We are all confident idiots

by Judith Curry

Stumbling through all our cognitive clutter just to recognize a true “I don’t know” may not constitute failure as much as it does an enviable success, a crucial signpost that shows us we are traveling in the right direction toward the truth. – David Dunning

In pondering how we rationalize the ‘hiatus’ in context of theories and predictions of anthropogenic global warming, I have been looking to the fields of philosophy of science and psychology for insights.

The linkages between philosophy of science and psychology in context of epistemology is articulated in this statement by Quineepistemology itself “falls into place as a chapter of psychology and hence of natural science”: the point is not that epistemology should simply be abandoned in favor of psychology, but instead that there is ultimately no way to draw a meaningful distinction between the two.

Below are some articles I’ve recently come across that provide some insights.

David Dunning

David Dunning  has penned an article for the Pacific Standard entitled We are all confident idiots. Subtitle: The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise. This is a fascinating article, some excerpts:

For more than 20 years, I have researched people’s understanding of their own expertise—formally known as the study of metacognition, the processes by which human beings evaluate and regulate their knowledge, reasoning, and learning—and the results have been consistently sobering, occasionally comical, and never dull.

The American author and aphorist William Feather once wrote that being educated means “being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.”  To a great degree, we fail to recognize the frequency and scope of our ignorance.

In 1999, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, my then graduate student Justin Kruger and I published a paper that documented how, in many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize—scratch that, cannot recognize—just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. 

What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

Because it’s so easy to judge the idiocy of others, it may be sorely tempting to think this doesn’t apply to you. But the problem of unrecognized ignorance is one that visits us all. And over the years, I’ve become convinced of one key, overarching fact about the ignorant mind. One should not think of it as uninformed. Rather, one should think of it as misinformed.

 As the humorist Josh Billings once put it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Because of the way we are built, and because of the way we learn from our environment, we are all engines of misbelief. And the better we understand how our wonderful yet kludge-ridden, Rube Goldberg engine works, the better we—as individuals and as a society—can harness it to navigate toward a more objective understanding of the truth.

Some of our most stubborn misbeliefs arise not from primitive childlike intuitions or careless category errors, but from the very values and philosophies that define who we are as individuals. Each of us possesses certain foundational beliefs—narratives about the self, ideas about the social order—that essentially cannot be violated: To contradict them would call into question our very self-worth. And any information that we glean from the world is amended, distorted, diminished, or forgotten in order to make sure that these sacrosanct beliefs remain whole and unharmed.

The way we traditionally conceive of ignorance—as an absence of knowledge—leads us to think of education as its natural antidote. But education can produce illusory confidence.

It is perhaps not so surprising to hear that facts, logic, and knowledge can be bent to accord with a person’s subjective worldview; after all, we accuse our political opponents of this kind of “motivated reasoning” all the time. But the extent of this bending can be remarkable.

But, of course, guarding people from their own ignorance by sheltering them from the risks of life is seldom an option. Actually getting people to part with their misbeliefs is a far trickier, far more important task. Luckily, a science is emerging, led by such scholars as Stephan Lewandowsky at the University of Bristol and Ullrich Ecker of the University of Western Australia, that could help.

But here is the real challenge: How can we learn to recognize our own ignorance and misbeliefs?  Behavioral scientists often recommend that small groups appoint someone to serve as a devil’s advocate—a person whose job is to question and criticize the group’s logic. While this approach can prolong group discussions, irritate the group, and be uncomfortable, the decisions that groups ultimately reach are usually more accurate and more solidly grounded than they otherwise would be. For individuals, the trick is to be your own devil’s advocate: to think through how your favored conclusions might be misguided; to ask yourself how you might be wrong, or how things might turn out differently from what you expect. 

Another quote sometimes attributed to Franklin has it that “the doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.”

The built-in features of our brains, and the life experiences we accumulate, do in fact fill our heads with immense knowledge; what they do not confer is insight into the dimensions of our ignorance. As such, wisdom may not involve facts and formulas so much as the ability to recognize when a limit has been reached. Stumbling through all our cognitive clutter just to recognize a true “I don’t know” may not constitute failure as much as it does an enviable success, a crucial signpost that shows us we are traveling in the right direction toward the truth.

Lewandowsky

Dunning refers to Stephan Lewandowsky in a favorarable light.  Lewandowsky conducts psychological research on the subject of bias. In the context of the climate debate, Lewandowsky’s psychological research is highly controversial, see discussions by Steve McIntyre and Joe Duarte.

At WUWT, Andy West has just published a lengthy three part series:  Wrapped in Lew papers: the psychology of climate psychologization [Part I, Part II, Part III].  The main point is that Lew is so busy dissecting the ‘bias’ of climate change skeptics that he misses his own rather glaring biases.

Lewandowsky’s latest essay is Are you a poor logician?  Logically you might never know.  Lew applies the Dunning-Kruger ideas to dismiss AGW skepticism.  Ben Pile counters with a post Lewandowsky’s logic.  I just spotted Paul Mathews Lewandowsky’s loopy logic, which provides a good overview and extensive links.

