What is skepticism, anyway?

by Judith Curry

Two recent essays on skepticism stimulate reflections on both the scientific consensus and the high level of public skepticism.

A recent study from the George Mason group in the Climate Change in the American Mind Series explores the public understanding versus the scientific consensus on climate change.  The study finds that one in four think global warming isn’t happening.  Further, only one in ten Americans (12%) know that 90% or more scientists have concluded human- caused global warming is happening. More than twice as many Americans – about three in ten (28%) – think fewer than half of climate scientists have reached this conclusion.

How to explain the discrepancy?  Are Americans flat out ignorant?  Or are they simply more skeptical than the scientists? If the latter, is the media to blame?  Or have their BS detectors been triggered?  Chris Mooney blames it on the media in  an article in the Rolling Stone entitled STUDY:  US Reporters Use More Weasel Words in Covering Climate Change (particularly the NYTimes).  Andy Revkin tweets in response:  Hey @chriscmooney, I’d be happy to discuss climate science coverage any time. “Weasel words” or accurate qualifiers?  +1000 to Andy Revkin.

Two recent essays on skepticism stimulate reflections on both the scientific consensus and the high level of public skepticism.

Context

First some context on ‘skepticism’:

When I use the word ‘skepticism’, I use it strictly in context of the Mertonian norms of science: Skepticism means that scientific claims must be exposed to critical scrutiny before being accepted.  

Carl Sagan appears to have coined the phrase ‘scientific skepticism.’  Scientific skepticism has been defined as [Wikipedia]:

“A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion.”

“Skepticism is a provisional approach to claims. It is the application of reason to any and all ideas — no sacred cows allowed. In other words, skepticism is a method, not a position.”

“Skepticism is a method of examining claims about the world. The skeptical “toolbox” includes a reliance upon reason, critical thinking, and a desire for verifiable, testable evidence about particular claims (especially extraordinary ones). Usually, the “skeptical way of thinking” is embodied in the scientific method.”

I also find the following to be inspiring:

Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer is editor of Skeptic magazine.  Shermer’s TED talk and an accompanying essay is provided by an article in the Huffington Post entitled What is skepticism, anyways?  Excerpts:

Skepticism is not “seek and ye shall find,” but “seek and keep an open mind.” But what does it mean to have an open mind? It is to find the essential balance between orthodoxy and heresy, between a total commitment to the status quo and the blind pursuit of new ideas, between being open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas and so open-minded that your brains fall out. Skepticism is about finding that balance. 

It is not always easy to evaluate claims, and so we skeptics have developed what the astronomer Carl Sagan called “the fine art of baloney detection.” Inspired by Sagan, at Skeptic magazine we produced what we call the Baloney Detection Kit, which consists of a list of questions to ask when encountering any claim. Here are a few:

• Does the source of a claim often make similar claims? Pseudoscientists have a habit of going well beyond the facts. JC comment: Assessment of a claim should be about the argument, not about the source.

• Have the claims been verified by another source? We must ask who is checking the claims, and even who is checking the checkers?

• Has anyone gone out of the way to disprove the claim, or has only confirmatory evidence been sought?  JC comment:  Seeking only confirmatory evidence is the biggest problem with the IPCC’s negotiated consensus.

• Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy — criticize your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science. JC comment:  I really disagree with this one.  It implies that someone who is unconvinced by a proponent’s explanation needs to have their own better explanation.  The alternative is ‘we don’t know, your explanation is unconvincing.’  In climate science, the alternative explanation is the null hypothesis of natural variability, which in itself its highly complex and not well understood.

• Do the claimants’ personal beliefs and biases drive the conclusions, or vice versa?  JC comment:  BINGO.  This is the problem with scientists as advocates.

 JC comments:  Some comments on the ‘baloney kit.’  This seems to be targeted mostly at the public, rather than at practicing scientists.  I find this statement to be particularly interesting in Shermer’s essay, I’m still thinking about it:

It is to find the essential balance between orthodoxy and heresy, between a total commitment to the status quo and the blind pursuit of new ideas, between being open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas and so open-minded that your brains fall out. Skepticism is about finding that balance.

 Skeptical Science

I have long thought that the name of the blog Skeptical Science is a joke – in my view, SkS knocks down naive and irrelevant arguments and shills for the consensus.  Collin Maessen explains in a new post entitled The Skepticism in Skeptical Science.  Excerpts:

Real skepticism is something very different from doubt, it’s about curiosity and a willingness to learn. This type of skepticism asks questions, asks for evidence, and judges arguments and used evidence on their merits. It doesn’t matter if what you learn proves your original stance or idea wrong, this is the entire point of this way of thinking. What matters is getting a right answer and basing how you view your world on information that is as accurate as possible. A skeptic knows that they can have personal biases and preconceived notions, but they are aware of it and don’t let this make them reject valid evidence.

Skeptics often have spirited discussions on subjects or might ask experts difficult questions. But this isn’t because they are approaching a subject with a distrust of results or experts, it’s part of a process to learn more about the wonders that science has found. Skeptics do not fear saying “I do not know” or referring to experts to help someone understand a subject. As Carl Sagan so eloquently once put about scientific research, it’s the journey of discovery that matters:

The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true. We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth—never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities. Cleverly designed experiments are the key.

Real skeptics avoid premature conclusions, recognize uncertainty, search for real data, and change their minds. Sure, sometimes it starts with doubting if a claim is true, but a skeptic then investigates if this doubt was warranted.

JC comment:  I like the above text, well done.  Then he loses me . . .

There are basically two types of climate skeptics: those that I call the so-called skeptics and the pseudo-skeptics. Neither hold themselves to the rigorous thinking that scientific skepticism asks of them. But one is just doubtful about claims or has been given incorrect information. Which means rational discussions are possible, you just have to break through preconceptions and/or misinformation. With the second group you can’t have a rational exchange most of the time. [JC note: see original post for further discussion of these two types of skeptics.]

Skepticism is an incredible tool that can help you understand the world. It can truly give you an appreciation of the hard work and dedication scientists put into their work and is the basis for the incredible discoveries they find. Skeptics are often the greatest allies of scientists as we help spread scientific knowledge and counter pseudoscience. The skeptic community has a proud tradition of working together with scientists to weed out bad science and translate what scientists and experts say into accessible information.

This is what makes Skeptical Science and what we do so important, our goal is “to explain what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming.” To us it matters what the peer reviewed literature has to say. We also examine the peer reviewed literature with a critical eye while asking tough questions. We do this because we enjoy learning new things and want to accurately represent scientific findings. It’s also why we are so skeptical about the claims of climate ‘skeptics’, simply because they don’t display any of those characteristics.

JC comment:  Uh, there’s a third category of skeptics – scientists (like me)  doing their job to provide critical scrutiny to consensus scientific claims.  Here is a litmus test for SkS skepticism:  can you find any critical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research?

 JC reflections

The term ‘skepticism’ as used in climate science gets muddled by confusing scientific skepticism with more general skepticism associated with generic doubt or those who are prejudiced against science.   Debunking of climate science skepticism (by SkS and others) is focused on slaying imaginary dragons, rather on considering serious challenges  in the published literature or on technical blogs  to consensus climate science.

Richard Feynmann puts it this way: “Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.”  

I anticipate that the unfolding of future decades will reveal the harm done to science by agenda-driven scientists working to enforce a manufactured consensus on anthropogenic global warming and its dangers.

In the meantime, the BS detectors of the public seem to have been triggered.  The  failure of the climate science establishment to convince the public can be chalked up to communication strategies that come across like propaganda, the intolerance of disagreement (calling opponents deniers), advocacy by scientists, the Climategate shenanigans, Peter Gleick and the Heartland affair, etc.

 

 

741 responses to “What is skepticism, anyway?

  1. Public skepticism grew proportionally with government financed consensus science.

  2. I am very skeptical of the claim that 90+% of scientists support alarmist claims about global warming. Why? Facts. Far too many have refuted the claim. And far too many political activists have misstated the level of support. When people have a track record of misrepresenting the truth, rational people are skeptical.

    I am very skeptical of all alarmist scientists’ claims. Why? The lack of quality. Scientists seem to have no interest in replicating anyone else’s work and those few studies which do get replicated turn out to be flawed at an alarming rate. This is true of all science, not just climate science. Climate science, having been hopelessly politicized, is worse than scientific fields which aren’t so political.

    The lack of quality control and the huge percentage of failed studies should make any sensible person a skeptic.

    • People have done work similar to ME Mann. The problem is that they never considered whether or not the methodology was valid at all for making the claims of limited natural variability that he does. And comparing modern data to proxies…

    • Asking the public their opinion on “human caused global warming,” without defining the word (just AGW, or CAGW?) tells you absolutely nothing about their state of knowledge. It tells you a lot about those who set up the debate to be ambiguous so they can look down on those stupid others.

      I thought there was some realization of this on the “Global warming versus ‘climate change’ post. Climate “scientists” use the term to represent all three. So some get way too much confirmation of their bias (about the intelligence of the stupid voters) from such poll results of deliberately ambiguous terms.

      In fact, in this poll they defined “global warming”as what most here would consider AGW.

      “Recently, you may have noticed that global warming has been getting some attention in the news. Global warming refers to the idea that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result.”

      But then they ask questions like “How many people do you think are dying” each year now, and each year for 50 years from now. And will it cause more famine, droughts, floods etc.over the next 20 years. None of which have anything to do with AGW, and everything to do with imminent CAGW. And how many even among climate “scientists” actually agree that CAGW is killing people now, and will do so more over the next 20 years?

      By the way, that polls has a graph under “Key FIndings” that “shows” that warming from 2001 to 2012 was greater than that from 1990 to 2000. Goodbye “pause.” While trying to demonstrate the ignorance of the stupid voters, they managed to show their own.

      And they accept as true the now often debunked claim that “Based on the evidence, 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening.” (Although in a different question they use a 90% number.)

      This was a terrible poll to use to describe the skepticism vs. ignorance of the public at large. It would have been a good case study to show the lack of skepticism among the “climate change communicators.”

    • re: Chris Mooney types

      Every time one reviews writings of alarmists such as Mooney, Cook, et al. one finds at least one glaring “fallacy of equivocation.”

      Their alarm depends upon claims such as humans are causing a majority of putative warming, said warming will be catastrophic, etc.

      Yet, they apply no real skepticism or analysis to the gulf between such Alarmist claims and the variety of milder claims (perhaps to be termed “lukewarmer” but that is another debate)….. these other kinds of claims only assert that there may be some “A” (not asserting the “C” or at least not yet), that “A” does not automatically imply “C”…. that some warming may actually be beneficial and we may not exceed that range, that even we do exceed the beneficial range it may not be by very much, etc. etc.

      Mooney, Mann, Cook, et al. trample over all of the latter kinds of positions to constantly assert that any view of AGW is the same as a claim of CAGW.

      They do not analyze or even indicate where they slide back and forth between the very different types of statements.

      That shows a fundamental lack of any (good) kind of skepticism.

      It is what has been termed a “fallacy of equivocation.”

    • The whole concept of quantifying scientists who support a proposition is bogus in itself. Imagine Albert Einstein in a room with 99 weenie-tot scientists who disagree with him on relativity.

    • Scott Basinger

      With these types of people, as Steve McIntyre puts it, you have to very carefully watch the pea under the walnut shell. What exactly is it that 90%+ of scientists agree with?

      It’d be pretty reasonable to expect that you’d probably get 90+% agreement that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. From there, you’d probably get 75% agreement that this is causing warming. From there, you’d have diminishing agreement on the quantity of warming per doubling to a figure much less than 50% agreement on 3C or more warming – watch the pea – which are the very scare scenarios that they’re trying to have people believe there’s a significant consensus on. Bait. Switch.

  3. David Springer

    I was watch a recent episode of Bill Maher and a progressive asked a conservative if humans had any effect at all on global climate. She said “Sure. Humans effect the climate to some degree.” Then the progressive raised his hands and said “Hallelujah that’s progress!” And I thought what a jackass most people who aren’t stupid know that humans, along with all life, effect the earth’s climate. Plants radically transformed the atmosphere. Flora and fauna in the ocean mixed layer almost certainly have far more influence on the climate than humans.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Stronger stomach than I have, David. I’ve not been able to stand that arrogant twerp for a long time now.

    • David Springer

      He has conservative guests, has some redeeming libertarian views, and I’ve been watching for decades. It’s not a bad way to keep up with issues that concern progressives and how they feel about it.

    • I can’t stand Maher most of the time. He has very few libertarian beliefs as far as I can tell. He turned me off years ago because he pretends to have a show about issues, but then again, is it really comedy? He rarely allows actual debate or listens to the side he disagrees with respectfully. Instead, he listens quietly to the progressive, then starts making jokes and interrupting the person on the other side who in a few cases I have seen actually were well informed and trying to explain something that is harder understand than the typical progressive emotional response. Infuriating to watch someone pretend to be objective and then constantly undermine the other side unfairly.

  4. Science is about models that work (make valid redictions). Period.
    Science is not about voting. Consensus comes in only when we locally decide what scientist’s name to attach to a model, or whether it is ready to be called a conjecture, hypothesis, theory, or law, and then what catches on. Consensuses are phantom polls and have nothing to do with science, except to get published in professional journals that promote dogma. Models are off the scale of scientific models while they are contradicted by fact. Examples abound.

  5. Palo Alto Ken

    Did Carl Sagan ever apply “the fine art of baloney detection” to the claims of nuclear winter?

    • Not really. Stephen Schneider did, more power to him, and advanced the modified fall-back of nuclear autumn. It’s important to remember that Schneider changed his mind twice on important matters–he used to think the globe would cool as well.

      He was able to be skeptical about signature issues. He did not change his ultimate opinion about climate change–AGW all the way to his premature passing. Something climate change skeptics should keep in mind.

  6. Steven Mosher

    Judith

    “JC comment: I really disagree with this one. It implies that someone who is unconvinced by a proponent’s explanation needs to have their own better explanation. The alternative is ‘we don’t know, your explanation is unconvincing.’ In climate science, the alternative explanation is the null hypothesis of natural variability, which in itself its highly complex and not well understood.”

    This is where we part company.

    “Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy — criticize your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science. ”

    The job of the scientist is to provide an explanation, the best explanation for the evidence. This isnt the everyday job, but in the end science aims at this. It is always logically possible to criticize every scientific theory. Typically people will use the tools of Academic Skepticism ( also known as the tropes of the sophists) That is not science. It is a classic debating strategy that doesnt seek understanding but rather resists understanding. While we may note periods in the scientific endeavor in which there is no governing explanation, for the most part the behavior of the scientist is aimed at providing this understanding. When one exclusively aims at critique, and never proposes alternative theories, or when one argues that no understanding is possible, then one has ceased to do science. As the quote above argues if one is STRICTLY interested in criticism, then one is not using scepticism as a tool of inquiry. There is no hard and fast line I can draw as to when to judge whether someone is being strictly critical. But I know it when I see it. There is no time limit on how long you can go without offering an alternative explanation, but at some point I will judge that a skeptic has ceased to be interested in science ( explanation) and is only interested in debate– which amounts to not being forced to think that “X” is true. I dont think you have crossed this line primarily because you suggest lines of inquiry to settle matters of dispute. Climate science skeptics rarely do this. In fact one could define a climate science skeptic as someone who denies the existing paradigm and refuses to offer some course of resolving the issue or some competing theory that explains the facts more completely.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      I find myself in agreement with your comment. Sorry about that.

    • Think about McIntyre. He is one of the most serious and thorough critics of the claims of climate science. Yet he does not give his own explanations. Are you saying that his approach is unscientific, or unacceptable? Judith is correct on this, and Shermer is wrong.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      Mosher,

      I agree with you. Science is not debate.

      Science is prediction, reproduction, and transparency.

    • Mosher: Re: Necessity to offer alternative explanations: “When one exclusively aims at critique, and never proposes alternative theories, or when one argues that no understanding is possible, then one has ceased to do science.”

      You are way off base here. Many times in history the most advanced thinkers were way off simply because of a general lack of human understanding. For instance, bloodletting several hundred years ago was recommended for “for acne, asthma, cancer, cholera, coma, convulsions, diabetes, epilepsy, gangrene, gout, herpes, indigestion,…” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodletting A very intelligent response of an intelligent observer at that time would be to state that bloodletting doesn’t work and that he doesn’t know what would cure asthma or cancer. An uninformed response would have been that bloodletting didn’t cure asthma because asthma could be cured by chicken soup.

      Also, imagine a very talented, knowledgeable scientist who postulates an interesting but speculative theory that volcanic eruptions will increase over the next 200 years because of workings of “X” and “Y” force. The intelligent course is to take is to challenge the theory and make the proponent prove his case to a sufficient level. Requiring a sufficient level of proof does not require an alternative theory although an alternative theory could be relevant.

      Would mention that in the law, in civil cases, the burden of proof is generally a more than 50% chance that the proponent’s evidence is persuasive. A defendant is not required to present any evidence if the plaintiff’s evidence does not reach that point. An alternative is not required if the initial evidence fails. (There are many subtleties to this issue, but there is generally no rule that a defendant has to produce any evidence to win a case.) The workings of the law are relevant body of experience to deal with the issue of whether an alternative explanation is necessary.

      JD

    • GCMs predicted virtually uninterrupted global surface temperature warming from, well, basically their inception on.

      There has now been a “pause” in reported temperatures for 17 years +/-.

      I don’t need to propose any counter GCM, or anything for that matter, to point out that the consensus’ GCMs, which embody a large number of their “scientific” arguments, are wrong – as to predicting future temps.

      I suppose it is lost on Mosher how ironic it is to discuss the Sophists, in a comment that is pure sophistry.

      Note that the very core of his argument is not a defense of any particular theory. It is that a theory cannot be disproved except by a counter-theory.

      This is really just a disguised shifting of the burden of proof. It is not enough to show by experimentation that a theory is false. Now you have to devise a counter-theory. So if you think it is impossible to model the climate, then climate models must be accurate.

      Does this mean that cold fusion still works?

    • “when one argues that no understanding is possible”

      BS strawman. Who is arguing this? The argument is that the system in question is currently not understood, not that it never will be. One argument is that this “alleged understanding” has failed to be demonstrated by the observations.

      When a scientist claims to understand the system, has modeled it, and the models don’t match the observations in a material way, are we to simply accept it anyway because we don’t have a better model, or are we to assume this alleged understanding may be seriously flawed?

      I am skeptical weatherman can predict the weather 30 days in advance, or reliably predict the magnitude of a hurricane season. They have tried and failed, so this lack of understanding has been demonstrated. Do I need to create a working 30 day weather model to convincingly state their models do not work reliably? No. Is it simple enough to judge when they are working after repeated years of successful predictions? Yes. Do we know that this year’s hurricane model will be successful? No. Should we be skeptical if someone states that it surely will be? Yes.

      Has it been demonstrated global warming will be dangerous? Has it been demonstrated global warming will not be dangerous? The correct answer is that it is not known.

      Here is a course offering – Let’s wait and see how the models work out, and if they continue to perform poorly, fix them until they work. When they have demonstrated prediction skill, we will talk about what that means. Just because someone may not like that course doesn’t mean it isn’t being offered. Nobody is arguing to stop trying to successfully model the climate.

      In almost every other case where systems are modeled, the models are verified / validated before a claim of understanding is made. What makes this unique is it takes at least 30 years to make these judgments on climate models, so there is much posturing on what that means today. 100 years from now we will know a lot more than we do now, but for now, we just don’t know how good they are, and the preliminary results aren’t encouraging.

    • Science presents all relevant information, pro and con, relative to your beliefs.

      Just presenting or accepting information that is favorable to your beliefs is not science.

      Andrew

    • Rob Starkey

      Imo, Mosher misses the mark

      “The job of the scientist is to provide an explanation, the best explanation for the evidence.”
      A scientist can reasonable point out that another’s position is considered incorrect while still not having a sufficient understanding of the system to offer a creditable alternative explanation. Is it unscientific to point out that GCMs do a poor job of forecasting changes in regional rainfall patterns unless I know how to program an accurate model?

      “While we may note periods in the scientific endeavor in which there is no governing explanation, for the most part the behavior of the scientist is aimed at providing this understanding.”
      The periods of the lack of understanding may be longer than you like, but imo it is much wiser to not be in a rush to offer “alternate explanations” to how the system is operating unless it is fully supported by good data. (example- don’t suggest a high certainty that one knows what will happen to the climate based on the outputs of models that have not been shown to match observed conditions with reasonable consistency and accuracy.

      “When one exclusively aims at critique, and never proposes alternative theories, or when one argues that no understanding is possible, then one has ceased to do science.”
      I’d agree about someone arguing that no understanding is possible. I’d disagree about offering alternative theories. Those should be offered when justified by data and not simply because someone’s else’s theory seems flawed.

      “I dont think you have crossed this line primarily because you suggest lines of inquiry to settle matters of dispute. Climate science skeptics rarely do this. In fact one could define a climate science skeptic as someone who denies the existing paradigm and refuses to offer some course of resolving the issue or some competing theory that explains the facts more completely.”

      Imo where Mosher’s last point misses the mark is in the understanding that “climate science” today is a combination of science, economics and politics.
      A person can believe in AGW and be skeptical that it is necessarily sufficiently harmful to warrant many proposed CO2 mitigation activities as being a wise or the best use of limited resources.

    • Paul Matthews, skepticism of individual studies is a very valid stance. No paper should be free from possible skepticism. However, broad-brushed sweeping skepticism of a whole collection of studies such as those in IPCC WG1 is beyond this level, and is quite a different thing. Skepticism is proper when it is spelled out pointwise as McIntyre does, and comes up with alternative interpretations of data, as he does too. Specificity is a hallmark of good skepticism, not broad-brushed dismissal.

    • Paul Matthews,

      yes, and one of the most thoughtless kind of remarks I have seen in the early CliSci reactions against Steve Mc was “why doesn’t he offer his own reconstruction for the past millenium” when one of the main implications of his criticisms of Mann et al. has been that the proxy data may not allow an adequate recon. of the past millenium or more…. or at least not without error bars “from floor to ceiling” as the saying goes.

      The insistent demand for an alternative explanation may (at least in some cases) reflect prejudices and assumptions which have not been assessed with sufficient…… skepticism!

    • So, the only way I can discount something I believe is unknowable with today’s data is to come up with an alternate theory. That’s lovely, Steve, good luck with that.

    • Steven Mosher: Bullfeathers. If something is so complicated, technical people with patrons invent forms of astrology (like runaway positive feedbacks, tipping points and hothouse earth) to explain strange behavior. If you are not psychologically strong enough to admit you don’t know what is going on, you shouldn’t be dabbling in Geology. There’s more to it than three axis, drag and thrust. This vain certitude is exactly why the IPCC has failed to improve the state of the science, it’s why nothing is being done about the horrific levels of coal combustion and it’s why the American public is so stupidly cynical about AGW.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Think about McIntyre. He is one of the most serious and thorough critics of the claims of climate science. Yet he does not give his own explanations. Are you saying that his approach is unscientific, or unacceptable? Judith is correct on this, and Shermer is wrong.”

      Good question let me answer it directly

      Are you saying that his approach is unscientific, or unacceptable?

      Note what I argue above. Criticism is a tool of science. it is not unscientific. The issue is that at some juncture if one wants to “do” science, one has to make some effort to explain. It would be easy and wrong to argue that all of scientific behavior is criticism or that all of scientific behavior is explaining. But in the end the aim is explanation. So, Steve uses the tools of science and math to question particular results so his behavior is not unscientific and it is acceptable. However, there comes a point when I ask my good friend when he is going to do science, when is he going to do his own reconstruction. His answer is satisfactory to me. His answer has been that for the most part the proxy data is somewhat of a mess and further he has proposed updating the proxies. That proposal (update the proxies) indicates to me that he is interested in and open to understanding. Somebody who just threw up their hands and offered no path forward would be crossing my line. I would class them as mere critic. I wouldn’t write scientist on their grave. Let me illustrate this with another example. Steve and I discuss the temperature station records. He and I have different approaches. He would prefer that I spend more time looking only for good stations and he is wary of approaches that throw all the meat into the kridging grinder. His approach of doing data cleansing and data selection prior to analysis is consistent across fields of inquiry. I prefer to use all data and sort out the issues on the back end. I think this is an interesting methodological debate and one we will probably never settled. However, we both agree that global temperature is something one can calculate. That is, he believes that it can be calculated and he offers a plan or approach. Contrast that with folks who argue that the metric is nonsense. On my view all that is required is a commitment to understanding. Now of course some could erect false barriers ( oh we need 10 billion stations), but i don’t see steve doing that.

      Next, you argue that Judith is correct. well, you assert it. I would take this as unscientific assertion.

    • Steven Mosher

      JD

      “You are way off base here. Many times in history the most advanced thinkers were way off simply because of a general lack of human understanding…. A very intelligent response of an intelligent observer at that time would be to state that bloodletting doesn’t work and that he doesn’t know what would cure asthma or cancer. ”

      I don’t think you read what I wrote with much care. As I argue we can point to any number of cases where there are lacuna in our understanding, where the current story sucks and we are lost for an explanation.There is no necessity to come up with an alternative story, but rather there has to be at a minimum a commitment to understanding.If you never offer a path forward, if you argue that understanding is impossible, if you only and exclusively criticize and never explain, then there comes a point at which those who “do” science will not see you as not “doing” what they “do’. in short at some time and in some way you have to do some explaining, you have to make some effort, even a nominal effort toward understanding. As I argued there is no hard and fast line, but rather there comes a point when we are justified in holding that you are not doing science. I wish the line were hard and fast. But doing science is a human behavior and being a scientist is a social construct and so there is an inherent fuzziness in it. However, there is a way we can settled this. Point me to a well known giant of the past who never offered any explanation. Pointing out episodes where some people had no idea of the path forward, won’t cut it as evidence against my proposition.

    • You are I believe mistaken in equating Academic Skepticism with Trophism. (Or I’m mistaken in assuming you equate the two.) Academic Skepticism is a formal view of Skepticism that came out of the Platonic School (not from Plato himself). Skepticism, is a philosophical doctrine that attempts to cast empirical data as void of true (formal sense) knowledge. Although refuted in some measure by later Platonists, it lingered in various forms up through Kant’s refutation of Hume (and skeptics et al) in the Prolegamena and the Critique of Pure Reason. Although it suffers from the usual shortcomings of all things Wiki, the Wiki article on the subject does hit the high points as regards the Platonic School. (To be clear, there are volumes upon volumes that span the intellectual history above. I confess to short changing them all.)

      Trophism was a Sophist practice, not a system of philosophy. The practice can be illustrated by considering an attorney arguing innocence on behalf of a client he knows to be guilty. She’s looking for a way to get her client off; not pursuing truth. The value of the argument is considered to be in it’s ability to persuade as opposed to the truth value it carries.

      Continuing, as is common to most modern discourse in which there is disagreement, you seem to use a straw man as your underlying postulate: “As the quote above argues if one is STRICTLY interested in criticism, then one is not using scepticism as a tool of inquiry.” You will not find yourself lonely in this company. Your second quoted paragraph (quoting Shermer) commits the same error. The quote you site (and the concept it represents), is not inherently limited in the way you assume. Consider as an alternative to your straw man, a scenario in which a bank teller’s books don’t balance. Finding this to be the case at the end of the day, do we start a clock with the assumption that when it expires we pronounce the books complete and correct? No. Rather we cast about the office looking for the (presumably) missing deposit/withdrawl slip(s).

      In the engineering community, best practice is to submit design to review. It matters not if there is one or if there are one thousand objections. What matters is the nature and quality of the objection(s). An engineer offering nothing but critique in the context of this sort of process would certainly be seen as doing engineering. I submit that the same is true in science. (In fact, such positions do exist here and there.)

      In short (I know, too late for that now), applying a “time limit” in the context above is subjective and arbitrary. Rather, qualifying the nature of objections (“skeptical” in the non formal broad sense) that are likely to be embraced and explored by reasonable minds would be a much more constructive measure of skeptical objection rather than elapsed time.

    • “Typically people will use the tools of Academic Skepticism ( also known as the tropes of the sophists) That is not science. It is a classic debating strategy that doesnt seek understanding but rather resists understanding.”

      No one was suggesting that the issue of the day is distinguishing between a scientist and a critic. The whole point of the post was the substance of the debate, not the nomenclature for the participants.

      This defense of your original comment is just an artful moving of the goal posts.

      By the way, the term “sophistry” is just another way of avoiding addressing the actual argument of your opponent. Kindalike “obscurantism,” which fell out of favor with Mosher when his own prior comments were used as prime examples of the art.

      A scientist who performs an experiment, or collects data, to determine the accuracy of the theory of another scientist, is just as much “doing science” as the first. Science is a method, and it can be both critical and descriptive. It need not be both.

      Didn’t Einstein (who I think even Mosher would agree was a scientist) suggest that others collect data during an eclipse regarding his theory of general relativity? And it seems to me he was open to being disproved if the data did not match his prediction. (Imagine the “climate scientific consensus community” entertaining such heresy.)

      I don’t remember him requiring them to propose a new theory before doing their work to confirm or deny his hypothesis. But then, he wasn’t Mosher’s equal at sophistry.

    • Steven Mosher

      Tom

      “when one argues that no understanding is possible”

      BS strawman. Who is arguing this? The argument is that the system in question is currently not understood, not that it never will be. ”

      you will find several versions of this among skeptics.
      1. arguments from chaos.
      2. arguments that we can understand sensitivity because we cant
      do controlled experiments
      3. arguments from the climate is too complex
      4. arguments surrounding attribution.
      5. Arguments that global temperature doesnt exist.

      bad arguments, but not strawmen.

    • “The job of the scientist is to provide an explanation”

      This is an inadequate description of the job of the scientist.

      The first job of the scientist is to examine evidence whether an desired explanation of/for it is forthcoming or not. It may not be. Science itself doesn’t require an explanation at all, if all the evidence doesn’t support one.
      This is basic. And Mosher for some reason demands explanations.

      Andrew

    • Thomas Sowell described this argument as “In short, we cannot say the emperor has no clothes until we have designed a whole alternative wardrobe.”

    • Bad Andrew: Just presenting or accepting information that is favorable to your beliefs is not science … Providing collaborative evidence?

    • eloris,

      The funny thing is that Mosher knows all this. He’s just reverted to his obscurantist/sophist form. The several cogent comments he made the last couple weeks may have been too much for him.

    • Correction: corroborative (not collaborative)

    • Steven Mosher

      ken

      ‘So, the only way I can discount something I believe is unknowable with today’s data is to come up with an alternate theory. That’s lovely, Steve, good luck with that.”

      I don’t think you read the argument. My argument is simple.
      Science is a human behavior that aims at explanation. in the process of improving understanding a scientist can and does engage in criticism. But in the end, at some time or other, he aims at understanding. One could go for prolonged periods of questioning and critcism. But in the end, at some point, you have to aim at understanding to earn the title ‘scientist’. you have to believe that understanding is possible, and at some point you have to try to understand. At some point in some way you have to move forward. Even if you end up being wrong. if all you do over the course of your entire career is criticism, then we wont call you a scientist.

      My assertion is easily disproved. Go find a giant of science who failed to offer an explanation. Go find a single giant of science who exclusively and strictly did nothing but criticism. finding a guy who was “mostly critical’ wont do. finding someone who said criticism was important wont do. you can disprove what I assert by finding a scientist who never did anything but criticize. When and if you do, we will say ‘who the hell was he?”

    • “Go find a giant of science who failed to offer an explanation.”

      BUZZ!

      Appeal to Celebrity flag.

      Go back to science 101.

      Andrew

    • Steven Mosher

      “eloris | June 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      Thomas Sowell described this argument as “In short, we cannot say the emperor has no clothes until we have designed a whole alternative wardrobe.”

      No. My argument is that you have to be committed to putting on pants at some point. here is what we observe about the history of science.
      We observe periods when some people point out that the emperor has no clothes. And, we observe that some people make an effort to fashion new clothes. They make the effort.

      So you can and you must say the emperor has no clothes. but that is not enough. If you want to practice fashion you have to be committed to the belief that clothes are good and you have to make some effort at some point to at least start the work of making clothes. If all you do is point out the nakedness, then over time we won’t call you a tailor.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Bad Andrew | June 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      “Go find a giant of science who failed to offer an explanation.”

      BUZZ!

      Appeal to Celebrity flag.

      Go back to science 101.

      #######################

      It is simple. We have data on who practices science and who does not.
      That data is the historical record. My hypothesis is that we call people scientists when they offer explanations. And further if they never offer an explanation, we dont call them scientist.

      I am telling you exactly how to falsify my hypothesis. You might find other ways, but Im showing you clearly the kind of evidence that would count against my position. Go find that and you win. You might find another way to win, however Im merely showing you one simple way to win.

      You’re position, however, is based on no data and you cannot specify conditions under which you would change your mind.

    • And with that Mosher completes his obscurantist change of subject from “what is skepticism” to “who’s a scientist.”

      Me, I could care less whether McIntyre is called a scientist, or a Canadian gnome. What I do care about is his critique on paleo-climate (among other things), and the benefit he has been to society as a result.

      Remember, this is where Mosher started this exercise in sophistry:

      “‘JC comment: I really disagree with this one. It implies that someone who is unconvinced by a proponent’s explanation needs to have their own better explanation. The alternative is ‘we don’t know, your explanation is unconvincing.’ In climate science, the alternative explanation is the null hypothesis of natural variability, which in itself its highly complex and not well understood.’

      This is where we part company. “

    • “My hypothesis is that we call people scientists when they offer explanations.”

      This is your own made up definition. It’s andequate on it’s face. Nothing further needs to be said about it.

      Andrew

    • I think Mosher makes some good points, but context matters. For example, Steve writes this:
      “If you never offer a path forward, if you argue that understanding is impossible, if you only and exclusively criticize and never explain, then there comes a point at which those who “do” science will not see you as not “doing” what they “do’. ”

      Steve wrote this in response to the example of the use of bleeding to cure ailments. Bleeding was the consensus, it was science saying “this is what we do”, and what they were doing was harmful. In that context, heck yes criticize even if you don’t have an alternative “cure” for epilepsy and can’t explain it’s origins. Sometimes you have to stop the harm before you can talk about the science (see also eugenics).
      In the case of global warming we had projections of surface temperature increases, promises of imminent dire consequences AND determined demands for immediate implementation of a “cure” with real, harmful consequences. In that context, yes yell “stop” at the bleeding until you know how serious the ailment and the best way to find the cure.
      And yeah, by the way, natural variability (ie there isn’t any serious disease) is a rational alternative theory. And the warm will call you a “denier” for believing the low estimate in the consensus range of warming.

    • Mosher assumes the conclusion when he says there is a problem. The null hypothesis of natural variability is a sufficient scientific explanation for climate observed over the last few decades. Since it hasn’t been demonstrated to be false, it is perfectly sufficient for a scientific theory. Skeptics have no obligation to provide any other.

      Of course, It is a bizarre notion indeed that proving a theory wrong is inadequate to constitute science unless some other theory is propounded. The overwhelming majority of science is and should be showing what does not work. As Edison himself noted, science is advanced by demonstrating what does not work.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Mosher assumes the conclusion when he says there is a problem. The null hypothesis of natural variability is a sufficient scientific explanation for climate observed over the last few decades. ”

      1. “natural variablity” has never been forumulated or proposed as a proper quantifiable null.
      2. natural variability cannot explain anything. it is the thing to be explained.

      The entire construct of natural variability as a null is confused.

    • “The entire construct of natural variability as a null is confused.”

      Funny, because natural variability IS what happens. We experience it every day in many phenomena. All phenomena, if you want to get philosophical.

      Andrew

    • Mosher: 1:36pm

      Mosher “but rather there has to be at a minimum a commitment to understanding.If you never offer a path forward, if you argue that understanding is impossible, if you only and exclusively criticize and never explain, then there comes a point at which those who “do” science will not see you as not “doing” what they “do’. in short at some time and in some way you have to do some explaining, you have to make some effort, even a nominal effort toward understanding.”

      First, I agree that there has to be a commitment to understanding. You can’t simply say I am skeptical and offer no reasons. You must have good logical grounds and data to support your opinion. I will also agree that a fair amount of opposition to Hansenite “science” is based on unreasoned skepticism. (As much popular support for Hansenite “science” is not science or fact based)

      Where we appear to differ is that I believe it is sufficient to point out a serious mistake (supported by good data and logical reasoning) and tell the proponent: Try again. By saying that people have the obligation to do good science themselves, you are essentially stating that people (or society) must respond to poorly done science. I believe it can just plain be ignored. For instance, I believe that Julian Simon has close to conclusively shown that human ingenuity always outpaces resource scarcity. I also believe that his work concerning the primacy of human ingenuity is transferable to the global warming debate. Therefore, I believe that if there are potential substantial problems that could be caused by CO2 50 or 100 years from now, they will be easily solvable using geoengineering techniques. Looking at the success of the of Simon’s predictions compared to GCM models gives me good grounds for my position. Just because Hansen or Mann or Trenberth yell fire, I don’t have to respond when their models and science are largely unproven in what matters most, the potential extent of any warming.

      Although I believe it is an irrelevant distraction to name a giant who criticized but didn’t come up with an alternative explanation, I believe Freeman Dyson fits the bill. He states that GCM models are grossly inadequate but doesn’t attempt to come up with a theory of climate. Also, I think he points out very well the necessity of understanding what you are doing before taking action very well. He states: “When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories. Many of the basic processes of planetary ecology are poorly understood. They must be better understood before we can reach an accurate diagnosis of the present condition of our planet. When we are trying to take care of a planet, just as when we are taking care of a human patient, diseases must be diagnosed before they can be cured. We need to observe and measure what is going on in the biosphere, rather than relying on computer models.” http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html

      JD

    • Sorry, but when stuff, like the hockey stick, simply don’t add up, refusing to accept them is not resisting understanding, it is refusing to accept a belief that appears unsupported.You may as well ask me to believe in a flying spaghetti monster.

      My personal benchmark which I set more than a decade ago, was that if stratospheric cooling started to happen, it would be sufficient proof for me that global warming is a significant factor in our climate. Oddly enough, there is no convincing evidence of cooling in the stratosphere for 20 years, and before that, I don’t really see how you can tease the data out from the volcanic activity and the pre GPS radiosondes to conclude that any cooling is the result of AGW.

    • Having cake:
      “There is no time limit on how long you can go without offering an alternative explanation…”

      Eating it too:
      “…but at some point I will judge that a skeptic has ceased to be interested in science ( explanation) and is only interested in debate– which amounts to not being forced to think that “X” is true.”

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      TJA | June 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |

      My personal benchmark which I set more than a decade ago, was that if stratospheric cooling started to happen, it would be sufficient proof for me that global warming is a significant factor in our climate. Oddly enough, there is no convincing evidence of cooling in the stratosphere for 20 years…

      http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/state-climate-2011-stratospheric-temperature

    • I think Mosher has a point. What could a skeptic do? Educate. Conduct research. Most of us don’t have the resources to do that, but what if we think small and local. Spencer did a greenhouse box experiment. Most accountants might be able to replicate that. WebHubTelescope looked at Minnesota ice out dates. Ellison has submitted an article for publication.

      And about whether chaos is a foil. I see it as a way of trying to understand. Every once in awhile something snaps into place for me, though there’s always the chance I still don’t get it. Strengthened coupling for instance. I think I’ve seen some examples of how that works. Chaos may be a good enough framework to find scientific value. The antithesis that leads to the synthesis.

      Mosher has mentioned being at the table. Even the kiddies table would be worth something. Skeptics might keep in mind, the table.

    • Stephen Segrest

      As Dr. Curry has explained to us (repeatedly), there are three hypotheses of what’s going on. IMO, what Steve Mosher describes in his above blog post is a classic application of “anti-science”. One can poke all the holes you want into Hypothesis I of AGW, but this doesn’t prove Hypothesis II or III. Trying to do so is “anti-science”.

    • fizzymagic

      Steven Mosher writes:
      The job of the scientist is to provide an explanation, the best explanation for the evidence. This isnt the everyday job, but in the end science aims at this.

      I agree with this, and I suspect that most do.

      However, the question then arises: in what way are climate models that make catastrophic predictions about the future “explaining the evidence?” It seems to me that using the models to support a claim that anthropogenic CO2 has had some effect on the climate is indeed scientific, but once one starts making claims about the detailed effects of future warming, explanation has been abandoned and advocacy has begun.

      That’s why, generally, scientific prediction should be held to a higher standard of evidence than mere explanation. The best explanations always turn out to be predictive, but validating the predictive power of an explanation requires many successful predictions.

      And that is where current climate science fails. Not because the explanations cannot be true, but because the necessary evidence to validate the predictive value of the explanations has, quite simply, not been obtained.

    • Yep, stratospheric temps flat for about 20 years. I know. Before that volcanic activity, and before that radiosondes and volcanic activity. I am waiting for a trend in the satellite era. What I see is a, wait for it…. pause.

    • Steve mosher – I think the global mean temperature in 1350 is not knowable with current scientific understanding. That is a sound scientific judgment. If some lunatic concocts a fantastical claim that he does know it, to 0.1 C no less, it is my job to prove that he is wrong. It is not my job to offer a competing lunatic theory.

    • Scott Basinger

      Counterexamples are a very useful tool.

      Precisely where you decide to part company you divest yourself of this essential tool.

    • @Steven Mosher…

      1. “natural variablity” has never been forumulated or proposed as a proper quantifiable null.

      Yes, it has. Unfortunately, most people who do so are doing so in terms of investigations into “chaos theory”, where the jargon is a little different.

      Take a few thousand transistors, or perhaps simple assemblies of transistors and resisters. Hook them together semi-randomly (i.e. in ways that “make grammatical sense” but don’t necessarily fit any semantic expectations, to borrow jargon from language theory). The result will have some sort of complex behavior, probably with several well-bounded attractors, each of which we might characterize as a “grand state” of the system. Perturbations will often be able to push it from one “grand state” to another. Some “grand states” may be essentially static, others may exhibit strong oscillation, others may evolve from one immediate state (“micro-state”) to another in a way that appears random, although it isn’t really.

