hasn’t anyone run them backwards to see how well they track prior climate changes?”

      Yes of course they are time reversible and they have been run backwards. They eventually fail in that direction too especially for regional climates. Some models do better than others at particular aspects of climate systems i.e. land vs. ocean, tropics vs. polar, northern hemisphere vs. southern, precipitation patterns, yada yada yada. This why there are so many models in the ensemble. The thing about hindcasts is the models can be and are tweaked with non-first principle fixes to make them perform with better skill. That’s usually called getting something right for the wrong reason and it usually, but not always, comes back to bite you in the ass. As of today climate modelers are up to their asses in baby alligators because of that.

      • Thanks to all, I had tried reasonably hard to find any record of them running backwards, to no avail. I guess it’s all in the climate science journals and such, and I also guess there is nothing like arxiv which makes math papers very easy to find on the web. And david S, I understand your point about the sort of fixes backcasting can lead to, point being I guess that good model design only uses backcasting to check, not to fix. I am curious, are there any models which get global climate reasonably right back 50 years? I mean, they should do better backcasting, since I assume they have to input things like CO2 emissions into them, and for backcasting you can get that exactly correct.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        David Spring said: (about climate models)

        “Yes of course they are time reversible and they have been run backwards.”

        ——–
        ? They make raindrops fall up or snowflakes? Do they reverse gravity? Do they move energy from poles to equator? Please do give examples for I always thought that the basic law of entropy and times arrow was built in to the universe and hence climate models. These laws plus the chaotic nature of both climate and weather would never allow you to run a global climate model backwards, but please give some links…

      • David Springer

        finding climate model backcasting is as hard as falling off a log

        google climate model hindcast

        heck even SS admits to it as do many other sources but they lie (as usual) about the skill

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm

        So all models are first tested in a process called Hindcasting. The models used to predict future global warming can accurately map past climate changes

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Springer,

        You prove yourself once more to be full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. Hindcasting or backtesting is not running a model in reverse or have anything to do with time reversibility.

      • David Springer

        R.Gates your ignorance of time evolution in mathematical models of the real world is showing. There are discrete state transitions from one instant to the next. Units of time are chosen for temporal distance between states where the unit length is constrained by a tradeoff between computing resources and resolution of the model. Say a time constant of 1 hour is selected for state transitions. A time constant of minus 1 hour can be used instead. Viola the model runs backward in time.

        As always thanks for playing and better luck next time.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        That’s pure crap Springer. The models are not run backward using a negative time constant. The law of entropy won’t allow it. Times arrow only flows one way. This is such basic physics that I should hardly have to mention it, but your ignorance is greater than even I imagined.

      • David Springer

        And yes, in a computer model a river can run uphill. We compute the velocity of the water, say in meters per second, and by that measure we can tell how many meters uphill it was one second in the past or how far downhill it will be one second in future. Somehow signal that you understand that please.

      • R. Gates, “The law of entropy won’t allow it.”

        Bull$hit. You can run a model backwards until the the imbalance is zero. Actually, that is what they should due since they obvious forgot to check the batteries, i.e. oceans before they started.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Even in your very simple water flowing up/down a hill “model” you don’t actually reverse time and allow the dynamics to run backward. You are simply projecting the previous state by extrapolation from the current. You can’t actually even reverse the flow of water up a hill accurately by reversing the model dynamics as the energy state of the water (do to the law of entropy) can’t be reversed. You are just plain wrong on this Springer.

      • David Springer

        Your ignorance is showing, Gates.

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

        Classical mechanics and optics are both time-reversible.

        Again, please signal that you understand this.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Captn. Dallas,

        Please show me the links to where it has been done. Springer said it had been done and that the models were time reversible, yet we know that even at the basic particle level of the universe, times arrow only flows in one direction. Even attempting to reverse a climate model is absurd and if attempted would give a meaningless result. But show me a link and please do enlighten me…

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        You are now trying to change the topic Springer. Simple classic physics and optics in 1 or 2 body problems are completely irrelevant to complex chaotic multiple body problems.

        But to the original point that you made quite clearly: You said climate models were time reversible and had been run backwards. Then you showed me a link to the completely unrelated topic of backtesting, which is NOT time reversibility at all.

        Major fail for you Springer. Best to go watch some more boxing.

      • David Springer

        Gates any uncertainty is the same in both directions of time evolution. That’s precisely why a model that reproduce the past accurately can’t reproduce the future any more accurately. The arrow of time in the real world moves in one direction. In mathematical simulations we can choose its direction. You can’t unbake a cake in the real world but you can in a model of a cake. If I drop cow pie on your pointy head from a tall building if we know the velocity of the pie when it goes splat we can compute the height from which it was dropped and its position at every instant in time on the way down.

        Please signal that you understand this.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Springer,

        You are now just trying to hand wave your way out of a major fail on your part. Your huge unbounded ego won’t allow you to fail- can’t accept it as ego is all you seem to be.