I decided not to pull excerpts from these posts, but my summary point is this.  Psychologization can be a dangerous tool in ideological warfare.

It pays to be overconfident

An article in New York Magazine:  It pays to be overconfident, even if you have no idea what you’re doing.  Excerpts:

We deceive ourselves about our superiority so that we may better deceive our potential competitors, collaborators, benefactors, and mates. To be a good salesman, you have to buy your own pitch.

It turns out, we tend to (over)use confidence as a useful proxy for competence — if you speak firmly, it sounds like you know what you’re talking about. People who showed more confidence, regardless of their actual ability, were judged to be more capable and accorded more regard by their peers.

As for the effect of confidence on perceived ability even after actual ability has been reported, the authors note the lasting power of first impressions have been long known to disproportionately affect our judgments of others. All of this suggests that even when we’re unmasked as less skilled than our self-assured manner would suggest, there are ancillary social benefits to overconfidence.

Maybe this is how pundits (and Times columnists) maintain their audience, and why political candidates feel free to make undeliverable campaign pledges: There may simply be insufficient downside to their overpromising. 

Oh my, that certainly puts the IPCC’s confidence levels in a new light.

Assertions of scientific confidence

On the other hand, Pacific Standard has a post Assertions of scientific certainty are greeted with skepticism.  Subtitle: New German research suggests the public is wary of statements suggesting a scientific debate has been closed.  Excerpts:

On many fronts, scientists continue to be frustrated by the public’s unwillingness to accept their conclusions. On issues ranging from Ebola to climate change, their impulse is often to re-state their case in ever-more-vigorous terms, forcefully noting that there is no serious doubt about their assertions.

Newly published research from Germany suggests that sort of language may, in fact, be counterproductive.

“This means that readers were not persuaded by powerful formulations which described scientific evidence as very certain, but seemed to be skeptical when information was presented as too simple.”

JC reflections

I am interested in the overlap between epistemology and psychology; I’ve only dabbled in the relevant psychological literature (as pointed to from blog posts), so I have no idea what interesting papers out there that I might be missing.

What I would like to see is some studies related to the psychology and social psychology of scientific belief by scientists.  If you know of relevant papers, I would appreciate a pointer.

I am very concerned about the brand of psychological research conducted by Stephan Lewandowsky, that seems to be more of a tool in ideological warfare than anything else.

I like Dunning’s suggestions of devil’s advocates, which is similar to suggestions made by Steve Koonins and John Christy regarding a red team to critique the consensus statements.

Dunning-Kruger is a popular rationale for dismissing skeptics (particularly in the blogosphere); however I remain very concerned about the general phenomena in the scientific  community.  I will pick this issue up in a future post on scientific underdetermination.

The most disturbing point here is that overconfidence seems to ‘pay’ in terms of influence of an individual in political debates about science.  There doesn’t seem to be much downside for the individuals/groups to eventually being proven wrong.   So scientific overconfidence seems to be a victimless crime, with the only ‘victim’ being science itself.

How does the New Yorker article (overconfidence pays) square with the Pacific Standard article (certainty greeted with skepticism)?  Well within the group of the ‘converted’, overconfidence pays.  However, in the broader population (e.g. uncoverted),  certainty is greeted with skepticism.  In the later group, I’ve found that humility and discussing uncertainty works to build trust.

But of course I am absolutely not confident of any this.

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725 responses to “We are all confident idiots

  1. Pingback: Lewandowsky’s Loopy Logic | The IPCC Report

  2. The Climate Debate, the hyperpolarization of politics, and even the resurgence of racist rhetoric, and the ensuing discussions, such as this, of bias and finger pointing, has become all the rage.

    Has the Internet/Social Media, and the filter bubbles created, cleaved society down the middle?
    Has the progressive influence on the entire school system, K through PhD, for more than two generations destroyed the ability of people to think logically and critically analyze?
    Both of the above?
    Am I an old man just telling the kids to get off of my lawn?
    Is my tendency to see Noble Cause Corruption as a major motivation for my political opponents simply me fooling myself?
    I don’t know where I am going with this, but this seems to be the BIG issue of our time, the one which will influence how society evolves moving forward, and I’m not very happy with how it’s looking.

    • ctm: Yes and Yes to the first two. But “progressive”? Try regressive or repressive.

      • Good point, steven. And indeed, my belief – that the cause of your amusing logic that I excerpted above is clearly the destruction of logical thinking and critical analysis as the result of progressive influence on K through Ph D. education – is certainly warranted. Well, either that or the monkeys flying out of your butt could have caused it – which is also a warranted belief.

        And yes, AK – digging into a stated “warranted” belief in a singular cause for a broad-scale societal phenomenon (such as the supposed “destr[uction] of logical thinking and critical analysis) by asking for definitions and evidence is just nipticking.