      Now, take the same few thousand transistors and hook them together again, according to the same semi-random protocol. There will be a different result, probably somewhat similar to the one I just described. Repeat a few thousand, or hundred thousand, times.

      By this point, you can probably (depending on the specifics of your starting transistors) map a complex PDF for how many “grand states” a new assembly could be expected to have, what types they are, and what sort of perturbations it takes to push a system from one “grand state” to another.

      You’ll also be able to map a PDF for what sort of “variation” a simple projection of the overall system on a single-dimensional axis will go through, in each type of “grand state”. Let’s use average voltage (over all the instances of a specific junction of each transistor) as an example. The statistical description of this “variation” might, then, represent a PDF in several dimensions that describes the probability density of the “variation” being at a single point of that n-dimensional space.

      Suppose (as I intuitively expect) the PDF for a “new” semi-random hookup can be defined by some sort of “averaging”/integration of the known PDF’s for variation in the few thousand/hundred thousand hook-ups already tried and studied. This PDF, or some function of it, can then be regarded as the “expected natural variation” of a system of this type. (Once the actual variation had been observed, a new PDF, probably much more narrowly defined, would represent the “observed natural variation” for this particular instance of a system of this type.)

      The parameters leading to “climate”, defined as some sort of complex descriptor of the basin(s) of attraction within which “weather” evolves (as opposed to the “other” definition as the “average of weather”), are probably far more complex than the hookup of a few thousand transistors described above. But for a system of the “Terrestrial Climate” type, it would in principle be possible to find a PDF of “expected natural variation”. Actually finding this PDF is not necessary to the hypothesis that current behavior is explained by “natural variation”. All that’s needed is a rigorous definition of “what natural variation is”.

      2. natural variability cannot explain anything. it is the thing to be explained.

      The simple explanation is that “natural variation” is a natural feature of “Terrestrial Climate” type systems. For more detail, see above.

    • k scott denison

      JD Ohio @ 2:54 pm

      +1000, very, very well put. While I agree with Mosher that yes, a “scientist” must at some point work on understanding, as you so rightly point out, this doesn’t mean that a “scientist” can’t be critical of entire fields of work for which he/she never puts for any explanation. In fact, I would argue that *great scientists* do just that – they are willing to put their reputations on the line to criticize fields of work where they may never put forth explanations. They do this when the recognize the poor work of others being passed off as “science”.
      ________
      Jim D states: “.. skepticism of individual studies is a very valid stance. No paper should be free from possible skepticism. However, broad-brushed sweeping skepticism of a whole collection of studies such as those in IPCC WG1 is beyond this level, and is quite a different thing.”

      Why? Because you assert it is? If there are 1,000 bad papers then there are 1,000 valid reasons to criticize. Just because there is a lot of poor “science” published doesn’t make any of it beyond criticism. I for one feel this is the issue with “climate science”: it has been co-opted by a small group of “scientists” who are in essence “enforcing the consensus” as a recent post pointed out.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: The job of the scientist is to provide an explanation, the best explanation for the evidence.

      Again you start with the word “the”; you don’t seem to entertain the possibility of multiple goals, multiple (partial) truths, multiple tasks.

      One other worthwhile job of scientists is to gather evidence in absence of “explantions” as Darwin did in his voyage in the Beagle, as Mendel did with his peas, and as many atmospheric scientists have done with measurement instruments of all kinds.

      One other worthwhile job of scientists is to point out when the extant explanations are wrong, as when generations of scientists criticized Bohr’s model of the atom and its descendents, and as some scientists have done with the “explanation” that increasing CO2 will lead to global warming, and the “explanation” that all such warming will be bad. The evidence is full of liabilities, and there is no adequate explanation of what a future increased CO2 will do to the energy transport processes of the climate system.

      In total, your argument is that we have to accept the best theory so far even when the overwhelming result of studying all the evidence is that we are ignorant of what produces the full range of evidence that we have.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: .There is no necessity to come up with an alternative story, but rather there has to be at a minimum a commitment to understanding.If you never offer a path forward, if you argue that understanding is impossible, if you only and exclusively criticize and never explain, then there comes a point at which those who “do” science will not see you as not “doing” what they “do’. in short at some time and in some way you have to do some explaining, you have to make some effort, even a nominal effort toward understanding.

      Now what are you truly advocating: (a) we have to make an effort to understand? (b) we have to create an explanation?(c) we have to accept someone else’s explanation?

      There were two really important processes for which Darwin never proffered even a hint of explanation: (1) the origin of species (he documented change within lineages, and differences between species, but not speciation); (2) the random variation in the attributes of offspring. By your argument, he was not a scientist.

      Does anyone argue that “understanding is impossible” in climate science? My claims are that the understandings are incomplete; the models are full of liabilities; and the models are not sufficiently accurate. The question is not whether I am a “scientist” (or anyone else is a “scientist”), but whether those are true propositions. An informed critic who substantiates those propositions with reference to the scientific knowledge is performing an important job even if not proffering an alternative explanation. ( It is especially important if people who believe “the consensus” are trying to rally all of us to support expensive building schemes that get in the way of solving other real-world problems.)

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: 1. “natural variablity” has never been forumulated or proposed as a proper quantifiable null.
      2. natural variability cannot explain anything. it is the thing to be explained.

      1 implies that the effects of CO2, if any, can not be quantified. That is a problem that has been discussed here frequently.

      2 is irrelevant, as was the unknown source of random variation in inherited characteristics and the randomness debated among physicists of the early 20th century. No one has explained why one atom decays now and another not for 1, 2, or a dozen half-lives in the future, but when you do experiments and test hypotheses you have to take the unexplained natural random variation into account.

      Your arguments, those I have quoted in some posts and some others I have not yet quoted, if taken seriously, would discredit most of what has been discovered — independent of any evidence for or against any particular proposition.

    • Steve, while your point has some merit I must say I think the climate issue has more than its share of exclusionary definitions meant to sort the Elect from the unwise and unwary.

      I think there is more than one type of attitude available for those practicing science and plenty of room for those who only criticize. I agree that it is better if they point a way forward or describe what would overcome their criticism. But I hardly think that’s a requirement. You make it sound like table stakes.

    • As ever Prof Koutsoyiannis has a good discussion of this in his latest presentation to the EGU conference, which I have linked before on Climate Etc. but I will link again since there is a quote that is relevant to this discussion:

      Hydrology, society, change and uncertainty

      In particular, a quote from “Useless Arithmetic (why environmental scientists can’t predict the future) by Pilkey and Pilkey-Jarvis:

      A reviewer of a paper I wrote condemning beach models penned the following criticism, which is very typical of the responses that model critics receive: “Everyone, even the engineers, realizes that models have shortcomings, some serious ones, but that is all that they have at this time. They are constantly working on improving them. Instead of continuing to tear down the existing ones, the discipline would be much better served by offering better alternatives”.

      My response (had I been given a chance to respond) would have been this: One should not use bad models for any reason. If you know that there are problems, shame on you and your fellow modelers for not saying so when you apply the model and give the results to the public. Because of the complexity of beaches, rest assured that nothing better is coming along. They can never be quantitatively modeled with sufficient accuracy for engineering purposes.

      After all, a homeopathic practitioner or a horoscope writer can give you their “best explanation” for why their medicine works (water has memory) or why their predictions are true. But that isn’t science. Science is about knowledge, and knowledge of when models are useless and when they are valuable is probably more important than the knowledge of the model itself.

    • Unlike Jeb, I disagree with Steven here.

      The definition that matters is whether the critique of a “skeptic” employs skeptical thinking.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Steve mosher – I think the global mean temperature in 1350 is not knowable with current scientific understanding. ”

      Sure it is.

    • k scott denison

      Mosher: “sure it is”

      Guess the nice thing for you is no can prove you wrong as we can’t go back in time.

      Anyway, let’s start with an easy question: what was the global mean temperature at 12:00 GMT yesterday? How was it measured? And what is the degree of accuracy?

    • Mosher, would you be pleased if the string theorists declared a Jihad against people who did not believe in string theory and black balled all non-string theorists from grants, publications and called the ‘anti-science deniers’?

    • The job of the scientist is to provide an explanation, the best explanation for the evidence. … yes, I often feel dumbstruck these days.

      Reasons:
      A) unable to formulate a viable description/explanation
      B) Attempting to describe the undescribable

    • dennis dunton

      Now I know the reason for your normal smug, drive by,cryptic,incomprehensible, comments. Turns out….you have NOTHING logical to say.

    • Physicists are unlikely to have any logical opinion either. The climate problem doesnt frame easily.

    • Jbmckim: In short (I know, too late for that now), applying a “time limit” in the context above is subjective and arbitrary. and eating cake example

      Your argument is delivered from a timeless viewpoint. (Argument accepted). AGW involves timely flux

    • Tom Scharf

      I think mostly I see this argument as simply moving the goalposts.

      I see the frustration with the immense criticism of climate science without moving the science forward, and the argument that if all this negative energy were devoted towards getting a better understanding that we could surely arrive at better answers sooner rather than later.

      However the majority are responding not to the science per se, but the implications of said science in policy. We aren’t looking to be granted a Climate Science Boy Scout badge, or somehow passing Mosher’s climate scientist litmus test. We are questioning whether the science has reached a point of policy actionable intelligence. We are asking to be convinced, beyond an appeal to authority. A fair question.

      This is a valid position, and there is no requirement to get the Cli-Sci badge to render a meaningful view on the subject as it applies to policy, we do get the same vote every climate scientists does, as opposed to what makes the IPCC report. Why the frustration when the science is under complete control by the scientists? The frustration is with the policy outcomes, or lack thereof.

      So I salute Mosher for going further than most and actively contributing to the science. Kudos. I also believe that people outside the science with day jobs have valid inputs to the reliability of the science as it applies to policy. If climate science cannot convince others as to their science implications, or linked policy goals, then the problem normally lies with the messenger, not the listener.

    • Doug Badgero

      That prediction is not possible with the existing tools is a valid explanation. Proposing potential paths forward is valuable but it does not change the existing reality.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      Mosher,

      “Steve mosher – I think the global mean temperature in 1350 is not knowable with current scientific understanding. ”

      “Sure it is” (You said.)

      So then what is the global mean temperature right now, today?

      Will that number change over the next few years, as it is revised?

      Your number for the global mean temperature in 1350, will that number ever be ‘fixed’ (resolved to convergent values)?

      “Knowable.” I think that word does not mean what you think it means, boss…

    • there are many excellent reasons to question that steve’s proposition is the whole story. there are many roles in the scientific enterprise. for instance, the invester has a perfect rght to say that he is not ready to invest more of his money umtil the evidence is better. and the tester or checker has every busimess to say that the work doesn’t pass his tests yet, and to state what evidence he wants to see. also the statistician has every business pointing out that you have to do a bit more than pushing a few calculation buttons before the numbers are as meaningful as they appear.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      The talk of “skepticism” is pointless.

      There are conflicting hypothesis-es about the temperature sensitivity of the globe to CO2 concentration. The incorrect hypothesis will be shown to be incorrect when repeatable, falsifiable predictions by it (them) have been found to be incorrect predictions.

      The correct hypothesis-es are those that have not been falsified.

      That is science, not skepticism. Everything here is polemic.

    • Horse poopies. I say turtles. You don’t have a better explanation. So it’s turtles? All the way down? Always?

    • Jim Zuccaro

      Steve Mosher,,

      Global mean temperature in 1350? Reconstructing it? Or making WAGs?

      surface mean temp?

      atmosphere mean temp?

      ocean temp? deep ocean temp?

      reconstruct this after 650 years of the actions that transform the earth’s surface? surviving paleo is a tiny bit of all that which was,extant, in 1350.

      You really went a bride too far, on that one.

    • Jim Zuccaro (I think – a long way down the thread): “The correct hypothesis-es are those that have not been falsified.” Absolutely not. An hypothesis that has not been falsified may or may not be true, cf flat earth prior to 1492. You can if you wish accept a non-falisified hypothesis as a basis for action, but it might not be true.

      • Jim Zuccaro

        Faustino

        “Jim Zuccaro (I think – a long way down the thread): “The correct hypothesis-es are those that have not been falsified.” Absolutely not. An hypothesis that has not been falsified may or may not be true, cf flat earth prior to 1492. You can if you wish accept a non-falisified hypothesis as a basis for action, but it might not be true.”

        No.

        Those hypotheses that have not been falsified are those that have not been falsified. All of them can be correct, that have not been falsified.

        Not exclusive.

    • David Springer

      Hey Mosher, the moon is in the second house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. That means you’re stupid. If you disagree you must provide a better explanation of why you’re stupid.

    • Ahhhh … the fake and self-serving definition of a fake skeptic.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Steven Mosher posts  “The job of the scientist is to provide an explanation, the best explanation for the evidence. […] at some point I will judge that a skeptic has ceased to be interested in science (explanation) and is only interested in debate.”

      Please let me add my voice to those (many) who applaud Steven Mosher’s post.

      Follow-Up Reading  Climate Etc readers who appreciate the intersection of science, mathematics, economics, and humor may enjoy Julian Gough’s justly celebrated essay upon mechanisms of market-failure: The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble

      Conclusion  Climate-change science and rational economic analysts agree: market fundamentalism can’t respect the CO2 commons.

      This market-reality is obvious to *EVERYONE*, eh Climate Etc readers?

      \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}
      ——-
      The Seattle Lesson  A good person without a gun can stop a bad person with one.

    • TVRJH, thanks for showing us that the stratosphere cools at the poles during la ninas. It is also interesting that the stratosphere warms over the eastern pacific during la nina. This may prove very important in understanding enso processes and how they affect weather, heat content, heat distribution, and climate.

    • It’s an oldie, but a goodie –
      “To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”
      Charles Darwin

    • Theo Goodwin

      Once again, you overlook the possibility that the best judgment of someone’s explanation of a phenomenon is that “we do not understand this phenomenon at this time.” Having overlooked this possibility you deny the 2400 year old claim from Socrates that “ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.” If we cannot muster the critical will to recognize that the sum of all our investigations has been nothing then it is only a matter of time until we are slaves to our delusions.

    • Steven Mosher

      ““Knowable.” I think that word does not mean what you think it means, boss…”

      That is the crux of the issue. At the bottom there is epistemology.
      no physical measurement is known precisely.
      I know you are between 1 and 10 feet tall.
      That means operationally if I make the statement
      “I predict that if I measure you with a standard ruler that the result will
      be between 1 and 10 feet”
      We can test my knowledge.

      Of course where the uncertainty around our knowledge is large, the usefulness of that knowledge dimishes.

      Maybe you think there is some magic line where the uncertainty becomes so small that we decide to call it knowledge. That line is hard to draw.
      bet you cant

      • Jim Zuccaro

        Moser,

        So then what is the global mean temp *today* ?

        Is that Knowable?

        “Knowable”. to me, means that it is a number that is *fixed*, that is, a number within a diminishing range of error. Convergence of estimation and measurements.

        Your “be between 1 and 10 feet” means nothing.

        So how *can* We test your knowledge? You didn’t answer any of my questions.

    • Rob Starkey

      Playing word games are inconsistent with good science or engineering. If a “scientist” claims to know the global average surface temperature, but fails to disclose it is within a margin of error of +/- 25C then that person is being intentionally misleading.

    • Theo Goodwin

      Steven Mosher | June 6, 2014 at 11:47 am |

      I hope you realize that you are attempting to reduce all of scientific method to some epistemological measure for certainty. You are ignorant of the topic. Scientific method goes back to Galileo and is independent of philosophers’ epistemological concerns. For a simple but very valuable account of scientific method, read Galileo’s criticisms of the physics and astronomy of the followers of Ptolemy and Aristotle. Get the version edited by Stillman Drake and Einstein.

    • Michael Larkin

      I think you are wrong.

      Evidence against a hypothesis can build up and cause doubts. It’s not illegitimate to have those doubts simply because one can’t currently come up with an alternative hypothesis.

      Scepticism doesn’t require either conclusive disproof or a working hypothesis. If someone says that anthropogenic CO2 causes warming, but for around 17 years there has been no detectable warming despite increases in anthropogenic CO2, then that’s reason for scepticism. It doesn’t mean that there is isn’t some putative explanation for it that is consistent with the hypothesis of AGW, but it does mean that there’s room for scepticism.

      It’s one reason why I am sceptical, though I don’t have a specific alternative hypothesis in mind that is consistent with AGW and explains the 17-year hiatus. It may be the result of known or unknown natural causes, or some combination of those and influences that may or may not include a contribution from anthropogenic CO2 or, who knows, some other anthropogenic factor.

      The word “skeptic” derives from “skepsis”, which means investigation or examination. The Greek Skeptics claimed that it was not possible to fully know anything. This ties in fairly well with the modern notion that it is possible to conclusively disprove something, but not possible to conclusively prove it.

      There’s usually a mental model (possibly wholly mathematical) to explain a phenomenon, and the model may lead to predictions that can be tested and even found to be very accurate, but that doesn’t prove that the model is right. No one really understands QM, despite having heavily mathematical models that can produce incredibly accurate, empirically verifiable results. Hence the advice to “shut up and calculate”.

      There’s only one thing any of us indisputably know, and that’s that we are conscious. We don’t actually know the world, though we may know very well the models of the world that reside in our consciousness. Science involves collecting empirical data that may or may not support those models. The data may come from observations of natural phenomena or human experiments.

      Belief doesn’t come into it, or at least shouldn’t. Scepticism has no place for belief. It rejects reliance on belief, though recognises that people do tend to formulate beliefs. Nonetheless, the aim is to avoid attachment to those beliefs, and always to bear in mind that they are almost certainly wrong, because they are based on models of reality and not reality itself. That fact is why we carry on doing scientific research and all know that some day all current scientific models will be amended or even thrown out. That even applies to QM, possibly the most successful and accurate scientific model thus far.

    • “Steven Mosher | June 6, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      ““Knowable.” I think that word does not mean what you think it means, boss…”

      That is the crux of the issue. At the bottom there is epistemology.
      no physical measurement is known precisely.
      I know you are between 1 and 10 feet tall.”

      On average we have one ovary and one testicle; sometimes averaging is stupid.

    • BS. Mosh, you really have no clue about the default Null Hypothesis, and the necessity to FIRST disprove it before any of the infinity of alternatives can be considered, do you?

  7. If someone tells me that global temperatures should be rising due to a greenhouse effect, and temperatures are not rising, might I logically assume that that the greenhouse effect is having no effect?

    In that case, am I a skeptic, a pseudo skeptic, a fake skeptic, an unbeliever, or just a normal person who rightly ignores a supposed effect that appears to have no effect at all?

    All very complicated and worrying. I might just ignore global warming, and the apparently ineffective greenhouse effect, as it doesn’t seem to exist, and pay attention to things that are real. Possibly wine, women and song, or things of like nature.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • Yes, because the claim you are considering is that GHE is dominant, and is capable of overriding natural variability. Now that that is disproven, it recedes to the status of a component, subject to the complex, even chaotic, interactions of that variability.

  8. “How to explain the discrepancy? Are Americans flat out ignorant? Or are they simply more skeptical than the scientists?”

    Neither of the above. They don’t care. Environmentalism isn’t their religion, and they see no reason to make it so. Poll after poll shows that global warming is at the very bottom of the list of things they worry about.

    The shrill shrieking from the greens without tangible evidence of a crisis is compared to other items such as cancer, heart disease, dementia, and the economy that have very direct evidence that there may be a crisis at hand.

  9. Any scientific field that devotes a lot of energy to communication, is of course mostly baloney. ;)

    And any skeptical mind who praises Skeptical Science (a site where there is not one word that could go against the business interests of Dana’s employers), well, it’s not a mind really.

    I live scientifically by the other Sagan’s maxim, extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. If AGW is a big problem, it is an extraordinary problem and as such needs very, very strong evidence in order to be considered a real problem. Then one sees the hockey stick, climategate, secret data, name calling, and one knows the extraordinary evidence just isn’t there.

    Note that AGW could be a minor problem and the evidence provided so far by the IPCC would be well enough for it to be a minor problem. No need to await for extraordinary proofs in that case.

  10. verytallguy

    Here is a litmus test for SkS skepticism: can you find any critical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research?

    Wow.

    At face value, this reads that in order to be skeptical you must criticise a specific scientist, which rather obviously fails your Carl Sagan test “Skepticism is a provisional approach to claims.”

    Let’s read this charitably and assume you really mean can you find any skeptical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research. Let’s investigate.

    Mann is famous for the Hockey stick – which turns up #13 on the SKS list.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

    Here’s what they say specifically on Mann

    An independent assessment of Mann’s hockey stick was conducted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (Wahl 2007). They reconstructed temperatures employing a variety of statistical techniques (with and without principal components analysis). Their results found slightly different temperatures in the early 15th Century. However, they confirmed the principal results of the original hockey stick – that the warming trend and temperatures over the last few decades are unprecedented over at least the last 600 years.

    So, does this meet the criteria for scepticism? Let’s stick to Sagan’s to keep this simple
    rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims
    Seems reasonably rigorous given the length of the article, and sticks to peer review literature (methods of science), so that’s a tick

    a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence
    Well, they reference a range of studies including providing links to McIntyre’s critique. So that’s a tick.

    no sacred cows allowed
    It’s interesting to note that Mann’s original methodology is NOT defended as perfect (“sacred”) – that Wahl produces different results. Another tick.

    By your own inspiration’s definitions, SKS clearly treat Mann with due skepticism.

    You clearly don’t like SKS – I wonder if you could provide a best and worst list of blogs (in terms of the quality of their scepticism) from your blog roll to help us understand where you stand on what scepticism is?

    • Tom Scharf

      Do you believe the treatment at SkS of the HS in an accurate scientific depiction of the issues? An accurate treatment of the statistical questions?

    • Of course it doesn’t. One would expect a summary of the case against the hockey stick that accurately and completely gave the skeptical position, followed by a reasoned response that refutes them.

      Nothing like that happens. Instead they say, well, even though Mann claimed 1500 years, and the result can only be replicated for about 600 years, then they point to a bunch of irrelevant studies that sound similar, making it utterly clear that they don’t understand the issues and claim they have settled the issue beyond dispute.

      Even Richard Muller, who is no denier, can tick off what is wrong with the hockey stick. Was his critique mentioned on SKS? No. It is not “Skeptical Science” it is paid propaganda, and poorly done propaganda at that.

      The hockey stick minimizes natural variability. It is lousy science and lousy math. That is why natural variability is so poorly understood. Mann got his paper published that pretended that it didn’t exist and has influenced a generation of climate scientists. Now mother nature is rubbing Mann’s nose in natural variability and of course he denies it is happening and pretends that it really is warming apace, just not anywhere where we can actually measure it with instruments, But it is happening huge where we can’t measure it, but can only “model” it. Trust us.

      You warmists really should stop the denial of the pause, the denial of climategate, and the denial of the lack of stratospheric cooling these past two decades, and stop the parlor tricks with moving the endpoints to produce the trends you have such faith in and get to actually answering the serious skeptical arguments, and when you don’t have an answer, admit it. That would go a long way.

    • Can you find a critical comment about the Auditor’s audits in any blog post at Judy’s, Very Tall?

    • fizzymagic

      willard writes:

      Can you find a critical comment about the Auditor’s audits in any blog post at Judy’s

      Ah, immediate descent into the tu quoque fallacy. A standard distraction move. One might wonder whether you were at all interested in honest discussion or just here to throw stones in exactly the same way many skeptics do. Ironic, huh?

    • > Ah, immediate descent into the tu quoque fallacy.

      In that case, it’s not a fallacy, since it helps question the assumption that there’s a Litmus test. It would not even be a tu quoque if I accept that SkS is mainstream friendly, which I can readily concede. Instead of using Litmus tests that can easily become a double-edge sword, it might be wiser to simply accept that social networks exist

      But I’m willing to play along. Have you ever saw a critical comment about Junior by Judy, fizzymagic? What about Senior? If you prefer another person, fizzy, what about Tony’s: have you ever seen a critical from him regarding the Auditor’s work?

      Tests apply to everyone.

      LITMUS TEST ALL THE CLIMATEBALLERS!

      http://memegenerator.net/instance/50505686

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ verytallguy

      “Their results found slightly different temperatures in the early 15th Century. ”

      So the judicial application of statistics was able to make ‘slight’ corrections to early 15th century average global temperatures, presumably in the 0.1 degree range (since we are only talking about total temperature variations of a degree or two)? This ‘correction’ for a period two hundred years before the invention of the thermometer and close to a hundred years before the Western Hemisphere was even discovered?

      As we used to say in the Navy when faced with a particularly impressive feat of dubious technical legerdemain, “Modern science knows no limitations!”.

    • fizzymagic

      >> Ah, immediate descent into the tu quoque fallacy.

      >In that case, it’s not a fallacy, since it helps question the assumption that there’s a Litmus test.

      It is indeed a fallacy; that you don’t recognize why does not speak well for your reasoning ability. Implying a litmus test on this blog in no way disproves the existence of one elsewhere, and you ought to know that.

      But the fallacy is deeper yet; you have made the hidden assumption that the purpose of this blog and SkS are the same. If your stated reason for your post were valid, you would need to present evidence that this blog presents itself as some kind of balanced neutral arbiter of the value of all climate science, much as SkS does.

      In your somewhat fevered imagination, I suppose you might imagine it does, but from a rational perspective it does not.

    • ==> “But the fallacy is deeper yet; you have made the hidden assumption that the purpose of this blog and SkS are the same. ”

      The assumption is not that SkS and Climate Etc. are the same.

      The assumption is that a litmus test for skepticism, if it is valid, should be informative across the great climate divide. When someone uses a litmus test to evaluate only those claims they are in agreement with, it is not skepticism.

    • The question of whether SkS scrutinizes Mann’s science is a valid test of SkS’s skepticism.

      The question of whether Judith scrutinizes Spender’s or Christy’s or Lindzen’s science is a valid test of skepticism.

      I’m not suggesting that the answer to either of those questions should be assumed – only that the question should not only be asked with reference to those you are in disagreement with.

      I would also suggest testing for tribalism on both sides of the great climate divide. Some folks seem to think the relevance of tribalism is contingent on the source.

      You know, some folks.

    • > Implying a litmus test on this blog in no way disproves the existence of one elsewhere […]

      By chance I imply the opposite, fizzymagic: my suggestion to LITMUS TEST ALL CLIMABALLERS! applies to everyone. Anything else would be a double standard. I am more than implying it, btw: I claim it.

      What I also claim is that Judy’s Litmus test is unwise and that it goes against very basic sociological facts.

      ***

      > you have made the hidden assumption that the purpose of this blog and SkS are the same.

      Correct me if I am mistaken, fizzymagic, but Judy’s Litmus test
      was supposed to test SkS’ skepticism.

      I hope you’re not suggesting that Judy’s ought not abide by skepticism as she tests it.

      ***

      Since, you must be new here, fizzymagic, here’s something to make you see that my argument is not even of the same form as the tu quoque:

      http://www.dougwalton.ca/papers%20in%20pdf/87AdHom.pdf

      Hope this will help.

      w

    • Willard sez;

      Correct me if I am mistaken, fizzymagic, but Judy’s Litmus test
      was supposed to test SkS’ skepticism.

      It seems a reasonable test to me. Mann’s original proxy work contained basic statistical flaws that any competent undergraduate should have been able to identify and avoid. Thus, silence on his egregiously bad science is, indeed, a valid indication that SkS is not even-handed in its criticism.

      If you want to claim Mann’s work should not be criticized by SkS, then you have a fundamental scientific competence issue.

    • > It seems a reasonable test to me.

      Your appreciation is duly noted.

      Judy’s test is asymmetric, just like her definition of skepticism.

      “Contrarian” is a better term for what she callse “skepticism.”

    • verytallguy

      Willard,

      Can you find a critical comment about the Auditor’s audits in any blog post at Judy’s, Very Tall?

      I’ve not looked, but it points to “Does Climate Etc meet Judiths criteria for scepticism?”. That would be an excellent question. Perhaps you could Google that for me?

    • verytallguy

      TJA, Fizzymagic, Bob Ludwick,

      I think you may be missing the point of what scepticism is.

      The SKS article does not ignore criticism of the hockeystick.

      Rather, it addresses exactly the method Carl Sagan outlines in Judith’s post:

      thorough assessment of available evidence… …a desire for verifiable, testable evidence about particular claims

      How does it do this: Well, it references the original study, and a sceptical review of it. It then goes on to review all the other scientific literature addressing Mann’s central claim on the shape of the temperature record over the past millennium. It notes that some of these studies change the detail of Mann’s output, but equally that the general form is replicated.

      So a thorough review of all relevant evidence which is verifiable, testable (ie scientific literature) evidence is conducted which appears overall to back up the claim on the shape of the millennial temperature record.

      Applying the same scepticism to “sceptic” claims on the hockeystick would produce the same conclusions. It seems that you just don’t like those conclusions.

      Perhaps you could consider taking Carl Sagan’s wise advice above and avoid the

      pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves

    • Verytallguy

      I carried out my own analysis of the hockey stick in conjunction with Hubert Lambs reconstruction

      https://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

      So far I am back to 1538 and am currently researching-often through the Met Office library-the period back to 1200 AD

      There are two noticeable things.

      Firstly is that the warming can be observed since the start of the instrumental record in 1659-it is not recent.

      Second is that the instrumental record shows a much greater variability on an annual and decadal basis than the paleo proxy data. The latter are basically centred on smoothed and averaged 50 year plots and are therefore a coarse sieve through which annual data falls.

      Placing a highly variable instrumental record onto a not very variable paleo proxy record is always going to show an uptick, as it represents the variability that paleo proxy data can not pick up.

      tonyb

    • verytallguy

      Tonyb,

      “I carried out my own analysis of the hockey stick in conjunction with Hubert Lambs reconstruction”

      That’s great and shows commendable scepticism.

      With my skeptical hat on I’ll not that it’s not published scientifically and when and if it is it would better meet Sagans “verifiable and testable” criteria.

      Further that is is just one study, so cannot, of itself meet Sagan’s criterion for a “thorough assessment of available evidence”. We need to take it into the broader set of data available (including but obviously not limited to the SKS references)

      Finally, that the dataset whilst impressive in scope is rather limited in geographical area.

      So, I’m skeptical of it’s import to the question of the validity of the hockeystick, but openminded once it’s properly published and backed up by other studies confirming the conclusions.

      Good luck with your research.

    • tonyb, proxy record? Kinda’ like seeing through a glass darkly
      or a sieve coarsly? beth-the-serf

    • Verytallguy (how tall? taller than tallguy?)

      Thanks for your kind comments.

      There were several reasons for selecting CET. The most obvious is due to its longevity and that it is maintained by the Met Office, which I live close to and has an excellent library and archive. I met up with David Parker there just a few months ago, who compiled the CET version to 1772.

      Also CET has been thoroughly researched by many well known scientists and the belief by many of them (including the Met Office) is that it is a good, if not perfect, proxy for Global or at Least Northern Hemispheric temperatures. Knowing the circumstances of CET therefore allows us to draw some reasonable wider conclusions of historic temperature changes.

      I go by Hubert Lambs maxim regarding temperatures ‘that we can know the tendency but not the precision.’

      Clearly, the numerous observational and historic instrumental records show climate variability far greater than demonstrated by paleo proxies, which measure data in a completely different manner to instrumental records.

      Placing a highly variable instrumental record on top of a gently variable paleo proxy record is bound to show a considerable difference between the two data sets.

      The most interesting instrumental hockey stick is however the 1690 to 1740 period. This caused Phil Jones to review his belief in limited climatic variability.

      tonyb

      s

    • verytallguy

      Tony,

      So… a plug for the most truly skeptical blog I’ve come across and a great exposition of true scientific scepticism and most informative on natural variability which I think you’re interested in. Also a resource which all denizens would probably benefit hugely from an openminded exposure to.

      Science of Doom –here on the” Milankovich” theory of glacial inception.

      Be sure to read all 19 parts to date.

      Finally, the fact that most papers have some vague words at the start about the “orbital” or “astronomical” theory for the ice ages doesn’t mean that this theory has any support. Being scientific, being skeptical, means asking for evidence and definitely not accepting an idea just because “everyone else” appears to accept it.

      http://scienceofdoom.com/2014/03/03/ghosts-of-climates-past-eighteen-probably-nonlinearity-of-unknown-origin/

      Finally,

      the belief by many of them (including the Met Office) is that it is a good, if not perfect, proxy for Global or at Least Northern Hemispheric temperatures.

      Citation?

    • tonyb

      Placing a highly variable instrumental record on top of a gently variable paleo proxy record is bound to show a considerable difference between the two data sets.

      Sure, and a record based on one location or a relatively small area will also be more variable than one covering the northern hemisphere – it’s not just about instrumental v paleo records.

      It will still be interesting to see your results though, so good luck with it.

    • very tall guy, The CET is likely a better proxy for “global” and NH “surface” temperature than recognized in the existing literature. It wasn’t until the BEST project that the 30N-60N land amplification of temperature was noted in a peer reviewed publication. This amplification is missed by the majority of the GCM and directly correlates with Atlantic and Northern Pacific SST. In a nutshell, that means the AMO and PDO have a mechanism that amplifies their “Global” impact on surface temperature.

    • Hi veryTall guy

      I have visited Science of Doom for a nunber of years. It is good.

      As regards CET and its wider use, the citation was in the link I originally gave.
      Here is an extract from my article that I referenced earlier

      https://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

      —– ——-
      Section 6 Can CET represent a wider geographic area and establish the existence of a Hemispherically significant cooling period

      This interpretation is not strictly correct as Lamb believed CET (and other reliable records) had a much wider relevance beyond that of the central portion of England. He observed in Chapter 5 of ‘Climate History and the Modern World’;

      ’…that the last centuries (CET) records ‘have been highly significantly correlated with the best estimates of the averages for the whole Northern Hemisphere and for the whole earth ‘

      In Table 4 page 281 of his book Lamb explores the correlations he had established. (44)

      —— ——-

      As a continuation of Section 6 I list just a small number of those that have found the correlation, which includes Hulme, Lockwood and KNMI amongst others too numerous to mention without the article becoming just a meaningless list.
      tonyb

    • verytallguy

      Capt,

      The CET is likely a better proxy for “global” and NH “surface” temperature than recognized in the existing literature

      An interesting opinion which I’ve no particular reason to either doubt or support. Applying due scepticism, I’ll look forward to it being recognised in the literature to ensure it is “verifiable, testable”

    • I got this link from another comment, but if SKS had treated the hockey stick in public they way they did in private:

      http://climateaudit.org/2013/11/20/behind-the-sks-curtain/

      “I don’t mean to be the pessimist of the group here but Mc[Steve McIntyre] brought up some very good points about the original hockeystick. The confidence affirmed to it by many on our side of the debate was vastly overstated and as has been shown in the recent literature greater variability on the centennial scale exists than was shown. The statistical methodology used by Mann did rely too much on tree rings which still are in debate over their usefulness to reconstruct temperature and particularly their ability to record low-frequency temperature variations. I’ve personally seen work that is unpublished that challenges every single one of his reconstructions because they all either understate or overstate low-frequency variations. ” – Way

      They would have far more credibility in my book. Way admits that Mann’s 2008 hockey stick is indefensible .. in private. Why do you guys continue to defend it in public?

      Climategate showed that other climate scientists considered the HS indefensible too, in private. Yet in public, there remains a party line defense of it.

      This sets off BS detectors all across the blogosphere. Mosher says it is time to throw Mann overboard as a matter of tactics in the debate. No.It is long past time to throw Mann overboard as a matter of scientific integrity. .

      The lack of variability indicated by the HS led to getting sucker punched by the Pause. Had people not relied so heavily on Mann, natural variability would have figured a lot larger in the modelling and, I suspect anyway, the projections might have had wider error bounds that included the pause. Of course they would have lost rhetorical power, but look at the cost now.

    • verytallguy

      TJA,

      Had people not relied so heavily on Mann, natural variability would have figured a lot larger in the modelling and, I suspect anyway, the projections might have had wider error bounds that included the pause

      Could I suggest you may not have understood either the purpose or construction of climate models.

      1) The purpose of GCMs is not, generally, the near term (decadal) forecasting of global temperatures based on initialising the models
      2) Neither Mann’s (nor anyone else’s) millennial reconstruction have had any influence on model development

      Here’s a useful extract from a NASA GISS summary:

      Climate modeling is also fundamentally different from weather forecasting. Weather concerns an initial value problem: Given today’s situation, what will tomorrow bring? Weather is chaotic; imperceptible differences in the initial state of the atmosphere lead to radically different conditions in a week or so. Climate is instead a boundary value problem — a statistical description of the mean state and variability of a system, not an individual path through phase space

      http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_04/

    • verytallguy

      Tony,

      Thanks for the reminder as to where the cites were. In my defence it is a very long document!

      From my brief skim (I make absolutely no claims to expertise in this whatever) it reads that whilst there is some evidence for correlation, we should be cautious in extrapolating, even to the NH let alone globally.

      Eg Hulme and Barrow (1997)
      “considerable caution should be exercised in extrapolating trends from the long CET record to the hemisphere as a whole”

      Again, I look forward to a publication of the work in the scientific literature so it can be properly scrutinised by experts in the field.

    • verytallguy,
      Not sure why my long comment got lost in the ether, but the short version is this:

      The models are not parameterized in any way, is that your claim?

      They are not run backwards as a method of validation?

      If you read Naomi Oreskes paper on numerical modelling, you will see many of my objections laid out quite clearly.

      The models are being misused as tools of propaganda. Seriously, read her paper. Or is Oreskes a “denialist”?

    • very tall guy, you can wait for the literature by the authors or societies that impress you or you can look out the window so to speak.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/12/2000-years-of-climate.html

      For regions of the Earth that correlate well with “global” mean surface temperature, sea level rise, OHC and SST, the Indian ocean has the strongest correlation followed closely by the North Atlantic. That post of mine just uses those correlations it estimate 2000 years of climate.

      The Indian Ocean btw has the best correlation with “global” energy due to the lower thermohaline flow. This is the reason that so much research is focused on the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool. Since the IPWP has just a fraction of the weather noise that increases with land mass in the NH, it is about as close to an ideal global teleconnection region that you will find.

      Interesting stuff for :”skeptics”.

    • verytallguy

      TJA
      “The models are not parameterized in any way, is that your claim?”
      No.

      “They are not run backwards as a method of validation?”
      No, I do not claim that either.

      My claims are twofold:
      1. That Mike Mann’s millennial reconstruction has not had any impact on how natural variability is reflected in the models as you specifically claim.
      2. That GCMs are not (in general) intended to predict “an individual path through phase space” and therefore calling out not GCMs not predicting the pause is a strawman.

      Clear?

    • Rob Starkey

      “That GCMs are not (in general) intended to predict “an individual path through phase space” and therefore calling out not GCMs not predicting the pause is a strawman.”

      A specific GCM predicted a specific set of changes in conditions. You wrongly attempt justify the inaccuracy of GCMs in general. A specific model is either reasonably accurate for a specific variable over a specific timeframe or it is not.

    • verytallguy

      Rob Starkey

      A specific model is either reasonably accurate for a specific variable over a specific timeframe or it is not.

      I think you haven’t understood the quote from Gavin Schimdt above. Or I’ve missed your point. I don’t think I can improve on Gavin’s explanation so all I can do is reiterate:

      Climate is instead a boundary value problem — a statistical description of the mean state and variability of a system, not an individual path through phase space

      my emphasis

    • > Perhaps you could Google that for me?

      It may be tough to search for a negative fact, Very Tall.

    • “That Mike Mann’s millennial reconstruction has not had any impact on how natural variability is reflected in the models as you specifically claim.”

      I can’t see how a parameterized model that has been validated by running it backwards can avoid having been influence by Mann’s work unless it has been rejected by the modelers. Something I wold hope we would have heard about.

      I don’t have any argument that models are useful for predictions, though they are useful in extending our knowledge. My argument is with putting them front and center with the HS in scare scenarios.

    • verytallguy

      Willard

      It may be tough to search for a negative fact, Very Tall.

      You disappoint me Willard. ;-)

    • Rob Starkey

      vert tallguy- Playing word games is poor science and engineering.

      If someone wants to state:
      We have macro general circulation model that seems to indicate “x” but the model is of insufficient repeatable accuracy to conclude “y”– that would be reasonable imo.

      That is NOT what has occured is it? What has occured is that “some climate scientists” have written many papers that have made it through peer review where predictions of great harms for humanity are forecasted for regions of the world based on the outputs of these models.

      That seems deceptive and a non-scientific use of computer modelling

    • verytallguy

      Rob Starkey

      Playing word games is poor science and engineering.

      Honestly Rob, that’s not what I’m doing here, I’m just trying to get across the point that (in general) GCMs are NOT intended to calculate the specific course of our climate, but rather to predict the spread of potential futures.

      Yes, those futures are alarming, but so are the futures predicted purely on basic physics, or on paeloclimate, without any need for GCMs.

    • Rob Starkey

      Verytallguy
      I apologize if I misunderstood your intent.
      “GCMs are NOT intended to calculate the specific course of our climate, but rather to predict the spread of potential futures.
      Yes, those futures are alarming, but so are the futures predicted purely on basic physics, or on paeloclimate, without any need for GCMs.”

      1. Based on your comment, it seems that you would agree that it would have been inappropriate to conclude based on the output of a GCM that a particular region of the world is likely to suffer harms as a result of AGW. You realize this is exactly what has been done.

      2. You appear to have concluded that the future IS alarming vs. there is some chance that the future conditions could change in a manner that may be less favorable overall. Do you believe that you have sufficient information that the worldwide climate will or is most likely to be worse for humanity in 2050 due to AGW? What specifically is that evidence?

      3. I am highly skeptical that most climate mitigation actions will have any measureable benefit (certainly not worth the cost in a time of very limited financial resources). Can you point to ANY unfavorable climate conditions that will be avoided if CO2 mitigation actions are implemented??? The answer is no.

    • verytallguy, I am shocked, shocked, that you did not respond to my point.

      Is the HS reconstruction excluded from the validation runs of the GCMs or not?