        You failed to produce evidence that climate models are time reversible and have been run backwards, but instead gave me a link to the unrelated topic of backtesting. You examples of rivers and cow pies are simple handwaving to try and preserve your ego from this major fail.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        David Springer said:

        “You can’t unbake a cake in the real world but you can in a model of a cake.”
        ——-
        What kind of model would allow this? A simple toy model made of blocks of wood representing layers of the cake? Even the energy dynamics and chemical changes during the baking of a cake are too complex to allow time reversibility. The convective and radiative processes going on inside the oven are not time reversible, but I suppose you, David Springer, could make a toy oven out of a cardboard box and put your wooden cake inside and then take it out and pretend time is flowing backwards…

      • RG won this argument handily.

        It doesn’t make a lot of sense to try to just reverse the sense of time and march a numerical model backwards.

        Say that the model is one of a release of gaseous CO2 into an enclosed volume of air. After waiting some time, a measurement would indicate that the CO2 has nearly completely mixed. A diffusion model could show that same effect by assuming a random walk of molecules. Now try taking that final condition and running time backwards. It won’t be the same, or even close. That is what RG is saying by entropy representing the arrow of time.

        Of course, with an analytical closed-form solution, time=t is just a variable and one can just plug in the number for t, and go backwards and forwards. But that wasn’t the original implication. The original premise by Springer was that you could just march time backwards from an arbitrary model.

      • David Springer

        Webby at least sends a signal that he understands that classical physics is time reversible. I understand that climate models have not been run backwards in time (or at least I couldn’t find anything indicating they had) and I was wrong to say they had. I was hasty in assuming that it had been done. The only thing that has been done, and results are troubling, is models are initialized with conditions in a given year in history and run forward. And again, the whole reason an ensemble is used instead of a single best performing model is because they all suck and nobody hows to tell which of them suck more so they that the suckiest may be culled.

      • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

        David Springer FINALLY says:

        “I understand that climate models have not been run backwards in time…”
        ___
        You originally said they had, and now you understand the error. Thanks for being man enough to admit it. That’s all that we need– a little honesty.

      • David Springer

        Too bad Gates wasn’t enough to quote my entire sentence. Typical. Here’s what I wrote with the deleted portion he couldn’t bring himself to repeat bolded:

        I understand that climate models have not been run backwards in time (or at least I couldn’t find anything indicating they had) and I was wrong to say they had.

  56. David Springer

    Did Lewindowsky ask on his survey how many believed that big oil was funding skeptics?

    Conspiracy beliefs are a two sided sword that cuts both ways.

    • It’s not a conspiracy if it is true. Some skeptics proudly proclaim their funding sources.

      • David Springer

        What conspiracist thinks his conspiracy theory isn’t true, dummy?

      • Lewandowsky only tested against obviously false conspiracies. The idea the oil companies or moguls have been funding skeptical scientists and thinktanks is pretty obviously true. It doesn’t qualify for what Lewandowsky was after.

      • So if you’re funded by a legitimate industry that make you part of “conspiracy”??

        You need to order another “Che” tee-shirt ASAP.

      • “It’s not a conspiracy if it is true.”

        Wow. Just wow.

      • GaryM, sums up the consensus nicely doesn’t it?

        So does;

      • No. It is not a conspiracy if they really are out to get you.

  57. Schrodinger's Cat

    Where have all the warmists gone?

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      We wait patiently on the sidelines for something intellectually honest to comment on.

  58. Steven Mosher

    well,

    Its hard to tell if this desire to split people into two groups is a engineering sort of thing ( make decisions) or an academic sort of thing ( get understanding)

    What is clear is that once you decide that there is a camp called skeptic and a camp called academic you have poisened the well with that move.

    Lets take an example

    The skeptic ( the engineer)
    Basis for validation /falsification of hypotheses Empirical data derived from real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation..

    well, is that true? in short lets look at the real data about this classification.
    Does anyone see any real observations driving this list? Nope. Any reproduceable experiment? Nope. Its clear that the scottish sceptic fails his own test for scepticism. He must be an academic. And is it true that engineers work with real time data and experimentation. Not really. Take any engineer who has to plan for floods. There’s no experimentation. There is historical analysis. Take an engineer who has to design a plane to meet a threat that wont exist for 20 years. Take the engineers who had to land a rover on Mars. Nearly pure simulation. Of course we work with data when we have it. We do experiments when we can, but some situations are such that this mode of engineering behavior wont work. Lets put this more sharply, The hypothesis that skeptics or engineers work this way exclusively is a busted hypothesis. Anybody see Fred Singer doing experiments? Bob Carter? Steve Goddard? In fact you rarely see ANY skeptic putting forward a testable hypothesis, in fact they often claim that they DONT HAVE TO. So, if the scottish skeptic looks at his hypothesis about how skeptics act, he has to admit this part of hus hypothesis is flat busted. I predict folks will try to rescue his theory with exceptions and epicycles.

    Now lets switch feet

    The academic :

    Basis for validation /falsification of hypotheses

    “Model simulations based on theoretical considerations supported by interpretations of selected paleo-climate proxy data”

    Wow, this isnt even factual. Nobody that I know who uses models suggests that hypothesis are verified or falsified by model output.
    Lets take an example

    The paradox of the faint sun.

    Now since the sceptic deals only with real time data and experiment
    the sceptic can say nothing about the faint sun paradox. There is no experiemnt to run, there is no real time data. He is mute. stupid. He cannot decide. This illustrates the fundamental flaw in engineers. They are afraid of being wrong.