      • Joshua.

        Of course your beliefs are warranted. You are free to believe in anything you like. As long as you are able to function, feed and clothe yourself, nobody gives a rats ass what you believe or why you believe it.

        Question: why do you care that charles has
        a) different beliefs than you
        b) beliefs that you consider wrong.

        In short how do your motivations govern your interpretation of his position?

        And.. once again, perhaps we can agree on filter bubbles.

        I’l; say more on noble cause corruption and progressive thought in a bit

    • => “Has the progressive influence on the entire school system, K through PhD, for more than two generations destroyed the ability of people to think logically and critically analyze?”

      I really love unintentional irony, and that’s why I really love Climate Etc. You get some of the bestest comments here.

      • Joshua — the Jonathon Gruber of Climate Etc.

      • Actually Joshua Charles poses these as questions not assertions of fact.
        He is allowed to ask questions.
        He is allowed to have beliefs.

        We can probably agree that filter bubbles are real and that they don’t help.

        As for his opinion of progressives effects on education. As a conservative who spent years in academia I have some data. Of course just one data point.

      • Of course he’s “allowed” to ask inane questions and to have beliefs about the answers. On the other hand…:

        If a “skeptic” wants to make claim about an incredibly broad cultural/societal phenomenon, then it seems to me that they might start by:

        Defining and quantifying the phenomenon, systematically looking for evidence of the hypothesized results, and controlling or variables to help establish cause-and-effect.

        Please, do show evidence of ” progressive influence on the entire school system, K through PhD” for “two generations.”

        Show evidence of a “destroy[ed] ability to think logically and critically analyze.” How would you measure that across society? Would you document a loss of products from logical thinking and critical analysis? Less technological output, for example?

        Do you see that some segments of our educational environment that display larger “progressive influence” relative to others, and which show a more marked reduction in logical thinking or critical analysis? Perhaps comparative trends in school and college performance in Montana as opposed to Berkeley, for example, or better trends in school performance in Texas as compared to “socialist” countries in Scandinavia?

        How have you controlled for variables such as poverty or class size or %’s of special needs students or %’s of speakers of English as a 2nd language?

        How have you controlled for “progressive influence” relative to non-progressive? influence in a country where higher #’s identify as conservatives rather than liberals?

        What’s your “data,” steven?

        You boyz are hilarious.

      • Here – I have a “belief” about the cause for this kind of amusing logic:’

        Joseph: “I think statements by actual scientists is even more relevant than some blog comment by Michael”

        Mosher: “You realize that you just claimed you are not relevant.”

        What’s your belief about it, steven? That’s it’s because of the influence of progressives on K through Ph D education?

      • You are not being fair to Johnathan Gruber, stan. Gruber is not an insignificant little anonymous twit. Heir Professor Gruber is a monumental twit. He didn’t get the memo about loose lips sinking ships. Give the Team climate scientists some of what Gruber is smoking and we could learn a lot.

      • The old-school delivery of this critique of U.S. education can be found wittily expressed in the late Richard Mitchell’s The Graves of Academe and his Underground Grammarian newsletter. He goes back to the very foundation of organizations such as the National Education Association and shows how their very first actions were to agitate against academic excellence and for socialization of students into conformity.

      • My data is simple Joshua.
        I can only speak for my experience.

        Do you think filter bubbles are good things?

        also

        If a “skeptic” wants to make claim about an incredibly broad cultural/societal phenomenon, then it seems to me that they might start by:

        Defining and quantifying the phenomenon, systematically looking for evidence of the hypothesized results, and controlling or variables to help establish cause-and-effect.
        #####################
        that is one very narrow way of understanding. You dont need to do any of that to have a warrented belief. Collecting that data MIGHT be interesting to you, it might convince you. But there is not requirement for Charles or anyone else to follow your protocals of knowledge, people are allowed to form beliefs based on their experience. These beliefs may or may not be useful for them.

        “Please, do show evidence of ” progressive influence on the entire school system, K through PhD” for “two generations.””

        As I said, in my experience I have seen the influence. I actually dont need to justify this to you. Im not interested in changing your mind.
        Some of the influences of progressives are laudable.

        “Show evidence of a “destroy[ed] ability to think logically and critically analyze.” How would you measure that across society? Would you document a loss of products from logical thinking and critical analysis? Less technological output, for example?”

        you dont need to show that evidence to have a warranted belief.
        you dont need to document anything. You keep thinking that people actually have to have proof to hold a justified belief. They dont. people
        hold beliefs all the time without such requirements. And they get to have these beliefs and these beliefs are rational. You might hold opposite beliefs. They are also rational.

        “Do you see that some segments of our educational environment that display larger “progressive influence” relative to others, and which show a more marked reduction in logical thinking or critical analysis? Perhaps comparative trends in school and college performance in Montana as opposed to Berkeley, for example, or better trends in school performance in Texas as compared to “socialist” countries in Scandinavia?”