  11. Skeptics look motivated when they support low-sensitivity statistical global models (like Lewis), just because of the bottom line, without fully understanding the methods, data used and rejected, and considerable assumptions that produced that number. They don’t even care that Lewis’s sensitivity does not fit the observations but they actively promote it anyway seeming quite certain in the process. I would be skeptical of something that was so far short of explaining the warming since 1950, but these “skeptics” are not. It is all about their “favored” bottom line, and this gives climate skepticism a bad name.

    • The actual, verifiable observations, those made in the satellite era, do support a low sensitivity model.

      Beyond that time, the data is spotty at best.

    • Also skeptics venomously attack the IPCC attribution statement that most of the warming since 1950 is very likely due to man, even though lewis’s sensitivity range – which they promote – implies that very thing.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: Skeptics look motivated when they support low-sensitivity statistical

      Could you quote an actual claim by an actual person so that we can evaluate it?

    • > Could you quote an actual claim by an actual person so that we can evaluate it?

      I’m not sure Jim D had this in mind when he mentioned Nic, but here’s a claim by an actual person:

      The soundest observational evidence seems to point to a best estimate for ECS of about 1.7°C, with a ‘likely’ (17-83%) range of circa 1.2–3.0°C.

      http://www.climatedialogue.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Nic-Lewis-guest-blog-def1.pdf

      ***

      Here’s another claim made by another actual person in response to that claim:

      Nic Lewis appears to be arguing primarily on the basis that all work on climate sensitivity is wrong, except his own, and one other team who gets similar results.

      http://www.climatedialogue.org/climate-sensitivity-and-transient-climate-response/#comment-901

      Hope this helps.

    • Matthew Marler, we see skeptical blogs doing this all the time. They promote low-sensitivity studies, Lindzen and Choi, and everything since up to Lewis, without a trace of skepticism. This really looks like motivated reasoning. Some of these studies turned out to be wrong, quite bad, or just too simple. Where was the skepticism to pick that up? The skeptics who do this one-sided promotion give their prejudices away, and prejudice is contradictory to being a true skeptic. A proper skeptic would call a bad study a bad study whatever climate sensitivity it came up with. We don’t see this on these blogs that cater to a particular viewpoint.

    • maksimovich

      Climate sensitivity may be a bad metric to ascertain a climate response function when the dynamical response is in phase space,and radiative forcing is unimportant eg
      Previdi and Polvani 2014

      Stratospheric ozone and GHG forcings also have very different time histories during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The GHG forcing increases monotonically over this entire period. In contrast, stratospheric ozone forcing starts to become significant only in the 1970s, and changes sign around the year 2000 as ozone depletion transitions to ozone recovery (in response to reduced anthropogenic halogen loading). Finally, the magnitude of the global annual mean
      radiative forcing due to increasing GHGs is substantially greater
      than that due to stratospheric ozone depletion. The former is the
      largest anthropogenic forcing, with an estimated magnitude (in
      2005 relative to pre-industrial) of 2.6Wm−2 (Forster et al., 2007).
      In contrast, the global mean stratospheric ozone forcing is not
      even significantly different from zero at the 90% confidence level
      (Table 1). This serves to illustrate an important point: although the
      global annual mean radiative forcing is a widely used predictor
      of climate change, this metric may not be suitable in cases
      where the forcing agent is unevenly distributed in space and/or
      season. Stratospheric ozone depletion is thus a prime example
      of an external perturbation for which the global mean radiative
      forcing is a very poor indicator of the associated climate-system
      response.

    • One low sensitivity GCM:

      GCM-Q is disappointing. It is too stable. Masking things. More linear. If we look at sensitivity as inherent instability, the system has some natural level of variation that its always had. When we take the change in CO2 and then multiply it by 2.5 or 3, we might say the CO2 caused the change. But to get a big effect we are just using the system itself to do most of the heavy lifting. On the graph the more reasonable answer is the CMIP5 if you are trying to capture the system’s instabilities. So it seems to me that arguing low sensitivity has its own problems. That being the system is more linear and displays less natural variability.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Willard (@nevaudit): Hope this helps.

      Thank you. Now for the “look motivated” part — is that like the execrable “appearance” of “bad faith” that Gavin Schmidt wrote of? The example of Nic Lewis has no “motivational” evidence, but Lewis’ focus on the empirical measures that were not affected by the wide priors, and his pointing out that there isn’t any evidence supporting the heavy right-hand tails in the priors. If there is any psychological process at work here biasing the estimates of climate sensitivity, it is whatever works to produce evidence-free priors with positive probability far from the estimates.

    • > Now for the “look motivated” part — is that like the execrable “appearance” of “bad faith” that Gavin Schmidt wrote of?

      The word “execrable” conveys some kind of motivation for sure, MattStat, just as who you chose for your commensuration.
      Do you think Gavin is honest? I personally try not to deal with that kind of stuff, which I leave to Joshua & Judy.

      ***

      Jim D’s point rests on the argument that skeptical blogs promote low-sensitivity studies without a trace of skepticism.

      See for instance:

      Here is the Executive Summary from our friends Marcel Crok and Nicholas Lewis in their report A Sensitive Matter which is available at the Global Warming Policy Foundation (preprinted by request and with my delight).

      http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=11639

      Please tell me more about your delight. Do you think it’s compatible with skepticism?

    • Matthew R Marler

      willard(@nevaudit): Please tell me more about your delight.

      That delight is William M. Briggs’. I am occasionally delighted to read good expositions of arguments with which I basically disagree. There is a lot of delightful exposition in the book “Principles of Uncertainty” by Joseph B Kadane of Carnegie-Mellon University, a very strong exposition of personalistic Bayesian inference, with however much good to say about pragmatism.

  12. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


    • Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy — criticize your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science.


    JC comment: I really disagree with this one. It implies that someone who is unconvinced by a proponent’s explanation needs to have their own better explanation. The alternative is ‘we don’t know, your explanation is unconvincing.’ In climate science, the alternative explanation is the null hypothesis of natural variability, which in itself its highly complex and not well understood.

    “We don’t know” is far too easy.

    Anyone can say “we don’t know”.
    Anyone can say “I remain unconvinced”.
    Who cares?

    Everyone has an opinion – but not everyone has an informed opinion.

    No one needs to care about people who say “we don’t know” – unless they some to the table with arguments and evidence that the current explanation is incorrect.

    There are people who still argue that CO2 doesn’t act as a GHG.
    And they provide no alternate explanation for the observed facts.

    On the scientific radar or not?

    • How about we don’t know enough to commit trillions of dollars and to sacrifice untold economic growth, especially in the third world where they need it the most? It is one thing to continue the scientific process based on what is known, it is quite another to declare that you know enough to inform policy decisions.

  13. Skeptics are smart people who are easily convinced by blog commenters with silly names.

    Andrew

  14. From the Wiki def of sketicism above:

    “A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient…”

    I think this is the very trap “alarmists” fall for (Al Gore’s “Inconvenient…”). Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is a very bitter pill to swallow, so by “embracing” CAGW, they ARE by definition, “The true Skeptic”. By believing something uncomfortable and inconvenient, their beliefs must therefore be Reliable and Valid.

    • This is a good point, and leads logically to the next question:

      Who are the True Warmers?

      The tables have been turned. Cruel fate!

      I fully expect Joshua’s endorsement of my comment.

      Andrew

    • Of course BadAndrew scores an Own Goal here, missing the title of Gore’s book.

      If you don’t like that fact, go to the Wikipedia page and change their definition.

      We all know who the real skeptics are. And that’s why we call the competition deniers or denialiats.

  15. Curious. 1760 words about scepticism, and about science, and not a single appearence of the word “prediction”.

    • Steven Mosher

      when you explain things you are able to predict

    • “when you explain things you are able to predict”

      Then go right ahead, Mosher, and predict

      plazaeme is spot-on correct about your diatribes – puffery

    • Nick Darby

      Nor “lucubration”!

    • Jim Zuccaro

      Mosher,

      “when you explain things you are able to predict”

      Your explanations are worthless, when your predictions are falsified.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      Mosher,

      “when you explain things you are able to predict”

      No. Some explanations can make no falsifiable predictions.

      Faith.

  16. I believe the very last paragraph is accurate. The “public” as we call it is probably a lot smarter than most people give credit for. Even though an engineer or lawyer or whatever might be very light on climate science, they can be smart people nonetheless.

    For me, the word shenanigans rings true. It started when I read an email from Phil Jones to Warwick Hughes which basically stated he wouldn’t release his data because the other guy was just looking to find something wrong with it. I had no idea who either of those people were or what data they were discussing. However, I found the statement shocking. And then I found out who Phil Jones was and that they we talking about climate data.

    Thus was born a climate skeptic. It all started with the shenanigans (for me). After years of research (i.e. following this topic daily), I am firmly skeptical that we have an accurate knowledge of climate sensitivity, that we know what the next 50-100 years will bring for the climate and especially that any given amount of CO2 reduction will have a given (i.e. known) amount of benefit.

    • Actually lolwot, I addressed your link to Tamino and noted that he simply proves the pause doesn’t exist by pretending it doesn’t exist. He moves the endpoint.

      Give it up. The only reason climate scientists did not expect the pause is because Mann’s risible HS purported to show a steady climate.

    • lolwot believes the definition of linear doesn’t exist.

    • “He moves the endpoint.”

      He used your endpoint.

    • One thing I will say about your denial, it is persistent. Reflects more on you than anybody else, but I am pretty sure that you can’t see that from your denial.

    • lolwot
      Noone who has examined the AGW issue for a month or two can possibly be aware that the IPCC has long since conceded the existence of the Pause. Since you have been about considerably longer than that, that includes you.
      IOW, you are not merely ignorant, you are a motivated liar. You gush what you know to be false, hoping to delude, or at least tie down people who want to know the truth with demands to cite what you yourself know to be true.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10337858/IPCC-report-the-temperature-pause-explained.html

    • CORRECTION

      Noone who has examined the AGW issue for a month or two can possibly NOT be aware that the IPCC has long since conceded the existence of the Pause.

    • I can completely remove your 17-year pause by removing one year from it.
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1950/to:1998/mean:12/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1999/mean:12/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1970/trend
      As such, it is not a statistically robust trend. The other 16 years equally follow a strong trend line of 0.16 C per decade stretching back to 1970. I would be very skeptical of the significance of the “pause”.

    • If there was a 17-year pause in surface warming during the satellite era, why is the trend from the beginning to 2010.33 significantly stronger than the trend from the beginning to 2000?

      Why?

      Lol, if 2014 becomes the newest hottest year, then the pause record setting years will have lasted from 2010 to 2014. AGW is falsified. Lol.

      Who gives a flip what the IPCC says. They tend to be way too conservative, and JC has bullied them into compliance with her agenda!

      Even I can draw flattish lines. Big deal.

      OHC going up. Sea level rising. Land-based ice melting.

    • Let’s just imagine for a moment that we have a supervolcano erupting tomorrow, causing us to head for a nuclear winter at, say, 0.1C/decade.
      Would that have the slightest effect on any trend lines you draw on the data up to today?
      No, not in the slightest.
      In fact, the trend line probably could be made to continue upwards for a few decades to come.
      Stop messing around with trend lines – they tell you nothing.

    • TJA you lied when you said you’d addressed my link to Tamino

      You didn’t.

      Tanglewood links to propaganda in the Telegraph rather than back up the “pause” in his own words.

      None of you can do it can you?

      It’s simple, just tell me when the prior period of warming was before it “paused”. Then I will show you why you are wrong.

    • Robert I Ellison

      The US National Academy of Sciences defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain.

      The latest climate shift was 1998/2001.

      So starting at 2002 – http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1998/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/trend
      There is a lot of variation.

      Warming in SW from 2010.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_EBAF-TOA_Ed28_anom_TOA_Shortwave_Flux-All-Sky_March-2000toDecember-2013_zpsfa182355.png.html?sort=3&o=12

      Is there much trend in IR?

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_EBAF-TOA_Ed28_anom_TOA_Longwave_Flux-All-Sky_March-2000toDecember-2013_zps8db123ce.png.html?sort=3&o=14

      And a bit of warming from the Sun.

      I suggest that the new energy state was the result of a step change in cloud post 1998/2001 – and it has been pretty steady since.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=112

      The Sun is cooling – which we presume is amplified through the system – and these decadal modes last 20 to 40 years.

      The pause is here to stay for a bit yet. It comes at the price of an inherent instability of the system.

    • I said he moved the endpoints and drew a new trend to disappear the pause. Which is what he did. You can call me a liar if you want, but it just reflects on you.

    • Tanglewood

      lolwot
      I reminded you that even IPCC – whose sole purpose is to foment alarmism – itself acknowleges the Pause. You appear to be the only person on the planet that claims to not know this.

      I provided you with a news report citing direct quotes from IPCC people to this effect.

      See too this
      https://judithcurry.com/2013/09/30/ipccs-pause-logic/
      from which
      “The IPCC draws the following conclusion:
      In summary, the observed recent warming hiatus,”

      So just how long can you
      – keep your head in the sand?
      – just carry on saying what you know to be false?

    • “I said he moved the endpoints and drew a new trend to disappear the pause”

      He used 2000, which for many deniers marks the beginning of their pause. He’s also used 1998 which shows the same thing. The result is robust to where you define the start of the pause.

      Which is perhaps why you’ve avoided defining it.

    • Tanglewood you are unable to defend the pause yourself.

      You resort to appeals to second hand references to imply the IPCC
      accepts the pause (they don’t by the way).

      Quite amazingly you are demanding I accept the pause exists because of a consensus you imagine exists.

      Such layers of hypocrisy there.

      You are unable to defend it in your own words and you hate the fact I am pointing that out.

      How very denier of you.

    • Tanglewood

      lolwot

      An yet again you try an wriggle away from the point at hand. So here it is again:

      Even the IPCC – an organisation of thousands of highly skilled but ideologically motived scientivists hell-bent on convincing us or CAGW, who are known to cheat and lie to do it – are forced, as much as they hate it, to concede the Pause.

      When even a huge group of dishonest people with ulterior motives who desparately want to be able say X, find they cannot, that is pretty strong evidecne that the case for X is hopeless. (X here being Pause Denialism).

      Yet you think you know better. The IPCC got tired of being laughed at for saying what you are saying.

      How very truebeliever of you.

    • Yet another long diatribe in which you try to justify your belief in the “pause” because you wrongly think the IPCC support it.

      You could have instead said “the pause is …” with reference to data but I guess that’s too risky knowing I will demand statistical significance for any event you allege to be in the data.

      • Straw man – the IPCC does not “support” the pause. it simply does not deny it. You are the only one in denial.

      • The IPCC openly acknowleges the Pause. Which is a hell of a thing to do, must really stick in their craw. What more confirmation of it could there be ?

    • Pause, pause, pause, pause, gobblin’ goober pause,
      Goodness, how delicious, lolwot gobblin’ pause.
      =================

  17. John Smith (it's my real name)

    Dr. Curry, I am an ordinary citizen who found ClimateEtc, because my “BS meters” went off, Question – is the “pause” real?
    As I understand – 0,04 rise in surface temps since ’98 – 80% rise in C02
    My friends yell at me saying the “pause” is an evil lie created by “deniers”.
    If “pause” is real, how does it not cause serious doubts about “greenhouse effect”?
    Please forgive question from non-scientist.
    Really appreciate ClimateEtc,

    • Jim D,

      “Removing 1998 might make one skeptical of the pause.”

      Why not? Since when have CAGWers like yourself cared about actual data?

    • Robert I Ellison

      Climate changes abruptly. The last climate shift was 1998/2001. The new multi-decadal regime started in 2002.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1979/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/trend

      It seems to involve cloud changes.

    • John smith

      Yes, the pause is real and admitted as such by the met office. In this link are three pdf’s which give their rationale as to why it is happening

      http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/recent-pause-in-warming

      I was there a few months ago and no one doubts the pause but attribute it to any number of causes that hitherto they had not considered. This includes aerosols , natural variability and that the warming is now bypassing the atmosphere and going in to the ocean to create warming there.

      R gates will no doubt be along shortly to put his view that indeed the oceans are warming and any proper measure of temperature should take into account the total energy entering the system

      Tonyb

    • Parlor tricks performed by moving endpoints and cherry picking dates does not eliminate the pause.

    • The data since 2000 doesn’t even deviate from the 1975-2000 trend, let alone pause.

    • Seriously lolwot? That is nothing more than moving endpoints again. Why not start at 1930? Why start at the coldest point in the century? Because that graph is rhetorical in nature, not designed to elucidate anything.

    • “Why not start at 1930? Why start at the coldest point in the century?”

      1975 was not the coldest point of the century. How about YOU define what that period of warming was. If it wasn’t 1975-2000 then what?

      You say 1930, okay but even this doesn’t show a pause. The trend from 1930-2000 hasn’t stopped. If anything the data since 2000 is above that trend.
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1930/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1930/to:2000/trend/plot/none

      “That is nothing more than moving endpoints again”

      The entire “pause” meme is based on choosing a particular endpoint.

    • “The entire “pause” meme is based on choosing a particular endpoint.”

      True enough, one of them being today, which is perfectly reasonable, and the other being the beginning of the “pause,” which is also perfectly reasonable given its length.

      Thank you for admitting that all Tamino did was shift the endpoints though even though it was clear to anybody who looked at your link.

    • Is the Earth in Eenergy Deficit?

      With this in mind, but on another matter I recently examined the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis. The CFSR is a newer reanalysis described by Saha, Suranjana, and Coauthors, in 2010: The NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 91, 1015.1057. doi: 10.1175/2010BAMS3001.1

      Still, while not “observation” nor “reality”, the CFSR does represent a best assessment of the recent climate based on observations and the same radiative codes that lie within the prognostic climate mod

      So what does this imply?

      1.To the extent that the CFSR radiance is accurate, it implies that earth was in radiative deficit, not surplus, for the decade of the 2000s and that for this decade, there is no ‘missing heat’ to be found.
      2.The negative trend in CFSR net radiation implies a divergence from the NASA GISS model projections cited above.
      3.The CFSR net radiative deficit also implies that energy loss to space, rather than shifting of energy within the climate system may be responsible for the negative trend since 2001 in many of the global temperature data sets.

    • “and the other being the beginning of the “pause,””

      Which is when?

      See the pause just doesn’t exist.

    • “The pause doesn’t exist”

      Deny deny deny….

    • You are not the first skeptic to have slinked off when presented with the fact that there is no statistically significant pause.

      When challenged to specify the prior warming to which the data has since supposedly “paused” you are unable to do so.

    • Tanglewood

      lolwot
      You are not the first blinkered denier of the pause that is blatantly obvious even to the CAGW scientivists that comprise the IPCC. Perhaps you and your friend Tammy should take your ‘argument’ to them. Lawd knows they’d love find a reason to believe it. They tried, sure enough, but ended up looking so thoroughly stupid – even to other precommitted CAGW truebelievers – they decided to back off.

    • See none of you are able to address the point.

      Appeals to “the IPCC believe it!” (they don’t) because you know you are too cowardly to back up *your own* beliefs.

    • iolwot

      I have previously referenced this but you seem to prefer Tamino’s statistical convolutions.

      Googling ‘Temperature pause Met Office’ brings up this,

      https://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4DSGL_enGB415GB416&q=temperature+pause+met+office#q=temperature+pause+met+office&start=10

      On the page presented and those following are papers and debates by the Met Office, BBC and others, on the pause.

      When I was at the Met Office last December they were talking about the pause. At the Exeter Climate conference with the Met office and Ipcc reviewers I attended last month they were talking about the pause.

      If you disagree with the consensus please take it up with the met office. Anyway, I thought disagreeing with the consensus was OUR job.

      tonyb

    • If the data had paused since 1998 then the data since then should have tracked the blue trend, not the red trend.

      The red trend is a continuation of the prior warming…

    • Tanglewood

      lowot
      What we do know, is that even IPCC, whose sole purpose is to foster belief in CAGW no matter what – hiding data, supporting frauds like the Hockey Stick, etc etc – have finally been pushed to accept the Pause – a thought long coming ever since the “missing” heat comment was made public.

      That’s a bit like your Ford Dealer telling you Toyota is better. Such statements carry a lot weight. Put your head back in the sand and dismiss if you will.

    • The definition of AGW is the global surface air temperature. One can draw all sorts of straight lines in it. One can draw downward trends in it. Over the last 17 years the SAT has increasing at .07C per decade.

      What caused the “pause” happened after 2010.33. It is said to be the 2nd strongest La Nina event in the instrument record.

      So for around the decade of the 21st century a spat of record hottest years ending with 2010 actually produced a stronger longterm warming trend.

      Since 2012, the SAT has resumed warming with a vengeance: .6C per decade. And that number is about to rocket upwards.

      And then, with the warming oceans providing an ever rising temperature floor, the next decades will be ever warmer than the last.

    • “What we do know, is that even IPCC…have finally been pushed to accept the Pause”

      No they haven’t.

      Why don’t you back up your own belief? Can you not do it? Or too scared to do so because any definition you provide I will just take it apart leaving you with nothing?

    • TJA | June 7, 2014 at 6:18 am |

      “The pause doesn’t exist”

      Deny deny deny….

      So you think that natural variation doesn’t exist.

      The “pause” is a compensating effect that is purely a virtual concept.

      If the global temperature signal had the equivalent of noise canceling headphones, you would see the secular trend clearly.

      The trouble with you Luddites is that you think science is magic. Yet it is not magic that noise-cancelling headphones work. You see someone yapping their mouth next to a jet aircraft on the ground any you wonder why they are silent. Then you put on noise-cancelling headphones and you hear them, and then you thank them for speaking up.

      That is what it is like trying to communicate with you, completely frustrating and ultimately hopeless. You do not get anything.

    • “If the global temperature signal had the equivalent of noise canceling headphones, you would see the secular trend clearly.”

      Noise cancelling headphones know to a certainty the difference between the signal and the noise. One is coming from the environment and one is coming from the electronic signal.

      In climate, the noise is the signal. All these people who purport to explain it all through electrical engineering and signal processing overlook the fact that we know all about the nature of electronic signals and mostly the noise, well short of an EMP, in a circuit.

      Your statement relies on your complete faith that the signal is there. I think the signal of CO2 is probably there too, I just think that the pause indicates that it is not as strong a signal as we thought Ten years ago there was little talk of natural variation swamping AGW. I blame Mann for deceiving on the magnitude of natural variation..

    • “The trouble with you Luddites is that you think science is magic. Yet it is not magic that noise-cancelling headphones work.”

      Spouting flawed analogies does not magically turn hand waving into insightful analysis.

      If you don’t think the pause tells us something about the magnitude of climate sensitivity relative to the magnitude of natural variation, then you are the one who doesn’t get it.

      It is almost as if you believe that it is somehow magically possible to calculate climate sensitivity separate from “natural variability” when, unlike the properties of jet noise, natural variability is not understood. If it were understood, we would have seen the pause coming.

      The problem with people like you is that you are not willing to concede the obvious weaknesses in your arguments, and proceed from there. I am guessing you think the problem is too important, and the need for action too urgent to think this problem through carefully.

      You are the one who doesn’t “get it.”


    • If you don’t think the pause tells us something about the magnitude of climate sensitivity relative to the magnitude of natural variation, then you are the one who doesn’t get it.

      You must be new here. I developed the great CSALT model to incorporate the missing natural variability into a thermodynamics framework:
      http://contextearth.com/2014/02/05/relative-strengths-of-the-csalt-factors/

      The role of natural variability is significant in the sense that it is extremely straightforward to remove this noise from the global temperature time series — yet this noise remains puny in comparison to the secular trend, which is best explained by AGW.

      The CSALT model is like noise-cancelling headphones. Ha ha.

    • “The CSALT model is like noise-cancelling headphones. Ha ha.”

      I poked around your blog a little bit and googled your model, which only ever seems to get mentioned in comment threads or on your site… But whatever. I am presuming then that you did some curve fitting at some point, then published some predictions of what climate variability would look like in the future at some point in the past, and have then validated those predictions without making any changes to the model? Have you? You have not been trying to refine the model as new data comes in have you?

      If you “train” the model during an earlier period, then compare the projection with current data, isn’t comparing the results with the “out of sample” data just more training but unacknowledged? Don’t you throw out models that don’t fit well?

      I suppose you have a simple answer for these questions that I am just not getting from your blog, I would like to hear them. This would be pretty cool if it worked. Sort of like the solution to Brownian Motion or Milankovich Cycles. Forgive me, however, for being skeptical.

  18. Georgia - Engineer

    Great post. I have been a participant and suporter of the “skeptic community” for decades. The “skeptic” approach is really good for things like ghosts, bigfoot, bleeding statues, homeopathy, crystal therapy and such. It’s not well suited for judging ongoing scientific debates. I’m afraid that alarmists have coopted the “skeptic community” such that it has forgotten what skepticism is about and degenerated into name calling. Once upon a time the “skeptic community” used to bend over backwords to listen to claims and when warranted they were carefully refuted. Not any more, it’s all name calling, arrogant nods to scientific concensus and self congratulatory high fives.

    • Yea, you got your omanuels, lizardSlayers, HAPs, and all these kranks that run amok on sites like this one and on WUWT and so it is up to us true skeptics to put them in their place.

      On the other hand, those with an agenda are happy to see the ongoing circus of klowns, as they realize that FUD is an excellent propaganda tool.

      • David Springer

        Hey webby, you aren’t a true skeptic, you’re a true believer.

        Write that down.

    • don’t forget monckton, he’s the gift that won’t stop giving

    • Don’t expect serious skeptical arguments to be refuted. I am not talking about these Nobel Prize candidate blog commenters who have overturned thermodynamics on google docs, or obvious misinterpretations of physics, I am talking about people who read the literature and the IPCC reports and have questions regarding methods, conclusions, or more often, press interpretations who are ignored in the name of creating the appearance of certainty that doesn’t exist.

    • TJA,
      Name some names, please.

      If your response is people such as Nic Lewis, I will fall over in fits of laughter.

    • Lubos Motl

    • Lubos Motl is actually a good one for your side. I would add Clive Best.

      What you want to do is monitor how these guys evolve their thinking because they are deeply rooted in physics. And you know they will evolve because that is what physics knowledge is all about.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Motl:

      You know, the movement of climate psychopaths belongs among the most aggressive extreme components of the far left and new fascist political movements of our epoch. They have no respect to any moral and human values that would transcend their sick propaganda whatsoever. They’re ready – and eager – to destroy human lives. Some of them are bloody, treacherous beasts of prey dressed up as friends.

      Some of them are highly radioactive, and they eat their own children too.

    • Irony alert.

    • You have to ignore some of his rants. He grew up under communism and hates anything that remotely smells like it. Some of the green left fit that description. His math, however is pretty good.

      Is that quote part of the project that was outlined on the SKS “secret forum”:

      “Cook’s Call to Action
      As a last thread in today’s review, on March 3, 2011 (Climate Misinformers/2011-03-08-Call to action – help collect quotes on skeptics), Cook called on the SKS team to collect adverse quotes from targeted skeptics, including me in a list of five targets. (This enterprise appears to have led to their Skeptics page here):
      So skeptics that I suggest we focus on, assuming we launch with 12 skeptics (welcome changes):
      Pat Michaels
      Fred Singer
      Steve McIntyre
      Roger Pielke Sr
      Freeman Dyson
      Chris de Freitas
      Unless you think others are more deserving of being on the list.
      Way replied that it would not be easy to locate embarrassing quotes from me, observing that others had already tried without success, again with the usual sideswipe:
      McIntyre will be hard to pin down. Many before us have tried and not proven to be terribly successful. He is of the weasely type.
      A week later, Dana Nuccitelli observed that Michaels, Pielke Sr, de Freitas and I were still outstanding targets, adding that I was the “tough one”:
      I bet Gareth could get us some good de Freitas quotes. Michaels should be easy. The tough one is McIntyre.”

  19. No, you cannot find any statements critical of Mann on SkS. But that is due to fear on their part. They hold a belief, and fear that any wavering from that belief provides a hole that those not of the belief can exploit.

    There problem is belief is not science. They just have not realized that yet.

  20. Mickey Reno

    I mostly admire Carl Sagan. But he was not without flaws. In the original Cosmos PBS series, in a wonderful seque following a discussion about other life in the Universe, SETI and the difficulties of how to detect other intelligent life in the Universe, Sagan posed the scientifically profound question of whether or not intelligent species are bound to exterminate themselves as their (our) growing technology outpaces social, cultural and psychological evolution. He rightly posed nuclear war as the source of this destruction, but then he went into the weeds with some nuclear winter scare speculations, presented nearly as fact in a style modern CAGW alarmists would love. Sagen died, of course, and then his wife, Ann Druyan, the co-owner and inheritor of this program, converted the now discredited (exaggerated) nuclear winter nonsense, embracing the meme of CO2 based CAGW as the new most likely source of human self-destruction when Cosmos was “updated” and then rebroadcast by PBS many years later. Now, this year, in the latest Fox version, her promotion of CAGW by CO2 gas as the source of humanity’s demise was complete, and not even posed as much of a possibility but as a fact of life. She even had a complete episode (#7 The Clean Room) dedicated to the admirable and less controversial study of atmospheric lead pollution, I believe to tee up (in propaganda T-ball style) the penultimate episode dealing with CAGW (episode #12 The World Set Free). I’m not a big fan of Ann Druyan’s scientific understanding. Ann, in your lifetime the consensus (nuclear winter) has changed. Maybe it’s time to be a bit more circumspect.

    My question to the SkS kids is, what is the difference between political propaganda and what you do? None, from my point of view. You boys are religious proselytizers, Rapid Response Team creators, Lewandowsky smear enablers, censors of dissent, Michael Mann Amazon Book Review tilters and dissemblers of near epic proportion, on par with David Suzuki and few others. I posted an excerpt from the Australian federal policy document on ethics in research on Steve McIntyre’s blog a while ago. You should read it and internalize it. The prelude includes this:

    “‘…ethical conduct’ is more than simply doing the right thing. It involves acting in the right spirit, out of an abiding respect and concern for one’s fellow creatures. This National Statement on ‘ethical conduct in human research’ is therefore oriented to something more fundamental than ethical ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ – namely, an ethos that should permeate the way those engaged in human research approach all that they do in their research. “

    The “secret” picture of John Cook as an SkS Nazi officer says more about you at a glance than does all your constant yammering. Shame on you all. When you some day awaken to the political totalitarianism you have promoted as science, I hope some true humility can once again find it’s way back into your dark hearts and souls.

    End of rant, sorry for the length.

    • David Springer

      Skeptical Science is an Australian blog. To make things easy just ignore all science or science commentary from Australia unless it’s about something like aborigines, dingos, or marsupials.

  21. Two points:
    1) I have to wonder if much of the scientific community is not suffering from Pluralistic Ignorance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluralistic_ignorance
    2) The criteria set out in Robert Mertons concept of Scientific Norms make a better starting point for a skeptical analysis. In particular the importance of
    Communalism which “entails that scientific results are the common property of the entire scientific community” A sore point among many skeptics where scientist refuse to publish their data for fear of refutation. ‘why should I share my data with you, you’ll just try to find something wrong with it?’ Phil Jones
    Universalism which “means that all scientists can contribute to science regardless of race, nationality, culture, or gender” By implication this opens the door to all who employ Scientific Method and not just the anointed.
    Disinterestedness which “according to which scientists are supposed to act for the benefit of a common scientific enterprise, rather than for personal gain.” Another corollary problem which is not mentioned, but was well recognized in my days as a graduate student, were the Mafias. The Mafias were the efforts by the adherents of a particular school of theories to promote their supporters at the expense of competitors. This promotion was not only within a university, but frequently focused on the capturing of departments of other universities especially highly regarded ones in the field. This was seen as a means of academic advancement for all the participants by mutual promotion of the prominence and importance of their school of thought, and thereby researchers and professors who were its proponents. I have to wonder if this problem has not run amok in Climate Science, and as such is perhaps one of, if not the main, problem.
    Originality which “requires that scientific claims contribute something new, whether a new problem, a new approach, new data, a new theory or a new explanation.” I find little to criticize with this one in the Climate Community. I find it absolutely astonishing in their ability to find new and devastating effects of Global Warming. And of course, Skepticism which “means that scientific claims must be exposed to critical scrutiny before being accepted.”

    • A useful quote from Philip Abelson

      \Abelson, Philip. “Are the Tame Cats in Charge?” Saturday Review 49 (1 January 1966), pp.
      100-103.\

      “(The)…failure of scientists to criticize publicly, to any appreciable degree, programs many of them deem ill-judged often stems from analysis of the balance sheet of their own self-interest. On the opposite side is the consideration that the long-term interest of their profession and the nation
      dictates that unwise expenditures not be made. If the public loses confidence in the integrity of scientists, the sequel could be calamitous for all. But this nebulous possibility does not outweigh present realities. The witness who questions the wisdom of the establishment pays a price and
      incurs hazards. He is diverted from his professional activities. He stirs the enmity of powerful foes. He fears that reprisals may extend beyond him and his institution. Perhaps he fears shadows, but in a day when almost all research institutions are highly dependent on federal funds, prudence seems to dictate silence.” (p. 103) . “Are the Tame Cats in Charge?” Saturday Review 49 (1 January 1966), pp.
      100-103.\

  22. Shermer is right on this. He follows on the skeptical tradition of Martin Gardner. These are the true skeptics — not so much skeptical of solid science, but of all the kranks, quacks, pseudos, and poseurs out there.

    • David Springer

      Science is belief in the ignorance of experts.

      This has been observed so many times that ignorance of experts isn’t a belief it’s a law like conservation of energy.

  23. “A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own.”

    Funny, I am unaware of Carl Sagan ever rigorously applying the methods of science and reason to his own beliefs on globalwarmingclimatechange.

    Nor has any other consensus acolyte to my knowledge.

    There is no evidence there was ever a debate among climate scientists themselves, let alone critical analysis of each of them of their own beliefs.

    Which is why I enjoy offering to engage in a reverse debate with any of the CAGWers here. I am no scientist, but I think I have a decent layman’s understanding of the primary issues in the climate debate. Which I learned from reading consensus sites and articles.

    I make a habit of thinking about my own positions, and the arguments against them, in preparing for trial. I try to do the same in any other areas as well, particularly public policy. That is why many of my views have changed over the years (like every other conservative I know).

    Another example would be the change in position on CAGW by Dr. Curry who, if I read the above post right, has now called herself a skeptic.

    I have just wanted to see if any of the warmist commenters here were capable of doing so as well.

    And still no takers.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      Funny, I am unaware of Carl Sagan ever rigorously applying the methods of science and reason to his own beliefs on globalwarmingclimatechange.

      That is funny.

      Sagan was studying planetary climates before most of the people commenting here were even born…

      Small sample of his early pubs on the topic:

      Sagan, Carl (1960). “The Radiation Balance of Venus”. Pasadena, CA, California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory: 34 pp. Technical Report no. 32-34

      Sagan, Carl (1960). “The Surface Temperature of Venus (Abstract).” Astronomical J. 65: 352-53.

      Sagan, Carl (1961). “The Planet Venus.” Science 133: 849-58.

      Sagan, Carl (1971). “The Long Winter Model of Martian Biology: A Speculation.” Icarus 15: 511-14.

      Sagan, Carl, and George Mullen (1972). “Earth and Mars: Evolution of Atmospheres and Temperatures.” Science 177: 52-56.

      Sagan, Carl, et al. (1973). “Climate Change on Mars.” Science 181: 1045-49.

      Sagan, Carl, et al. (1979). “Anthropogenic Albedo Changes and the Earth’s Climate.” Science 206: 1363-68.

    • Carl Sagan was my “Dr Proton” growing up. I prefer not to look to closely at his work. You have to admit he had a great name and a great voice.

    • Rev,

      Nice try. My question wasn’t about how long Sagan had been “studying planetary climates,” it was whether Sagan had ever applied critical analysis to his own beliefs about gflobalclimatewarmingchange. You know, the IPCC consensus, the whole argument about this planet, not Venus or Mars, or albedo. Not one of the articles you cited is about GW, AGW or CAGW.

      Leave the diversions to Mosher. He is better at it.

  24. Pingback: Skepticism | Transterrestrial Musings

  25. Curious George

    Last Monday I received an email from John Podesta, a Counselor to the President. I quote the first sentence: “Power plants currently churn out about 40 percent of the carbon pollution in the air we breathe, and contribute to hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and thousands of heart attacks.”

    I asked the White House what a “carbon pollution” is. No response yet. Maybe they don’t know.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      I think they should be consistent and ban greenhouse growers from
      dumping dangerous carbon pollution on the nation’s food supply.

  26. The SkepticalScience.com blog is correctly named. They follow on the skeptical tradition of Michael Shermer and Martin Gardner. These are the true skeptics — not so much skeptical of solid science, but of all the kranks, quacks, pseudos, and poseurs that inhabit the climate denialosphere.

    Good for them that they could grab that domain name, and that they concentrate on climate science. There has to be some balance for the conspiracy sites such as WUWT.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      SS is a joke.

      They do not entertain any ideas which don’t conform to their agenda.

    • Ideas like the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist?

    • They certainly take on the ‘skeptical’ fringe in their straw man hunting. They just don’t take on mainstream skepticism to any extent in any serious way.

  27. It sure would be much easier to not be skeptical if we had definitive proof of:

    – the role of clouds on climate
    – the saturation point for LWR in a dynamic atmosphere
    – the impact of long term oceanic cycles on surface temperatures
    – climate models that actually worked

    to start>

    • k scott denison

      How about a real assessment of the quality of our “temperature” records pre-thermometers? Or of today’s for that matter.

    • Proofs are for high school geometry, but

      clouds are a mixed bag, some heat some cool.

      There is no easter bunny, santa clause, nor a saturation point for LWR, see Venus.

      Long term cycles are cyclic.

      Models are only off by about 0.2%, is that not good enough for you?

  28. Real But Exaggerated

    The Schneider quote should be cause enough to be sceptical.

    “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

  29. “I’m from Missouri. Show me.”
    “Where’s the beef?”

  30. I’ve been a lurker here for a while….

    Why is ‘Natural Variability’ the Null Hypothesis? I would think ‘No change in temperature’ would be the null hypothesis and then Natural Variability vs Anthropogenic change are both equally valid potential explanations, without one or the other being the Null. Something is causing temperatures to change. What is it?

    Those that believe the cause is primarily man-made appear to have a strong, and defensible case, supported by myriad lines of evidence and the argument enjoys wide spread support within the CliSci community.

    Those that do not endorse man-made change appear, to me anyways, to be rather splintered in terms of possible natural explanations, and have not made any case as convincingly.

    I guess I’ll disagree with the host and agree with Shermer that the ‘naturalists’ DO have an obligation to present an argument.

    • “Change in temperature” is not a hypothesis. It is an observable fact. The null hypothesis does not deny reality. It simply states the default position in a condition of ignorance.

      “Natural variation” is considered the null hypothesis by skeptics on the issue of “global warming,” because the globe has warmed, and cooled, repeatedly during its long existence. If someone wants to push massive public policy based on a belief that recent perceived warming is caused by man, and is potentially catastrophic, they must overcome the null hypothesis that the current warming is no different from the prior billions of years of warming and cooling.

    • Rud Istvan

      JW, to paraphrase your words that ‘most recent warming is primarily man made based on a strong and defensible case with multiple lines of evidence’ is simply incorrect. That is what the IPCC asserts. They used provable selection bias in fundamental issues like water vapor and cloud feedbacks. I wrote 50 pages of detailed documentation of that concerning AR4, just on those two issues alone.

      And the anthropogenic proposition is not all or nothing. It is the mix. The best null hypothesis (or Bayesian prior) is 50-50 nature man. And for the nature part, our hostess has offered hypotheses like the stadium wave. And the pause itself falsifies climate models with now near certainty, and those models all assume anthropogenic CO2 is the main driver. IPCC says so.

      And to the extent it is a driver, it’s effect is overstated by the assumptions concerning water vapor and cloud feedbacks. Those assumptions are based on classic data selection bias, and contradicted by the entirety of the literature that the IPCC could have, but did not, use. Documented that in my last book.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Why is ‘Natural Variability’ the Null Hypothesis?

      It’s a meaningless Null as formulated by skeptics.

      • From my Null Hypothesis paper:

        Ghil (2001) describes the issues surrounding the climate change null hypothesis in the following way, discriminating between local and global change and separating out the two related issues of detection and attribution:

        More precisely, we ask whether the impact of human activities on the climate is observable and identifiable in the instrumental records of the last century-and-a-half and in recent paleoclimate records? The answer to this question depends on the null hypothesis against which such an impact is tested. The current approach that is generally pursued assumes essentially that past climate variability is indistinguishable from a stochastic red-noise process, whose only regularities are those of periodic external forcing. Given such a null hypothesis, the official consensus of IPCC (1995) tilts towards a global warming effect of recent trace-gas emissions, which exceeds the cooling effect of anthropogenic aerosol emissions. . . The presence of internally arising regularities in the climate system with periods of years and decades suggests the need for a different null hypothesis. Essentially, one needs to show that the behaviour of the climatic signal is distinct from that generated by natural climate variability in the past, when human effects were negligible, at least on the global scale. . . Can we identify with measurable certainty deviations of the current record from predictions based on past natural variability? If so, such deviations have to be attributed to new causes. The “suspects” clearly include human effects, and attribution to them will become thereby both easier and more reliable.

      • Sorry, no. It is the basis of good science. Natural variability is the norm throughout history. So to prove an alternative, you must demonstrate it is no longer in effect.

    • The null hypothesis is simply no claimed (postulated) effect/relationship. For example, regarding AGW, no AGW. Regarding ACO2GW, no ACO2GW.

      Regarding climate change, or “change in temperature”, the null hypothesis (no change) is rejected. That seems to be “settled science”. One can disagree of course.

    • Steven Mosher

      ” they must overcome the null hypothesis that the current warming is no different from the prior billions of years of warming and cooling.”

      No they dont.

      First, your null is not properly constructed.
      Second, we need not show that the warming is different
      we only need to show

      1. future warming will be harmful.
      2. our current behavior will lead to more warming.
      3. we can and should do something about it.

    • One of the reasons that warming and cooling has occurred in the past is (naturally occurring) variations in the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Therefore to say that man-made CO2 emissions will cause warming IS to say that our climate will continue to behave as it has in the past. Therefore “the null hypothesis that the current warming is no different from the prior billions of years of warming and cooling” isn’t very useful if you want to prove current warming is caused by man.

