Engagement vs communication vs PR vs propaganda

by Judith Curry

So, exactly what are we trying to communicate, and how and why?

The traditional model of climate science communication has been:  experts convey climate science to the public –> the public then acts in accord with the views of the climate scientists, i.e. urgent action needed.  In other words, the emphasis was on communication and PR.

The traditional model hasn’t been very effective, and science communication is becoming more sophisticated (and interesting).  Communication and PR are waning, with engagement (good) and propaganda (bad) waxing.

Below are summaries of some recent science communication essays that are of relevance for climate science.

Engagement vs communication

Andrew Maynard has a superb essay Confessions of a Science Communicator that describes his philosophy of science communication, which contains many elements of successful engagement. Excerpts:

Respect. The participants typically represented a cross section of American society.  Not many of them had higher degrees, or well-paid jobs, or knew much about science and technology. First, these people asked intelligent, insightful questions – they were smart.  And second, they contextualized the conversation around new technologies in terms of what was important to them – their health, their families, what excited them and worried them; their passions and convictions. I developed a tremendous respect for the participants.  These weren’t the scientifically illiterate “public” I’d been led to believe made up society, but intelligent individuals with their own interests, concerns and insights.

Listening and learning.  Sure I had expertise in one particular area.  But I began to discover how ignorant I was in so many others – including understanding how people think and respond when faced with new information and complex decisions. This informal education was continued through listening to and learning from many others who had expertise and perspectives outside of my own, including academics, business leaders, policy makers, activists, and, of course, journalists.  It became increasingly clear that I had to put the needs and interests of the person or group I was communicating with first.  And this meant listening to them, getting to know them, and understanding where my expertise ended and theirs began.

Ditching the deficit model. Implicit in the deficit model is the assumption that there is a small, privileged group of people who know what is right and wrong, and it is their responsibility to impose this on others who don’t have this privileged insight. I do not buy into this assumption.  Where there are complex decisions to be made that depend on a tangled mass of personal, social, economic, environmental and other factors, about the only certainty is that no one group has the monopoly on what is right or wrong.  This is especially true where there are disparities between those making – or imposing – decisions, and those who end up living with the consequences.

Community-centric communication. So why shouldn’t I impose my “superior” knowledge on those who are unaware of how much their lack of understanding is harming themselves and others?  Unfortunately, knowledge alone does not confer the right to decide what’s best for others, nor the right to impose your will on them. On the other hand, it does come with great responsibility to empower others.I believe that if I know something that can help someone else, I have a responsibility to help them to the best of my ability make use of this knowledge.  I also have a responsibility to advocate for what I see as important factors in making decisions that could affect the health and wellbeing of others.  But I don’t ultimately have the right to decide on my own what is right for someone else.

When people get stupid. There is of course a glaring problem with this approach to science communication:  What do you do when communities are clearly making important decisions based on misconceptions and misleading assumptions? In reality there are rarely cut and dried distinctions between “right” and “wrong” when it comes to decision-making. At best, evidence can elucidate the probable consequences of a certain course of action.  But there are often personal, societal, moral and ethical values attached to decisions.  Ultimately, what is considered “right” and “wrong” (or “better” or “worse”) are governed by these values – not the science.

Collaboration, not coercion.  Of course, the hope is that science and evidence underpin values-based decisions, and that important decisions are not built on misunderstandings and falsehoods.  Making science and the insights it leads to accessible and understandable is critical to building a foundation on which informed decisions can be made.  This is important at the level of connecting with individuals within society.  But it’s also important for empowering communities that do have the legitimacy and authority to bring about change,  including professional associations, scientific societies, government agencies, and others.

Engagement vs PR

Alice Bell has an article in the Guardian entitled Science communication needs infrastructure, not more professors.  Excerpts:

The Royal Society has advertised for a professorship in public engagement with science; “a well-established scientist with exceptional scientific communication skills and media experience to support the society’s public engagement work.” There are two problems with this.

Firstly, they seem to want someone to do PR, not public engagement. These are different, and it’s an important distinction. As the bullet points of the job description outline, they want someone to help increase the public understanding of science, and are quite open that the role is designed to help increase public support for science. But public engagement is about more than such advertising. It’s about building space for discussion and involvement, not publicity. An engagement approach also acknowledges that attempts by the scientific community to get everyone to like them rarely works as a system for building trust, and isn’t really that useful anyway. At its most simple, engagement is two-way, not top-down. But part of the point is that science in society shouldn’t be managed as rigidly as any such simple model can describe. Rather, engagement is about opening up science for a larger, unruly conversation as opposed to simply offering a series of patriarchs to talk down to us. 

See also Alice Bell’s Public Engagement with Science: Top Tips.

PR versus propaganda

Jeffrey Swartz has a short essay PR vs propaganda: what’s the difference?  Excerpts:

Sure, both public relations and propaganda seek to shape perceptions and influence public opinion. Both use mass media. Both are directed at specific audiences. The end result of both is to get people to take action (though those actions differ immensely). The main difference?  Truth.

Propaganda uses lies, half-truths, innuendo, smears, misinformation, one-sided arguments and inflammatory rhetoric to influence the public’s attitude toward a cause, ideal or, usually, a political agenda.

Public relations uses truth if, for no other reason, their claims can be checked. PR relies on logic, facts and sometimes emotions to spread information between an organization or individual and its publics—information to promote products, services and build good will for the organizations offering them.

Propaganda’s underlying philosophy is us against them. “They” are often denigrated as undesirables or simply “the enemy.” 

Public relations’ underlying philosophy is building trust between an organization and its products and services with its targeted audiences for mutual benefit.

Propaganda relies on one-way communications. It seeks to eliminate dissent, and those who disagree may suddenly “disappear.”

Increasingly, public relations relies on two-way communications via social media and encourages different points of view so organizations can better service their clients and customers.

Fabius Maximus describes a disturbing trend in climate science communications in a post The debate about climate science takes a familiar yet disturbing form.  Excerpts:

Quietly climate activists (supported by journalists) have shifted the public debate about climate change. Logically, as their previous tactics were failing to produce their desired political change. Polls in the US showed flat minority support (here, here, and here).  Worse, the Australian people voting to roll-back their government’s ambitious policies. So they have adopted more aggressive marketing techniques.

(1)  The IPCC has dropped from their script. Formerly described as the “gold standard” description of climate science research, the most reliable statement of consensus climate scientists’ thinking, has become “too conservative”. Ignoring the IPCC has become standard practice by activists and journalists. 

(2)  Activists have replaced professional climate scientists as their spokesman, people willing to give confidence apocalyptic forecasts without qualifications — or strong support in the IPCC or climate science literature.

(3) Aggressive broadcasting of research that supports their message, erasing mention of its qualifications and limitations. Contrary research is ignored. Countering this, putting individual research in a larger context, is a primary function of the IPCC’s work — another reason activists increasingly ignore it.

(4)  All “extreme” weather happening today becomes evidence of climate change — and by implication anthropogenic catastrophic climate change. Even when the climate science literature says otherwise (see the IPCC’s SREX; also research summaries here and here).

(5)  Even reporting on non-climate change disasters includes mention of the inimical effects of climate change. As in “Will climate change worsen Ebola outbreaks?“.

(6)  There is a clear consensus held by the overwhelming majority of climate scientists. It’s being expanded to matters on which there is a weak or no consensus.

JC reflections

For complex wicked problems, attempting to communicate by simplifying the problem and its solution doesn’t work very well, for good reasons.  The scientific and advocacy communities are starting to realize this, and we are seeing an increased focus on both engagement and propaganda.  The propaganda strategy play book seems well described by Fabius Maximus.

The more intriguing, and ultimately more important strategy of engagement is a work in progress. In Climate Etc.’s About statement:  Climate Etc. provides a forum for climate researchers, academics and technical experts from other fields, citizen scientists, and the interested public to engage in a discussion on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface.  To me, the most critical element of engagement is the two-way street, and I’ve found the blogosphere to be a good platform for engagement with the public.  Andrew Maynard makes some very insightful comments about the two-way street.

An finally, a few words about climate propaganda, that uses climate science, sometimes with the participation of a climate scientist.  The use of ‘science’ to serve propaganda has a negative impact on the public perception of science and its trustworthiness.  Scientist/advocates irresponsibly involving themselves in propaganda damage the public trust in science, and can slow down scientific progress.  Propaganda tactics are used on both sides of the climate debate, but the ‘science says’ propaganda seems to predominate on ‘warm/alarmist’ side.

The media has a key role to play in keeping both sides accountable and sorting out competing claims.  Andy Revkin is a journalist that does this pretty well. And finally, there is far too much silence in the climate community when they see climate science being used in the service of propaganda.  I can understand the temptation to fly below the radar, but to me this should be a key role for science communications.


313 responses to “Engagement vs communication vs PR vs propaganda

  1. “Worse, the Australian people voting to roll-back their government’s ambitious policies.”

    How could the best result of the year be described as “worse”? Fabius misses the point.

    • Eh, he’s speaking from the point of view of the alarmists.

      • For those who don’t know, he derived his handle from a famous Roman general who after numerous disasters were encountered against Hannibal early in the Second Punic War in Italy employed guerrilla tactics and was also known as Fabius the “Delayer”. Hannibal stayed in Italy for 15 years but was eventually worn down to a minor threat in the end.

        You wonder what Fabius thinks he’s doing for the “cause”.

      • He’s part of the ‘resistance’. We are too many to find us all.

      • cwon14 (August 8, 2014 at 6:46 pm) says “O.K., sorry, I get the context now. My apologies.”. That is such an important statement, even though the error was very minor. cwon14 immediately moves up a notch in my estimation, because in any dialogue I now know that they are at least capable of admitting if they get something wrong. It is a basic tenet of science that everyone must at all times be prepared to be proved wrong by evidence and must be prepared to acknowledge it. One of the appalling features of mainstream climate scientists is their inability to acknowledge any kind of error or doubt, not even the tiniest.

      • Thanks Mike, concluding this I’m glad Fabius Maximus is on the watch.

        What Dr. Curry is saying is all well and good but the quote; “never bring a knife to a gun fight” comes to mind. It’s all academic congeniality, rationalism and composure. Somewhere on Twitter she’s being labeled a Holocaust Denier who should be put in a reeducation camp or water-boarded. I’m glad the direction she’s moving in but even if she fully turned she may not have the savage instincts to actually address the horrid nature of the institutionalized greens, the depraved tactics and culture associated with AGW activism. What she’s writing is pretty trite to the abuses observed, something of the “damn by faint” vain. I get it, who really enjoys stooping in mud of this topic?

        Dr. Curry is trending well but we have to do have to observe that the situation has been this horrible for something in the order of at least 45 years. If she’s really having a Epiphany she should sort of acknowledge that instead of pretending that somehow the horrid green machine somehow got much worse recently and that’s why she moved to the center. There’s disinformation in that posture.

      • O.K. Dr. Curry, if they make me take this class I’ll ask for the seat next to you and you might concede points at that time;

      • Mike,

        Re: cwon14

        I concur. I’ve had 35 thousand comments, a large fraction of which were factually wrong (understandable with technical material). Only a tiny number have admitted error — and fewer apologized. Doing so shows a greatness of character, imo.

  2. Willis Eschenbach

    Here’s my bullet points for communication:

    • Don’t lie to your audience.

    • Don’t lie to your audience.

    • If you do lie to your audience, you need to apologize and ask for foregiveness.

    Judith, your constant harping on communication ignores the ugly reality. We were lied to by the leading lights of climate alarmism, and we’d be fools to trust climate scientists again.

    Sorry, but all of your feel-good ideas mean nothing at all when the other person has lied to you. That’s the part that you continually leave out of your well-meaning but Pollyanna prescriptions for better scientific communication. We were fooled once. We won’t be fooled twice.


    • Curious George

      A “consensus science” is not a science. “Consensus” is a tool of politics, not of science. Science always accept new facts and challenges. Science is NEVER settled. Not even Newtonian mechanics.

      A dogma does not really want an engagement. A Great Inquisitor does not have to be a great communicator.

      • Steven Mosher

        Consensus is a tool of science.
        Not the best tool.
        Not the only tool.

      • “Consensus is a tool of science.
        Not the best tool.
        Not the only tool.”

        – It’s a pathology. Not a “tool”.

      • Mosher, I have to agree with the little monkey and his friend in the yellow hat. Consensus is, by definition, a tool of politics, not science. When consensus is sought in the name of science, then the discussion has transgressed through the looking glass into politics and policy.

        This is the appropriate realm of engineering and applied science. Nothing wrong with it, but there is a distinct difference. Also, it is important to remember that the likes of Mann (has it been 15-minutes, Michael?), Jones, Spenser, Ramsdorf, Telford, Curry, Schmitt, Lindzen, Santer, Christy, etc, etc. are not engineers or applied scientists. Conclusion: these folks are worthless for policy recommendations.

        However, they are all the perfect tools of politicians whom wish to flatter these “pure as the driven snow real-climate scientists” by shining their sepia tinged light on them in carefully orchestrated congressional hearings to advance the politico’s temporal and greedy agendas.

      • “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.
        Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” ~Michael Crichton

      • What’s an applied scientist, Howard, a theorical engineer?

      • Have another cuppa Joe,
        Muses, heh, they come and go.

      • Recognition of a spontaneously formed and independently derived consensus of people whose judgment you respect is a useful tool. It prevents you from having to reinvent the wheel (likely badly). It makes it possible to move beyond what has already been discovered and learned.

        The problem comes from non-spontaneous consenses or spontaneous cascades and bubbles.

      • Willard: Thanks for your interest.

        Most scientists are applied scientists. Applied Scientists and working Engineers are very very closely related. A “theoretical engineer” would be a research engineer.

        The best example of an applied scientist that the general public directly hires is a medical doctor or dentist. Scientists are employed in every industry and in most all facets of government. They apply science to practical problems. They are also involved in corporate and government policy development and implementation.

        Willard, I suppose it never occurred to you, that while we are chatting here so enjoyably, a decision is being made by the Executive Director and the World Economic Forum in Geneva, and when they realize there is no possibility of recalling carbon dioxide, there will be only one course of action open: Total Commitment.

        Willard, do you recall what Albert Einstein once said about science policy? He said science policy was too important to be left to the public. When he said that, 50-years ago, he might have been right. But today, science policy is too important to be left to academics. They neither have the time, the training nor the inclination for science policy thought.

    • >We were fooled once

      Not even once

    • Willis,
      Do recall the many Climate Scientists who are not in the 97% clique. The 97% try to say they are all climate scientists. They are rapidly becoming a smaller and smaller group. Don’t trust the 97%, but there are many Climate Scientists we can trust. We heard many of them speak last month.

    • Willis says it all so succinctly! I want to add another pithy expression, originally applied to the Peter Gleick travesties but applicable to all statements, articles, and campaigns from CliSci which exceed or falsify available evidence:
      [emphasis added]

      “After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.”

      Megan McArdle on the Gleick Affair

      • this is definitely where I am with many/all of the “consensus” climate scientists — I regard them as so committed to The Cause that I distrust whatever they seek to “communicate” to me….

      • Distrust, but verify, and all will be well, Skiphil.