    The academic collects what evidence he can. he builds a model. The model explains the paradox. He doesnt argue that this verifies his explanation. He merely argues that this is a solution. He is not afraid of being wrong, because he knows all science is wrong in some way or other. That is why engineers dont do science.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Mosh said:

      “What is clear is that once you decide that there is a camp called skeptic and a camp called academic you have poisened the well with that move.”


      +1000

      Real humans are so much more complex. I am both a skeptic, warmist, academic, engineer, and scientist. Black and white, two-column definitions of people only serve the interests of politically motivated or intellectually stunted or dishonest.

    • David Springer

      Steven Mosher | October 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Reply

      “What is clear is that once you decide that there is a camp called skeptic and a camp called academic you have poisened the well with that move.”

      Agreed.

    • David Springer

      I experiment continuously as an engineer. Everyone who debugs systems and software must do that. It applies to newly designed stuff that has never been known to work, old stuff that has failed, and virtually any idea you come up with from improving an existing solution. That you would say engineers don’t experiment clearly shows you ain’t one.

      • David Springer

        Fercrisakes Mosher validation is nothing BUT designing tests (experiments) which exercise the system in vitro to give you some desired level of confidence it will perform to specification in vivo. I don’t know what you do or did for a living but it wasn’t engineering.

      • Steven Mosher

        “That you would say engineers don’t experiment clearly shows you ain’t one.”

        Wrong david. here is what I wrote

        “. We do experiments when we can, but some situations are such that this mode of engineering behavior wont work. ”

        READING IS FUNDAMENTAL.

      • johnfpittman

        LOL Mosher needed a bit of humor after reading comments this morning. Thanks.

      • k scott denison

        Mosher writes:

        “And is it true that engineers work with real time data and experimentation. Not really.”

        Then writes:

        “Of course ‘we’ work with data when we have it.” With the ‘we’ meant to imply engineers. Yet the first statement belies that he is an engineer.

        Finally he says:

        “READING IS FUNDAMENTAL”

        To that I say:

        Learn to write clearly. That is typically a trademark of engineers (at least good ones). That you call yourself an engineer and write crap like that gives us all a bad name.

      • Steven Mosher

        scott still doesnt get it.

        engineers are not simply defined as people who do experiments and work with real time data.

        1. Not all engineering HAS real time data. sometimes all we have is historical data. Sometimes all we have is simulated data.
        2. Not all engineers do experiments. Sometimes you cant. Sometimes
        all your have are models.

        So the sceptic and you try to draw a distinction that FAILS.

        That doesnt mean you cant find an engineer who does do experiments
        That doesnt mean you cant find one that does work work with real time data.
        What that means is the general statement is false, you know its false, and you know the distinction the table relies on is false.

      • Yep, Leon Moisseiff, was one of those engineers who were shy to experiment.

    • k scott denison

      Steven Mosher | October 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Reply
      … And is it true that engineers work with real time data and experimentation. Not really. …
      ==============
      Hmmmm… my entire thesis, post-doc, first, second, third and fourth positions in industry all required me to design and perform experiments. Spent $250k back in the early ’80s on an experimental, well-mixed catalytic reactor. Learned and applied the theory of experimental design. Chemical reaction engineering depends entirely on both real-time data and experimentation.

      But now Mosher tells me: Engineers don’t really work with real time data and experimentation.

      Sometimes I believe your arrogance gets in the way of your communication Mosher. Because that’s one of the dumbest things you’ve ever written, by far.

      If you’ll give me your PayPal account I’ll send you a dollar so you can buy a clue on engineers.

      k scott denison. ph.d., chemical engineering

      • He will tell you that you are not a ‘real’ engineer.
        I always love chemical engineers sharing their experience with modeling vs. experiment on scaling up reactor and the difference between local and bulk temperature.

      • Steven Mosher

        wrong

        Here is what I wrote

        “. We do experiments when we can, but some situations are such that this mode of engineering behavior wont work. ”

        You failed.

      • Steven Mosher

        Doc I find it very interesting that all these engineers cannot read.

        When I write : we do experiments when we can”
        They all read “Mosher says we dont experiment”

        I think they all fail reading 101.

        What do you think

      • Mosher, I don’t think you quite grasp what an experiment is or how one goes about designing experiments to test things.
        Einstein didn’t build Mercury and place it in orbit to test general relativity.
        An experiment is as much a product of human creativity and imagination as a Ballet or a Symphony, the really clever ones tick a box and then are ignored as creations and treated as outputs.

      • k scott denison

        Mosher, interesting that you assume we can’t read when, in fact, we quote you directly. Perhaps it is your pile of poor communication that is to blame rather than those reading it.

        Your pile of crap implied that Engineers only work with data “at times” which I find to be a real disservice to engineers everywhere. I would argue that engineers most often work with data and experiments.

        You talk about an engineer who would have to plan for floods. You say they use historical records. (Which is data, by the way.) guess you don’t think they might run experiments on physical models is a flood simulation to test the stresses on the buildings, dams, etc they are planning, eh? That they might not run experiments at different scales in order to better understand what might happen in the full scale world? Of course they do, and his is the difference between engineers and *climate scientists*.