    • Don Monfort

      I agree with, Mosher. Asserting that the recent warming could be explained by natural variability is meaningless. Prove that the recent warming was caused by natural variability and you have something. Absent that proof, the rise in anthropogenic CO2 is a plausible explanation.

      • No question that anthropogenic CO2 is a plausible explanation. But it is not a convincing explanation at the extremely likely level for most of the warming in the latter half of the 20th century, for two reasons: it doesn’t explain the 1910-1940 warming, and the period of the hiatus (since 1998) is approaching the length of the main period of warming (1976-1998).

    • Steven Mosher

      Judith

      ‘Can we identify with measurable certainty deviations of the current record from predictions based on past natural variability? If so, such deviations have to be attributed to new causes.”

      Flawed logic.

      c02 as a cause is not new.

      There is no need to show that current variability exceeds or is different from past variability. This is the fallacy of assuming that science proceeds strictly by abduction.

      If the Sun were to drop its output by 1 watt and we witnessed a colder world, what would you make of someone who argued that it couldnt be the sun because in the past the world was cooler. You’d say, the best explanation of the current minor cooling was not unprecedented but that it was also explainable by decreased solar output.

      basically the argument “it has to be unprecedented” makes the mistake of taking one mode of discovery ( abduction) as the only mode.

    • Don Monfort

      Plausible but not convincing. Final answer.

      • Three different dictionary definitions of plausible:

        1. Seemingly or apparently valid, likely, or acceptable; credible: a plausible excuse.
        2. Giving a deceptive impression of truth or reliability.
        3. Disingenuously smooth; fast-talking:

    • –Those that do not endorse man-made change appear, to me anyways, to be rather splintered in terms of possible natural explanations, and have not made any case as convincingly.

      I guess I’ll disagree with the host and agree with Shermer that the ‘naturalists’ DO have an obligation to present an argument.–

      If so the pause, so give you pause.
      But what is really important to humans re climate, is not what causes warming as much as what causes cooling.
      In last 1000 years, the problem was not the recent warming.

      Another issue almost forgotten [but lurks] is this idea of accelerated warming. The pause has muted this issue, but it was the only issue related to hysteria of warming.

    • Don Monfort

      How about? Plausibly credible, but not convincing.

    • Robert I Ellison

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

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

      Abrupt change in the Earth climate system is a defining idea linking small and large scale patterns in climate. The dynamic evolution of eddies in coupled ocean/atmosphere dynamics – described in first principles by the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid motion – form stochastically forced resonant regimes in the Earth system at all scales in time and space. Clouds, cyclones and anticyclones, storm fronts, hydrological regimes, decadal and longer patterns of ocean and atmospheric circulation and glacials and interglacials.

      Chaos is the paradigm that makes sense for the Earth climate system. The question then is how anthropogenic greenhouse gases affect the system. Wally Boecker calls it poking a stick at a wild and angry beast.

    • “3. we can and should do something about it.”

      Now you are into politics. You politicize the science, you lose half your audience. It is not up to scientists to make political decisions. It us up to scientists to present the facts at hand, with appropriate caveats, the theories as they are developed, warts and all, then trust the political process to make the correct decision, which may, in fact, watchful waiting while increasing our planetary GDP to both have time to correctly identify the proper course of action and to have the wealth to accomplish these actions. The latter are not scientific questions. They simply aren’t. They certainly are not questions somebody who has spent their career studying atmospheric dynamics or meteorological modelling to answer.

    • JWhite:

      The climate has changed. But does that necessarily mean that the cause of the climate change was human in origin?

      No.

      Why?

      Because the climate has changed many times in the past (before humans even existed), and the changes were shown to be from causes other than human in origin. This is a fact and science accepts this as true.

      So just because it has been shown to be warmer today than 150 years ago does not necessarily mean that all of the warming over the last 150 years is caused by humans. Some portion of this warming is surely due to nature and some portion probably due to humans.

      Do humans impact the climate?

      Yes.

      How much of climate change is due to humans and how much to other causes (lumped together as natural variation)?

      This is the 64,000 dollar question which no one knows the answer to.

      If we knew that 75% of the warming over the last 150 years was due to humans we would be in a much better position to do a cost benefit analysis on potential actions to cut down on CO2. However, we do not know this (yet). it could be 50% or 75% or 100% or 25% or even 0% – we really really do not know this yet.

      I would answer your question this way – because we know that the climate has changed before humans even existed, we know that humans cannot be the sole reason the climate changes. Therefore, just because we have a correlation does not mean we have proven causation.

      The climate change could be due in some undefined part to other than human causes (natural variation).

      Yes we know that we are putting out more CO2 and that extra CO2 should result in warming (in theory) – but the fight over determining climate sensitivity is trying to answer the question – how much warming is due to the extra CO2 we are putting out. The range of 1.5C to 4.5C for the IPCC climate sensitive due to a doubling of CO2 from 280 ppm to 560 ppm shows how little we still know about how much humans contribute to warming.

      So that is my long explanation of why the null hypothesis is natural variation. Until we can show how much of the warming is natural, we cannot quantify how much is human caused.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Steve Mosher

      “Second, we need not show that the warming is different
      we only need to show

      1. future warming will be harmful.
      2. our current behavior will lead to more warming.
      3. we can and should do something about it.”

      So, get on with the showing.

      So far, all three have been stated as axioms; none have been ‘shown’ to be true.

    • Tom Scharf

      “1. future warming will be harmful.”

      Has this been shown?

    • Jim Zuccaro

      Somebody make a falsifiable prediction about the atmospheric temperature this day next year…

    • Jim Zuccaro

      ‘Somebody, tell a joke…”

    • David Springer

      The hypothesis is that the industrial revolution is causing the earth’s climate to change rapidly in an undesirable way.

      The null hypothesis is therefore the industrial revolution is not causing rapid undesirable climate change.

      Anyone who disputes that is not following the rules in formulating a null hypothesis and are in fact committing the logical fallacy of assuming that which is to be proven.

    • @Jwhite – if static temperatures were the norm for the history of the climate. you would have a case. As temperatures have changed constantly over time, then the null hypothesis is not “is there change”, but the cause. The change is constant, and thus the null hypothesis.

  31. Rud Istvan

    Wrote a book on this. There are degrees of skepticism, just
    as there are degrees of certainty about truth. Shermer’s tool kit may be suited for charlatans and side shows, but is not as well adapted to technical or scientific questions, or even to simple true/false/don’t know ‘factual’ questions in important policy areas like health, energy, and education.

    Although it has been well said above, Mosher is wrong to require alternative hypotheses as a necessary criteria for legitimate and useful scientific skepticism/criticism. Pointing out an error/failed hypothesis is valuable for clearing out ‘weeds and deadwood’. Specially in complicated wicked problems. The famous Michelson Morley experiment ‘just’ disproved the aether theory. And Mosher would probably agree that was good science.

    • The guy that wrote books on this is Robert Park. One was called Voodo Science and another was called Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science.

      Most of the charlatans that comment here are driven by their own belief system and it is difficult to cure them of that. So all we can do is continue to point out the real science.

    • Steven Mosher

      Rud

      ‘Mosher is wrong to require alternative hypotheses as a necessary criteria for legitimate and useful scientific skepticism/criticism. ”

      except that is not the argument I made.
      learn to explicate an argument before you try to criticize.

      1. you can do legitimate and useful critcism without offering an alternative hypothesis.
      2. If you NEVER offer explanations, if you STRICTLY and EXCLUSIVELY offer criticisms and never offer a path forward, then you are not aiming at what science aims at: understanding.
      3. if you deny the possibility of understanding and only criticize, you are not aiming at what science aims at: Understanding.
      4. The Line between only criticizing, and being committed to understanding is hard to draw, but at some point in your career if you have never even tried to understand, we are justified in denying you the title scientist.

      You are responding to some other argument made by some other person.

      It is simple. If you want to prove me wrong go find a scientist who never offered an understanding of things in his field of inquiry. At some point and some time, every scientist believes in something.

    • Don Monfort

      Mosher,

      Consensus climate scientist says: If we keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, we are going to be in big trouble.

      Climate scientist with comparable qualifications says: I am looking at the same physics and the same data and I am skeptical that you have a solid case. It’s your assumptions about water vapor feedbacks and clouds that bother me most. I don’t think we presently know enough to run around like Chicken Littles spreading alarmist claptrap.

      Are they both scientists?

    • Steven Mosher

      “Climate scientist with comparable qualifications says: I am looking at the same physics and the same data and I am skeptical that you have a solid case. It’s your assumptions about water vapor feedbacks and clouds that bother me most. I don’t think we presently know enough to run around like Chicken Littles spreading alarmist claptrap.

      Are they both scientists?”

      If you read my decision process the answer should be clear. let’s take Lindzen. Lindzen argues essentially that the current paradigm is inaccurate.
      But note, he also proffers an explanation: His Iris hypothesis.

      So, looking at his behavior over a life time I see that he is committed to understanding. If I ask him about the role of C02 he will give the best understanding. in short he is not exclusively and strictly in the mode of criticizing.

    • Don Monfort

      Mosher,

      You did not answer my question. The skeptical climate scientist did not offer an explanation other than he/she is not convinced by his/her understanding of the physics and the utility of the currently available data. No irises or unicorn hypothesis offered. Just doubt that the current understanding of the physics and the data warrant the alarm. I don’t why you wouldn’t just concede that the skeptic is a scientist.

    • Rud Istvan

      Mosher, you morphed definitions. Not fair. As a former national champion debater, I call you on it in a friendly way. You want two debates, let’s have two threads. Not two pretending to be one.

      Plus, in my own personal case (to argue your side of this for the moment) not only did I publish at international scientific conferences that the existing Helmholtz physics interpretation of DLC (absolutely published and accepted everywhere) was wrong, proved it wrong by experiment (out of my own pocket), and then offered an alternative hypothesis (proven again out of my own pocket) now enshrined in just issued very fundamental Russian, Korean, Japanese, and US patents. (proving only that the EU is really slow on patents). I believe in the real world that is called—- putting you money where your mouth is.

      So having been on both sides of this argument, with respect to climate change I continue to think disproving ‘consensus’ suffices to move climate science forward. A bit, if not a lot. But even a bit of progress is some.
      And how is the pause going in the BEST data set? C&T polar correction yet? (not necessary to reply, I archived your previous excellent post here showing C&T is no improvement on BEST, and that both show the Pause. Wrote an essay about that for the next book. Find me, and I will send it for critique by you.

      Regards, and where did you learn Chinese? (WUWT) My energy storage business partner is married to a Chinese engineer, and they are bringing up their son bilingual. My daughter learned Chinese, and how to write it (rudimentarily). Was for her double major at some university with an odd named Yen Ching Institute. Or something like that, never was good at spelling.

    • “Plus, in my own personal case (to argue your side of this for the moment) not only did I publish at international scientific conferences that the existing Helmholtz physics interpretation of DLC (absolutely published and accepted everywhere) was wrong”

      Yea, everyone else is wrong, except for me. Where have I heard that before?

  32. I see massive amounts of psychological projection going on here. It is us TRUE skeptics that are critical about the views that natural variability or of chaotic indeterminacy will win out over anthropogenic GHGs as the root cause of GW.

    We are skeptical because there is nothing to support those arguments with anywhere near the scientific credence of what can be found in the current climate science research literature.

    SkepticalScience.com is aptly named.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      It’s not the skeptical part that makes SS a joke, it’s the science.

      By editing user posts and banning those who politely point out errors, they have proven themselves disinterested in scientific understanding, but highly interested in their preconceived notions.

    • Exactly. If they have to ban commenters with questions, one has to ask what they are trying to accomplish. It isn’t converting skeptics, or showing them that they are wrong. I guess it is just too much work to save the planet though, answering these skeptics.

    • “It isn’t converting skeptics, or showing them that they are wrong”

      It’s showing us they are wrong. They don’t have to tolerate trolls in the comments section. Obviously a successful blog like SkS will attract trolls who will try to sneak gishgallops of nonsense through by being “polite”.

    • Thank you for making my point lolwot.

    • k scott denison

      And your definition of a successful blog is what, lolwot?

    • “Obviously a successful blog like SkS will attract trolls who will try to sneak gishgallops of nonsense through by being “polite”.”

      If the planet really is at stake, is it too much effort to counter the codswallop with factual refutations that have nothing to do with accusing the commenter of being in the pay of “big oil”?

      The problem is that many of them make good points which are not refutable, For instance, do the models handle clouds based on physics? No. Why not just admit that the science is developing. Hopefully the cloud problem is not completely intractable, but it is not solved.

      A 1% increase in cloud cover cancels out how much CO2? I read somewhere that it would cancel a doubling of CO2. Lindzen’s Iris hypothesis lives, though not proven or disproven.

    • David Springer

      whut writes: “It is us TRUE skeptics that are critical about the views that natural variability or of chaotic indeterminacy will win out over anthropogenic GHGs as the root cause of GW.”

      Spoken like a TRUE Scotsman. LOL

      What will win out is a category of fact called observations or empirical evidence.

      As always, write that down.

  33. In my opinion as a non-scientist (for what it’s worth), there are a substantial number of people who are just less inclined than others to accept at face value the pronouncements of authority figures. They find it especially problematic when the authority figures appear to have something to gain from their pronouncements – funding, prestige, control, power, status, attention, etc. Skeptics of this sort can probably only be swayed by those who seem even-handed and appear to have little to gain from what they say or recommend. I think that a significant portion of the public (including me) is having a difficult time finding honest brokers in climate science. Everyone involved seems to have an agenda.

    • Rud Istvan

      MWS, Judith does not. She is IMO an honest broker for which she has already paid her price. Hang around. You will learn, as we all have, from a master teacher. Sometimes the question in her post is itself the possible teaching, using a diabolically clever form of the Harvard case method with all the thread replies being as a whole the lesson to be learned from the collective class response. Maybe as illistrated in this post.

      BTW, almost anything in science can be understood at a fundamental level by almost anyone. If it cannot, it is probably wrong. ( well, ok there are some exceptions like special and general relativity, and some aspects of quantum mechanics. But not the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which is conceptually obvious when you think about the double slit experiment).

      You do not have to be able to compute the consequences of the Navier Stokes fluid dynamics equations or Stefan- Boltzmann black body CO2 greenhouse effects to understand what the fancy math is supposed to do. Anybody who is literate can follow along at some level of meaningful comprehension concerning feedbacks and climate sensitivity. Clouds. Etc.
      Heck, if I can, that itself is a weak proof of principle that anybody can.
      Regards

    • Robert I Ellison

      Einstein said in his special theory of relativity that it could be understood by someone with 1905 high school math.

    • The calculations of special relativity are not difficult. Groking what is actually going on? Another matter.

    • k scott denison

      mws, in my experience you are 100% correct. Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a coworker who believes in global warming 100% so I had some fun:

      Me: so how much CO2 is in our atmosphere?
      Her: I don’t know.
      Me: what is the biggest greenhouse gas?
      Her: I don’t know but I guess you’ll tell me it’s not CO2
      Me: it’s water vapor.
      Her: what’s water vapor?

      At one point she noted that she had “gone to law school so was very competent at critical thinking.” Bloodied my tongue resisting the urge to respond to that statement.

    • Robert I Ellison

      http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Special_Relativity/Mathematical_transformations

      If you understand the math – the ideas fall out. But it may take a lifetime.

  34. Steven Mosher

    let me recommend

    http://www.amazon.com/Neutrino-Hunters-Thrilling-Particle-Universe/dp/0374220638

    And For Feynman fans, you will be shocked to find out his reaction when theory and data disagreed. shocked!

    http://books.google.com/books?id=6btWAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=bahcall+feynman&source=bl&ots=47bdu4mTwj&sig=1-uyLY4kbpeCEeA2gNCu9nr1iGk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=jLSQU-6PAo6gsATuoYC4DA&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bahcall%20feynman&f=false

    And you will see that when theory and data disagreed. Nobody argued that pointing this out was the sum total of what a scientist “does”

    • Rud Istvan

      Oh dear. Already Outdated with respect to neutrinos. And still irrelevant subatomic physics compared to ‘simple’ macro climate stuff that is not supposed to exist in a quantum subatomic world–except perhaps in yours.
      Next time, bring a gun rather than a dull knife to the gunfight. Or stay home.

    • ==> “Next time, bring a gun rather than a dull knife to the gunfight. Or stay home.

      LYSENKOISM!!!!1 MCCARTHYISM1!!!!1 REIGN OF TERROR!!!11!!!!

    • And once you’ve finished reading that book, which is about particle physics with a far stronger theoretical foundation that climate science, you can read this book:

      Useless Arithmetic

      Which I quoted from above, which gives the litany of scientists who believed that their models were the “best explanation available”, followed the results of their flawed models and caused untold damage to the very things they were trying to protect.

    • And he would have died prematurely of laughter if someone told him they had a computer model that proved neutrinos existed.

    • Steven Mosher

      I see you all missed what Feyman said when theory conflicted with data.

      nobody has found anything wrong with your theory. We dont know why the data disagrees.

      Note that he didnt argue that the theory of solar neutrinos was falsified.

      Note also what other scientists did.

    • SM, I would like to read the Feynman reaction but it’s not in the link.
      Could you cite It? Thx. beth-the-serf.

    • SM – the lesson is that you question the theory, the data, and the models. Simple. Neutrino detection is by nature very difficult. In that case, it was wise to thoroughly scrutinize the experiment.

      For climate science, the climate is very complex with many parts that are slow moving. In this case, the mechanism is not completely understood on almost any level, given the long term nature of some of the forces, we only have relatively short spans of data, and in many cases we don’t have critical data at all. The computer models are the incarnation of a bunch of guesses, approximations, and with a dash of real physics thrown in.

      The relatively clean theory of particle physics and the ability to do real experiments on real matter does not compare well to climate science where experiments on real matter are rare or impossible, the theory depends on the weaving together the parts of a planet-sized mechanism, and the models are … well … you know. The two are apples and oranges.

      Then there is the matter of the fake scientist.

      1. CO2 causes back radiation.
      2. Hand waving.
      3. We are all going to FRY!!!

      1. We have discovered Dansgaard-Oeschger events.
      2. CO2 – hand waving.
      3. We are all going to FREEZE!

      The problem here is a lack of understanding of climate. Until we get a better handle on mechanisms and can put together at least some cause and effect, it will be hand waving and fake scientists.

    • I see you all missed what Feyman said when theory conflicted with data.

      As beththeserf noted, your link does not include a quote by Feynman. You could try actually quoting it directly rather than giving us a link that doesn’t work. But I already addressed why Feynman’s comments would not be relevant – theoretical physics is a mature science with solid theoretical grounds that made predictions with staggering accuracy (the standard required evidence for a discovery in physics is 5-sigma; good luck finding anything better odds of being right than a stopped clock in climate science)

      By saying your analogy was bad, I hoped to move on from that point. But since you seem to wish to pick that scab, let’s dig a little deeper.

      Consider a time before Galileo where people believed that heavier objects fell quicker to ground, as perceived by Aristotle, who argued for a linear relationship between time taken for an object to fall and its weight.

      Now consider someone who calibrates an Aristotle-style model against the fall speed of a feather, and of a 10-pound ball, and declares his calibrated model as the best explanation available. There are 3 responses by different people:

      1. Someone uses the model to predict the fall rate of a 1-pound ball, and discovers that the model gives the wrong answer. He notes the model is wrong even in interpolation and advises against using it.

      2. Someone else notes the model is wrong, and introduces a new model arguing that the time taken to fall is independent of mass

      3. Someone else notes that the 1 pound fall time is quite badly wrong, but hey it is the best explanation we have, and recommends its continued use for engineering and design.

      Now of course option 2. makes the best advancement. This is good science. But this does NOT render option 1. bad. In fact, option 1. also advances science, but a little bit less. It is still an advancement. Option 3 on the other hand, is a disaster. It is actually regressive, and holds science back.

      You argue that because option 2. is somehow the true essence of science, then option 1. cannot be. This is simply wrong. These two are not mutually exclusive, and it is a false dichotomy to require them to be so. Both option 1 and 2 add to our net knowledge and understanding.

      Option 3 – settling for junk models because they are the best we have – actually subtracts from our sum total of knowledge, and is the only example here that should be considered contrary to scientific reason.

    • Steven Mosher

      UK Spence.

      The quote is there top of page 91.

      The theory conflicted with the data. Feynman did not argue that the theory was wrong. Instead he argued that noone could find anything wrong with the theory. And that no one could find anything wrong with the data.
      theory predicted 3 times as many neutrinos than were actually detected.

      The mystery persisted for decades. until better data was collected..

      ha.

    • http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/solar-neutrinos.html

      “Look, I saw that after this talk you were depressed, and I just wanted to tell you that I don’t think you have any reason to be depressed. We’ve heard what you did, and nobody’s found anything wrong with your calculations. I don’t know why Davis’s result doesn’t agree with your calculations, but you shouldn’t be discouraged, because maybe you’ve done something important, we don’t know. I don’t know what the explanation is, but you shouldn’t feel discouraged.”

      For three decades people had been pointing at this guy and saying this is the guy who wrongly calculated the flux of neutrinos from the sun, and suddenly that wasn’t so. It was like a person who had been sentenced for some heinous crime, and then a DNA test is made and it’s found that he isn’t guilty. That’s exactly the way I felt.

      So when the data doesn’t match, persecute?

    • Steve – thanks for adding clarification to the quote, appreciated.

      Care is still needed as the foundations of climate science are quite different to the foundations of particle physics, even decades ago. And of course there are often times where it is difficult to come up with good tests, either due to costs or physical constraints. Under those circumstances, a good scientist (like Feynman) will say “we don’t know the answer”. It takes great courage as a scientist to stand up and say “I don’t know”.

      Notably, in climate science, on *both* sides of the debate, saying “I don’t know” is perceived as a sign of weakness, so both insist on being able to give the best explanation, and believe that by giving the best explanation, that is somehow scientific. It is not. Often the only valid answer is “we don’t know the answer”. However, this doesn’t stop us showing our current best understanding is so far from reality to be wrong.

      This is my contention with GCMs. We know they are worthless (see the global precipitation hindcasts in Demetris’ presentation (page 12). The mean is wrong. The standard deviation is wrong. The trend is wrong. And it is clear that the fundamental equations in the models behave nothing like reality. Not even in the stochastics, let alone any predictive skill. And this is a hindcast, so not even a blinded test!

      This is not a problem of error bars. Like with Aristotle’s equations governing falling bodies, the equations are wrong. The wrong equations do not permit valid error bars to be defined (if the true equations are not known). The results are worthless and the only valid scientific answer today is “we don’t know how to predict climate”, not “this is the best we have so we should use it until something better comes along”. Also: be prepared for the distinct possibility that nothing better will come along (from a predictive perspective, although I see no reason why we shouldn’t do better with the stochastic element)

    • jim2, can you please explain your point that CO2 doesn’t cause “back radiation”? If you mean that it does not cause downwelling IR, it makes zero sense to me. I am happy to hear your explanation though.

    • I assume you are referring to this:
      1. CO2 causes back radiation.

      Note, that I posit that CO2 DOES cause back radiation. I was an industrial chemist for about 15 years and have a BS degree in chemistry. I have used an IR spectrometer many times and I’m absolutely convinced that CO2 can absorb and emit IR radiation. After a CO2 molecule absorbs an IR photon, it can also convey that energy to molecules around it via collision.

      The hand waving part refers to the feedback after the back radiation occurs, or the energy transfer via collision has occurred. That is the part that is not very well understood. For example, the predicted tropical hot spot isn’t there. Also, based on the total column water vapor data I’ve seen, water vapor is not increasing with CO2 concentration.

      I hope that is clearer to you.

    • All jim2 believes in are anecdotes. Any statistical knowledge is a mystery to him.

    • WebHubbleColonoscope, “All jim2 believes in are anecdotes. Any statistical knowledge is a mystery to him.”

      And that perfectly illustrates the “what is skepticism” topic. Skeptics are people wanting better proof and not the skeptics are _____’s

      The vast majority of “skeptics” that visit this site have not problem with the basic radiant impact of a doubling of CO2. Their questions relate the amplifying factors and the validity of simplifying assumptions along with various concerns with math like the utility of “averaging” and “surface” temperature versus internal energy. It is should not be that hard to answer such basic questions.

  35. David L. Hagen

    Validating Naive vs Complex Climate Forecasting
    The current “climate consensus” has rung a 7 alarm BS bell in my perception.

    JS Armstrong made The Global Warming Challenge against Al Gore at TheClimateBet.com So far Armstrong’s no change (zero trend) is doing better than Gore’s 0.3 C/decade consensus warming. See:
    April 2014: Cooling better bet than dangerous warming

    With April’s temperature another to fall below the no-change-from-2007 line, Al Gore’s tipping point continues to elude us. The errors from the Gore stand-in forecast (the IPCC’s +0.03°C per year) are now 27% larger than the errors from Armstrong’s no-change forecasts. The Gore error’s have been so bad, that the contrary hypothesis of natural global cooling would have been a much better bet. Yes, the errors from forecasting temperatures would decline at 0.01°C per year would have been 17% smaller than Mr Gore’s errors!

    See the NIPCC’s review of climate forecasting:
    Armstrong, J. S., & Green, K. C. (2013). Global climate models and their limitations: Model simulation and forecasting – Methods and principles. pp. 14-17 in Idso, C. D., Carter, R. M., & Singer, S. F. (Eds.), Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science. Chicago, IL: The Heartland Institute.

    See further details at: The Global Warming Audit

    Professional skepticism in Public Policy Forecasting provides far more accurate predictions and policy basis than “consensus” alarmism.

  36. David L. Hagen

    Skepticism is checking the data before believing the projections.
    Global Temperature Update: Still no global warming for 17 years 9 months – Since Sept. 1996.

    ‘The 213 months without global warming represent more than half the 425-month satellite data record since January 1979. No one now in high school has lived through global warming.’

    Therefore alarmists would have us bury tens of trillions of dollars in the ground!
    As Richard Feynman said about the scientific method – if the model does not match the data IT IS WRONG!

  37. Lawrence Torcello has several good articles on skepticism and pseudoskepticism as it related to climate:
    http://lawrencetorcello.wordpress.com/articles-4/

    • “Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent?” If you think that is a good article perhaps you can explain why the sword shouldn’t be two edged.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      It is not scepticism but acceptance of measurements that may be lacking.

      Observed temperature trends are lower than Hansen testimony.
      Observed temperature trends are lower than the IPCC 4 predictions.
      Greenhouse gas forcing trends are decelerating.
      Accordingly, temperature trends are decelerating.
      Population trends are less than the B1 scenario ( the low end ).
      US drought trends are decreasing ( though not significantly ).
      Global drought trends may be decreasing( though not significantly ).
      Strong US tornado trends are decreasing.
      Accumulated Cyclone Energy trends do not indicate a trend.

      Data, not doubt, leads questioning of the disaster agenda.

    • Scott Basinger

      Real But Exaggerated makes some good points which are supported by the IPCC SREX report conclusions.

      It’d be nice to be able to actually address the discrepancies in an intelligent fashion with people who approach scientific issues from a skeptical viewpoint. Sadly, it’s more likely that he’ll be labelled a ‘denier’ or now a ‘pseudoskeptic’ for pointing out things that inconveniently contradict climate dogma.

    • Chris Colose, the utterly dependent warmist on government funding. Yeah, your an objective voice. sarc.

    • Chris Colose | June 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      At your link:
      “Simply put, while scientists are busy attempting to disprove a favored hypothesis, and as such are guarding themselves against the ever-present danger of confirmation bias, pseudoscientists actively seek confirming evidence for what they have already deemed to be the case. This is so even as pseudoscientists eagerly attempt to appear skeptical. Paranormal investigators of the pseudoscientific stripe provide excellent examples of this pretense. To call oneself a “paranormal investigator” (as opposed to an investigator of paranormal claims a la Joe Nickell) is to already confess a belief that there is something paranormal to investigate; the pursuit itself begs the essential question.”
      “The Trouble with Pseudoskepticism,” 2012, Skeptical Inquirer, May/June, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 37-41

      The above has a context, and it could be said that I am missing the author’s point be only quoting what I did. Sometimes it seems that some are trying to prove what it was they predicted. If Scientists had over-reached the rational next step would be firm up what they predicted.

      Someone I can’t remember who had a great comment a few weeks ago. They are desperately trying to reach the finish line that only they can see.

  38. Jim Cripwell

    Back on the thread “The heart of the climate dynamics debate” our hostess wrote “Consider the following three hypotheses that explain 20th century climate variability and change, with implied future projections:”

    I would suggest that there is a fourth hypothesis that all observed changes in climate are natural, and adding CO2 to the atmosphere from recent levels has a negligible effect on anything. The reason why I am skeptical of CAGW is that there is no empirical data to support any of these hypotheses.

    Can we at least agree on the following sort of statement?

    Into the indefinite future, it will be impractical to get the requisite empirical data to show which of these four hypotheses is correct.

    And if people disagree with me, what is wrong with my conclusion?

    • Steven Mosher

      “I would suggest that there is a fourth hypothesis that all observed changes in climate are natural, and adding CO2 to the atmosphere from recent levels has a negligible effect on anything”

      saying that change is “natural” explains nothing.
      everything is natural.

      In 1750 the temperature of the air above land was around 1.5C cooler than today.

      The science question is

      What explains the change?

      Stating that the change is “natural” does not explain the change.
      A proper explanation takes the LHS of an equation and replaces it with a RHS that quantifies over other entities

      Like so.

      Temperature Change (C) = Forcing Change (W)
      in other words we explain the change in temperature by breaking it down into other things.all the things on the LHS and the RHS are “natural” they are all physical. None is super natural.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      “In 1750 the temperature of the air above land was around 1.5C cooler than today.”

      Uhmmm…. what global temperature data set are you quoting that goes back to 1750???

    • Real But Exaggerated

      Unfortunately there Deniers who deny any influence of CO2. They make it most difficult for those of us LukeWarmers who want to point out the exaggerations in extent, indirect effects, and impacts.

      They do this by providing the Hysterics with a convenient straw man argument. That is what the ridiculous 97% business is about – whether CO2 causes warming or not. YES! We observe warming at the low end. We do not observe calamity.

    • Steven Mosher

      Real But Exaggerated | June 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      “In 1750 the temperature of the air above land was around 1.5C cooler than today.”

      Uhmmm…. what global temperature data set are you quoting that goes back to 1750???

      Berkeleyearth,org

    • Mosh

      Surely even more interesting than 1750 ( why 1750?). is that the 1730 decade was according to Phil jones only marginally cooler than the warmest decade in modern times. It caused him to believe that natural variability was much greater than he had hitherto believed.

      The upwards surge in temperature from 1690 to 1740 is unprecedented in the modern record which then came to a crashing halt in the severe winter of 1740′, one of the worst ever recorded.
      The science question is what explains the change and the partial answer is, well it wasn’t co2 .

      Tonyb

    • Mosh

      When I said why 1750? I meant why start at 1750 when climatically there was a much more interesting half century that preceded it.

      Tonyb

    • Real But Exaggerated

      Stations in 1750

      So, can you point me to a map of stations in 1750?
      Do you have any coherent station history? siting policy?
      procedures? equipment?
      Why don’t GISS, or Hadley, or NCDC believe they too can make such a data set?

    • Scott Basinger

      You could fit an elephant in those 1750 error bars…

    • RTFM

    • Steven Mosher

      Tony

      “The science question is what explains the change and the partial answer is, well it wasn’t co2 .”

      And that would be absolute irrelevant to the question at hand.

    • Steven Mosher

      ‘Mosh

      When I said why 1750? I meant why start at 1750 when climatically there was a much more interesting half century that preceded it.

      Tonyb”

      ################

      1. I remain unconvinced you can say anything interesting about the global climate before 1750. even 1750 is a stretch given the error bars.

      2. Folks are free to investigate what they subjectively find interesting.
      I find the change from 1750 to today interesting. Explaining it doesnt require ( in an absolute sense) knowing about anything prior to 1750.

    • Steven Mosher

      Stations in 1750

      So, can you point me to a map of stations in 1750?
      Do you have any coherent station history? siting policy?
      procedures? equipment?
      Why don’t GISS, or Hadley, or NCDC believe they too can make such a data set?

      ############################

      now we see the unscientific skeptic at work.

      1. So, can you point me to a map of stations in 1750?
      This is the first sign. A working scientist understands the state of the science. he keeps current on publications. he does this because he wants to look for gaps to fill, he wants to know about challenges to his own beliefs.
      A good scientist is relentless about keeping current. The faker?
      the faker wants you to play step and fetch it. FETCH IT FOR YOURSELF

      2.Do you have any coherent station history?
      Notice that the fake skeptic doesnt articulate what he means and uses terms that are not well defined. What is a ‘coherent’ station history?
      is it a record of changes? is a record that has no changes? But to answer the question, yes there are coherent histories. Establsihing that is the first step. Where the record is incoherent its dropped. Finally, we can also identify errors is the history.

      3Siting policy. Siting policy is ahrd question because even if you have a policy there is no assurance that the policy was followed. See how a fale sceptic thinks shallowly? he would believe in a policy. Instead we tested whether siting mattered. It did not.

      4. proceedures equipment etc. These are all handled by doing a top down error estimate based on the nugget effect.

      5.Why don’t GISS, or Hadley, or NCDC believe they too can make such a data set?
      a) GISS dont make a data set. they use data made by others.
      b) Hadley make a dataset but their rules for data inclusion dont allow for the use of fragmented records. We used the approach suggested by real skeptics at climate audit and use all the data without arbitrarily throwing away short or fragmented records. All data is used to make the best estimate.
      c) NCDC. NCDC is in fact working on publishing a dataset that will be very close to ours. In terms of series they too use a method which forces them to throw away data.

      Now, if you were a scientist you’d read the literature. but you are not. You’re a potential student of science, but no more free lessons for you. read the literature. Thats how I started in 2007. I stopped asking questions. I went and got the data. I studied what other people did and tried to improve it.
      you know.. science.

    • Steven Mosher

      Scott Basinger | June 5, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
      You could fit an elephant in those 1750 error bars…

      Yup.

      You have what you have.
      Now a faker just looks at that and says.. we know nothing.
      somebody interested in understanding says.. well we know between X and Y how does that help us.

      One is merely critical, the other seeks understanding and knows that ALL understanding is provisional and uncertainty. One sees the ignorance and throws up his hands. the other sees what can be known and moves forward.

      hopefull with some more data recovery the early period error bars will decrease. a couple thousand more stations have been recovered.. we will see.

      a fake skeptic would dismiss this out of hand.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      Mosher, I’m telling you what you already know – not only is your 1750 data worthless and even the 1850 data is worthless because it is likely poor quality and certainly didn’t cover the majority of the earth.

      You can pretend all you want but there’s no way to prove or disprove what the temperature anomalies were when there were not even bad observations to be used.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      And if it’s not falsifiable, it’s not science.

  39. Comment from Peter Spotts, submitted via email:

    Circling back to the original observation on the survey, I’d suggest
    neither skepticism nor ignorance: Most people have too many other things
    on their plates to worry about than what percentage of which scientists
    hold this or that view. For many folks, I suspect, it’s like arguing
    over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I suggest that
    better markers for skepticism or lack thereof among the public appear
    elsewhere in the survey. The vast majority of respondents hold that the
    climate is warming. The margin is so large if the percentages appeared
    as presidential-election results, they would signal a landslide. And the
    survey was conducted after an unusually cold winter, the survey’s
    authors note. The same survey showed that anywhere from a large
    plurality to a slight majority of respondents agree with the statement
    that global warming is mostly human-caused. From a statistical sense,
    both sets of results have been pretty consistent for the past six years.
    Where skepticism might be seen as most evident is in views on the
    immediacy of effects — well into the future rather than here and now. So
    while I’m a fan of genuine scientific skepticism, I’m not sure this
    survey signals anything other that a fairly consistent “consensus” among
    respondents who, even in the face of selection through random sample,
    share already-established views. If that’s the case, I’m not sure anyone
    outside of activists pro or con gives a fig for the presence or absence
    of a consensus among climate scientists.

  40. • Does the source of a claim often make similar claims? Pseudoscientists have a habit of going well beyond the facts. JC comment: Assessment of a claim should be about the argument, not about the source.*

    Yes, ultimately. But as first look, it’s useful look at who and history of who.
    It applies particularly to Greenhouse Effect theory.

  41. There’s philosophical skepticism (“How do I know this is a ball of wax? All I really strictly see is a front surface…”), that’s mostly a male occupation.

    The corresponding female failing is foolishness (“He means well…”).

    See Stanley Cavell for these.

    Both take leave of common sense, which is what we’re seeing in the public.

    If you know a little something about this or that that shows up in climate science, then you know the scientists don’t know what they claim to know. It’s BS like all the other commercials on TV, and all the other anxiety-provokers that the TV news consists of.

    It’s just part of being a grown-up not to fall for it.

    You’ve acquired common sense.

    • –There’s philosophical skepticism (“How do I know this is a ball of wax? All I really strictly see is a front surface…”), that’s mostly a male occupation.

      The corresponding female failing is foolishness (“He means well…”).–

      Males do the 40 years in the desert and sit on mountain tops, females foretell the future,

  42. “It is to find the essential balance between orthodoxy and heresy, between a total commitment to the status quo and the blind pursuit of new ideas, between being open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas and so open-minded that your brains fall out. Skepticism is about finding that balance.””

    No. There should be no such thing as orthodoxy in science, this is a social construct unrelated to any real world workings. Every theoretical position in science is simply a journey to another. Where orthodoxy occurs, it is pretty much by definition policed, although not in fact static, and so to a greater or lesser rate it will evolve, and in fact *away* from reality. A true skeptic will oppose that arbitrary evolution and try to reconnect theory back with real-world observations. A skeptic will also oppose radical new ideas *if* they are similarly distanced from reality (albeit in a different direction). The above quote also implies that only very radical ideas can be ridiculous (‘brains fall out’), but many orthodoxies have been overturned, and long afterwards when embarassment is not an issue, some were considered ridiculous, or at least more ridiculous than some of the prior competing radicalisms. A skeptic is open minded and disciplined enough to refuse orthodoxy, or indeed open minded and disciplined enough to refuse the similar cultural inertia that rise on a wave of radicalism. A skeptic uses observations only as the test, and if they cannot be had he uses the next best things to hand (e.g. proxies or models) yet he/she is scrupulous about maintaining visibility of the introduced errors and problems, plus relies as little as possible on ‘what others said’, at least probing what information has to be used. If the errors / problems are too big, he/she reserves judgement. Both orthodoxy and radicalism can carry cultural inertia that needs to be resisted, but it just so happens that via their long-term nature and hence the accumulating self-interests around them, orthodoxies generally present by far the highest cultural pressure. The quick flare of radicalisms can be hard to resist in a different way though. I’d say the quality a true skeptic most needs between these two, is courage.

    The definitions of skepticism in the head post are themselves tainted by cultural belief in the CAGW consensus, thus had to be bent out of shape to try and accomodate climate skeptics as a ‘special case’. And where these still don’t fit, they are ‘not rational’. Oh dear. Nothing here is in the slightest bit new, only the names of the consensus and the heretics, fill in ‘x’ and ‘y’ throughout history. Outside of medical conditions (a vanishingly small minority), irrationality is tied to the challenge of cherished wordviews. Well we all have worldviews, but the consensus is in part, a consensus on worldview.

  43. Real But Exaggerated

    1. Increased GHGs -> warming
    2. warming -> indirect effects
    3. indirect effects -> impacts ( human and other )
    4. impacts so great ( and exclusively negative ) that -> government action

    This sequence is in the subconscience of all those who care about the issue. All high minded rational pretense only masks the emotions that underlie the final step. Those emotions are either utopian bliss of effective action that averts disaster or dystopian angst of government that can falsely frighten people into doing anything.

    The question ‘Is global warming REAL or a HOAX?’ is the wrong question.
    ‘Global warming is real AND a hoax’ REAL in principle, a HOAX of exaggeration. Step one is real in principle, but exaggerated in extent because GHGs are less than modeled. This comes not from scepticism but adherence to the observations. If GHGs are increasing at rate less than modeled, it follows that every other step is suspect.

  44. JC is a perfect scientist, huge respect!

  45. Excellent post and interesting discussion.
    I wish someone would nominate Judith for AGU’s Climate Communications Prize, which she fully deserves.
    Let’s see if they can show any decency.

  46. Real But Exaggerated

    Here is what GISS indicates as coverage for the GISS-TEMP earliest year ( 1880 ):

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/nmaps.cgi?sat=4&sst=3&type=anoms&mean_gen=0112&year1=1880&year2=1880&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=250&pol=reg

    Europe, US, and India – nothing else on land.
    And I suspect that the ocean data were highly interpolated.
    And I suspect that things were much more sparse in 1750.

    Sorry, when it comes to pronouncements about trends since 1750, colour me skeptical.

  47. Skepticism is what’s left after you strip away the dogma.

  48. Based on my training in physical science (long ago) and years as a working engineer I have been skeptical about CAGW for some time. About six months ago I decided to wade into some of the details surrounding the subject. Maybe I am getting frustrated in retirement as I can’t seem to move the needle on my golf handicap.

    Since then I have found the CE site and many others. I read the APS meeting documents that Curry, Christy and Lindzen participated in. I have read many of the technical posts on CE. I have also waded through many of the comment strings for better or worse. I have read books by Nigel Lawson, Christopher Montford, Donna LaFramboise, Robert Carter and Garth Paltridge. I have read some of AR5 and some of the NIPCC report. I have read everything I can find by Lindzen (and watched videos of his talks). I regularly monitor CE, GWPF, Cato, Climate Audit and several other sites.

    I have gone past skeptic and have become thoroughly pissed off. The UN peon IPCC has been getting away with murder for years. The treatment of Steve McIntyre by the alarmist elite has been shameful. The deceitful misleading statements of the IPCC President are a disgrace. The only accountability the IPCC has is to the UN and it’s quest to control and restructure the world economy. Donna LaFramboise rocks!

    What makes all this even more disgusting is the complicity of the media and left wing politicians in the US.

