Distinguishing the academic from the interface consensus

by Judith Curry

We shed new light on the epistemic struggle between establishing consensus and acknowledging plurality, by explicating different ways of consensus-making in science and society and examining the impact hereof on their field of intersection. –  Laszlo Kosolosky and Jeroen Van Bouwel

I first met Laszlo Kosolosky at the Workshop on the Role of Climate Models. Laszlo is a Ph.D. student in Belgium, the title of his thesis is ‘Science Versus Society, Democracy Versus Expertise, Consensus Versus Plurality: A Social-Epistemological Study of Central Notions in Scientific Practice, i.e. Expertise, Consensus, Peer Review, Epistemic Integrity, and Values.’  He has already published a number of papers.  His research is of obvious relevance to climate science, and I have flagged a number of them to include in future posts.

Here is a paper on consensus, which provides some important and useful insights into the consensus building process .

Explicating ways of consensus-making in science and society: distinguishing the academic, the interface and the meta-consensus.

Laszlo Kosolosky and Jeroen Van Bouwel

Abstract. In this paper, we shed new light on the epistemic struggle between establishing consensus and acknowledging plurality, by explicating different ways of consensus-making in science and society and examining the impact hereof on their field of intersection, i.e. consensus conferences (in particular those organized by the National Institute of Health). We draw a distinction between, what we call, academic and interface consensus, to capture the wide appeal to consensus in existing literature. We investigate such accounts as to put forth a new understanding of consensus-making, focusing on the meta-consensus. We further defend how (NIH) consensus conferences enable epistemic work, through demands of epistemic adequacy and contestability, contrary to the claim that consensus conferences miss a window for epistemic opportunity. Paying attention to this dynamics surrounding consensus, moreover allows us to illustrate how the public understanding of science and the public use of the ideal of consensus could be well modified.

A link to the paper (a chapter in a book) can be found [here].

Excerpts from the paper:

In our society, there are these moments in which establishing a scientific consensus seems imperative to solve urgent problems, for instance, as concerns climate change; achieving consensus on the causes and extent of global warming would facilitate policymaking and, moreover, send a convincing signal that doing nothing will have dire consequences. On the other hand, philosophers studying plurality and heterodoxy in science have raised questions concerning the ideal of the scientific consensus and the pernicious effects the consecration of scientific consensus might have.

If we aim to elaborate on the tension between consensus and plurality mentioned above, we first need to establish what aspects of scientific consensus we would like to address here. We draw a distinction between a ‘technical, academic consensus’ and an ‘interface consensus’. The former points at a consensus being established among scientists or experts in a certain field related to a certain topic. The latter relates to a consensus being established at the border between science and society, typically including a wider range of actors apart from scientists (i.e. laypeople, interactional experts, government representatives, etc.).

The relationship at play within academic consensus is one between experts. In the academic world, every scientist/academic is regarded to be an (equal) peer and everyone serves as an authority within his or her field. These people are generally regarded to be on the cutting edge of research and are expected to be among the first to notice changes occurring within their field of expertise. The relationship at play within the interface consensus is one between expert and layman, grasping the interface between science and society. This type entails a relation between expert and layman grounded on authority, trust, and mutual respect, where the actors are not regarded to be on equal (epistemic) footing. The difference in interaction is important to bear in mind when we want to have a look at what’s at stake in each of them.

Besides distinguishing the academic from the interface consensus, we would also like to introduce the notion of the meta-consensus. Instead of focusing on the simple level, that is, as the result of alternative theories/models tested against one another eventually – thought to be – leading to some consensus outcome, we could learn a lot by shifting to the analysis of the meta-consensus that stipulates the procedure to be followed.

Kristina Rolin (2009) stipulates the epistemic role outsiders to particular scientific communities can play. She argues that an epistemically responsible scientist has a duty to respond to outside criticism in certain circumstances insofar as it includes an appropriate challenge to her views. A meta-consensus taking contestability into account differs from both aggregated judgment – in supporting dynamical, diachronic interaction – and rational deliberation – avoiding groupthink via contestation. Obviously, contestability comes in degrees and is present to a greater or lesser extent in the existing formats for consensus-making.

In his earlier work on experts (2006), Beatty already captures part of the tension between consensus making on the one hand and the intrinsic value of plurality on the other hand. First, what he calls simplification, entails that scientists instead of simply telling us what they know, they might tell us simply. In this manner, a lot of crucial information gets lost along the way. Second, what he identifies as the intentional withholding of information, means that scientists often agree amongst one another as to retain information from the public or silence discussions, which results in a distorted view of consensus amongst the public and nourishes the ill-conceived expectations they might have. Both pitfalls find their reasoning on either paternalistic or protective grounds. The former meaning that experts state that it might actually be in the public’s advantage if they speak with one voice rather than with many, whereas the latter hints at the fact that experts, in this manner, could in fact guarantee that their status remains intact and can prohibit others from gaining the authority and trust to do their work.

The debate about scientific consensus then moves to consensus on epistemic procedures, i.e. finding a form of meta-consensus. Thus, the tension between scientific plurality and consensus is not tackled on the simple level, but on the meta-level. This is analogous to how democratic societies deal with value pluralism; the focus is not on getting rid of value pluralism, but on establishing a framework – a meta-consensus – within which pluralism can be dealt with satisfactorily. The meta-consensus can be one that prescribes rational deliberation (in line with models of deliberative democracy), or aggregation (stipulating a procedure for adding up the available views), or agonistic pluralism (developing a procedure or constellation – conflictual consensus – that wants to optimize the epistemic fecundity via agonism), etc.

Establishing scientific consensus is highly valued by philosophers, scientists and the public. The emergence of a scientific consensus replacing competing accounts is often interpreted as a proof of scientific progress and a marker of truth; ideally all scientific inquiry and debate would result in a consensus. Finding scientific consensus is then understood as a proof for the validity of a theory and – indirectly – of the public policy based on the consensus theory.

The back side of the coin is that the lack of scientific consensus often is used to undermine or criticize science and the public policy based on it (e.g., former US President Bush on climate change). When scientists agree, their results are taken more seriously than when they disagree, even though such an agreement or consensus might hinder scientific progress because of critical, heterodox theories not being taken seriously (e.g., the theory of continental drift was accepted by geologists only after 50 years of rejection, and the theory of helicobacter pylori as the cause of stomach ulcers, was at first widely rejected by the medical community).

These observations might question scientific consensus as an ideal or as the goal of inquiry and marker of truth; enforcing ‘consensus’ might be dangerous or not desirable, hence the importance of scrutinizing carefully what is actually going on in establishing scientific consensus. Communicating this variety of formats to the public, helps qualifying the actual span of scientific consensus-making and the oracle like features it might sometimes have. Our reasoning is in line with Inmaculada de Melo-Martin and Kristen Intemann’s recent paper, where they show that ‘focusing on dissent as a problematic activity sends the message to policy-makers and the public that any dissent undermines scientific knowledge.’  Encouraging and providing mechanisms of dissent can also be important to reassuring the public that the consensus view has undergone rigorous scrutiny. Events such as “climate-gate” reinforce the public perception that climate scientists are resistant to criticism and have a “bunker mentality”.

Through our analysis we have argued in favor of the following claims:

a) Consensus-making as discussed by philosophers of science, should be aware of the difference in aiming for an academic consensus or an interface consensus in science and society. A broader understanding of the different structures and functions of consensus-making helps us to see more nuances.

b) The difficulties of achieving consensus understood as an unanimous outcome – a seldom-attained ideal stipulated by a range of criteria – should make us shift to a procedural approach in which the emphasis is not so much on establishing the consensus, but dealing with plurality in a consensual way, i.e., framed within a meta-consensus that agrees on how to disagree.

JC reflections

This paper makes a very important point about the distinction between an academic and interface consensus.    The climate change consensus is really an interface consensus, negotiated by the IPCC.

The primary example used in the paper is NIH (public health) consensus conferences.  While this application shares some commonality with the climate change consensus building, the big difference lies in the type of problem being addressed.  The NIH problems are relatively tame, in that they are constrained and there is no conflict of values (there are uncertainties).  On the other hand, climate change is a wicked mess, with complexity and changing dimensions, solutions that are suboptimal with unintended undesirable consequences, and major conflicts of values.

For a wicked mess such as climate change, I’ve argued in my paper No consensus on consensus:

The climate community has worked for more than 20 years to establish a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.  The IPCC consensus building process arguably played a useful role in the early synthesis of the scientific knowledge and in building political will to act. We have presented perspectives from multiple disciplines that support the inference that the scientific consensus seeking process used by the IPCC has had the unintended consequence of introducing biases into the both the science and related decision making processes. The IPCC scientific consensus has become convoluted with consensus decision making through a ‘speaking consensus to power’ approach. The growing implications of the messy wickedness of the climate change problem are becoming increasingly apparent, highlighting the inadequacies of the ‘consensus to power’ approach for decision making on the complex issues associated with climate change. Further, research from the field of science and technology studies are finding that manufacturing a consensus in the context of the IPCC has acted to hyper-politicize the scientific and policy debates, to the detriment of both.  Arguments are increasingly being made to abandon the scientific consensus seeking approach in favor of open debate of the arguments themselves and discussion of a broad range of policy options that stimulate local and regional solutions to the multifaceted and interrelated issues of climate change, land use, resource management, cost effective clean energy solutions, and developing technologies to expand energy access efficiently.

Note, I will be presenting my No Consensus on Consensus arguments at a philosophy of science Conference (Laszlo is on the organizing committee) entitled ‘The epistemic value of dissent in climate science’, scheduled for next fall.

 

 

444 responses to “Distinguishing the academic from the interface consensus

  1. dikranmarsupial

    There is a genuine scientific consensus on many issues, for instance that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic. The fact that there has been an occasional paper arguing otherwise (mostly the subject of comments papers) does not mean there is genuine plurality on the state of scientific knowledge on this issue.

    • “In his earlier work on experts (2006), Beatty already captures part of the tension between consensus making on the one hand and the intrinsic value of plurality on the other hand. First, what he calls simplification, entails that scientists instead of simply telling us what they know, they might tell us simply. In this manner, a lot of crucial information gets lost along the way.”

      • dikranmarsupial

        If the natural environment were a net carbon source, atmospheric CO2 would be rising faster than anthropogenic emissions as BOTH the natural environment and mankind would be contributing to the rise. We observe this is not the case, with high certainty, ergo the natural environment is a net carbon sink and is opposing the rise.

        There are uncertainties in our knowledge of the carbon cycle, but they are not nearly large enough for there to be any real doubt on this question, and the scientists don’t need to do much simplification to get the basic facts across. Anybody capable of operating a bank account should be able to understand that scientific argument without simplification.

        The point is that the existence of an interface consensus does not imply there is not also a scientific consensus to go with it. The degree of consensus will vary from one question to another (scientific opinion is never unanimous on any topic, e.g. evolution via natural selection), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      • Who is arguing that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is not anthropogenic? Are you on the right thread?

      • “There is a genuine scientific consensus on many issues, for instance that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic.”

        This is a simplification.

        your clarification was better.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Judith Curry ‏@curryja
        @NowakowskiA @theresphysics Salby is looking at this. Unpublished at this point; @theresphysics alleged takedown totally unconvincing IMO

        This topic comes up on blogs on a fairly regular basis. Ferdinand Engelbeen has worked very hard to address this in his admirably patient and polite manner. His webpage on this topic is an excellent resource:

        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_origin.html

      • Don

        Backstory.
        dikranmarsupial is a SkS prick. He is making a reference to Curry’s willingness to listen to Salby.

        Personally, I think she is a bit too open minded WRT Salby. I watched his presentation and wish I had that time back.

        JC comment: Marsupial is very welcome here. Too much going on for me to get back to my draft post on Salby

      • WebHubTelescope


        Don Monfort | September 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        Who is arguing that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is not anthropogenic? Are you on the right thread?

        The point is that people will believe in the weirdest things — like proposing an IronSun-like theory of cloud nucleation governed by Bose-Einstein statistics.

        It ranks up there with the Salby nonsense.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Steven Mosher wrote “dikranmarsupial is a SkS prick.”

        It is usually this sort of thing that indicates that further discussion is likely to be fruitless, it is a shame this point has been reached so early in the thread.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Don Monfort: Who is arguing that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is not anthropogenic? Are you on the right thread?

        It comes up from time to time, often from people who cite Murry Salby.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Steven Mosher: dikranmarsupial is a SkS prick.

        that is an irrelevant comment that cheapens this site.

      • ferdinand states the consensus without the simplification

        “All observed evidence from measurements all over the earth show with overwhelming evidence that humans are causing the bulk of the recent increase of CO2 into the atmosphere.”

        versus

        “There is a genuine scientific consensus on many issues, for instance that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic.”

        Ferdinand makes a measured claim. All observed evidence
        dikranmarsupial appeals to a genuine consensus
        Ferdinand argues for overwhelming evidence that the bulk of C02 increase is human driven.
        dikranmarsupial appears to state a fact that ‘the rise’ (unqualified) is human caused.

        One presents a scientific argument ( that I buy)
        The other simplifies this argument and presents it as a fact.

        Curry wants to look at the argument again. Well, guess what? There is nothing wrong with that. The only way you’d think there was something wrong with that is if you mistake an argument for a fact. I think she is wasting her time. It’s her damn time. people thought we were wasting our time looking at the temperature record. the temperature rise is a “fact” as well. Folks may have thought the same thing about Cowtan and Way.. now they think differently. Funny, when we looked at the “fact” of the temperature rise the very act was seen as challenge to the consensus, as a waste of time. Even showing the arctic was warming faster than CRU thought was ignored. Later of course, this fact became important

      • Matt, it comes up from time to time and it is generally ignored, or quickly dismissed. The real debate is about CAGW.

      • “It is usually this sort of thing that indicates that further discussion is likely to be fruitless, it is a shame this point has been reached so early in the thread.”

        then just ignore me, if your feelings are hurt.

        Bottom line: ferdinand does a good job. you don’t. deal with it.

      • I have also seen this clown on nuticcelli’s guardian blog. I was banned from there early on. This clown should be shown the same kind of hospitality. Yeaqh, I said it. He’s got plenty of blogs to haunt.

      • Webby, if this dik character wanted to smear Judith for being openminded on the anthro CO2 non- controversy, he could have picked a more appropriate thread. Don’t you have the decency to admit to that, webby? Or are you still mad about that boson thing?

      • dikranmarsupial

        JC comment: Marsupial is very welcome here. Too much going on for me to get back to my draft post on Salby

        Thank you Prof. Curry, I appreciate that, but I think there is little point in me continuing here. I’d be happy to discuss your draft post on Salby via email if that would be of interest. The mathematical flaw in the argument is pointed out here http://www.skepticalscience.com/salby_correlation_conundrum.html .

      • Matthew R Marler

        Don Monfort: Matt, it comes up from time to time and it is generally ignored, or quickly dismissed. The real debate is about CAGW.

        Your first question was about who, and if mention was even appropriate to this thread. In response to a simple claim that increase in CO2 is generally agreed to be due to humans, i.e. an example that consensus is possible. You agree on the point made by dikranmarsupial (that there is no real plurality on the source of atmospheric CO2 increase), while asking if the point even belongs on a thread about consensus and plurality.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Don Monfort, this is dikranmarsupial’s complete post: There is a genuine scientific consensus on many issues, for instance that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic. The fact that there has been an occasional paper arguing otherwise (mostly the subject of comments papers) does not mean there is genuine plurality on the state of scientific knowledge on this issue.

        It does not contain a smear of Prof Curry.

      • WebHubTelescope

        It’s really a comedy (?) of errors. First the nonsensical Bose-Einstein theory of cloud nucleation (published !!!) , then the support of Salby … ergo … no credibility left.

      • I wasn’t disputing the simple claim, Matt. I have seen this dik character before. I am questioning his motivation for picking that particular subject. It didn’t take him long to produce Judith’s recent tweet. Look, most of these alarmist characters come here for one reason. Can you guess what it is?

      • You see webby’s comeback, Matt. Salby discredits Judith.

      • Heh, his sneer smears himself. Yeah, sure, we have the carbon cycle all figured out.
        =========================

      • All observed evidence
        dikranmarsupial appeals to a genuine consensus
        Ferdinand argues for overwhelming evidence that the bulk of C02 increase is human driven.
        dikranmarsupial appears to state a fact that ‘the rise’ (unqualified) is human caused.

        What if one person makes the argument that the overwhelming evidence supports one view and the another makes the argument that the evidence supports the opposite. How does one decide who is right, especially policy makers with little expertise? For example, the argument that approximately 100% of the warming in the last 60 years is due to CO2. One side suggests that the evidence supports while Curry says it is approximately 50%. How does one make a judgement in favor of one argument over the other?

      • Matthew R Marler

        Don Monfort: You see webby’s comeback, Matt. Salby discredits Judith.

        Your word was “smear”, and dikranmarsupial did not “smear” Prof Curry. So you write one thing and then defend something that you did not write. The way to do that is to say: “I apologize, what I really meant to say was … .” Today for some reason you are allowing your dislike of a commenter to distract your attention from the points actually written.

        And yet you agree with the point that dikranmarsupial made: there is no real plurality on the question of whether CO2 increase is due to humans. A few posts down there is a dissenting opinion.

      • Joseph! You exceed my expectations. Easy answer, listen to moshe. On your particular question here even he is perplexed.

        Not me, though. If the attribution is near or greater than 100% then we are fighting a losing battle against cooling. If not, then we’ve bounced naturally off the lows of the Holocene.
        ===================

      • Matt, it was meant to demean, and you and Don can fight over the correct descriptive term. As sneering goes, it was pretty awkward. I’d go running off, too.
        ===============

      • Matt, The post says:

        “In our society, there are these moments in which establishing a scientific consensus seems imperative to solve urgent problems, for instance, as concerns climate change; achieving consensus on the causes and extent of global warming would facilitate policymaking and, moreover, send a convincing signal that doing nothing will have dire consequences.”

        The SkS kid promptly moves the discussion to a non-controversial aspect of CAGW. I ask myself why. I asked him why. He quickly comes up with a very recent Judith tweet. Webby thinking like a good SkS kid says Judith is discredited. That’s what they are here for, Matt. I thought you knew that.

      • We find that the air temperature anomaly (the deviation from the 1961–1990 mean) is significantly and positively correlated with changes in RS. We estimate that the global RS in 2008 (that is, the flux integrated over the Earth’s land surface over 2008) was 98±12 Pg C and that it increased by 0.1 Pg C yr-1 between 1989 and 2008, implying a global RS response to air temperature (Q10) of 1.5.
        http://environmentportal.in/files/Temperature%20associated%20increases%20in%20the%20global%20soil.pdf

        Previous studies have highlighted the occurrence and intensity of El Niño–Southern Oscillation as important drivers of the interannual variability of the atmospheric CO2 growth rate, but the underlying biogeophysical mechanisms governing such connections remain unclear. Here we show a strong and persistent coupling (r2 ≈ 0.50) between interannual variations of the CO2 growth rate and tropical land–surface air temperature during 1959 to 2011, with a 1 °C tropical temperature anomaly leading to a 3.5 ± 0.6 Petagrams of carbon per year (PgC/y) CO2 growth-rate anomaly on average.
        http://www.pnas.org/content/110/32/13061.abstract

        A new stomatal proxy-based record of CO concentrations ([CO2]), based on Betula nana (dwarf birch)leaves from the Hässeldala Port sedimentary sequence in south-eastern Sweden, is presented. The recordis of high chronological resolution and spans most of Greenland Interstadial 1 (GI-1a to 1c, Allerød pollenzone), Greenland Stadial 1 (GS-1, Younger Dryas pollen zone) and the very beginning of the Holocene(Preboreal pollen zone). The record clearly demonstrates that i) [CO2] were significantly higher than usually reported for the Last Termination and ii) the overall pattern of CO2 evolution through the studied time period is fairly dynamic, with significant abrupt fluctuations in [CO2] when the climate moved from interstadial to stadial state and vice versa. A new loss-on-ignition chemical record (used here as a proxyfor temperature) lends independent support to the Hässeldala Port [CO2] record.

        It seems quite clear that CO2 flux to the atmosphere changes with temperature. The distinction between natural and anthropogenic warming in the last century therefore has clear implications for atmospheric CO2 content. The question there is how much the modern solar grand maxima – including amplification mechanisms – drove 20th century warming and how much will be reversed in the 21st century.

        People are making fundamental changes to multiply coupled, complex, dynamic nonlinear systems with emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphides, black carbon and tropospheric ozone precursors. Along with losses of soil carbon in agricultural soils and degradation of ecosystems.

        The science is far from simple and the prognosis far from obvious. The planet is in a cool regime for 20 to 40 years from 1998. These regimes are the result of internal and emergent reorganization of the climate system. Shifts between regimes are abrupt.

        Abrupt climate change is technically a chaotic bifurcation in a complex, dynamic system – equivalently a phase transition, a catastrophe (in the sense of René Thom), or a tipping point. These are all terms that are used in relation to the theory of deterministic chaos that originated with the work of Edward Lorenz in the 1960’s. Lorenz started his convection model calculation in the middle of a run by inputting values truncated to three decimal places in place of the original six. By all that was known – it should not have made much of a difference. The rest is history in the discovery of chaos theory as the third great idea – along with relativity and quantum mechanics – of 20th century physics. It has applications in ecology, physiology, economics, electronics, weather, climate, planetary orbits and much else. In climate it is driving a new math of networked systems.