        One tries to use scale, experiments, data, measurements, observations to arrive at an answer. The other looks at one very small scale measurement in a lab and then assumes it is the key driver at full scale.

        FAIL.

      • Steven Mosher

        scott

        “Your pile of crap implied that Engineers only work with data “at times” which I find to be a real disservice to engineers everywhere. I would argue that engineers most often work with data and experiments.”

        You miss the point. The table relies on the distinction being exclusive.
        Its not. Whether it is “most” of the time, or some of the time, my point is simple. Some engineers some times cannot do experiments.
        Some engineers some times have no real time data to work with.

        Accept that and the distinction the table draws falls apart.
        Because its not black and white. Its not either or.

        The table presents the matter as black and white, when in fact you know that its not black and white. you know there is a continuum of working with various types of data. you know there is a continuum of doing experiments to running simulations. Your own words indicate that you know this. The good engineer in you should recognize that this categorization is flawed. If it doesnt, look at it again.

      • Steven Mosher

        K scott.

        Perhaps the best way to get clear on this is with some examples.
        between 1985 and 1993 I worked as an aerospace engineer, and the last job I held was vice president of engineering. I ended up in that position because my boss at Northrop had me do tours of duty in almost every engineering department.

        Lets take the building of a plane as an example, in this case the YF-23A.

        1. Offensive avionics. The offensive avionics engineers never ran a single experiment. The ran some simulations, mostly written by me and my team.
        We didnt use measured data because there was no measured data.
        2. Defensive Avionics: The defensive avionics folks never ran a single experiment in the years I worked with them. They ran simulations. The data they ran against was entirely fabricated. They ran against things
        that didnt even exist except in the mind of some other engineer.
        3. Aero. The aero guys never ran experiments. For years, when I got on the design it was already 10 years old. No experiements. No real data.
        Later, guys would run wind tunnel experiments and then flight test.
        None of these tests followed “the scientific method” there was no hypothesis testing, no null hypothesis, and no verification or falsification.
        The best example of this was the design of the speed brake. Given the low drag of the aircraft ( simulated of course ) it became obvious that we need a way to slow the hockey puck down. 17 different speed brake designs were created. The planes of course were already built and had no speed brake. The engineers didnt run experiments to figure out which speed brake would be evenetually designed into the plane. They propsed 17 different ideas. Those ideas were simulated. no experiment. no data collected. The final decision was made by the airforce based on the simulations. Of course we also had to simulate the RCS ( radar cross section) that each of the 17 versions would have and that had to be “figured in”. Here too there was no experiment, no test, no data. A guy just made a decision.
        4. Flight controls. These guys actually did experiments. They flew their code in Calspan. But this happens after 10 years of doing simulations.
        and only a few select guys actually do this work.
        5. Crew systems. We actually did experiments.
        a) sled tests for various ejection systems
        b) tests of voice recognition
        c) tests of displays and controls
        None of these experiments had anything that you would calla null hypothesis. None tested a theory. The experiments consist of deciding what is best or does it work.
        6. Surviability Engineering. These guys never did an experiment.
        For survivability you have to calculate how well a plane will survive a missile hit or a bullet hit. You work exclusively with models. 3D cad models of aircraft and programs that simulate the plane being hit.
        One in a while you will get lucky and they will allow you to take a few planes ( old planes ) out to the desert to shoot holes in them. 99% of all survivability engineers never get to do these experiments because you are shooting up and destroying a multi million dollar piece of equipement.
        7. Logistics engineering. Never do experiments. Your job is to estimate how long the crap will last, before you even build it and get a chance to test it.

        I could go on.

        But for grins take a look at your last 40 hours of work. tell us how many experiments you did.

      • David Springer

        Steven you were VP of Engineering at Eidetics International, a company with a whopping 40 employees today. You forgot to mention that little detail and made it sound like you were an engineering VP at Northrup. You wouldn’t make a pimple on the ass of a Northrup Engineering VP and you know it.

        http://sbirsource.com/sbir/firms/4992-eidetics-international-inc

        Give us all a major frickin break. I was a VP of Engineering at a similar size firm, NetCom Research, before I joined Dell. It don’t mean jack diddly squat to be a big fish in a tiny pond so much so that I hardly mention it except in passing by saying that in 1982, six years before I was promoted to VP and the company had a different name, me and another engineer had a portable computer we designed pictured on the cover of Popular Electronics alongside the Kaypro, the Osborne, and a couple others.

      • David Springer

        And yeah let’s clear this up. Most days I write software. Bugs happen. If knew why ahead of time I wouldn’t have the bug. So I design experiments to isolate variables, characterize what’s happening, and basically collect clues until I have enough of them to figure out what’s going on. Take yesterday. I had a problem where I needed to switch between wireless networks where one I was using a static IP because I was running a node.js web server on it and needed a static IP but I also needed to get to another network where some printers and other shared resources were located but the router on that network was configured to refuse assignment of static IPs. Windoze 8 (and all previous versions that I know of) doesn’t have the built in capacity to switch from dynamic DHCP to static assignment when you switch networks. So I googled and found a windows has a command line utility called netsh.exe which lets you change configurations. I’d never used it before, Microsloth doesn’t guarantee it will be in future versions of Windoze, and none of the examples fit what I needed to do and the syntax & order of commands wasn’t right. So I spent a couple hours dicking around experimenting with different syntax and the order of the commands in batch files, seeing what worked and what didn’t using ipconfig /all until I had it working. This is clearly the scientific method of forming a hypothesis, testing it, and modifying the hypothesis based on test results. It’s not a big deal. People do this instinctively every day. Engineers do it deliberately and often.