    As far as CAGW is concerned, I am no longer skeptical. It is a sham perpetuated by a green leftist IPCC abetted by many of the world’s governmental scientific bureaucracies. These are bureaucracies that are getting fat off the public funding teet.

    On the other hand I am inspired by all the brave souls who have been fighting this battle for so long. Lindzen, McIntyre, Curry, Laframboise, Lawson, Carter, Montford, Paltridge, Benny Pile, Christy, Spencer, Singer and countless others.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      OK, I’ll put you down for a ‘No’ on CAGW.

      Can I interest you in some exaggerated AGW?

    • Steven Mosher

      let me give you some advice.

      keep your left arm straight.

      in short, go back to the course

    • More of the looney of the looney conspiracies..

    • ==> ” It is a sham perpetuated by a green leftist IPCC abetted by many of the world’s governmental scientific bureaucracies. These are bureaucracies that are getting fat off the public funding teet. ”

      Conspiracy theories? What conspiracy theories?

    • So, what do you find wrong with Mark’s statements?

      Bureaucracies ARE getting fat off global warming as are some scientists. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just collective stupidity.

    • Oh. Right. It’s a “sham,” perpetrated by governments and scientists and the UN working in sync to control and restructure the world economy.

      But it isn’t a conspiracy.

      My bad.

    • nottawa rafter

      Mosher

      Your free golf lessons make as little sense as your conviction that it has to be CO2. You don’t know that he doesn’t keep his left arm straight. You don’t know that it isn’t something other than CO2.

    • Is collusion to mislead the public and marginalize those that disagree with CAGW a conspiracy? Maybe or maybe not, but it still stinks and it for sure isn’t science.

      Steve Mosher,

      Thanks for the swing tip. As for a straight left arm, been there done that and have moved on. That’s the advice I would give to alarmist elite……….try something else.

    • OK, Steve Mosher I have your book on my Kindle and will read it as well.

    • Mark –

      ==> “Is collusion to mislead the public and marginalize those that disagree with CAGW a conspiracy?”

      My question for you is whether or not believing that the science supporting the theory that ACO2 emissions might significantly affect the climate is a “sham” perpetrated by governments and scientists and the UN working in sync to control and restructure the world economy, is a conspiracy theory?

    • Joshua,

      My question for you is whether or not believing that the science supporting the theory that ACO2 emissions might significantly affect the climate is a “sham” perpetrated by governments and scientists and the UN working in sync to control and restructure the world economy, is a conspiracy theory?

      I take no exception with your words “might significantly affect the climate”. It’s the hysterical alarmism perpetrated by Obama/Kerry/Holdren/Pachauri etal and the IPCC SPM’s that strike me as a “sham”.

  49. Robert I Ellison

    Let me bring this down here. Sceptic and warmist seem both utterly irrelevant. Climate science is not what we have imagined. Abrupt climate change suggests non warming at least for decades – but it comes at a risk of inherent climate instability.

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

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

    Abrupt change in the Earth climate system is a defining idea linking small and large scale patterns in climate. The dynamic evolution of eddies in coupled ocean/atmosphere dynamics – described in first principles by the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid motion – form stochastically forced resonant regimes in the Earth system at all scales in time and space. Clouds, cyclones and anticyclones, storm fronts, hydrological regimes, decadal and longer patterns of ocean and atmospheric circulation and glacials and interglacials.

    Chaos is the paradigm that makes sense for the Earth climate system. The question then is how anthropogenic greenhouse gases affect the system. Wally Boecker calls it poking a stick at a wild and angry beast.

  50. I’m skeptical because none of the reliable data shows ANY warming since 1640 (CETand Armagh surface records) and recently RSS and AMSU satellite. The other data (BEST) has been constantly “adjusted” so you cannot rely on it for anything. Refer to Steven Goddards excellent gatekeeping of NOAA and GISS manipulation of data to show the AGW theory.

  51. Sorry should not have said skeptical, I dont believe any of it(AGW) period

    • Real But Exaggerated

      Well, many things occur, but radiative forcing from carbon dioxide is pretty well understood and that’s part of AGW. Why do you disbelieve CO2 would have a warming effect?

    • Fernando Leanme

      On the other hand why would the feedbacks be always so positive? Why is ocean energy uptake so much lower than the forcing estimated by climate models? As far as I can see there’s a serious mismatch.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Real but Exaggerated

      “Why do you disbelieve CO2 would have a warming effect?”

      Because CO2 has been increasing monotonically since we began monitoring it and temperature hasn’t?

      That don’t prove that it has NO effect, but it implies that its effect is negligible in relation to other factors.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      Ludwick,
      you agree it should have a warming effect.

  52. Political Junkie

    A lurker here trying very hard but with little success to follow the nuances in the Mosher definition of a real skeptic.

    A useful (to me) clarification would be to better understand who these folks who “never propose alternative theories” are? Is the irritating factor at work questioning the ‘IPCC orthodoxy’ or science in general? What demographic is being discussed and roughly how significant a slice of that population is guilty of never ending non-constructive criticism?

    Do significant numbers appear among people earning a living from science, most of the knowledgeable amateur blog denizens here or the handful of ‘crazies’ posting here on either side of the argument?

    These definitions/categories could and should be improved.

    • Robert I Ellison

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

      It is little known by such as Mosher.

    • Steven Mosher

      it’s really not that hard. Spend some time interacting with a person.
      if after a while you find that they exclusively only criticize, if they argue that their only scientific repsonsibility is to criticize, if they confuse one part of science ( falsification) for the whole of science, if they argue that we can never understand or predict the climate, then you can be reasonably confident that you are talking to a fake skeptic, a non scientist.

      I will give you an example of somebody who is not a fake. Willis.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.’ Wally Broecker

      The question is not whether it is ultimately predictable in some imaginary future – but whether it has been understood in the present.

      If we see confident prediction – we can reasonably be sure we are talking to someone with not a clue.

    • ==> “If we see confident prediction – we can reasonably be sure we are talking to someone with not a clue.”

      Too effin’ funny.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Too freaking stupid for words.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Joshua imagines that taking note of the current cool Pacific state and noting that these modes last 20 to 40 years – and that we are 12 years into it – is a prediction.

      It is 20/20 hindsight – but he is so busy inspecting and critiquing other people’s navels that it goes unnoticed.

    • “…the current cool Pacific state…”
      ——
      Aka cool phase of the PDO does not represesent the overall climate system cooling. The conflation of a cool phase PDO and overall climate system loss of energy seems to be a conceptual hurdle many can’t jump over.

  53. As long as everyone is fixated on the average temperature of the Earth, everyone can relax because it very likely will be between 13.7 – 13.8 °C, just as it has since the year 1,000. But, the average global temperature is not what the argument is really about.

    Climate change controversy gets air-time. Although controversies are allegedly about science, often such disputes are used as a proxy for conflicts between alternative visions of what society should be like and about who has authority to promote such visions. ~Mike Hulme

  54. Matthew R Marler

    “Skepticism is a provisional approach to claims. It is the application of reason to any and all ideas — no sacred cows allowed. In other words, skepticism is a method, not a position.”

    That kind of “skepticism”, without doubt, is “belief”. Skepticism regarding a proposition can be a “position”, same as confidence in that proposition is a “position”.

  55. Fernando Leanme

    Reference the Weasel Words article comparing two English speaking with two Spanish papers, I read all of them and I consider the English language coverage more solid. El Pais is my favorite paper (I live in Spain) and the science and environment section sure could use a lot of improvement. The correspondents are weak, make simple mistakes, etc. I’m a native Spanish speaker, I don’t have an axe to grind, so I consider myself unbiased regarding Spanish versus English coverage. For example, el Pais covers other subjects much better and honestly than the USA papers, in areas such as the USA war involvement and Israel the USA papers are extremely weak and don’t tell the USA public the truth. But the USA science coverage is better, therefore the whole deal about comparing the two is meaningless. I can add the one thing people do know around here is that solar power is for the birds.

  56. Does this make sense? They ask:

    “Global warming refers to the idea that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result.”

    64% say “yes”. Fine. Then they ask if it is “caused mostly by human activities.” 52% of those who said yes” above agreed with this statement, which is clealy far outside the current consensus of climate scientists. The IPCC attributes more than half of warming since 1950 to us, with high confidence.

    So not only are half of the people who believe in warming wrong about this important detail, but it appears that those who did the survey are equally misinformed.

    Very strange. Quite the FAIL.

    It’s the essence of the public climate wars that no matter how bad you believe it to be, in fact it is worse.

  57. Before addressing the generic issue of skepticism, first note that Judith began with:
    “ The study finds that one in four think global warming isn’t happening. Further, only one in ten Americans (12%) know that 90% or more scientists have concluded human- caused global warming is happening. More than twice as many Americans – about three in ten (28%) – think fewer than half of climate scientists have reached this conclusion.”
    One of the big problems in discussing climate change is separating out the various levels of alarmist persuasion beliefs, and the degree of skepticism about each level:
    1. Human activity has produced some climate change during the past 120 years.
    2. Human activity has produced most of the climate change of the past 120 years.
    3. Climate models are capable of predicting how the earth will respond to further generation of CO2 in the future.
    4. Continued use of fossil fuels at projected rates will lead to disastrous consequences for the earth this century.
    5. The only way to save the world is through immediate draconian ramp down of fossil fuel usage.
    6. It is technically possible to provide adequate affordable energy to the world while draconically reducing fossil fuel usage. All we need is the political will.
    The problem is that I am not skeptical at all about #1, but as you go down the list I become increasingly skeptical. So, in most discussions of climate change, it is not clear what we are discussing, and in canvassing the public regarding climate change, the questions are often limiting and misleading. One could, for example be non-skeptical on items #1 through #5, but then if you are highly doubtful about #6, the inevitable conclusion is eat, drink and be merry for the apocalypse will surely come.
    In regard to the generic issue of skepticism,
    A. Glassman is right. Science is about predictions, rather than explanations. Explanations after the fact only have value if they allow one to predict the outcome of future experiments. The problem with climate science is innate. It takes so long to test a prediction that the predictors are dead and buried by the time the data become available. Furthermore, the data are often ambiguous.
    B. Mosher says: “The job of the scientist is to provide an explanation, the best explanation for the evidence”. Not so. The job of the scientist is to observe phenomena, incorporate these data into a model that encompasses the known data, and test the model by predicting the outcome of future experiments. If Dessler plots cloud cover vs. temperature and gets an X-Y area filled with data points randomly dispersed, should he fit the best almost horizontal line through the data, or should he conclude that other factors than temperature, probably random, determine cloud cover? Is a bad explanation better than no explanation, particularly when that explanation can lead to public policies costing trillions of dollars to fight imagined phantom threats?
    C. Mosher says: “One could define a climate science skeptic as someone who denies the existing paradigm and refuses to offer some course of resolving the issue or some competing theory that explains the facts more completely”. The climate skeptic does not “refuse to offer a competing theory”. First of all, there are many breeds of climate skeptics. Some offer the competing theory that the whole thing is natural variation, or the Sun, or cosmic radiation, or whatever. Others, like myself, are unable to supply a competing theory. I accept that rising CO2 exerts a force tending to raise earth temperatures, but the climate seems to be affected by more things than greenhouse gases, and these other factors can outweigh the effects of greenhouse gases. Periods of El Nino dominance seem to be related to periods of temperature gain. No one understands why. It seems likely that temperatures will continue to rise in the 21st century, but how much? Who can believe the modelers when the response of clouds remains almost complete not understood?
    D. The problem with climate science is innate. It takes so long to test a prediction that the predictors are dead and buried by the time the data become available. Furthermore, the data are often ambiguous. Usually there are more variables involved than allowed for by predictors, and they couldn’t predict those parameters anyway.

    • nottawa rafter

      Great analysis! There is nothing wrong with a scientist simply saying ‘I don’t know’. In other fields they say it all the time. In climate science apparently you are viewed as a doofus if you are honest and admit to it.
      I have much more confidence in someone who admits to being human than someone who is just blowing smoke to impress.

    • What skepticism amounts to in this particular case is “It’s not that, but we don’t know what it is”. This is not a scientific view, unless a reason for the first statement is given. It is no good to say it is not that, but I don’t know why it is not that. This is just called denial, or something.

  58. Mooney complaining about “weasel word” use by others is like Yoko Ono complaining about Pavarotti’s singing.

  59. Bad Andrew

    “My hypothesis is that we call people scientists when they offer explanations.”

    Another gaping hole in Mosher’s position is that not all explanations are scientific.

    Why is he wasting our time with this nonsense?

    Andrew

    • Steven Mosher

      actually it is your logic error

      Bad Andrew | June 5, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Reply
      “My hypothesis is that we call people scientists when they offer explanations.”

      Another gaping hole in Mosher’s position is that not all explanations are scientific.

      offering an explanation is Necessary but not suffiecient.

      That means if you dont offer explanations you can never be a scientist,
      and if you DO that you might be scientist depending on whether or not your explanation was a scientific one.

      Dont confuse necessary and sufficient

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: That means if you dont offer explanations you can never be a scientist,

      Really? How general is that? About an explanation for gravity Newton wrote “Hypotheses non fingo.” Did he stop being a “scientist” when he wrote that, or did he merely stop being a “gravitational scientist”? Has anyone ever offered up an explanation for how the measured speed of light can be independent of the relative speed of the source and the measuring instrument; even as the measured frequency (hence wavelength) is dependent on the relative speed? Is there an explanation for why entropy always increases unless there is a net inflow of energy?

      It seems to me you are asserting as universal some propositions for which the number of known exceptions is too high to enumerate.

    • Steven Mosher

      Mathew

      “Really? How general is that? About an explanation for gravity Newton wrote “Hypotheses non fingo.” Did he stop being a “scientist” when he wrote that, or did he merely stop being a “gravitational scientist”?

      perhaps I should have been more clear. Read again the quote I am arguing about with Judith

      “Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy — criticize your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science.”

      Newton says. I frame no hypothesis. Note that he does not argue that a hypothesis is not possible. Note that he does not exclusively and strictly criticize, and note most importantly that he remained dedicated to the process of explaining. In short he never makes the following argument

      “Its not my job to explain”

      THAT is the key issue I am talking about. it is one thing to stand before a mystery of nature and be silent. We all can do that. The scientist is the man who can say.. I frame no hypothesis YET, but its my job to figure this out”

    • Who cares who is called a scientist?

      The post is “What is skepticism anyway.”

      Mosher only got off on this “who’s a scientist” nonsense because he argued with a simple, straight forward comment by Dr. Curry:

      “JC comment: I really disagree with this one. It implies that someone who is unconvinced by a proponent’s explanation needs to have their own better explanation. The alternative is ‘we don’t know, your explanation is unconvincing.’ In climate science, the alternative explanation is the null hypothesis of natural variability, which in itself its highly complex and not well understood.”

      This is where we part company.”

      And what was the comment to which Dr.Curry voiced disagreement?

      “Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy — criticize your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science.”

      Shermer claimed the “stratagem” of criticizing someone else’s explanation for a phenomenon was not “acceptable in science.”

      Dr. Curry rightly found this to be rubbish. Mosher “parted company”with her on that, supporting the idiotic view that critical analysis of a hypothesis is not “science” unless you raise a competing theory.

      A whole series of commenters called Mosher on his il-logic, and he has been trying to change the topic ever since.

      According to these two geniuses, the fellows who were taking measurements to prove/disprove Eintstein’s theory of general relativity, at Einstein’s behest, were not “doing science.”

      Nowhere anywhere else in the post or thread was anyone talking about who is a scientist or not, until the Climate Etc Obscurantist in Chief got called out on a dumb argument.

      I would say he is thread-jacking, but I just think his ego won’t let him back off.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: perhaps I should have been more clear. Read again the quote I am arguing about with Judith

      Taken all together, I think that your propositions are inconsistent, except for those that I think are also false as written. I have quoted a bunch of them.

      THAT is the key issue I am talking about. it is one thing to stand before a mystery of nature and be silent. We all can do that. The scientist is the man who can say.. I frame no hypothesis YET, but its my job to figure this out”

      Make up your mind. Is it the job of scientists to “try to figure this out”, or must the scientist also proffer alternative explanations (as you wrote) in order for his or her empirical research to be respected? What exactly is your case against people who to date have pointed out that every explanation proffered so far is inadequate? Are the arguments to be ignored because the review papers propose no alternatives? Are their grant proposals not to be funded before they write up alternative theories.

      At present there is no theory that is sufficiently complete and accurate to support a public policy with respect to reducing CO2. That does not mean anybody has to support the “consensus” just because no other theory is sufficiently complete accurate either.

    • steven, i find your emphasis on positiveness quite scary. c. s. lewis pointed out something crucial about clever people. he taught clever students about spenser and other authors of shakespeare’s time and earlier. these writers said a lot of things in a way we don’t use any longer. the students had a choice to either be disciplined and look up these passages or else guess what they meant. the cleverer they were the easier to make up something plausible rather than doing the hard work. if they guessed they never got it right. we always need to be very diligent in our discipline or we’ll waste enormous amounts of time chasing guesses we should have discarded long ago. this is a characteristic disease of clever ones.

    • Steven Mosher

      Mathew

      “Make up your mind. Is it the job of scientists to “try to figure this out”, or must the scientist also proffer alternative explanations (as you wrote) in order for his or her empirical research to be respected? What exactly is your case against people who to date have pointed out that every explanation proffered so far is inadequate? Are the arguments to be ignored because the review papers propose no alternatives? Are their grant proposals not to be funded before they write up alternative theories.

      ###########
      you miss the argument again so lets repeat it.

      “Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy — criticize your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science”

      My explication of this as is follows.
      What we know about the structure of scientific understanding is that it is always inadequate. There is always something that is unexplained, always something more to be known. The data never fits the theory perfectly, we call that residual “error” or “uncertainty” which is really nothing more than an acknowledgement of the provisional and incomplete nature of scientific knowledge. Consequently it is always possible to do nothing but criticize. When you find someone who is STRICTLY and EXCLUSIVELY criticizing, when you find someone who

      A) never ever offers a counter explanation Or
      B) claims that understanding is impossible Or
      C) Says its not their job to explain
      Then they are not doing science.

      As I argued it is very often hard to draw this line. You might spend a considerable time debunking theories, but at some point you must attempt to explain, you must attempt to improve the inadequate.. because all science is inadequate. If you never make an attempt to explain, or lay out the conditions required to explain, if you never articulate what it would take to change your mind, then you have crossed the line. So if you lived your whole science life an only did criticism.. I guess i wouldnt call your scientist.

      Now lets answer your questions

      1.must the scientist also proffer alternative explanations?
      at some point in their life it is their job to. If they never make an effort,
      if they say all efforts are doomed, then they are not aiming at what science aims at.

      2.What exactly is your case against people who to date have pointed out that every explanation proffered so far is inadequate.

      A) They are pointing out something that is true of ALL SCIENCE.
      all science is inadequate. There is always something unexplained.
      all science is provisional.
      B) If this is all they do, they are doing philosophy, not science.
      the job of the scientist is to improve what we know. That requires
      two steps: find what is inadequate and fix it.

    • As Gary M has pointed out repeatedly and Mosher has not responded to, Mosher is illegitimately trying to shift the debate from “what is legitimate skepticism” to “whom should I call a scientist?” While I think Mosher is also wrong on the second question as a normative matter, it is irrelevant since Prof. Curry is attacking the first question and disagreeing with Shermer there.

      Mosher’s dodges here do him little credit.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Stephen Mosher: My explication of this as is follows.
      What we know about the structure of scientific understanding is that it is always inadequate. There is always something that is unexplained, always something more to be known.

      Theories are always incomplete, but some, like Newton’s laws of motion together his gravitational law, are demonstrably accurate enough for some purposes. You miss or ignore that I constantly repeat phrases like “demonstrably accurate enough” and “not demonstrably accurate enough”, that I refer to the purposes for which knowledge is used, and you always confuse my case against the accuracy and usefulness of the AGW “consensus” with a case that it is merely inadequate in some abstract sense.

      1.must the scientist also proffer alternative explanations?
      at some point in their life it is their job to. If they never make an effort,
      if they say all efforts are doomed, then they are not aiming at what science aims at.

      Which are you writing of, people who claim that a current explanation is inaccurate or inadequate to a purpose, or people who say that “all efforts are doomed”? You start with one and slide onto the other. I have not written that all efforts are doomed, so you’ll have to take that up with someone who has written it. A few people have written that climate can never be predicted because the system is chaotic; I have offered two counterarguments against that claim: (1) that some chaotic systems can be predicted reasonably accurately for at least a few cycles; (2) statistical summaries over time and space can be predicted with reasonable accuracy for some chaotic systems. However, the claim that climate can never be predicted with sufficient accuracy to be useful for planning might be true, despite my counterarguments. Because it might be true, there is no lack of “true scientist” in making the claim, as long as it is addressed with respect to relevant evidence.

      It is analogous to my claim that the climate system, as a high dimensional non-linear dissipative system with fluctuating input can’t have an “equilibrium”; there is plenty of support in the literature on high dimensional non-linear dissipative systems even with uniform surfaces and uniform input; but I have not left it there, I have shown how the equilibrium assumption has an associated error (following the example of Pierrehumbert in his “Principles of Planetary Climate”) that makes it inadequate for planning purposes here on Earth. One of the errors of approximation comes from using ^4 in place of the unknown , and there are errors from ignoring the fluctuations in the input, and the non-homogeneity of the Earth surface.

      2.What exactly is your case against people who to date have pointed out that every explanation proffered so far is inadequate.

      A) They are pointing out something that is true of ALL SCIENCE.
      all science is inadequate. There is always something unexplained.
      all science is provisional.
      B) If this is all they do, they are doing philosophy, not science.
      the job of the scientist is to improve what we know. That requires
      two steps: find what is inadequate and fix it.

      As I wrote, it is not “true” that “all science” is “inadequate”. It is true that all science is provisional and that always something is not explained. One of the things lacking in this debate, or usually lacking, illustrated by your posts, is the notion of the “accuracy of the approximation”. A theory (like the GCMs, or the equilibrium approximations worked in detail by Pierrehumbert) may be informative while at the same time being too inaccurate for any purpose other than guiding future research; and the complementary point that a theory known to be incomplete can yet be accurate enough for some purposes. The classic example is Newton’s laws, replaced for some purposes by Einstein’s laws, but still used for guiding interplanetary exploration.

      If you never make an attempt to explain, or lay out the conditions required to explain, if you never articulate what it would take to change your mind, then you have crossed the line. So if you lived your whole science life an only did criticism.. I guess i wouldnt call your scientist.

      Which is your point, never make an attempt to explain, or never lay out the conditions required to explain, or never lay out conditions required to change [my] mind? That’s three different points. You focus on “only … criticism”. Does anybody in particular do that? Plenty of CO2 skeptics cite with approval all kinds of empirical research such as the evidence that the climate is always changing and that CO2 molecules absorb and emit light in the same spectrum as emitted by the Earth “effective” surface. Some have gone so far as to respect the claim that CO2 has helped to keep the Earth warm; some have pointed to other helpful effects of CO2 such as stimulating (indeed “feeding”) faster plant growth. Is there anyone who has only done criticism?

      In debating policies and research priorities, it is certainly worth pointing out that there is no theory adequate to support policies with any confidence, while the theories may usefully guide the next research. To take myself as another example, I have highlighted how important it might be to know how much the rate of evaporation from the non-dry parts of the Earth might change in response to an increase in DWLWIR of about 3.7w/m^2. Lots of critics of CO2 “consensus” have advocated increased study of clouds. So again, who is there who has done “only criticism”?

    • Matthew R Marler

      mrm: approximation comes from using ^4 in place of the unknown ,

      That is supposed to be “using (mean T)^4 in place of the unknown mean (T^4)”.

      sorry

  60. Skepticism is the loading everything on ‘attribution of the human component’ of GW. Proves humans are evil and need to be supressed

  61. “Then I attended the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Monterey, Calif., where former vice president Al Gore delivered the single finest summation of the evidence for global warming I have ever heard, based on the recent documentary film about his work in this area, An Inconvenient Truth. The striking before-and-after photographs showing the disappearance of glaciers around the world shocked me out of my doubting stance.” – Michael Shermer

    Skepticism is when you see the names Al Gore and Michael Shermer and your eyes roll reflexively upward. If you are a true skeptic, you won’t be able to help it. The pupils will just do it.

    Skepticism is when you see those three letters TED and you make the sound: “Uh-oh”.

    On the other hand, if you are sitting in a TED audience feeling you are finally with your kind of people, and you just can’t wait to sigh, grin, pout, laugh or clap (appropriately) when the other TED people do likewise…then you are likely of the New Class, (formerly known as the Herd of Independent Minds) and you are NOT a skeptic. Not even close.

  62. It is to find the essential balance between orthodoxy and heresy, between a total commitment to the status quo and the blind pursuit of new ideas, between being open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas and so open-minded that your brains fall out. Skepticism is about finding that balance.

    That balance. That productive middle ground. I do not know if Mosher would agree, but a skeptics could be more productive if they had some role beyond criticism.

    Critics may be too far into the tearing down mode. Creation, now that’s something else.

  63. I agree that you do not have to provide an alternative explanation to be doing good science.

    You could do nothing but write papers showing the lack of ability to replicate someone’s science, and be advancing science and have a good career.

    So I part ways with Mosher on this issue. I can move the line all the way over to no explanation, other than “I tried to replicate your experiment and couldn’t do it” and find that this can be high quality science.

    Not only can this sort of science help ferret out fraud (which is good science all by itself), but it can save untold billions of dollars by preventing further research which is going down the wrong path (or showing that the “path” is based on fraudulent data).

    I vaguely recall a paper which showed the inability to replicate a technique for taking cells back to a pluripotent state, which turned out to be fake. That is good science, even if the authors have no idea how to actually get the cell back to a pluripotent state using the purported technique.

    The relevance to climate science is that showing that the climate models are not making valid forecasts is very valuable to policy makers who think the models are actually making good predictions. Even just showing that the error bars are wrong on a previous prediction is good science.

    Providing an alternative explanation (which turned out to be correct) would be wonderful – but it is certainly not necessary to be a good scientist (in my opinion).

  64. What is skepticism, anyway?

    by Judith Curry

    Well now, “This might be interesting” methinks to myself.

    Well, until I read the first sentence.

    ==> “Two recent essays on skepticism stimulate reflections on both the scientific consensus and the high level of public skepticism.”

    So before even seeking to address the question of the title of the post, Judith makes it quite clear that she already assumes a definition?

    What we see is a high level of “skepticism?” How do we know that what we see isn’t a high level of motivated reasoning that leads people to identify themselves as skeptics even though their thinking about climate change isn’t particularly skeptical?

    Folks assuming definitions in ways that confirm their biases.

    Personally, I loved the ink blot image of a “skeptic” presented by Muller.

    “Skeptic #1”: “Muller’s a “skeptic.”
    “Skjeptic #2”: “Muller isn’t a “skeptic.”

    One would think that first Judith would try to define what a skeptic is before determining how prevalent they are.

    Same ol’ same ol.

  65. This is also quite interesting.

    When I use the word ‘skepticism’, I use it strictly in context of the Mertonian norms of science: Skepticism means that scientific claims must be exposed to critical scrutiny before being accepted.

    Large %’s of “skeptics” don’t even understand the scientific claims well-enough to scrutinize them. Large %’s of “skeptics” don’t even know what the scientific claims actually are.

    One would think that someone who is interested in understanding the phenomenon of climate “skepticism” (note the quotation marks), would have read up on the work of folks like Kahan, which show overwhelming evidence that views on climate change, for the vast majority (on both sides, of course), are not based on scrutiny of the science.

    Have you read that evidence, Judith?

    • “which show overwhelming evidence that views on climate change, for the vast majority (on both sides, of course), are not based on scrutiny of the science.”

      And lots of them come on climate sites calling other people names like “denier” and “fake skeptic” thus printing out new skeptics because the only arguments they have is the appeal to authority.

      And lots of cranks and kooks come on with crackpot theories of physics and thermodynamics who provide them plenty of fodder for the broad brush characterizations.

      Essentially, there is no possibility of reasoned discussion, so people have to draw their own conclusions as best they can.

      As a simple matter of tactics, I think you guys would do far better to just ignore the kooks, tempting targets as they may be, and keep your eye on the ball of people who are sincerely trying to understand the issues. Those people have influence with their friends who don’t read climate blogs because their friends tend to trust their judgments in other matters, due to their honest attempts to understand other things in life.

      Naah!

    • ==> “And lots of them come on climate sites calling other people names like “denier” and “fake skeptic” thus printing out new skeptics because the only arguments they have is the appeal to authority”

      I’m not sure what “printing out new skeptics” was referring to – but from what I get I agree. The climate wars are quite interesting in that a large swath of the public have fairly strong views on the science, even though they don’t know enough of it to apply scrutiny, and even though they are largely ignorant of what the science actually says.

      ==> “And lots of cranks and kooks come on with crackpot theories of physics and thermodynamics who provide them plenty of fodder for the broad brush characterizations.”

      Two responses to that: (1) I see a lot of people who seem to me to be very knowledgeable and very smart, who have unpopular beliefs about physics and thermodynamics. Like the vast, vast majority of people who have views about climate science, I am not capable of evaluating their arguments. The fact that you simply call them a “kook” or a “crank” doesn’t do it for me. Since I don’t sign on for the “appeal to authority” brand of reasoning, I don’t dismiss them as “cranks and kooks” merely because you call them such, or because they don’t show up on Judith’s radar. (2) Sure, many “realists” inflate the numbers of “skeptics” who have unpopular beliefs about physics and thermodynamics. That would be evidence of motivated reasoning. Of course, on the other side, so would it be evidence of motivated reasoning when “skeptics” diminish the number of “skeptics” who hold those unpopular beliefs. I believe I see that happening a great deal. For example, consider the oft’ read belief that “most “skeptics” don’t doubt that the earth is warming, and that CO2 plays a role.” Then, take a gander:

      http://www.culturalcognition.net/storage/stillpolarized.png?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1401811149634

      ==> “As a simple matter of tactics, I think you guys would do far better to just ignore the kooks, tempting targets as they may be, and keep your eye on the ball of people who are sincerely trying to understand the issues.’

      Please define “you guys.”

      ==> “and keep your eye on the ball of people who are sincerely trying to understand the issues. …”

      That might be an interesting discussion – the one about who is sincerely trying to understand the issues. I would suggest that as a step towards that discussion, do some research on what Kahan has to say about cultural cognition. I think that the evidence he provides is very useful for evaluation who is sincerely trying to understand the issues.

    • See Joshua, you think this is a propaganda problem, a sociological problem, a problem to be solved psychologically. I will read your link, but it won’t answer a single question re the the scientific and intellectual foundation of the “consensus.”

    • TJA –

      ==> “, but it won’t answer a single question re the the scientific and intellectual foundation of the “consensus.”

      I wasn’t suggesting that it would. It is completely irrelevant to the scientific foundation of the science of climate change.

      It is relevant to the nature of “skepticism” and it is relevant to the nature of your previous comment — related to what would or wouldn’t influence beliefs.

    • “Large %’s of “skeptics” don’t even understand the scientific claims well-enough to scrutinize them. Large %’s of “skeptics” don’t even know what the scientific claims actually are.”

      I guess this is so much different than the “”””””””””””””””””AGW Advocates””””””””””””””””””””

      Looks like we are definitely heading to at least a 40% extinction rate really, really, soon.

    • ==> “I guess this is so much different than the “”””””””””””””””””AGW Advocates””””””””””””””””””””

      You see, TOM – that kind of thinking is an example of how you so often fail basic tests of skepticism.

      Joshua | June 5, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Reply

      …which show overwhelming evidence that views on climate change, for the vast majority (on both sides, of course), are not based on scrutiny of the science.

      Yes – that is what his evidence shows. If you bothered to read his evidence, you’d know that. Just like if you bothered to read what I write before responding, you wouldn’t display a lack of skepticism.

      Maybe.

      Well, it couldn’t hurt, anyway.

    • That was it? I saved some time for a deep read on “cultural cognition” and I get a single graph of something that has been obvious to anybody engaged in the debate for more than a decade?

      One interpretation is that people who are more skeptical tend not to trust the govt to have all of the answers and that those who bow to authority reflexively tend to accept whatever the government tells them.

    • TJA –

      Just a quick tour around the site will net a significant amount of information about cultural cognition.

      The graph I linked was with reference to a specific point, and I linked it in context related to that specific point.

      ==> “I get a single graph of something that has been obvious to anybody engaged in the debate for more than a decade?”

      And apparently you missed that context. Please read what I wrote again. Read the context related directly to the link. And then look at the link again.

      You will see that the graph provides evidence in direct conflict with something that we read many times in the “skept-o-sphere,” something that is regarded as an article of faith by quite a number of “denzens,” something that prominent “skeptics” such as Judith and Anthony Watts contradict even though they have no actual evidence (other than anecdotal evidence based on their own personal experiences and not in any way controlled for bias) to support their assertion.

      The poll isn’t perfect evidence, but the evidence it presents is, clearly, not something that is “obvious to anyone engaged in the debate for more than a decade.”

    • Sorry Josh. Not buying it. If you start from the assumption that the science is clearly flawless and correct to anybody who is thinking “correctly” and pathologize any who question it, ascribing their “denial” to political leanings and therefore invalid, then sure, sounds great. The Soviets used to use psychiatrists similarly.

      The problem is that there are so many holes in the science that so many refuse to acknowledge due to leftward political leanings, I could use it to demonstrate that to be leftward leaning proves that you have a lousy handle on statistics, given that so many on the left accept the hockey stick. And a lousy handle on logic, since so many refuse to accept the limitations of models and do accept the idea that models prove anything in the physical world.

      The entire case amounts to CO2 traps heat, which it does. Beyond that, to get any kind of quantification of this effect, beyond a bare bones calculation without feedback, which is something like 1.2 C per doubling, depends on assumptions built into models. Keep building the models, by all means. They are needed to advance the state of knowledge. Don’t pretend, however, that they prove there is a crisis.

    • TJA –

      I honestly don’t see any clear link between your responses and the comments of mine that you’re responding to.

      Here, let me try again. If you don’t want to stay on point this time, I’ll just drop it.

      I was talking about the nature of skepticism, and whether or not “skeptics” (with quotes) are skeptics (w/o quotes).

      As an example of the lack of skepticism among many “skeptics,” I referred to the oft’ heard claim that “most ‘skeptics’ don’t doubt that the climate is warming and that ACO2 warms the climate, they only question the “consensus” views on sensitivity.”

      They make those claims without providing any validate evidence. They make that claim because of their anecdotal observations and their personal experiences. They don’t even try to control for biases such as confirmation bias or observer bias. In contrast, I provided a link to empirical evidence that shows that their claims are wrong. That is why they are “skeptics,” – because unlike skeptics, they are absolutely certain about conclusions that would not be supported by due skeptical scrutiny.

      • I think the pause is evidence that climate sensitivity is lower than the models indicate.

        I think that the complete double down defense of the Hockey Stick, despite its clear flaws, is an indication that there is some kind of groupthink going on in mainstream climate science. This is evidence.

        I think the recent shunning (worthy of a particularly conservative ordnung of the Amish) of Bengtsson for associating with the GWPF is a sign not of strong science, but more evidence of groupthink.

        I think the complete refusal to acknowledge that “hide the decline” was about not showing clearly that the proxies chosen diverged from the temperature line, thus raising doubts about their accuracy.

        I think that the dishonest attacks on Steve McIntyre are evidence, not of a robust scientific debate with the intent of discovery the best approximation of the truth we can get, but more signs of an enforced orthodoxy where outsiders are punished.

        Climategate was evidence that peer review could be gamed, and the funny thing is, that the content of those emails could have been predicted by anybody who followed ClimateAudit.

        I think the recent leak of the discussion forum of SkS indicates that that site was more interested in discrediting opponents than showing why they were wrong. Answering arguments was the stated mission of SkS. This is more evidence of an enforced orthodoxy,

        The Catholic Church used to be in the business of enforcing orthodoxy. I thought that this was a lesson learned as part of the Enlightenment. What I see instead is a rejection of Enlightenment values of open discourse and the honest debate of ideas and the search for knowledge wherever it takes us.

        Attacks on Judith Curry as a “serial disinformer” among other accusations for having the temerity to open a dialog with skeptics is more evidence.

        So I have a lot of evidence for my skepticism of mainstream climate science.

      • Oh yeah, and the description of model runs as “experiments” is another BS detector trip wire.

  66. ‘When the facts change what do you do, Sir?’

    This letter and Karl Popper set me on a journey that took
    me to Climate Audit’s hockey stick review and skepticism
    of the consensus position.

    http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=313&Itemid=32

    • Beth, great link.

    • bob droege

      Point 1. I am skeptical that we currently have the technology to detect the hotspot, specifically the ability to measure the temperature accurately at the altitudes that the hotspot is to occur at 2x CO2. Look at the RSS website and how the temperature with altitude profiles of each of the detectors, which ones would you use to detect the hotspot?

      The old absence of evidence is evidence of absence? Reminds me of the neutrino problem.

      Point 2. How about a graph comparing CO2 levels to temperature, that surely is evidence that CO2 causes warming, it needs more, specifically a mechanism, put that comes from the Infared absorption and emission by CO2.

      Point 3. The all the global warming vanished, that is so 2008, a bit of natural variability, it has since recovered and record highs are back in the news.

      Point 4. Yes, ice cores show CO2 rises after temperature, but who ever said CO2 was the only thing that affects temperature. I’ll remind you that the ice cores are silent on the question of what happens when CO2 rises first, as this is the current experiment in progress.

      Be skeptical, look at what RSS actually measures and tell me it is relevant. Give me a precise estimate of how far off the models are and if that is good enough for you. If you look at an anomoly before you measure the discrepancy I am going to be skeptical.

      Me I am skeptical of global warming, in that I will examine the evidence before coming to a conclusion. And if new evidence comes to light, I will change my conclusion.

    • Rob Starkey

      + lots to Bob Droege’s last sentence

    • bob droege

      Thanks for reading that far!

      And I never criticize Ringo. He is better than best.

  67. Interesting:

    Here is a litmus test for SkS skepticism: can you find any critical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research?

    First, let’s try applying Judith’s criteria in an even-handed manner:

    Here is a litmus test for Judith’s skepticism: can you find any critical statements from Judith about any # of “skeptics'” research? How about the tribalism of “skeptic” scientists?

    Second – Let’s try applying Judith’s criteria in an even-handed manner:

    JC comment: Assessment of a claim should be about the argument, not about the source.

    • BTW –

      I might add that I agree with Judith – “skepticism” involves a broad application of scrutiny, and claims should not be evaluated on the basis of their source.

      Think about it.

    • –Interesting:

      Here is a litmus test for SkS skepticism: can you find any critical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research?

      First, let’s try applying Judith’s criteria in an even-handed manner:

      Here is a litmus test for Judith’s skepticism: can you find any critical statements from Judith about any # of “skeptics’” research? How about the tribalism of “skeptic” scientists?–

      So “logically” SKS are bunch of liars, and judith is not be a skeptic.

      But It seems there little doubt about Judith being skeptical but that doesn’t change the obvious- which is that SKS are not scientific.

      But don’t let that deter you from your silly ankle biting,

    • gbaikie –

      ==> “So “logically” SKS are bunch of liars, and judith is not be a skeptic.”

      Please define “skeptic.” What is skepticism, anyway?

      What are your definitions that don’t describe Judith?

    • –Please define “skeptic.” What is skepticism, anyway?–

      I would say skepticism is based upon the knowledge that humans are not anywhere near “the end of science”.
      And therefore I would imagine when skeptics hears someone claim the “science is settled”, they *should* have a clue that it’s politician [liar] saying it and for the purpose of politically repressing scientific investigation.

      “What are your definitions that don’t describe Judith?”

      I have not had the need of having definitions to describe Judith.

      Judith has a blog which is interesting.
      What more would one need?

      [There are number of other blogs which are mostly about the bloggers- but in my opinion, they tend to not be very interesting.]

    • gbaikie –

      ==> “I have not had the need of having definitions to describe Judith.”

      Dude. You said “Judith is not be a skeptic.” On what basis did you make that determination? For you to make such a statement, you have to have a definition in mind.

      So what is it?

  68. Steven Mosher

    30:1

    • bob droege

      So today you appear to be among the 30, yet earlier this week it seems you were with the one!

      Need some meds or lost control of your password?

      Agent provocateur?

    • Steven Mosher

      I meant 30 of you against me.

      Judith and I dont agree on everything. Sometimes she drives me crazy.
      I like that.

  69. From one of those in the “public sphere”, two observations:
    1. As I was taught, Einstein was working on a problem involving inconsistent observations involving light when he discovered the theory of relativity. Would you not say that those who discovered those inconsistencies were true scientists? Or did they have answer the problem to be true scientist?
    2. On public opinion: consider the two facts that public trust in government is at an all time low and that government is pushing CAWG.

  70. I am impressed. Most of the responses to this posting seem to be intelligently thought out, one way or the other, often sticking to the topic, and relatively few have sunk back into the morass of asserting whether AGW is real or fake. It still amazes me though, that we can say so much about a topic (climate change) that we so little understand. Perhaps that is it. If we knew more about it we’d have less to say because the answer would be evident.

  71. Jim Macdonald

    The scientific method doesn’t start with a wild prediction of a 20 ft. rise in sea level over the next 25 years, as did James Hansen in 1986. It is the testing of a theory using something such as climate models and their ability to make valid predictions on new independent data. In that respect they have failed, predicting warming when none occurred, casting serious doubt on the whole theory of AGW.

  72. “Has anyone gone out of the way to disprove the claim, or has only confirmatory evidence been sought? JC comment: Seeking only confirmatory evidence is the biggest problem with the IPCC’s negotiated consensus
    Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy — criticize your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science. JC comment: I really disagree with this one”

    Well, this is interesting. These two are basically different sides of the same coin.
    If someone proposes that global warming has ceased, we would expect that the same standards apply in evaluating this sceptically, not just seeking “confirmatory evidence”, which would be just contrarianism.
    ………………..

    “Do the claimants’ personal beliefs and biases drive the conclusions, or vice versa? JC comment: BINGO. This is the problem with scientists as advocates.”