        ‘Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small…

        Modern climate records include abrupt changes that are smaller and briefer than in paleoclimate records but show that abrupt climate change is not restricted to the distant past.’ (NAS, 2002)

        In the words of Michael Ghil (2013) the ‘global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems – atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere – each of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales.’

        The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain. The theory of abrupt climate change is the most modern – and powerful – in climate science and has profound implications for the evolution of climate this century and beyond. The new theory suggests that global warming is not guaranteed and that climate surprises are inevitable.

        The theory suggests that the system is pushed by greenhouse gas changes and warming – as well as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

        Things are not so simple as some caustically insist. The world is likely not warming for decades – and the next climate shift may not be to yet warmer conditions as the planet passes the threshold of Bond Event Zero. But the systems are wild and unpredictable – the consequences of making fundamental changes to these systems cannot be known.

        The rational policy responses include fast mitigation of black carbon, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphides, tropospheric ozone precursors as well as social and economic development policies that lead to an increase in welfare and decrease population pressures. As well as encouraging energy research and development.

        As for the post – I find this stuff unreadable. Academic waffle divorced from Earth sciences and so ethereal it can have no impact at all on the visceral fables of the zeitgeist. It is the difference between Bishop Berkeley and Samuel Johnson. Musing of insubstantiality and kicking a rock. We remember how silly Berkley seems in the light of Johnson’s refutation. The only hope is that reality likewise will assert itself and the only guarantee is that both sides will misconstrue it for as long as possible.

      • WebHubTelescope

        Taz spins out of control and spews out copy&paste nonsense whenever he feels threatened.

      • Should go here.

        They always complain about quoting science. The option always exists to read the original science and demonstrate that I have misrepresented it. That would seem unlikely.

        Webbly is incapable and incompetent – as more than amply demonstrated in his recent reprehensible meltdown. He simply continues with nonsense claims and nonsense rejoinders like the irredeemable schmuck he is. Go away webbly you are no longer welcome.to abuse and malign here and then go away to babble about the Krackpot and her Klimate Klowns.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        dikranmarsupial wrote:

        “There are uncertainties in our knowledge of the carbon cycle, but they are not nearly large enough for there to be any real doubt on this question, and the scientists don’t need to do much simplification to get the basic facts across. Anybody capable of operating a bank account should be able to understand that scientific argument without simplification.”

        OK!
        What’s the residence time?
        Thanks.


      • OK!
        What’s the residence time?
        Thanks.

        It’s not a residence time! It’s an adjustment time. And that value is fat-tailed so it doesn’t have a mean!

      • Mosh

        You mention Ferdinand approvingly and quite rightly.

        I went with him to a lecture at Southampton university several years ago given by dr Iain Stewart of Climate wars fame.

        Ferdinand is a sceptic although his position is nuanced. He does believe that the recent co2 rise is caused by man, but believes it has a limited effect. He interrogated dr Stewart on the latters highly warmist beliefs as did I. Ferdinand has also taken the trouble to visit Greenland to look at the Viking evidence.

        I also believe that co2 must have an effect but can not see that it has any impact after around 280ppm

        In recent centuries it has been warmer than today and colder than today at 280ppm. You need to work harder at Proving the physics to demonstrate that adding more co2 is going to drastically increase temperatures. I do appreciate your honest efforts to examine past temperatures.
        Tonyb

      • Matthew R Marler

        WebHubTelescope: And that value is fat-tailed so it doesn’t have a mean!

        Fat-tailed does not imply the absence of a mean. You must intend something else.

      • ““All observed evidence from measurements all over the earth show with overwhelming evidence that humans are causing the bulk of the recent increase of CO2 into the atmosphere.””

        leaves open loads of questions, what measurements? what coverage are they? etc. The ‘consensus’ statement has an implication that all the alternative possibilities have been addressed and agreed to be insufficient.

        The trouble with climate is that ideas that have been around for ages and folk may know about from non-climate interests clash with ‘simplifications’ scientists have made e.g. the “unprecedentedly hot” meme implies they don’t understand natural variability.

      • WebHubTelescope


        Matthew R Marler | September 19, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        Fat-tailed does not imply the absence of a mean. You must intend something else.

        Are you that ignorant of statistical mechanics? Par for the course of all the denier followers who don’t understand the applicability of B-E, etc.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        WHUTTY wrote:

        “It’s not a residence time! It’s an adjustment time. And that value is fat-tailed so it doesn’t have a mean!

        Some bank account.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        WHUTTY wrote:

        “Are you that ignorant of statistical mechanics? Par for the course of all the denier followers”

        You’re talking about Tom Wigley, boss of CRU and the rest ?

        Thanks WHUTTY.

        So much for the academic consensus.

      • WHUT

        wrote:

        Matthew R Marler | September 19, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        Fat-tailed does not imply the absence of a mean. You must intend something else.

        Are you that ignorant of statistical mechanics? Par for the course of all the denier followers who don’t understand the applicability of B-E, etc.

        Perhaps WHUIT could refine his comment. The informal term ‘fat-tailed’ is suggestive of ‘skewed’ or ‘heavy-tailed’, e.g., a logarithmic distribution.

        Estimating the mean may be present issues but one does expect a mean–a lot has been written on estimating the mean for some skewed distributions. Rather than insulting without justification, perhaps you could clarify, And that value is fat-tailed so it doesn’t have a mean!”. I have no problem saying that when I read across the comment this morning my reaction was very similar to Matthew Marler’s–it runs counter to my experience working with data and the literature. So please enlighten…awaiting your response…

      • …when I read the comment this morning…

      • Maybe Web means it has a distribution like the Cauchy, which has no mean. In that case the appropriate response is “…but I can give you the median…” rather than causing a cascade of pointless back-and-forth.

      • A distribution on the positive reals, like the Pareto with alpha < 1, is probably a better example given that we're talking time.

      • NW
        This went/was put in the wrong place [https://judithcurry.com/2014/09/18/distinguishing-the-academic-from-the-interface-consensus/#comment-630391].
        NW — If one means something that is pathological or exceptional, then that characteristic merits additional discussion…as does the avoidance of needless [OT] back-and-forth. regards.

      • Matthew R Marler

        WebHubTelescope: Are you that ignorant of statistical mechanics? Par for the course of all the denier followers who don’t understand the applicability of B-E, etc.

        Perhaps you ought to have confined your comment to statistical mechanics, not distribution times or adjustment times. As mwgrant noted, a Cauchy distribution does not have a mean, but that is a tiny subset of “fat tailed” distributions. Is the Cauchy distribution widely used in statistical mechanics as a model for some phenomena?

      • Matthew R Marler

        oops, it was NW who mentioned the Cauchy distribution, not mwgrant. Sorry.

        mwgrant noted that data sets always have means. When you have samples from a Cauchy distribution, larger sample sizes to not imply greater precision in estimating the (nonexistent) mean.

      • Just because a certain formula for the “mean” of a distribution doesn’t work for a Cauchy distribution does not mean it has no mean. It only means the mean formula doesn’t work for that distribution.

        So, you guys can stop being so mean to each other and also stop with the meaningless arguments. You simply demean the blog when you do.

      • To be clear I pointed out the logarithmic distributions. I should have written lognormal distribution. If one is working with a theoretical lognormal distribution, e.g., as in a simulation, then the mean and variance can be calculated exactly from the mean and variance of the associated underlying normal distribution. However, a common problem working with many environmental data sets is to estimate the mean, variance and different types of intervals of ‘lognormal’ data, i.e., data skewed to the high side. In practice it is messy but essential to get at these numbers. The concept of a mean is very much alive in these ‘heavy-tailed, distributions.

      • Matthew R Marler

        jim2: Just because a certain formula for the “mean” of a distribution doesn’t work for a Cauchy distribution does not mean it has no mean. It only means the mean formula doesn’t work for that distribution.

        There is only one definition for the mean of a distribution. Do you have something else in mind? Median, maybe?

      • jim2 wrote:

        “So, you guys can stop being so mean to each other and also stop with the meaningless arguments. You simply demean the blog when you do.”

        Geewhillikers, Lord jim2, did I miss the notice of your appointment as High Arbiter? OB bunky…,

      • @Matthew R Marler | September 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
        There is only one definition for the mean of a distribution. Do you have something else in mind? Median, maybe?
        *****
        You can recast the integral used to determine the mean using limits and find the mean. On a more visceral level, you can just look at the symmetric graph of one and see that it has a mean.

      • @mwgrant | September 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm |

        Geewhillikers, Lord jim2, did I miss the notice of your appointment as High Arbiter? OB bunky…,
        *****
        OK, MWG. I understand that not everyone does humor.

      • jim2. Who’s joking? We were discussing pdfs–in manner civil manner–and you whirl in talking “not being so mean” (not that I can tell), “meaningless argument” (wrong), and “demean(ing) the blog (huh?) That was quite a surprise. I assure you that I saw no humor in that. Justify your comment or can it (Week in Review?) Again OB.

      • Matthew R Marler

        jim2: You can recast the integral used to determine the mean using limits and find the mean. On a more visceral level, you can just look at the symmetric graph of one and see that it has a mean.

        If you can do either with the Cauchy distribution I shall be surprised. So surprise me and everyone else and do it.

      • For God’s sake it is not a distribution and has absolutely nothing to do with statistical mechanics. It is not a distribution and doesn’t have a freaking fat tail or a mean of any significance. It exponentially approaches zero in Archer’s simple model.

        It is a calculation of the persistence of CO2 in the atmosphere based on an estimation of sequestration rates.

        http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/reprints/archer.2008.tail_implications.pdf

        Frankly I am not losing any sleep over such an approximate calculation. We might for instance remove a significant fraction through improvement in agricultural soils and in conservation and restoration of ecosystems.

      • Matthew R Marler

        for the fun of it, I checked out the wikipedia entry:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauchy_distribution

        there are also some nice graphs.

        The Cauchy distribution, named after Augustin Cauchy, is a continuous probability distribution. It is also known, especially among physicists, as the Lorentz distribution (after Hendrik Lorentz), Cauchy–Lorentz distribution, Lorentz(ian) function, or Breit–Wigner distribution. The simplest Cauchy distribution is called the standard Cauchy distribution. It is the distribution of a random variable that is the ratio of two independent standard normal variables and has the probability density function

        f(x; 0,1) = \frac{1}{\pi (1 + x^2)}. \!

        Its cumulative distribution function has the shape of an arctangent function arctan(x):

        F(x; 0,1)=\frac{1}{\pi} \arctan\left(x\right)+\frac{1}{2}

        The Cauchy distribution is often used in statistics as the canonical example of a “pathological” distribution since both its mean and its variance are undefined. (But see the section Explanation of undefined moments below.) The Cauchy distribution does not have finite moments of order greater than or equal to one; only fractional absolute moments exist.[1] The Cauchy distribution has no moment generating function.

      • Rob Ellison wrote:

        ” It is not a distribution and doesn’t have a freaking fat tail or a mean of any significance …”

        Now that is an excellent stopping point… glad to accommodate.

      • > The Cauchy distribution is often used in statistics as the canonical example of a “pathological” distribution since both its mean and its variance are undefined.

        Kinda like a comment thread.

      • The attempts at wit can be regarded as epic fails. Wee willie does it all the time.

      • Of course, the analogy breaks down as soon as the mean gets defined.

      • MWG – I was just having fun with the word mean. If you are a drinking man, go have a few.

        As to the mean of a CD, see the part that looks like this (without the images)
        Although we may take (1) to mean

        \lim_{a\to\infty}\int_{-a}^a x f(x)\,dx, \!
        and this is its Cauchy principal value, which is zero, we could also take (1) to mean, for example,

        \lim_{a\to\infty}\int_{-2a}^a x f(x)\,dx, \!
        which is not zero, as can be seen easily by computing the integral.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauchy_distribution#Mean

      • jim2

        Well I see your intent…now. It is not the first time something has gone by me.

        Though I did not raise the CD topic because lognormal makes the point [in regard to WHUT’s the pdf sidebar distraction], at one point earlier in the day I had gone to the link, saw identification Breit-Wigner and Lorentz, and walked away confident functions typically associated with scattering states and spectral line shapes were more than likely too far OT…you might say, ameander.

      • MWG – no problem, all is forgiven. I have something like ADD crossed with autism. My wife claims it’s Aspergers, but SINAD. Other days, she says it’s Asspergers. At any rate, I sometimes have trouble picking out humor, irony, or sarcasm in person. So, I won’t be one to point fingers.

      • Matthew R Marler

        jim2: You can recast the integral used to determine the mean using limits and find the mean.

        ok, I get it. If you redefine “mean” then the Cauchy distribution can have a “mean” by the new definition.

      • Another way to look at it. Using the simplest case of the CD, the standard CD: 1/(pi(1+x^2)).

        It is easy to show that this form is symmetric about the Y axis. Just substitute -x for x, the y value is the same for both for all x.

        Therefore, for any area x * y, there exists an area -x * y which when added together yield 0.

        0 is the mean of the function. It really doesn’t matter that you can’t compute it with a particular technique, it still has a mean.

        That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    • “Genuine scientific consensus”.

      Hmmm. My problem with the climate community is they value consensus more than hard data.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/28/us-science-cancer-idUSBRE82R12P20120328

      AMGEN labs tried to reproduce 56 cancer studies – landmark studies – that their work depended on, not run of the mill studies, not fringe studies, landmark studies that everyone was aware of. They could only reproduce 6 that’s 11%.

      http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/why_scientists_lie_and_what_to.html

      “In surveys asking about the behavior of colleagues, fabrication, falsification, and modification [of data] had been observed, on average, by over 14% of respondents, and other questionable practices [such as “dropping data points based on a gut feeling” and “changing the design, methodology, or results of a study in response to pressures from a funding source”] by up to 72%.”

      The problem with consensus is it is fueled by bad data and the consensus and funding pressures skew the data.

      A climate consensus in science circles with the current state of peer review is about as valuable as a scientific consensus on whether blue is the prettiest color.

      Any studies for policy purposes should have to be submitted to a team of engineers and statisticians for review and replication. Preferably the selected team members should be dubious about the study conclusion. If they find serious flaws or can’t reproduce the study, the study is toast as a basis for policy.

      Given that there are studies out there that say more CO2 doesn’t make plants grow – very few climate studies – particularly on impacts – particularly relying on GCM predictions, would pass muster.

      A concensus that isn’t informed by reproducible critically reviewed data is an opinion poll of uninformed people. You could take an opinion poll of the general public without having to waste money climate studies.
      Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

      • A new stomatal proxy-based record of CO concentrations ([CO2]), based on Betula nana (dwarf birch)leaves from the Hässeldala Port sedimentary sequence in south-eastern Sweden, is presented. The recordis of high chronological resolution and spans most of Greenland Interstadial 1 (GI-1a to 1c, Allerød pollenzone), Greenland Stadial 1 (GS-1, Younger Dryas pollen zone) and the very beginning of the Holocene(Preboreal pollen zone). The record clearly demonstrates that i) [CO2] were significantly higher than usually reported for the Last Termination and ii) the overall pattern of CO2 evolution through the studied time period is fairly dynamic, with significant abrupt fluctuations in [CO2] when the climate moved from interstadial to stadial state and vice versa. A new loss-on-ignition chemical record (used here as a proxyfor temperature) lends independent support to the Hässeldala Port [CO2] record. http://www.academia.edu/2949675/Stomatal_proxy_record_of_CO2_concentrations_from_the_last_termination_suggests_an_important_role_for_CO2_at_climate_change_transitions

        Jimmy Dee tendentious pull it out of his arse narratives are typically science free nonsense.

    • Gotcha: bait and switch

    • Well, does anyone have any scientific data on the extent of the anthro/nature split in CO2 sourcing.

      Scientific consensus is nice and all, but you need scientific consensus and about $2.50 to get a coffee at Starbucks.

      Salby’s points seem to be:
      1. CO2 is highest over that Amazon and non-industrial areas.
      2. The correlation with temperature is better than the correlation with emissions.

      Appealing to consensus is really the same as shouting that he is wrong repeatedly. A more factual response would be better received.

      As a side issue – I noticed that the rate of CO2 annual increase seems to be going asymptotic with a limit between 2 and 3 PPM. Any science on what is capping the rate of increase?

      • Well, my guess is the recruitment of biological feedbacks. The more greening, the more sequestering of CO2.
        ==================

      • The correlation with temperature is better than the correlation with emissions.

        It’s a great deal more complex than that. Salby’s claiming a correlation with the integral of the global average temperature on one time-scale. He’s also using some Fourier analysis that he doesn’t communicate clearly (to me, anyway).

        There are lots of potential issues with all his claims, and nothing clearly written down (AFAIK), no refs, etc.

      • One of Salby claims is irrefutable – CO2 doesn’t correlate well with emissions.

        This means there is some other sourcing and sinking going on.

        Temperature is clearly driving some of the increase.

      • As a side issue – I noticed that the rate of CO2 annual increase seems to be going asymptotic with a limit between 2 and 3 PPM. Any science on what is capping the rate of increase?

        And just about the time “global average temperature” just about leveled off. That’s one of the things Salby’s pointing to.

    • They always complain about quoting science. The option always exists to read the original science and demonstrate that I have misrepresented it. That would seem unlikely.

      Webbly is incapable and incompetent – as more than amply demonstrated in his recent reprehensible meltdown. He simply continues with nonsense claims and nonsense rejoinders like the irredeemable schmuck he is. Go away webbly you are no longer welcome.to abuse and malign here and then go away to babble about the Krackpot and her Klimate Klowns.

    • “…it does show that since warm years tend to cause greater natural emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere, we should at least consider the possibility that the long-term warming trend (whatever its cause) is contributing to the increase in atmospheric CO2.
      What caused the warming that caused the CO2 increase? Well, as I have been saying for years, chaotic circulation-induced changes in cloud cover can cause global warming or cooling. Or pick some other mechanism. Maybe that big ball of fire in the sky.
      My point is, the climate system is not static.”
      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/08/how-much-of-atmospheric-co2-increase-is-natural/

      It’s possible we’ll find natural variation again, same as we found it in temperatures not too long ago.
      A Google search of SkepticalScience, Satellite, NASA, CO2, and OCO-2 came back with nothing, but it was just a coarse search.
      “Somewhere on earth, on land, one-quarter of all our carbon emissions released through fossil fuel emissions is disappearing,” said David Crisp, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We can’t identify the processes responsible for this. Wouldn’t it be nice to know where?”
      The missing 25%?

      • It’s possible we’ll find natural variation again, same as we found it in temperatures not too long ago.

        Especially if Salby is right that the “shaft” of the “CO2 hockey stick” is no more straight than the “shaft” of the temperature “hockey stick”.

      • This one is up there with the Skydragons. If you think warming is causing most of the CO2 increase, you can’t think that the CO2 causes any warming, otherwise you end up in a unending positive feedback loop, and this one has no stopping it simply by stopping emissions, which at least AGW does. Think about it.

      • Hee, hee, Jim D, and paleontology shows no unending positive feedback loop, so there you are.
        ================

      • This one is up there with the Skydragons.

        “La la la! I can’t hear you”.

        Most informed students of the CO2 budget are well aware that different mechanisms can operate on different time-scales.

      • kim, so much for Salby then. That’s the way theories die. Plain evidence. The idea that small temperature rises release 100’s of ppm of CO2 into the atmosphere just doesn’t stand up to paleo evidence. After the Ice Ages it took 6-8 C to raise CO2 by 90 ppm just from the equilibrium response to warming water. Salby is asking for an order of magnitude more than the Ice Ages showed. Humlum had the same idea earlier in a paper that did not get any positive response and several negative ones. Of the current CO2 rise only 10-15 ppm is in response to the warming. The other 90% is us.

      • AK, it really is Skydragon stuff. Even Don M called BS on it.

      • Even Don M called BS on it.

        Who is “Don M”?

      • […] so much for Salby then. That’s the way theories die.

        Whistling past the graveyard.

        We’ll see whose theories die!

      • AK, much as I hate to quote Don Monfort on the CO2 attribution, upthread he says “it comes up from time to time and it is generally ignored, or quickly dismissed. The real debate is about CAGW.”

      • You can look at this and call it a coincidence.

      • AK, much as I hate to quote Don Monfort on the CO2 attribution,

        Then don’t. His opinion is as completely ignorant as yours. Maybe moreso.

      • You can look at this and call it a coincidence.

        Looks like it pretty much fits Salby’s “CO2 proportional to the integral of temperature” thesis. Roughly. On a short time-scale.

      • And there is no runaway feedback. CO2 varies with temperature – but runaway warming obviously doesn’t happen. Maybe CO2 is not all that significant.

        https://judithcurry.com/2014/09/18/distinguishing-the-academic-from-the-interface-consensus/#comment-630088

      • Rob Ellison, you have to invoke the Skydragon argument to make the feedback go away, as I said. It’s all part of the same theory.
        AK, huh? Do you at least see that Nature has to be a net sink?

      • AK, I was referring to the basic fact that whatever the net CO2 contribution is from natural sources, anthropogenic CO2 is additive. I would be happy to know if that is not correct.

      • “If you think warming is causing most of the CO2 increase, you can’t think that the CO2 causes any warming, otherwise you end up in a unending positive feedback loop…”
        “This indicates a net feedback factor of f = 3-4, because either of these forcings would cause the earth’s surface temperature to warm 1.2-1.3 C
        to ‘restore radiative balance’ with space, if other factors remained unchanged. Principal positive feedback processes in the model are
        changes in atmospheric water vapor, clouds and snow/ice cover.”
        – Hansen et al 1984
        What has been unclear to me is as we have more water vapor, more insulating clouds and less snow/ice cover, how does the Earth know to stop that? The phrase used is, restore radiative balance. How can it be that more warmth causes more vapor that causes more warmth that would seem to cause more water vapor? This would be a positive feedback loop. Isn’t Hansen using positive feedbacks with a stopping point? Can I use positive feedbacks and get to say at some point they stop? I would like to travel from a stable point to another stable point using positive feedbacks. Perhaps I am misunderstanding. Perhaps he was ahead of his time.
        “…an attempt to understand the organization of all the stuff of interest around us, from galaxies down to bacteria, by understanding the interplay between the positive and negative feedbacks of the various interacting elements.” -Sornette
        I wonder if Hansen was using a linear approach with a twist?