    • Obscurantism at its finest.

      We have to blur the distinctions between all people and all positions. Any definition that makes rational decision making possible endangers the ability to lead by emotion.

      Notice that despite decrying the distinction as stated in the main post, and trying to completely confuse the issue raised, Mosher ends up arguing that the academic/scientist (read warmist in both cases) is more capable of analyzing the climate problem than the skeptic/engineer.

      I don’t like labels, but people with your label suck. Cognitive dissonance also at its finest.

      Analogous examples of progressive “logic”:

      – All cultures are equal, except western Judeo-Christian culture which is evil.

      – There is no such thing as objective morality. And those who think there is are evil.

      – It is wrong to judge people. And those who judge people are evil.

      (You progressives probably won’t get the contradictions. Ask a conservative/skeptic for help, if you know one.)

      • > I don’t like labels […]

        Any second thoughts about that one, Gary?

      • Wllard,

        It was a paraphrase and a jibe. I happen to think that labels, ie. nouns, are essential to coherent thought and debate. Which is why I make fun of those who make fun of labels.

      • Steven Mosher

        Well Gary I didnt say have to blur the distinctions.
        Quite the opposite.

        Look this is very simple. The scottish sceptic put forward a theory of how to divide people. Within seconds we can falsify that. What does you sceptical mind tell you to do with a theory that is busted?

        You didnt reject the theory, you attacked me and misrepresented what I said. Some sceptic.

      • Steven,

        I didn’t attack you. I made fun of your obscurantism. Don’t be so touchy. It’s not like I called you stupid or anything. Oh wait, that’s your thing.

        As for the primary post, when it started out with “I am trying to understand how sceptics and warmists…” I got that it would be a skeptic take on why warmists are wrong. What I could make out of the graph seemed to also be polemical from a skeptical perspective. I agree with some descriptions, and disagree with others.

        But, while I have no problem with polemics, I am more interested with what warmists have to say, which is why I respond more to the comments of the consensus advocates/warmists.

        But I will say I disagree with how you describe the post. I don’t think the point was to divide people, but to determine why those who are already divided on the subject make the arguments they do, and come to the conclusions they do.

      • > labels, ie. nouns […]

        Not all nouns serve as a social stigma:

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

        We’ve already been through all this:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/aboutlabeling

        Labeling can’t be reduced to “using a noun”.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Steven Mosher claims “Engineers don’t do science.”

      Steven Mosher, you have written some fine posts for Climate Etc. However, your recent posts [on engineering] are not among them.

      Please reflect that a fundamental principle of control engineering is that optimal control requires a built-in optimal estimator … and so (quite literally) every modern control engineer models nonlinear dynamical processes of unbounded complexity.

      As for the claim “Engineers don’t do science”, didn’t John von Neumann both train as an engineer and practice as one too … and do pathbreaking climate-change science as well?

      Conclusion  Attempts to restrict the domain of engineering practice uniformly failed!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Von Neumann’s failure is described In an interesting chapter entitled Engineers Dreams from his book Infinite in all directions, Freeman Dyson explains the reasons for the failings of Von Neumann and his team for the prediction and control of Hurricanes.

        Von Neumann’s dream

        “As soon as we have good enough computers we will be able to divide the phenomena of meteorology cleanly into two categories, the stable and the unstable”, The unstable phenomena are those that are which are upset by small disturbances, and the stable phenomena are those that are resilient to small disturbances. All disturbances that are stable we will predict, all processes that are unstable we will control”

        Freeman Dyson page 183.

        What went wrong? Why was Von Neumann’s dream such a total failure. The dream was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of fluid motions. It is not true that we can divide cleanly fluid motions into those that are predictable and those that are controllable. Nature as usual is more imaginative then we are. There is a large class of classical dynamic systems, including non-linear electrical circuits as well as fluids, which easily fall into a mode of behavior that is described by the word “chaotic” A chaotic motion is generally neither predictable nor controllable. It is unpredictable because a small disturbance will produce exponentially growing perturbation of the motion .It is uncontrollable because small disturbances lead only to other chaotic motions, and not to any stable and predictive alternative.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        maksimovich claims “[Here’s where von Neumann went wrong]”

        You have accurately quote von Neumann’s unclassified cover-story … the military-funded deeply-classified (and largely still-classified) thermodynamical research that *really* engaged von Neumann’s attention during the years in question is vividly described in Neil Sheehan’s A Fiery Peace in a Cold War

        “While von Neumann still kept his hand in at pure mathematics by doing an occasional proof, he had long since become bored with the abstract realm of mathematical research. He was instead dedicating his nonpareil mind to the practical applications of mathematics and mathematical physics to the service of the American State, first during the Second World War and now in its contest with the Soviet enemy. With the exception of the Coast Guard, no American military or intelligence organization existed that John von Neumann did not advise.”