    Of course, this does not apply to Judith’s advocacy.
    ………………….

    “JC comment: Uh, there’s a third category of skeptics – scientists (like me) doing their job to provide critical scrutiny to consensus scientific claims. Here is a litmus test for SkS skepticism: can you find any critical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research?”

    Wonderful!
    Judith self-defines her own category,(all good and wholesome of course) and then produces her own test to judge others against this based on her long-running obsession and personal grudge against…who else!….but Michael Mann.
    Thank god Judith’s “personal beliefs and biases” don’t “drive the conclusions”.

    Let me do a Judith; A litmus test for Judith’s belief in rational skepticism – can you find any critical statements here from Judith on Steve McIntyre?

    • => “Of course, this does not apply to Judith’s advocacy.”

      Or to how she defines “advocacy.”

      Funny how that works, ain’t it?

    • Michael: You make the impotent (WHT) seem virile.

      It doesn’t take Steve McIntyre to disprove Mann’s ‘Stick. It does not pass the straight-face test to anyone who has ever done considerable mapping of the earth’s history. You, and your SkepSci pals, of all people should despise MMann for single-highhandedly derailing the IPCC. It is people like Drs Curry and Pielke jr who could actually achieve real political consensus rather than the fake academic consensus you require Dr Lew to anoint with comforting psychobabble. Keep believing that your side has a marketing problem that has nothing to do with your monochromatic shrill demands for unearned respect.

    • Rud Istvan

      Michael, the answer to your presumedly rhetorical questions is yes, I did. And published them in a book you have evidently not read. As to SM, we co published there and here on the Marcott mess. You are obviously deficient in memory as well as net search techniques.
      As the Harvard Ig Nobel Awards go, you ran out of time. The little girl is now crying “please stop, I’m bored…”

    • John Carpenter

      “Do the claimants’ personal beliefs and biases drive the conclusions, or vice versa? JC comment: BINGO. This is the problem with scientists as advocates.”

      Of course, this does not apply to Judith’s advocacy.
      …………………………….

      Of course she has personal beliefs and biases because… Well because everyone has them. Duh

      Of course she advocates…. Well because everyone advocates for something. Duh x 2

      Can you point to an instance where she has claimed otherwise?

    • So John –

      ==> “Of course she advocates…. Well because everyone advocates for something. Duh x 2”

      When Judith says this: “This is the problem with scientists as advocates.”

      Do you agree that her science is problematic because she is an advocate?

      What is the non-arbitrary (in the sense of not relying on subjective criteria) is used to determine when advocacy is a “problem” and when it isn’t?

      I don’t think advocacy is a “problem.” I think that bias is a problem. And I think that a selective attitude, based on bias, is a problem.

    • John Carpenter

      “What is the non-arbitrary (in the sense of not relying on subjective criteria) is used to determine when advocacy is a “problem” and when it isn’t?”

      Joshua, I’m not sure that it can be non-arbitrarily measured in the way you ask. My observation….I have seen her make the argument that scientists who advocate for a single policy, as if it were the only real policy that is available, can be harmful to science. The example she uses is mitigation of CO2. If a climate scientist claims that his/her research shows evidence that CO2 levels are causing GW and the only solution to the problem of stopping warming is to mitigate CO2, that this could be viewed as research performed to support advocacy of mitigating CO2 instead of research performed to improve knowledge. The problem being… If viewed as advocacy, this harms the field of science (which is believed to be held to a standard of non-bias in evaluating observations).

      Clearly Judy has bias…. As we all do. Clearly she has stated she will not share some of her biases, such as her political orientation. Clearly through enough observation one can elucidate what kinds of biases she has, such as her bias against vocal peers that attempt to belittle her views. She would be non human to not form such biases against those who seek to discredit her. It is a two way street as well. Do we really need to know who started it to understand that not everyone gets along playing in the same sandbox?

      The drivel of trying to pin the false notion on Judy that she somehow thinks she has no bias or does not advocate for certain things and then calling her on it when she does is silly.

      If a statement exists where she declares she has no biases or does not advocate at all, I would like to see it.

      • I have actually declared my political orientation. I am an independent, with libertarian leanings. I am on record as having contributed to Obama’s first campaign.

        The potential problem is issue advocacy by scientists – in this case scientists advocating for specific policies or ‘urgent action needed.’ It is the job of scientists to to be reflective and be aware of their own biases, and to minimize their impact on their science. This is why I often post about biases and advocacy, to raise awareness of these issues among scientists.

      • Whether a scientist is a democrat, republican or libertarian is not really a problem with the advocacy issue as long as THEY understand their bias and compensate in their work for it. Many left leaning skeptics would love more government control over the economies of the world, but they do not see using deception as a means to gain it. The converse is also true.

    • John Carpenter

      Judy, thank you for the clarification. I stand corrected.

    • Rud Istvan | June 5, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
      “Michael, the answer to your presumedly rhetorical questions is yes, I did. And published them in a book you have evidently not read. As to SM, we co published there and here on the Marcott mess. You are obviously deficient in memory as well as net search techniques.”

      Thanks Rud…..haven’t the faintest idea what you’re on about. Hopefully you do.

    • “Let me do a Judith; A litmus test for Judith’s belief in rational skepticism – can you find any critical statements here from Judith on Steve McIntyre?”

      To my knowledge there is no instance of McIntyre being dishonest as Mann has so frequently been. No example of him inverting data, or creating a statistical model that gives the desired result regardless of the data input.

      If and when he does so,I would expect his errors to be pointed out here as well as any other skeptic blog.

      Until then, that question is just another example of false moral equivalence.

    • John –

      The following, in a nutshell, is what I’m pointing to as problematic:

      ==> “The potential problem is issue advocacy by scientists – in this case scientists advocating for specific policies or ‘urgent action needed.’ ”

      So first she says that the problem is issue advocacy itself (on general principle), and then she says that the problem is a specific issue advocacy. Therein lies the inconsistency.

      She expresses no problem with issue advocacy from Spencer or Christy or Lindzen. She herself testifies before Congress on behalf of politicians promoting particular policy options.

      So she has a double standard.

      Personally, I have no problem with issue advocacy from scientists. For a less polarizing example, imagine a scientist advocating for policies to promote life-saving s/he developed.

      I think that opposing issue advocacy as a general principle doesn’t seem very productive. But if you oppose issue advocacy from scientists, and you’re a scientist, then don’t engage in issue advocacy yourself, and apply your criticism of issue advocacy across the board.

      If you oppose particular policies that are being advocated, then be clear that you don’t support the policies being advocated, and don’t say that you oppose issue advocacy as some general principle.

    • And John –

      I’m not arguing that Judith has said (or thinks) that she doesn’t have any biases. I’m not arguing that her being biased against those she thinks have mistreated her is hard to understand. I’m not arguing that “who started it” is important.

      I’m saying that I don’t agree with her position on scientists being advocates and that beyond that, she doesn’t apply her standards in that regard evenly.

    • > To my knowledge there is no instance of McIntyre being dishonest as Mann has so frequently been.

      Mike Is the True Scotsman.

      ***

      Speaking of moral equivalence:

      We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.

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

    • So willard can’t point to an example of dishonesty by McIntyre either.

      Shocking.

    • You’re moving the goalpost from (scientific) criticism to accusations of dishonesty, GaryM.

      But if you insist, I could oblige.

    • I insist. I insist.

    • John Carpenter

      “She expresses no problem with issue advocacy from Spencer or Christy or Lindzen. She herself testifies before Congress on behalf of politicians promoting particular policy options.

      So she has a double standard.”

      Joshua, I see a difference between groups saying ‘urgent action is/isn’t needed’ and groups saying ‘urgent action may not be needed’ (the group I believe Judy to be in). Agreed, you can advocate for all cases. But arguing for ‘urgent action may not be needed’ is not a double standard as I see it. The difference between the two former cases and the latter is there are no apparent choices in the matter of the former. The case is closed either way, we did the math and it comes out bad/good no matter how you slice it. No uncertainty. With ‘urgent action may not be needed’, there is open thought to either/both possibilities. There is uncertainty as to how the situation is going to play out. The conclusion is not clear enough to go one way or another. I place myself in this camp as well. Thinking in this camp may go something like this… There is good enough reason/evidence for concern, but the observations do not match the concern level yet. We should continue to follow the problem and increase knowledge, we should take measures that begin the process to mitigate/abate the problem (as in no regrets measures) if a speed up is needed, but not at the expense hurting the economy severely. We should continue to debate the level of policy needed, keep everything transparent and hold democratic ideals in areas where policy could possibly move forward. We should be wary of groups that claim they know ‘the way’… either way it may be, by doing our homework.

      As for Judy not considering Spencer’s, Christy’s or Lindzen’s policy advocacy as being a double standard compared to KT or MM or GS…. there certainly appears to be some bias to one side by JC. But of the choices between urgent action is or isn’t needed, the ‘isn’t needed’ side impacts today’s society much less than the ‘is needed’ side. It’s unclear how that will impact future generations. The ‘urgent action required’ side potentially has large negative economic and societal impacts now. It’s unclear how that will impact future generations also. False alarms get everyone into a bother for nothing and may make people less wary to act when actually needed in the future.

      “I’m not arguing that Judith has said (or thinks) that she doesn’t have any biases. I’m not arguing that her being biased against those she thinks have mistreated her is hard to understand. I’m not arguing that “who started it” is important.”

      Sorry, I did not mean to infer that you did. That was aimed more at Michael’s comment I highlighted above.

    • “Sorry, I did not mean to infer that you did. That was aimed more at Michael’s comment I highlighted above.” – John

      I didn’t say that either.

    • John Carpenter

      “Do the claimants’ personal beliefs and biases drive the conclusions, or vice versa? JC comment: BINGO. This is the problem with scientists as advocates.”

      Of course, this does not apply to Judith’s advocacy.”

      Michael, Please feel free to elaborate

    • > I insist. I insist.

      Here you go:

      A number of years ago, I wrote a program to scrape NASA GISS station data. This led to discussion at the time, some of which seems more similar to the present situation than more remote analogies.

      http://rankexploits.com/musings/2014/what-constitutes-hacking/#comment-129634

      This “discussion” is mentioned without disclosing its source (no URL, again) and its outcome (the Auditor lost the argument). In the spirit of critical enquiry, many IT gurus told basically him to stop whining and suck it up:

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/86700515224

      The argument meandered to the question if the Auditor’s “program” was a script or a bot. This ontological debate is utterly irrelevant, except for the fact that if he created a bot, it might appear that the Auditor planned to hack the site or something. This is pure PR. Also note It’s not clear if the Auditor wrote that program, since in the original thread he declares that Nicholas developed a technique for downloading station data within R. Perhaps “wrote” meant “typed”. Anyway.

      So I see traces of dishonesty in: the lack of URL, the way the episode was recalled, the ontological question of bothood, and the authorship of the bot. Sure, these are all but little things. But as a friend of the Auditor once said:

      A friend told me that to look for evidences of dishonesty in little things, as someone who is dishonest in big things will also be dishonest in little things.

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/14168774371

      ***

      Before I present other episodes, GaryM, I’d like you to acknowledge that you moved the goal posts from “criticism” to “dishonesty”. This matters insofar as our current concern is skepticism. To that effect, here’s the two-prong claim that I’m willing to put forward:

      (S1) If skepticism entails being critical to one’s own, Judy fails that criteria.

      (S2) If skepticism entails being critical of the establishment, Judy simply tries to rebrand her contrarian niche.

      This is not complicated, but this is worth repeating, as there are conceptual nuances that may be interesting to explore.

      ***

      Oh, and Moshpit’s right about about the insufficiency of a skeptical outlook in science. Try as you might to undermine a scientific hypothesis, until you can replace it with a better one, it stays on the table. (The same applies to theories and explanations; it may not apply to research programs.) I think (although I would have to check) that even Popperians would agree that inference to the best explanation worked so far. It is here to stay.

    • John Carpenter | June 6, 2014 at 9:34 am |
      “Michael, Please feel free to elaborate”

      …because Judith seems to think that only she has the self-awareness to realise she has biases. All the other dolts simply have no idea.

      But being a sceptical sort, I’m disinclined to take Judith’s assertions at face-value…..made easier by the fact that Judith offers not a jot of evidence in support. However, we are left Judith’s own post to examine critically in relation to bias and personal belief, and what appears to be her position that its’ others with the problem.

      “Assessment of a claim should be about the argument, not about the source.” – JC

      And just a little down the page;

      “I have long thought that the name of the blog Skeptical Science is a joke – in my view, SkS knocks down naive and irrelevant arguments and shills for the consensus. ”

      Tut tut. It’s not the source, it’s the argument…

      Then she goes one better;

      “Here is a litmus test for SkS skepticism: can you find any critical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research?”

      Now it’s about sources on sources!!

      I’m left severely sceptical that Judith’s advocacy is not mired in bias and personal belief, due to a deficit in self-awareness.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      curryja | June 5, 2014 at 10:49 pm |

      The potential problem is issue advocacy by scientists – in this case scientists advocating for specific policies or ‘urgent action needed.’

      Yes – Pasteur was wrong to have suggested courses of action relating to the germ theory of disease.

      Salk should never have supported vaccination.

      That Einstein fellow was completely off to have argued that the USA should proceed rapidly with the development of the atomic bomb.

      Molina was bad for advocating against the continues use CFCs.

      What’s the hurry? Better to sit on the fence.


      It is the job of scientists to to be reflective and be aware of their own biases, and to minimize their impact on their science. This is why I often post about biases and advocacy, to raise awareness of these issues among scientists.

      Raising awareness is good.

      But I think that most scientists learn all about bias in their undergraduate careers. Maybe you are hanging out with a conflicted crowd. Climate scientists can be funny that way.

    • willard,

      “So I see traces of dishonesty in…”

      Traces,in a blog comment, in part for leaving out a url?

      That’s all ya got?

      And this is just confused writing:

      “Before I present other episodes, GaryM, I’d like you to acknowledge that you moved the goal posts from ‘criticism’ to ‘dishonesty’”

      Last I checked, criticism of dishonesty is still criticism. It is not at all clear from that sentence how I moved anything, “Criticism” was the subject, “dishonesty” was an example.

      In any event, I was responding to this comment: “…can you find any critical statements here from Judith on Steve McIntyre.”

      Now just from memory, I would say critical statements against Mann here by Dr. Curry are more often about his dishonesty, than about his shoddy “science.” At Climate Audit, from my memory I would say that is a bit reversed, in degree.

      Dr. Curry’s calling the hide-the-decline hockey stick graph dishonest was just the first example of a “critical statement” against him I could think of here.

      As to why there are no or few comments by her critical of McIntyre in general, I suspect that is because McIntyre is not as dishonest as Mann, not as sloppy in his statistical analysis, and not as pompous and overbearing. I don’t think McIntyre has sued any of the warmists who have been accusing him of all sorts of things for years.

    • > Last I checked, criticism of dishonesty is still criticism.

      Perhaps, but here was Judy’s claim:

      [T]here’s a third category of skeptics – scientists (like me) doing their job to provide critical scrutiny to consensus scientific claims. Here is a litmus test for SkS skepticism: can you find any critical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research?

      We’re supposed to test critical scrutiny to consensus scientific claims, GaryM. You’re turning this into another identity politics parlor game.

      I sincerely hope you don’t play these kinds of tricks to judges and that you leave that to your virtual games.

      ***

      > That’s all ya got?

      Of course not. Here could be the most direct demonstration:

      As I’ve observed from time to time, I don’t publicly say everything that I think.

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/78844823835

      Thanks for playing.

    • Sigh. There is a very large set composed of climate scientists that Judith has not criticized. So to say that she limits her criticism to the consensus scientists is a bit ridiculous–oh yeah, it’s Joshua,Michael and willard, so of course it’s ridiculous.

      Anybody still conscious (oh yeah, it’s Joshua, Michael and willard–an empty set regarding consciousness) should be criticizing Michael Mann’s behaviour (different from criticizing his science–not everybody should be criticizing that, just many people).

      Arguing that she betrays bias or is failing in her journalistic duties by not even-handedly criticizing Steve McIntyre is a bit rich, given McIntyre’s behaviour (not his science, which although I agree with is certainly open to criticism).

      But then it’s Joshua, Michael and willard, so straining at gnats and swallowing camels is pretty much the order of the day.

      Anybody here seen the blog fool sod? How I wonder where he’s gone. Thought I saw him walking under the hill, with Joshua, Michael and willard.

      Sadly, doesn’t scan right.

    • “You’re turning this into another identity politics parlor game.”

      Do you even read your own comments after you’ve posted them? You mischaracterize your own comments so often I am beginning to wonder.

      See I was responding to your comment, not hers. If you didn’t mean what you wrote, to paraphrase Mosher, write harder.

      Or as I have suggested before, perhaps you should stick to pseudo-cryptic comments. They may not be any better, but no one can tell.

    • John –

      I guess I think that you’re just describing a distinction without a difference. Advocating for no specific policy, in this context, is advocating for maintaining the policies that comprise the status quo.

      Once again, I have no problem with Judith advocating for the status quo. I believe in the value of advocacy. My criticism is w/r/t her selective criticism of advocacy. When she agrees with the policies being advocated, she voices no objection. In fact, she advocates herself towards specific policy outcomes. When she disagrees with the policies being advocated, she doesn’t just leave it at that, but goes on to drama-queen about the great harm done by advocacy.

      Judith says that she’s also advocating for scientific integrity. I think that’s great. But others, that she criticizes for being advocates, also say that they’re advocating for scientific integrity. They have just as much conviction in their beliefs as does Judith. They think that Judith is harming the integrity of “science” just as Judith thinks that they are harming the integrity of “science.” I think that they are all advocating for the integrity of “science” while simultaneously engaging in identity protective and identity aggressive behaviors (such as self-victimization and demonizing those they disagree with).

      Anyway, I don’t agree with exploiting a positive – the right of advocacy – to score points in the climate wars. I think it is counterproductive.

    • > See I was responding to your comment, not hers.

      Actually, GaryM, I was to one who was responding to you, right after you were responding to Michael’s comment, where “critical statements” comes from:

      A litmus test for Judith’s belief in rational skepticism – can you find any critical statements here from Judith on Steve McIntyre?

      Do you sincerely believe that Michael was asking if Judith ever criticized the Auditor’s honesty?

      ***

      Let’s recap:

      You were the one who turned this into a question of dishonesty.

      When your challenge to provide evidence of dishonesty from the Auditor, you minimize the evidence, and remain silent on the Auditor’s self-avowal.

      When asked to acknowledge that this question was not the topic, you claimed that it was relevant because an accusation of dishonesty can count as criticism.

      When faced with the fact that this has nothing to do with skepticism as Judy tries to define it, you now claim that you were answering to me, as if I was the one who made it about dishonesty.

      Do you have no idea how dishonest this looks, GaryM?

      But Mann. But Mann. But Mann.

    • Erratum:

      > When your challenge to provide evidence of dishonesty from the Auditor has been met, you minimize the evidence, and remain silent on the Auditor’s self-avowal.

      ***

      And Groundskeeper Willie rips off his shirt because I meet the challenge that GaryM himself injects (i.e. the “behavior” stuff) into the discussion, right after I call GaryM for this red herring.

      Sigh indeed.

    • Well, weepy willard and Joshua One Note have weighed in. Now we need something spectacularly foolish from Michael and the subthread will be complete.

    • OMG Willard, that is what you have against McIntyre?

      That he doesn’t always say what he thinks publicly? That it constitutes “Omerta”?

      Have you read what SkepticalScience says about him privately? You should sometime. Except that it won’t help you keep your preconceptions pure as to the evil that is “The Auditor.”

      Here’s a sample of what Robert Way said about McIntyre when he thought he was on a private forum:

      “So what this means is that Under either method (CPS or EIV) it is not possible to get a validated reconstruction to before 1500 without the use of tree rings, or the Tijlander sediments. The tijlander sediments were used incorrectly and upside down from the original published version and a corrigendum by Kaufmann et al. (who also used it upside down) was issued pertaining to this. http://climateaudit.org/2009/10/26/the-kaufman-corrigendum/
      I’m not one of those climate audit junkees and I certainly disagree with how Mcintyre handles a lot of the stuff but I’ve been shown before by even climatology profs in my university time that it might be best to stick clear of Mann’s reconstructions until the dust settles (although this debate has been going on for 10 years)”

      http://climateaudit.org/2013/11/20/behind-the-sks-curtain/

      There is a ton of other stuff there too, including the suggestion that they comb every word that McIntyre published to find compromising quotes. Apparently the best they could find is that McIntyre suspects more than he can prove and doesn’t talk about it. Or it might be that McIntyre is more of a warmist that you guys give him credit for. He just can’t get past being lied to. I think it is both.

    • > OMG Willard, that is what you have against McIntyre?

      If you mean to ask if it’s all I got, then no, TJA. I already answered this rhetorical question. For instance, you can meditate on the relationship between dogwhistling and honesty:

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/dogwhistling

      But as I said to GaryM, Judy’s Litmus test is about her new flavor of skepticism. This skepticism is ill-defined. That won’t be solved by turning her Litmus test into another INTEGRITY ™ contest.

      INTEGRITY ™ – Yes, but Tiljander.

    • Willard, that is pathetic. The more you guys try to smear McIntyre, the better he looks.

      Here is Skeptical Science talking about McIntyre when they thought nobody was looking:

      “I think all of us here at SkS are on Mann’s side, not McI’s. Nonetheless, it is necessary, if you want to improve, to admit that it is your own side that is sometimes falling down. Insisting on results that you cannot back up 100% is “leading with the chin”. One CANNOT do that sort of thing: One must pay McI et al. the acknowledgement that they will detect that error and go for the throat.” – Robert Way.

      On that same page there was a little item about collecting quotes from McIntyre to try to discredit him:

      “As a last thread in today’s review, on March 3, 2011 (Climate Misinformers/2011-03-08-Call to action – help collect quotes on skeptics), Cook called on the SKS team to collect adverse quotes from targeted skeptics, including me ”

      Is your little page a product of that “call to action”? Were you on the SKS “secret” forum where it was clearly acknowledged that Mann’s HS was unsupportable as a matter of basic science and math, and that if it was right, it was right the way a stopped clock is sometimes right?

      Finally. Your page is only convincing to somebody who already heartily agrees with you. No skeptic is going to read that page and come away with anything other than increased admiration for McIntyre.

    • > Your page is only convincing to somebody who already heartily agrees with you.

      GaryM can’t even acknowledge that his identity politics has very little to do with Judy’s Litmus test. He, like you, can’t even consider the possibility that the Auditor failed this honesty test over and over again over the years.

      MattStat can’t even accept that science proceeds by inference to the best explanation and that Judy appeals to ignorance.

      Judy rebrands her contrarianism as a new flavour of skepticism, uses a Litmus test that cuts no ice and that she even blatantly fails.

      The Denizens’ incredulity shows thread after thread. It gives me no reason for me to expect they would be convinced of anything.

      ***

      People who ought to make INTEGRITY ™ contests should remember Yamal:

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/RememberYamal

      You’re messing with somebody else’s business, TJA. I’m ready to drop the stick and move slowly from the horse’s carcass. But if you insist, I will continue to provide evidence of dishonesty.

      Nothing prevents me to switch to another contrarian Judy never criticizes. I could pay due diligence to Judy too, but then I might get moderated. Honesty is a very rare currency.

      • I am sorry but I think that your logic may be a victim of your “identity politics”

        You will have to provide a more detailed explanation of how “The Auditor” (sounds like a batman villain, but I guess it amuses you) lied about, for example Yamal. Since you seem to think that there is some kind of important revelation of deep dishonesty there.

      • Thank you for having thought two days for your reply, TJA:

        > You will have to provide a more detailed explanation of how “The Auditor” […] lied about, for example Yamal.

        I have no idea where you got your “lied about”, but in any case, start here:

        http://climateaudit.org/tag/yamal/page/5/

        Then replace “5” with “4”, “3”, “2”, and “1”.

        ***

        For instance:

        A few days ago, I became aware that the long-sought Yamal measurement data url had materialized at Briffa’s website – after many years of effort on my part and nearly 10 years after its original use in Briffa (2000).

        […]

        Until now, Briffa’s refusal to archive Yamal measurement data and the acquiescence of journals (including Science) in this obstruction has made it impossible to get even a foothold on the factors governing the differences between the two series.

        […]

        Without the complete data set, it is impossible to set aside the troubling thoughts that one is faced with in these circumstances.

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/09/26/briffas-yamal-crack-cocaine-for-paleoclimatologists/

        Evaluate the emphasized bits, considering that the Auditor had the data more than five years ago.

        ***

        Best of luck!

        PS: If you don’t quote what I say or don’t mention my name, chances are I will miss your reply.

  73. Call me a skeptic but if left solely to academia we’d be well past just circling in Al Gore’s porcelain vortex and already flushed by now.

    There was to be no debate but it fell afoul of that rebellious child it largely shaped, the skeptic blogosphere… By now, they were increasingly desperate men in a hurry towards some finishing line only they could see… You start to cheat, but somehow you know it’s not really cheating. You massage the data by tweaking it a little bit, just a teensy weensy little bit, moving it in the right direction. Once on that slippery slope, it becomes all too easy to get imaginative with the methods as well. By then, you’ve slipped so far into that mortal sin zone of science, all that’s left is stopping your ears to any criticism, shutting your eyes and defending it desperately at any cost… In the end, you’ve nowhere left to go but denying anyone wishing to replicate your work the data or details of your methodology.

    ~Pointman

  74. I have avoided labelling myself as a sceptic as the meaning of the word in science is so often misunderstood. Also I freely admit that anthropogenic global warming has happened and is a part of my own theoretical model- see underlined above. I do understand the IPCC’s consensus view, but think it wrong to extend their linear thinking into the future, preferring Max Planck’s discontinuous thinking.

    But I do admit there is a price to pay for my brand of scepticism including rejection by my own family. However I am comforted by knowing that electromagnetic radiation can be treated as mass less photons is just as difficult a concept.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Alexander — I personally enjoy reading your blog comments and believe your approach is what we need in all this fussing and fighting. Yes, using established science of Panck (and others), AGW is occurring. No, using established science, we just don’t know yet what this impact is (amount and timing) on things like feedback loops (especially clouds) and natural variability.

      I’d like to hear your perspective on the question raised by Dr. Molina on AGW: Recognizing what we do know (established science) and what we don’t know, “Is it a bad idea to follow a trajectory to 800 to 1,000 ppm?” Dr. Molina believes it is. Thanks.

    • Stephen: Thank you for your remarks concerning my blog.
      Some of Dr Molina’s remarks puzzled me too. I thought his reference to trajectory ppm was a reference to my earlier (1959) work of simulating the trajectory of guided missiles in complete 3D, although we had to build our own computers to do it as it was many years before off the shelf computers could do it. Incidentally most of our missile calculations were done in real time at 20 parts per second.

      I did agree with Dr Molina that climate scientists should be able to agree on what we know and what we don’t know, so as to guide our future work. I think it was enthusiastic politicians and lawyers who propagated the ‘science is settled’ statement.

  75. AGW is a theory not a fact and theories are man-made –i.e., AGW theory is as weak and frail and fallible as is humanity. A correlation between global warming and humanity’s ever-increasing emissions of CO2 simply does not exist. It doesn’t matter if we understand or not that what’s going on with the weather might result in decades more of a cooling trend. Why isn’t that a story? It isn’t because AGW is not about the Earth’s climate. When has humanity ever understood why the weather changed except according to the seasons and ENSO cycles (e.g., warm El Niño and cool La Niña ocean-atmosphere events) or perhaps directly following a gigantic volcanic eruption? The global warming debate is based on the Left’s cynical belief that their voter-base couldn’t give two-schitts about the truth and about that I am not skeptical one wit.

  76. Political Junkie

    Michael, it’s difficult to criticize Steve M’s science because he doesn’t propose an alternative to the material he ‘audits.’

    If he gets his facts wrong – fair ball! However, on the whole he seems pretty cautious about limiting his commentary to areas that can be validated objectively. I’m not qualified to judge on a lot of the higher level math but I notice a lot of his critics play the man rather than the ball.

    Michael Mann suggested that an investigative journalist should be hired to dig up dirt on McIntyre – this is science?

    • –Michael Mann suggested that an investigative journalist should be hired to dig up dirt on McIntyre – this is science?–

      It is not.
      But it’s good example of the politicization of science- Chicago
      style.
      Michael Mann is at war with any one who questions his infallibility.

      He imagines he is Nobel prize winner, and is engaged in a campaign [or has already captured] for the Pope of Climate Science.

  77. michael hart

    Whatever skepticism is, it requires imagination to work most effectively.
    An ability to imagine alternative explanations or mistakes that may have been overlooked.

    It is implicit in Feynmann’s Step 1, the “guess”.

  78. Judith –

    The failure of the climate science establishment to convince the public can be chalked up to communication strategies that come across like propaganda, the intolerance of disagreement (calling opponents deniers), advocacy by scientists, the Climategate shenanigans, Peter Gleick and the Heartland affair, etc.

    From what I have seen, there is a fairly substantive body of evidence that shows that your conclusions are wrong.

    Of course, you keep repeating these claims, so maybe you have evidence that I haven’t seen.

    If so, some links would be nice. Do link some empirical evidence that shows a causal relationship between public opinions on climate change (and in particular disbelief that continued and increased ACO2 emissions pose a significant risk) and “communication strategies.” Show some evidence of “scientists like [you] doing their job to provide critical scrutiny to” your claims of causality.

    • michael hart

      Regarding Climategate shenanigans, Peter Gleick and the Heartland affair, I think you may be correct.

      If the public really were fully aware of these incidents then there would be hell to pay.

    • ==> “If the public really were fully aware of these incidents then there would be hell to pay.”

      There has been studies that have examined the impact of “climategate,”: as one example.

      They show that a relatively small % of the public had in-depth familiarity with the sequence of events. So far, so good for your assertion, right?

      But among those who said that the had in-depth knowledge, and that their views were affected, you can see a strong association with political/ideological orientation. Those inclined to be concerned about climate change found their concern strengthened, and those inclined to dismiss the potential risks of climate change found their inclination strengthened as well. Further, there has been no real “pre- and post-climategate” assessment to assess whether people’s views actually were changed, causally, by climategate.

      Those who offer confident assertions such as Judith does, often, about the causality behind public opinions on climate change, are doing so largely on their own observations or experiences. That kind of anecdotal reasoning is a part of skepticism, but due skeptical scrutiny requires a higher standard for evaluating evidence. Judith, when she makes statements like she did above, ignores the potential impact of the economy on views related to climate change. She ignores the potential impact of short-term weather phenomena on views related to climate change. And she ignores the potential impact of motivated reasoning. It doesn’t seem to me that a true skeptic would be so willing to formulate firm conclusions on the basis of anecdotal evidence, evidence that is so prone to biases like observer bias or confirmation bias, without paying due diligence to empirical study.

      What say you?

    • “Regarding Climategate shenanigans, Peter Gleick and the Heartland affair, I think you may be correct.

      If the public really were fully aware of these incidents then there would be hell to pay.”

      Nope. Most of them don’t care. They don’t see it as affecting them. There are far more important and interesting things to be concerned with. It is primarily climate nerds who care.

    • No Pressure. Polar Bears Falling Like 9/11 rain. Anderegg, Prall et al. Lewandowsky. Gleick. Mashey. Nutticelli/Cook. Agitating against World Bank loans for coal power plants in South Africa. We know where you live. The head of the IPCC suppressing the facts about Himalayan glaciers while bidding on a project to study their decline. Limousines running all day during COP 15. The Hockey Stick. Will you please delete all emails pertaining to AR4? Polar bears trapped piteously on ice floes. Mosquitoes to rule the world.

      Empirical evidence? Public polls showing that the majority of the public worldwide including the United States accept the science–that humans are contributing to a real rise in temperatures–but reject the hysterical politics that have been thrown at them by dunces and rate climate change as the least of their concerns. They are too nonchalant about it in my opinion, but their nonchalance is best explained by the tactics used by alarmists.

      You are where you are because you did what you did. If you like where you are keep doing what you’re doing.

    • The failure of the climate science establishment to convince the public can be chalked up to an extreme lack of actual data to support the EXTREME ALARMIST CLAIMS. The models say it WILL GET WARMER and FOR DECADES, IT DOES NOT GET WARMER. A lot of people are not stupid enough to believe Chicken Little forever. A lot of people are not stupid enough to believe a naked king has clothes on.

      Man-made CO2 is one molecule for every ten thousand molecules.

      THAT IS NOT CONTROLLING THE TEMPERATURE OF EARTH!!!!

  79. JC:

    I anticipate that the unfolding of future decades will reveal the harm done to science by agenda-driven scientists working to enforce a manufactured consensus on anthropogenic global warming and its dangers.

    I agree with you.

    JC thank you

    • “I anticipate that the unfolding of future decades will reveal the harm done to science by agenda-driven scientists…”
      —-
      This cuts both ways, and only in the future will we know which way cut the deepest. Both Dr. Curry and Dr. Dessler testified in D.C. for opposing political parties. Both testimonies were quite agenda driven. 10 or 20 years from now one of them will be seen as doing more harm to science than the other. I make no judgement call if this is good or bad…it simply is.

  80. Anyone else puzzled by the claim in the GMU report that every year in the 1990s was warmer than the 1980s average? [See figure on page 4 of the .pdf, numbered page 3 at the top.] They also avoid a parallel comparison of the 2010 years to the 2000s average. It makes one suspect that they are trying to push a certain perspective.

    • bob droege

      Almost works for GISS combined sea and land, and you can check the numbers yourself.

      9 of 10 years from 1990 to 1999 were warmer than the average of the 10 years from 1980 to 1989, 1992 missing by 0.015.

      3 of 4 years from 2010 to 2013 were warmer than the average of the 10 years from 2000 to 2009. 2011 missed by the same margin.

      So I give it a one on a zero to 10 point liar liar pants on fire scale.

      Different story using land only, 8 of 10 and 4 of 4 there.

      Could use RSS but I don’t spend much time where they measure temperature, just pass through when I go to work.

  81. “Skepticism means that scientific claims must be exposed to critical scrutiny before being accepted.”
    ——
    Absolutely. And Scientific claims are never 100% accepted by an honest skeptic, as every “truth” is both understood to be provisional, and seen for what it is- a map or paradigm for “reality”, but never the territory itself. As such, each scientific claims much be judged on its usefulness to tell us something corresponding to the territory.

    “Global Warming” is a dumbed down map for the territory of what happens to Earth’s climate energy system when you continually add more GH gases. Is it useful as a general description, but there are more complex and accurate paradigms, though they are not readily digested by the general population.

    • R.Gates,

      So when was “global warming” subjected to critical analysis before it was accepted by the “consensus?” Got any cites?

    • The entire history of global warming is constant string of critical analysis and research. A good place to go for this history:

      http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

      So many dim witted people would think that Hansen made up global warming in 1988.

    • R.Gates,

      No, not responsive at all.

      The question is modern climate science, ie. GCMs, paleo-climate etc. The history of “climate science” is not what I asked for. I asked for any evidence of critical analysis of what makes up the consensus, by the consensus scientists.

      You can pretend not to understand. You can change the subject. You can even build straw men (if Mosher has left any straw today).

      But the question is when was there a debate about the modern position of the consensus that most of the warming since 1900 (or whatever date you want to pick) has been caused by man, and that future man caused warming is so likely to be catastrophic that we ought to decarbonize the global energy economy.

      When did any modern climate scientist dissent from any of that?

    • “When did any modern climate scientist dissent from any of that?”
      —–
      Just look at a listing of the modern climate scientists who have signed on with Heartland. Plenty of dissent there.

    • Bengtsson is now a lukewarmer. He accepts AGW, but not CAGW. And has been cast out of the tribe for it.

      In that vein, Dr. Curry is a former tribe member who now dissents from the CAGW consensus. She too lost her membership card.

      Neither are part of the consensus any more.

      Which proves my point. Progressives loathe critical analysis, because when ever anyone in the tribe engages in it, they leave the tribe. CAGW does not withstand genuine critical analysis. Which is why the consensus never engaged in it.

      That is why all of you are afraid to engage in it. Part of you knows you are full of…cognitive dissonance.

  82. I know a heart guy and he told me this story. In his, very small and very expensive, clinical trial for a device one of the patients with an implanted prototype died suddenly. He contacted the widow and arranged for, and paid for, a full autopsy. He said it was a huge relief to find out that the patient had died from a completely unrelated condition. He told me he was so relieved that he could ‘legitimately’ remove the patient from his trail.
    I asked if he would have arranged and paid for an autopsy if a control patient had dies. He looked at me as if I was mad and said “Why would I?”.

  83. Best available knowledge is not adequate knowledge. It may be, but it doesn’t have to be.

    Climate is not unknowable, it just isn’t known. Duh.

    Why offer an alternative theory when you don’t know enough and the guy offering the first theory doesn’t know enough? (Hints: asthenosphere, deep hydrosphere.) Of course, there’s no harm if you do or if you don’t offer a theory, provided everyone knows it’s just a theory. A theory made with only bits of knowledge is like a sideline energy technology: useful and interesting provided you don’t try to send it mainstream. Then it becomes “all regrets”, unless you get stupendously lucky.

    There are a few theories about the causes of the too-recent-for-comfort Younger Dryas, mostly pretty interesting theories which make some sense. The main thing is not to get caught trying desperately to wipe the grime off millions of blistered solar panels or trying to squeeze some grudging energy from hundreds of thousands of whirlygigs when the climate decides it’s gonna do what it’s gonna do.

    The climate is notorious for not reading the literature.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      “Best available knowledge is not adequate knowledge. It may be, but it doesn’t have to be.”

      The oceans and troposphere may be a chaotic enough that there *can not* be adequate knowledge to predict the climate in the future.

      Nature does not require that there be determinism.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      QED, the most accurate description of nature. Emphatically not deterministic

      Newtonian mechanics, the more-or-less accurate description of human scale phenomena. .Deterministic.

      Darwinian evolution, the only (possible) description of biology. Not deterministic.

      Climate and weather? (global climate??) (deterministic or not?)

      Geology, the description of the earth. (deterministic? maybe?) (Can there be a deterministic description of where the continents will be one billion years from now? (that is a real question, can that be deterministic? Non-chaotic?)

      General Relativity. Deterministic.

      So why should we think that climate is CO2 deterministic, and not non-deterministic? How far different is it from geology, as a complex system?

      This is not a flippant question. Any answers?

    • Jim Zuccaro

      The earth is 4 and something billion years old.

      There has been life on earth for 3 and something billion years.

      That means that there has been liquid water on the earth for 3 and something billion years. And, in that 3 and something billion years, the earth was never so cold as to freeze *all* of that water. Or never so hot (more than 30 and something degrees C) as to denature proteins.

      So can there be a deterministic, atmospheric constituents, equation-of-state for the solar SW and earth troposphere/biosphere that will keep the temperature within that 30 and something degree range for 3,000 million years?

      This is a real question. Any answers?

    • –That means that there has been liquid water on the earth for 3 and something billion years. And, in that 3 and something billion years, the earth was never so cold as to freeze *all* of that water. Or never so hot (more than 30 and something degrees C) as to denature proteins.

      So can there be a deterministic, atmospheric constituents, equation-of-state for the solar SW and earth troposphere/biosphere that will keep the temperature within that 30 and something degree range for 3,000 million years?

      This is a real question. Any answers?–

      3 billion years refers to microbial life. Specifically:
      “The blue-greens are widely distributed over land and water, often in environments where no other vegetation can exist. Their fossils have been identified as over three billion years old. They were probably the chief primary producers of organic matter and the first organisms to release elemental oxygen, O2, into the primitive atmosphere, which was until then free from O2. Thus blue-greens were most probably responsible for a major evolutionary transformation leading to the development of aerobic metabolism and to the subsequent rise of higher plant and animal forms. They are referred to in literature by various names, chief among which are Cyanophyta, Myxophyta, Cyanochloronta, Cyanobacteria, blue-green algae, blue-green bacteria. ” And:
      “They can live in extremes of temperatures -60°C to 85°C,”
      lakes.chebucto.org/cyano.html
      It’s difficult to sterile something so it has no microbial life- it is attempted when NASA sends landers to Mars [and they fail to do this completely]:
      “The NASA Curiosity rover that was thought to bring only cameras, sensors, and scientific equipment when it traveled to Mars in August 2012 may have brought along dozens of species of bacteria that originated on Earth, according to a new study.

      A study conducted by the American Society for Microbiology and published in the Nature science journal revealed that 377 strains of bacteria may have survived the sterilization process that the Curiosity rover endured before it was launched in an attempt to avoid contaminating the red planet.

      It was less of a surprise for scientists that the bacteria survived the cleaning process than the revelation about the conditions they went through. The microbes in question endured near-freezing temperatures and intense damage caused by ultra-C radiation, thought to be the most harmful type of radiation. ”
      http://rt.com/usa/160636-mars-curiosity-rover-bacteria/

      Also it’s considered plausible, that life may have transported between Mars and Earth via impactor events- so considered possible that life hitching ride rocks accelerated to Earth escape velocity can survive in the vacuum of space.
      Anyways if one talking about life for billions of years, one is talking something hard to kill and can rapidly re-populate- and can adapt [can mutate] to wide variety of environments
      When the Moon was formed via impact [4.5 billion], it probably killed everything [if anything existed], whereas subsequent rocks hitting earth [Late Heavy Bombardment- 4.1 to 3.8 billion years ago, wiki ] may have merely boiled the entire oceans and might not have killed everything. Anyways blue green has been dated to 3.8 billion years ago.

  84. Robert I Ellison

    The US National Academy of Sciences defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain.

    Wally Broecker – the ‘father of global warming’ – suggests that predictions about the future of climate are problematic. The science of stochastic nonlinear dynamical systems – and of abrupt climate change – suggests that he is correct. It creates a dilemma. The world may not be warming for decades at least – despite declaration of faith to the contrary – but this comes at the price of inherent instability of the climate system. The reduction of pressures on the system – CO2 from fossil fuels, black carbon, tropospheric ozone, land clearing, loss of soil carbon, nitrous oxide, methane, sulfide -which are compounded by population and development issues – is therefore prudent and this has implications for resource constraints and economic growth. CO2 is the smaller part of the problem.