      • Ragnaar, if the feedback factor is less than 1 it will stop. That is for a 1 C warming by doubling CO2, you only get 0.6 C more from water vapor etc., which makes 1.6 C, which then adds 0.6*0.6=0.36 C giving 1.96 C and so on, so this is a sum of an infinite series that ends in 1/(1-f)=1/(1-0.6)=2.5 C. Luckily, as Isaac Held, the expert on this, says, all the positive feedbacks add up to less than 1, otherwise it is a runaway feedback.

      • @Jim D | September 19, 2014 at 12:12 am |

        AK, huh? Do you at least see that Nature has to be a net sink?

        I see that you’re refusing to see. Nature is a huge hyper-complex non-linear system, many of whose components behave differently on different time-scales.

        A statement like “Nature has to be a net sink” just betrays your fundamental lack of understanding. The words are grammatically correct but they don’t have any valid referent.

      • @Don Monfort | September 19, 2014 at 12:21 am |

        AK, I was referring to the basic fact that whatever the net CO2 contribution is from natural sources, anthropogenic CO2 is additive. I would be happy to know if that is not correct.

        Be happy then. See above. A phrase like “anthropogenic CO2 is additive” applies to linear systems. Hyper-complex non-linear systems work differently. They’re much more complex.

        OTOH, perhaps you should limit your happiness. One of the implications of the way such systems operate is that they can go through sudden rapid changes in behavior. The potential exists for sudden, widespread, eco-system collapse with (probably) consequent return of large amounts of absorbed CO2 to the atmosphere. (My own reading in ecology suggests that “disturbed” ecosystems tend to contain much less bio-carbon than “mature” ones.)

        Whether or not emissions from fossil carbon end up in the atmosphere, they end up somewhere, and we have no way of knowing for sure what they do to the probability of such sudden changes. A good guess is that they increase it, however. That’s how I’d bet.

      • Thanks, AK. That’s my guess too.

      • WebHubTelescope


        Rob Ellison | September 19, 2014 at 12:07 am |
        And there is no runaway feedback. CO2 varies with temperature

        Taz — Thank you for the #OwnGoal.

      • Hey Webby, how is your overfitting of your CSALT model going? I know, your model “isn’t predictive, it’s explanatory.”

        People claim the same thing about religions, any new facts come along and one more layer of interpretation or storytelling added atop the rest makes it all right again.

        Your CSALT model is kind of like a Bible in that way. It explains everything as long as you believe in it.

        Your problem is like Mann’s. You apply a method that works in a known system for a known time span subject to known forces of known frequency ranges, then assume that it will work for chaotic natural systems. This is like the signal processing electrical engineering types, who also think that there is a clear signal and clear noise. As Curry has pointed out, the signal is the noise. Neither you nor Mann can accomplish anything outside the sandbox of your collected data where you can fit curves to your heart’s content.

        So to hear you blather on about B-E statistics, when your own house is in such disarray is entertaining indeed.

      • WebHubTelescope

        The CSALT model will never be completely predictive unless volcanic events can be predicted. Those lame seismologists … they can’t predict anything !

        Thanks for contributing an #OwnGoal by mentioning CSALT.

      • Jim D:
        I can follow your infinite series idea which may be helping me. I am trying to visualize a graph of this. At first the effect of plus 1% CO2 is high until something like diminishing returns makes the effect flat line into nothing. Until more CO2 is added and this thing repeats. Describing it this way implies a picture of a large reaction at first which implies the starting point is unstable. It also implies the ending point of increased temperatures is a stable one. While I may understand what Hansen did, I am not sure that’s how the Earth works. I would be interesting to think about multiple iterations rather than use one long time frame.

    • I would think by now you would be hoping people would have forgotten about your flawed mass balance argument.

    • NW — If one mean something that is pathological or exceptional, then that characteristic merits additional discussion…as does the avoidance of needless [OT] back-and-forth. regards.

  2. Thanks for the posting. Consensus breaking is the way science advances.

  3. dikranmarsupial

    Establishing scientific consensus is highly valued by philosophers, scientists and the public. … Finding scientific consensus is then understood as a proof for the validity of a theory and – indirectly – of the public policy based on the consensus theory.”

    This confuses what is highly valued by science and by individual scientists, they are not at all the same thing. The existence of a consensus is indicative of the success of a theory, indicating the stability of the current paradigm. However what is highly valued by the individual science is disagreement as it is this that leads to the overturning of a paradigm, which is what every scientist desires most. To make a discovery with large impact on their field. Reinforcing what we already know is worthy “normal science”, and what we end up doing most of the time, but it is not at all what we actually want. That we get a consensus is *despite* the desires of the scientists, not because of it.

    • Eddy Turbulence

      “Establishing scientific consensus is highly valued by philosophers, scientists and the public. ”

      It may be highly valued by scientists, who are, after all, subject to the same irrational emotion as all, but it is not a value of science.

      Reproduceable results to testable hypotheses have nothing to do with consensus.

      Now, we tend to assume some consensus is correct because it is easier than testing every aspect, particularly those outside of our experience or education.
      But those assumptions are not science and often hide the real truth.

    • Eddy Turbulence

      The tale of Ancel Keys is compelling watching:

      A consensus was built that persists to this day ( mentioned here a couple of times ).
      It was fostered with zeal, promulgated by the government.
      And totally wrong ( and harmful ).

    • Marsupial, what´s a “Climate Denier”? . That tag was used so broadly and inaccurately I decided to create my own designation for their climate wars enemies: “Climate Believer”. Would you like me to mail you a lapel pin?

  4. “achieving consensus on the causes and extent of global warming would facilitate policymaking and, moreover, send a convincing signal that doing nothing will have dire consequences.” Yet another non-climate science paper which takes the CAGW case as gospel. Far more important than consensus is pursuit of truth.

    • LaszloKosolosky

      I do not take it as gospel, but allow me to explain how and why by replying to your other post where you refer to my paper. As to your pursuit objection, I do not claim that consensus is the most important part of doing science, not at all. As a matter of fact, I actually have published joint work on the pursuitworthiness of theories, that might be, given your comment, of interest to you. Here is the reference: (2012) ‘The Rationality of Scientific Reasoning in the Context of Pursuit: Drawing Appropriate Distinctions’, Philosophica, 86, pp. 51-82. (with Dunja Seselja and Christian Strasser) If you are unable to access it, send me a mail (you can find my address in the link of the original post above).

      • Thanks, I’ll be away and offline for several days, but will follow up on return. That was my quick initial response, driven in part by the fact that almost all of the authors of social science papers referenced by Judith have accepted that the consensus is 100% correct. My later posts are more considered.

      • It’s very difficult for outsiders to see that the so-called ‘consensus’ has been warped by a failure of peer review in climate science. Of course, there is much more to the evil dynamic than perverse peer review, but it causes many to stumble right out of the block, because they see peer review and consensus forming work in their own field.

        Our delightful correspondent, Laszlo, suffers from this.
        =================

      • LaszloKosolosky

        Kim, apparently I have already been suffering from it before you raised your comment, as I have written a paper on peer review in climate science, forthcoming in Journal for General Philosophy of Science (should be available online by the end of the month), called: ‘Peer review is melting our glaciers: Exploring how and why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) went astray’. Might be of interest for you to check it out.

      • Yes, and thanks. I hope Judy features it. That should be fun.
        =========

  5. I guess, according to Dr. Curry, we should say that we don’t know anything about climate change. All we know is that it is a wicked mess. The decades and decades of research and thousands and thousands of papers were all a waste of time. No progress has been made and apparently no progress will be made.

    • “All we know is that it is a wicked mess. The decades and decades of research and thousands and thousands of papers were all a waste of time. No progress has been made and apparently no progress will be made.”

      Well put, Joseph. That’s your most reality-based comment yet.

      Andrew

      • Since nobody knows future climate more than a few weeks out – and that’s just meteorology – prediction has taken on its own reality. A stunning prediction is a headline around the world. What actually happens is bo-ring. As to the great and small climate transitions of the past which have actually occurred (in the untidy way real things occur), it’s hard to get a modern climate evangelist even to look at them. Silly of Charlemagne not to send up those satellites. And if he had, there would have been defects in the data requiring smoothing and homogenisation. And then final mathematical obliteration, to get the last inconvenient bits.

        When you spend much time in the bush or the bamboo grove you begin to observe the reality behind rough observation sets like ENSO, PDO, IOD etc. You note that there’s something to all of it, and that the science of Walker, Mantua etc has not been a waste. But to treat these things like kiddie consoles and joysticks is as foolish as ignoring them. One then suspects that, once the study of climate is taken out of the hands of literal-minded and mechanistic juveniles it could well be a great guide.

        Not happening now, of course.

    • Try another guess, joey. Your first is really foolish.

    • “No progress has been made and apparently no progress will be made.”

      Nor will any progress be made, until climate scientists wean themselves off their obsession with anthropogenic CO2.

    • And that is based on what exactly? I d say that the field has advanced greatly in terms of understanding of the climate system. Note that is not the same as predictability, which is poor. For example a superb understanding of the Lorenz map is still insufficient for predictability, and the climate dynamical system still remains greatly uncertain. The same applies to various multi decadal/climatic phenomena (like Enso) which are still barely predictable. While there is excessive focus on predictability, especially at the of cost of physics and engineering (e.g. model development), claiming that nothing is known, basically makes me think that you know nothing.

      In the absence of this IPCC/fate of the world issues, and minus the various ‘run the model as a black box’ cottage industries, this is as good a physical field as has been in history.

    • Joseph
      Oops, sarcasm was missed I think. In that case, I don’t think Judith means that at all. Normal criticism, which is a norm in science, is not the same as dismissing everything. Besides she is a scientist in the field….

    • Joseph, now you are starting to get it. However, all isn´t hopeless. If they keep launching Argo buoys we should get a much better idea of the ocean energy uptake. In 20 years we will have a really good data set. Now all I need is for the darned ocean energy reanalysis to take into account the geothermal heat flows, and I´ll be a happier engineer.

  6. LaszloKosolosky

    Dear Sir/Madam, as one of the authors of the study Judith just mentioned, allow me to explain the relation between academic and interface consensus a bit more, in response to your reaction. First, I agree with the points you raise that there is a genuine scientific consensus on many issues (like that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic), let this be very clear. Second, what is important to “grapple this distinction is by distinguishing two problems or two moments of decision-making that should be analytically separated, i.e. the actual move from plurality to consensus among scientists or experts on the one hand and the moment of dissemination and justification towards or within society on the other hand.” (quote taken from the paper) So, in practice the interface consensus deals with a new array of questions and worries. Third, there are important conditions that need to be fulfilled first, before we can talk about this interplay taking place. Again I use a quote from the paper: “As for academic consensus, we could argue that the community should enable critical interaction among academic experts and have significant evidence available on the basis of which a conclusion can be formulated. As for interface consensus, some form of academic consensus or a first attempt to establish consensus is required to start up the interface process.” This academic consensus that is required to start up the interface process, is exactly the scientific consensus you refer to in your comment. As I apply the framework to the NIH in the paper, allow me to briefly apply it to the IPCC here. So, whereas Judith labels the climate consensus as an interface consensus, she is partly right, as the IPCC and many more actors (also political and governmental) are involved, debating a ‘broader’ climate consensus where also other factors/questions/worries are being addressed that transcend the topic of ‘pure’ scientific research. Nevertheless, this consensus building going on right now at this broader level is supported by a strong scientific or academic consensus, like on the issues you mentioned. So the interface consensus building is taking place partly because a scientific consensus is available on which to expand. Perhaps what is also of interest in our paper is that near the end we conceive of a social account of consensus formation, in which dissent is offered a rightful place in debate, where it gets taken up accordingly whenever deemed to be valid. An appropriate way of dealing with dissent is often lost in the philosophical literature on consensus. Hope I have clarified your comment with my response.

    • dikranmarsupial

      ” Nevertheless, this consensus building going on right now at this broader level is supported by a strong scientific or academic consensus, like on the issues you mentioned”

      yes, that was essentially the point I was making. The importance of a consensus is in communicating the mainstream scientific position on relevant issues.

      “Perhaps what is also of interest in our paper is that near the end we conceive of a social account of consensus formation, in which dissent is offered a rightful place in debate, where it gets taken up accordingly whenever deemed to be valid.”

      Yes, absolutely, for instance there have been journal papers published arguing that the rise in atmospheric CO2 may be a natural phenomenon. These have passed normal scientific peer review (which is fallible like all human endeavors), and in many cases have been the subject of peer-reviewed comments papers (in one case, written by myself). Dissent was given its rightful place, the arguments considered and rejected ob the basis of being inconsistent with the observations. However discussion on climate blogs does not uniformly suggest that dissenting voices have not been heard. They have in this case, but the arguments were not persuasive.

      Scientists that make discoveries resulting in a genuine paradigm shift are extremely rare.

      • LaszloKosolosky

        Interesting point that goes in line with mine, can you send a link to your paper? I’d be interested in reading it, as I myself have worked on the fallibility of peer review related to climate science (in particular the Himalayan glacier melting rate). My paper on this is forthcoming in a special issue on climate science in the Journal for general philosophy of science, edited by Eric Winsberg.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Sure, my paper is here http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef200914u and the original paper that it comments on is here http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef800581r .

      • Yes, blah…blah…blah. What about the POTUS labeling dissenters flat-earthers? And influential mainstream broadcast and print media screening out opinions of climate catastrophe dissenters? Is there a scientific consensus on CAGW? Are you trying to extrapolate the consensus on the source of rising CO2 into a consensus on CAGW?

      • Matthew R Marler

        LaszloKosolosky: I myself have worked on the fallibility of peer review related to climate science (in particular the Himalayan glacier melting rate).

        Has someone examined the “Case of the Antarctic Warming” (Steig et al versus O’Donnell et al et al)? One paper made the cover of Nature, the other received a less enthusiastic welcome.

      • The O’Donnell affair might provide an interesting examplefor the semantics of untrustworthiness.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Consensus…ugh
        why is this the obsession of those on CAGW side of this debate?
        they accuse skeptics of “denying” science
        and then trot out “consensus” as their number one argument
        History is littered with the refuse of “certainties” that the best and brightest thought true and that are now laughable
        John Cook’s parade of cartoon scientist … please spare me
        consensus building?
        I don’t see where government policymakers are taking it seriously
        I think they have looked at the facts (and the lack thereof) and have found them unconvincing – hence the limited uncommitted actions to appease the true believers

      • Speaking of the fallibility of peer review:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/upshot/to-get-more-out-of-science-show-the-rejected-research.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

        I’ve been hearing about this for a while now. Looks very promising, IMO – not only in terms of improving research outcomes but also w/r/t addressing the problems with peer review.

      • John Smith, to me it looks like consensus is more an obsession on the non-consensus side. Judith has had 25 posts on it alone. Forget the science, let’s talk about why so many scientists agree about it. I share your frustration.

      • You are really too ridiculous for it be accidental, jimmy. The CAGW establishment beats the consensus drum incessantly. They use it to justify shutting off debate. They use it to belittle and demonize skeptics. They use it to justify all the junkets and summits. If they didn’t have the alleged nearly unanimous consensus to holler about, what story would they tell to get the world to take drastic action against CO2? But skeptics talk about it too much. You should leave now, jimmy.

      • Don M, consensus comes from obviousness. Some things are just too obvious, and these include that 5 W/m2 of forcing gives you a major climate change. The solar and volcanic changes of the past millennium have nothing on this level of forcing, just quantitatively. You have to go back eons to see something like it, and those climates are much warmer, iceless hothouses.

      • Some things are just too obvious […]

        Like how flat the Earth is?

      • Jimmy dee says that a total of 5 w/sqm is going to give us an iceless hothouse. How much is that in Hiroshima bombs, jimmy? How does that compare with the half kilowatt that we would get without the added CO2? We add that to the half kilowatt, right jimmy? So, that’s a half kilowatt+5 watts. Hell, I ain’t scared.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Jim D
        I see your point
        although I think Dr.Curry’s interest in the “consensus” might be the result of her becoming a collateral casualty of a political marketing war

        All I can say is that the marketing of the “consensus” got me interested in climate science
        When I learned more, to my surprise, I become more skeptical

        I like my science dry, unemotional, no fear mongering and no cheap advertising ploys
        “4 out of 5 doctors smoke Camel cigarettes” (or was it Chesterfield?)

        Right now, my money is with the tonyb version of the climate situation

      • Marsupial, I think your consensus building would have worked much better if you hadn´t used the 97 % foul shot, and the controversial arguments supported by poorly designed graphs. Plus the fact that we see President Obama acting upon distorted information sure adds fossil fuels to the fire.

        Your side is ineffective getting POLITICAL support because it lacks credibility. The lack of credibility is mostly caused by the “jump the interface” into the advocacy of and support for absurd solutions*.

        I hope you do realize that I´m trying to help you? I don´t like polarization, and I prefer civilized debate.

        *For example: the Spanish solar power industry and the German offshore wind power project.

      • Fernando, “jump the interface” I like that. So much better than that jump the shark nonsense.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: to me it looks like consensus is more an obsession on the non-consensus side

        You are discounting the people who seriously and repeatedly claim that 97% of scientists (or at least the right selection of scientists) support the notion that rapid reduction of fossil fuel use is necessary soon to avert disaster. People such as the members of AAAS who published “What We Know”, and the editors of Science Magazine.

      • Matthew R Marler

        dikranmarsupial: Sure, my paper is here http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef200914u and the original paper that it comments on is here http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef800581r .

        Thank you for the links.

    • Two questions regarding academic consensus.

      1) If it is used as a scientific/academic term, should it not be defined? Assume 100 scientists studying one aspect of the climate. How many of them have to agree on the point studied to form a consensus? 51? 66? 75? 95? 100?

      2) What difference should it make in an academic setting if there is an academic consensus. Should those in the field forgo research contrary to the consensus? Should funding be limited to those who accept the consensus? And who decides?

      Scientific/academic consensus makes perfect sense as a political PR tool. Which is why it is the subject of such “wide appeal” among politicized academia. But I fail to see any positive effect within academia – if you look from the perspective of an objective (don’t laugh) scientific/academic community.

      • LaszloKosolosky

        Thanks for the questions,
        1) as it is an analytic distinction we think it is best understood as presented here by drawing on two moments of decision-making . I tend to stay away from unanimity requirements (see also my other responses below). In a social account of consensus, this question is but dependent on what you end up using the consensus statement for (see the part in the paper on meta-consensus).
        2) these are all different questions we don’t engage with in the paper. The academic consensus idea here is used in the context of organising consensus conferences, that is important to keep in mind. In those cases a scientific basis has to be present in order to organize a conference on the matter. It is actually required with the NIH conferences, in the form of a AHRQ review (briefly mentioned in the paper). So in the academic setting it would not really make a difference if there is an academic consensus, at least not for what we argue here. It is in the socially hot topics the case that there is (or seems to be) an academic consensus on which we draw to then engage with an interface consensus, where more and other worries are raised.

        Agree, this is a framework designed for science policy, and to be able to capture the interaction between science and society. That is important to keep in mind.

      • I am guessing there is an attempt at questioning the ‘politicized’ academia in general as opposed to climate science? Scientists throughout history can be pretty political animals, Einstein, pauling, von neumann, it doesn’t matter, it’s unclear to me that somehow affects their science. Besides politics or not, scientists are hardly objective (btw you are not funny) in ways that are unrelated to politics and frequently subject to biases, methodological and all matter of mistakes. For example, Einstein was very political in many ways, and essentially ignostic, but his biggest problems later in life happened because of his deep, apolitical, Scientific biases.

        Science works in spite of the biases of the individual players, due to their anarchy, and organisations like the IPCC, which attempt to induce large scale order, are a general threat to the process. The Consensus is not a number but asymptotic, i.e. In time it should be tending to 100%, without ever reaching there, which is why figures like 97% are meaningless
        I understand you are much given to lawyerly affectations, but your political rhetoric is surprising devoid of any real content.

    • Matthew R Marler

      LaszloKosolosky: Perhaps what is also of interest in our paper is that near the end we conceive of a social account of consensus formation, in which dissent is offered a rightful place in debate, where it gets taken up accordingly whenever deemed to be valid. An appropriate way of dealing with dissent is often lost in the philosophical literature on consensus.

      thank you for stopping by.

      And equally at the interface: how should policy makers (e.g. U.S. Sen. Inhofe) respond to dissent, and what is the role of insulting and blacklisting the dissenters (e.g. the case of Dr. Bengtsson)?

    • Laszlo, always appreciated when a cited author contributes to the blog.

      I take your distinction between a scientific consensus and an interface one. As a former economic policy adviser, I have several concerns. Certain areas of consensus are rarely disputed (but are not undisputed) – e.g., increased C02 emissions are predominantly of anthropogenic origin. Some are seriously, and in my view rightly, disputed, e.g. GCM models of projected warming, which have differed from actual data since 1998, claims that any further AGW will be catastrophic, or have dire consequences, claims of increased extreme weather from warming that are not supported by the evidence, etc. As Judith has frequently pointed out, there are many uncertainties which are ignored or glossed over by the “consensus” position on these and other issues. There is even more division on what, if any, measures we should take should warming resume.