        None of that is even close to being relevant to the point I am making. So let me make it clear. People dont need to live up to your ideals of proof to hold beliefs that are rational justified and warrented. IF they want to convince you, then they would be wise to present you with the kind of evidence you require. I suspect that charles is not interested in convincing you. Im not interested in convincing you.

        Now, do you agree that filter bubbles are not helpful

      • None of that is even close to being relevant to the point I am making. So let me make it clear. People dont need to live up to your ideals of proof to hold beliefs that are rational justified and warrented.

        What standards? Those standards are only a cover under which he nitpicks people he doesn’t agree with, in line with the tribalism he’s admitted to.

        IF they want to convince you, then they would be wise to present you with the kind of evidence you require.

        Actually, not. That would just be wasting their time. All he wants is to waste people’s time by nitpicking what they say on the basis of his double standard.They’d be wise to forget about trying to convince him.

      • Yikes –

        belongs here. http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/13/we-are-all-confident-idiots/#comment-647388

        Sorry – but I posted that in the wrong place because of the progressive influence on K through Ph D. education. It’s a warranted belief. No evidence required – ‘ cause that would just be nitpicking.

      • Another interesting study in bubbles:

        http://wattsupwiththat.com

        Not sure Charles knows about that one.

    • So far, the climate wars have been uncivil. Mebbe it should be termed the War Between the Future States, or the War of Climate Aggression.
      =========================

    • About the school system : I think it’s time to campaign to get the basics back into education. Not the old “three Rs”, but the new “four Rs” : Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic and Reasoning.

    • David Springer

      charles the moderator | November 13, 2014 at 6:44 am | Reply

      “this seems to be the BIG issue of our time, the one which will influence how society evolves moving forward, and I’m not very happy with how it’s looking.”

      In a deterministic universe it really doesn’t matter. Free will is an illusion.

    • Scott Basinger

      The New Yorker had a good article on this a while back. Amongst OECD nations, the US scored very poorly from nearly last to dead last in several categories.

      How this correlates to a progressive or conservative influence on education could be a subject of further debate. In any case, what is clear is that what the US is currently doing isn’t working out all that well.

      http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/measuring-americas-decline-in-three-charts

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/education/us-students-still-lag-globally-in-math-and-science-tests-show.html?_r=0

      • The first problem with education in the US is usually that reality is ignored. The reality is that scholastic ability conforms, generally speaking, to the normal curve. The expectation that persons of a given age should perform similarly in school is bunk.

        With that reality in mind, what would be reasonable is to let students progress at their own rate. At the end of high school, the student would graduate with whatever level of achievement (s)he managed. This doesn’t mean slower students wouldn’t get some extra help, but simply is an acknowledgement of the reality of the matter.

      • JIm2,

        You and I align quite well in the “learn at your own pace” thinking.

        I can remember back to the last ice age (climate joke) when I was in elementary school. We had a program called S.R.A. (Scholastic Reading Achievement-if memory serves). There are two things that come to mind today about this program. We could read and respond at our own pace with immediate evaluation. Then, moving on, there was a bit of competition amongst us kiddos to finish well, first, and progress as far as we could. There was no ‘prize’ at the end other than our confidence in comparison with our peers. Now, I did well through those “modules” and can offer no perspective of those who did not do as well. I have to wonder now if it was a confidence killer for them, but it certainly would have been diagnostic for the teachers.

        I’ve never grasped the reasoning behind holding back anyone in order to maintain the group.

      • jim2, “The first problem with education in the US is usually that reality is ignored. The reality is that scholastic ability conforms, generally speaking, to the normal curve. The expectation that persons of a given age should perform similarly in school is bunk.”

        One of the biggest difference between the US and Finland is that Finns don’t really have a mandatory K-12 system. Students can opt out, pursue higher formal or technical educations. The US went the other way and is trying to force uniform standards which would reduce overall performance. Not that one is particularly better than the other, but as an ignorant, redneck, conservative with centrist leanings, I prefer letting students make more of their own choices.

      • Danny and CD, and then there is the reality that some kids shouldn’t be allowed in school with kids that want to learn or at least know how to behave themselves. Expulsion should be an option.

      • I’m not going that far. Kids need structure, guidance, nurturing, and an intangible called love. Expulsion is not an acceptable alternative for me. Kids are sponges, and only absorbed what they’re submersed in. If they’re submersed elsewhere in inappropriate substances, that can be partially offset by society. Kids aren’t inherently good or bad, but they mimic what they see. This of course does not take in to consideration the potential for chemical imbalances.

    • Coming as it does from that great locus classicus of the Dunning -Kruger effect , WUWT, this quiddity must have Van Quine laughing in his grave.

  3. Interesting that the general public’s understanding of science is better than the scientists’.

  4. Could we stop having research and studies in areas of simple common sense and common judgement? Academising these things only obscures them and creates vast new communities of touts, push-pollers and shills with doctorates.