      • There’s a little something I’ve noticed in the last couple of years. Paper after paper has come from the alarmists to cover some hole in the consensus and paper after such paper keeps getting blown up within days, sometimes minutes, of release. Sure, the press goes with the consensus and few understand the critique, so the message ends up around the world while facts fumble for the boots. But the cavities have just been papered over(intentional) and are still there gnawing through the corpus of the consensus.

        Steadily more desperate. Damn that unco-operative Nature.

      • The consensus against the consensus is growing.

        Join the contrarianmatrix bandwagon!

      • @kim…

        Reread you Kuhn.

      • “Steadily more desperate”

        Unfortunately for Warmers, the truth persists despite papering over, photoshopping, sheepherding and squiggly-line twisting.

        It can’t be defeated. Why it takes Warmers decades, if ever, to figure this out may be a question for science. lol


      • Willard: I believe recent research has concluded that people make the decision to trust or not trust very quickly, before digging. I don’t know the validity of the research, however, it confirms something I’ve learned about me over time. I tend to trust experts who admit the limits of their field, such Dr Curry saying that there are many unknowns about the climate; too many to make multidecadel predictions. I trust these experts when I first learn of their views, before doing my own digging.

      • Willard,
        it is not a counter-consensus and it is (thus far) no bandwagon. This is simply a lot of varied individuals wrestling with questions, criticisms, doubts…. no need for any bandwagons.

    • Willis, I think it’s worse than you think (to borrow a well-know phrase :) While some individuals in climate science certainly told actual lies, hence playing a critical part in underwriting an avalanche of fear, I figure a much larger number are not lying; they are ‘passionately believing’. To the point of utterly blind bias. The difficulty with this, is that it is far harder to combat passionate belief than it is to combat lies, and perhaps harder still to combat both when tangled inextricably together.

    • William McClenney

      Dead right Willis.

  3. “The media has a key role to play in keeping both sides accountable and sorting out competing claims.”

    How do we compensate that both the media and science community involved represent overwhelming imbalances supporting expanding state authorities as they are predominately far to the left of the general society? The oft quoted ratio of 4 to 1 liberal vs. conservative in a society very closely split just considering “journalist” as they self identify. The ratio of quoted climate scientists seem much higher.

    The main stream media has clearly failed and orchestrated support its preferred “science”. The activist climate science community has exploited the built in bias for generations.

    If the gate keepers are known to be corrupted and do everything to exploit their advantages why should their role be “key”???? Just the opposite is what is required. They have self disqualified and the legitimate (what little is left in the climate community) “science” community should admit the fact.

    • Yuh, the process is self-destructive, ugly as it is to watch it implode.

    • I agree with cwon14, the media has a bias. The bias depends on their target audience, and the owners’ editorial guidance. For example, in 2002-2003 the USA media cooperated with the Bush administration lies about Iraqi WMD. In 1999 they cooperated with Clinton lies about a supposed Kosovo genocide.

      I picked two very controversial subjects and pointed out lies by presidents from both major parties on purpose. Most Americans live in an information chamber isolated from reality, the media cooperates with the government to shape their minds, and this “climate change” movement sure looks like business as usual.

      What’s interesting about the two foreign policy blunders I mentioned is that BOTH sides of the political aisle backed the lies. This tells me whatever was behind them had an overarching ability to influence a large chunk of USA society.

      The global warming conflict is unlike say the Kosovo affair because we see, in the USA, a clear cut political divide (although I happen to vote democrat so I’m an exception).

      However in Europe it’s very Kosovo like, most politicians seem to bow and scrape to the fiction that 97 % of scientists want us to pay obscene electricity bills to subsidize solar power.

      Lets face it, we are easy to herd and manipulate. And most of the time we seem to enjoy it, unless the herd is moving in a direction we don’t like.

      • That would be an interesting topic; the role of journalism in the climate debate. I did a cursory study of journalistic sloppiness long ago and, IMO, we are getting wrong information from the media simply because the journalists are not digging enough. The next question might be “Why are they not digging?”. One answer might be that they see no reason, that the ideas they are expounding are universally accepted by thoughtful people such as themselves. Suppose they might be living in a snobbery bubble?

      • rls, it isn’t “snobbery”, “laziness” or anything else other than political collusion.

        Media shares the agenda with academics toward a more progressive state. They ought right lie for that cause as do many climate scientists.

      • They lost the plot after Woods lost the tape.

      • “For example, in 2002-2003 the USA media cooperated with the Bush administration lies about Iraqi WMD.”

        There were those “experts” at the U.N. (what does that sound like??) who backed the claim as well. Also the term “lies” may not be quite fair. You might want to knee-jerk it but where do you Syria acquired it’s poison gas used in recent years? You can say the Soviets but it’s a guess. Saddam used WMD’s year before the pre-war build up. If wanted them, he certainly could have had them.

        I think the WMD “lie” is hyped by the usual suspects, that this became the all important pro or anti war talking point, after the fact, is a media spin and invention. There were dozens of points outlined in the pre-war build, of course this is where propaganda was invented, during war. Frankly, “we’ll be welcomed as liberators” meme a far bigger farce but the first casualty of war…….

        America isn’t well suited to empire or preserving global world orders. People certainly aren’t inclined to sacrifice combat deaths for such enterprises. I get that, but the idea of handing over even 5% of the oil reserves to the likes of ISIS or allowing a nuclear Iran is somewhat delusional. The deep broad global politic of removing Saddam and the presence in the region certainly aren’t going to be popular but consider the alternative of a Asian powers deciding to pick up the task of maintaining global energy security as just one byproduct if the West folds completely. Forget all the idiotic green fantasies or even if the U.S. was 100% self-sufficient through fracking etc. We live in a global trade hegemony. If you have isolated pockets of barbarism like North Korea or Cuba with little strategic value dying slow deaths it’s one thing. You get to the contagion potential of what Iraq represented it was another story.

        No one goes to war promising massive drawn out pain and suffering for their own citizens. Lincoln and FDR were both wholly incompetent war managers but did that validate their adversaries? The WMD whining is more about left-wing hatred rather then anything else. Another delusional 60’s culture trip from a good chunk of that generation has some shame to consider for itself. This is all way off topic to a large degree, then again, “WMD’s were a lie” is in fact a form propaganda for many of the trained minions who drink all the kool-aid all the time beyond climate change dogma. Next comes the next bowl of swill, “no blood for oil” which is like saying no blood for food and is so blindly stupid we should just stop here. Again, reactionaries self-hating all they were given, all their ancestors sacrificed blood and treasure for, the current post WW2 order of individual rights and free trade. So the stupid self-confident green movement is really just one of many samples of the social rot with a suicidal instinct. Bush at least won the war, removed Saddam which had/has many longer-term implications both regarding Iraq/Iran and beyond. We have now watched the complete incompetence of the Obama value system and the situation that has resulted. This all far more important then pre-war talking points that had uniform support from many parties.

        The no WMD tagline is simple minded dogma like “Watergate”,”Iran Contra” or “climate change” little dog whistle messaging for people who generally don’t like to think that hard. Don’t be seduced Fernando.

      • A slam dunk.

      • What are you talking about with lies about WMD? They FOUND WMD? Not stockpiles of nuclear weapons but that was never claimed.
        I’m really sick of this Left Wing Propaganda being repeated over and over like it’s true.

    • The media are unqualified for arbitrating “accountability.” These guardians are themselves unguarded. Their financial success comes not from revealing truth, but from telling stories. Stories don’t have to be true, they only have to be interesting. Dr. Curry puts too much faith where it demonstrably is undeserved.

  4. Sure, propaganda on both sides. On one side, an authoritarian urge to impose an artificial consensus, on the other, curiosity.

  5. After 1945 the primary purpose of government science was to obscure the force that generates energy, fuel and food with pseudo-cosmology, astronomy, nuclear and astro-physics so world leaders could themselves assume the historical role of God with totalitarian control over all humanity.

  6. Recently I attended a talk by the UK government’s chief scientific advisor, Sir Mark Walport on “climate change communication”.

    I asked a question responding to something he said in his talk. He said that “the consensus” covered three things:

    i) that climate change is happening
    ii) that we are causing it and
    iii) that it is going to be bad

    I put it to him that my reading of AR5 definitely does not support iii). I argued that the main line of “evidence” for catastrophic outcomes from anthropogenic CO2 was model scenarios. I then quoted what the technical summary said about them: “The scenarios should be considered plausible and illustrative, and do not have probabilities attached to them.”

    I was so surprised by his response that I didn’t think to come back at him immediately and press him for clarification.

    He simply said “By ‘bad’ he doesn’t mean ‘catastrophic'”.

    He didn’t subsequently provide a definition. I thought it was a pretty poor show given that he’d just been extolling the virtues and importance of “climate communication”, abd especially given how I think many people would interpret “bad”.

    And these people wonder why they have problems?

    • Heh, warming is good. This has been a flaw from the gitgo. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

      • Is there any real question that the proposed mitigation is catastrophic?

        There is the reason for the controversy.

      • To some, Kim, mitigation is advantageous, not catastrophic.

  7. I don’t think the distinction between PR and propaganda, in practice, is quite as clear-cut as described by Swartz. The smears and inflammatory rhetoric may be unique to propaganda, but half-truths and one-sided arguments are in common.

    PR and propaganda are, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. When “onside”, half-truths are just “putting the best face on things”. When “offside”, they’re “propaganda”. Exhibit 1: IPCC and NIPCC reports.

    • I agree HarlodW, Swartz has redefined the terms for his own purposes. Neither term implies honesty, nor dishonesty, only arguing to convince. In practise, though, both have come to mean deceit. Perhaps practitioners of corporate (e.g. an actor in a lab coat saying 97% of dentists recommend this tooth paste) and political (e.g. a set of talking points) public relations are more likely to lie through omission than directly, but that isn’t my impression. Further, I would suggest that even to approach honest discourse about a topic, more than one side of the question needs to be presented. Is that ever the case with public relations or climate science?

  8. Climate Etc. recently asked, “Is the road to scientific hell paved with good moral intentions?” I wonder what the consensus was of the first 654 respondents?

    The answer to the question is a corollary of the latest question, “exactly what are we trying to communicate, and how and why?”

    The problem is that the AGW story is going to hell, and dragging its owner, climate science, with it. At the outset, whatever the complex intentions were (some mix of money, fame, recognition, promotions, bigger and better computers, power, and humanity), they were not moral from the standpoint of scientists qua scientists.

    Before a scientist may use a model for public purpose, it must be validated. It must hypothesize better-than-chance predictions of non-trivial events, subsequently verified by experiment. This is the threshold between hypotheses and theories.

    What passes for science in many academic fields sets no requirements for success in models, and climate science is but one of those fields. The models may have falsification, they may be peer-reviewed and published in professional journals, and they may be supported by consensus (three of the five post modern science tenets), but no requirement exists that the models actually work, that they even postulate Cause & Effect from which to make their predictions.

    The instinct of the public is better than the standards of academic science. When the models fail to work, scientists are ridiculed. This is happening with CO2 emissions and AGW models. It is a most fortuitous fiscal event, an accident of a century of solar activity coupled with the implied predictions by the models of the climate sensitivity parameters.

    It’s the factual damnation of the feckless. Unfortunately, the public blindly extrapolates this failure to the whole of science. But no amount of engagement, communication, PR, or propaganda can overcome the simple facts uncovering the single, scientifically predictable fact of the failure of the climate models ever to work.

    • AGW is not dragging Climate Science anywhere. AGW is not any kind of science. AGW is headed to a bad place, but it does have no influence on real science.

    • No, CAGW is having a BIG effect on real science, in the sense that it is crowding it out.

    • Popesclimatetheory, 8/9/14 2:38 am:

      When Judith Curry wondered about the road to scientific hell, could we not presume that she not talking specifically about something she observed, that is, the dragging hellward of her field, climate science? And wouldn’t the 97% figure from the AGW movement apply to her colleagues in climate science, and wouldn’t everyone in that AGW majority believe they were practicing real science? However, you correctly imply they are not.

    • Gail, 8/9/14 @ 2:42 am:

      In the chain of causation, real science (models must predict) was first crowded out of academia and government labs by Post Modern Science (publish or perish), which had no defense against AGW and other forms of non-science. Meanwhile, real science thrives in industry (trade secrets).

      AGW was a scientific conjecture when Callendar speculated about it in 1938. But he seemed unaware of Henry’s Law of solubility. That Law causes the ocean to keep man’s puny emissions from having any measurable effect on mean atmospheric CO2 concentrations. That should have been enough to demote AGW out of the category of scientific models at all times. When IPCC discovered Henry’s Law in its attempt to resurrect the failed Revelle Factor, IPCC concealed the evidence, and has yet to admit its existence. Contrary to the Law, AGW has manmade CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere (long lived GHG) while natural CO2 does not, a physical and mathematical impossiblity.

      Regardless, the AGW conjecture failed to fit all the data in its domain once the ice core reductions showed that large excursions of atmospheric CO2 lagged surface temperature by about a millennium. For CO2 to cause warming, it must lead, not lag. That is the scientific principle of causality, denied by Popper as he was inventing Post Modern Science.

      So, the AGW model is a failed conjecture on at least two counts. It is no longer science, and standing on the outside, can have no direct effect on science. However, the failure of that model fuels the politics of the noisy few anti-science factions (e.g., Greenhouse Effect does not exist, evolution does not exist, Intelligent Design) along with intense reactionary resistance.

      • Jeff
        “That is the scientific principle of causality, denied by Popper as he was inventing Post Modern Science.”

        Really. Do you have a source for that?

      • Daniel, 8/10/14 2 6:53 asked:

        “That is the scientific principle of causality, denied by Popper as he was inventing Post Modern Science.”

        Really. Do you have a source for that?

        Your question has a bunch of prongs: one for the source for PMS, five for Popper as the source of PMS, and one for Popper dismissing causality.

        “Post Modern Science” is my name for what constitutes scientific knowledge in federal courts, determined in 1993 by the US Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow. It held that courts could determine scientific validity and whether a theory or technique is scientific knowledge by applying five guidelines, four “Shoulds” and one “Should-not”. In Court order, they are these:

        (1) Falsifiability. It should be testable and preferably tested. (Popper (1934/1959) The Logic of Scientific Discovery, p. 267; Popper (1963) Science: Conjectures and Refutations, p. 8/45.)

        (2) Peer-review publication. It should have been subjected to peer review [inter-subjectively testing] and publication. (An individual cannot be objective, but must be challenged. Popper (1945) The Open Society and Its Enemies, p. II-213, p. II-225-6; Popper (1966) Objective Knowledge, pp. 1-2 of 31.)

        (3) Single error rate decision making. Any technique should have an established error rate, the Type II or false negative error. (“[I]nstead of considering a truth frequency we should have to consider the complementary value of a falsity frequency.” Popper (1934/1959) id., p. 256.)

        (4) Science by Consensus. Results should have been accepted by a consensus in the scientific community. (Reason is a social phenomenon. Popper (1945) id., p. II-205.)

        (5) Political Correctness. Conclusions should not depend on the application, but instead be based solely on scientific principles and methodology. (Contradicting Popper’s urging that science is a moral endeavor in which a model is not accepted because its predictions are valid, but rather on its social consequences. Popper (1945) id., p. II-220.)

        The Supreme Court discovered only one of these, #1, was attributable to Popper, a fact known even to some laymen.