      If when it comes to communicating the consensus to non climate scientists, particularly those advising on and making policy and the voters who must respond to proposed policies, these areas of disagreement, uncertainty and concern are glossed over, and an unblemished, immutable consensus is presented – which is what has happened – then we have a serious problem.

      You yourself say that “achieving consensus on the causes and extent of global warming would facilitate policymaking and, moreover, send a convincing signal that doing nothing will have dire consequences.” That is, as (I assume) a non-climate scientist, you have accepted the warmist position as gospel. I don’t know on what basis you have done so, or whether you are aware of cogent critiques of it. I do know that, as a policy adviser, I would not accept such advice as gospel, indeed when advising the Queensland government on what position to adopt on the Kyoto protocol in 1997, I read many related scientific articles and summaries of hundreds. Had I not done so, I would have been derelict in my duty.

      It is not the role of climate scientists to determine the policy response. If they present an interface consensus which results in policymakers failing to ask pertinent questions, they are derelict in their duty.

      • LaszloKosolosky

        Dear Faustino,

        I am happy to reply, as I’m learning new things as I go along.

        In response to your concern on uncertainties being looked over: That is exactly the reason why we came up with an account of consensus formation, called meta-consensus or a social account of consensus formation (see second part of the paper). This is an account that allows for the uncertainties to be addressed in full, and opens up the possibility (in combination with the ideas on interface consensus) to address other questions like which measures should be taken given the evidence we have available to us. So I think we are in agreement on this, as I do not take the goal based consensus approach (see paper for more details on this).

        In response to your communication remark: Again I agree. Also here we think our approach brings something new to the fore in being able to share these disagreements with the public, as valuable dissent is not lost along the way (see the comments we raise in opposition to Beatty & Moore’s approach in the paper).

        In response to your gospel remark: I guess we have a misunderstanding here, this is philosophical language being used. What I present in the quote you use is an ideal scenario (which is not the case) on the continuum from consensus to plurality. So you have to read it more as a utopia, like if we would agree on something in full (all people would agree and all mechanisms/causal relations would be fairly obvious) then policy-making would be fairly evident as there is but one sensible ‘storyline’ to follow. What is important here is thus the ‘would’ in the position, I never subscribe to this position, as a matter of fact I show the opposite, that the situation is often very complex (again, I only show it for the NIH, but I can expand the argument for climate science as well). Hope this is clear.

        In response to the role of scientists: I agree that policy making is not the scientist’s role, not only for the reasons you mention, but also because the job does not match up with the scientist’s expertise. Rather, I am thinking about including a special type of expertise at the interface level, which would be interactional expertise (defined in the work of Collins & Evans), where a person is an expert in the sense that he or she is able to understand the scientific debates in a particular field, but is not an expert in the sense that he or she contributes themselves to the debate (by publishing original work, et cetera). This special type of negotiators would have their expertise in communicating scientific evidence to the public, and hence other professions could be those kind of experts here, such as, sociologists of science, historians of science, and, if I may, philosophers of science. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but this would confirm the rule. Anyway, I’m doing new research on this as we speak, so thanks for bringing it up.

        Hope I have answered your comments.

        Regards,
        Laszlo

      • Laszlo, just a quickie before I go, re “special type of negotiators,” etc. I was an economic policy adviser with a very broad field of drivers of economic growth rather than a narrow speciality. I advised, inter alia, bodies chaired by the Prime Ministers of the UK and Australia, and a taskforce of five senior ministers on longer term economic growth. There are specific skills required for advising on policy, and these can be applied widely. In my experience they are more useful to a policy adviser than specific expertise on the kind of topics considered here, and many others. You need to be able to assess the merits of evidence and argument, whatever the field, and to be able to access particular expertise as required, and ideally be non-partisan (there’s been a tendency to politicisation of the public services in Australia and perhaps elsewhere. I don’t think that my advice was ever tainted by partisanship, I saw my role as serving the public rather than the party in power). The issue with CAGW seems to be in large part that influential climate scientists do take a partisan line, or favour particular approaches – these permeates IPCC advice. A good policy officer has the capacity to assess when this is happening, to accept such advice with caution, and to investigate further, including seeking alternative input. These skills are generic rather than topic-specific, although of course having expertise in a particular field such as microeconomics and knowledge of modelling helps when advising on related issues. Bye for now.

      • LaszloKosolosky

        Thanks for sharing your experience on this. It makes me want to think more about this special kind of ‘expertise’. I’ll hear more from you later.

      • In an ideal world, such expertise is an off the shelf item. In the real world, Faustino’s are rare.
        ==========

      • Wish yer were still up there, Faustino, giving policy advice
        ter our betters, employing those generic skills .. assessing
        what is happening, accepting somewhat partisan advice and investigating alternative imput.
        beth the serf.

      • @Faustino

        > … and to be able to access particular expertise as required …

        How did you decide who to ask when such expertise was required, please ?

  7. Laszlo,

    “in which dissent is offered a rightful place in debate, where it gets taken up accordingly whenever deemed to be valid.”

    Who gets to be in charge of the deeming?

  8. There is another interesting idea here, the metaconsensus-if I understood correctly- on scientific procedures and standards of evidence and such.

    Even with ‘tame’ NIH problems, the clear consensus can be wrong. Two examples dissected in The Arts of Truth were the supposed cardio-protective benefits of post menopausal HRT, and the supposed cardio damaging consequences of eating egg yolks. In both cases, the metaconsensus righted the science within a decade. For HRT it took a gold standard double blind randomized clinical trial. For eggs, it took epidemiological separation of the spurious correlation caused (literally) by bacon and eggs.

    There does not seem to be a metaconsensus in climate science about scientific standards and procedures. Model outputs treated as data, (Trenberth Orasis4 and the 2013 missing heat paper being an example) biased temperature homogenization, hockey sticks from treemometers, lack of archived and available data, methods, and code… Makes for wicked problems at two separate levels: the science, and how to do the science. You point about more and better observational data being needed shows the ‘lack of consensus’ about the metaconsensus.

    • LaszloKosolosky

      The meta-consensus is not about scientific procedures and standards of evidence in general, it is more a consensus on how to go about reaching consensus, hence the ‘meta’, so I’m not sure how I have to relate your second point to this. But tell me if I’m missing something. As for your first point, I agree, this does not mean that a (NIH) consensus is never wrong, on the contrary, we actually use a few examples in the paper to show that consensus conferences have added epistemic value, such as being able to deal with adequacy concerns rather than accuracy concerns, which sometimes, like you mention, brings up new evidence that goes against the first established scientific consensus. So essentially a back and forth is going on. Thanks for the two examples you gave, I’ll look further into them.

      • Laszlo, not trying to argue anything. Trying to understand your ideas. To me, a metaconsensus on how to reach a scientific consensus has to include agreement about the scientific method is applied to provide the information we then ‘consense’ about. Things like acceptable degree of imprecision, reproducibility, out of range extrapolation,… I think those things are generally there for the NIH, if only because forced by the FDA.
        I think it obvious those things are not there in climate science.
        One further example. Trenberth’s missing heat supposedly relates to a net surface energy imbalance of 0.9w/m2 (his 2009 paper). That is gotten by summing 16 individual processes, each to a tenth of a w/m2, with NO error bars. If you just round each to watts (e.g albedo reflected solar is 102, not 101.9, and incoming TOA is 341, not 341.3 (well within the solar cycle), then the imbalance adds to exactly zero and there is no missing heat for him to find.
        So what is the metaconsensus observational precision?

      • LaszloKosolosky

        Rud, agree with your comment about the NIH and the degree of imprecision, and so on. Not sure about climate science though, have to dig into this further, thanks for the suggestion.

      • Just watch Mann beating Briffa and Jones into unanimity. There’s a clue.
        ================

      • Rud,
        no rounding intermediate calculations

      • I think they actually assume an imbalance based on ocean heat content – and then adjust flux to suit.

      • I believe the latest energy imbalance “they” state is 0.6 watts per meter squared. I can take the ocean energy uptake curve and estimate a lower figure. This is why the ocean temperature and energy reanalysis requires a “design upgrade” to include the geothermal heat flow. I´m looking at this as a simple minded engineer, but I don´t see real science being practiced until they account for the heat entering the ocean AT DEPTH in their reanalysis models. Am I wrong or what?

      • Fernado,> I believe the latest energy imbalance “they” state is 0.6 watts per meter squared. I can take the ocean energy uptake curve and estimate a lower figure.”

        That is based on a top of the atmosphere measurement. So the ocean imbalance would be ~0.7 time 0.6 or about 0.42 Wm-2 and I believe one paper estimated the ocean imbalance as low as 0.3 Wm-2. Geothermal and variation in thermohalide would be considered in some “normal” steady state when compared to a TOA imbalance.

        Interestingly to me, with the current stage of the precessional cycle, there really should be a “normal” ocean energy imbalance since the higher TSI is focused on the larger ocean area.

      • Fernando, the 0.6+/-0.4 is net imbalance TOA measured by satellite. Stephens Nat.geos. 5:691-696 (2012). That same paper redid the surface equivalent (Trenberth’s 2009 paper I used as the example) and came up with 0.6+/- 17! Hence my pseudo precision point about meta consensus.

      • 0.85 is a figure obtained by Hansen – from memory – and there is not a chance that absolute radiant imbalances – changing all the time – can be measured within +/-5W/m2 at TOA.

      • Rob, ” and there is not a chance that absolute radiant imbalances – changing all the time – can be measured within +/-5W/m2 at TOA.”

        Right, so they use satellite and ocean enthalpy or a mix of other data to constrain the toa imbalance. Pretty ingenious I thought, remembering the Stevens and Schwartz paper.

        http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/fileadmin/staff/stevensbjorn/Documents/StevensSchwartz2012.pdf

        A few more years of data and we may see how well some of the error estimates hold up.

  9. “In the academic world, every scientist/academic is regarded to be an (equal) peer and everyone serves as an authority within his or her field.”

    Really?

  10. LaszloKosolosky

    Dear Don,
    thanks for the interesting point. This is of course a point for dispute in many philosophical/social/political measures. In the paper we spell out how this would apply for the NIH, but for the climate case a lot more thought has to be put into it, which is work for the future. In toy examples, an easy answer would be to say the people themselves who are part of the debate and form the wide array of interested actors, as they should be able to settle on the argumentative properties of a comment and basically address the question whether a dissenting comment is a good comment in the sense of being a rational and epistemically challenging comment in response to a statement supported by the consensus position (or the consensus position as a whole). Thus, we go with a pretty much contextual, but straightforward approach. (The work by Rolin mentioned in Judith’s point and in our paper elaborates this in detail) This is also theoretically supported by the idea of a meta-consensus, or an agreement on the procedure to reach a consensus, which is less contextual (also more on this in the paper and in forthcoming work of mine, which is unfortunately for now only available in Dutch). But again, you make an excellent point, which requires more thought on our side. Any suggestions are much appreciated.
    Regards,
    Laszlo

    • “as they should be able to settle on the argumentative properties of a comment and basically address the question whether a dissenting comment is a good comment in the sense of being a rational and epistemically challenging comment in response to a statement supported by the consensus position” This is precisely the problem. The inner clique has circled the wagons and decided that those who dissent are not legitimate but are “deniers.” Groupthink prevails, and it is hard for those with genuine differences to be heard, impossible for their research to be mentioned by the IPCC in addressing policymakers. That is, as I said above, the consensus presented at the science policy interface does not present all of the information needed for rational decision-making.

      • LaszloKosolosky

        I agree about the groupthink worry, as this is a big issue in any consensus approach, especially the ‘black box’ approaches that focus on consensus as a goal and not a procedure. In other forthcoming work, I show that our social account of consensus is actually best equiped to deal with groupthink, given the other alternatives. In this paper we apply it to the Challenger spaceshuttle explosion, but it might be a good idea to apply it to climate science as well, although it will require more work as you pointed out yourself. In any case, here is the reference, but I have to warn you it is in Dutch. We are thinking about publishing it in English, but we’ll have to sort it our first with the copywright issues: (in press) ‘Groepsbeslissingen: kwaliteit, autoriteit en vertrouwen’, Tijdschrift voor Filosofie (with Tim Baartmans)

      • As Don has already pointed out, who deems the deemers. Laszlo, in his ideal world, finds them easily.
        ==================

      • LaszloKosolosky

        Kim, not sure whether to take this as a compliment or not, being a philosopher. For real now, this is indeed a difficult topic, which I believe needs contextual measures more than a general answer, as each context has its peculiar implications, especially climate science. So not as easy as you think I imagine it to be.

      • this article is interesting but seems weak about the cause of groupthink and mitigation measures.

        The cause of groupthink is in punishment channel that deter the dissenters to dissent, and transform them in violent watchdog.
        This is clearly modelized by Benabou, and the cause is in the incentive structure not in individual talent or values.
        http://www.princeton.edu/~rbenabou/papers/Groupthink%20IOM%202012_07_02%20BW.pdf

        I like the idea of interface, but today any public data get public… academic debate will be used by lobbies to defend vested interest, (mostly ideology, sometime money). there is no way to separate interface from academic work.

        to save science from consensus ther should be allowed and funded academic schools… and politicians and population choose their school from utilitarian vision… no hope to be fair or rational. forget it.

        some people will be creationais, support homeopathy medecines or Keynesian policies, and some countries may even make it legal or mandatory…
        Freedom to dissent, in a country, between countries, is the only solutions to the groupthink.

        there should be no international regulation on sensible subject …
        globalization makes possible a global groupthink.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        faustino
        “That is, as I said above, the consensus presented at the science policy interface does not present all of the information needed for rational decision-making.”

        IMHO this statement is dead on …
        and is the reason so many policymakers are punting on this issue

    • “… basically address the question whether a dissenting comment is a good comment in the sense of being a rational and epistemically challenging comment in response to a statement supported by the consensus position …”

      Far be it for me to state this as fact, however it certainly seems to me (and unless I am mistaken, our host agrees) that it was the exact opposite of this condition that prompted many to look further, deeper and more broadly into climate science, whence they changed from accepting of the consensus to some varying degree of skeptical. IIRC, it was Judy who was the first “real” climate scientist to take McIntyre’s criticisms seriously and apparently found to her disgust that he seemed to offer well-reasoned, well documented arguements that seemed to be totally ignored by the mainstream as “unimportant”, “fringe” etc. As more time has passed – and the more aspects of climate science she has investigated with an open mind – her position appears to have hardened to the point where several “mainstream” climate scientists have repeatedly used ad-hom attacks against her while seemingly completely ignoring the facts she presents – in the exact opposite of the quoted “good” (sense) or “science” position.

      Well, that is my version of it, at any rate – perhaps Judy could clarify if this is broadly consistent with her take (in general terms). Or maybe not – she certainly puts plenty on the line already, so perhaps asking for more is unrealistic, One lives in hope though.

  11. LaszloKosolosky

    Remember Don that the distinction is an analytical one, and we are talking here about ideal contexts, which of course in practice but aspire to it. So I agree with your comment that the practice is often shaped differently.

  12. Thanks, Laszlo. I have no experience with ideal contexts. I’ll have to think about it.

  13. “The primary example used in the paper is NIH (public health) consensus conferences. While this application shares some commonality with the climate change consensus building, the big difference lies in the type of problem being addressed. The NIH problems are relatively tame, in that they are constrained and there is no conflict of values…”

    Judith, I respectfully text that the above statement is incorrect! The nutrition concensus is also a “wicked” mess. I suggest that you read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes or “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It”. The first book is for professionals while the second is for people not in these fields. How many peopl have both of these concensus killed?
    How many families have these concensuses broken. The breakup of most families are caused by financial problems.

    How about DDT?

    Follow the money!

  14. daveandrews723

    I am no expert on consensus building in science, but I am damn tired of hearing from supposed scientists that “the science is settled” on man-made global warming/climate change. It is outrageous that so many “scientists” seem to spend half their time trying to denegrate people who are skeptical of their claims. To me that means just one thing… they are trying to sell the public something without the evidence to back up their position. This whole CAGW thing took on a life of its own, not because of the science, but because of the P R campaign waged by a handful of scientists, some politicians, and some bureaucrats. It is a very dark period in the field of science. Any scientist who is worth his or her salt should be demanding an even broader debate on the unproven CAGW hypothesis and this faulty models upon which the warmists are basing their alarmist gloom and doom scenarios.

    • Dave, quite so – see my replies to Laszlo.

      • I asked this question a little upthread so you may have missed it

        @Faustino

        > … and to be able to access particular expertise as required …

        How did you decide who to ask when such expertise was required, please ?

        It is to me a very interesting question, a situation I have been in quite a few times

      • Ian, I’d mentioned that I would be away for a few days, I took off immediately after posting the comment you referred to – this reply to Dave was earlier. I got home late after an intense few days, dipped into CE last night, couldn’t sleep, a response to you was one of the things racing through my mind; gave up and got up at 3.20. I’ll get back to you on this.

  15. Eddy Turbulence

    I must have missed something.
    What part of the scientific method relates in any way to consensus?

    • Matthew R Marler

      Eddy Turbulence: What part of the scientific method relates in any way to consensus?

      1. Explicit, detailed descriptions, in real time (not from later memory) of the exact procedures used and the exact results obtained. This is why, for example, there is more and more emphasis on sharing computer code and raw data (for example, the Protein Data Bank.)

      2. Writing hypotheses and explanations in language clear and unambiguous enough that they might be refutable.

      3. Replication and extension of experiments.

      4. Frequent open public debates, for example the Solvay Conferences, the debates over the results of the Eddington expedition.

      Those and other parts of the scientific method relate to consensus by facilitating the public examination of sources of error and bias of diverse sorts. The IPCC may have sullied the idea of consensus by rushing to force a consensus based on inadequate studies, but the ideas of consensus and how to achieve it are not new.

      • Eddy Turbulence

        So, if I go in my back yard, theorize that gravity tends to attract objects toward the center of mass of the earth, throw a ball upward 100 times, analyze the results, then conclude that the theory is correct, that’s not the scientific method if I don’t poll the population to see if they agree?

        Science can and most often is done by an individual, regardless of what anyone may believe. To be sure, we build upon other’s experience and experiments to formulate further postulates, but the process of science has NOTHING to do with consensus.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Eddy Turbulence: So, if I go in my back yard, theorize that gravity tends to attract objects toward the center of mass of the earth, throw a ball upward 100 times, analyze the results, then conclude that the theory is correct, that’s not the scientific method if I don’t poll the population to see if they agree?

        You are not claiming, I hope, that Newton’s laws were not accepted as a consensus, or that he did not vigorously support them in public presentations. His apple experience happened after he had written hundreds of pages of notes and derivations, some of which made it into print. A few of his presentations (derivation of the speed of sound) were publicly shown to be clearly inadequate.

        Most of his work (the alchemical investigations and Biblical exegeses) were never published, possibly because he wanted to avoid public embarrassment over their indefensibility.

    • +1000

      Also thanks for your post on The Big Fat Fiasco.

      • Eddy Turbulence

        Isn’t that great?

        Seems to contain all the errors of the AGW exaggerations
        – falsified data
        – abuse of peer review
        – activist scientist who furthered a policy response to his erroneous hypothesis
        – government policy which harmed the public because senators didn’t have the luxury of waiting for data.

        Classic

    • Its pretty simple.

      “So, if I go in my back yard, theorize that gravity tends to attract objects toward the center of mass of the earth, throw a ball upward 100 times, analyze the results, then conclude that the theory is correct.”

      Consensus operates in the following way.

      You publish your results. Another person throws a ball up 1000 times
      and concludes you were correct. he publishes his results.

      And a third person throws up rocks as opposed to balls 5000 times
      and concludes you were correct . he publishes his results.

      A third person comes along and notes. “Maybe cases where gravity operates are really rare, I want to throw up a ball a million times in different back yards”

      And you look at him and say “don’t waste your time”

      The scientific “method” doesnt close off with the finding of one experiment or 2 or 3. It never closes off. But there comes a point at which a scientist must ask a practical question. What are the odds that I might find something?
      At this point he looks around and says ” hmm, lots of smart people are not wasting their time retesting “proven stuff”. Sure theres a chance it might be wrong, but do I want to waste my time.

      Consensus in other words informs you as to what is worthwhile questioning.
      A statement is true BECAUSE of the consensus. The consensus merely gives you a clue that you might be wasting your time trying to challenge it.

      its pragmatics.

      • dangit edit

        “A fourth person comes along and notes. “Maybe cases where gravity doesnt operates are really rare, I want to throw up a ball a million times in different back yards”

      • Also ‘not’ between ‘is’ and ‘true’, just before BECAUSE.
        =================

      • Yes, and because of the trust issue(ClimateGate and so many other indicators), the consensus in climate science gives clues that it might not be wasting time to challenge it.
        ===================

      • The real problem is the NASA/NOAA inflation of temperatures just to allow them to claim “all time records” when the temperature isn’t changing much.

        Shutting down the NASA/NOAA temperature adjustment teams would eliminate about 1/2 of the warming. Climate4you tracks what Ole Humlum, “Danish professor of physical geography at the University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences and adjunct professor of physical geography at the University Centre in Svalbard” (that means he is a scientist), calls data maturity.

        The picture is pretty ugly. NASA and NOAA have apparently picked immature data and are ripening it on their computers.

        If it was really warming NASA and NOAA wouldn’t have to fudge the data.

      • Hmmmm, cosensus is reached by beaucoup throwing rocks and not by reading or listening to others’ words.