    Did studying bias help Lewandowsky with his monumental bias problem? When a big fly lands on your nose you don’t start studying flies. It’s a fly. It’s on your nose. You swat the fly.

    • I made a comment on the other thread which I partially repeat below as it is relevant. Is overconfidence the same as exaggeration?

      In this statement of Carol Clayson on the previous thread can be encapsulated much of what is wrong with climate science;

      ‘However, significant data gaps remain, particularly below 2000 m, which is nearly unmeasured.’

      Much of what is stated, or inferred, by climate alarmists, (some scientists some activists, many politicians) often turns out on investigation to be much less solid than it appears.

      Two examples; the idea that we have anything like a good idea of SST’s back to 1850 and the other related to the (honest) statement above.

      The IPCC insisted to me as an ‘expert’ reviewer of the AR5 draft that we knew the abyssal depth temperatures but would not give me the studies to prove it.

      We have people on this blog pointing to studies by people like Purkey and Johnson in which sweeping assertions of abyssal temperatures are made.

      The truth is as you state above. I also heard Prof Thomas Stocker say in an off the cuff remark at a Climate conference that we did not have the technology to measure the deep oceans (below 2000metres)

      Judith often writes about the ‘uncertainty monster’ but it seems to me there is an even bigger beast ‘the exaggeration monster’ which takes snippets of possible facts or unlikely statements and turns them into ‘science is settled’ papers that reinforce the climate change narrative demonstrating AGW.

      tonyb

      • Wunsch did his study and said there was slight cooling of the abyssal ocean. I believe he also said something to the effect of his position cannot proven to be correct and P&J cannot be proven to be incorrect.

        And it doesn’t matter too much as any heat distributed into the abyssal ocean will stay there for a very very long time. Said so often on Real Climate it sounds like a stuck record. Said by Trenberth.

      • jch

        Thanks for your comment. So when something is unproven but stated to be likely or as a fact, is that ‘Overconfidence’ or is it ‘exaggeration’?

        Indeed, can you have exaggerated overconfidence?’

        tonyb

      • I simply do not see the problem. What I have seen is you conflate the missing heat problem with the abyssal ocean stuff, and it makes no sense.

      • JCH

        The IPCC insisted to me that we knew the abyssal temperatures were warming. Wunsch says otherwise. Thomas Stocker says we don’t know as does Carol Clayson.

        I am not sure what we are arguing about as my point was that merely we exaggerate things when we should just say we don’t really know.

        tonyb

      • Climatereason, Isn’t a pity you did not ask this IPCC person why they knew that there was extra heat at the bottom of the oceans! I suspect his answer could be paraphrased thus:

        We know from our models that more heat is being trapped in the atmosphere by the extra CO2, and we can’t find it anywhere else, so it must be at the bottom of the oceans where it can’t be measured properly!

        A far more plausible explanation is that the feedback parameters in the climate models are wrong, so there isn’t any extra heat, so it doesn’t have to reside anywhere.

      • Did the IPCC insist, or did some individual who is somehow linked to the IPCC insist.

        And what is the consequence of this either way? It’s consequential, but barely. Cooling probably better supports the IPCC story.

      • David Bailey

        The part of the draft report I was reading said something along the lines of
        ‘Studies show abyssal depths are warming.’

        When I asked the IPCC to cite the studies they said I needed to quote the references

        I said there were no references merely comments about a study

        They said in that case they couldn’t supply them

        I said but it was you said there was studies that showed warming but you didn’t give a reference

        Without a reference we cant give you the information

        But you didn’t give any references

        In that case we cant give you the studies.

        It was a classic catch 22. Which is why I was interested to hear Thomas Stocker say we did not have the technology to measure the deep oceans as that surely is correct. Which is why I commented about Exaggeration, which may be the same thing as overconfidence and often closely related to uncertainty.

        tonyb

    • Excellent point mos. One thing we might consider is to stop calling social science a science. Lewandowski is no more a scientist than my dead grandmother.

      • A child of the enlightenment, she must have been more scientific than some of the recent specimens in climate science.
        ===============

      • But we have no data regarding your grandmother–she might have been the greatest scientist in human history

      • John DeFayette

        I read pokerguy’s comment as possible hyperbole, with the second verb implied: “Lewandowski is no more a scientist than [is] my dead grandmother.” I find it reasonable that, even had pokerguy’s grandmother been Albert Einstein, the fact is that today she is not active in any thinking capacity. And Lewandowski is no more a scientist than most any dead human being as far as I can tell.

        It was nicer the way pokerguy put it.

    • ‘The only not altogether agreeable thing about him was his habit of every now and then slowly and carefully raising his hand to catch the flies on his face, and sometimes managing to squash them.’