    It strikes me that the entrenched stalemate of the climate war is utterly insane – and both sides are so bound up in oppositional thinking that there is no chance of creative solutions emerging from the morass they have dug themselves into. There is a need for more rational and balanced voices to emerge from the smoke and din.

    ‘In a world of limited resources, we can’t do everything, so which goals should we prioritize? The Copenhagen Consensus Center provides information on which targets will do the most social good (measured in dollars, but also incorporating e.g. welfare, health and environmental protection), relative to their costs. Some of the world’s top economists have assessed the targets from the 11th session Open Working Group document into one of five categories, based on economic evidence: Phenomenal, Good, Fair, Poor and not enough knowledge.’ http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/final_un_ccc_2015.pdf

    There is an opportunity to combine aid, environmental and climate factors into a coherent policy position for the world. I suggest that this is best achieved through integration of the Copenhagen Consensus analysis of the UN proposed 2015 extension of the Millennium Development Goals. The aim is a policy position that can serve as a guide and focus to achieve the biggest bang for the development buck and create progress at the same time on the environment and climate change.

  85. stevefitzpatrick

    People who are not experts often use simple heuristics to judge the credibility of claims by people who are (or are claimed to be) experts. Is the expert willing to debate? Does the expert have personal vested interest in the subject? Is the expert making a scientific/factual argument, or mainly a values based argument? There are many more, of course, but all very simple and quick. Why do most people doubt what a used car salesman (or woman) claims about a car, or doubt what most politicians claim? The explicit policy advocacy of many climate scientists, their unwillingness to address uncomfortable questions, and refusal to debate in public, are all the public needs to have their BS antenna set off. Before I knew much of the technical substance, what grabbed my attention were the statements and actions of many well known climate scientists: these folks were acting like politicians, not scientists. My BS alarm was already screaming.

    • “People who are not experts often use simple heuristics to judge the credibility of claims by people who are (or are claimed to be) experts.”

      Exactly what jurors do. Also, one of the biggest tells for me is the use of the term “d>nier” to dishonestly use Nazi innuendo to attack skeptics. Additionally, of course, it is scientifically improper to, essentially, claim your theory is unassailable and that you don’t have to answer criticism.

      JD

  86. Again we have a long battle between two sides, not informing, just arguing. Sure, I what would be defined as a skeptic. However, my response to the claims of folks worried about CAGW is OK. What is the best way to handle this problem you have defined? Keep doing what we have been doing for the last two or three decades: fighting over CO2 production? What has been achieved with that? All that has happened is CO2 production has been moved from developed countries to developing countries. That is an obvious failure. Doing more of the same won’t change the situation. (It was a dumb idea from the start. Any mechanical or civil engineer who worked with real people in the real world could have told you.)

    The correct approach is to prepare for the many varied changes you claim will be happening. The question is then what is the best way to achieve that. That is where the discussion should be going.

    • I am worried about the impacts of climate change starting from about 2050. I would like to invest your (well, mine too) tax dollars in making low-lying regions more resilient to storm surge augmented by modest sea level rise and in energy storage, as well as accelerated economic development for poorer regions most vulnerable to another 1.2C temperature rise. I would like to use tax credits to speed insulation and other methods of increasing energy efficiency worldwide. I would like to eliminate no-fly zones left over from the Cold War. I would like to remove most of the regulatory barriers to construction of nuclear power plants in the West.

      I would like coal to stop being used as fuel for power plants to the greatest extent possible without depriving developing countries of energy.

      Which of those do you disagree with?

  87. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    HOW TO TELL SKEPTICS FROM DENIALISTS
    The Simple Test

    • As the tropospheric “pause” ends, the number and fervor of rational climate-change skeptics steadily diminishes.

    • Whereas the number of denialists remains unchanged, and their irrational fervor markedly increases.

    Young researchers especially are keenly sensitive to this distinction!

    It’s not complicated, eh Climate Etc readers?

    \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}
    ——-
    The Seattle Lesson  Good people without guns can stop a bad person with one.

  88. definition of ”skeptic” doesn’t correlate with the so called ”Skeptics” in the blogosphere, ”The Fakes”

    2] Warmist have nothing to complain about the politically corrupt / bias media

    3] if the media and shonky ”scientist” were promoting aggressively every day that ”Global Cooling is happening” – the gullible public would have believed just as much / politicians are scared from the bias media and academia; who is to blame?

  89. Matthew R Marler

    What is skepticism, anyway?

    Interesting though it is, I think it is less interesting than the evidence for and against particular propositions. It’s like the endless debates over the issue of whether geologists and economists have the right credentials to critique the data analyses of Prof Mann. The important issues are the arguments and evidence, not the persons or their “true” qualities.

  90. “In short, we cannot say the emperor has no clothes until we have designed a whole alternative wardrobe.”

    And thinking that the emperor is wearing clothes, when he isn’t, stands in the way of any designing of the wardrobe. Mosher’s way of thinking stands in the way of progress in understanding and explanation.

  91. Mosh

    Now, you are famously inconsistent with some of your comments but normally these inconsistencies relate to things you had previously said days or weeks before in different threads or venues.

    However you said here in reply to me here at 6.24pm. on 5th June

    “I remain unconvinced you can say anything interesting about the global climate before 1750. even 1750 is a stretch given the error bars.”

    and yet at 7.15pm in the same thread, in reply to TomC who said;

    “Steve mosher – I think the global mean temperature in 1350 is not knowable with current scientific understanding. ”

    you replied

    “Sure it is.”

    Can you please clarify why 1749 is apparently a stretch but 1350 isn’t?

    Tonyb

    • Steven Mosher

      “Can you please clarify why 1749 is apparently a stretch but 1350 isn’t?

      read the word “interesting”

      I dont think either 1350 or 1749 are interesting.
      you can think differently

      I think one can make statements about the temperature at that time which are true. just not interesting.. to me.

    • Tony, give it away. Mosher’s vainglorious addiction to dispute is so severe, he habitually ends up in disagreement with himself. The man could start a fight in an empty room. It’s sad, pathetic, but ultimately nothing you can do anything about.

  92. A quick comment on the long sub-thread triggered by Mosher at 12.09. Some very good responses, amongst which I particularly like the Matthew Marler trio – perhaps the most consistently sensible poster at CE – and Tom Scharf. I hope that Steven is suitably chastened.

    • Agreed. I really like Matthew Marler’s comments and is definitely one of my favourite commentators here.

    • But actually come to think of it, Steven Mosher also makes some very interesting and excellent comments. I think he is broadly wrong in the point he is trying to make in this instance, in that his view of skepticism is too narrow, but he kicked off a really interesting discussion. I don’t think he should be chastened, I think he should be applauded.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Faustino, thank you for your compliment.

      I agree with Agnostic below. While I disagreed with Steven Mosher this time, I think that he frequently writes good points well, and is worth engaging. The electronic medium tends to sharpen the emotional tone of disagreements, something we have to adjust for and live with.

      In the widely read “The Structure of Scientific Revolution”, Thomas Kuhn made the point that a scientific theory will stand despite evidence of its inadequacy, until it is replaced by a better theory. He did not address the kinds of things we have been debating in this thread: (a) the ethical question of whether that example of behavior ought to be taken as a guiding principle; (b) the pragmatic question of whether such an accepted theory ought to be a guide in public policy. It seems to me that Collin Maessen (who “lost” Prof Curry) and Steven Mosher and others take a prevalent behavior and elevate it to a moral principle of sorts, where I am debating that taking such an attitude is not actually good. I think that the issue is worth more discussion than what we have time and attention for here.

      So I thank Steven Mosher for his initial post and his spirited defense.

    • Matthew R Marler

      oops. While it was true that Maessen “lost” Prof Curry, the specific point I have been disputing was written by Shermer, about whom Prof Curry wrote: JC comment: I really disagree with this one.

    • Mosher is fond of saying two things are similar. An estimate and a measurement. An amoeba and an elephant. But if a tribesman wants to feed a hungry tribe, he will go for the elephant, not the amoeba.

      You have to consider also the differences. His approach is almost meaningless.

    • > He did not address the kinds of things we have been debating in this thread: (a) the ethical question of whether that example of behavior ought to be taken as a guiding principle; (b) the pragmatic question of whether such an accepted theory ought to be a guide in public policy.

      Moshpit addressed Judy’s disagreement about Shermer’s claim:

      Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy — criticize your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science. JC comment: I really disagree with this one. It implies that someone who is unconvinced by a proponent’s explanation needs to have their own better explanation. The alternative is ‘we don’t know, your explanation is unconvincing.’ In climate science, the alternative explanation is the null hypothesis of natural variability, which in itself its highly complex and not well understood.

      I fail to see how Shermer’s point and Judy’s counterpoint can be adjudicated by discussing (a) or (b).

      Instead of acknowledging that Judy’s appeal to ignorance is irreconcilable with our current scientific practice, we witnessed some “chastising” (H/T Faustino), likely triggered by the word “Mann.”

    • Matthew R Marler

      Willard(@nevaudit): I fail to see how Shermer’s point and Judy’s counterpoint can be adjudicated by discussing (a) or (b).

      Instead of acknowledging that Judy’s appeal to ignorance is irreconcilable with our current scientific practice, we witnessed some “chastising” (H/T Faustino), likely triggered by the word “Mann.”

      In reverse order: (a) your “Mann” reference is gratuitous and irrelevant to what I have been debating with Mosher; (b) I didn’t “chastise”; (c) is “current scientific practice” something in particular? (Kuhn wrote about the past); (d) is Prof Curry’s comment an “appeal to ignorance”, or an assertion that not enough is known? (e) is it irreconcilable with “our” current scientific practice not to acknowledge ignorance: that knowledge is lacking, or “full of liabilities”, or inadequate? (f) my point (b) referenced reflects the fact that much of this debate is motivated by public policy questions, and it is a serious question whether knowledge is sufficient to guide policy choices; (g) my point (a) referenced addresses the question of whether a prevalent behavior should necessarily be taken as an ethical imperative (does “is” imply “ought” ?)

    • (a) your “Mann” reference is gratuitous and irrelevant to what I have been debating with Mosher.

      Faustino referred to “the long sub-thread,” which is why I interpreted “what we’ve been debating” as including more person than you, MattStat. In that context, the word “Mann” is quite relevant. GaryM, PaulM and Jim D mention the Auditor, which indirectly implicate Mann, while JD Ohio and Skiphil explicitly mention Mike. And your (a) is an ethical point that does look unlike Judy’s Litmus test.

      ***

      I didn’t “chastise”

      Well, Faustino said:

      I hope that Steven is suitably chastened.

      Please take it with Faustino.

      ***

      (c) is “current scientific practice” something in particular? (Kuhn wrote about the past);

      “Current scientific practice” is a thing we call an expression. It refers to current scientific practice, which is a practice, not a thing. Kuhn’s model has very little descriptive value.

      ***

      is Prof Curry’s comment an “appeal to ignorance”, or an assertion that not enough is known?

      Complete your sentence: not enough is known for what? The “not enough” is also interesting. Not enough according to which criteria? When was that criteria established? By whom? Was it via ad hoc means? So many questions, so little time. If a criteria C excludes all the main hypotheses of a research program, C should be rejected or relaxed a bit.

      If Judy claims that natural variability “save the phenomena” (H/T van Fraassen) better that AGW, then I’d like to see how natural variability works as a mechanism. If Judy then replies “well, I have no idea, but the hypothesis is more plausible,” then she argues by ignorance.

      ***

      (e) is it irreconcilable with “our” current scientific practice not to acknowledge ignorance: that knowledge is lacking, or “full of liabilities”, or inadequate?

      Scientists should always be thankful for the concerns regarding what they should acknowledge. They should also mind their tone.

      ***
      (f) my point (b) referenced reflects the fact that much of this debate is motivated by public policy questions, and it is a serious question whether knowledge is sufficient to guide policy choices;

      Even this was true, and on a minimal reading it sounds plausible, this has little to do with Moshpit’s epistemological point. Critical enquiry does not reduce to expressing incredulity. Without any conjecture to refute, there ain’t no science.

      I will again note that we have an undefined criteria, this time identified with the word “sufficient.”

      ***

      (g) my point (a) referenced addresses the question of whether a prevalent behavior should necessarily be taken as an ethical imperative (does “is” imply “ought” ?)

      While I have no idea how this clarifies anything. What I could say is that when someone says “I will be there tomorrow at noon,” the promise made carries a commitment that the person ought to be there. This example comes from Searle’s Speech Act, 1969. While there are many other things about that question, I still fail to see how this would help us refute Moshpit’s point.

      ***

      What Moshpit says can be read in that page:

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abduction/

      While this does not mean that one day scientists won’t become confirmation Bayesians, I think I am on safe ground to claim that scientists infer to the best explanation. See for instance Richard Alley:

      If higher CO2 warms, Earth’s climate history makes sense, with CO2 having caused or amplified the main changes. If CO2 doesn’t warm, we have to explain why the physicists are so stupid, and we also have no way to explain how a lot of really inexplicable climate events happened over Earth’s history. It’s really that simple. We don’t have any plausible alternative to that at this point“.

      http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/the-biggest-control-knob-co2-in-earths-climate-history

      If you don’t have any plausible alternative, then all you have is your own sorry incredulity.

    • A belated response to some responses. I appreciate the effort that Mosher puts in to working on climate data and often in explaining things here. I have no major or long-term issues with him, I don’t often respond to his comments because they are most often technical and I lack expertise. My comment related purely to the sub-thread (it’s not the first time that people have seen unintended wider implications in a very specific comment I’ve made). In this instance, I believe that Mosher was off the mark in his initial post and some of his responses, and that there were many very good refutations of what he said. Hence my “chastened” comment. I nearly commented that we had a case of the celebrated “30:1” with rebuttals and Mosher, I think he himself commented “30:1” later, though I don’t know whether it was with the same intent.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Willard(@nevaudit) If CO2 doesn’t warm, we have to explain why the physicists are so stupid, and we also have no way to explain how a lot of really inexplicable climate events happened over Earth’s history. It’s really that simple.

      I emphasize the future. There are plenty of reasons that we can not say that future doubling of CO2 concentration will cause future mean global temperature increases.

      For the others, you can have the last word.

    • David Young

      I looked at the Alley presentation. There are still some large differences between the proxies for Co2 over the last 30 million years. indeed Co2 may have been as high as 1000 PPM when glaciation was still very significant. Co2 obviously causes warming, but how much is strongly related to other factors, not to mention chaotic variations. The ice ages cannot be explained by CO2 and indeed GCM’s cannot simulate them either. Its a complicated issue.

    • Willard, while ‘chastise’ and ‘chasten’ share a few letters, arranged in a superficially similar way, they have different meanings. Take it up with Webster.

    • Only God chastens, Tom. Denizens chastise.

      ***

      > There are plenty of reasons that we can not say that future doubling of CO2 concentration will cause future mean global temperature increases.

      Chuck Norris is one. After all, “ice age” is just another name for “Chuck’s mint drops”.

      What we cannot say is less interesting than what we can.

  93. It seems to me there is another level of ‘skepticism’ that lies outside of the realm of scientific enquiry – which is common or ‘lay’ skepticism. This is the skepticism employed everyday when, for example, trying to assess the claims of a salesman (an advocate). I think this is a point Steven Mosher misses in his upthread response to Judith.

    From the point of view of society, science should be an impartial provider of information. Once it starts to behave like a salesman (an advocate) natural BS detectors are set off in the lay person. And then considering the cost of what is being sold, we would surely want to be sure we are getting our money’s worth and whether we really do need a reverse cycle vacuum cleaner with extra-turbo boost (for those really stubborn stains).

    The consensus argument sounds a bit like; “97% of housewives agree”.

    But more pertinent is providing some kind of proof, or convincing evidence. If, as a result of ACO2, we are told to expect between 0.2 and 0.4 C per decade, and instead we get none, isn’t some level of lay skepticism justified?

    “You said this vacuum cleaner had a turbo boost but I see no difference in suction…”

    If I query the salesman further by saying a competitor reckons there is no turbo boost on your cleaner (it’s a control-knob gimmick), and he responds with either the “97% of housewives” line, or by denigrating and dismissing or trying to silence that viewpoint, I’m hardly going to feel more confident that he is attempting to give me the unvarnished truth.

    My point to Steven Mosher is that from societies point of view, we are asked to respond to a hypothetical threat identified by climate science. It’s not societies role to offer an alternative explanation for an observation, only to assess the evidence of the claim and decide what to do, or whether to buy it or not. We simply want to determine the veracity of a claim, and whether it calls for us to respond or not. It’s up to scientists kick alternative ideas around and see which one pans out the best.

    • Steven Mosher

      “My point to Steven Mosher is that from societies point of view, we are asked to respond to a hypothetical threat identified by climate science. It’s not societies role to offer an alternative explanation for an observation, only to assess the evidence of the claim and decide what to do, or whether to buy it or not.”

      yes this is true, but it is beside the very narrow point I was arguing with Judith.
      The point Judith and I were arguing is the SCIENTIST’S role.

      It’s my position that the general public is well within their rights to say
      “we are too stupid to figure out a better explanation”
      The scientist has no such option. His lifes choice is to explain mysteries.
      Of course there are times where he denies the solutions that others propose. Of course there are times where he doesnt know and remains silent. ( I form no hypothesis) But he never says “its not my job to explain”:

      By arguing that the public has a right to offer no alternative, you are merely arguing that the public has a right not to do science. However, when a policy maker is asking for guides for action, dont be shocked when they ignore people who say “its not my job”

    • No. That is you, Mosher, changing the subject. Agnostic is correct about the context of the original discussion.

      You are also wrong about the scientific aspect, as no-go theorems and other sorts of impossibility results limiting prediction and explanation are central to science of all kinds, but the entire discussion is a diversion from the sound critique that J. Curry made of Shermer’s argument.

  94. Berényi Péter

    Two recent essays on skepticism stimulate reflections on both the scientific consensus and the high level of public skepticism.

    It is not about “scientists” vs. “public”. There is a whole lot in between and that’s what matters.

    Homeopathy does have all attributes of “science”, has experts, schools, societies, conferences, peer reviewed journals, etc. What is more, a considerable portion of the general public is convinced it works as advertised, for they are willing to pay for homeopathic treatment. Which even works in some cases because of the placebo effect.

    Still, it is bunkum. We do know that much, for there are neighboring disciplines whose experts unanimously reject it. And they can explain in excruciating detail why parts of it intersecting with their own field of expertise do not make sense.

    That’s how much of climate science is seen, especially its computational climate models and the widespread practice of data manipulation called “adjustment”.

  95. Pingback: Kiista konsensusprosentista | Roskasaitti

  96. I’d be interested in how perhaps the skeptics movement, around CSICOP, created some of the climate war’s nastiness by taking its stand too early, breeding cadres of over-confident (over-theoretical) ‘young-turks’, namely quite often coming from evolutionary biology, its legacy including a standoff with mind-blowing creationism – religion behind. I read Skeptical Inquirer as a young scientist myself, and I suppose it’s still useful on a lot of other areas – only this establishment-hugging vein, especially om climate, seems to have poisoned it. Has anyone written about this?

    • Soren, I’m not aware of a “skeptics movement,” that implies organisation and structure of which I have seen no evidence. What we get at CE is a lot of unconnected individuals who have concerns about the validity of CAGW claims with major policy implications.

    • No, indeed, the skeptics movement of CSICOP.org and Skeptical Inquirer is organised and clearly older (about 1960s) than today’s “‘climate skeptics'”, who are not organised and not very connected with it (perhaps not surprising given its early stand).

  97. Yes we know how it goes!

    80% of papers are wrong but in climate science everything remotely alarming is correct and anything saying there is nothing unusual happening to climate is wrong.

    90% of environmental models are useless – but those used in climate science are obviously just fine.

    All scientists must be skeptical unless they don’t accept that mankind caused the warming or that it will get worse – then they are pseudo-skeptics.

  98. Yet another thread derailed by Mosher talking gibberish.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Yes. Some time ago I had a handbag fight with Steven Mosher, when he argued that there was no categorical difference between measurements and estimations. He has an ability to support his ideas, even when they make no sense.

    • Steven Mosher

      Its quite simple Jim

      To show there is no categorical difference show one of two things

      1. measurement can be perfect
      2. measurements can be made without making any assumptions.

      that would be a categorical difference.
      To be sure measurements are more certain than estimates and to be sure they involved fewer assumptions, but those are matters of degree not kind.

    • Cripwell is an easy mark here and Mosher is correct. Cripwell could do a little better by trying Sowell’s point that even though the border between Turkey and Greece is disputed, no one doubts that Athens is in Greece and Ankara is in Turkey. That wouldn’t rescue him completely but it would at least get him off the mat.

    • The categorical difference between estimate and measurement is that measurement involves a measuring instrument whereas an estimate does not.

    • That is why one of our most important measurement questions is always the question of how precise we need to be. How close is “close enough?” The answer almost always depends on the context and the purpose for which we are conducting our measurements.

    • A measuring instrument is a physical object with one or more attributes of mass, length, time, or charge. To measure time, the measuring instrument must display an event that is at a minimum quasi-periodic, but preferably is periodic.

      Standardization of measurement facilitates communications, but is not a necessary attribute of a measuring instrument.

      For example, if I want to cut a piece of molding to fit a wall, I can use a piece of string for the measuring instrument. Place the string against the wall, mark the length. The hold the string against the molding, mark the molding to correspond with the mark on the string.

      An estimate would occur if I simply looked at the wall, then marked the molding where I thought it would fit.

      I note that in the trivial case, the wall itself could serve as the measuring instrument. Simply hold the molding against the wall, then mark it.

  99. Latimer Alder

    ‘The failure of the climate science establishment to convince the public can be chalked up to communication strategies that come across like propaganda, the intolerance of disagreement (calling opponents deniers), advocacy by scientists, the Climategate shenanigans, Peter Gleick and the Heartland affair, etc.’

    If they walk like shysters, talk like shysters and act like shysters………

  100. A lot of commenters seem to be misunderstanding Mosher’s point, which boils down to the assertion that one is not a sceptical scientist until one proposes alternative theories of one’s own, which in broad terms is true although others have noted reasonable exceptions.
    However, those who only criticise without offering alternatives are still advancing the science.
    My own scepticism is based on the science, the flaws that I see in it and the flaws others point out at this and other blogs. I am far from accepting every criticism and there are nutters on both sides. I believe that the processes driving Earth’s climate are knowable, but that we don’t have enough data yet (i.e. the widespread instrument record is too short and the proxies too vague) to characterise it fully. I accept the null hypothesis based on the fact that recent variations in climate are within the bounds of limits and rates of pre-industrial changes, as far as we can measure.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Jonathan, you write “A lot of commenters seem to be misunderstanding Mosher’s point,”

      I suspect people don’t appreciate what Steven is trying to do. What is becoming more and more clear, is that the warmists have not made a case for CAGW, based on The Scientific Method. The idea of CAGW needs to be defended at all costs by warmists like Steven. So what he is arguing is that if you cannot propose an alternative to CAGW, then you do not have a case. In other words, the warmists are doing science by advancing ideas based on hypotheses and the output of non-validated models, and if all he skeptics are doing is showing that the hypotheses and models are wrong, then they are taking the wrong approach.

    • I agree with your post 100%. A couple of years ago I said much the same thing on several blogs and the argument made in response was that even if the current warming is still within the error bars of the pre-industrial fluctuations we still had to act because of the precautionary principle.

      The argument was we don’t have time for the data to be gathered to be certain – we have to act now!

      Personally I reject this argument. Sometimes taking action in the face of inadequate data actually makes things worse. Take biofuels for example. Not only do they take more energy to make than they save via lower carbon, but the water resources they use are incredible, and they make food more expensive to boot.

      I also pointed out that increasing the proportion of power generated using nuclear would be a no regrets way of decreasing carbon output – but that was also rejected by most of the people supporting the precautionary principle (for no good reason other than fear of radiation as far as I can tell).

      Anyway – nice post and stay engaged in the debate.

    • Jim, as I read it Steven’s point is not about whether those who only criticise are advancing science, but that to be awarded the Steven Mosher Badge of True Scientistness you have to advance your own theories, regardless of whether you criticise or not. In broad terms, I agree with him.
      I don’t see him anywhere saying that criticisms are invalid if the critic never goes on to propose alternative theories, although sometimes it’s hard to tell. At least on this thread he’s posting fully grammatical comments instead of in his own personal cipher.

    • Jonathan Abbott:

      You said “At least on this thread he’s posting fully grammatical comments instead of in his own personal cipher.”

      Well, not always. Search the thread for spherical cow, which he posted in response to one of my comments. I have no clue what he was getting at, which I indicated with two of my comments.

      I do enjoy reading his stuff usually – but sometimes he is irritating.

    • Rick, ‘spherical cow’ appears at Lucia’s Blackboard, although I only know that because I tripped over it by accident earlier today.
      How about: “At least on this thread he’s MOSTLY posting fully grammatical comments instead of in his own personal cipher.”

    • Agreed. I read and love The Blackboard – and I am sure his statement means something – I am just not sure what it is. I wish sometimes he would just say it instead of allude to it.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Jonathan, You write “Jim, as I read it Steven’s point is not about whether those who only criticise are advancing science, but that to be awarded the Steven Mosher Badge of True Scientistness you have to advance your own theories, regardless of whether you criticise or not. In broad terms, I agree with him.”

      Yes and no. If you read what Steven writes, he makes it appear that this is the message he wants you to take away. But remember, Steven’s background is English, rather than Physics. He has a wonderful way of using the English language. So I am convinced that all he is really interested in, is trying to minimize the effect of the arguments we denialists are using.

      Fundamentally in physics, there are two sides of the same coin; the theories and hypotheses of WHY things are happening, and the empirical data to support these ideas. With respect to CAGW, neither side of the argument has both sides of the coin. The warmists have the hypotheses and no empirical to support these hypotheses. So, IMHO, the proper thing for scientists to say is simply “We don’t know”. This is unacceptable to Steven. So he uses his ability with our language to try and show that advancing the CAGW hypothesis is better than claiming that we simply do not know. Whether you believe me or not, I am convinced that that is where he is coming from.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Yes and no. If you read what Steven writes, he makes it appear that this is the message he wants you to take away. But remember, Steven’s background is English, rather than Physics. He has a wonderful way of using the English language. So I am convinced that all he is really interested in, is trying to minimize the effect of the arguments we denialists are using.”

      Wrong. I entered undergraduate as a Math and Physics major. I was something of a math prodigy. But it bored me. So I finished the core math stuff and switched to Philosophy and English. Double honors top of my class at Northwestern. I also finished most of the courses required for linguistics, but there was no way they would award me 3 majors. so I spent my senior year writing a thesis on Frost and then another thesis on Neitzsche and Sarte. For graduate school I focused on critical theory and espistemology. At some point I got the crazy idea to study natural language generation (NLG) in order to prove a point about ‘new critcism’ and the organic theory of form.

      That study led me into programming and statistics and lucky for me some of the pioneers of using computers in textual analysis were my mentors. As ideas turned around in my head I happened upon a book called signals and noise. It was about information theory. So, I decide to complete a Phd on measuring novelty in texts using Shannons concept of entropy.
      That meant spending more time sneaking into math classes, programming classes, some physics here and there. In the end I got recruited to work in operations research at Northrop and after a couple years was promoted to the director of operations research for the advanced design division. That started my work on the YF-23 and other projects you will never know about.

      The training required was all supplied by Northrop, some formal some of it just on the job. To understand how we could design an aircraft that was broadband stealthy meant I had to understand that physics. So, back to school. I earned the nickname ‘vampire’ because given the opportunity I would suck all the knowledge out of your head. i didnt have much of a life outside work and study. I had to basically plow through text books and sit with the chief scientist who was very helpful. To understand how planes flew my bosses stacked my desk with books and instructional material.
      This would come in handy later when i worked as a VP at a company that focused on flight control in post stall regimes.

      Of course my boss always introduced me as the english major. it was our little joke.

      there was more after that.. do you have an ipod? do you use 3D on your PC? ever use a webcam? how about a handheld video player?

      thats what I did after aerospace. It required more study.

      At the bottom there is nothing school can teach you that you cant learn for yourself. School is about learning to show up.

    • Mosher: “I finished the core math stuff and switched to Philosophy and English” Gosh, you are clever! But given the number of times you find yourself telling your critics that they have misunderstood what you wrote and that they should reread it, perhaps you should spend a little more time on the second of these pursuits. If one critic misunderstands you, you may be forgiven for thinking he is a monkey. When a dozen “misunderstand you”, it’s time to go and buy yourself a bag of nuts.

    • John Carpenter

      “…..and I am sure his statement means something – I am just not sure what it is. I wish sometimes he would just say it instead of allude to it.” R.e. Spherical cow,

      It’s a physics joke…. GIYF

  101. Thanks for the replies to my ‘Why is Natural Variation the null hypothesis?’ question.

    Seems to me, though, a poorly formed null in that it is too broad, and is NOT a position of ignorance. It is, instead, an alternate hypothesis to the null that states something like ‘the current warming is not a result of natural variability’.

    I think those that favor a ‘natural variability’ hypotheses would do well to explain the current warming and demonstrate the peculiar forcings involved.

    The AGW proponents have done just that(for their position) and rather convincingly, it seems, given the widespread acceptance of the hypothesis.

    I’ll temper that last comment by reinforcing that I did not use the C… in front of the AGW.

    • Please could you state, as explicitly as possible, what you think the correct null hypothesis is?

    • “the widespread acceptance of the hypothesis”

      This is a political appeal, not a scientific one.

      It’s amazing how many people continue to not understand science.

      Andrew

    • I agree that humans have contributed to warming. So I believe in AGW.

      But how much of the warming has been caused by humans?

      I don’t believe we have a good answer for that yet.

      The IPCC says “most”, as in greater than 50% is due to humans – but that could not be based on actual science and had to be based on expert opinion (which means the personal opinion of a very small number of possibly biased science advocates). So I take the “most” with a grain of salt. It could be correct but we wait for actual science to weigh in on this issue.

      The difference between 25% and 75% matters a great deal to policy for dealing with future carbon emissions.

      The difference between 25% and even 51% (i.e. “most”) even matters a great deal to policy for dealing with future carbon emissions.

      Every year the equilibrium climate sensitivity number seems to drop a little lower. I think it is down around 1.8C now (down from 3C). Again, more science based on more data will be helpful – but if ECS turns out to be 1.8C rather than 3C – that would be a huge factor on policy going forward.

      I am not sure an ECS of 1.8C is compatible with “most” of the warming being due to humans. And if it is not “most” than natural causes would by definition be the “most” – and what does that mean for your definition of AGW?

      So JWhite – how much of the AGW warming due you think is due to humans?

    • Fumble fingers.

      I meant – DO you think is due to humans?

    • Jim Cripwell

      JWhite, you write “I think those that favor a ‘natural variability’ hypotheses would do well to explain the current warming and demonstrate the peculiar forcings involved.”

      Why? If we simply don’t know what all the factors causing the climate to change are, what is wrong with saying just that?

    • verytallguy

      RickA

      You seem to think that the scientific community (as summarised by IPCC) quantify human caused warming as 25-75% of the total (forgive me if I have misinterpreted your comment).

      This is NOT the case

      IPCC AR5 SPM:

      It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century

      But also

      Greenhouse gases contributed a global mean surface warming likely to be in the range of 0.5°C to 1.3°C over the period 1951 to 2010, with the contributions from other anthropogenic forcings, including the cooling effect of aerosols, likely to be in the range of −0.6°C to 0.1°C. The contribution from natural forcings is likely to be in the range of −0.1°C to 0.1°C, and from natural internal variability is likely to be in the range of −0.1°C to 0.1°C. Together these assessed contributions are consistent with the observed warming of approximately 0.6°C to 0.7°C over this period. {10.3}

      The estimate of GHG contribution likely range is then 75% – 200% of the total warming of ca 0.65 degrees, not 25-75%

      This is a common misconception.

    • Tom Scharf

      VTG,

      You do realize that these estimates don’t actually come from measurements, right?

      There is no known way to separate out aerosol warming from natural warming from CO2 based warming from….

      It’s scrambled eggs. The statements you are referring to are tantamount to claiming the eggs have been unscrambled “by measurement”, which is another common misconception.

      The expert judgement on “most” or “dominant” are derived from the very same models that are under intense scrutiny for their performance. Can we trust this expert judgment? I think there is case for confirmation bias and political influence with this particular statement. You think the bottom end of 51% was just a coincidence? What’s the downside of being over-confident and over stating the case here?

      I’ll be more than happy to bet you at the IPCC odds of 20:1 that AGW is less than 51%. So far, no takers.
      .

  102. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    ARE YOU A SKEPTIC? OR ARE YOU A DENIALIST?
    Take the Skeptical SCience Litmus Test!

    The Litmus Question  Is James Hansen a great skeptical scientists … or is he a ringleader of the CAGW scam?

    YOU ARE A SKEPTIC IF  You appreciate that the IPCC consensus can err in being too conservative; therefore you rank James Hansen and his colleagues among the greatest IPCC-defying skeptical scientists.

    YOU ARE A DENIALIST IF  Your ideological instincts tell you that “CAGW is a sham perpetuated by a green leftist IPCC abetted by many of the world’s governmental scientific bureaucracies” … and so you perceive that James Hansen and his scientific colleagues are ringleaders of a sinister CAGW conspiracy.

    Young scientists already have made up their minds, eh Climate Etc readers? `Cuz over many decades, James Hansen has consistently recruited outstandingly talented young scientists in dozens and hundreds.

    Denialism, not so much.

    These realities are obvious to *EVERYONE*, eh Climate Etc readers?

    Except the ever-shrinking “bubble” of older-and-older denialists!

    \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}
    ——-
    The Seattle Lesson  A good person without a gun can stop a bad person with one.

    • Fan

      Whilst I do not see this over conservatism on IPCC’s part I certainly agree with you on the second one. Those who believe it all to be a Sham and a conspiracy do no one any favours but just muddy the waters for those of us who are trying to see what hidden facts lie below the surface.

      tonyb

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Although we disagree on scientific conclusions, TonyB, the consistent clarity, grace and good humor of your posts is always appreciated by me and many. Good on `yah TonyB!

      \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}
      ——-
      The Seattle Lesson  A good person without a gun can stop a bad person with one.

    • FOMD,
      You used to be somewhat charming and I used to read your posts faithfully, but honestly, you appear to have just gotten bitter now.

    • Fan reminds me of the show Mad Men. Lot’s of flash and finish. Just what the climate calamitists recommend.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      TJA posts  “You used to be somewhat charming and I used to read your posts faithfully, but honestly, you appear to have just gotten bitter now.”

      You make a good point TJA!

      Weyland-Yutani technology-analyst Carter Burke expresses your point plainly:

      Burke  Hold on a second. This is an emotional moment for all of us. I know that. But let’s not make snap judgments, please.

      Carbon-burning power installations have a substantial dollar value attached to them. This is clearly an important market-optimizing capability we’re dealing with and I don’t think that you or I, or anybody, has the right to arbitrarily exclude carbon-burning!

      Hudson  Maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events; but our planet’s getting its ass kicked, pal!

      The merits of market fundamentalism are incredibly obvious, aren’t they Climate Etc readers?

      Obvious to short-sighted self-centered market fundamentalists, that is!

      \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}
      ——-
      The Seattle Lesson  A good person without a gun can stop a bad person with one.

    • Tanglewood

      Speaking of shills, Fan, the biggest ‘shilling’ in town – by some orders of magnitude – is of course the thousands of government shills – all the government-funded scientists – who labor tirelessly on the the alarmist Consensus that will, if acted upon politically, produce the intended huge increases in taxes and government power. No trick ((c) Mike) is below these science stooges – hiding data etc etc.

  103. “YOU ARE A DENIALIST IF Your ideological instincts tell you that “CAGW is a sham perpetuated by a green leftist IPCC abetted by many of the world’s governmental scientific bureaucracies” … and so you perceive that James Hansen and his scientific colleagues are ringleaders of a sinister CAGW conspiracy.”

    Fan… question: Could one be a denialist as you define it here… and still be right?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse
      YOU ARE A DENIALIST IF  your ideological instincts tell you that “CAGW is a sham perpetuated by a green leftist IPCC abetted by many of the world’s governmental scientific bureaucracies” … and so you perceive that James Hansen and his scientific colleagues are ringleaders of a sinister CAGW conspiracy.

      John28 asks “Could one be a denialist … and still be right?

      Short Answer  Ideologues (especially astro-turfers) say “yes” and scientists (especially young scientists) say “no”.

      What is your next question, John28?

      \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}
      ——-
      The Seattle Lesson  A good person without a gun can stop a bad person with one.

  104. Jim Cripwell, you write

    ‘Why? If we simply don’t know what all the factors causing the climate to change are, what is wrong with saying just that?’

    Well, while your statement regarding our current knowledge of the ‘natural’ cycles MAY be true at present, in my view it seems a rather lazy argument.

    If we, the non-scientist but interested, are to believe that PDOs, AMOs, ENSOs, Solar cycles, and Stadium Waves are the significant drivers of our current (apparent) warming cycle and not anthropogenic forcings, then those who advocate those positions would do well to convince us who are, shall we say, ‘skeptical’ of that claim, absent demonstration.

    Rephrased, I guess sometimes the best defense is a strong offense.

    • Jim Cripwell

      JWhite, you write “Rephrased, I guess sometimes the best defense is a strong offense.”

      Which is fine if you have a strong offense. Here is my belief. The world climate has been changing for ever, and we have the evidence to prove this. We have no comprehensive idea of the reasons why these changes take place. Along come some charlatans, selling snake oil, who claim that recent changes are due to our adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Neither side of the discussion can come up with the necessary empirical data to show whether this idea is right or wrong.

      Now, somehow, it is incumbent for us deniers to suddenly come up with all the reasons why the climate has been changing for ever. And if we cannot, somehow, this bolsters the case for CAGW. I cannot see why stating that climate changes, and we don’t know why is inadequate.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Jim Cripwell | June 6, 2014 at 11:08 am |

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      Just because WE have no real idea what drives the climate variability that we observe on all time scales, and say so honestly, does NOT imply that those who claim to do so, with no empirical evidence beyond an ex cathedra declaration of their certainty, are in fact correct.

    • The CAGWer’s can’t explain climate, so they make things up to explain it. Now, they want skeptics to join them and make thing up. ?

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Jim & Bob,


      The world climate has been changing for ever, and we have the evidence to prove this.

      Yet you presume that:

      we have no comprehensive idea of the reasons why these changes take place.

      But we do.

      The climate is changing now because the very same laws of physics that are used to characterize past climates also apply today.

      If you accept that we know from the paleo-record that solar irradiance variations, Milankovitch cycles, aerosols, and GHGs, etc., all played a role in determining past climate changes, then it is inconsistent to argue that we cannot perform an scientific analysis using these same causal factors today.

      What we learn from doing this analysis is that solar irradiance variations, Milankovitch cycles, and aerosols, cannot explain the recent changes in the Earth’s climate. With GHGs in the mix, recent climate change can be explained.

      We also know from isotopic studies that a significant fraction of the CO2 in today’s atmosphere is anthropogenic.

      Add to that that there is a good understanding (based on thermodynamics and atomic and molecular physics) of how GHGs raises temperatures of the lower troposphere and decrease temperatures in the stratosphere (as measured), and you have a case where theory and observations are consistent.

      Now – you have the option of remaining incredulous.
      You can always say “I remain unconvinced”.

      But ask yourself honestly – is that option based on the results of scientific research, or something else?


    • jim2 | June 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm |

      The CAGWer’s can’t explain climate, so they make things up to explain it. Now, they want skeptics to join them and make thing up. ?

      Guys like jim2 want to anecdote us to submission.
      Anecdotes are not science.

      jim2 finds an oil gusher reported in East Podunk. OK and claims that it will solve the oil shortage,

      jim2 finds lingering ice in Lake Nowhere, Sask and claims that AGW is wrong.

      Give me a break.

    • WHT – you accuse me of writing things I didn’t write. Typical of the CAGWer approach.

    • Tom Scharf

      “If you accept that we know from the paleo-record that solar irradiance variations, Milankovitch cycles, aerosols, and GHGs, etc., all played a role in determining past climate changes”

      Well if go check out the site Science of Doom, you will find that although we know the ice ages are timed with the Milankovitch cycles, there is little understanding of what actually triggers the start and end of the ice ages. It does not appear to be just a solar thing. The climate models can’t reproduce the start and end triggers of an ice age based on the estimated climate conditions.

      What makes yo think we know what the aerosols were 1000’s of years ago? We might get some idea from ice cores, but that is a pretty small segment of the earth’s surface.

      The more you look at at paleo, the worse it gets. It may be the best we can do, but that doesn’t mean it’s good enough to base climate models on going forward.

    • VRJH believes that we can currently accurately explain pre-human climate by reference to orbital forcings, aerosols, etc. But we can’t. Even Science of Doom doesn’t see how to explain the ice ages. So the premise of his if-then is false, and the rest crumbles accordingly.

  105. I appreciated the comments by Agnostic upthread. As his name suggests, a skeptic is someone who suspends belief in order to investigate the evidence for and against a truth claim. The purpose of investigating is eventually to accept the facts and avoid falsehoods. (This is Mosher’s point, and indeed no one can live without acting on some, perhaps many, beliefs.)

    • Steven Mosher

      This is Mosher’s point, and indeed no one can live without acting on some, perhaps many, beliefs.)

      Yes.

      And what you will find is this.

      No skeptic can consistently apply the same rules of belief across a span of topics. In one area they will accept mere shreds of evidence if they support their views while in another area they will whip out every skeptical tool to resist a truth that challenges their world view.

      Skepticism cannot be lived. There are no skeptics.

    • It is several centuries since any one person could ‘know everything’. Therefore, to a greater or lesser extent we all (Mr Mosher included) have to rely on appeals to authority or mere shreds of evidence to construct our individual view of the world.
      It is the things that capture our imagination, or set off or BS detectors, that we investigate further. Genuine sceptics exist, but nobody can be scpetical about everything.