        The Supreme Court recognized only one of these for what it was worth: a perversity. It recognized that an expert should not testify as to the social or moral consequences of scientific knowledge, the situational aspects of a model, because that was the responsibility of the trier of fact. On that point, #5, the Court reversed Popper.

        As to the 7th prong, Popper had this to say:

        The initial conditions describe what is usually called the ‘cause’ of the event in question. … And the prediction describes what is usually called the ‘effect’. Both these terms I shall avoid. … Furthermore, I shall not make any general assertion as to the universal applicability of this deductive method of theoretical explanation. Thus I shall not assert any ‘principle of causality ’ (or ‘principle of universal causation’). Bold added, Popper (1934/1959) id., pp. 38-39.

        Popper didn’t like Cause & Effect because it turned scientific models into deduction. He thought they should all be universal generalizations, famously “All Crows Are Black”. That’s why he had to have Falsification. In fact, no scientific model is a UG. Such propositions are definitions, which Popper didn’t like either: “Definitions do not matter.”

  9. You can only go so far with peddling squiggly lines and photoshopped dry-lake beds .

    Even the dumbest PBS watcher eventually finds the remote.


  10. “The traditional model of climate science communication has been: experts convey climate science to the public –>”
    Uh, no. First, get grant money, which means toe the line on CAGW. After that it really does not matter.

  11. Observations & agreements;

    The “deficit model”; comes straight from the “progressives” playbook, who believe they;
    are elite,
    know best for everyone else, and
    are entitled to force everyone else to conform to their vision.

    The problem is: the smartest people I know and have met, didn’t finish college because of the systemic indoctrination …

    When one becomes “hyper-specialized” in one area, instead of being equally “talented” in other areas, almost always they are disadvantaged in more general areas….

    Their decision tree is usually overly complicated and flawed with simpler problems… Meanwhile they are convinced of the superiority of their chosen solution and force it upon others…

    Many lawyers and bureaucrats (public and private- in all areas) have this flaw…

    “Complex-wicked” problems or concepts cannot be simplified for easier understanding. When one or a group is not capable of understanding complexity; they are susceptible to propaganda.

    America’s push to adopt education curricula that “dumbs down” students is purposeful in order to make the masses “controllable” through propaganda.

    The nazis, followed by the soviets, communist Chinese, and “common core” today have perfected the model of creating a populace susceptible to propaganda… “Sheeple”

    Propaganda is always wrong and those pushing its use are bullies.

    • Lincoln was a lawyer and Herbert Hoover was an engineer.

      Just saying. . .

      • Lincoln was actually quite a bully. And a racist too. He locked up thousands of Americans without trial, destroyed the property of newspapers that opposed his policies, burned cities to the ground, signed an arrest warrant for a Supreme Court Justice, deported a U.S. Senator to Canada, and didn’t want to see blacks achieve equal standing with whites.

        Just sayin…

      • Lincoln ignored our Constitution; Suspending habeus corpus and ignoring the first amendment were just the beginning….

        Woodrow Wilson considered himself an elite and help found the Progressives and a racist who re-segregated the armed forces.

        Both were lawless.

  12. Paul Matthews

    Another aspect of climate propaganda is the suppression of dissenting voices and the refusal to engage with criticism.
    The Guardian and the so-called “Conversation” churn out propaganda daily, and delete sceptical comments.
    Last week I put a comment on Jason Box’s alarmist blog asking whether he thought Wadhams a reliable source, still in moderation. Similarly at Adam Corner’s blog. And at the Sage Open journal, that supposedly allows comments, I submitted a criticism of a paper by Homer-Dixon et al that seems to have disappeared.
    Some of these communication people seem very reluctant to communicate.

  13. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    The engineers and scientists at IEEE Spectrum are doing a *TERRIFIC* job of cutting-through outrageous anti-scientific propaganda

    Big Carbon is spending its “dark money” lavishly … it will be mighty interesting to see how many elections this money can buy.

    One Thing’s For Sure  Big Carbon’s “dark money” buys mighty few votes from mathematicians, scientists, and engineers.

    \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}

    • Here be propagandist.

    • “One Thing’s For Sure Big Carbon’s “dark money” buys mighty few votes from mathematicians, scientists, and engineers”


    • Leonard Weinstein

      fan, either you are ignorant of facts or a liar. Big Carbon has spent far more on supporters of AGW positions than on skeptics. When you include all spending, skeptics get a tiny fraction of funding that supporters get, and most skeptics in fact are totally independent of outside funding for the issue. They just understand that a terrible mistake is being supported by governments, universities, technical groups and MSM. This mistake will, as it becomes more clear, will make people much less believing of scientific claims in the future, even if a real disaster is about to happen. This subject truly has become a classic case of the sky is falling, or the boy who cried wolf to often.

    • Wow! Fan of More Trolling, you have done it again! Your intrepid sleuthing has uncovered a huge “lavish” amount of money sloshing around trying to influence policy.

      FAGA has spent a total of 7.8 million bucks. Does that give you the vapors Fannie?

      Amazing, since your friends, the Climate Alarmist Team, are spending a thousand times more than that.


      Look up the budgets of the

      WWF – net assets of over 318 MILLION
      Greenpeace – over 300 MILLION PER YEAR
      Sierra Club – OVER 100 MILLION PER YEAR

      And now there’s the “Green Climate Fund” which is talking about 100 BILLION BUCKS.

      You never tire of it – do you – Fan of More Trolling? Doesn’t it ever bother you that everyone here knows that you rarely if ever have anything of value to offer?

      “Dark Money” indeed. Then, can we say that you are engaged in “Dark Blogging”? After all, you shed no light, are misleading to the point that we must conclude it’s intentional, and are unable to be honest with yourself or others.

      Inquiring readers want to know…

    • Same $hit from FOMD, different day.

    • Curious George

      Yes, the Spectrum even confuses energy and power. Scientifically.

    • fervent, delusional “communicators” like FOMT are trying to “communicate” that there is some vast impending world-historic catastrophe looming…. we all must panic and funnel billions-trillions of dollars-euros upon command.

      Without so much breathless hype and the scare-tactics the govts and publics would have no reason to give much in the way of attention or dollars/euros to the programs of said fervent, delusional communicators.

      As soon as FOMT and friends exhaust the catastrophe meme no one will care about them. Heck, right now hardly anyone cares much about them anymore.

      • Yeah, we won, but are still not allowed to pass Go and are still going directly to jail, er ‘re-education camp’. Who made up this crooked game?

    • The utilities themselves are panicking: Solar panels could destroy U.S. utilities, according to U.S. utilities

      That is not wild-eyed hippie talk. It is the assessment of the utilities themselves.

      Of course, it’s important to remember that “public utilities” are hardly examples of free-enterprise competition. Except that some of them compete in the “free” market for capital.

    • FOMD…thanks for the heads up on the AG race in CO (in spite of the propaganda in the article). I sure hope Colorado Attorney General Nominee Cynthia Coffman (R), wins. I’ll be calling her campaign to see what i can do to help. I have nothing but admiration and respect for the Koch brothers. If I weren’t an atheist I’d say, ‘God bless them.’

      Not sure what research in photovoltaic materials has to do with cutting through propaganda but it sounds promising. I’d really like to see some of the research going on around the world in LENR pay off. Cheap, clean energy that will rid us of giant government/corporate energy companies. If that ever comes to pass it will be a boon to mankind in many ways. But even there the Jeremy Rifkins of the world will cry the sky is falling.

      I do wonder why there isn’t more effort to sell Mitsubishi Small Modular Nuclear reactors to countries in Africa. They are relatively inexpensive, self contained, buried underground and need their fuel elements (which don’t create weapons grade materials) changed once every 20 years.

  14. Here are examples of propaganda in the service of causes I generally support:

    Free trade creates jobs.
    American K-12 public education is the worst in the developed world.
    Legalizing drugs would drastically reduce crime.
    Investing in pure science is critical for U.S. economic growth.
    There is no justification for public provision of medical coverage or unemployment compensation or other forms of social insurance except class warfare and the lust to redistribute.
    CO2 is just a trace gas and the human contribution is a tiny fraction of that.

    Can others point to propaganda statements commonly offered in support of causes they favor?

    • Lying is always wrong. The results NEVER justify the means. Those who lie should be held to account.

      “Though you give up your life, do not give up your honor.”
      Twelfth Day of the Fifth Month, Second Year of Shoho [1645]
      Shinmen Musashi
      (Helped bring peace to Japan for more than 200 years…)

      “In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”
      ― George Washington

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Steve Postrel asserts (dubiously)  “There is  no justification  ample Judeo-Christian justification for public provision of medical coverage or unemployment compensation or other forms of social insurance except class warfare and the lust to redistribute.”

      Your reading of Scripture is idiosyncratic and/or your ignorance of history is surprising, Steve Postrel!

      Amazing Fact  No nation in history that has adopted a regulated-market universal-coverage healthcare system has *EVER* abandoned it.

      Natural Question  Why has this progress been socially irreversible, do you imagine Steve Postrel?

      \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}

      • Seriously, FOMD, do you even read before you write or link? I listed those claims as examples of propaganda–in the sense that the article Judith linked to meant it, as untruths–in the service of causes that I agree with. So I was saying that each of those statements was NOT TRUE even though each has been promulgated by people with whom I largely agree about policy.

        Get it? The idea is to find popular arguments advanced in favor of your own conclusions that you find to be dishonest. Self-auditing, or an honesty check, or whatever you want to call it. Yet you reflexively respond in the least charitable and most ignorant fashion possible.

        Are you even capable of coming up with examples of arguments advanced in favor of your own positions that you find dishonest? Or are you one of those “no enemies to the left (or the green)” types who can never concede that any tactical ally is ever wrong?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steve Postrel, please let me acknowledge that I misunderstood your post (in reading it literally), and that I regret and apologize for that misunderstanding.

        stevepostrel wonders  “Are you [FOMD] even capable of coming up with examples of arguments advanced in favor of your own positions that you find dishonest?”

        Plain answer  Yes; see for example, the Bruderhof justification for purchasing a Gulfstream III.

        \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}

      • Your apology is accepted. You can make it up to me if you give me an example RELEVANT TO PUBLIC POLICY where you can identify dishonest statements by your ideological allies trying to advance causes you agree with, i.e. where you have some skin in the game tribally. It defeats the purpose of the exercise if I try to do it for you.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Mission Accomplished … lamentably, disastrously, inexcusably far from it … and our family had skin in the game.

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      • Not sure I understand. Were you in favor of the Iraq war and saw the “mission accomplished” banner as an example of dishonest propaganda for a cause you believe in?

      • There is a common misconception of the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner. It was never intended to be propaganda. The banner was placed there by military leaders on the aircraft carrier. It was a message to the military personnel on the carrier that they had accomplished the recent mission for the carrier. It was never intended as a message that the Iraq war was a mission accomplished. Bush and his aids should have had the forsight to remove the banner but it was an impromptu visit by Bush. He regretted the whole thing

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Our family longed for the war to be over … the CinC claimed it was over … and he reaped considerable political gain from that claim … but the war wasn’t over … not by a long, long way … as a good CinC would have foreseen.

        The bad dynamics of then-captain H.R. McMaster’s 1997 book Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam were disastrously repeated in Iraq … largely because the smooth-operators in the White House were too blinded by their political and economic ideology to learn from that sad history.

        Nowadays every officer in the US Marines and the US Army is obligated to read Dereliction of Duty.

        Although that wise policy came a little late, isn’t it?

        Does that answer your question, stevepostrel?

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      • ordvic –

        ==> “It was never intended to be propaganda.”

        Interesting point. Also interesting (upon reading Wikipedia prompted by your comment) was that the White House staff made the banner. So you think that they made the banner oblivious to any propaganda effects?

        Also interesting that while Bush said there was work left do to, he also said:

        == :””America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.”

        I think that you’re being overly-generous in your assessment. Sorry – but the whole point of the speech was, obviously, PR. Everything about it was staged for PR effect – such as the whole fixed wing aircraft stunt.

        The only excuse that I’ll grant the Bush administration is that they were so clueless about the territory that they invaded that they actually did believe their own PR. That is obvious from a whole series of statements they made both before and during the invasion – such as Cheney’s “weeks, rather than months,” and “greeted as liberators,” statements from the admnistration insisting that there would be no ethnic conflict in Iraq post-invasion, and from their systematic dismissal of any warnings coming out of the State Department that didn’t fit with the PNAC’s long-standing goal (years prior to the invasion) to exercise hegemonic power in Iraq.

      • Geez – keep making editing mistakes – that quote was from some one month later not from the “Mission Accomplished’ speech itself.

      • more OT babbling from FOMT

        does the FOMT ever feel embarrassment at the nonsense he spews?

        Stop spewing your religious rants here FOMT, this is a science-oriented site not a place for your deluded religio-political commentaries.

      • Josh,
        Yeah I thought maybe I was being a bit niave in what I remembered so I checked. Here is the CNN version:
        Here is a right wing version:

        typing the links on my tablet … mission accomplished :-)

      • AK –

        That article’s hilarious. Thanks for the link.

        ==> ” But Bush himself knew nothing about the decision to display the banner, and certainly did not approve it.”

        Right. So a massive banner hung behind him and on camera as he spoke, but he didn’t know anything about the decision and didn’t approve.

        Also this:

        ==> ” But he never “famously declared that America’s mission in Iraq had been accomplished.”

        Notice what the author of the article failed to notice?:

        “In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

        And that one month later, Bush said…

        ”America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.”

        But just because he said that doesn’t mean that he knew about the decision to say it or that he approved of saying it?

        Too funny.

      • @Joshua…

        I just fixed his link. That says nothing about my opinion of what it points to, and usually when I do that, I post the fix before even reading the link.

      • How Twentieth Century to use aircraft carriers. Missions get accomplished with pens and phones now.

      • AK –


        I didn’t presume your opinion on the article. I merely thanked you for providing a good laugh.

      • Washing Balad off his hands. Out, out damn spotters.

      • > Not sure I understand.

        His sons went to war, SteveP.

        Speaking of having skin in the game, I’m not sure I get it. Does that mean all contrarians are now obliged to eat their own? I thought they only needed to focus on the alpha urgent mitigationists.

      • It’s a pretty simple exercise, Willard, but neither you or FOMD want to play. Pick a policy or political cause you believe in and identify misleading or deceptive statements often advanced in its favor. If you can’t or won’t do that, you can draw inferences about your degree of creulousness, bias, rigidity, etc. based on the intensity of your discomfort at the task and the degree to which you evade it. It’s a new way for you to self-audit. You can thank me later.

      • FOMD…”Amazing Fact No nation in history that has adopted a regulated-market universal-coverage healthcare system has *EVER* abandoned it.”

        Why is the VA such a cesspool. I interned at a VA in California in the early 70’s. It was a cesspool then and only gotten worse.

      • Daniel, 8/10/14 2 19:21 asked, Why is the VA such a cesspool. I interned at a VA in California in the early 70’s. It was a cesspool then and only gotten worse.

        What happened to the VA is what happened to US schools, K through Post Graduate. It’s the unavoidable evolution of bureaucracies, compounded by employees who can’t be fired. Much like an impeachment-conviction-proof President, eh?

        Veterans and students are mere fodder for the mill, having little choice in where to go for services. After all, something has to go through the grinder. The VA hospitals and educational institutions respond to government regulations and government money, not to the outcome for veterans and students.