      H/t it’s Father Alexei, T, F&S.(1861)
      ===========================

  5. A couple of shortest paths through the thesaurus from “certain” to “uncertain”:
    certain unerring accurate careful leery uncertain
    certain axiomatic assumed hypothetical conjectural uncertain

  6. What if I become confident that I am ignorant? I find this whole area fascinating. We don’t often talk about the weaknesses of reason even though it is a wonderful tool. How much do our deep axioms, assumptions, presumptions impact our reasoning? How much is our world view the driver, how much constraint does it apply to our thinking? Is our ‘religion’ still king in the scientific age/age of reason? How much does it effect the big scientific programs/unifying theories/wicked problems like climate change which includes so many subjective judgements and imprecise use of language (and complexity)? I believe a certain way, and my own conclusion about myself has been for some time; Bob you are so biased! Help!

  7. Lew and friends: Jumping through mental hoops, trying to make the data fit a theory.

  8. Successfull landing on a f***ing comet!

    http://www.esa.int/var/esa/storage/images/esa_multimedia/images/2014/11/welcome_to_a_comet/15048351-1-eng-GB/Welcome_to_a_comet.jpg

    And it’s definately not a “dirty snowball”. Good riddance to the paradigm!

    • F=ma, works every time!!

      • No it does not. F=ma ASSUMES constant radius (distance between the two bodies). The formula works relatively well near the surface of the earth, but even there, subtle changes can be measured. Geophysics anyone? Try to figure out F=ma from first principles without assuming constant r. I would love to read that paper! I have actually attempted the math, it is not an easy thing to derive. That is how you get the expression “rocket scientist”.

      • Did I say anything about gravitation? No. F=ma and its rotational analogue.

      • Let me try this again. F=ma. You act on an object with a force and it accelerates. Okay, now where did the force come from?
        1. Gravity
        2. Electromagnetic Forces
        3. Some other form of Energy
        As long as the force is constant, the acceleration will be constant, and the formula holds.
        How many systems out there exhibit constant force and therefore constant acceleration?
        1. As long as the distance between the bodies is constant the force is constant and the formula holds for gravity.
        2. It is the same basic formula so the same holds true here for electromagnetic forces.
        3. I can’t think of examples here that have constant force.
        a. Springs – generally no (force gets larger as spring compresses)
        b. A human pushing on something – can’t think of an instance where this would be yes.
        c. Solar radiation – generally no (solar flares)
        d. Pendulum – relatively yes, but no in specifics (based on gravity)
        e. Rockets, vehicles, etc. – generally no. Most if not all exhibit some sort of power curve (non-constant force).

        Now why does the force have to be constant? Because the actual formulas (currently excepted laws), look like the gravity one which is:
        F=Gm1m2/r^2
        F=ma is DERIVED from the above formula, by setting r to be constant.
        You could think of a=Gm2/r^2, and you get F=ma.
        If you do not make the simplifying assumption that r is constant, then you can not use F=ma, but have to use the above formula instead.
        If you do not ASSUME r to be constant you can use calculus and it is extremely more difficult, because the force, acceleration, and radius are all changing at the same time.
        There are other formulas (normally not in rectangular coordinates) that one can use, but they do not resemble F=ma.

      • Sigh, let me try again, a bit less obtuse I suppose:
        “Here is a branch of sciene we can actually deal with, alas!! Rigid body mechanics!!”

      • I dont think I know what obtuse means, how obtuse of me. A bit less obscure, ???

      • David Springer

        In what universe does force not equal mass times acceleration?

      • As my dad would occasionally say, HA>A.

    • Successfully parked it in a cave on two bounces.

  9. Planning Engineer

    Great post! I think a lot of people have an over-exaggerated trust in scientists and even scientific institutions as opposed to having properly varying degrees of trust in various scientific processes. When effective double blind experiments can be performed, they are a gold standard. Science works well and is able to crush various fringe and pseudo scientific ideas such as homeopathy, crystal therapy and the like when the phenomenon are open to controlled experiments. In such areas the idea of a “science denier” may have some utility.

    Double blind experiments are not always possible. Scientific understanding that allows for hypothesis testing however is deserving of more respect than understandings that merely seeks to describe and perhaps project (without testing) what’s been observed so far.

    When “science” is expanded to whatever it is that scientists do (simulations, thought experiments, categorizations, ad-hoc explanations) it should not be placed on the same pedestal and granted the same deference that might be provided to “experimental” science. Unfortunately those who label others as “deniers” miss this subtlety, scream consensus, and ignore that science is carried out by fallible humans.

    • Always employ the best possible quality control process. Those who reject the implementation of ANY quality control have to know, deep down, that they are producing a lot of garbage.

      • The quality control process for building a commercial jet airliner is truly staggering. You can imagine why.

        I’ve asked about climate models wrt ISO standards or independent verification and validation or software version management, etc. The answers are not confidence inspiring.

        Judith Curry, perhaps you could comment someday about my above paragraph?

  10. ” In the context of the climate debate, Lewandowsky’s psychological research is highly controversial, see discussions by Steve McIntyre and Joe Duarte.” – JC

    Calling what JD wrote a ‘discussion’ is indeed, highly controversial. An apopletic rant full of errors, would be another way to describe it.