      • You publish your results. Another person throws a ball up 1000 times
        and concludes you were correct. he publishes his results. […]

        A two-bit Lysenko wannabe throws the ball away and says: everything always travels in circles, because only circles are perfect and God wouldn’t have made anything imperfect. And his local churchmen buy into it, and take anybody who questions and burn them at the stake.

        Then “Lysenko’s” country and yours go to war. Both have cannon, both need tables of how much powder to put in when to achieve what results.

        Your tables are built on Newtonian Physics, theirs on holy circles. Guess who wins?

      • I think you are confusing consensus with replication.

      • Really good example which I’ll add a twist. A ball is thrown up into the air 1000 times with the same force (5 pounds of thrust) give or take 2%. The ball reaches the Earth on average in 7 seconds, but ranges from 2 to 50 seconds. What is the force of gravity? Experiments done decades ago had an average of 5 seconds with a range of 1 to 25 seconds. What is or was the force of gravity? I ask the questions as it seems this is what we’ve being seeing with the effects of CO2.

      • “I think you are confusing consensus with replication.”

        No mark I am explaining how consensus operates.

        it does not operate epistemically in science. That is nobody believes in X because of consensus.

        What happens instead is that certain questions become uninteresting because of consensus.. that is, when people replicate a result and build upon a result and do successful things because of a result, then questioning the foundation, while epistemically valid, is seen as impractical

        Again, Consensus says “Dont waste your time on this, because your chances of finding something new or different is low”

        This is why we challenge skeptics to go prove the consensus wrong and win a nobel prize.

        Its not true because its settled. Its settled because its true.

      • “No mark I am explaining how consensus operates.

        it does not operate epistemically in science. That is nobody believes in X because of consensus.”

        It is precisely because of the potential that so many will “believe in x because of consensus,” that the CAGW activists argue so hard there is one on globalclimatewarmingchange.

        Appeal to authority combines with claims to consensus to make a powerful PR campaign. Call it appeal to consensus.

        http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

        “Consensus: 97% of climate scientists agree”

        Translation – there is a consensus among 97% of the authorities that you should believe we are all going to die from thermageddon.

      • GaryM, you are confusing interface consensus with academic consensus. Academic consensus is just a marker of where the science is on the main questions left to answer, and those not to bother with. Interface consensus is related to the understanding of academic consensus but has other factors thrown in, like politics.

      • Jim D,

        In climate “science” there is no difference between academic consensus and interface consensus.

        I am not even sure I agree with the distinction made by the authors, but that is not necessary to my point. It seems to me that to the extent there is any distinction, it is as to the audience, not the nature of the consensus.

        The whole point of the “interface” consensus argued by you CAGW activists is that there is an academic consensus, and therefore the stupid voters should just shut up and vote as they are told.

        The best face you can put on the argument is that you true believers are arguing that, since there is an academic consensus, their should be a political (interface) consensus as well.

        So far there is a political consensus among progressive politicians and scientists (and virtually all western progressives for that matter) on decarbonization. But the consensus among voters has not materialized yet. Or where it has, it is dissipating.

        Here’s the funny thing about consensi. When you have a real consensus, you don’t have to argue so hard to convince people there is one.

      • Yep, that’s how it works alright – a pity in some respects, because as some wit once noted, it’s not “Eureka!” that is the herald of paradigm changing papers, it’s “That’s odd…”

      • Steven,

        What happens instead is that certain questions become uninteresting because of consensus..

        OK, there is a strong consensus that concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are increasing and that this is most likely due to anthropogenic causes. Therefore we don’t need to spend a lot of time discussing this.

        On the other hand the questions stemming from this observation:
        1. How will this impact our climate (now and in the future)?
        2. Is this good or bad?
        3. Can this be managed?
        4. Should this be managed and if so by whom?
        are more what the debate needs to be about.

        The alarmists think they know the answers to these questions and are trying to perpetuate a myth that the consensus is broader than it really is. Many of them distort the facts and make things up to scare people into believing this. They also want to entrust a UN empowered bureaucracy with running the show.

        I’m not much on epistemology but I am trying to follow this somewhat esoteric discussion.

        My take is that there is a pretty narrow consensus on CAGW that is being abused and exploited for various reasons

      • The English major gives us a lecture on science.

        Argument from authority. Or ad hominem. Or both.

        Studying English at least gives you the opportunity to notice that semantics exist. If you keep your eyes open.

      • @ Jim D | September 19, 2014 at 1:09 am |

        GaryM, you are confusing interface consensus with academic consensus. Academic consensus is just a marker of where the science is on the main questions left to answer, and those not to bother with.

        “Academic consensus is [supposed to be] just a marker of where the science is […]”.

        But when the “academic consensus” has been dishonestly manipulated the way “Climategate” showed it was, it doesn’t count. Same goes for the IPCC process.

      • OOps! That link was supposed to point here!

      • Jim D adds to what Mosher wrote:
        “Academic consensus is just a marker of where the science is on the main questions left to answer, and those not to bother with.”
        Papers such as these by Chen and Tung:
        https://judithcurry.com/2014/08/21/cause-of-hiatus-found-deep-in-the-atlantic-ocean/
        could seemingly be used to determine what the consensus is? The question is, What questions are they trying to answer? Say they tried to answer, Where is the missing heat? We’d mark them down as, Looking for the missing heat. Cook has done studies with in excess of 10,000 papers about the consensus. I’m interested in what can be done with small sample sizes. Say less than 100 recent high profile papers, which would be more manageable and allow a higher quality of review to figure out, What question did they ask? Granted it wouldn’t be a perfect study and bias would have to be minimized.

  16. “The growing implications of the messy wickedness of the climate change problem are becoming increasingly apparent, highlighting the inadequacies of the ‘consensus to power’ approach for decision making on the complex issues associated with climate change. Further, research from the field of science and technology studies are finding that manufacturing a consensus in the context of the IPCC has acted to hyper-politicize the scientific and policy debates, to the detriment of both. Arguments are increasingly being made to abandon the scientific consensus seeking approach in favor of open debate of the arguments themselves and discussion of a broad range of policy options that stimulate local and regional solutions to the multifaceted and interrelated issues of climate change, land use, resource management, cost effective clean energy solutions, and developing technologies to expand energy access efficiently.”

    Spot on, Dr. Curry. Your point reveals the dangers associated with attempts to define a “metaconsensus” and to debate its merits apart from the underlying science. If there is no underlying scientific consensus then all talk of metaconsensus is wasted breath. Surely, it is clear that there is no underlying consensus in climate science.

    What would a genuine scientific consensus look like? Very simple. All scientists in the field would be in agreement on the scientific framework, the problems that need to be solved, the preferred tools for solving them, and the data. Within that context, each scientist would be totally open to criticism of any one or more components.

    • LaszloKosolosky

      First, I claim nowhere that the meta-consensus is defined apart from the underlying science, see the interaction of academic/scientific and interface consensus on this. Just wanted to make this clear.

      Second, I do not agree with the unanimity demand you put forward. And I draw on a quote from Beatty & Moore’s paper, which is also central in my paper, on why unanimity is not the way to go: “Unanimity is not required to authorize the result of a scientific deliberation, i.e., to entitle deference to the outcome. Worse, the requirement of unanimity is pernicious. It has a detrimental effect on scientific deliberation, encouraging agreement where there is none in order to protect the authority of the group. It encourages misleading reports of the state of scientific agreement to the public. It
      undermines the epistemic equality of the deliberators. And it unfairly privileges the status quo with regard to any decisions that hinge on the outcome of the contest.” So stressing unanimity can actually have the opposite effect of no longer being open to criticism.

      • Now you’re getting it.
        ==============

      • But are you, Koldie?

        The establishment only asks for a consensus, whereas the whole business of manufacturing dissent works by advertizing the non-unanimity of scientific claims.

        If we accept that there’s no need to reach unanimity before moving forward, things might get quite interesting.

      • You silly; 97% is enough. Now, do you get it?
        =================

      • Another thing. Dissent is not manufactured. It is an emergent phenomenon when an established consensus is false.
        ===========

      • Dissent simply “emerges” from a lack of unanimity by sheer definition, Koldie.

        As for denial of artificial dissent, here’s a note by Justin Lancaster about Fred Singer’s manufacturing:

        http://rabett.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-note-about-roger-revelle-julian.html

      • Willy sitting around in his bathrobe with his dog-eared copy of Merchants of Doom. That condescending crap about the business of manufacturing dissent is not going to work for you, willy? Pekka doesn’t try that BS. If you want to educate and win over the dissenters, emulate Pekka. You have it in you. Remember how you used to do it in real life?

      • Wrong book. Merchants of Doom is your side. I meant that silly Merchants of Doubt.

      • Wrong book again, Don Don.

        Why would I need to win you over if I don’t need unanimity, again?

      • Heh, he said ‘dissenters’, not ‘him’, and they are growing.
        ============

      • Tes, Koldie, I’m asking Don Don about what he knows best, not a bandwagon that does not exist.

      • Obama and Ki-Moon bang the drum in New York, but the wheels have fallen off the bandwagon.
        =================

      • I didn’t say you needed unanimity, willy. What you need is a majority. I am not talking about a majority of climate scientists or a majority of governments. You need to convince the people. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed that you came here to win hearts and minds. I have tried to encourage you to use your education and intelligence in a productive way. But it is becoming increasingly evident that you have decided to settle for being a minor annoyance.

      • When will willard wonder well? Well, probably never; he’s thoroughly bought into the paranoid alarmist meme about manufactured dissent.

        I came up with the alliterative phrase when willard first showed up. I thought he was bright but naive. Naw, a long-time denizen of the echo chambers.
        ==================

      • kim,

        “Obama and Ki-Moon bang the drum in New York, but the wheels have fallen off the bandwagon.”

        Funny you should mention that, perhaps not.

        “From the phase of trying and failing, the climate-change talks have evolved to creating a phony impression of a horizon lit with the prospect of global agreement to justify costly de-carbonization programs at home. Developing nations are happy to go along with this as long as it doesn’t hurt their economies. In other words, the talks have become an exercise in deception.”

        http://www.nationalreview.com/article/388320/uns-climate-summit-charade-rupert-darwall

      • Sure GM. I should have said ‘their bandwagon’, not ‘the bandwagon’ to distinguish if from the one willard references, and hallucinates is imaginary.
        ========

      • KIm …

        The big problem is the GW crowd doesn’t have a bandwagon – it is a tumbrel for hauling off the skeptics.

      • You’re not the voice of the people, Don Don. You’re just an anonymous thug. Closing Koldie’s epistemic gap is enough for me right now.

      • you guys keep thinking consensus is an epistemic issue.
        its not.
        when a scientist claims there is a consensus he means nothing more than
        don’t spend your time on this.

        why?
        1. because if you are right and consensus is wrong, there will be waay too much science to rethink. curb your curiousity.
        2. Because if you are wrong and the consensus is right, then your valuable brain will be wasting time. come over here and help with the real problem.

        but yes, epistemically you have every right to question it, because skepticism, but no dont knock yourself

        so, nobel prize or wasted effort? do you feel lucky

      • You are really pathetic, willy. I never claimed to be the voice of the people. Stop making up crap. Read the polls, willy. The people are not going to be stampeded to your drastic ill-conceived mitigation schemes. You know that. That’s why you are so bitter.

      • “you guys keep thinking consensus is an epistemic issue.
        its not.
        when a scientist claims there is a consensus he means nothing more than
        don’t spend your time on this.”

        Well that’s just silly. When climate scientists claim there is a consensus, they mean we should pass carbon taxes and cap and trade, spend more billions on their research and green energy boondoggles and generally decarbonize the global economy.

        If they didn’t, the debate would be taking place in faculty lounges the world over, and not on the front pages of every major western news paper.

      • I think Mosher is thinking of some other branch of science, Gary. Maybe entomology.

      • because if you are right and consensus is wrong, there will be waay too much science to rethink. curb your curiousity.

        This was part of Kuhn’s point.

        And one of the major misunderstandings of his “paradigms”. (I don’t know whether he bought into that misunderstanding or not.) Does it matter how much science has to be rethought if it’s wrong? Well, science is just about coming up with metaphors for the real universe. Those metaphors are useful if they can be used to predict important behavior of the universe.

        Newtonian physics was useful. It could predict the flight of cannonballs and bullets (with some fudge factors for atmospheric resistance). It couldn’t predict the orbit of Mercury or the speed of light (to the 12th decimal place or whatever), but those weren’t useful anyway.

        So, reading Kuhn, one gets the impression science is nothing but organized curiosity. Well, curiosity is a net adaptive value for many species, certainly including our own.

        But for some types of science, there’s a more immediate return. Thermodynamics. Chemistry. Nuclear physics. Biochemistry.

        Climate Science?

      • Mosher, “when a scientist claims there is a consensus he means nothing more than
        don’t spend your time on this.

        why?
        1. because if you are right and consensus is wrong, there will be waay too much science to rethink. curb your curiousity.”

        Right, but not all parts of the science are included in the “consensus”. No feed back “sensitivity” started at 1.5C/3.7 Wm-2 and now is 1-1.2C/3.7Wm-2. Water vapor feedback started at 2xCO2 and now appears to be approaching zero.

        The reason for that is how parts of the consensus was built. Averaging Manabe’s SWAG with Hansen’s SWAG to produce an acceptable range. That is powder puff, no scientist left behind science, not cutting edge science. So you have a powder puff consensus. Observations indicate that Hansen over estimated and likely over sold his estimate.

        So telling someone to curb their curiosity without knowing why they are curious would be not so bright.

        K&T’s energy budgets are also parts of the consensus, or were, but they used Hansen’s model to determine the imbalance with “almost unbelievable accuracy”.

        MBH98 was part of the consensus. The bulk of the climate model “experiments” are based on the consensus assumptions. The Himalayan glacier melt etc.etc. Consensus mentality (groupthink) biases results toward the consensus norm, which was based on averages of guesses.

        This field is wide open for the curious.

      • Hear, hear, to ‘wide open for the curious’. That’s what’s created skeptics.

        From my thoroughly biased viewpoint, curiosity is the hallmark of the skeptics and insistence on a dogma the hallmark of the consensus alarmist. The one leads to humility, the other to arrogance.

        Over and over I see it. The skeptic says ‘I don’t know’, and the alarmist sneers that the skeptic is anti-science.

        I don’t think so.
        ==========

      • > I never claimed to be the voice of the people.

        Then how the hell do you know what convinces people or not, Don Don? More importantly, how is commenting at Judy’s supposed to be about convincing the people?

        You bathe in pathos, man. You just found another hook to pontificate about me instead of simply acknowledging that if we embrace dissent, it can’t be legitimatly used as a guerilla tactic anymore. This follows quite directly from Laszlo’s point.

        If Denizens could simply stop antagonizing to defend the unwinnable, that would be nice.

      • No mas, eh willard?
        ======

      • I don’t know why you are so angry, willy. I am trying to help you. The alarmist cause is failing. You know that. You need to change your ways. Emulate Pekka. Or continue to be just a minor annoyance.

      • Thank you for your concerns, Don Don.

        Unanimity is not required to authorize the result of scientific deliberation, Don Don. The requirement of unanimity is pernicious. It unfairly privileges the status quo.

        Pekka has given up on Denizens, by the way.

      • 97%. Get it yet?
        ====

      • I have already made it clear to you that I agree that unanimity is not required, willy. I don’t recall seeing any rational skeptics say that unanimity is required. That’s a silly alarmist strawman. And it is not working for you.

        If Pekka has given up, I suggest you do the same. Find another cause. Hey, there is a big sale on Obama grass roots activism gear:

        https://organizing-for-action.myshopify.com/?source=home_page_main_nav

        You can sit around in your Obama activism logo diaper and sip tea from your Obama activism logo mug, while you thrash around the net trying to change human nature and reorder the world. That’s all the time I have for you now, willy. There are several other little alarmist rascals here, who are a lot more annoying than you are.

      • > I don’t recall seeing any rational skeptics say that unanimity is required.

        There’s no need to say anything like this, Don Don. All that is needed is to be able to mention a dissenting voice. See for instance:

        Richard Lindzen let’s it all hang out at Cato today. I’m not sure what motivated this but he’s fired both barrels.

        http://www.cato.org/blog/reflections-rapid-response-unjustified-climate-alarm

        https://judithcurry.com/2014/09/18/distinguishing-the-academic-from-the-interface-consensus/#comment-630435

        Why does Dick’s dissenting voice matter, Don Don? Let’s see how he portrays himself:

        To be sure, there is an important role for such a center. It is not to convince the ‘believers.’ Nor do I think that there is any longer a significant body of sincere and intelligent individuals who are simply trying to assess the evidence. As far as I can tell, the issue has largely polarized that relatively small portion of the population that has chosen to care about the issue. The remainder quite reasonably have chosen to remain outside the polarization.

        So everyone’s polarized, except Dick, Cato, and the like. Were it not for this fistful of résistants, wouldn’t you say that the “believers-in-scare-quotes” are everyone, and that the opinion they share would be unanimous?

        The whole idea that “science is not settled” rests on unanimity, Don Don.

        It’s a cheap remake of the 12 Angry Men.

      • Let’s translate for wee willie. There are a small group of progressive activists infected with groupthink who resist dispassionate interpretation of science and the rest of us just want them to be wrong because they are such dorks with such vaunting but unrealistic ambitions. Unsurprisingly – they are so thick that they have proved to be spectacularly wrong.

      • And now Chief is about to win another thread. So much the worse for variance. A strange attractor it must be.

        Here’s another variation on the theme:

        Nothing screams Scottish freedom quite like an Australian millionaire on horseback, paraphrasing John Oliver.

      • His breath smelling strongly of straw and cheap muscatel, he bleats:”The whole idea that “science is not settled” rests on unanimity, Don Don.”

        We are only very slightly annoyed by this.

  17. I have a few alternative names for ” concencus science”. How about “Band Wagon Science” or “Music Man Science”?

  18. Whoa, the scientific consensus is dissolving. Forget metaconsensus.
    ======

  19. In this paper, we shed new light on the epistemic struggle between establishing consensus and acknowledging plurality, …

    The “struggle between establishing consensus acknowledging plurality” is not epistemic. It is social or, more specifically, political. Calling the effort to establish consensus “epistemic” is the polar opposite of shedding light …

    • LaszloKosolosky

      Don’t fully agree here, at least part of the struggle is epistemic, as we showed in the case of the NIH for adequacy concerns and contestability concerns, which are both regarded as epistemic worries. Both are part of the epistemic toolbox consensus conferences have at their disposal, and at these conferences there is (or at least should be) a struggle between establishing consensus and acknowledging plurality.

      • “which are both regarded as epistemic worries.”

        Circular reasoning.

      • Obfuscating with jargon and begging the question does not change the fundamental nature of the problem. Achieving consensus is not an epistemic struggle. It may be a struggle, but that struggle is political, not epistemic.

        Achieving consensus is not a epistemic act. A “consensus conference” is not an epistemic activity. Agreement is irrelevant to truth, and all too frequently the obverse also obtains.

      • Someday I’m going to have to look up ‘epistemic’. Too often, I’ve seen the phrase ‘epistemic closure’ as a substitute for ‘la la la, I can’t hear you’.

        So it has some other meaning?
        =====================

      • Wiki associates it with “epistemology”, usually considered the science of word meaning. Interesting, since the Greek word for “word” is “logos” (“λογος”). The root (of “epistomology”) derives from the Greek “pistos” (“πιστος”), a greek word usually translated “promise” or “faith”. Thus “word” as in “keeping one’s word”.

        LOL

  20. How refreshing to read a non-polemic treatment of some of the issues related to “consensus;” one that seeks to find the balance between alternative perspectives, one that seeks to ground the discussions about “consensus” related to climate change within a larger context (as opposed to what we typically see, where people cherry-pick, selectively, from a larger context to advance an agenda w/r/t climate change), and that importantly, seeks to define the terms being used so as to lay the foundation for reasoned discussion rooted in common understanding.

    Thanks for highlighting the article, Judith.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if in discussing the implications, Bennett’s recommendations were followed?

  21. Matthew R Marler

    academic from the interface consensus

    Another aspect of the interface is the practice of Big Pharma in hiring academic experts as consultants, and inviting academic experts to industry-wide conferences on important research topics, like say recent advances in understanding the neurophysiology of schizophrenia and depression.

    Notice that in this arena, in response to what looks like consensus, the companies are free to pursue different leads, which may in turn come to challenge the academic consensus.

    • LaszloKosolosky

      You make an excellent point here, and although we do not engage with it in the paper, there is some interesting work on exactly this influence by Justin Biddle and Julian Reiss, both philosophers of science.

  22. But what do you do when a consensus is artificially constructed because of lacking peer review, as is obviously the case with all IPCC reports where authors have been bestowed with editor powers and can simply reject valid corrections from reviewers?

  23. Something which bothers me about any discussion of a “consensus” is the idea there should be a single consensus position on a subject as complicated as global warming. Shouldn’t we allow for the possibility there are different consensus positions, each with their own level of support?

    In discussing plans for the most known global warming consensus paper, Dana Nuccitelli said:

    The way I see the final paper is that we’ll conclude ‘There’s an x% consensus supporting the AGW theory, and y% explicitly put the human contribution at >50%’.

    This seems like how we should examine consensuses.

    .

    Of course, Cook et al didn’t go with Nuccitelli’s idea. Nuccitelli and the others from Skeptical science have decided to portray their “consensus” as:

    the 96-97% consensus is that AGW since 1950 is >50%.