        The problem is incentives are orthogonal to success criteria. (Neither predicts the other.)

        The solution for the VA (schools) is (1) to auction all the hospital (school) brick and mortar to the public, and (2) give veterans (students) a credit card to cover medical fees (tuition) after a small co-pay anywhere that will take them.

        And later, apply the anti-monopoly laws to the unions.

      • FOMD…”Plain answer Yes; see for example, the Bruderhof justification for purchasing a Gulfstream III.”

        Should we understand from your using this as an example of Steve Postrel’s challenge that you’re a Christian Communist?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      From Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy

      Wing Marshall Smith (musingly)  “Some smarmy well-dressed character will venture the opinion that  slavery  free-market healthcare — when it existed — was not so bad.”

      Thorby  (angrily)  “One  stroke of the lash  night on the gurney would change his slimy mind!”

      Smarmy ideology by stevepostrel, medical reality by Heinlein/Thorby.

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      • FOMBS,

        as Chrissie Hynde said so well,

        “stop your sobbing!”

      • Skiphil Limbaugh uses Hynde’s “My City Was Gone” as a theme song to his rancid anti-science talk show, but in exchange a usage payment is donated to PETA. Funny. Skiphil ought to start sobbing.

        BTW, Ray Davies may have said it better because he said it first back in 1964.

      • Web,
        thx for the info, but I had not the slightest notion of what music Limbaugh uses for his show bc I didn’t care even a tiny tiny bit. I do think it’s fine if Limbaugh gets what he wants for his listeners and Chrissie/PETA get whatever funds they can for their purposes. Win/win and all that…. does Limbaugh hate PETA. no idea… but I’m positive on a lot of PETA’s impacts (protection of animals) even if I don’t affirm ever position and excess they take.

      • Massive fail whenever a denier quotes some celebrity who has more of a progressive impact than the nil impact that the denier has. Ha ha.

      • FOMD, as one who more or less committed that book to memory as a teenager, I find your editorializing remarkable. I disagreed with Heinlein’s overall political stance then (and still do). He would have dismissed your hijacking of his writing rather abruptly and probably pithily.

        You could use a couple of editorial deletions in the Bible to assert almost anything. It would probably better to use your own words to make your case.

      • FOMD…Heinlein would slap you silly for butchering his dialog like that. Let me give you a couple of Heinlein quotes:

        Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. (Time Enough for Love)

        There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

        and I’ll add, to force a man to pay for someone else’s life.

        Forced benevolence isn’t benevolence but malevolence and sooner or later takes down what was built up to support it.

    • Can others point to propaganda statements commonly offered in support of causes they favor?

      Reason Magazine’s motto: Free minds and free markets.

      • Canman…”Reason Magazine’s motto: Free minds and free markets.”

        Huh. Could you explain what you mean?

  15. Biggest problem for climate science communication is that there is very little context or meaning. What for example does “it’s a problem” mean? Does it mean we don’t know if human induced climate change will be to the determent of humans /life in general, therefore the problem is that we don’t know the impact. Or do we take the Gavin Schmidt alarmist-type definition and throw uncertainty to the wind, and say “it’s a problem” because carbon emissions are definitely causing most of the warming since 1950, and it will get worse….

    Scientifically speaking, the latter is unscientific, since it exaggerates our understanding of how the world works. Typically when the curious public ask questions about climate change, such as why glaciers have been melting before human emission became important, such answers are ignored: “The rate of melting is much worse now”, etc. That’s not an answer, it’s simply ignorance. And the public is left saying, OMG, they couldn’t even answer a simple question!

    It very similar to the fraud game show 21, where the contestant would answer all the very difficult questions, but lose the game on the last “really easy” question.

    If you can’t answer the really easy, basic questions, then what is there to communicate (besides convincing everybody that you’re an idiot)?

    • > What for example does “it’s a problem” mean?

      It means it’s a problem.

      You’re welcome.

      • Willard,
        For purposes of identifying root cause, the proven Kepner-Tregoe method requires that the PROBLEM be defined in terms of a harmful deviation outside of normal limits. With this well-known definition, a global warming problem does not yet exist because we are experiencing no deviation outside of normal limits of the last 10,000 years, during which time CO2 had very little to do with previous significant deviations in global average surface temperature by as much as +/- 2 deg C from the 10,000 year average.

        AGW presents only a perceived POTENTIAL PROBLEM that is addressed by a different protocol than root cause analysis. Root cause of a problem that has not yet occurred cannot be determined with high confidence, because to prove root cause, data on the What?, Where?, When and How Much? aspects of the problem are required, as well as data on where the PROBLEM is not occurring. If we are going to have a global warming problem, we must first have a problem in some more localized region of the planet where temperatures have exceeded the past normal limits. If we develop a number of such regions, all with the same root cause, then we might claim to have a global warming problem where a global solution such as CO2 emissions control might make sense.

  16. “Fabius Maximus describes a disturbing trend in climate science communications in a post…” -JC

    More like; FM makes some unsubstantiated claims on a blog….

    Hmm,smells like propaganda.

    • “trend” makes it sound as if it wasn’t always the case from inception that evolved from many other left-wing/green campus meme’s that came before it. Ehrlich, glacier fears, zero growth movements etc.

      Climate science is a derivative culture, if you can’t face that reality you can’t get anywhere near the truth;


    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      The technology-minded folks at RationalWiki offer a refreshingly nuanced assessment of James Delingpole’s unusual worldview, don’t you think cwonny?

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      • The Problem With Rational Wiki

        Basically the material presented is what a slightly left of centre atheist needs to win an internet debate. As is much of the rest of the site.

        Indeed some entries have a clear ideological bias that is quite startling to behold on a “rational wiki” and it has been noted by some.

        Its problem is that it is an ammunition depot to aid in winning debates. Very specific kinds of debates too. This may sound harsh, but consider: How many people reading the site that aren’t already atheists will change their mind on religion? How many people who follow a “crankish” belief won’t do so afterwards? While I’m sure it happens the site obviously isn’t optimized for this. How many people will read the wiki and try to find errors and biases in their own thinking to debug it instead of breaking if further with confirmation bias or using it as a club? How many will apply this knowledge to help them with any real world problems? Truth seeeking? As a source or community that could aid in that quest it is less useful and reliable than Wikipedia, which while a rather good and extensive encyclopaedia (despite snickering to the contrary) has a subtly but importantly different stated goal.

        I only transferred one link, but the original text has many.

        Readers are invited to see for themselves, at the end of FOMBS’s link, How well “Rational Wiki” actually represents the notion of propaganda which is (part of) the subject of this discussion.

      • So what does “Rational Wiki” have to say about LessWrong? Many things, including:

        The core of LessWrong are its many parables, metaphors, and explanations of concepts in psychology and philosophy. The popularity of such essays as Yudkowsky’s “The Genetic Fallacy,” which explains the eponymous concept clearly and works out some of its potential complications,[15] helped attract the growing community — even luring in those who might not be otherwise interested in transhumanism. While some critics have implied that this is perhaps some sort of deception, the peculiarly focused interests of LessWrong’s most prominent members has no reflection on the usefulness of some of its great resources. In other words: just because Eliezer Yudkowsky wants to be a robot doesn’t mean that his explanation of Bayes’ Theorem isn’t interesting and well-written.


        LessWrong’s culture resembles, in most other respects, the standard set of predominately male, middle-class Internet-libertarians[17] so familiar in other places — including cringe-inducing discussions of the merits of racism.[18] Notably, though, members of LessWrong are unusually concerned and active in charitable giving.[19] They are also laudable for prizing accurate thinking over their personal viewpoints: it is not uncommon to witness someone actually change their mind when confronted with a good argument, a rarer phenomenon than one might think.

        The system on which LessWrong operates is based on the “karma”-based system of Reddit. A post or comment that is deemed insightful will be promoted and highly visible, whereas too many downvotes will hide it. Because of this, LessWrong is largely troll-free. While this constant evaluation can be intimidating, members of the community generally take pride in voting for good thinking: wary of groupthink, they will usually endorse even the harshest of criticism, as long as it is intelligent.

        A key part of the Less Wrong approach to human rationality is to avoid “fallacies of compression” and mistaking the map for the territory, which is the result of humans trying to fit a vastly huge universe into a relatively small and squishy piece of meat located between their ears.


        LessWrong is mainly concerned with achieving accurate beliefs about the world, rather than achieving goals. The refusal to delve into contemporary politics or policy is held up as laudable, because it is seen as a way to preserve objective rationality.[27] One of the most-cited and most popular phrases is “politics is the mind-killer,” derived from the Yudkowsky essay of the same name,[28] which argues that real discussion never occurs in a political context, because “winning” the discussion for your “side” becomes paramount, rather than reaching an optimal decision.[29] While logical to the extent that this is an accurate criticism of political discourse, it’s also essentially a declaration of surrender: “It’s hard to stay rational in politics, so we’ll just give up.” If members of LessWrong truly are less biased in their thinking that the general public, as they’ve argued,[30] then the more they succeed in drawing people into the fold, the more they may cede the field to the irrational.

        Interesting that the “Rational Wiki” fails to mention the more distant ancestor of this phrase, the first line of the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear (From Dune, 1963)

        I must not fear.
        Fear is the mind-killer.
        Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
        I will face my fear.
        I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
        And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
        Where the fear has gone there will be nothing….only I will remain

      • OOOPS! Second line.

    • Michael,

      Perhaps you’re projecting. Making a critical comment of something you haven’t read is making “unsubstantiated claims” on a scale tough to top.

      • ED,

        Sadly, I did read that piece of bilge.

      • Michael,

        Then you should admit your statement was factually incorrect. There were specific examples given for each statement (i.e., substantiate means “to provide evidence”).

        You need not find the evidence sufficient, of course. That’s a matter of opinion, of personal judgement.

      • Ed,

        re: “the campaign to arouse hysteria about the “super” “monster” El Nino ”

        The only hysteria on show seems to be the claim about a “campaign to arouse hysteria”.

        FM links to a bunch of articles, full of caveats about what ‘might be’, ‘could be’, ‘will it?’, “early signs” etc etc

        No hysteria, just asking questions and some hardly unreasonable speculation of the basis of early predictions of a possible strong El Nino

      • Michael,

        Thank you for proving that my guess was correct: you were projecting about “unsubstantiated claims”, since you comments are all exactly that.

        “no hysteria, just asking questions and some hardly unreasonable speculation of the basis of early predictions of a possible strong El Nino”

        The difference between us is that I documented this story from it’s first appearance (21 February 2014), giving links to over 3 dozen articles & posts — as the theme was slowly expanded and exaggerated, step by step.

        Whereas you just make stuff up. I’m done with this conversation; life is too short.

      • Claims of a “campaign” to produce “hysteria” are baseless.

        At best there are a few examples of fringe bloggers exaggerating – the rest is nuanced speculative discussion.


        Though Judith manages to make it much wose, but somehow using this post to imply that climate scientists are involved in propaganda – when it actually shows climate scientists being the most careful and considered in their statments about El Nino.

    • Oh!, James Delingpole.

      One of my favourite propagandists.

  17. There are plenty of strong opinions but that is because only skeptics will engage on the facts –e.g.,

    Data necessary to create a viable determination of climate mechanisms and thereby climate change, is completely inadequate. This applies especially to the structure of climate models. There is no data for at least 80 percent of the grids covering the globe, so they guess; it’s called parameterization… ~Tim Ball

    With all that has gone on up to now, how can anyone see climatology as anything more than the Gypsy science of Western academia?

    • You’re being harsh on Gypsy’s Wag. There’s no history of grinding an ax of mysticism for a particular self-serving political agenda at everyone’s expense.

      • Charging money to get rid of poisonous CO2 in your house sounds like a Gypsy scam on a global scale to me. You can’t commission a research vessel these days without having to listen to the bureaucrats throwing in the need to do something about climate change as a justification for the expense.

  18. This is great:
    “…building trust between an organization and its products and services with its targeted audiences for mutual benefit.”
    The above among other things is a good way to run a business. Building and maintaining trust in everything one does I think is important. It can be a series of everyday acts and not overt PR. Quality of work and listening are important. Identifying the target’s goals are important. The idea is to know enough about the target so that one can help them. it goes back to another winner, It isn’t what I have to sell that’s important, it’s what the client needs. Provide them with that and they’ll be loyal to you.

    • I don’t know about business, but my experience in science is the best way to build trust is to be honest about your results including trying not to go beyond the results of the data in your interpretations, considering alternative hypotheses, and being polite to those who disagree with your conclusions. Apparently that approach doesn’t work in climate science and perhaps not in other businesses where a critical component seems to be not just convincing the consumer that your product is good, but that alternative products are evil.

  19. “We’re smarter than you so we don’t have to prove our assertions” is a poor, poor way to convince anyone of anything. In fact, they don’t even try to convince. They believe assertion should be enough (“science says”). The problems with modern climate science “communication” are inextricably linked to the wholesale use of the deficit model described above.

  20. “The media has a key role to play in keeping both sides accountable and sorting out competing claims. ”

    Of course this would be nice. In reality, most main stream journalists are liberals, which almost always automatically precludes anything like a fair and disinterested “sorting out of competing claims.” Moreover, scary headlines sell, which is literally the bottom line consideration. It’s going to take a long, long time before papers like the NYT’s grudgingly concede the matter is in fact, far from settled.

    • Yes

      Further, when one scratches most main stream journalists, one finds a deeply embedded, immoveable and immutable core of envy – so anyone who has managed to accumulate a reasonable degree of money becomes fair game by default

      • And even further than that, one finds a deeply embedded innumeracy and technical illiteracy. As a rule, they are at sea when they try (if they ever do) to sort out competing claims. Most have little to no mathematical or scientific background. They are awed by titles and by pronouncements from on high and that’s what they report as fact, whether they understand what they are reporting or not. They seem to labor under the misunderstanding that, because they can’t understand it, no one outside of the codified scientific in-crowd can, and therefore anyone pointing out flaws is just being a contrarian for political reasons. And that’s something they feel comfortable talking about and promoting because, hey, there’s no math there.

    • 1+ You’re right on it Pokerguy. Don’t you think it would be huge deal if many of the mainstream CS’s simply offered this obvious critique repeatedly as needed?

      The game of assumed objectivity of academia and the media is a joke, when Dr. Curry frames the assumption into text (she does it all the time) she is hurting reform not helping it.

      You should support my claim as should other rationalists. Good post, take it to the logical next step.

    • Most journalists are liberal, most scientists are liberals, most young people are liberals, most immigrants are liberals, most other advanced countries are liberals, and most of the general public are liberals. Liberal just refers to the majority of the people.

    • Jim D, 8/9/14 @ 1:12 pm: … |most immigrants are liberals … .

      Have you noticed that the US keeps tight control of its northern border, while letting its southern border leak like a sieve? The reason is southbound immigrants look like Republicans, while northbound ones look like Democrats.

      >>Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains. Winston Churchill.

      With no date, maybe, but preceded:

      >>Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head. Francois Guisot (1787-1874)

      >>A liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged –– yet. Old saw.

      It’s about youth vs. maturity, on the dole vs. self-sufficient, free vs. enslaved. One of those, or about getting elected.