        A more technical perspective may be found in Denis Serre’s Von Neumann’s comments about existence and uniqueness for the initial-boundary value problem in gas dynamics (Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, 2010).

        As Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin “Engine Charlie” Wilson said of those crucial years, “The price of progress is trouble, and I must be making lots of progress.”

        Conclusion  Do not underestimate the subtlety of engineers, eh maksimovich?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Conclusion Do not underestimate the subtlety of engineers, eh maksimovich?

        Your link tells us that there is little changed over the last 60 years such as the cauchy problem and the Riemann problem

        So what are you telling us? That comprehension is also one of your failings?

    • Steven Mosher

      “Take the engineers who had to land a rover on Mars. Nearly pure simulation.”

      Breath-taking in not mentioning the myriad of calculation redone because of faulty assumptions, but also from data gathered from failure after failure, necessitating abandoning one model and progressing to another. Successful extraterrestrial landing modules eventually came from models that could be tested. Tests that tried to land a module on the moon without it smashing to pieces. Simulations for Mars rovers came in part from data gathered from real moon landing attempts that did not go well. The Soviet and USA moon landings stories are a place to start reading for an overview for those unfamiliar with some of the science and engineering that preceded “a moon shot.”

      To my knowledge, the climate models have yet to hind cast nor forecast; ie, like ENSO, PDO, AMO, etc nor the “pause”. Only the plausible (read modeler selected) model(s) runs are selected.

      Certainly, all climate models are wrong and simulations from their runs are interesting conjectures, and perhaps, may prove informative. They incorporate the physics of CO2 without the certainty that CO2 is even relevant. It may prove to be, but at the present time, it is still “under study.”

      There is a lot of hardware on the moon, and on Mars as well where all the best minds, all the best equipment, and all the best intentions went awry.

      What you have left out reminds me of what some climate scientists have left out. Breath-taking.

  59. In the new study, which surveyed the views of 1000 people in the US, Professor Lewandowsky and his co-authors write that people’s worldview “constituted an overpowering barrier to acceptance of climate science”.

    While I cannot deny there is a strong correlation with skepticism and a certain libertarian political disposition, there are many of us for whom that does NOT fit and is the exception that disproves the rule. I have really strong views on this.

    My personal political disposition is somewhat left of centre. I disagree very strongly with the general political view that government services are necessarily inferior to free market, I am absolutely no sort of euro skeptic, or distressed about immigration, and i am broadly very supportive of the UN, and consider them to be a much greater force forgood in the world than not. I agree with the view Steve McIntyre expressed regarding climate change, that were there to be a real verifiable concern it exactly governments responsibility to deal with it.

    But really my political views are somewhat irrelevant to the scientific question of the evidence in support of CAGW, which after a great deal of research and critical thinking I find unsupportable. Whether the impact of our emissions has a demonstrable effect on our climate is a scientific question, albeit with political implications. And this is the number one thing that concerns me. I love science and the search for truth and I am dismayed at the ease with which this has been turned it a political football and a matter of faith rather than evidence.

    But why should I care? I live in a prosperous society, and have a comfortable level of wealth, I am not seriously affected by the cost of trying to mitigate climate change. I was always pretty environmentally conscious, I recycle, and deplore any harm to nature in general. It’s the “lefty” in me that makes me care. The people who do suffer as a result of both the increased energy costs, and the unintended consequences of mitigation, of I’ll thought through policies that do affect the environment that bother me.

    If CAGW had been demonstrated as a serious cause for concern, then I would still be unhappy that the approaches taken are sensible ones. I personally feel that low density energy is utterly impractical, expensive, and impact the environment more than necessary. Call me idealistic, but if just a fraction of the financial effort had gone into seriously developing danced forms nuclear, high density power generation, we would be much further along the road to weaning ourselves off fossil fuels.

    Ultimately, I do not fall into left wing believer and right wing skeptic pigeon holes, and I have many (now) skeptical friends who share the same political views as I do. Can we have our own category? Skeptical liberals or something?

    • David Springer

      I looked up “United Nations” in the dictionary and found this:

      http://tinyurl.com/p76hdb9

    • Is your view that “low density energy” consists of fuels such as lignite coal, bitumen from tar sands, and kerogen from oil shale? And do you agree that hydrofracturing for oil is marginally effective in terms of a return on investment?
       

      • I like the corollary you are drawing. If low density energy is to do with the relatively low amount of energy captured per unit of area, then it just because the energy at point of production is high doesn’t mean that it didn’t require a large from which to capture the source.

        According to an engineer acquaintance whose speciality is designing and building energy infrastructure, the number one cost is transmission (if we are talking principally about electrical energy). The problem with low density energy (amongst many IMHO), is the large amount of infrastructure needed to support it. So while wind and solar not only require a large area, they also require a larger infrastructure. All of which impacts on the environment.

        I have no particular problem with fracking in the short term, but mid to long term my view is that we should develop high density alternatives to fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, compared to what we need and could potentially get from advanced nuclear options, is expensive, dangerous to mine and transport, of uncertain availability leading to diplomatic tensions, and yields not a lot of energy. It’s impact on climate does not need to be evoked for its short comings to be apparent.