    Even though Nuccitelli himself has specifically said Category 2, which is part of that “consensus”:

    Category 2 is “Explicitly endorses but does not quantify (or minimize) AGW.” Thus it doesn’t require an assumption of >50%.

    It’s a shame really, because Nuccitelli’s original idea seems exactly right. I don’t know why he abandoned it.

    • If we looked at it that way, it would rob the alarmists of the rhetorical trick of pretending that the “consensus” = whatever they want it to say. Better to leave out the fine print.

    • Bart’s survey was better in that way. It had more than 50% of the more qualified scientists in the 76+% anthropogenic category. This means the median would be over 76% anthropogenic.

  24. Interesting stuff, thanks. I’ll need to read that Kristina Rolin paper.

  25. ” even though such an agreement or consensus might hinder scientific progress because of critical, heterodox theories not being taken seriously”

    Can’t wait for FOMD’s latest post Enlightenment take on how science can move forward, even if people disagree.

  26. …you don’t need to be a trained climatologist to smell danger when someone says, Anthropogenic greenhouse gasses are warming the planet, so we need to ramp up taxes, institute a command-and-control economy, stop industrial development in the developing world, and, y’know, just maybe, suspend democracy and jail people who object… ~Prussian (What is Mann that thou art mindful of him?)

  27. Stephen Segrest

    Laszlo — Could you view this TED presentation and then comment on my belief that what we have on the issue of AGW is a total break-down in trust in society and within the science community.

    I think the TED presentation tells us we need a special type of both Advocate and Skeptic — where there can exist some “basic core” of trust that one can build on, and then constructively discuss problems/concerns.

    The toxic current environment of this debate is so combative, adversarial, and defensive.

    http://on.ted.com/Heffernan

    • LaszloKosolosky

      I will have a look at it as soon as I find the time, but I can already try to answer your point here shortly. I think trust is indeed an important factor here, as is integrity. I am currently putting together a grant proposal that connects both of these topics to this issue. I have some co-authored work on trust, although it is very formal, it captures the difference between distrust and mistrust, which I think solves part of the break-down problem you mention. Climate science is not discussed in the paper, but the argument can be extended with some extra work. Here is the reference:‘The semantics of untrustworthiness’, Topoi, 2014, TOPO-D-13-00035R2 (with Giuseppe Primiero)
      And thanks for the link!

      • From my perspective, most of the distrust centers over exactly what the consensus is on. Does CO2 increase the likelihood of warming by about 1 C per doubling? yes

        Is at least some significant portion of the observed warming due to activities of mankind? yes

        Then the consensus starts falling apart with nasty exchanges and abusing the “consensus” to drive policy.

  28. Eddy Turbulence

    One reason the c word continues to rear its ugly head is that AGW is speculation is on what climate will be like in the future, which cannot be validated until such time occurs – keeping even even the most rigorous model output part of unvalidated prediction not validated theory.

    What we do know from observations is that temperature trends of the satellite era are all less than what was predicted by Hansen in 1988.

    And we know that since 2001, all temperature trends are less than those predicted by the IPCC4.

  29. This is a very good post, judith, and a rather nice article by laszlo. However, one issue is whether an academic/ technical consensus must necessarily converge to the truth: we certainly hope so but is hardly assured. In any case, the issues with climate science and the potential existence of an interface consensus here are, all things considered, still on relatively short time scales, i.e. unsustainable in the long term. The notion of a meta consensus is somewhat trickier though, it’s unclear to me that it is necessary that it be established formally, and I can’t think of a particular example in other fields of science.

    • LaszloKosolosky

      Thanks!
      Agree with the convergence to the truth, as I classify myself as a pragmatist/instrumentalist, rather than a positivist.
      The meta-consensus indeed applies mostly to scientific disciplines (or even smaller scientific disputes) that become a, what I call, socially hot topic (I apologize for the wordplay). Another example is the debate on whether or not to launch the Challenger spaceshuttle for instance from aerospace science. Examples are actually many where science meets society and other considerations come into play. Also as the notion is a social notion, it is more contextually dependent than formally fixed. More on this also in the paper.

  30. I see simplification OK, so long as the simplified version is honest and not exaggerated. I see a detailed presentation OK so long as it is honest and not exaggerated.

    This idea that all observations support the global warming hypothesis is a lie.

    1. Computer models assembled with the ACO2 hypothesis as a guide do not comport with data. The models predict a certain increase in global air temperature that is not observed.
    2. The only reason ACO2 could be catastrophic is due to H2O feedback. The hypothesis is that more CO2 causes more warming which increases water vapor in the air. Total precipitate water vapor has been decreasing with increasing CO2. This hints that there might even be a negative feedback due to decreasing water vapor.

    So, the ACO2 global warming catastrophe idea is far from being supported by all observations.

    • Cogent summary of the situation. Clear and concise.

      From what I can tell atmospheric water vapor peaked in 2001 and has decreased since then. Even SKS agrees (I borrowed their chart). However they pooh pooh the idea that this could cause cooling. Of course they don’t think it is cooling so go figure.

      • Matthew R Marler

        PA, could you clarify what that graph displays?

      • I prefer total column or total precipitatable water vapor. It includes all water vapor, not just water vapor from a given altitude band.

      • This is a high level where the 4 ppmv represents only 0.1% of the atmospheric average. Even CO2 far exceeds H2O at those levels.

      • Previous post was a complement to Jim2 followed by a chart from:
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=129&p=2

        The chart is stratosphere water vapor – but the link to the site gives their explanation, more details, and some pooh poohing of the pause etc.

        I could have used this chart which is better labelled from the area around Boulder Colorado that shows basically the same thing.

        70 hPa is about 18.4 kilometers (altitude), 100 hPA is about 16.2 kilometers, from standard height/pressure tables.

        UARS is a satellite. Haloe is an radiometer instrument that uses the 80-120 mm band to detect water vapor and a number of other gases.
        SAGE uses an FFT interferometer on infrared in the 2 µm band.

        So the original chart was a mix of instruments more or less measuring the same thing (I did some testing of one of GOES sounder microsequencers and am familiar with the older GOES (K) sounders.)

      • Matthew R Marler

        PA: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=129&p=2

        thank you for the link.

        It’s water vapor in the stratosphere. I had inferred the high altitude from the atmospheric pressure reading, but was not certain. Can anything about changes in the hydrologic cycle be inferred from changes in stratospheric concentrations of H2O? Is that “trend” anything other than a flat line with autocorrelated residuals?

      • Matthew R Marler

        PA: I could have used this chart which is better labelled from the area around Boulder Colorado that shows basically the same thing.

        The second graph does not look like the Boulder region in the first figure. Why the difference?

      • There is much more water vapor in the troposphere than the stratosphere. But it’s hard to find data on total column water vapor. And it is claimed the TCWV data that does exist isn’t up to snuff due to satellite changes and differing methods of calculations. Funny, there isn’t more info in this area. I suspect that is because it doesn’t support global warming – kind of like the missing tropical hot spot doesn’t.

        My guess is that TCWV is being shoved under the rug or just ignore.

        If anyone has any recent papers on it, I would be happy to read about it.

      • Well, one chart is balloon data from Boulder the other is a global satellite based chart.

        The global satellite chart has the Boulder data on it and actually appears to have originated as a Science Magazine article. The data in the Science Magazine article would have merged some of the Boulder bands into a single average. Link to the science magazine article:

        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/327/5970/1219.figures-only

      • Thanks for that CD. I bookmarked it for later.

      • I got though the article you linked CD. I’m reserving judgment at this point.

      • Matthew R Marler

        PA, thank you for your responses.

        capt dallas +/- o.8, http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/blog/isaac-held/2014/07/01/48-increasing-vertically-integrated-water-vapor-over-the-oceans/

        Thank you for the link.

  31. There is as much modern uneasiness about putting scientists in a position to make ethical decisions as there is about releasing them totally from such responsibilities. On the one hand, many contemporary areas of ethical choice implicate such technical knowledgeability that few but the possessors of relevant expertise can hope competently to address the issues involved, while, on the other, it is not now supposed that those who have expert knowledge are ethically privileged or more likely to make virtuous decisions than anybody else in our society. ~Steven Shapin (Trust, Honesty, and the Authority of Science)

  32. The important thing is that there is a consensus on consensus. It gives an imprimatur to narratives of catastrophe that provide the justification for economic and societal transformation. It emerges fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus as a systematic belief system. It is the same old culture war.

    There has been in fact little progress in climate science since Wally Broecker’s seminal 1975 paper. We have regimes of warming and cooling and some presumed anthropogenic warming. Distinguishing between the two remains the defining problem. There is no consensus possible in fact on projecting that forward. The tools are irreducibly imprecise.

    ‘More famously, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (21) shows the spread among climate models for global warming predictions. One of its results is an ensemble-mean prediction of ≈3°C increase in global mean surface temperature for doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration with an ensemble spread of ≈50% on either side. The predicted value for the climate sensitivity and its intermodel spread have remained remarkably stable throughout the modern assessment era from the National Research Counsel (NRC) in 1979 (22) to the anticipated results in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (foreshadowed, e.g., in ref. 3) despite diligent tuning and after great research effort and progress in many aspects of simulation plausibility. An even broader distribution function for the increase in mean surface air temperature is the solution ensemble for a standard atmospheric climate model produced by Internet-shared computations (23), but there is a question about how carefully the former ensemble members were selected for their plausibility.

    In each of these model–ensemble comparison studies, there are important but difficult questions: How well selected are the models for their plausibility? How much of the ensemble spread is reducible by further model improvements? How well can the spread can be explained by analysis of model differences? How much is irreducible imprecision in an AOS?

    Simplistically, despite the opportunistic assemblage of the various AOS model ensembles, we can view the spreads in their results as upper bounds on their irreducible imprecision. Optimistically, we might think this upper bound is a substantial overestimate because AOS models are evolving and improving. Pessimistically, we can worry that the ensembles contain insufficient samples of possible plausible models, so the spreads may underestimate the true level of irreducible imprecision (cf., ref. 23). Realistically, we do not yet know how to make this assessment with confidence. http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

    Wally Broecker amongst many others gives the clue as to the next paradigm of climate science.

    I>The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change.

    Prediction is impossible – yet the appearance of tractability and certainty remain critical to the furtherance of ambitions of societal transformation in sometimes apocalyptic terms. The essence of consensus as we understand it in climate is not rational and objective science but is in fact values based.

    ‘Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values.49 Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.’ http://www.lse.ac.uk/researchandexpertise/units/mackinder/pdf/mackinder_wrong%20trousers.pdf

    The reality of warming is that the residual rate attributable to greenhouse gases is 0.07 degrees C. This is far from catastrophic enough for the consensus.

  33. I like the idea of a meta-consensus. However I don’t think that is just a consensus on the (social?) procedure for reaching consensus. It is also a consensus on what constitutes strong evidence, an epistemic consensus, and that is one reason philosophers can and sometimes do have relevance: Scientists give it to them by showing interest in what they say. At any rate, the epistemic questions were front and center in some of the very earliest climate science debates I saw. I recall a very old (early 90s?) PBS segment pitting Lindzen against Oppenheimer, during which Lindzen countered something Oppenheimer said with the observation that GCMs weren’t the only kind of evidence, and Oppenheimer responding that other empirical approaches “aren’t the cutting edge.” It seems to me that conflict has been playing out ever since, and you can pretty much tell where people break on policy from their epistemic commitments. I am not sure which way causality runs there, and I’m sure the materialists in the audience think it runs the other way, but they should also know by now that I think the “interests cause beliefs (or metabeliefs)” view isn’t a very convincing one.

    • ==> “It seems to me that conflict has been playing out ever since, and you can pretty much tell where people break on policy from their epistemic commitments…I am not sure which way causality runs there, ..the “interests cause beliefs (or metabeliefs)” view isn’t a very convincing one..”

      The vast majority of people who have an opinion about climate change don’t even know that the distinction in evidence that you describe even exists, let alone have a “commitment” on the epistemological distinctions.

      On the other hand, if you ascertain someone’s political orientation, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to predict their views on climate change. Not to say that political orientation is causal. IMO, the evidence shows that Identification is what’s causal.

      • True on policy, false on science, and there is your problem.
        ================

      • I’m thinking of the scientists, primarily, not people in general (and shouldn’t have said “people.”)

      • > if you ascertain someone’s political orientation, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to predict their views on climate change.

        And if we could predict political orientation based on beliefs, we would ascertain that Joshua and NW are in violent agreement.

      • “On the other hand, if you ascertain someone’s political orientation, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to predict their views on climate change.”

        More or less true. The question of course is why. When I first became aware of the issue, I made no conscious reference to my politics, nor as far as I know did they serve as some sort of filter. I did have mild doubts from the beginning however, mostly because I associate warm climate with good things, and it bothered me that no one seemed to be making the case that at least some people in northern latitudes might benefit. But when I saw Mikey’s graph, I remember thinking, “Wow, I guess this is the real deal after all.”

        It was climate-gate that caused me to “pivot” as Barry likes to say, in the direction of skepticism. Again, in all phases of my personal little climate journey, politics played no part. In fact it turned out to be the other way around, as I began to see Obama and the Democrats, from a new, and deeply disturbing perspective. Up until that time, I’d been a fairly loyal democrat.

        Now I don’t know who I am. If I could go back to 2008, would I be able to hold my nose and vote for John McCain, with Sarah Palin a heart beat away? I don’t think so. OTOH, I absolutely would vote for Mitt in 2012.

      • ==> “I’m thinking of the scientists, primarily, not people in general (and shouldn’t have said “people.”)”

        Maybe.

        But I think that scientists might pick and choose epistemological models kinda the same way that member of SCOTUS pick and choose “judicial activism” and “states’ rights” depending on context.

        Scientists are “people” too, you know.

      • ==> “True on policy, false on science, and there is your problem.”

        One of the days, kim, I’m going to get you to explain to me what the “h” “e” double-hockey sticks you’re talking about.

      • Heh, didn’t think you’d get it.
        ============

      • If only I were smarter, my life would be so enhanced: the Shangri-La of understanding kim’s comments.

      • Ah, Kiddo, you are much too attached to your motivated reasoning meme. The process of science pays no attention to that, politics does.
        ===================

      • Watch out, kim. Joshie is the master of spotting non-existent unintentional irony. Nobody knows how he does it.

      • => “The process of science pays no attention to that, politics does.

        The process of science carried out by automatons?

        ‘Cause people be “motivated” (in the sense of motivated reasoning), scientists included. Science in itself pays no attention to biases. Science in itself doesn’t exist.

        But I do love how….er…um….uh….selective is your perception of the line between science and politics. One minute it’s there and the next it’s gone – kind of like Judith’s Uncertainty Monster.

      • poker, you voted to put Joe Biden a heartbeat away:)

        I am not convinced that either Palin or Biden could have done more damage than the one we got.

      • Very good, Joshua; it is a fuzzy border. But you presume I’m talking about the border, rather than the heartlands.
        ==========================

      • pokerguy,

        “It was climate-gate that caused me to “pivot” as Barry likes to say, in the direction of skepticism. Again, in all phases of my personal little climate journey, politics played no part. In fact it turned out to be the other way around, as I began to see Obama and the Democrats, from a new, and deeply disturbing perspective.”

        Politics played no part? Politics is what your change was all about.

        – Mann’s hokey stick was not science, it was politics dressed up as science.
        – Climategate wasn’t science, it was politics pure and simple.
        – IPCC isn’t a scientific organization, it is a political one.
        – Decarbonization isn’t a scientific theorem, it is a political agenda.

        What happened to you was that you were forced by reality to confront the political assumptions through which you viewed the “science.” Most progressives just swallow the cognitive dissonance and move on, as they were taught to do from preschool on.

        For one side, “the end justifies the means” is holy writ.

        I would suggest that every step away from progressivism is just as political as its embrace.

        Politics is not a dirty word. It is just the label we assign to discussions about policy and governments proper role.

        pol·i·tics
        noun plural but singular or plural in construction \ˈpä-lə-ˌtiks\
        : activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government
        -the opinions that someone has about what should be done by governments

      • Joshua wrote:
        “On the other hand, if you ascertain someone’s political orientation, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to predict their views on climate change.”

        No. I’m with Gary M on this one – our pre-existing political orientation determined whether we were willing to swallow the very obvious political motivation behind Mann’s 1998 hockey stick, when it all started to come to light.

      • Jonathan –

        ==> “No. I’m with Gary M on this one – our pre-existing political orientation determined whether we were willing to swallow the very obvious political motivation behind Mann’s 1998 hockey stick, when it all started to come to light.”

        Most people who have opinions on climate change don’t know what the evidence is, who stated it, what the hockey stick is, who Michael Mann is, etc.

        Of those who do know those details, (just like those who don’t), opinions are split pretty much down the middle.

        The problem with your theory is that it doesn’t fit with the evidence. You’re projecting from your views (and those of an outlier group) to the wider public. That isn’t skeptical. It’s “skeptical.”

      • Much too attached.

        Try thinking that it might not be so.
        ==========

      • ==> “Try thinking that it might not be so.”

        Oh.

        You mean try ignoring the evidence?

        The evidence exists. So then you try to offer plausible explanations that are consistent with the evidence. Those explanations “might not be so.”

        But I don’t think that believing in explanations that also might not be so and in addition, are not consistent with the evidence is the way to go.

        I guess you have to be a “skeptic” to understand, eh kim?

      • Yeah, I knew it was an impossible challenge. It’s like a drug for you.
        ==================

      • Joshua,
        “Most people who have opinions on climate change don’t know what the evidence is, who stated it, what the hockey stick is, who Michael Mann is, etc.”
        I agree with that – there is far too much ignorance of the actual science and too many people rely on appeals to authority.

        “Of those who do know those details, (just like those who don’t), opinions are split pretty much down the middle.”
        Interesting, you suggest there is a 50-50 split between the two sides. Combined with your first quote, this implies you believe that the more people know about climate science, the more sceptical they are likely to be.

        “The problem with your theory is that it doesn’t fit with the evidence. You’re projecting from your views (and those of an outlier group) to the wider public. That isn’t skeptical. It’s “skeptical.””
        You imply that you have access to evidence that demonstrates that self-identified sceptics have taken that position based more on politics than any of the dodgy dealings of Mann and co? If so, please share! Otherwise, we are just trading opinions.

      • Policy is politics. Joshua has seized hold of a tautology and is repeatedly injecting it into a vein of science. Oh, well, whatever gets him through the day.
        ================

      • Jonathan –

        ==> “I agree with that – there is far too much ignorance of the actual science and too many people rely on appeals to authority.”

        People choose their “authority” based on group identification. It varies by context. For the most part, SWIRLCAREs and SWIMCAREs alike largely rely on the opinion of experts rather indiscriminately when the issue isn’t polarized along political lines. When the issue becomes polarized, they either disregard the opinions of experts (in favor of Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or MSNBC) or trust only those experts that are aligned with their group identification.

        ==> “Combined with your first quote, this implies you believe that the more people know about climate science, the more sceptical they are likely to be.”

        There is evidence to show that there is a relatively insignificant associated between greater “scientific literacy” and less concern about the risk of impact from ACO2. There is much stronger evidence that shows a general pattern of association between greater knowledge of a subject and greater polarization. The data suggest that the more people know, the more they use that knowledge to defend their identifications. In other words, what someone believes about climate change is much more a reflection of who they are than what they know. A similar pattern can be see with other polarized issues – such as believe about evolution.

        ==> “You imply that you have access to evidence that demonstrates that self-identified sceptics have taken that position based more on politics than any of the dodgy dealings of Mann and co? ”

        There seems to be a disconnect between what I was trying to say and how you understood what I was trying to say.

        I know of no evidence that speaks to what underlies the beliefs of any particular individual w/r/t climate change. The evidence speaks to underlying cognitive and psychological influences that shape how humans, as a group, tend to formulate beliefs – particularly on issues that reflect cultural, social, or political polarization.

        If you want to speculate about how people formulation opinions on a scale beyond the individual, you might try to make your conclusions consistent with the evidence. Up to you, of course..

        ==> “If so, please share! Otherwise, we are just trading opinions.”

        Regardless, we’re just trading opinions. It would be unskeptical to think otherwise.

      • You ignore the distinction between policy implications of climate science and the science itself. That’s not even a subtle nuance. Now, you’re the sophist. Is this incompetence or disingenuousness?
        =============

      • Is this incompetence or disingenuousness?

        Yes.

      • Jonathan –

        Consider what we see here at Climate Etc. Self-described “skeptics”: such as PG read these comments a lot. In so doing, he reads the almost uniformly nasty comments of folks like Wags, CWON, GaryM, Don, Mosher, Chief, etc. He reads the comments of folks like Faustino, Peter Lang, and many other self-described “skeptics” who demean and denigrate millions of people. But PG concludes that nastiness among the SWIMCAREs he encounters is a product of their perspective on climate change (or that their views on climate change are a product of their nastiness – the causality of his “theory” isn’t clear to me). He provides no actual evidence for his view. He obviously has no scientific basis for his conclusion – yet he’s quite convinced of its veracity. Is his belief on the issue based on what he knows, as someone knowledgeable on the subject, or on how he, himself, identifies within the debate?

        GaryM, is another nice example. He’s a self-described “skeptic” who thinks that “progressives” (who, according to his world view, comprise some 90%? of the American public) are “incapable of critical thinking.” Now he reads quite a bit about what “progressives” (and non-“progressives” according to his taxonomy) do and don’t believe. He’s quite knowledgeable on the subject. But he comes to highly implausible conclusions and doesn’t bother to every bring any evidence of his claims. Is his belief based on what he knows, as someone knowledgeable on the subject, or on how he, himself, identifies within the discussion about connections between political ideology and thinking abilities?