  21. JC’s Reflection: “For complex wicked problems, attempting to communicate by simplifying the problem and its solution doesn’t work very well, for good reasons.”…… JC, I disagree with you on this one. My position is/was formed by more than 50 years of experience simplifying complex dynamics problems and their simulation results for decision-makers in the manned space program where decision-makers had to make decisions with potential life or death consequences, bot for design and operational decisions with more critical time constraints. The effect of GHG on our climate is not that complicated or “wicked” and can be detected by analysis of long term earth surface temperature trends since 1850 when CO2 began to rise in the atmosphere. Mainstream climate science tends to try to analyze the problem with overly complicated models and forcing functions, when a much simpler model and more realistic forcing function is much more appropriate. The mainstream climate science focus on Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) simulations rather than more realistic Transient Climate Response (TCR) simulations is a particular criticism, if the goal is to really understand climate sensitivity and verify it with physical data.

    I offer for your consideration that the effect of slowly rising atmospheric GHG levels is much more akin to a simple statics problem than a complex dynamics problem. If a static external force is very slowly applied to a complex dynamic system, the system adjusts in a very un-dynamic manner to its new equilibrium state caused by the externally applied static force. (Think about this for a simple single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) spring-mass-damper system.) If the external force is applied slowly enough, the mass will slowly move to its new equilibrium state position without oscillating. Mainstream climate science’s focus on the much more dynamic and hypothetical Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) problem that has less to do with our climate than a Transient Climate Response (TCR) solution, seems totally misguided to me if climate scientists are trying to understand effects of GHG on our climate.

    The CO2 radiative forcing (RF) function vs. time is well known and can be modeled as:

    RF(year) – RF(1850) = (3.7){Log[CO2(year)/284.7]/Log[2]} W/m^2

    where CO2(year) is the annual average atmospheric CO2 concentration for any year, 3.7 W/m^2 is the radiative force due to doubling atmospheric CO2 concentration, and 284.7 ppm is my best estimate for the atmospheric CO2 concentration in 1850.

    For relatively small changes in radiative forcing, temperature change can be assumed to be linear with RF change; therefore,

    Temp(year) – Temp(1850) = (Lambda){RF(year)-RF(1850)}

    = TCS{Log[CO2(year)/284.7]/Log[2]}

    where TCS = Transient Climate Sensitivity = (Lambda)(3.7) deg C

    and is defined to be the temperature change caused by the actual time history of CO2 rise in the atmosphere since 1850 in the year the atmospheric CO2 concentration attains a doubled value of 2x(284.7) = 569.4 ppm

    This is a very simple model to predict global average earth surface temperature change as a function of changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration, but it is far more accurate in forecasting upper bounds for AGW compared to much more complex GCMs used in research today. An upper bound for TCS = 1.8 deg C and includes effects of all GHG and solar radiative force changes from 1850 through 2012.

    TCS can be defined for effects of CO2 only, all-GHG, or effects of all radiative forcing sources from all-GHG and solar TSI changes. In concept, TCS is similar to Transient Climate Response (TSR) computed from climate models, and is the value an accurate climate model would obtain simulating the actual time history of CO2 rise in the atmosphere. More importantly, TCS can be verified with physical data, while TCR and ECS cannot! In my experience, model validation is critical if one expects to use a model for critical decision-making with potentially severe adverse consequences, like killing a crew of astronauts. I see no hope for validating the current stable of GCMs anytime in the near future.

    Lambda has a value of about 0.28 (deg C)/(W/m^2) and can be determined from physical data on temperature change vs. radiative force change over long periods of time where oscillatory effects in earth surface temperature due to natural causes other than GHG are minimized or carefully considered in selecting data values for computing:

    Lambda = (Delta Temp)/(Delta RF)

    I submit that the above simple Logarithmic algebraic model used to forecast AGW can be understood by critical public policy decision-makers (and/or their scientific advisors) and that it is much more accurate, with much less uncertainty, than any other method. Too many climate researchers are focused on propaganda using highly uncertain ECS predictions from un-validated and overly complex climate simulation models, rather than clear, objective communication of the true climate threat from atmospheric GHG.

    Attempts to simulate natural variations in the earth climate requires a complex GCM, but accurate forecasts of AGW does not…..and the most pressing question for policy makers is: What will be the warming effects of specific GHG emission scenarios for the future? Answers to this question can be bounded using the above simple algebraic forecasting equation, and the answers are not alarming. Therefore, using the simplified model proposed here will result in much better decisions by policy makers that feel they must make a decision today. One smart decision might be to continue to monitor the AGW situation, get smarter about it and develop a wider array of possible solutions for specific potential problems envisioned, because the simple model says there is no impending disaster that requires a potentially harmful decision today.

    • Curious George

      Looks great. Where can I find measurements of the Radiative Forcing? And how well does your formula handle the pause?

      • Steven Mosher

        It’s a first order estimate. Nothing more.
        It’s all you need

      • Curious George, This formula does not model the pause because the pause is caused by other naturally occurring factors that result in global average earth surface temperature oscillations with a period of about 62 years and amplitude of +/- 0.15 deg C. At present AGW warming is being offset by cooling trends of the 62 year cycle, but when this naturally occurring cycle enters its warming phase, the simple formula will predict the upper bound for the next peak in global average surface temperatures resulting from the combination of natural and AGW effects. For details of how well the complete modeling of all historical data predicts the current pause and max temps that will occur later this century see: http://www.therightclimatestuff.com/BoundingClimateSensitivityForRegDecisions.pdf

        Figures 4.4 and 4.5 of the above report show how well the historical data trends and the simple model shown here predict the current pause. The current pause should continue until about 2035 and the next peak in global average surface temperatures is forecast for about 2070 when global average surface temperatures should stay below a 0.8 deg C temperature increase over levels of the current pause.

    • Steven Mosher


    • ==> “..because the simple model says there is no impending disaster that requires a potentially harmful decision today.”

      Interesting wording.

      Now I certainly can’t follow the math or the science, but my understanding is that your wording there is too simplistic

      My understanding is that the models don’t say that “there is no impending disaster,” but say that “there is no conclusive proof of impending disaster, but there is evidence a high “outcome function” of a “lower probability high-end risk tail”

      Your wording seems to me to over-simplify the uncertainty.

      Using your treatment of uncertainty, I would think that we could say “…because the simple model says that there is no impending benefit that requires a potentially harmful decision (to do nothing to mitigate ACO2) today.”

      So you have much more experience than I at this (50 years is much more than 0), but it seems to me that your simplification of a complex dynamic (I quote above) is not particularly useful.

      • well – I should correct my comment – you spoke of your simple model, which has an upper limit of TCR at 1.8.

        So then I should clarify whether you’re saying that your simple model rules out the possibility of a higher ECS? If so, then I guess that you’re saying that your simple model allows for no uncertainty with respect to a risk for a high outcome function?

      • sorry again – upper limit of for TCS of 1.8.

      • Joshua, Any uncertainty beyond what this simple model predicts results from speculation and/or, un-validated climate models. Climate science is an immature field of science that hasn’t learned that you don’t make critical decisions with potentially devastating consequences using predictions of un-validated models.

        If you are implying that we need to control CO2 emissions now because of the uncertainty of an impending climate disaster, then you are also assuming that controlling CO2 emissions is a costly, but sure-fire solution to the disasters that you are speculating about. Rational decision-makers prefer to consider a range of possible actions they might take to avoid potential problems. They don’t make knee-jerk decisions that current data say aren’t necessary to make at this time when some of the possible outcomes of that decision could have very negative consequences and not actually mitigate the potential problem they wanted to avoid.

      • So you have much more experience than I at this (50 years is much more than 0), but it seems to me that your simplification of a complex dynamic (I quote above) is not particularly useful.

        It worked for us at NASA. We went to the moon and back in ten years.
        We did the complex analysis and we did the simple analysis. We tossed out or fixed anything that disagreed with what really was actually measured in the real world. If the simple analysis matches real data and the complex analysis does not match real data, toss the complex analysis or figure out how to fix it. Getting everything right is useful.

      • Joshua, Why do you even mention ECS? It is a hypothetical value that can never be validated and can only be computed with un-validated climate models. Moreover, can anyone explain to me of what use ECS values are for accurately predicting AGW over the next 300 years as our EPA has attempted to do with its Social Cost of Carbon calculations? If you analyze TCR and ECS values from the IPCC AR4 report Table 8.2 computer model runs, on average ECS = 1.8(TCR) computed by the same model. Moreover, the standard deviation of ECS values is twice the standard deviation of TCR values computed by the same models.

        Why bring all of the additional uncertainty from ECS values that might occur more than 1000 years from now into the current debate over how much AGW we will get over the next 300 years due to atmospheric CO2 rise? Let’s focus on reducing uncertainty wherever it makes sense to do so.

    • Steven Mosher

      I agree that understanding this and presenting it using a simplified model is far better than presenting GCM results


      “What will be the warming effects of specific GHG emission scenarios for the future? Answers to this question can be bounded using the above simple algebraic forecasting equation, and the answers are not alarming. ”

      That doesnt follow.

      1.8C may be what a simple model tells us. And if you ask me.. could it bet worse? I’d say… Ya, maybe twice as worse or more.

      • Steven Mosher, 1.8C is an upper bound for TCS using physical data of the last 163 years. You need a reliable, or conservative emissions scenario to predict AGW of the future, but 1.8C deg C is an upper bound estimate for Transient Climate Sensitivity that is the only reliable estimate of climate sensitivity going forward on which one may base good decisions today regarding AGW for sound regulatory decisions. As an old structural engineer, a good practice would be to use a conservative value for TCS and a conservative emissions scenario to predict AGW temperatures for the next 300 years for which EPA regulations must consider. Then one might multiply the conservative temperature rise estimate by a factor of 1.5 to provide additional conservatism. (Multiplying current best estimates for climate sensitivity by a fudge factor doesn’t seem to be justified by available physical data.)

        We took a stab at an emissions scenario our report, and our best estimate for future GHG emissions by burning all world-wide reserves of oil, nat gas and coal by 2150 predicts 585 ppm CO2 by 2100 and 600 ppm by 2150, resulting in less than 1 deg C additional warming by 2100 and less than 1.2 deg C AGW above current levels by 2150, as depleting reserves of fossil fuels must create an orderly market driven transition to alternative fuels.

        For 2150, take our max calculated 1.2 deg C warming value (or use a more conservative emissions scenario if you can provide a rational basis for it and get a number somewhat bigger then 1.2 deg C), multiply by a 1.5 “factor of safety” (that’s how we design airplane wings) to get a conservative estimate of 1.5×1.2 = 1.8 deg C additional warming (or somewhat bigger value with a more conservative emission scenario) from present levels if we do nothing to control CO2 emissions. What alarming rational predictions do you get for an additional 1.8 deg C of global average surface temperature increase over present levels? Does the rational approach indicate what it is that you must do now? How much more will we know and be more confident about by just monitoring this concern for another 20 years and improving on the results of our AGW research and to develop a more rational plan to achieve our future energy needs? Do we really need to have a policy requiring unilateral USA CO2 emissions controls now, that won’t affect future AGW levels with any confidence at all, while almost certainly causing an economic disaster for US citizens and industries that will see their electricity costs almost double over the next few years?

    • “This is a very simple model to predict global average earth surface temperature change as a function of changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration, but it is far more accurate in forecasting upper bounds for AGW compared to much more complex GCMs used in research today.”

      I don’t suppose you published your own predictions of global average surface temperature 20-30 years or so ago so we have something more than an assertion about how easy it is to do more accurately than the GCMs?

      • GaryM,

        Go back 35 years ago and use this equation to predict today’s temps, and see how well you do against the GCMs studied for the IPCC AR5 report. Actually you can go back 163 years using the actual atmospheric CO2 rise history over that period of time and can bound the HadCRUT4 global average surface temp anomalies recorded from 1850 through the latest published values for 2013.

      • Harold Doiron,

        So you didn’t? Got it.

      • GaryM,

        Instead of dropping this subject with your snide remark, “So you didn’t? Got it.” , Why don’t you give my suggestion a little more thought? Go back to 1850. Apply the formula (obtained from a rigorous derivation) to the atmospheric CO2 history since then. Compare the bounding prediction to the long term trends of the HadCRUT4 global average surface temp data. Have you seen anything else that predicts (bounds) these long term temperature rise trends? We are not just curve fitting here. We have used AGW Theory to develop a predictive equation and we have performed a little system identification work using physical data to determine the value of a critical parameter imbedded in the formula derived. You can use our report to get the data you will need on the atmospheric CO2 time history and HadCRUT4 data to apply the formula and learn more about the justification for using it. http://www.therightclimatestuff.com/BoundingClimateSensitivityForRegDecisions.pdf

      • “Have you seen anything else that predicts (bounds) these long term temperature rise trends?”

        Probably the factors which have caused periods of centuries in duration during our present interglacial period [and previous interglacial periods]
        of rising and lowering of regional and global temperatures- which none have had CO2 levels being a causal factor. Or global advance of glaciers
        turned around and began global retreat starting at about 1850 and this also wasn’t related to CO2.

    • nottawa rafter


      Using your 1850 as baseline for CO2 forcing, you appear to be implying continuation of the LIA without an increase of CO2. Given that assumption what do you believe brought on the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods and how are you differentiating this period from those periods to falsify a hypothesis that what caused those 2 warm periods is causing this one.

      • nottawa rafter,

        I recommend you read our report to see how we addressed the possibility of an approximate 1000 year climate cycle that could have been responsible for the RWP, MWP and LIA. We showed that if you assumed the natural warming that occurred out of the LIA until 1850 is still continuing today and should peak out by 2100 (according to a 1000 year period climate cycle), then you get a much lower estimate for Transient Climate Sensitivity = 0.8 deg C, that also provides a very good fit to available physical data. See the full report at:

      • The Little Ice Age does not continue, no matter what happens with CO2.
        The Little Ice Age does not continue for the Same Cause that all the cold periods in the past ten thousand years did not Continue. Natural Variability always stops a cold period and a warm period always follows. We don’t even need to know what that is. It was and is.
        That being said, I know what it is. Polar Ice Cycles cause more snow in warm times and less snow in cold times.

      • In my opinion, Harold did not say that CO2 caused or can cause any warming. He is saying that if CO2 is responsible for warming, he has determined the upper bound of the warming, based on analyzing actual data.

        The same thing that caused all the other warm periods in the past ten thousand years, did cause our current warming and the same thing that caused all the cool periods in the past ten thousand years will cause the next cooling..

  22. When you know about something (dentists understandably know a lot about teeth, climate scientists understandably know very little about climate) the words will flow or it won’t matter much if they don’t. Job will still get done.

    When you do know more, much more, about inner earth, deep oceans, sun, orbits etc get back to us, by all means. If you are worried about how to communicate, remember this refrain:

    Between the faddish academese and the sloppy management-speak
    Cometh the English.

  23. Climate science seems to me to have lassoed a tornado compared to other sciences. For example, astronomy and astrophysics deal with observations, experiments, and calculations involving things far, far away and long, long ago. There is little likelihood in the immediate future of impact on human life except through events such as large object impacts on earth or potential contact with aliens. There is little the public can or should do to avert such consequences and hence there is a small, but relatively constant amount of support for research, much like the public would support the arts. In this case science communication focuses on conveying the wonder of discovery, the frailty of human imagination compared to the scope and intricacy of nature, and sometimes the fun of being particularly clever in devising instruments or doing calculations. Special attention is typically paid to alternative explanations of observations and contrary evidence and virtually never are pejoratives directed against anyone (unless they drive with high beams up the observatory mountain).