        In the short term however, developing economies need to be able to exploit their resources in order to develop, without being hamstrung by a highly uncertain (and now unlikely) concern such as CAGW. It’s my opinion that our dependency on fossil fuel hampers our development of the next stage nuclear power, but not nearly as much as the distraction and wastefulness of attempting to mitigate CO2 by its curtailment.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “Can we have our own category? Skeptical liberals or something?”

      —-
      Remember, honest skepticism is a way of approaching knowledge or a tool, not a destination. Thus, you can be a skeptical warmist, for example.

    • David Springer

      The reality is that western liberals don’t control the world. Much as you’d wish to dictate terms to others about how to protect the environment they aren’t cooperating and western liberals aren’t the type to go to war over it either. So what we end up with is ineffectual polices that do more harm than good. They make domestic energy production more expensive which drives energy intensive to places where there are no environmental protections at all. Industry then continues to grow and pollution grows worse than would be otherwise and in those cases where pollution crosses national borders and even crosses oceans the policy becomes one of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

      Even worse the hotbed of scientific discovery, engineering, and technological innovation is the west. Such efforts require large investments of disposable national income. By strangling the economy of the west with ineffectual anti-climate change regulatory burdens it kills the goose which lays the golden eggs where in this case the golden egg we need is a cost-competive alternative to low-energy density fossil fuels. Unintended consequences of well-meaning liberal moonbats will be the death of us all.

  60. Schrodinger's Cat

    “Nobody that I know who uses models suggests that hypothesis are verified or falsified by model output.”

    The UK Met Office seems to do that all the time, even when reality contradicts the output.

  61. “Umm, the p a u s e…iskilling..the…c a u s e.” Rev. Jesse Jackson

  62. David Springer

    Survey question for warmists.

    Do you believe your policy opinions in regard to global warming such as carbon taxes, subsidizing alternative fuels, or in general the spending of public money on climate change should carry more weight than any other voter who disagrees with you?

  63. Historical context is always useful, here is the script for ‘the greenhouse conspiracy’:
    http://www.angelfire.com/dc/gaudcert/globwarm3.htm

    Top Quotes:

    PROF. TOM WIGLEY: In the first part of the century you see a large natural warming. Natural variability has to go both ways, so why is it strange that in the next forty years or so there was a large natural cooling which was large enough to offset the greenhouse effect?

    DR JOHN MITCHELL: I am convinced that models are the best way to determine what the outcome of the increases in trace gases is.

    PROF.TOMWIGLEY. Using my organisation as an example, we have only one permanently-funded university scientist that’s me. I have a dozen research workers with Ph.D.s who are working in the climatic research unit and they are all funded on so-called soft money. Their existence requires me, or us jointly, to get external support.

    End Quotes.

    So the solution to the problem has always been get money and focus on ‘atmospheric science’ and ‘models’. Back then you were probably called a heretic for suggesting the oceans are a far greater influence, etc….

  64. What a dialogue of the deaf.

  65. Michael Larkin

    My reply, cross-posted from the Scottishsceptic site:

    I think religion/spirituality may be a factor. If one has a belief in something transcendent–a purpose and a plan in the universe (however conceived of)–that is greater than day-to-day concerns, then one is perhaps more likely to be sceptical. That’s if all other things are equal and one doesn’t have particular expertise: think perhaps of your ordinary person just getting on with life, which most people are whether they’re sceptical or not: and I’m not implying that people like this aren’t intelligent: they could be very intelligent.

    My observation is that a sense of the transcendent is very much in the minority in academia, the MSM, leftist and centrist politics, and indeed in politics in general, though more on the right tend to have this sense. These are all areas that are influential in human affairs.

    If one doesn’t have it, if one is an atheist and perhaps a secular humanist, then life becomes more precious, because it’s all anyone has. The new original sin is that of not living as long as possible, of not having a healthy lifestyle; it is one’s duty to promote such a lifestyle, and prevent lifestyles deemed threatening. Classic examples include the second-hand smoke issue, and, indeed, the AGW issue. Risk becomes intolerable, unconscionable, punishable.

    The need for some set of guiding moral principles does not disappear in secular humanists. Nor the need to marginalise and vilify, or feelings of guilt. They’re as alive and well as they ever were. In an increasingly irreligious (western) world, we’re groping towards something to replace religion, but the underlying structure of the replacement is nothing new. Political Correctness is a new and dominant dogma, and it’s as pernicious in principle as any inquisition ever was, albeit that we don’t burn people at the stake these days.

    I long ago gave up orthodox religion, but I’m not about to adopt this new religion either; and I still have a sense of the transcendent. Which I believe gives me a sense of proportion, really, and accounts for my sceptical approach to most things. I know I know next to nothing, and I know that applies to most if not all of us. If you want to identify a true sceptic, you have to look carefully, because they don’t stand out in a crowd. They don’t shout loud on either side of an issue: they’re rather humble, actually. The passionate on either side are often not sceptics: they’re driven by religion, even if it’s in a secular guise. What is being addressed in this article may have less to do with actual scepticism, and more to do with identifying what drives people to be passionate in different ways.