        There is obviously more that goes into what people believe on subjects than simply what they know (evidence-wise), particularly on subjects that are highly polarized and where people are heavily identified. The tendency towards biases such as “confirmation bias” is pretty strong. So theories about why “skeptics” believe what they belief should take the evidence for how reasoning can be biased into account.

        Of course, it could just happen to be that somehow SWIRLCAREs are somehow some kind of exception to how belief formulation takes places for most people in a polarized context. It could be that with them, identifications don’t come into play, and that there beliefs are merely a product of them being particularly well-informed and bias-free. But to believe that to be the case, I would need to see some evidence that somehow explains why SWIRLCAREs are unaffected by identification-related biases.

        If you have some, I really would love to see it.

      • Joshua, all you are doing is sharpening a sword that cuts both ways, but do carry on if you wish.

        Sure, there are plenty of right-wingers whose rejection of CAGW is a knee-jerk political response, they are the reason I don’t bother to comment at WUWT much any more. The same sort of people inhabit the other camp, too.

        But my personal experience, and that of many sceptics, is that our initial reaction was to accept the science (because as rational people that’s what we normally do) and only got suspicious when we started to look at the detail. ‘Sceptic’ blogs over the last few years are littered with comments to this effect. Sure, it’s just anecdotal, but it’s all any of us will ever have.

      • Jonathan –

        Skeptics use swords that cut both ways.

        “Skeptics” use one-sided swords, to attack theories in only one direction.

      • I understood the radiative effect of CO2 a quarter of a century ago when I first heard about it. Then I looked into the Piltdown Mann. And that has made all the difference.
        =============

      • Jonathan –

        ==> “But my personal experience, and that of many sceptics,…Sure, it’s just anecdotal, but it’s all any of us will ever have. ”

        Thank you for acknowledging the anecdotal nature of your evidence. It can often be hard to get self-identified “skeptics” to make that acknowledgement.

        If you try to generalize from “skeptics” who are active in the blogosphere, or elsewhere for that matter, you have a fundamental problem of trying to generalize from an unrepresentative sample, from an outlier.

        But maybe your belief that ‘skeptics” who are active in the blogopshere can be are somehow exceptional in how they reason, and in comparison to most folks, are relatively unaffected by identity-related biases. I certainly can’t rule that out – and I am, myself, saying that they are an outlier group. Now I happen to think that part of what makes them an outlier group is that they are more strongly identified on the issue, and as such, are actually probably even more likely to be influenced by identity-related biases – but perhaps there are other characteristics that make them an outlier group. Perhaps it is so, that in contrast to those who are heavily-identified on the other side of the great climate divide, self-described “skeptics” are driven by a purity of scientific inquiry.

        I could be convinced. It might be hard to convince me. But I could be convinced. Providing some kind of empirical evidence would be the first step to convince me, and I would think that someone who self-describes as a “skeptic” would be reluctant to formulate beliefs based on anecdote, and instead be skeptical about viewing “skeptic” as uniquely pure until they had empirical evidence to support that view,.

        Anyway, thanks for the non-nasty discussion. You’re an outlier among outliers.

      • Sometimes I think you confuse yourself with over-analysis. Try looking into Michael Mann’s chicanery for a change. Andrew Montford’s got a fine book: The Hockey Stick Illusion.

        Disclaimer. I haven’t read it. Careful, J, there’s a trap there.
        ==================

      • Joshua,

        “Thank you for acknowledging the anecdotal nature of your evidence.”

        Of course. On the other hand, you seem to be basing your stance on a generalised theory of identity-bias, with no causal evidence at all that it applies in the case. So I’m happy with where I stand on this.

        “Anyway, thanks for the non-nasty discussion. You’re an outlier among outliers.”
        Thanks. I’m also pleasantly surprised we’ve been able to rattle along so well, but please – claiming to be a true sceptic yourself while labelling others as “spectics” does you no credit. Having raised the banner of identity bias yourself, there is no way you can claim to be immune. Just saying.

      • Jonathan –

        Joshua,

        ==> “Of course. On the other hand, you seem to be basing your stance on a generalised theory of identity-bias, with no causal evidence at all that it applies in the case. So I’m happy with where I stand on this.”

        What does “in the case” mean? Causality is difficult to prove. I am suggesting a causal explanation for a larger group based on empirical evidence of association and saying that I don’t see why it wouldn’t apply to a sub-group. You are asserting a causal explanation for a sub-group, that you identify with with nothing but anecdotal evidence in support. I’m happy where I stand on this – but don’t quite understand why you’re happy with your stance.

        ==> “Thanks. I’m also pleasantly surprised we’ve been able to rattle along so well, but please – claiming to be a true sceptic yourself while labelling others as “spectics” does you no credit. Having raised the banner of identity bias yourself, there is no way you can claim to be immune. Just saying.”

        It’s interesting how often I run across this. I have never made a claim of “immunity.” Not once. Not ever. In fact, I often state that I am quite sure that I am subject to the same sorts of (non-skeptical) biasing influences as everyone else. Yet so often, self-identified “skeptics” mistakenly think I am making such a claim.

        You said that I was sharpening a sword that cuts both ways – and I interpreted that to somehow mean that it was self-defeating for me to do so. I disagree. I Think that to the degree I am a skeptic – using a sword that cuts both ways is consistent.

      • Joshua, do you think that applies in Europe? The way I see it, most people here don´t care either way. The subject is a non subject. However, the PP is very happy to have Cañete as the new EU Energy and environment commissioner.

      • Fernando –

        ==> “Joshua, do you think that applies in Europe? The way I see it, most people here don´t care either way. The subject is a non subject. However, the PP is very happy to have Cañete as the new EU Energy and environment commissioner.”

        I don’t quite understand your comment and your question (what is the “that” you’re referring to?)…

        It seems that outside the U.S., the issue of climate change is not as polarized. The identification-biases would likely be proportional, at least to some degree, to the depth of the identification. Less polarization ===> less identification ===> less biasing influence.

      • Joshua,

        “On the other hand, if you ascertain someone’s political orientation, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to predict their views on climate change. Not to say that political orientation is causal. IMO, the evidence shows that Identification is what’s causal.”

        My political Orientation is libertarian. Lets test your prediction methodology: Given you know that predict my views on

        a) is the rise in temperatures real?
        b) what is the best estimate of ECS and TCR
        c) was it warmer in the MWP?
        d) have extreme events increased
        e) does C02 warm the planet not cool it.

        Now you might be able to better predict my views on climate Politics and policy.

        a) do I favor global solutions or local solutions if given the choice
        b) do I favor taxation to solve the problem or investment in research

        and so forth.

        The problem with your statement is that you depend up a squishy definition
        of “climate change”

        read kim

      • Joshua | September 19, 2014 at 7:24 am |
        “Most people who have opinions on climate change don’t know what the evidence is, who stated it, what the hockey stick is, who Michael Mann is, etc.

        Of those who do know those details, (just like those who don’t), opinions are split pretty much down the middle.”
        ———————————
        lol
        So that’s a reduction from 97% to 50%.

      • Steven –

        Oy.

        First of all, I clearly stated that the general pattern doesn’t mean that you can make an accurate prediction for any one individual.

        Second, as I clearly stated, you can’t make general predictions on the basis of an unrepresentative sample. You are an outlier. Why is this such a difficult concept? You fail one of the most rudimentary principles of skepticism.

        A few basic principles for you:

        Don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples. Don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples. Don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples. Don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples. And finally, don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples.

        There. Maybe you’ll remember now?

      • OMG! There he goes again. You are amazing, joshie. Unintended irony just oozes from your pores. We are in awe.

      • We are all Outliers now.

      • Jonathan –

        I say that by definition, if you’re here you’re an outlier w.r.t. formulation of belief about climate change. Do you dispute that?

      • Mosher says “read Kim”. Good advice, when I don’t have the time to enjoy the excellent forum our host facilitates I “blitz” the threads, hitting on Kim’s comments. To me, on a per word basis they are the richest in substance and a guide to the “theme” of the thread.

      • Joshua,
        In terms of the amount of time spent looking at the science, of course we are all outliers. In terms of how worried I am about the liklihood of catastrophic global warming, these days I’d say I’m probably closer to the mean than you are.
        In terms of how far my views on this are coloured by my politics, I don’t see any hard data to go on.
        (p.s. I’m a libertarian and I dislike pretty much every major political organisation on the planet, so I’m note sure where I’d fit in anyway.)

      • Oy!

        “First of all, I clearly stated that the general pattern doesn’t mean that you can make an accurate prediction for any one individual.”

        Oy, yoy yoy!

        “I say that by definition, if you’re here you’re an outlier w.r.t. formulation of belief about climate change.”

        How does he do it? We may never know.

      • Yeah, kim has a real gift of getting straight to the nub of it. But don’t tell him I said that or he’ll think we like him or something.

      • Joshua

        “First of all, I clearly stated that the general pattern doesn’t mean that you can make an accurate prediction for any one individual.”

        That is my point. The problem is you dont engage individuals. You “engage” or try to have conversations with a “construct”. So, when people try to talk to you, you first place them in a group and then you assume they must believe as the group believes. Just engage the person.

        #######################
        Second, as I clearly stated, you can’t make general predictions on the basis of an unrepresentative sample. You are an outlier. Why is this such a difficult concept? You fail one of the most rudimentary principles of skepticism.

        1. You have to SHOW that I am an outlier.
        2. How many libertarians have you polled on the climate science
        issues I raised? none I suspect.
        3. Now, You’ve generally berated Judith for having no data.
        Please produce your survey information on libertarian views
        on ECS. or better on the question of whether C02 warms the planet
        or not. You’ve made a claim. I’m an outlier. Define outlier?
        If 80% of libertarians believe that c02 doesnt warm the planet then
        I’m in the minority. That’s not an outlier. What that should tell you
        is that IF you assume that I dont believe that C02 warms the planet because I’m a libertarian you will be wrong 20% of the time. That’s a lousy
        prediction. Want to know what I think? Ask me and you’ll be right 100% of the time. Want to make mistakes? ask my politics and you’ll be wrong 20% of the time. Now if 99% of libertarians believe that C02 doesnt warm the planet, then I’d function more like an outlier.
        So, you’ve made the claim I’m an outlier. math please.

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

        A few basic principles for you:

        Don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples. Don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples. Don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples. Don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples. And finally, don’t try to generalize from unrepresentative samples.

        ###########

        Sadly you are the one who generalized. I merely stated my position and asked you what prediction you would make. You concluded, without predicting, that I was an outlier. That presupposes you’ve calculated the probabilties of the answers to those questions. Math please. data and methods

      • If you don’t see the light and agree with joshie’s world view, you are an outlier. He don’t have to do no math.

      • ““I say that by definition, if you’re here you’re an outlier w.r.t. formulation of belief about climate change.”

        How does he do it? We may never know.”

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

        Now if Judith claimed there was a loss in trust because of climategate Joshua would screasm for her data.

        Now the show is on Joshuas foot.

        His theory: If you know somebody’s politics you can predict his position on climate change.

        Simple question. One of the key issues in climate change is the scientific claim that C02 causes warming all other things being equal.

        What does Joshua theory predict here.

        If person X is a libertarian, then the probability they will believe
        “C02 causes warming” is Y.

        So Joshua, we understand you are making a prediction about a group belief? What’s the prediction?

        Do 10% of Libertarians believe that c02 cause warming?
        20%
        31%
        46%
        85%

        I beleive it does. am I an “outlier?” Well, it depends on the percentage of libertarians who deny that C02 is a greenhouse gas.

        What would that percentage be?

        And finally, what good, what practical value is there in knowing that 35% percent of all libertarians beleive that C02 is a greenhouse gas. What does that tell you about the scientific facts of the matter. Well, nothing.

      • Mosher –

        ==> “1. You have to SHOW that I am an outlier.”

        Heh. You askes me to predict your estimate of ECS and TCR.

        If you freakin have an estimate of ECS and TCR you’re an outlier.

        If you know who judith curry is, let alone know what distinguishes her technical arguments about natural variability in warming from those of, say gavin, youre a freakin outlier.

        You boyz are just flailing now….

      • Nice going Joshua, but you’ve tried to turn a claim that personal politics predicts your stance on CAGW into an argument on how much we know about the science. Ain’t gonna wash.

      • What’s funny is that libertarians are all over the map.. on the science and on the policy.

        Here is one thought leader changing his mind

        http://reason.com/archives/2005/08/11/were-all-global-warmers-now

        here’s another

        http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/24/opinion/24easterbrook.html?_r=2&

        and another

        http://www.michaelshermer.com/2013/10/when-science-doesnt-support-beliefs/

        Question for Joshua’s theory. How does it explain people changing their opinion? well maybe it can’t. we will see.

        Note, pointing out thought leaders who have changed their minds, isn’t making a case for a general description of libertarian views.

      • Joshua

        ‘If you freakin have an estimate of ECS and TCR you’re an outlier.”

        I also asked you to predict whether I thought the temperature increase was real.

        I gave you a whole series of questions that represent views on climate change.

        Lets keep it simple.

        what proportion of libertarian believe that its warmer now than in the LIA.

        Am I an outlier? show it.

      • Further,

        Amongst libertarians if we were to poll them we would find

        X % have no view or no opinion on ECS
        Y % would have a view.

        What does Joshuas theory predict about these proportions.
        Next, what does his theory predict about how y% breaks down

        That is, having a view ( the Y group ) may be a small group.
        That is If I know you are a libertarian I may predict that 5% of the time you will have a view on ECS.. Well, what does joshuas theory predict about the split of these 5%?

        in short, his theory is pretty damn empty. It cant predict the probability that I will have a view ( a number for ECS) and GIVEN that I have a view his theory cant predict my view.

        So Knowing Im a libertarian tells you nothing about my views on the science or whether I even have specific views or not.

      • I don’t know why you attempt to have discussions with joshie that presume he will consider facts and logic. Joshie is impervious to that stuff. He doesn’t care that he is wrong. He just wants to consume your time and energy. That’s how he defeats evil. Joshie imagines himself as a climate superhero action figure with a kung fu grip.

    • In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/505.htm

      It is clear that models do not converge to a single probabilistic solution. Yet these claims are central to confident climate prognostications. And the opposition claims they are running warm because they haven’t modeled the pause. Neither side have quite grasped the implications of probabilistic solutions in models – or indeed of abrupt changes in the climate system.

      • That’s why they run the models many times, Rob. Almost all the runs are high. The next couple of years will be interesting wrt model predictions and the actual data.

      • This is what happens with multiple runs of the same model using slightly different starting and boundary conditions.

        Theoreticaly – this might lead to a pdf of possible future states.

        e.g. http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

        What they actually do is pick one realization of possible futures based on a priori ‘plausibility’ – and graph it along with other plausible solutions in an opportunistic ensemble.

      • Rob Ellison, what I see done in other fields is to identify the model runs which lead to catastrophic outcomes, budget project changes, data gathering and experiments to understand if those outcomes are real, and if they are a threat how to avoid them.

        Which brings me to geoengineering. The lack of geoengineering research is a large gap. This tells me the global warming politics are driven by something beyond the climate. A rational problem solver would budget geoengineering research as a top priority.

    • NW: I agree with you. The notion that individual scientific pursuits are swayed by political beliefs is not what is found in the real world. Scientists working long hours are more often grappling with unresolved scientific problems, compelled to find answers. They don’t have time to tie their shoelaces, let alone be concerned about politics.

      • Climatology seems to attract political activists like sugar attracts ants.

      • The politics lies in what research gets funded.

      • The politics lies in what research gets funded.

        As part of a “vicious circle” feedback loop that includes the “consensus” manufactured by the IPCC etc. But the incentives WRT political decisions what to do about climate change/CO2 are also part of that loop. The question is: what part, and how much?

      • Judith

        You can not get funding for research from EU bodies unless it supports the notion of man made climate change.

        http://www.jpi-climate.eu/joint-actions/calltransnationalcollaborativeresearchprojects

        tonyb

      • Judith –

        ==> “The politics lies in what research gets funded.”

        I was wondering if you could spell out the mechanism that you think describes out “politics lies in what research gets funded.” Does that run only one way – for example, that leftist politics increases, differentially, funding for research into the effects of CO2 emissions but rightist politics don’t have a counterbalancing effect of limiting research into the effects of CO2 emissions?

        I have another question also. Do you think that a mechanism whereby financial interest biases the outcomes of scientists’ research is a significant causal variable in the outcome of research into climate change (collectively)?

        If so, do you think that your own financial interests bias the outcomes of your own science?

        Presumably you don’t think so – and if not, and if you do see the bias of financial interest at play in the work of other climate scientists, I wonder what is in play that you would exclude your own work (or that of, say, Roy Spencer or RPJr.) from the financial-interest biases that perhaps you think is in play for others? I notice that you are getting quite a bit of public attention for your views on climate change. You are speaking before Congress, publicizing and giving high profile talks for political organizations, heavily promoting your own work on a fairly high profile blog, giving interviews to high profile journalists, etc. I like to think that you’re doing all of these things because you’re dedicated to evaluating the science and promoting your perspective. Should I start concluding that your science is biased by your own financial interests?

      • I was in a different world, Department of Defense Research. My challenge was to change antiquated minds; it took time and persistence.

      • tony –

        ==> “You can not get funding for research from EU bodies unless it supports the notion of man made climate change.”

        I notice that quite often SWIRLCAREs point to funded research that supports their views on climate change but then turn around and claim that research that supports their views on climate change can’t get funded.

        Are you saying that in the EU, there has been no research funded that isn’t consistent with the “consensus” view on climate change?

      • Joshua

        The link leads to the official body that handles funding. It says;

        ‘The Joint Programming Initiative “Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe (JPI Climate)” was established as part of the effort to deal with climate change as one of the Grand Challenges. JPI Climate seeks to facilitate integrated climate knowledge and decision support services for societal innovation towards a climate-friendly and climate-proof Europe. JPI Climate provides a platform for aligning national research priorities, coordinating the research base in Europe, and responding to the needs of the European society, through innovative inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches and flexible collaborative governance.’

        This from the EU climate change web site an organisation stabled in 2012 building up an agreement made 5 years earlier

        ‘Preventing dangerous climate change is a strategic priority for the European Union. Europe is working hard to cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially while encouraging other nations and regions to do likewise.’

        The EU has thought of man made climate change as one of the Great Challenges and meeting that challenge is enshrined in law. Funding for sceptics will not have been permitted by law since around 2005.

        tonyb

      • tony –

        I see nothing in that excerpt that precludes research that returns evidence that, say, sensitivity is at the low end of the range outlined by the IPCC.

        You can be sure that if there is funded research that returns such evidence, SWIRLCAREs will point to it triumphantly, even as they repeat the claim that no evidence that is in contrast to the “consensus” can get funding.

      • Joshua

        You said;

        ‘I see nothing in that excerpt that precludes research that returns evidence that, say, sensitivity is at the low end of the range outlined by the IPCC. ‘

        But that wasn’t my point. There is a status quo within the ipcc science and the EU will not permit anything outside of those boundaries to be funded.

        Anyway, forgive me, but my granddaughter arrives in a few minutes for my sons birthday tea and I need to nail the furniture down.
        tonyb

      • I was wondering if you could spell out the mechanism that you think describes out “politics lies in what research gets funded.”

        I agree with you, Joshua. I wonder what type of research related to climate science would not get funded. Does anyone have any examples? And as you say the results of the research speak for themselves; either they support your hypothesis (e.g. AGW) or they don’t.

      • Tony: “My granddaughter arrives in a few minutes For my son’s birthday tea and I need to nail the furniture down.”

        The same problem occurs occasionally here in the US; know from experience.

  34. How knowledge comes to the fore, and gets implemented as policy or standard practice, should be left to natural forces. When something really works, the punters will be there. There will be the usual kerfuffles, but the punters will punt. If the prez and the UN and the pope want to know what they can’t know just tell ’em that. By phone, and save the jet trails.

    Science should be concerning itself with gaining knowledge through unnatural and unsettling exertion, preferably not dissipated by the premature ejaculations laughably known as publication. Nothing wrong with publishing and stating frankly what you know and what you don’t know…but that’s hardly what’s happening now, is it?

    If you scientists put your heads together and agree on this or that, good for you. If one stands back and strokes his chin when others seem certain, good for him. Something will come out of both positions if curiosity and freedom prevail. But let’s not turn consensus and disagreement into Byzantine mysteries…or opportunity for more verbal molasses in the Publish-or-Perish culture.

  35. “Both pitfalls find their reasoning on either paternalistic or protective grounds. The former meaning that experts state that it might actually be in the public’s advantage if they speak with one voice rather than with many, whereas the latter hints at the fact that experts, in this manner, could in fact guarantee that their status remains intact and can prohibit others from gaining the authority and trust to do their work.”
    Paternalistic. I know better. Now try to tell my children that. I’ll try to tell the politicians that I know better. I’ll tell the denizens and the world in general. I guess that will not work.
    Protective. We must protect our status by speaking as one. That if others propose an idea that varies from ours, we say no. At a later time we may consider the idea and there is even the slightest chance we may adopt it. Sometimes this takes about 15 years. I can identify with protective. To be a CPA is to exclude others and be given privileges. Yet non-CPAs (see H&R Block) keep attracting our business. TurboTax grows in popularity. The world changes. Withholding information to protect status as mentioned by the authors used to be a circumstantial fact. Our most in depth source on the tax law came in two thick five ring binders annually and was quite expensive. The needed information was mostly held by CPAs. Somewhat of a monopoly of information. Most of that information is now available free on the internet and that subscription with CCH was ended many years ago. Status might by hard to rank. I get to sign with the letters CPA after my name. I think the real value in my own status is what my clients think of me. It comes partly from the laws, but that’s not worth much on its own. On withholding information from my clients, my first answer is, If it’s relevant, that’s unethical and potentially dangerous to my professional status. However each specific situation has to be considered in its entirety.