    Another example, antibiotic resistance and genetic variation, shares some of climate science’s implications, but seems to have dodged the bullet so far. This field has arguably as much or more probability for catastrophic human consequences in the near future than climate science. The consequences of emergence of pandemic, treatment-resistant organisms are perhaps more horrific, sudden, and global than any but the most catastrophic predictions of global warming. The public fear is palpable and real as witnessed by the attention given the current Ebola outbreak, past or ongoing concerns with SARS, H5N1, MERS etc. and the recurrence of the theme of disease in views toward massive immigration. Nevertheless, those fears do not transfer directly into a particular political philosophy or world-view. Despite warnings to stop using antibiotics needlessly the public still wants them from physicians and insists on following admonitions to avoid disease by washing hands by frequently doing so with antibiotic containing soaps. Consequently, science communication in this area focuses mostly on relaying the uncertainties of what we know, informing physicians and first responders, trying to simplify the complexities to the public, and avoiding inflammatory possibilities while warning of possible consequences. Again there is rarely pejorative or deliberate masking of alternative possibilities. The worst invective attention occurs when ethical issues arise usually concerning research fiddling with dangerous organisms, either by resurrecting them from past pandemics or tampering with virulence mechanisms of contemporary strains.

    It seems to me that climate science communication (CSC) has succumbed to peculiar temptation. If CSC followed the mold of other scientific areas, the focus would be on relaying the wonder of discovery, giving full play to possible alternative interpretations and contradictory observations. Pejorative would play no part. Unfortunately CSC has become intertwined in political and economic issues that involve movements of large amounts of money from one group’s pockets to another’s (or the perception that others are doing that) and that I think has corrupted the normal science communication process. Recently in particular it seems that in climate science the strength of previous predictions has been increasingly called into question by observations. Instead of communicating this fascinating evolution of understanding and the excitement of changing how one thinks about nature, CSC seems to have gone into propaganda mode to protect and maintain perceived possibilities of continued, expanding influence over large amounts of money and power. (In my opinion, this looks to have influenced the peer review process in climate science journals, but I speak out of school.) In any event, I have noticed in the past year or two a decreasing amount of classical science communication in CSC and more propaganda. What I mean is there is markedly less discussion of science and more pejorative ranting, inflammatory unscientific claims, and only the occasional mention of a journal paper, which is itself typically propagandistic and on examination often displays to an unbiased observer a failure of a proper review process.

    Basically, I think climate science is peculiar amongst the sciences in that it has contracted a disease of sorts, which has corrupted its communication processes. I hope it is not contagious.

  24. To quote from our Hostess first para;

    “The traditional model of climate science communication has been: experts convey climate science to the public –> the public then acts in accord with the views of the climate scientists, i.e. urgent action needed. In other words, the emphasis was on communication and PR.”
    Up until probably some three or four years ago these were the channels that science communication had followed for some decades previously.

    But what I have noted is that there has been a very pronounced move by the bulk of the Main Stream Media ie; the BBC plus Australia’s ABC plus numerous scientific and popular publications ie “Nature” to name just one, to either deliberately as in the BBC’s case or in some cases, inadvertently driven by the ideological leanings of their editors and managers, to become the sole arbiters on what is actually “climate science” and what is supposedly not “climate science” and who is or is not a “climate scientist” regardless of scientific competency and therefore is not to be published or given any public exposure.

    This has all occurred as the science of the climate becomes less certain and more unclear as climate science research uncovers more and more serious questions on the previous and formerly firmly fixated views of what drives the global climate.
    In short the media is going in the opposite direction to that of climate science. Climate science is expanding it’s range of thinking, research and options to accommodate the new research which is throwing into question every formerly believed aspect of previous climate science beliefs.
    The media on the other hand are becoming increasingly restrictive, highly censorious, very selective in both the content of climate science they will publish and who they will allow to comment both in print and in the radio and TV.
    They have done so without having the slightest qualifications or credentials to justify their censoring and latent bigotry against any who choose to challenge the media’s versions of what they are promoting as the current correct interpretation of climate science’s understanding of the global climate and have consequently chosen to only publish their own media approved versions of climate science.

    For science generally there are very, very real dangers in allowing and in some quarters of science even encouraging such violations and interference with the flow of science information from scientists to the public by an intermediary media’s interference with this flow of science knowledge.
    The media with such now used and abused power to translate science outcomes to fit the media’s own perceptions of what constitutes “correct” science will proceed to use that power as the intermediary between science and the public to promote it’s own versions of other forms of acceptable science and therefore use highly selective versions of science to promote it’s own apparently science backed agenda’s to the public.

    In short the media have imposed a gross and insidious and growing censorship on science across the board, a potential anti science censorship involving a very large dose of bigotry against both some aspects of science and in particular against scientists whom as science must do, are questioning the current paradigm around climate science.

    The media’s’ attitudes are based almost entirely on the personal ideological leanings and beliefs of the media controlling personnel who have acted without having any science qualifications and without any publicly published and public supported policies to give credence to their current despotic attitudes to any questioning of current science understandings.

    The dangers for the future public image of science are very significant unless scientists across the board and of all persuasions stand up and publicly demand that the media strictly reports ALL science without fear or favour and totally free from media imposed agenda’s as it is researched and reported from within the science industry.

  25. ” The Royal Society has advertised for a professorship in public engagement with science ”

    Seems an obvious choice would be Lewandowsky.
    The Royal Scientism Society and Lewandowsky. They deserve each other /sarc

    Climate Change Models Spot On, Scientists Say

    Winthrop Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist from the University of Western Australia (UWA)’s School of Psychology and the University of Bristol who has been modeling the effects of scientific uncertainty in the climate system, said climate model projections represent long-term expectations that reflect temperature trends across centuries.

  26. Politics is the Mind-Killer by Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 February 2007 09:23PM

    While researching an earlier comment, I discovered an interesting essay with this title. Part of a longer series (see there for further links).

    If your point is inherently about politics, then talk about Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Politics is an important domain to which we should individually apply our rationality—but it’s a terrible domain in which to learn rationality, or discuss rationality, unless all the discussants are already rational.

    Politics is an extension of war by other means. Arguments are soldiers. Once you know which side you’re on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it’s like stabbing your soldiers in the back—providing aid and comfort to the enemy. People who would be level-headed about evenhandedly weighing all sides of an issue in their professional life as scientists, can suddenly turn into slogan-chanting zombies when there’s a Blue or Green position on an issue.

    In Artificial Intelligence, and particularly in the domain of nonmonotonic reasoning, there’s a standard problem: “All Quakers are pacifists. All Republicans are not pacifists. Nixon is a Quaker and a Republican. Is Nixon a pacifist?”

    What on Earth was the point of choosing this as an example? To rouse the political emotions of the readers and distract them from the main question? To make Republicans feel unwelcome in courses on Artificial Intelligence and discourage them from entering the field? (And no, before anyone asks, I am not a Republican. Or a Democrat.)

    Why would anyone pick such a distracting example to illustrate nonmonotonic reasoning? Probably because the author just couldn’t resist getting in a good, solid dig at those hated Greens. It feels so good to get in a hearty punch, y’know, it’s like trying to resist a chocolate cookie.

    He doesn’t mean what we mean by “Greens”, read the whole post and follow the link.

  27. EPA Chief: Teach Global Warming in Schools

    New York Common Core Test Quizzes Kids On Global Warming

    After reading the article, students were asked to cite the article to describe the overall effect of increased CO2 emissions on the planet’s atmosphere. While the article included input from climate scientists John Christy, a climate change skeptic, the students’ answers were directed to focus exclusively on claims in favor of CO2-driven climate change.

    “A response receiving full credit will describe the effect of increased CO2 emissions by explaining the relationship between higher temperatures and increased CO2 in the atmosphere,” says an annotation provided for teachers afterwards. Several sample answers were included, with top-scoring answers describing CO2′s effects as including rising sea levels and higher surface temperatures.

  28. Steve McIntyre

    Academics are used to relationships in which they have power over students and are used to deference. Another form of communications (one that start-up and speculative businesses face) is trying to raise money from investors – a relationship in which the receiver of the communications expects deference from the promoter. In all cases, the promoter knows more about his project and company than the investor. But no one would ever think that a “deficit model” is relevant. Or that it’s simply a matter of public relations, though public relations are important. An investor has other interests and has no obligation to pay attention to the promoter. A promoter has to be polite to the investor. If a potential investor isn’t interested the first time, one wouldn’t insult him or call him names (a practice that seems far too frequent in the climate community), but leave politely, hoping for better luck on another occasion. If unsuccessful with an investor that one was counting on, most successful promoters would look in the mirror and try to figure out why they didn’t close the sale, rather than insult the potential investor or try to blame the investor (again a practice far too frequent in the climate community.)

    Investors also have long memories. Thus one of the most important business rules is “Underpromise and overperform.” While “tricks” may produce short-term benefits for a promoter, they will backfire in the long run as investors will want nothing to do with a promoter who tricked them once. It’s also hard to imagine any major business handling “hide the decline” and related Climategate events as counterproductively as the climate community did.

    My remarks are only intended to give an example of communications with non-subservient adults that seems relevant to this issue and not as a means of moralizing on the respective virtue of academics versus business people, each of whom have their good aspects and bad aspects.

    • Steven Mosher


    • This is not a pitch, but a putsch. Deference ain’t even in it.

      • If you have a better vacuum cleaner than the next guy, you are going to be able to sell it on its strengths even with very little deference. Same with scientific theories. Joshua makes a good point. When there is an objective truth, that is what will be judged by the sensible “investor”, not the sales technique.

      • The climate modelers go door to door selling second rate alarming machines, and are amazed that insulting housekeepers doesn’t make the sale.

      • kim would buy the cheapest imitation alarm, because it is more convenient moneywise, until, surprise surprise, it doesn’t work when it should.

      • Surprise, surprise, Jim D, your alarm isn’t working properly. Cuz it’s a false alarm.

      • Heh, which brings me back to a point I almost made with Fab Max above. He uses the term ‘activist’ where I use ‘alarmist’. Since it’s a false alarm, I should call them ‘false alarmists’, but then where would I be?

      • kim, if you look carefully through their disguise, that would be the burglars selling you the idea that no alarm is needed. Your stupid analogy. I preferred the vacuum cleaners.

      • Vaccuum cleaners is an inapt analogy. What Steve McIntyre is talking about is selling someone an idea. All businesses start as an idea. And that’s a direct analogy to climate science. Who, when wanting someone to give them money (or in the case of climate science, time and attention) would attempt to sell their idea by telling the recipient – I am so much smarter than you, you’ll just have to trust me. It’s a terrible way to go about building something.

      • We’re being taken to the cleaners, by bunglers.

      • Science is more than an idea or an opinion. It is evidence backed up by physics. It is an objective truth that can be tested against other people’s versions. There is only one winning idea, as time and data tells.

      • Tested against thermometers, catastrophic alarmism is down seven touchdowns at the two minute mark.

      • Land has warmed 0.3 C per decade since 1980, but you didn’t know that, so you might be excused. When this kind of factual information is communicated to some people it is just met with resentment.

      • Jim D, in the summer of 2003, temperatures where I live hit 40C. Since then it hasn’t come within 10C of that.
        So whoever said that land temperatures have risen by 0.3C /decade sure forgot to tell our weatherman.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: Land has warmed 0.3 C per decade since 1980, but you didn’t know that, so you might be excused. When this kind of factual information is communicated to some people it is just met with resentment.

        Do you have any examples of resentment?

        If it wasn’t 3C cooler 100 years ago, it might not be 3C warmer a hundred years hence.

      • jimD

        can you please provide a link for your contention that global Land has warmed 0.3C per decade since 1980. i.e. in some 35 years it should have warmed something over a full degree.


      • Jimd

        You seem to have accidentally started from 1970 . Here it is from 1980 .

        How do you get the 0 . 3 c a decade you claimed.?

      • tonyb, 1970 was to show I wasn’t cherry-picking a start date. We see a lot of that around. Are you saying it is nowhere near 0.3 C per decade. Your graph shows how near it is to that. You want to quibble? I could cherrypick 1978-2008 and get 0.30 C per decade from their OLS fit. Most other choices starting from 1970 range between 0.25 and 0.30, always 0.3 when rounded to one figure, but I do realize 0.3 C per decade is a sensitive number to skeptics who have always thought 3 C per century impossible, so it would not be good if it was already happening.

      • NOAA land rounds to 0.3 for the last 45 years


        0.273 +/- 0.045

      • Here?

        The relevant periods reflect trends and processes between climate shifts.


        The relevant trend is from 2002 – and this is likely to continue for a decade or more yet.

        The land surface record has much too much evaporation artifacts to be much use for climate issues.

    • Amen, brother. I am so tired of hearing expert after expert tell me what is “good” for me. Give me facts and I will decide what is good for me. That is what I find so disturbing about all this. There is an implicit assumption that the “scientist” knows best. What they know is really quite irrelevant. People choose what is in their best interests and they are quite good at it. Scientists may not like the fact they have no real power, but that is life. The irony, of course, is that the more they insist on preaching doom and gloom, the more resistance they get. People are not stupid. When someone is pushing that hard, it raises flags. Our bread has been buttered on both sides ever since Hansen opened the fridge door.

      • James Hansen opened the refrigerator door and found a wascally wabbit curled up around the butter, sound asleep. He woke him and asked him what he was doing there. Replied the wascal ‘This is a Westing House, isn’t it’.

      • @Kim: Too funny. I actually laughed out loud. Thank you.

      • > Give me facts and I will decide what is good for me.

        What if I told you that it was not about you?

      • What if I told you that it was not about you?

        If it affects the world’s economy, it’s about me.

      • Take the weekend off, willard, you deserve it. Awesome effort, lately, and I really appreciate your fancy dribbling, but it was football, it was.

      • > If it affects the world’s economy, it’s about me.

        What if I told you that you are not the world’s economy?

      • Air ball. Air ball.

      • Steven Mosher

        wow, willard threw up a brick.
        the mustard is off the hotdog

      • What if I told you that you are not the world’s economy?

        I’m part of it.

      • Thanks, Koldie. Enjoy yours.

      • > I’m part of it.

        What if I told you that what is good for you and what is good for the world economy were not always reconcilable?

        Anyway. See you Monday.

      • Steven Mosher

        “What if I told you that what is good for you and what is good for the world economy were not always reconcilable?”

        the topic was

        ” I am so tired of hearing expert after expert tell me what is “good” for me. Give me facts and I will decide what is good for me.”

        Now if an expert told Alan, we are telling you that this is good for the world economy but not it may not be good for you, then we could have a discussion.

        What Alan is complaining about is the experts seem to be saying this

        Its good for the world economy, therefore its good for you.

        Your argument willard is with the experts, not with Alan.

        Alans argument is he knows what is good for him.
        The experts he is concerned about dont want to recognize this.

        So just tell Alan straight up. We know what is good for the world economy
        and we know what is good for you. and the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. so suck it up. And we few experts of course decide this. you just listen and agree. or you are a sociopath.

      • What if I told you that what is good for you and what is good for the world economy were not always reconcilable?

        I’m entitled to my opinion WRT that, so it is about me.