    True sceptics are in a minority, and always have been throughout human history. Vociferous AGW “sceptics” and “proponents” alike are for the most part not true sceptics. They’re batting for their religion, and that’s why there’s so much venom in the game. Neither is worse than the other: they’re doing what human beings do and always have done. One can only hope that one day humanity will mature and recognise its limitations.

    Of course, either CAGW is true, or it’s false, but believing one way or the other, or being able to declare victory is neither here nor there: that which is the case, whatever it is, will prevail. Based on my personal analysis, the whole AGW thing is a Trojan Horse, or a proxy battle being fought over different worldviews. If it wasn’t AGW, it would be something else, and the battle would still have to take place until some new equilibrium were reached in a largely post-religious society. If eventually the “sceptics” win on this issue, nothing will change unless it causes large numbers of people to become truly sceptical as a way of being. In the end, that may be a doorway into a sense of the transcendent.

    • Michael Larkin, I wouldn’t just ascribe transcendence to one side. Imagine the academic climate scientist who started in the field in the days when climate was just another academic discipline, possibly a poor cousin to the more relevant meteorology that at least led to practical weather prediction. Then, gradually at first, it started to become more than an academic problem, and focus went from understanding the past and present climate to the new possibility of a changing future climate. Suddenly your academic pursuit transcended that to a broader concern for the future as you realized some consequences of human action. Some took that as a mission to tell the public of the consequences rather than just publish some papers and talk to other scientists about it. It became as you put it greater than day-to-day concerns, almost a duty to a higher purpose. They find that their dusty backwater academic field they started in is now thrust to the media forefront just in a few decades. People like Hansen and Lacis have been through this trajectory.

      • Dueling transcendences, the bright and the dreary.
        ==============

      • Spy v. Spy work out fin
        As do yang and yin.
        =============

      • kim, I wouldn’t have called Larkin’s dreary. Can you justify that?

      • Dreary is, and dreary was;
        Raise the sash, start the buzz.
        ==============

      • Michael Larkin

        “Michael Larkin, I wouldn’t just ascribe transcendence to one side.”

        I didn’t. I spoke of majorities and minorities. And your idea of “transcendence” is the antithesis of the sense in which I used it. You seem to think that religious fervour *is* transcendence. It’s not: in fact, sometimes in in secular clothing (e.g communism, fascism), it’s been the source of most human misery throughout the ages.

        Lord save us all from those who think they know they’re right. Quoting Hansen’s behaviour re: AGW as an example of transcendence is like quoting Torquemada’s behaviour re: Catholicism as an example of it. If you want an example from the other side, think of people like Mark Morano. If you want an example of someone much nearer the true sceptic, look to our hostess.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Michael Larkin said:

      “The passionate on either side are often not sceptics: they’re driven by religion, even if it’s in a secular guise.”
      —–
      I agree. And your post in general is pretty spot on.

    • I am an atheist and yet believe that many people who claim to have no established religion have just substituted an new age one, like Marxism, Progressivism or Gaia worship.

      • Michael Larkin

        Doc: fine. You may well have a sense of the transcendent–I’ve met atheists who definitely have it, and many religionists who haven’t the faintest idea what it is. I think it’s linked to true scepticism (knowing how little one knows), but in our secular society, the word is somewhat taboo. Anyone who in quiet moments asks themselves “what does it all mean?”–as long as they’re honest enough to admit they have no clue–has a sense of it. Those who have it can learn new things. Those who haven’t tend to stasis.

  66. Definitions for “academic”?

    Steven Seagal is paid as an actor, but is he?

    Achy Breaky Heart is a renowned song, but should it be?

    Lewandowsky has achieved academic renown and is paid as an academic, but…

    • “Lewandowsky has achieved academic renown”

      Notoriety, not reknown

      Worked for him

      • ianl8888,

        Did you really work for Lewandowski, Can you say what you were doing for him? I thought I’d seen you say elsewhere you are/were involved in mining (e.g. mining engineer?) so I am wondering what on Earth you were doing working for Lewandowski?

  67. Haseler’s table is very good. I’m fully on the left side, except that I worked mainly as a public servant. I didn’t waste my time with Lewandowsky.

    Haseler’s comparison shows why it is so difficult to have any rapprochement.

    • I agree: Haseler’s table is excellent, I am on the left side, I didn’t bother reading Lewandowski’s article either.

      I’ve copied the table (and the whole post) and sent it to a few people.

      You said “Haseler’s comparison shows why it is so difficult to have any rapprochement.” Yes, and my exchange of comments with lolwot on this tread is a classic example of whey it is so difficult to get a basis for discussion. lolwot sees 3 C temp change as scary, but using degrees of temperature as units of measure for impact doesn’t make any sense to me.

      • Even I am on the left side, and me a serf escapee from
        the humanitees.

      • Beth,

        After writing my comment I subseqently realised thet Faustino was referring to the left side of the table not the left side of politics. I am also fully on the left side of the table.

  68. Fooled vs. Unfooled.
    ==============

    • Should read “willfully fooled” vs. unfooled Kim. There is a reason for the loss of logic and belief in AGW for most.

      They “hope” that what the read in the NY Times is the “truth” also.

  69. The climate cannot be forecast without empirical evidence of the cause of natural variation.