  36. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry’s Marshall Institute lecture introduces the (very useful, as it seems to FOMD) trifecta of “reality-danger-action”.

    Let’s put Judith Curry’s terminology to use, in analyzing the climate-change debate.

    Resolved  Think-tanks like the Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the CATO Institute, and National Review have consistently and relentlessly *DENED* the science-driven trifecta of “reality-danger-action”.

    Scientific Consensus Regarding Climate Change (IPCC)
    (1) Anthropogenic climate change is real
    (2) Anthropogenic climate change is dangerous
    (3) Action is needed to prevent dangerous anthropogenic climate change.

    ———–

    Scientific Consensus Regarding Ozone Depletion (Montreal Accords)
    (1) Anthropogenic ozone depletion is real
    (2) Anthropogenic ozone depletion is dangerous
    (3) Action is needed to prevent dangerous anthropogenic ozone depletion

    ———–

    Scientific Consensus Regarding Persistent Organic Pollutants (the EPA Dirty Dozen)
    (1) Persistant organic pollutants are real
    (2) Persistant organic pollutants are dangerous
    (3) Action is needed to mitigate dangerous global accumulation of persistant organic pollutants

    ———–

    Scientific Consensus Regarding Tobacco-Smoke Carcinogens (“Big Tobacco” products)
    (1) Tobacco-smoke carcinogens are real
    (2) Tobacco-smoke carcinogens are dangerous
    (3) Action is needed to mitigate dangerous public exposure to tobacco-smoke carcinogens.

    ———–

    Scientific Consensus Regarding Space-Borne Energy Weapons (“Star Wars”)
    (1) “Star Wars” technologies are ineffective
    (2) “Star Wars” technologies are destabilizing
    (3) Action is needed to mitigate wasteful public spending on “Star Wars” technologies

    ———–

    Scientific Consensus Regarding Smallpox, HIV, and Ebola viruses
    (1) Smallpox, HIV, and ebola viruses are real
    (2) Smallpox, HIV, and ebola viruses are dangerous
    (3) Action is needed to mitigate dangerous public exposure to Smallpox, HIV, and ebola viruses.

    Resolved  It is the predominant sense of the scientific community that the sustained practice of ideology-driven anti-scientific denialism is contrary to objectives of rationality and community.

    *THAT* forfeiture — the forfeiture of denialism’s claims to rationality and community — is evident to *EVERYONE*, eh Climate Etc readers?

    Note  Here the term sense of the community is adopted in place of the contentious term “consensus”.

    This *IS* the predominant sense of the scientific community, eh Climate Etc readers?

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

    • Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an
      increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the
      global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly
      constant global mean temperature.
      http://www.leif.org/EOS/2008GL037022.pdf

      Resolved: There is little to suggest that FOMBS has any sort of a clue.

    •  
      Scientific Reality Regarding Climate Research Establishment
      (1) Global warming that is not occurring
      (2) Accelerated sea level rise that is not occurring
      (3) Increased extreme weather that is not occurring
      (4) Action is needed to prevent feckless fear mongering and the spending of billons of dollars on filing cabinets full of worthless global warming junk science and letting
      millions of people die every year in developing countries because they are still being denied the countless health and economic blessings that fossil fuels could bring. [See–e.g., Paul Driessen, ‘Real problem is monstrous government programs that perpetuate poverty, disease and death’]

      Resolved that they just want you to do what they want: they are climatologists demanding faith in the new religion of global warming, the UN and Leftist government. This has nothing to do with the world’s climate whatsoever; it’s all about power and increasing receipts from the productive through fears, lies, exaggeration and deceit. His “faith” allowed him to act out the fantasy of every dangerous psychopath dreaming of revenge upon a world that was not good enough for him and that otherwise failed to accord him the special notice or place that he thought he merited. ~Theodore Dalrymple

      • 1+ Wag, it’s disappointing to see Dr. Curry clinging to unicorn middling or centrist talking points. It isn’t reform or progress to cheer the few who aren’t absolute fanatics when they still harbor underlying statist views and attitudes about unproven carbon claims.

      • With what’s coming next week Wag you would think Dr. Curry would focus on the simplicity of the 45 year climate agenda;

        http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2014/09/13/facing_climate_change_headon_means_changing_capitalism_naomi_klein.html

        It’s all about socialism, all the time. Instead we get an article filled with word games….about “consensus”…”meta-consensus”..as if they have the weight to shape debates any longer.

      • I wonder if the new iPhone 6 qualifies is an example of what Naomi Klein sees as ‘mindless consumption’ fueled by capitalism or is Apple simply doing their best to keep up with Samsung?

      • What Fan wants is to impose a post Enlightenment model of knowledge on Western Culture. Kind of like Europe is trying to go “Post Democratic.”

        He somehow believes that you can concentrate awesome power in an elite and never fear that a bad actor will somehow get his hands on that power.

      • They’ve been around longer than “global warming”. That’s just the bandwagon they’re riding for now. The ones that haven’t already decided to move on, and throw Mann under the bus. (CF ACLU amicus brief.)

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        warns against those who “somehow believe that you can concentrate awesome power in an elite and never fear that a bad actor will somehow get his hands on that power.

        Science, history, economics, human psychology, and mathematical game theory alike justify your concerns, TJA!

        Regrettably, “the predominant sense of the scientific community” is that the recent history of think-tanks like the Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the CATO Institute, and National Review is scarcely reassuring in regard to the concerns that TJA raises.

        *THESE* scientific concerns accord well with common-sense, eh Climate Etc readers?

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

      • …you don’t need to be a trained climatologist to smell danger when someone says, Anthropogenic greenhouse gasses are warming the planet, so we need to ramp up taxes, institute a command-and-control economy, stop industrial development in the developing world, and, y’know, just maybe, suspend democracy and jail people who object… ~Prussian (What is Mann that thou art mindful of him?)

      • The power of the Koch Brothers is insignificant compared to the power of somebody like Putin, in control of the state. That is what I fear.

      • Well, between Gamechanger Salon (a cabel of 1000 journalists coordinating on environmental issues) , Society of Environmental Journalists (over 1000 North American members), Centre for Investigative Journalism, in fact a whole slew of organizations:
        http://earthjournalism.net/resources/resource-2013-climate-change-media-partnership

        FOMB really doesn’t have to worry about the skeptical viewpoint being presented in the press in a fair and honest way, and his worries about the MSM writing truthful articles on the state of the climate are overblown.

    • “Think-tanks like the Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the CATO Institute, ”

      Where would our Quaker F/freind be without smearing the motives of those he purports to engage?

      Eh Climate Etc Readers? Inquiring minds want to know!

    • Hi FAN,
      Your favorite climate campaigner is getting lots of great press. Here’s Naomi Klein in The Atlantic!
      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/09/climate-change-is-an-opportunity-to-dramatically-reinvent-the-economy/380429/

      Swoon! Note to anyone who wants a pure example of “ideology-driven anti-scientific denialism” read that interview with Klein.
      And remember, if that climate response to CO2 isn’t high,
      “radical” socialism will continue to die.

      Get to work “science” community, eh FAN readers?

      • JeffN

        Who are these hardcore climate deniers that Klein talks about? She seems rather silly and makes sweeping assertions, but I can’t say I’ve really come across her much on this side of the pond.

        I wouldn’t think too many people would take her seriously over here except Guardian readers.
        Tonyb

      • In this one instance at least, you’re on the lucky side of the pond.

      • Hi Tony,
        In Klein-world, anyone who doubts that AGW is catastrophic enough to demand “radical” global socialism is a “hardcore denier.” You’ll notice that she includes liberals who merely want a tax hike in the list of “hardcore denier.”
        A Kleiniac must believe AGW is imminent and catastrophic. Otherwise, you don’t get what you want politically. And if you don’t get what you want politically, well then they don’t really care about AGW.
        Did you see the article is illustrated by images of demolition of a nuclear power plant? Why would someone who wants mitigation celebrate the destruction of the world’s only functional zero emission power plant type?
        The world wonders, eh FAN?

  37. Rob Ellison, you have to invoke the Skydragon argument to make the feedback go away, as I said. It’s all part of the same theory.
    AK, huh? Do you at least see that Nature has to be a net sink?

    The science shows fluctuations in CO2 lagging temperature as it must. CO2 like temperature goes up and down. Something sources exceed sinks and sometimes they don’t. A fairly simple concept it seems.

    e.g. http://www.academia.edu/2949675/Stomatal_proxy_record_of_CO2_concentrations_from_the_last_termination_suggests_an_important_role_for_CO2_at_climate_change_transitions

    It is not clear why it should be so difficult – except that it is not consistent with this particular meme.

  38. Geoff Sherrington

    Going back to the start (we Antipodeans work different hours) one must draw a very thick line between
    ‘There is wide acceptance that much of the increased atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic’ or similar; and
    ‘Anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 causes significant global warming.’

    Policy makers and related consensus users too often assume that agreement over the first statement implies acceptance of the second. Sometimes this false assumption is justified by no more than ‘CO2 is a known greenhouse gas.’

    People who make policies based on consensus over such childish truisms should not be making policies. The consensus that counts is the one that evolves from rigorous science. The global warming scene has near to nil consensus over the main scientific hypotheses. Climate science has been of too low an overall standard for too long. Good scientists have consensus over that statement. I wish a few more good scientists would speak up. How can one agree with a mob described by the old saying “If you lie down with dogs you stand up with fleas’.

    • Geoff, you put it very well. I tend to think CO2 does cause warming. I suspect it isn´t as much as described by the IPCC. Furthermore, there´s a serious disconnect between climatology and sorting out the better solutions. I read a lot about the risk involved in doing nothing. I don´t read enough about the risk of making the wrong moves. Unfortunately wrong moves prevail at this time.

  39. If elections are adjusted to reflect the models, is it still politics?

  40. Sorely lacking material…taxonomy/jabberwocky imposed on the well known among the conscious. … all too common. A big bun:

  41. tonyb
    If you pop in today. Good the Scots did not break apart the union of 1707.

    Scott of the border clan Scott but in the US for 220 years.
    Scott

  42. Scott

    My fear was for a marginal ‘No’ in which case the Scots would have been back for ever more inducements to augment their already over generous funding. I am afraid our leaders have never heard of Danegeld.

    45% to 55% is a good result, but the big story is not about the small number of Scots involved but the 85% of the people in this island who are funding them-the English. What irritates us is that the Scottish (overwhelmingly socialist) MP’s are allowed to vote on English matters but English MP’s are not allowed to vote on Scottish matters.

    Hopefully that will now be addressed and one of the worlds longest and most successful political and cultural Unions will continue. So as a Brit, yes its a great result, as an Englishman lets hope it will serve to correct the anomalies we see against the English politically and financially and hope this will make the Union stronger.

    tonyb

    • I must confess to being a wee bit disappointed with the result.

      I was looking forward to drinking imported Scotch – now it looks like I have to continue drinking the local stuff ;-)

    • They like the anomalies. If you try to correct the anomalies, they will vote again.

    • John Smith (it's my real name)

      tonyb
      I also think the vote is good news
      Question
      How much of the “consensus” debate is driven by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme?
      If your view is right and we are not facing out of ordinary unprecedented climate disaster
      and CO2 is not the great monster
      doesn’t this carbon market collapse, vested interest lose money
      for CO2 to be valuable it must remain scary, no?

      the market is operating now right? Don’t see much talk about it

  43. How long before we begin to see articles in the MSM raise fears about the world descending into global cooling, given the record-setting extent of Antarctic sea ice cover (currently, the largest we simple earthlings have ever recorded)?

    • As soon as industrialized society can be blamed for cooling. I’m holding my breath.
      ===========

    • Wag,
      A little LIA 2 would be such a bracing relief even if it costs money and hurts agriculture in marginal areas. Not stopping the CAGW meme will be more costly in the long term. The climate is such a complex environment with feed backs and inputs from so many varied drivers, it is impossible at this time to make accurate predictions beyond 2 weeks. After the cooling, the humble nature of science investigations can reassert itself and resume the search for realistic understanding of complex oceans and atmospher behaviers.
      Scott

    • This is the horror. Chemo to kill a cancer.
      =============

    • An increase in sea ice is hardly inconsistent with “global warming”.

      • … nor as it turns out was the end of, “the modern Grand maximum (which occurred during solar cycles 19–23, i.e., 1950-2009),” says Ilya Usoskin, “a rare or even unique event, in both magnitude and duration, in the past three millennia.” [Usoskin et al., Evidence for distinct modes of solar activity, A&A 562 (2014)].

    • Neither is a Scotch on the rocks, although the reason might be because a Scotch on the rocks is inherently inconsistent.

    • Wagathon, don´t do a reverse imitation. A little Antarctic ice doesn´t necessarily mean we are about to enter an ice age. These things take time.

    • Wag: ” How long before we begin to see articles in the MSM raise fears about the world descending into global cooling…….?”

      Hard to predict. There are many who are heavily invested in the warming scare. How will they react to a cooling globe or an extended pause? My guess is that made up theories will get even wilder than we’ve heard heretofore.

  44. Another blithering, would-be dog whistle to be added to the climate debate….”meta-consensus” as if this substitutes for empirical and reproducible science. Another plea from Dr. Curry that there is some unicorn middle ground to be agreed to. Given the fiasco that is coming next week in NYC, the shear scale of it for one thing, you would think touting “wicked problems” would out of the question when the AGW truth is so much more obvious;

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/388320/uns-climate-summit-charade-rupert-darwall

    Climate authority grasping, “policy” is an “evil” problem not a wicked one. Those grasping for power on marginal co2 claims are the evil. This is where the debate that matters is actually focused.

  45. Writing in Science News in the 70s at a time the EU was busily pumping up its doomed Euro-Communist economic bubble, John Douglas captured the concerns of many about the globe’s imminent descent into an ice age – not a period of global warming – as follows:

    What if we are entering a period of degenerating weather–even a new ice age? How much would it really affect daily life? A look at the historical record is not encouraging… Even for the most highly industrialized countries a significant change in the climate could strain all available resources, possibly leading to wars of conquest on the one hand, or extremely expensive adaptation, such as climate domes… ~John H. Douglas, ‘Climate Change: Chilling Possibilities,’ Science News, Vol. 107 (March 1975)

  46. Completely OT, but I thought Doc and others would enjoy this. It is a clip of one of the kinesin proteins carrying a vesicle along a cytoskeletal filament. Absolutely brilliant.

  47. A quote from Elizabeth Kolber in the New Yorker “Already, the effects of climate change are painfully apparent—in the shrinking Arctic ice cap, in the death of millions of acres of forest in the Western U.S., in more severe downpours and flooding in the Northeast, and, quite possibly, in the current California drought.”

    How will these people ever recover from insanity?

  48. WebHubTelescope | September 19, 2014 at 2:17 pm |

    “Rob Ellison | September 19, 2014 at 12:07 am |
    And there is no runaway feedback. CO2 varies with temperature“

    Taz — Thank you for the #OwnGoal.

    Atmospheric CO2 varies with temperature.

    https://judithcurry.com/2014/09/18/distinguishing-the-academic-from-the-interface-consensus/#comment-630088

    Runaway feedback doesn’t happen – because it hasn’t happened. Perhaps because of the Planck response or the saturation function.

    There is no point to webnutcoloscope’s comment – except to suggest that I am a Tasmanian devil it seems. This is a very real little carnivore for which we have a wary affection. The Loony Tunes version he refers to seems an apt vehicle for his puerile interjections.

    Why is this permitted to continue? There is no substance to anything he says – just insults and abuse and prattling and preening. Why not just put him into permanent moderation and not post anything that doesn’t make any rational point? That would be basically everything. Easy. Time constraints? Simply stop him polluting the site permanently then. This would be reasonable moderation as practiced at any random site.

    His only purpose here is to insult and berate ‘sceptics’ – basically anyone who disagrees with his eccentric ideas – and then to return with tales of the Krackpot and her Klimate Klowns to his natural haunts. It is more than time that this disruptive and malicious influence – someone totally off the planet it seems – be effectively moderated.

    • whoops… wrong image…

      The other one comes from my Facebook announcement that I am retiring from adulthood. Decisions will be made by the eenie, meenie, miney, moe method. Arguments will be settled by sticking out my tongue. If you want me I will be at recess.

  49. If the consensus of those on the Left is that global warming made him do it (or was at the least a contributing factor), Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice may have a valid defense to spousal battery.

  50. One aspect of global warming is that H2O feedback was supposed to amplify the CO2 warming resulting in catastrophic warming. Something I haven’t seen considered is that IF the ocean is absorbing the CO2 warming, there won’t be much H2O feedback. I mean, after all, another 0.01 C warmer ocean isn’t exactly going to stuff full the atmosphere with water vapor.

  51. Richard Lindzen let’s it all hang out at Cato today. I’m not sure what motivated this but he’s fired both barrels.

    http://www.cato.org/blog/reflections-rapid-response-unjustified-climate-alarm

  52. Judith, this would be a worthy post. I mean Silbert’s link re: Lindzen

  53. It is use thing to have models that are consistently wrong. The discipline of modelling will eventually lead to the correct physics and that is the normal path of modelling. Correctly pursued the discipline will correct itself, whether structural or quantitate errors.

    It is quite another thing to pretend that a crook model is ok and there is no incentive to improve it. That is what Dr Christy’s evidence is telling Congress. This is the real evil of consensus. Those of us who have survived the discipline of modelling complex systems can attest to that.

  54. Yes – the ‘consensus’ here is unrecognized for what it is. The only consensus is the AGW groupthink and the only plurality allowed is that of the benighted and misbegotten. Conservatives who are quite literally in their eyes psychologically disturbed or committing crimes against humanity. It makes them quite unable to process complexity or uncertainty – it is all measured against the groupthink in a Procrustean struggle to make reality fit the meme.

    A neat example is webbly’s ‘CSALT model’ – which he was prattling on about yet again earlier – and which I was ignoring because frankly it is not worth discussing as anything but cutting the legs off data to fit the bed.

    It is of course a multiple linear regression – not a model – in which various data streams are scaled to fit the temperature series. Any bright 10 year old could do it – it is at about that level of interest, significance or relevance. Of course it requires accurate data on all of the contributing factors and can’t be projected forward without an ability to predict the evolution of these factors. But the data is uncertain and there are unknown factors in the cause and evolution of large changes in TOA radiant flux. The latter includes changes related to ENSO.

    ‘Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture. An illustration of the variability in TOA radiation is provided in Fig. 1, which shows a continuous 31-year record of
    tropical (20S–20N) TOA broadband outgoing longwave (LW) radiation (OLR) between 1979 and 2010 from non-scanner and scanner instruments.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

    And a near global SW proxy for the same period.

    What it shows is cooling in IR and warming in SW between the 80’s and 90’s and an interesting step change in the ‘climate shift’ around the turn of the century. This data utterly confounds the AGW groupthink and so is ignored by and large.

    Genuflect to AGW and then discuss the complications? There is a pattern in this. The genuflection is a requirement to avoid invoking the ire of the Borg collective. Resistance is futile.

    Climate shifts at mutli-decadal scales are a fact – with changing intensities and frequency of ENSO. A change in the 20th century to more frequent and intense El Nino with decadal periods of alternating El Nino and La Nina dominance. A shift back to centennial La Nina dominance seems a possibility.

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

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

    These shifts are utterly unpredictable. This is the science of complexity and uncertainty – deterministic chaos arises in complex and dynamic systems and creates unmistakable uncertainty. These are anomalies and the essence of groupthink is to rationalise away anomalies for as long as feasible. Then the Kool-Aid comes out.

  55. Judith Curry > Further, research from the field of science and technology studies are finding that manufacturing a consensus in the context of the IPCC has acted to hyper-politicize the scientific and policy debates, to the detriment of both.

    This is hardly a revelation – it has of course always been the whole purpose of the IPCC – a political lobby group with a politicizing agenda.

  56. Berényi Péter

    The relationship at play within academic consensus is one between experts. In the academic world, every scientist/academic is regarded to be an (equal) peer and everyone serves as an authority within his or her field. These people are generally regarded to be on the cutting edge of research and are expected to be among the first to notice changes occurring within their field of expertise. The relationship at play within the interface consensus is one between expert and layman, grasping the interface between science and society. This type entails a relation between expert and layman grounded on authority, trust, and mutual respect, where the actors are not regarded to be on equal (epistemic) footing.

    Wait a minute. In each case there is a huge supply of educated laymen, who might not be an experts in that particular field, but may well be one in a neighboring discipline. They can’t do cutting edge research, but can decide perfectly well if methods and basic paradigms are sound in said field or not. Otherwise we would not be able to identify pseudosciences at all.

    There is a perfect academic consensus among experts of Homeopathy regarding the effectiveness of endlessly diluted solutions, what is more, they have schools, peer reviewed journals, conferences, etc., they have all attributes &. institutions of a proper science, still, it is bunkum. Not because genuine laymen lack trust or respect and reject authority in this particular case (they often don’t), but because there are meta-experts with even more authority who reject the entire field using the scientific method itself.

    The case of climate models is a similar one. You don’t have to be a climate scientist to come to the conclusion, that computational modelling of a single run of a unique physical instance is beyond the realm of science, especially if equations describing the evolution of said system are computationally intractable.