      • Let me try to simplify this, or at least put some semantic boundaries around what we’re arguing about.

        You are saying (hypothetically and for example) that the burning of fossil carbon is a problem, and we need to solve it by method ‘A’. (Actually, of course, “method ‘A'” is a whole pencil (speaking metaphorically) of similar and related methods that share a few qualities, including the need to drastically and immediately reduce burning of fossil carbon, preferably in conjunction with equally drastic and immediate rises in the cost/price of energy.)

        Now, I can agree that “the burning of fossil carbon” is a problem, whether or not I agree about its parameters. (Or, perhaps, I could disagree, but that’s not relevant to this specific discussion.) Even so, I can disagree over the claimed “need to drastically and immediately reduce burning of fossil carbon, preferably in conjunction with equally drastic and immediate rises in the cost/price of energy.”

        In effect, I can say “Yes, it’s a problem, but there are solutions that don’t impact me the way yours does.” At this point, if you start talking about “good for me” vs. “good for the world’s economy” you’re in effect saying “Look! A squirrel!” Or, as I prefer to phrase it, you’re introducing a “red herring”. You’re distracting away from the discussion of solutions that don’t impact me the way yours does to claiming that any effort to find alternatives to your solution, which does impact me, very badly, is contrary to the “good of the world’s economy”.

        At this point, I’m entitled to suspect you of ulterior motives, especially that of pursuing a socialist agenda under the cover of “climate change”, or concern thereover. (Is that a word? Well, it is now.)

        This is where the “catastrophic global warming” alarmists are now. If they were really just interested in solving the problem of fossil CO2, they would be open to arguments about the relative time-scales of mitigation-based solutions (3-7 decades per the IPCC) and solutions based more on removal and sequestration.

        Some of them, admittedly, are. Others clearly aren’t. Despite your efforts to cloak your agenda behind a façade of “impartial auditor”, you are clearly among those who aren’t. Anything less than full support for the “solutions” that involve shutting down the Industrial Revolution, and nothing else, draws your fire. Like the majority of leftist CAGW alarmists, you participate in the denigration of anybody who questions this socialist agenda (item) as “deniers”, and other epithets.

        We all* know what you’re up to, both your allies and contemptuous enemies/victims/bystanders. Some speak up, some don’t, especially among CAGW types. But the latter are cut from the same mold (heh).

        *With a few naive exceptions among newcomers.

    • It’s also hard to imagine any major business handling “hide the decline” and related Climategate events as counterproductively as the climate community did.

      There are those who will try, government related leading the way in innovations yet again;




      I’m sure hammer sales are recession proof at this moment.

  29. ==> “But no one would ever think that a “deficit model” is relevant. ”

    Really? So a promoter would never feel that by providing more information to a potential investor, they could attract more interest? In other words, no promoter ever truly believes in their product, and that a better-informed investor would be able to appreciate the relative benefits of their product?

    Interesting. I guess you don’t have much faith in market mechanisms, eh Steve?

    • Steven Mosher

      You misunderstand.
      No promoter would consistently blame his AUDIENCE for not “getting it”

      “If unsuccessful with an investor that one was counting on, most successful promoters would look in the mirror and try to figure out why they didn’t close the sale, rather than insult the potential investor or try to blame the investor (again a practice far too frequent in the climate community.)”

      Having talked to steve about this topic since 2009, I’m pretty sure you dont get what he is talking about. the deficit is yours.
      Having watched you misunderstand Judith, I note this is a common thread for you.

      As a promoter you know more than your audience. But you dont blame your audience for not getting it. You show them deference. They have better things to do, more people to see. If you fail to communicate, you look in the mirror

      Here is the deficit model

      ” Implicit in the deficit model is the assumption that there is a small, privileged group of people who know what is right and wrong, and it is their responsibility to impose this on others who don’t have this privileged insight.”

      • No – you misunderstand. Here is what Steve said:

        ==> “But no one would ever think that a “deficit model” is relevant. ”

        It’s a quote.

        Your loyalty is getting a bit obsessive, Steve.

      • Don’t look now, Joshua, but your deficit is showing.

      • Btw –

        I have said a number of times that I think that the use of the “deficit model” by “realists” in the climate wars is a flawed strategy.

        The reason being that it doesn’t apply in this situation is due to the polarization. Opinions about the science of climate change has little to do with information (for most people). The vast majority who have well-formed opinions are convinced that they have the information they need, and are only open to considering more information if it comes from their tribe. “Skeptics” like to argue that their opinions are based on information just as “realists” think that information is what sways opinions. The evidence shows that they’re both wrong. Identification is what sways opinions.

        There is nothing implicit in the deficit model that means that the “non-expert” (in Steve’s example the investor) has to be insulted or considered unintelligent,or that the recipient of the information be “blamed” for a failure to make the sale – just that they don’t necessarily have all the information that the “expert” (the promoter) has. Thus, transfer of information from the “expert” to the “non-expert” is, of course, relevant in a promoter/investor dynamic (at least sometimes).

        Steve just wants to twist the deficit model to fit his argument.

        Same ol’ same ol’.

      • Sadly for you, the investors are figuring out that it is a broken down alarming machine, blaring warning based on fear and guilt. Identification ain’t even it. The product stinks to high heaven and I can smell it all the way over here.

      • And mosher – btw,

        ==> “Here is the deficit model”

        I see that this comment from a previous thread applies here as well:


        The deficit model is what you say it is. The authority hath spoken.

      • There’s a deficit, alright, a downright deficient one. No sale.

      • Here’s the problem, J. et al; the skeptics now understand the product better than the salespeople do.

      • Actually, I should be more careful. Apology for implication about “motives.”

        I don’t know Steve, so I don’t know what he “wants” to do. I assume that he probably wants to promote good science and further understanding of climate change. But no matter what he wants to do, what he was doing was twisting the deficit model to confirm his biases, fit his argument, etc. – ala the distinction between “motives” and “motivated reasoning.”

      • kim –

        ==> “:the skeptics now understand the product better than the salespeople do.”

        That is a rather typical (unfortunately) sloppy (and unskeptical) characterization. “The skeptics,” generally refers to a very large group of people – the vast, vast majority of whom know far less about climate change than the segment of the “climate science community” that seeks to employ the “deficit model.”

        Stop giving honest-to-god skepticism a bad name.

        Begin by defining terms and being specific.

        Once you master that, we’ll move on to more complicated steps.

      • Joshua, I’m curious how many times you can read that definition and still not get what it means and what everyone else is talking about? Since you don’t even understand the basis for discussion your replies really are nonsensical. You don’t give any sign that you’ll be ready any time soon to move on to the “more complicated steps”.

      • No, I’d much rather play with words than step on their toes. Your deficit model is backward; and it’s the models that have led your ‘experts’ off the dance floor.

      • Joshua – with not the slightest clue about some exceedingly simple calcs – themselves little more than pedagogical aids – describes himself as a realist. Oh the unintentional irony.

        The simple model suffers from 2 errors – either of which would be fatal. It presumes that nothing else changes – against a backdrop of vigourous decadal variability this is so wrong as to be incomprehensibly silly.

        e.g. http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

        The second concerns the inability to convincingly attribute warming against a backdrop of large natural variability.

        The reality is that climate is unpredictable as a result of emergent behavior in a multiply coupled, nonlinear system. .

        The deficit model applies only to climate science as far as I know. It arises from the odd idea that if only it were communicated more effectively we would all embrace the Borg collective of distorted science and the fringe social movement endorsing it. How’s that working out ya think?

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua the deficit model is defined by the op.
        It’s the definition that Mcintyre is responding to.
        It doesn’t matter what you think it is.
        It doesn’t matter what was said elsewhere.
        Your job is to make the best sense you can of
        Mcintyre argument. Critical thinking 101.
        Next if you think you found an obvious error your job is to be skeptical of your understanding. Ask a question.

        Given that people repeatedly question your ability to read critically you might look in the mirror.

        I am loyal to good argument. When you make them
        You should notice that I stay away.
        Further my motives don’t change the stupidity of
        Your reading.

      • ==> “Given that people repeatedly question your ability to read critically you might look in the mirror.”

        I look at the argument behind that assertion. Such as in this case, where you (and he) wrongly twist the definition of a term so at to fit your argument and then assume authority of over the term.

        It’s amusing that you want to blame the lameness of Steve’s argument on my reading ability. Misplaced loyalty. Because of your loyalty, you start with the presumption Steve must be defended against criticism. The fact he made such a lame argument is painful to you – and so you attack.

        Try, instead, to be open to looking at the motivated reasoning in his argument. It’s blatant.

      • Motivated reasoning? Well, that’s a new schtick for you. Perhaps it will take you far.

      • Well, kim –

        At least udith and some “skeptics” now refer to “motivated reasoning” regularly… I’d say mostly due to Kahan’s work (certainly not attributable to me)…

        Only problem that that they think it only applies to “realists.”

        Well – each journey begins with the first step.

      • > each journey begins with the first step.

        Some requires a moral compass.

      • Gosh, I’m overwhelmed you two. What was in your Wheaties?

      • A first step, a compass, and regularity.

        All you need to engage your journey.

      • Because I’m feeling charitable and constructive today, here is a gift for Joshua and Willard: https://www.coursera.org/course/thinkagain

        You’re welcome!

  30. Pingback: The debate about climate change takes a new form. One familiar yet disturbing. | Fabius Maximus

  31. Talking about communication, WUWT have now in recent days highlighted reports about deadly jelly fish and Ebola increasing with climate change that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise (h/t to them). They tried their obligatory weak denials based on no science of their own, so own goal, I would say. Maybe someone needs to stop them before they score more.

    • Weak, nonsensical blather doesn’t require much in the way of reply. Just highlighting it for the world to see in all its glory (cough) is enough.

    • Attribution isn’t just for temperature change anymore.

    • Aren’t you going to thank them for putting your mind at rest? Most of their denizens do, or maybe they prefer to attack the scientists which comes more naturally to them.

    • It’s only a matter of time before someone tries to link cancer to AGW – if they haven’t already done so.
      Is there anything CO2 can’t do?

    • So, Jim D, you seem to be saying WUWT is an honest broker? Fair, balanced, and all that?

    • I view WUWT in the same way as Fox News. The people at both places seem very angry in general about the way things are going for them, but their denizens live on climate science and news that has been digested and regurgitated to them in a more palatable form.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: They tried their obligatory weak denials based on no science of their own, so own goal, I would say.

      Those are but 2 of the 1000 or so things that climate scientists have attributed to AGW. In 10 years’ time when alarmists deny that any alarmist attributed ebola of jelly fish migration to AGW, WUWT readers will be among those who remember the claim.

      I view WUWT in the same way as Fox News. The people at both places seem very angry in general about the way things are going for them, but their denizens live on climate science and news that has been digested and regurgitated to them in a more palatable form.

      That’s pure bias on your part. All the news media have their faults, but there is no unbiased documentation that Fox News is worse than the other mainstream outlets, or that WUWT has less creditable denizens than Real Climate. WUWT has way more mockery than anger, and I’d rate the anger of the denizens of WUWT and the denizens of RealClimate about equal. Certain of my detailed questions, similar to my detailed questions and referenced comments here, were suppressed at RealClimate, something that has never happened to me at WUWT — so perhaps I have a bias also.

      • The point I was making is that WUWT is a reliable one-stop shop if you want to find anything in the news on alarmism. You don’t find these types of articles reported at RealClimate, or even gathered together so efficiently on alarmist sites. You can then ignore what WUWT says and go to the often linked source, and make your own mind up on it.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: today, for example, WUWT posted the link to this original peer-reviewed paper from Science magazine, and several of the comments also cite science. The claim that WUWT denizens require news that is digested and regurgitated is false.

        Jim D: The point I was making is that WUWT is a reliable one-stop shop if you want to find anything in the news on alarmism.

        You ought to have stopped there. However, WUWT also makes the point that the “alarmism” frequently arises from the scientists, not just the headline writers. You then wrote baseless insults.

    • Jim D. Many of us are mad about what’s happening, not so much to us, but to our country.

  32. DeafDumbBlind

    Global warming, climate sceptics keep staying, has stopped for the last 16 years or so. But nobody seems to have told the fish, who keep moving towards the poles as previously cool waters warm up.

    Tropical species are increasingly moving into temperate seas, a bluefin tuna has been caught off Greenland, and Britons are facing having to change the way they eat fish and chips, all as a result of the climate change, say researchers. Marine ecologist, Dr. Adriana Vergés, of Australia’s New South Wales University, says: “The magnitude of the change is so large that it is very obvious.”


    • Attribution is still for temperature change, too.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      “Global warming, climate sceptics keep staying, has stopped for the last 16 years or so. But nobody seems to have told the fish”

      Fish can’t read the data, but surely YOU can, DDB. The metric used is surface temeratures.

      As well, many such studies of fauna movement up in latitude or altitude, are bogus…starting with the quintessential one, on butterflies, by C. Parmesan.

    • deaf dumb blind

      you said;

      ‘…and Britons are facing having to change the way they eat fish and chips.”

      I am British and there is a chip shop in our village. It is difficult to see how we have had to change the way we eat them other than they are no longer allowed to be wrapped in newspaper.

      I have studied the 1000 year old records of Brixham and Plymouth fish markets which also relate to place names around our coast locally, for example the 700 year old ‘Pilchard Inn’. Hundreds of years ago our local fishermen regularly had to go to Iceland to catch their cod .

      Fish come and go . Please explain why today is any different to past patterns we can observe?


      • I live surrounded by fishermen. Species variation within various cycles is a given. That includes the incursion of cold currents and cold water species.

        Everything about AGW seems to hinge on the sly implication of a previously stable or normal climate. Which means that it is solidly based on something which never existed, and never could have existed. The idea would be too outlandish if expressed – but when constantly insinuated it seems to find acceptance. That it should find acceptance among the more educated is the most disturbing thing.

      • nottawa rafter

        rgbatduke eviscerated the idea of anything being “unprecedented” in his comments about the glaciers. A nice complement to all the great work you are doing.

      • mosomoso

        That there still seems to be an impression that the climate is stable is one of the reasons I continue to focus on the Hockey Stick and its derivatives.

        Those who believe the stick is dead are fooling themselves.

        nottawa rafter
        Thanks for your kind comment


      • There are significant regime changes in both fish volumes and species volumes,independent of fish catch rates.ie the sardine regime to the anchovy regime.(chavez 2003)


        The 50-60 year oscillation is seen over a period of 1700 years


        Shorter regime switches (decadal) are suggested to be linked to stratospheric wave activity and surface wind curl.


      • > Please explain why today is any different to past patterns we can observe?

        As before, so today. As old as as above, so below. Perhaps older.

    • The hoped-for ‘hidden’ heat that supposedly expains the lack of sufface heating, is postulated to be in the deep ocean, not the shallow waters where most fish are.

    • ddb, A blue shark (typically cold water species) was caught off Key West last year and this year a Yellowfin Tuna as caught in a canal in the Keys. Obvious the result of climate variability. Or fish do weird chit.

  33. Realitically then, the alarmist consensus is 95% propaganda, 5% science. More or less unavoidable, given that 95% of the money comes from single source.

    • 1+

      Exactly. Since there is no instant reward for opposing the meme, the general decline we are involved in and day to day distractions we are living under the meme grew to a critical mass. Intellectual ebola.