    “I am very concerned about the brand of psychological research conducted by Stephan Lewandowsky, that seems to be more of a tool in ideological warfare than anything else.” – JC

    And that is something that Judith is very confident of.

    • “Concerned” and “seems” equals “very confident”. Not very confident you can make that assertion legitimately, but such proves the point of the post. You are very confident that Judith is incorrectly confident, but can not see your own overconfidence.

    • You are soo freaking predictable Michael.
      I am awaiting a similar type of comment downthread from Joshua, saying the same predictable thing, only muuuch longer, with lots of big words and quotation marks.

    • If anyone could be bothered to collect all of Michael’s comments here over time, one would see, in sum, only “an apoplectic rant full of errors.”. Pot, kettle, meet often? Just who is way too over-confident in these discussions? I take vituperative, abusive language to be a good proxy for over-confidence….

    • Duarte may be apoplectic. He may be deservedly so. I am confident that Lewandowsky is a charlatan. Mr. Dunning would do well to look carefully at his work before championing him.

      There are not many things I am confident about in the debate over climate change. I am, however, confident that those like Lewandowsky and closer to home, Joshua, are not a force for good in either reconciling opposing points of view or advancing our understanding of the universe.

      As for you, Michael, you’re just sad.

      • Tom,

        Just so delicious!

        In this thread partly on Prof David Dunning’s work, Tom lectures Prof Dunning about his field of expertise – a Prof of 30 years research experience.

        Could you make this up?

        Surely it’s self-parody??

        No one could be so obliviously thick, could they?

      • Wow – missed this:

        ==> “I am, however, confident that those like Lewandowsky and closer to home, Joshua, are not a force for good in either reconciling opposing points of view or advancing our understanding of the universe.

        That’s impressive. Not a force for good! Too funny.

      • An evaluation of Good or bad is time and perspective dependent

      • Tom,

        It isn’t that Michael is sad. He is just acting in accordance to his nature. Jackasses bray.

      • You actually miss quite a lot, don’ you Joshua? Price you pay for manicaly obsession on the humanity of Judith Curry.

      • Tom.

        Joshua doesnt even pretend to understand the science. It’s not that he is a force for evil. he is a force for nothing. Hmm, so not a force for good. not a force for evil. just good for nothing when it comes to the science.

        As for ‘reconciling view points. Here the record is more spotty.
        While he admits the importance of having stakeholders of all stripes at the table, in practice he spends his time trashing a particular group of stakeholders. Hmm.. Lets say he is no richard betts.

    • Michael:

      Calling what JD wrote a ‘discussion’ is indeed, highly controversial. An apopletic rant full of errors, would be another way to describe it.

      Can you point out anything that Joe Duarte said that is an unambiguous error?

  11. One pertinent quote by Dunning that bears thinking about for those amateur scientists out there who doubt the actual scientists.
    “If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent. […] the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.”

    • The real problem IMO is ‘actual’ scientists and their overconfidence in related research. I.e. lots of scientists highly confident in IPCC attribution without publishing in this area or even reading the primary literature.

      On the other hand, some unpaid (amateur if you will) scientists dig into the primary literature and even publish papers.

      • “The immediate response to confident scientific studies is to say” –??

        Imo, the reaction to the study is directly related to the potential impact the suggested actions will have on my life or the lives of others. In most cases there is no impact so I don’t really care and await the truth to come out over time.

        In cases where the conclusions will lead to an impact, I am generally skeptical unless or until I have reviewed what I consider to be sufficiently reliable evidence to support the stated conclusion(s). The relative impact of implementing a case certainly relates to the amount of evidence needed to reduce the skepticism.

      • Richard Cronin

        Dr. Curry – I am merely a Chemical Engineer, but in 2006 I stumbled across the website of Dr. J. Marvin Herndon: http://www.nuclearplanet.com. He first published in 1992 and has been completely dismissed by mainstream science, but everything he has described makes so much sense, including the cyclical cause of terrestrial warming and cooling. The GeoReactor — a fast Neutron Closed Cycle Breeder Reactor formed at the core of every planet in the solar system as well as the ignition trigger for stellar fusion.

      • > I.e.

        That should be can “e.g.” unless that’s something which only applies to the IPCC.

        Lapsus latinum, perhaps.

    • On the other hand, the loudest proclaimers that the scientists are wrong seem to be the ones who know very little when you try to dig into their reasoning, which often just ends either in namecalling or in an ingrained plain wrongness.

      • Jim D

        When someone states that they are “sure” or ‘highly confident” that more CO2 will lead to disastrous changes in the climate, what is the appropriate response in your opinion?

        imo, they are wrong to make such a claim based on available information. Sure there is a potential risk, but very, very little reliable evidence to support the conclusion that anyone can be sure or highly confident that changes resulting from more CO2 will make life for humans worse overall over the long term

      • “the loudest proclaimers that the scientists are wrong seem to be the ones who know very little when you try to dig into their reasoning,”
        I think this is true. However, I don’t understand your own motivations – since the loudest proclaimers that the scientists are right also seem to be the ones who know very little. Go to any comment thread on the web; most commenters and almost all the ones screaming or sneering know very little.