    • David Springer

      “No skeptic can consistently apply the same rules of belief across a span of topics.”

      No lukewarmer can consistently apply the methodology of science across a span of topics.

      Where does that leave us? LOL

    • “Skepticism cannot be lived”

      And this poetry somehow validates climate science?

      Not scientifically.

      Andrew

  106. Another perspective on skepticism.

    I recall some years ago the writings of Edward De Bono on lateral thinking. He pointed to research showing how humans form paradigms, or gestalts, that make sense of information and impressions that a person receives. Interestingly, the sequence in which the information comes affects the shape of the paradigm, such that later impressions may no longer be easily accepted.

    Impressions that don’t fit are either dismissed or engender a crisis in which the paradigm itself comes into question. De Bono’s lateral thinking techniques were intended to “think outside of the box”, that is, to attend to the contradictory information and reconsider that the big picture may be false, in part or entirely not the reality that was accepted.

    To me, the whole experience of the recent “pause” in temperatures demonstrates this phenomenon in the climate field. Alarmists first dismissed the evidence (indeed some still do), and now some are seeking ways to fit the lack of warming in without losing their paradigm of CO2-driven climate. Those who have been skeptical see this period as more evidence to continue investigating and suspending acceptance.

  107. AGW is an elaborate mobile. It has independent branches and sub-branches of Biblical proportions. LIke the parable of the blind men examining the elephant, wannabe scientists here argue tirelessly about the minutia of some substructure, deep or shallow, like ENSO or other subglobal weather phenomena, urban heat islands, radiation absorption and emission, volcanoes, cosmic rays, cloud parametrization, sea level, acidification, aerosols, or sequestration, and on and on. And just beyond Modern Science, they debate justification by peer review, publication, consensus, or the sufficiency of one another’s skepticism, putting aside the necessity for models actually to predict something beyond trivia.

    No one notices that the mobile is not hooked to anything at the ceiling. It’s all a most elaborate fiction. In the ultimate relationship, CO2 is overwhelmingly the Effect of GW, not the Cause, notwithstanding the Greenhouse Effect. It is overwhelmed by natural emissions on a scale at least as great as the 97% alleged in the consensus (e.g., 6 GtC/yr vs 210 GtC/yr + 270 GtC/yr from the lost leaf water), approaching the 99% claimed by the Occupiers (one minus the One Percenters), plus CO2’s solubility in water to boot.

    In the analysis of this tenet of Modern Science, has anyone noticed that skepticism starts at the top? Without that top-down view, even the most faithful believer in his own little specialty is doomed to be a wannabe in science. Only after one proves God will religion become science.

    AGW is like Calvinism, a matter of faith. Neither is wrong in all contexts. The fact is that neither is science. In these fields, skepticism earns shunning and excommunicating.

  108. Dr. Curry ties everything together except the common, thematic political ideology found in the “consensus”, media, political operatives and general base of people enamored with run-of-the-mill central planning and authority. Basically the democrats, EU socialist and oligarchs backing the green authority movement.

    Dr. Curry notes (again) tactics and circumstances of corruption but isn’t going to label the motives of the corruption. It’s deep political and cultural ideology of a left-wing variety in the advocacy community. Outlier skeptics of many political cultures simply don’t negate what the core AGW movement is seeking. Carbon rationing “national security” or pro-nuclear types (McCain/Graham/Thatcher triangulation of long ago) are a mere distraction at this point.

    What good are dots if one refuses to connect them and solve the puzzle?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      cwon14 asks  “What good are dots if one refuses to connect them and solve the puzzle?

      It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it Climate Etc readers? An international conspiracy of liberal climate-change scientists has sapped and impurified all of our precious bodily fluids!

      Thank you, cwon14, for exhibiting so plainly the essence of denialist cognition!

      \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}
      ——-
      The Seattle Lesson  A good person without a gun can stop a bad person with one.

    • It’s one of the worst anachronisms of all that “scientists” expect Carte Blanche regarding their imagined political purity and professionalism. The incredulity so often expressed on this point is inane and laughable.

      Why don’t we poll their grubby central planning politics Fanboy? Most would likely lie at this point to keep the illusion for the gullible and tool segment such as yourself. Yes. climate science is a left-wing enclave. The leadership are Earthday neomarxist in nature. Mann, Jones, Hansen etc. etc.

      How does a fact become a “conspiracy”?

    • http://www.examiner.com/article/left-wing-climate-scientists-are-fighting-back

      Seriously, you’re trying to pass off “climate science” at the core level as not being partisan left-wing advocacy by nature??

    • Not a partisan science field Fanboy?? LOL

      Here are pinheads at Salon;

      http://www.salon.com/2013/07/30/how_to_debate_a_climate_change_skeptic_partner/

      The pompous condescension and ignorance in every paragraph. AGW is know-it-all 60’s slop like none other.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      cwon14 observes   climate science  top-rank science is a  left-wing enclave  enclave of radical political advocacy

      How could top-rank science ever be anything else, cwon14?

      When the world’s great scientific thinkers
      change their minds

      Like many or perhaps most I wanted to believe that our oceans and atmosphere were basically unlimited sinks with an endless capacity to absorb the waste products of human existence.

      I wanted to believe that solving the carbon fuel problem was for future generations and that the big concern was the limited supply of oil not the rate of adding carbon to the atmosphere.

      But the data is irrefutable. We are conducting a dangerous experiment with our planet. One we need to stop. Now.
         — Craig Venter

      Question  Why should 21st century scientists shrink from the radical advocacy of previous generations of scientists?

      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}
      ——-
      The Seattle Lesson  A good person without a gun can stop a bad person with one.

    • Pity you have no uncorrupted “data” or empirical evidence Fanboy.

      http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/climate-cultists_794401.html?page=1

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      cwon14 links [ignorantly and abusively] to “Pity you have no uncorrupted “data” and empirical evidence Fanboy.”

      Ideology-first ignorance by cwon14, history and science by FOMD!

      The roots of climate-science are associated to scientists whose conservative credentials are impeccable, isn’t that right cwon14?

      Whereas your post links to the frothings of hired shill who works diligently to get scientists fired based on political ideology

      We urge you [President Bush] to dismiss or re-assign all administration employees who are not pursuing your [anti-science] agenda, just as you have done in several similar instances.

      Conclusion  It’s no wonder that mathematicians, scientists, and engineers (young ones especially) utterly loath the anti-science anhistorical willfully ignorant hateful ideology that cwon14 (along with dozens of non-scientist shills and paid operatives) so persistently astroturfs.

      That young scientists are in-the-right is obvious to *EVERYONE*, eh Climate Etc readers?

      \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}

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      cwon14 links go reality Fanboy

      • Fred Singer, the tobacco-industry’s denialist-for-hire?

      • Ninety-year-old Fred Singer, the poster-child for “stale, pale, and male” ideology-driven climate-change denialism?

      • Fred Singer the conspiracy theorist?

      “Mr. Obama has become convinced that CO2 is responsible for Global Warming and that anthropogenic GW (AGW) is dangerous. Or perhaps, there are more sinister motives.

      And yet gosh-golly, Mr. Singer plumb forgot to say describe the “sinister motives” that (in Singer’s bizarre worldview) secretly motivate modern-day climate-science.

      Question  Is it any wonder that young mathematicians, scientists, and engineers, along with young family-starting voters, uniformly abhor and reject Fred Singer’s bizarre Koch-world ideology?

      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}

    • Tanglewood

      Again Fanboy shrinks from commenting on the plain fact that government climate ‘scientists’ are hired to so as to advance government interests, by fanning alarmism. And that they spend thousands of times more money on this 95% ideological mission doing so, than everyone else put together.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Tanglewood proclaims [bizarrely] “ climate ‘scientists’ are hired  citizen-scientists are NOT hired to advance government interests by fanning alarmism”

      Koch-brand denialist astroturfing can’t conceal climate-change realities that citizens see plainly with their own eyes.

      That’s obvious to *EVERYONE*, eh Tanglewood?

      \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}

    • Tanglewood

      True to form, Fanboy avoids confronting that government climate ‘scientists’ are hired to advance government interests, which in means fanning alarmism. Something that citizens see plainly before their eyes – Climategate, crushing of dissent, and so on.
      Obvious eh Fanboy?

    • Is he called “Fanboy” because all he ever does is fan alarmism ?

    • He’s more like FOMBS.

    • FOMD, with your continued use of a racist, sexist, ageist slogan you are insulting our hostess and lowering the tone. You’re also doing your own side a serious disservice. What would an agnostic new visitor think, coming here and seeing you spout such nasty drivel? I don’t like feeding trolls but that sort of behaviour needs to be called out.

  109. Jim Cripwell, you wrote:

    “Along come some charlatans, selling snake oil, who claim that recent changes are due to our adding CO2 to the atmosphere.”

    I’ll disagree with this assessment, thank you.

    Since the thread is about skepticism, I’ll state that I believe I am skeptical of many things, including claims that this particular current warming event is caused by nebulous ‘natural variations’ when the advocates of that position are either unwilling, or incompetent, to defend the argument.

    Those that argue this current warming is anthropogenic have devoted considerable energy to defending and proving their argument and if you believe the scientific ‘consensus’ it seems they have been spectacularly successful.

    To those who advocate this particular warming is ‘natural’, this skeptic says ‘Show me the money’ . :)

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. #8220;This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

      Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

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

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

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

      Anastasios Tsonis suggests that decadal surface cooling and warming results from a change in energy uptake in the deep oceans or a change in cloud and water vapour dynamics. Both seem likely. In the simplest case the cooler or warmer water surface loses less or more of the heat gained from sunlight and so the oceans warm and cool.
      In the latter case Dr Norman Loeb – Principal Investigator for NASA’s Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) – shows that large changes in the Earth’s energy dynamic occur with changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation. However, CERES commenced operation just after the 1998/2001 climate shift.

      Earlier satellite data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP-FD) shows a substantial step increase in cloud at the turn of the century. Furthermore – an intriguing project originating with Dr Enric Pallé at the Big Bear Solar Observatory made photometric observations of light reflected from the Earth onto the moon from 1998. Short term changes in global reflectance – is for the most part cloud changes. A climatologically significant step increase in albedo was observed at the turn of the century. Project Earthshine has since expanded to a global network of robotic telescopes.

      It seems to involve cloud.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=112

      A failure to understand a theory that explains data better – is not the same as there not being one.

    • David Springer

      Show you the money, JW? You’ve been shown. There hasn’t been any warming in 17 years despite CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere faster and faster the whole time. You reject the plain evidence. You’re a believer. You drank the kool-aid.

      • Ha… this reply gave me a bit of a chuckle, so thanks for that anyways. I suppose if the state of science education has degraded to the point where we are to believe that unspecified natural variations have come to represent an appropriate scientific null hypothesis, than I think we can agree that there’s plenty of kool-aid for all.

        Happy trails!

    • Since the thread is about skepticism, I’ll state that I believe I am skeptical of many things, including claims that this particular current warming event is caused by nebulous ‘natural variations’ when the advocates of that position are either unwilling, or incompetent, to defend the argument.

      That sums up your problem in a nutshell. The null hypothesis (regardless of your opinion) does not have to be defended by anyone. In order to advance an alternate hypothesis, you have to disprove the null.

      What you think is fair or reasonable means nothing. Those are the simple facts.

  110. “nebulous ‘natural variations’”

    These aren’t nebulous at all. They are constantly being observed and recorded.

    Andrew

  111. What is skepticism? Let me start here. Why are you doing science, and what kind?

    Are you doing it because you want to be clever? Or because you want to be recognized? Or because you want to get the right answers?

    Try a little experiment. Say what Alice in Wonderland is about. What was it written to say? It’s not an easy question, so approaches will vary. Your approach says something.

    If you are in the clever camp there are a hundred answers, each more clever and more non-responsive than the last. You can analyze Carroll and his motives. Look for a code. Take a poll. Etc.

    The recognition guy can watch the movies and analyze what it means to us all. Hopefully collectimg a grant and a consensus on the way.

    I can only think of one guy in our lifetime who did it to get the right answer. That is Martin Gardner. He gave up being clever and asked for the directions. The result is the Annotated Alice.

    Turns out that every Victorian schoolchild understood Alice better than you. They weren’t smarter. They just knew sime things you don’t. Common poems of the day. etc..

    What is the skeptic? The guy who knows that every clever answer must be checked against reality. It’s too durn easy to get sidetracked into a clever, wrong idea otherwise.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
      All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.’

      Not Alice in Wonderland – but Through the Looking Glass. One could draw endless parallels between Alice and the climate wars. The Red Queen, the Mad Hatter, six impossible things before breakfast.

  112. David Springer

    Mosher, you aren’t a scientist and it’s kind of pathetic how desperate you are to be regarded as one.

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steven-mosher/1/b07/27b

    • David

      Interesting profile of Mosh which brings us back to the titanic battle on wuwt between Poptech and Willis as to whether the latter WAS a scientist. There are many definitions and I guess that Willis fitted one or two of them so probably Mosh qualifies as well. But he’s probably a citizen scientist rather than a qualified one by dint of an appropriate degree.

      Tonyb

    • David Springer

      A monkey flinging poo to see what happens is a scientist under some definition too. Mosher wants the title without doing the hard work of getting a PhD. And then he has the nerve to tell others they aren’t doing science if all they do is falsify hypotheses without creating any of their own. A pathetic, hypocritical blog blowhard with delusions of grandeur.

    • Ha! No one and I mean no one like to rub Moshers nose in his own excrement more than me. He plays a pompous arrogant blowhard on blogs. However, he is a scientist an engineer and a philosopher of extra ordinary talent. In the rank of science, he is a Smedley Butler compared to Springer’s Gomer Pyle. Springer continues to show off his REMF talent making the head gleam. A PHd does not make a scientist, actions do.

    • John Carpenter

      Engaging in scientific behavior and being scientific does not require a piece of paper from a university. From the observations I have made, Mosher fully understands scientific behaviour, discourse and pratices it as well. If it sounds like a duck, walks like a duck, looks like a duck…..

      • Except that he elides the line between scientist and policymaker seamlessly.

        Starts with a couple of undeniable premises,
        Waves his hands
        then states:
        “We can and must do something about it.”

        Don’t get me wrong. I like Mosh, and I think he is genuinely trying to bridge build, and I think that it is important to discuss the nature of knowledge as part of this debate; a subject which is not the exclusive domain of credentialed scientists.

      • It is not possible for someone who is not a scientist to do any such thing.

        http://www.populartechnology.net/2014/06/who-is-steven-mosher.html

    • David Springer

      The Horwad has spoken. All hail the anonymous coward. ROFLMAO

    • Bad Andrew

      “If it sounds like a duck, walks like a duck, looks like a duck…..”

      …it might be a mechanical duck toy.

      ;)

      Andrew

    • David Springer

      “Engaging in scientific behavior and being scientific does not require a piece of paper from a university.”

      But calling yourself a “scientist” does. Balancing a checkbook doesn’t require a CPA but you can’t call yourself a CPA just because you can balance a checkbook. Capiche?

    • Pierre-Normand

      “But calling yourself a “scientist” does. Balancing a checkbook doesn’t require a CPA but you can’t call yourself a CPA just because you can balance a checkbook. Capiche?”

      That’s what you claim but it isn’t true. CPA is a statutory title, and so are “engineer”, “psychologist” or “physician” in many jurisdictions. “Scientist”, “artist”, or “athlete” aren’t. Look up “scientist” in any dictionary.

    • Here’s what the Warmer position is in English:

      If you believe in Global Warming you can be called a scientist without any formal relevant scientific credentials.

      If you don’t believe in Global Warming you need formal relevant scientific credentials to be called a scientist.

      Andrew

    • ==> “A pathetic, hypocritical blog blowhard with delusions of grandeur.”

      Unintentional irony worthy of someone else who hangs in these here parts.

    • Andrew –

      LMFTFY:

      Here’s what the Warmer “skeptical” (not skeptical) position is in English:

      If you believe in Global Warming you can be called a scientist without any formal relevant scientific credentials.then credentials and peer review aren’t important, and political orientation tells you everything you need to know about a scientist’s science.

      If you don’t believe in Global Warming you need formal relevant scientific credentials to be called a scientist. then credentials and peer review are vitally important, and political orientation is unimportant.

    • Joshua,

      Did you get a job yet? ;)

      Andrew

    • I got a gig on the professional kickball circuit.

    • your advice paid off. Thanks.

    • “I got a gig on the professional kickball circuit.”

      That actually made me laugh. There might be hope for you, after all. At least you have a sense of humor. Maybe it will help you get past all this Global Warming nonsense someday.

      Andrew

    • John Carpenter

      “But calling yourself a “scientist” does.”

      Uh, no it doesn’t. I never took a scientist examine to call myself a scientist. I have no ‘license’ to practice science. My degrees say Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. They were both earned through science based curricula. I am a scientist, yet nothing says I am. The example of CPA has ‘certified’ in the title for a reason. MD, DDS, Esq, RN, all have something in common… A license to practice. Not so for scientist. I play the guitar, I call myself a musician, I don’t have a musician certificate or license. Not needed. Mosher can call himself a scientist if he wants. Others will recognize him as a scientist based on the scientific contributions he makes and call him a scientist if they choose to. You don’t have to, but few if anyone will care about your personally biased opinion about Mosher other than to correct for your mistaken POV about being a scientist.

    • David Springer

      I see. So “scientist” really means nothing at all because it’s self-annointed based on one’s opinion of oneself.

      Thanks for clearing that up.

  113. David Young

    The other thing I don’t get on this thread is the usual complaining that Judith is somehow inconsistent or is not a skeptic because she doesn’t have an alternative hypothesis to explain everything. There is a value in critique for its own sake. As Walter Kaufman observed about the 1950’s, theology of that era depended on a total suspension of one’s critical faculties for its credibility. As time wore on, critique once again became a word of honor. Some things are obviously flawed and it is a contribution to simply point that out.

    One merely need dig into St. Thomas to find his rationale: Reason cannot prove the articles of faith, but faith naturally seeks out what reasons it can find to support its beliefs.

  114. Tanglewood

    This is what makes Skeptical Science and what we do so important, our goal is “to explain what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming.”

    iow, the goal of Skeptical Science is to eradiate skepticism and replace it with unquesioning faith.

  115. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/climate-cultists_794401.html?page=1

    A pretty good summary of all that stands between liberty and greenshirt fascism.

  116. Stephen Segrest

    Question to cwon14, Wagathon, Jim2, Matthew Marler (and others): When the “General Public” get their information from Politicians and Media Talking Heads (like Rush Limbaugh) that Global Warming is “Junk Science”, “Fraud”, “Hoax”, “Religion not Science”, and quote the Bible “that its not true” — How should scientists respond (and those who believe that AGW is occurring)?

    Within the CE Blog, everyone agrees that the “established science” does not yet understand the complexities of feedback loops and impact on Natural Variability and there is no consensus. But this Blog doesn’t represent the “General Public”.

    In a “context” of this General Public skeptic information, where AGW is (1) Another “Big Government” “Conspiracy Theory”; (2) Against God’s Word — the use of “Scientific Consensus” is totally appropriate.

    If Skeptics would strongly disassociate themselves and disavow these Tea Party type conspiracy theories and religious fundamentalism, maybe we could get somewhere in a meaningful general public dialogue on the science.

    The problem is the Skeptics will not do this.

    • How have they responded in the past? There is nothing particularly new about having opposition.

    • Tea party types? Have a poll of Tea party types views on global warming or are you just repeating what you hear from the liberal version of Rush?

    • Personally, I don’t believe the feedback part of the global warming hypothesis has been adequately demonstrated.

      But, the public isn’t going to care if I disavow Rush Limbaugh and religion or not. I’m not a public figure.

      But when it comes to politics, there is more to the equation than science. Policy comes into play. So, any political group can participate, even the TEA party. They have every right to their opinion on policy, just as do we all. And in my estimation, they have good reason to doubt global warming will cause a catastrophe, as outlined in the first paragraph.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Stephen, you write ” How should scientists respond (and those who believe that AGW is occurring)?”

      By having a open and honest debate on he scientific issues. When Lennart Bengtsson dared to do this, he was effectively silenced. All the warmists do, is to claim that the skeptics are spreading disinformation, and it would be counterproductive to have any sort of debate on a level playing field.

    • jim2, “Personally, I don’t believe the feedback part of the global warming hypothesis has been adequately demonstrated.”

      But that is a totally unacceptable to Mr. Segrest. Those what embrace AGW expect complete acceptance of all aspects of the theory. If they don’t get that they whine about how unfair and irrational the opposition is.

    • Bengtsson was not silenced, though he has been perfectly mute on providing any proof of any of his claims.

      He’s still a scientist. He will still publish. It was his choice, and his choice alone, to leave the GWPF.

      Until he provides evidence to the contrary, his only problems appear to be a talent for hyperbole and no backbone.

    • JCH, “Bengtsson was not silenced, though he has been perfectly mute on providing any proof of any of his claims.”

      Rodney King wasn’t killed but he still didn’t care for the way he was treated. Bengtsson felt he was getting unfair peer pressure, which he is totally entitled to feel.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Stephen Segrest: In a “context” of this General Public skeptic information, where AGW is (1) Another “Big Government” “Conspiracy Theory”; (2) Against God’s Word — the use of “Scientific Consensus” is totally appropriate.

      Whatever your political affiliation, some of the people who vote with you are nuts. It does not follow that you should fight folly with folly. When I write to my Congressman, I cite published literature. That some of the people who disagree with me and some of the people who agree with me are ignorant does not imply that I ought to write ignorantly on purpose. The use of “consensus” is totally appropriate when it is strongly supported by the evidence and well-tested theory and modeling. Otherwise not.

    • Bengtsson was not silenced, though he has been perfectly mute on providing any proof of any of his claims.

      Yes that’s right, he just made it all up eh ? Noone threatened to no longer work with him, it was just his imagination.

      What dissembling poppycock.

  117. Stephen Segrest

    Captdallas — We’ve probably never had the level of “culture wars” that currently exists here in the U.S. An example is that Tea Party Legislators in Florida eliminated putting Fluoride in water for Children’s dental health — as “big government”, and “flawed science”.

    • The Civil war was pretty significant, , the revolutionary war, WWII and even the Whiskey rebellion where fairly serious cultural clashes. There is nothing particularly new under the sun doncha know. To upgrade your pitiful struggle into some type of Earth shattering anti-science movement is pretty silly. Just stop whining and prove your point.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Stephen Segrest: An example is that Tea Party Legislators in Florida eliminated putting Fluoride in water for Children’s dental health — as “big government”, and “flawed science”.

      The fluoride wars are hardly new, and are not nearly as intense as the Civil Rights “culture war” or the domestic disturbances related to the Viet Nam War debates.

  118. Stephen Segrest

    steven — Your comment is amazing. Do you not read newspapers that show Gallup, Pew, or other national polls?

    • No, but that only says what they think not why they think it. I don’t see anything in that poll about because Rush said so or God said so, or it was all a big conspiracy. Now that you are on TEA party members and flouride. Is the TEA party really that big globally? I always thought they were just a small portion of American politics.

    • OK, if you can find a poll I’d love to see it. If you can’t then tell me if God told you it was so, or if Keith Olberman told you so, or if you just know they were paid by the oil companies to answer that way.

    • Why don’t you do a poll on the number of 5 year olds that believe in the Easter Bunny.

      Very similar results and as much empirical information.

  119. Stephen Segrest

    captdallas — Why don’t you read what I’m saying instead of your knee-jerk reaction to “name calling”?

    There is not one scientist on this Planet that has a good understanding on feed-back loops like cloud formation:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-does-air-pollution-affect-clouds/?WT.mc_id=SA_Facebook

    I’m whining because I say there is absolutely no science consensus on cloud formation? Geeezzz.

    • Stephen, “captdallas — Why don’t you read what I’m saying instead of your knee-jerk reaction to “name calling”?”

      I didn’t have a knee jerk reaction to “name calling”. I had a knee jerk reaction to “whining”. You are just like Lacis, spout a little science then whine about some group not appreciating your brilliance. Stick to the point and stop whining. Simple.

  120. Stephen Segrest

    Captdallas — You’d have to live in a cave not to be hearing the stuff coming out of Senate and House Committees on GW where the Bible is being cited. Do you even know who Jim Inhofe is?

    Should the Bible be a major factor in having a dialogue on GW? Or should we be trying to focus on science?

    • Stephan, I was born and raised in the Bible belt. Religion is and has been a part of my “culture”. That doesn’t stop me from having independent thoughts.

      Since you are so concern about Bible beating in the Legislature how about this concern that I have.

      As our fearless leader contemplates a third term, them are part of his devote following. I find that a bit scary..

    • Stephen Segrest

      Captdallas (and others) — Thanks for perfectly illustrating my point by linking AGW to yet another conspiracy theory. Folks like you are no better than the “extreme” Warmists who will also manipulate and cherry-pick anything to argue their pre-determined ideological views.

    • Stephen

      I do not believe in conspiracy theories nor that agw is a hoax or scam. I think it is mistaken but that is a different thing. It is nonsense to believe there is a conspiracy of thousands of scientists.

      Tonyb

    • I do not believe in conspiracy theories nor that agw is a hoax or scam. … It is nonsense to believe there is a conspiracy of thousands of scientists.

      More nonsensical by far, is the notion that you would NEED a conspiracy of thousands of scientists to explain a systematic corruption of the science process in one direction (climate alarmism, in this case).

      All you need, is to stop being doggedly blind to facts that:
      – all the scientists are selected and by paid by a single organisation (the state, in this case)
      – this organisation, the state, has a huge vested interest in a finding of alarmism

      Believing government climate science, is like believing the old tobacco company science on the health effects of smoking.

      Pure madness – especially given the insight into its fraudulent methods revealed in Climategate, over which precious little regret has ever been shown by the profession.

    • Punksta

      I have now written some 12 highly detailed articles on climate and have accumulated data for many more . This has taken me to such diverse places as the Met Office library and archives, various Records office, various conferences, the Scott Polar institute and I have talked with quite a few scientists as well as carried out research on the internet and paid for numerous pay walled articles.

      I think much of the record that scientists rely on are highly suspect and give far to much certainty, for example SST’s. Also that the relatively recent historic record on such things as sea level changes back some 2000 years are not given the attention they deserve.

      Clearly the climate is highly variable and smoothing and adjustments remove a great deal of this.

      Do I believe this to be a consistent state sponsored attempt at re-writing history? No I do not. Are a few prominent scientists motivated to put over their own version of things? Yes.

      Have other scientists always called them out as they should? No.

      Are many scientists afraid of challenging the consensus and find it easier to use the aforementioned dubious data to put over their results? (because they don’t know it to be suspect) Yes.

      Does this amount to a grand concerted scam, hoax or conspiracy? No.

      Do you have any proof for your accusations? . If you do I shall certainly reconsider my position.
      tonyb

    • The Conspiracy Strawman

      Hi Tony

      I’m afraid you miss my point. Which is that you don’t NEED a scam, hoax or conspiracy to explain a systemic bias. All organisations are focussed on furthering their own interests, and government is no different in this respect. There is no secret or mystery about this, or where government’s interest lies; so, as you’d expect, government will tend to preferentially commission studies that support the need for more government. It would be a big surprise if they did anything different – indeed THAT would require some sort of conspiracy (of integrity) to explain.

      The idea that you need a conspiracy to explain government climate science being skewed towards alarmism, is a just straw man erected to obscure government’s vested interest in promoting alarmism, and the overwhelmingly liklihood of this vested interest coloring what climate science and scientists it chooses to sponsor.

    • Meh, an extraordinary popular delusion and madness of the herd doesn’t need anything more than a far-off unseen lightening strike, and a little trembling, the fear not far off ever.

      Sure, there are those who breathed together, pawed the ground, and snorted alarmingly, but unnecessarily. They’ll suffer with the herd.
      =====================

  121. Stephen Segrest

    Captdallas — 3rd term??? And I took the time to respond to you. Geeez — read a Civics book rather than wasting people’s time.

    But for other Bloggers here that are credible, here is a 17 second clip with Sarah Palin which shows the problem in “culture wars”:

    Fruit fly research is critical in finding cures for genetic diseases in humans, such as childhood autism.

    • Stephen, 3rd term?? Yep, that is the current chatter believe it or not.

      http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/termlimits.asp

      The original constitution doesn’t prevent a third term, two terms became more of a tradition than legal limit until the second Roosevelt. Do you live in a cave or what? :)

    • AMENDMENT XXII

      Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.

      Section 1.
      No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

    • Third term? Seems impossible under the US constitution and even if it were possible to amend it I cant see it being done for what I understand to be an unpopular President.

      tonyb

    • Tonyb, “Third term? Seems impossible under the US constitution and even if it were possible to amend it I cant see it being done for what I understand to be an unpopular President.”

      There was an 18th amendment to the constitution that prohibited alcohol and a 21st amendment that nullified the 18th. A 75% majority is hard to come by but it has happened before.

    • Captain

      I could perhaps see it happening in the mistaken euphoria immediately after his first election when he even got a nobel for reasons that still elude me.

      I ca’nt see it happening now. The guy is full of hubris and must be the most ineffective President in recent times.

      tonyb

    • “Fruit fly research is critical in finding cures for genetic diseases in humans, such as childhood autism.”

      Yeah, but that was not what the research she was talking about was for. It was simply a study of olive fruit flies, in France. The researcher claimed it was more efficient to study the fruit flies “in their home habitat” in order to fight them in California. Which is apparently the same reason climate “science” conclaves must take place in Barbados and Cancun.

      “The research facility is located in France because Mediterranean countries like France have dealt with the Olive Fruit Fly for decades, while California has only been exposed since the 1990s.”

      But funny enough, no one explained why the French would be so disinterested in conducting such a study themselves.

    • Ah, but tonyb it is possible therefore it is whine-able. The precautionary principle demands we whine about the remotest of possibilities.

    • The guy is full of hubris and must be the most ineffective President in recent times.

      Just the opposite. Look at what Obama has accomplished — saved the economy from a severe crisis, US jobs now back to the pre-crisis level, ended the war in Iraq, is ending the war in Afghanistan, reformed health care and insured milllions, US stock markets up $12.3 trillion since he took office, put through higher mileage requirements for the US fleet, and is now enacting the first ever cap on carbon emissions.

      • Yes, we know. There has never been a recession that the US recovered from (with employment still below the Bush years – FYI) until Obama. The fact that Bush enacted the surge which allowed HIM to set the time table for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq is of Course thanks to Obama. And the fact that we are STILL at war in Afghanistan (bit premature there, right apple?) means the war is over.

        Yep! So what has Obama done? Wasted at LEAST $25 billion on GM (bankruptcy is not non-existence). Got an ambassador and 4 people killed in Benghazi. Turned Egypt over to Muslim extremists that even the people did not support. Traded 5 Terrorist commanders for 1 traitor. Lost thousands of guns to drug cartels in Mexico. Had his lunch handed to him when he rattled his saber at Syria (what about that peace prize?), violated the constitution with the IRS, NLRB, Obamacare. Broke the law with bergdahl, the VA, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, tapped the phones of the MSM, solicited money (demanded extortion since it was on Official stationary) from health care providers, violated the Hatch Act, Squashed the investigation and subsequent prosecution of voting rights violators, Went to war unilaterally in Libya,

        Lost millions of Jobs (still below the Boosh years), caused inflation to rise (while hiding it – but the shrinking middle class feels it), increased the income disparity, reduced the size of the middle class., but millions more on disability, caused millions more to give up looking for jobs, deprived over 8 million (and counting) of health insurance, rationed health care for all Americans, deprived veterans of health care. wasted BILLIONS on failed “green” companies that was never his to waste,

        Such a record of accomplishment.

    • and is now enacting the first ever cap on carbon emissions.

      Quite amazing. The EPA formalizes a preexisting decline in coal usage. I was expecting so much more

    • But funny enough, no one explained why the French would be so disinterested in conducting such a study themselves.

      Perhaps because anybody even slightly familiar with ecological studies already knew? Anyway, it’s not a problem for the French.

    • See tonyb, David Appell is totally impressed with the Obama admin performance and I am sure there are plenty of dihydrogen monoxide minions willing to climb on the band wagon. Luckily, it is 75% of the states and there are quite a few small states with that will have a bigger voice than when the electoral college is involved.

    • The two-term limit is obviously not going to be overturned, nor would I prefer that. There is discussion like this at the end of every second term, including Bush 2’s, and the Snopes article says the Democrat who recently introduced it has done so every two years since 1997.

    • Heh, tony reads the British press, David the American.
      ===========

    • Government FUNDING of scientific research is not required. You get what you pay for.

  122. I think I’ve heard it all now. The corrupt and blinkered alarmist scientivists of the IPPC are “far too conservative”, and have been bullied by Judith into this position.
    Bit early in the day to be on the beers isn’t it ?

  123. Here is a litmus test for SkS skepticism: can you find any critical statements on SkS about Michael Mann’s research?

    Why would SkS have critical statements about Mann’s research? The hockey stick has been confirmed many times by now, including using different mathematical methods. The only noise about it the denialsphere trying hard (still) to drum up some controversy, when there is none.

    • Sorry, missed the reply button so my reply is below, but in case this thread grows, and I have to think you wrote this ironically, here is the link to the rebuttal of your claim. You did know that the “secret” SKS forum leaked, right?

      Try to keep up.

      http://climateaudit.org/2013/11/20/behind-the-sks-curtain/

    • Mann’s Hockey Stick has been confirmed eh.
      Whew, talk about wacko truebeliever faith..

    • The SkS “leak”. So how did it go down actually?

      They finally decided that supporting the political cause by supporting Mann’s blatant fraud was actually hurting the cause. So they pretended to have known he was cooking the books all along, and had disapproved all along, and so concocted this fake internal doc which oh shucks got leaked?

      Is that about right?

    • The hokey stick has never been confirmed. Stop lying david. We know you are just a SS sycophant.

  124. Oddly enough David, on their “secret” forum, which they accidentally opened up to the world, they had plenty of critical things to say about Mann: Here is a twofer, two scientists disagreeing with Mann and backing McIntyre.

    “‘I am by no means a climate change denier. My strong impressive is that the evidence rests on much much more than the hockey stick. It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics. Misrepresenting the views of an independent scientist does little for their case either. It gives ammunition to those who wish to discredit climate change research more generally’ – I.T.Jolliffe.
    [THIS IS THE EPITOME OF HOW I FEEL-Robert Way]”

    And then there is this criticism of Mann from their “secret” forum:

    “I don’t think these are minor points. I think they get major points correct. MBH98 was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he learned better techniques he moved on… He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake. Saying “I was wrong but when done right it gives close to the same answer” is no excuse. He never even said that but I’m just making a point. What happened was they used a brand new statistical technique that they made up and that there was no rationalization in the literature for using it. They got results which were against the traditional scientific communities view on the matters and instead of re-evaluating and checking whether the traditional statistics were valid (which they weren’t), they went on and produced another one a year later. They then let this HS be used in every way possible (including during the Kyoto protocol lead-up that resulted in canadian parliament signing the deal with many people ascribing their final belief in climate change being assured by the HS) despite knowing the stats behind it weren’t rock solid. Of course someone was going to come along and slam it. In the defense of the HS method they published things on RC like what I showed above where they clearly misrepresented the views of the foremost expert on PCA in atmospheric sciences who basically says that Mann’s stats were dubious.”

    http://climateaudit.org/2013/11/20/behind-the-sks-curtain/

    Why is it so embarrassing for you guys when your private thoughts get aird? I don’t mean personally, I mean professionally. Nobody wants to see personal stuff aired.

    • Oddly enough David, on their “secret” forum, which they accidentally opened up to the world, they had plenty of critical things to say about Mann.

      So? People talk, gossip, doubt, whine, disagree, and more among themselves. That doesn’t mean they’re always right, or that any and all thoughts are worthy of publication.

    • Do you publish all your thoughts on your blog, Judith?

      Of course you don’t. So I don’t see why SkS should publish something just because someone had an opinion on their private forum. Forums are for airing thoughts and refining them. Not all thoughts are worthy of publication — mine, yours, or SkS’s.

      • The chief focus of true scientific skepticism in climate science has been hockey stick, or more specifically the ‘consensus’ reconstructions of the past millennia. For a climate blog that calls itself ‘skeptical science’ not to critically examine this topic makes the blog . . . well a joke to anyone that is serious about scientific skepticism.

    • The hockey stick has been replicated and confirmed by at least a dozen studies by now, including the massive PAGES 2k study.

      How many more times does that have to happen? Two dozen? 10 dozen? How many are enough for you, Judith?

      • The same people, using the same data, does not amount to a ‘confirmation’. Even the ‘same people’ don’t agree on much of this.

    • The hockey stick has been replicated and confirmed by at least a dozen studies by now, including the massive PAGES 2k study.

      And how many of those studies managed to avoid using contaminated data? There’s been plethora of Exposés of “hockey stick replications” at Climate Audit where they turned out to have similar (or the same) problems to Mann’s. Which study are you referring to that hasn’t been shown to be junk?

    • At least a dozen studies?
      Well, it appears that, given six billion people in several hundred countries, the hockey stick has essentially zero academic interest.

    • Robert I Ellison

      I doubt that I could twist the ‘massive PAGES 2k study’ into a massive confirmation of the hockey stick.

      http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2013/04/21/blogs/dotkaufman.html.

    • One point commonly overlooked in the “replication” debate is later “hockey stick” graphs look almost nothing like Mann’s original hockey stick. It’s silly people call graphs that look incredibly different “replications.”

    • Re NYT chart

      Thus most of the cooling is accounted for via documented historical record (volcanic solar downturns from 1200 AD onwards)

      That’s a huge coincidence, contingent on documented historical record

    • As Dr. Curry proclaims, the Hockey Stick might be the chief focus for skepticism, where skepticism means doubt. In that limited, on-the-fence-sense, skepticism as doubt is analogous to agnosticism.

      Only “might be chief” if one can manage to overlook IPCC’s misuse of feedbacks (as in (±) clouds), of equilibrium (anywhere, but especially in the carbonate equations and natural CO2 fluxes), of laws of physics (e.g. Henry’s Law), of graphs (to manufacture faux fingerprints for CO2 emission and for O2 depletion). And those are just for starters.

      Where no doubt exists to deny a claim, the 3% has refutation and a knowledge analogous to atheism. In such places (e.g., flat Earth, Biblical ages, geocentrism, Piltdown man) appeal to the virtue of skepticism is inadequate.

      And of course, AGW! Beyond doubt, anthropogenic CO2 has not, nor can it, cause global warming (or “Climate Change”), and that is true notwithstanding the Callendar Effect (Greenhouse Effect, for the newbies among us), a fact also beyond the reach of much skepticism, but in the other direction.

      The problem is not what we don’t know, but that so much of the stuff we know for sure isn’t true.

      • This is bang on. A little rewording just to be certain: We know for sure that much of the stuff isn’t true.

    • “So? People talk, gossip, doubt, whine, disagree, and more among themselves.”

      If you honestly think this kind of “these are not the droids you are looking for” defense is going to fly, that may be the problem with communicating your alarm.

      It didn’t work for Climategate, it won’t work for this. Maybe fictional Jedi can put toothpaste back in tube, but pretending people are sheep to be herded won’t work.

    • nottawa rafter

      Apple
      The world is onto the discredited hockey stick. The world wonders why you aren’t.

  125. Can someone please explain the extraordinary coincidence through which most of downturns can be appropriated by virtue of being confirmed by written evidence in the historical record.

    In other words, when the written historical record thins out, so too do the downturns in global temperature

    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2013/04/21/blogs/dotkaufman.html

  126. Lolwot the Pause Denier,
    Quick – whip off an email to Trenberth & friends and let him know there is no missing heat to account for. They’ll be so chuffed. Sleep a lot easier over there at Alarm HQ. With stats rivalling even Mann’s, might even make you a Professor of Alarmist Certainty Spinning oops I mean Engineering.

    • “to Trenberth & friends and let him know there is no missing heat to account for”

      They already know this, haven’t you been paying attention?
      http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

      • And lolwot has a serious disconnect. There would be no need to find any “missing” heat if none were missing. His challenge was for you to tell Trenberth his search was in vain.

        Whiffed on that one.

    • So lolwot, tell me in your own words how they found the “missing heat.” I know you are just going to point to a paper that you claim supports your position, but explain why it does. You don’t have to do the math or anything, just explain it in simple terms.

      If you can’t do that, on has to wonder why you are passing yourself off as some kind of expert here on the internet. Or at least you imply that you know enough about what you are talking about to have an opinion we should consider.

    • >> to Trenberth & friends and let him know there is no missing heat
      >> to account for

      > They already know this, haven’t you been paying attention?
      > http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

      How cunningly you duck the question lolwot. Regardless of the hopelessly low robustness of OHC data, why did they go looking for heat in the oceans in the first place?

      I’ll tell you. The CAGW alarming started with the assumption that surface temperatures werer what mattered, and these were obligingly (for precommitted alarmists) going upwards. But then they stalled, and have done so for the last 17 years or so. Hence the urgent need to find the “missing” heat somewhere else in order to save CAGW.

      In short, The Pause is what drove the closer look at OHC. Yes, even the deepest truebelievers and ideologues like Trenberth and his IPCC pals accept the Pause as a fact. Yet you hang pathetically on ….

  127. ” A fan of *MORE* discourse | June 6, 2014 at 10:36 am | Reply

    YOU ARE A DENIALIST IF your ideological instincts tell you that “CAGW is a sham perpetuated by a green leftist IPCC abetted by many of the world’s governmental scientific bureaucracies” … and so you perceive that James Hansen and his scientific colleagues are ringleaders of a sinister CAGW conspiracy.

    John28 asks “Could one be a denialist … and still be right?

    Short Answer Ideologues (especially astro-turfers) say “yes” and scientists (especially young scientists) say “no”.

    What is your next question, John28?”

    Fan: your definition; I’m looking for your answer…can instincts be correct? Has there been a scientific study that says no? I’d like to see it.

    • Don’t bother with FOMD, he is busy organizing the “Climate Youth” and has nominated the stale pale male as the new Juden.

      He is genuinely deaf to any criticism from anybody he doesn’t trust, and that would be anybody who disagrees with him. It is a perfect cocoon.

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