  34. THE IPCC, always the gold standard of politically-motivated one-sided alarmism, now described here as “too conservative” on alarmism.
    Goodness, the scientivists really are getting desparate.

  35. “The traditional model of climate science communication has been: experts convey climate science to the public –> the public then acts in accord with the views of the climate scientists….”

    That is not the traditional method of communication in climate science at all.

    First, the governments convey the expected results of climate science to the scientists, through formation and control of the IPCC and virtually complete control of funding of climate research. Their goal is to obtain PR/propaganda for their preconceived policy prescriptions.

    Then the scientists do their government paid for research, and report their expected results. Usually – “It’s worse than we thought.”

    Then the IPCC synthesizes the results for the governments, who themselves control even the preparation of the Summary for Policy Makers (which should be called the Summary by Policy Makers). Note that there is no Summary for Voters.

    The ARs are published, and the politicized results are communicated by the progressive media to the public to build support for the politicians who started the whole process.

    The progressive media then pick and choose which scientists can best make the PR case for the government’s policies, and interview them and give them platforms for their “communication” is service of power..

    Whereupon they receive more funding to provide more PR disguised as research to give to the IPCC to publish…..

    Rinse and repeat.

    That is the method of communication in climate science, and has been since 1988.

  36. Geoff Sherrington

    Scenario: You have left a visitor unattended in your home. After the visitor departs, you notice that a few items are not in precisely the same place as you recall. Commonly, your future view of the visitor will become one of mistrust. The visitor has been labelled because of some sketchy observations that, given the fullness of time, might be shown to have an innocent explanation. Or not.
    Science communication shares some of this scenario when people entering a discussion weigh the various inputs. If one communicator is found to be suspicious, then a tag can be put on credibility. Often, that tag is persistent and commonly it is irreversible.
    The aims of effective science communication, if you believe this scenario, should include –
    a. Catch people early
    b. Avoid dubious scientific statements
    c. Revoke prior statements, with apologies and explanations, if they become seen as suspicious or wrong.
    In the present context of global warming, much of the motivation of ‘sceptics’ originally arose from having caught a suspicious moment or two from the Establishment. There are plenty to choose from.
    Sceptics seldom change ‘sides’. Ditto for journalists, ditto for professional bodies, ditto for ‘warmists’. It has become like trench warfare, where you get shot in no mans’ land if you attempt to change sides.
    Note the large effort to catch youngsters early by indoctrination at early school level. This type of material might disturb you. It has been dictated that Australian school children will be using examples from certain social fields when their learning, like mathematics and science, needs to be illustrated with examples. They are –
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
    • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
    • Sustainability.
    If you wish to be heard with credibility and longevity, avoid telling lies, avoid even making errors of omission. Avoid the many logical errors already discussed extensively, like appeals to authority and straw men.
    While all this seems elementary, what I am suggesting is that much climate science communication is doomed to fail because opinions of individuals, once formed, seldom change. If you wish for change, the most fertile ground is where people enter the fray for the first time.
    Unfortunately, this produces a clash because in an ideal world, opinions and beliefs would not be part of the scientific process, which is based on observations, numbers, etc.
    There is no value in moaning on blogs about how greens have become too prominent in the influence of policies. Remember, if a view becomes majority, it should be adopted by politicians.
    Politics works, in theory, by abiding by the wishes of the majority.
    What a mess.
    I yearn for the days when distinguished scientists, having concluded a truly important piece of work, would lecture to a society about it. Who cared what the public thought about the early days of electricity or grand unified theory? Other scientists & engineers quietly proceeded to extract use from the data and made items of value.
    val·ue noun \ˈval-(ˌ)yü\

    : the amount of money that something is worth : the price or cost of something

    : something that can be bought for a low or fair price

    : usefulness or importance

  37. So, exactly what are we trying to communicate, and how and why?

    What Climate sensitivity and the consequences of climate sensitivity if it is high
    and if that high climate sensitivity is caused by the actions of mankind.

    How Setting up a UN body IPCC with the mandate to investigate if climate change is happening and has a human component. This has involved climate scientists linking the only world wide change with a possible human component ie CO2 rise to a known effect of a CO2 rise, that is a rise in temperature and then arguing that rise in temperature will accelerate and cause damage as it does so

    Why Having been set up and funded well it is in the interest of the IPCC to find a correlation with human activity to justify it’s formation and continued existence. Technically it would also be in it’s province to advise and help manage human induced climate change if it was happening, was causing damage and could be proven

    Engagement vs communication
    The problem in communication goes back to that of climate sensitivity.
    It was easy to assume that models were right and temperatures were rising in the early years. Since the pause and climategate those people who were skeptical for skepticism’s sake have been joined by an army of normal people who do not like being taken for a ride.
    The message then changed to blacken and denigrate skeptics views and to make ever increasing strident claims of imminent disaster.
    This has resulted in and us and them mentality when considered messages from both sides cannot get through.
    Having been the backbone for so many climate projects and theories the scientists involved also cannot afford to jettison their strongly held beliefs when approached with evidence like the pause.
    [I should point out that communication is always a two way street in that the people being instructed can also feed back and teach the instructor/s but I guess we all know that]
    In summary climate sensitivity is not simply a knee jerk reaction temperature rise to a CO2 increase in a laboratory. There are many feedback mechanisms and it would currently seem that climate sensitivity may be very low indeed and that the system is more or less “self regulating which will prevent harm.
    From admissions at any rate, not from other human political decisions.

  38. Dr ms Curry
    you will be happy to be criticized by skeptical crackpot of Sylvie Coyaud

    keep it because soon that hysterical journalist who manipulated similar dogmatic swedish radio, will be ridiculed… I work on it. not climate related, but this kind of mindguard are an epistemological tragedy.

  39. How can continued support of Mann’s hockey stick, long after it was debunked, be seen as anything other than evidence of ulterior motives?

    The medium is the message. Marshall McLuhan

    • Which leads us to the fact that many in the climate for likely personal political conflicts just can’t sound bite simply truths, for example; “The hockey stick is junk science with intellectual merit and appears to be politically motivated propaganda.”

      Instead we get 20000 words essays fill with equivocations and taking the rubbish seriously even while debunking. The same MO is going over the Cook and Doran fabrications. It isn’t even a knife at a gunfight, it’s nail-clipper. So the climate science community can’t police itself and can only be held in general contempt with their cousins in the left-wing media.

      • syntax corrected;

        Which leads us to the fact that many in the climate field, for likely personal political conflicts just can’t sound bite simply truths. For example; “The hockey stick is junk science with little intellectual merit and appears to be politically motivated propaganda.”

        Instead we get 20000 words essays filled with equivocations and taking the rubbish seriously even while debunking. The same MO is going over the Cook and Doran fabrications. It isn’t even a knife at a gunfight, it’s nail-clipper. So the climate science community can’t police itself and can only be held in general contempt with their cousins in the left-wing media.

  40. Having read none of the above responses, who’s “We” for starters?
    Let’s assume you mean
    “So, exactly what are Governments trying to communicate, and how and why?”
    They’re trying to communicate that we’ve all been and are being very naughty for doing things that involve emitting Carbon Dioxide, without their express permission.
    They’re communicating this through every medium possible, putting a pseudo-scientific slant on it and getting as much help from the “Greens” as possible. Whether these people know they’re just rent-seekers, uiseful idiots or genuinely worried because they’ve absorbed so much of the communications, that they can’t conceive looking at the real evidence, is under debate.
    As for why?, so we must pay for our sins by being taxed if we do these naughty things.
    Some of this tax is then given to those who are doing good things, like making electricity more expensive and lobbying by those who are promoting these policies for more taxes so more money will be thrown their way.

  41. Here’s some engagement. The ARCTIC sea ice area is approaching the 1979-2000 mean.

    And soon, the temp there will be below freezing again.


    Ice albedo is a function of ice area, not volume. So, climatically, area is the measure to watch.

  42. Matthew R Marler

    Andrew Maynard has a superb essay Confessions of a Science Communicator that describes his philosophy of science communication, which contains many elements of successful engagement.

    That is an interesting essay. Thanks for the link.

    It is useful to think of voters as the advocates think of juries: there is a range of abilities to digest complex material, as well as a range of abilities to detect deceit, and a range of abilities to detect conceit and self-righteousness, and a range of abilities to detect evasions. The jury may need education as to the facts and the law, and reminders of important values, but on the whole they are a respectable lot deserving of respect.

  43. I’ve been dealing with this issue myself lately, regarding polar bear biologists.

    The minutes of the June 2014 meeting of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group are a real window on the soul of this powerful group – and a rather creepy soul it turns out to be.

    This statement caught my eye:
    “K. Laidre summarized the need for the PBSG to do a better job of communicating accurate and balanced science about polar bears.”

    The bulk of the minutes from that meeting suggest that polar bear specialists don’t really understand what these terms mean.

    Two examples:
    1) The minutes contained admissions of the serious flaws in the science used to get polar bears listed as ‘threatened’ on the IUCN RED LIST (in 2006) and by US Fish & Wildlife Service (in 2008).

    Was there talk at the meeting about having the ‘threatened’ status reversed? No – the discussion was all about how to make sure the ‘threatened’ status is upheld.

    See my discussion here: http://polarbearscience.com/2014/07/30/pbsg-determined-to-see-polar-bears-listed-as-threatened-by-the-iucn-in-2015/

    2) Due to flack they have been catching over their global polar bear population estimates, the PBSG determined that another clarification was in order. [As opposed to the first clarification, a footnote the group planned to insert in an upcoming report, which PBSG chairman Dag Vongraven sent to me in May]

    The new clarification, published on the PBSG website a few weeks after the meeting, includes an outright lie that was easy to show was untrue.

    See my discussion here: http://polarbearscience.com/2014/08/05/dodgy-new-clarification-of-global-polar-bear-population-estimate-yes-another/

    A number of readers above have suggested, first and foremost, don’t lie.

    It simply beggars belief that such a simple edict would be so difficult to carry out.

    Dr. Susan Crockford, PolarBearScience

    • S., they’re sick. Infested with a miasma. Where did you get your anti-infection serum?

    • Susan, thanks for stopping by, an interesting example

    • Dr. Crockford,
      Thank you so much for your persistence and fortitude in the face of such a biased groupthink “consensus.”

      Those scientists who insisted upon following the facts wherever they led/lead will increasingly be recognized as exemplars…. one hopes sooner rather than later!

    • Thanks Dr Crockford

      Your integrity in the face of consensus misinformation is admirable.

      Too bad the infrastructure of polar bear research is eager to pursure objectives of actual science

    • @ polarbearscience

      As has been obvious since ‘the plight of polar bears’ hit the headlines, and in an exact analogy with climate science and ‘Catastrophic Anthropogenic (the key is Anthropogenic, justifying political control of those billions and billions of anthropos) Global Warming’, the poor, put-upon polars do not represent a ‘problem’; they provide a pseudo-scientific EXCUSE to justify the implementation of the progressive agenda.

      When Climate Science, which no one had ever heard of, arrived on the scene that ACO2 posed an existential threat to the entire biosphere, that the science was settled, and the science required that government tax and/or regulate every activity that either produced or consumed energy, and that every individual and group shouting the alarm and demanding immediate action was prominent in the progressive hierarchy, reasonable people set the ‘BS flag’ and started paying attention.

      Likewise, when polar bears went almost overnight from being large, cute Arctic carnivores who existed primarily by eating seals, with the occasional Eskimo thrown in for variety, to an endangered species whose continued existence was so critical that it justified the reduction of fossil fuel consumption by 90+% to ensure it, and that we were being assured of the unquestionableness of this announcement by the very same progressives who brought climate science from nowhere to full-fledged infallibility in the blink of an eye, the ‘BS flag’ was instantly upgraded to ‘Danger Will Robinson, Danger’.

      Your comment just confirms that the reactions were justified.

      Thank you.

    • Susan,

      Wearing, my skeptical hat, there seems to be be somewhat of a gap between the quotes you produce,and the allegations of nefarious intent in relation to those.

      It’s a but hard to see how this;
      “Wiig noted that polar bears were classified as Vulnerable on the last [IUCN] Red List Assessment in 2006. However, criteria are far more stringent now and another assessment is due by June of 2015.”
      and this;
      ““We also need reasonable estimates of the size of all subpopulations; we cannot simply say, for example, that for subpopulations where are [sic] estimates are currently poor that in the future these will be 20% lower.”

      Implies this;
      “In other words, they are not planning to objectively assess whether the bears are indeed ‘vulnerable’ – they have already decided polar bears must be listed as vulnerable and are searching desperately to find a strategy that will make that outcome a reality.” – Susan.

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  45. There is always the assumption that climate science is science, around which various sociological complexities orbit.

    But it’s not science. The sociological complexities stem from needing to keep alive the idea that it is science. The thing itself is sociologically corrupt.

    There’s the low hanging fruit.

    You could be doing a bit of this or that science, but it can’t connect as science to any of the rest of the huge project. That’s where the sociology comes in. The actual science has to be driven out and then it can connect into the project.

    Communicate that to the public and it may be more agreeable. They see it at work all the time.

    • Then there is the money thing. I did hear recently that, worldwide, there is likely a billion dollars a day being spent to support the Climate Alarmist Consensus. That will keep a lot of people aligned with just about anything.

  46. I believe that if I know something that can help someone else, I have a responsibility to help them to the best of my ability make use of this knowledge. I also have a responsibility to advocate for what I see as important factors in making decisions that could affect the health and well being of others.

    What happens when you are actually wrong and you won’t discuss or debate or listen to someone with a different opinion?

    What if you are part of a consensus group that does not discuss or debate or listen to anyone with a different opinion?

    Then What?

    You kick those who discuss or debate or listen to anyone with a different opinion out of the group so you can maintain 97% consensus. It is only 97% because there are always about 3% that you have not kicked out fast enough. The numbers are getting smaller and it will become easier to get more than 97% consensus.

  47. Danley Wolfe

    97% of men wearing lab coats and calling themselves medical doctors on Saturday night late night TV claim that natural sleep aids will solve your sleepless problems… mixtures of valerian, melatonin and chamomile. You can buy by calling 1-800-XXXXXXX Visa / Master Card / Discover cards accepted. It’s highly likely – even a sure thing (with a confidence level of 95%) these guys will get high visibility assignments on the next IPCC assessment review – AR6.

  48. GWPF reports a cute little poll from P’burg, available from the twitter feed @ top right, now.

    • Apparently 59% of Americans are now with Sarah Palin, who years ago(can it be that long?) would not ascribe all of global warming to man.

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  50. Would anyone like to predict when we will have an El Nino that lasts one month or more?

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  52. FOMD…”Amazing Fact No nation in history that has adopted a regulated-market universal-coverage healthcare system has *EVER* abandoned it.

    Once snouts are in other people’s troughs, they are indeed very hard to dislodge. Reason in itself to avoid them in the first place.

  53. I guess the Royal Society would find it hard to admit that they needed engagement rather than PR. People have stopped listening to top down talk, at least in climate science. Between 1930 and 1960, many of the Eddington idess were overturned when so-called fundamental particles were found to consist of Quarks/ Even the Royal Society would have to admit that this was a period of great strife in science and top down argument may not survive the 24hr news cycle.

    So dogmatic science is a thing of the past and we have to arrive at new certainties.

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