      • ==> “Go to any comment thread on the web; most commenters and almost all the ones screaming or sneering know very little.”

        It isn’t just commenters on blogs. For the public more generally, the certainty of views on any variety of issues – of which climate change is a quality but certainly not unique example – do not reflect what someone knows as much as who someone is (in the sense of group identification).

        On average, blog commenters are probably more invested in the arguments – but: (1) they reflect larger tendencies and, (2) it would be a mistake to generalize from them, as they represent only a tiny slice.

      • nottawa rafter

        If one has been paying attention to claims by scientists over 50 years in various fields and remember how many “findings ” are reversed decades later and then that “finding” is reversed itself, and so on and on, one becomes a little skeptical about each new “finding”.

        The immediate response to confident scientific studies is to say “Ya ya, I have heard it all before.”

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: On the other hand, the loudest proclaimers that the scientists are wrong seem to be the ones who know very little when you try to dig into their reasoning, which often just ends either in namecalling or in an ingrained plain wrongness.

        this could do with some specific examples.

      • Well, the way wrong or right is judged is by looking at testable predictions.

        The testable predictions of global warming are invariably false.

        The models represent a prediction based on the current science. Either the science isn’t very good or the planet is lying to us.

        Arctic sea ice anyone? Supposed to be gone in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2020, 2030, 2050… So far no luck.

        Last century runaway global warming was predicted. The big debate this year is whether the temperatures are still crawling forward or if they have sat down and are taking a siesta.

        I am unaware of any correct global warming prediction.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        On the other hand the loudest proclaimers that the scientists are right know nothing at all about the scientsts not knowing which was up is.

        “Record 20 was corrected to reflect the interpretation of Tijander et al. (S32) that X-ray density is related inversely to temperature
        Record 21 was corrected to reflect the interpretation of Haltia-Hovi et al. (S33) that varve thickness is related inversely to temperature”

      • For testable hypotheses, since you can’t prove the future, you can look at the past. Last time the earth had 500-700 ppm it was an iceless hothouse with very high sea levels, and current climate science can explain why. Skeptics talk very little about this for some reason. Perhaps it is a part of the denial thing too.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: Skeptics talk very little about this for some reason.

        The explanation is full of holes (most of that past isn’t known), and there is no reason to believe it applies to changes in the upcoming decades as CO2 concentration increases toward 700 ppm.

      • Jim D | November 13, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        For testable hypotheses, since you can’t prove the future, you can look at the past. Last time the earth had 500-700 ppm it was an iceless hothouse with very high sea levels, and current climate science can explain why. Skeptics talk very little about this for some reason. Perhaps it is a part of the denial thing too.

        Ah, more fluff from the reality deniers.

        When the earth was at 3000 PPM the Antartica moved to the south pole. The temperature and CO2 levels have gone down ever since.

        Since then the Himalayas grew, the Arctic became semi-enclosed, and around 3.0 megayears ago the Americas joined to seal the deal.

        But no… let’s ignore planetary geologic changes, claim that there could be any other cause for the temperature increase, and blame temperature on a trace gas concentration that is temperature dependent. That is some real science there.

      • Jim D | November 13, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        For testable hypotheses, since you can’t prove the future, you can look at the past. Last time the earth had 500-700 ppm it was an iceless hothouse with very high sea levels, and current climate science can explain why. Skeptics talk very little about this for some reason. Perhaps it is a part of the denial thing too.

        https://gmat.economist.com/gmat-practice-question/22c64/reading-comprehension-structure-questions
        “About 65 million years ago, Antarctica, then still connected to Australia, still had a tropical to subtropical climate. About 40 million years ago Australia-New Guinea separated from Antarctica, and the first ice began to appear. Around 23 million years ago, the Drake Passage opened between Antarctica and South America, which resulted in the Antarctic Circumpolar. The ice spread, replacing the forests that then covered the continent. Since about 15 million years ago, the continent has been mostly covered with ice, with the Antarctic ice cap reaching its present extension around 6 million years ago.

        http://www.americanthinker.com/legacy_assets/articles/old_root/%231%20CO2EarthHistory.gif

        When the earth was at 3000 PPM the Antarctica moved to the south pole. The temperature and CO2 levels have gone down ever since.

        Since then the Himalayas grew, the Arctic became semi-enclosed, and around 3.0 megayears ago the Americas joined to seal the deal.

        Only a REAL reality denier, would deny the reality of planetary geologic changes to claim that a trace gas, whose concentration is temperature dependent, is instead driving temperature.

      • Matthew R Marler | November 13, 2014 at 8:17 pm |

        “…and there is no reason to believe it applies to changes in the upcoming decades as CO2 concentration increases toward 700 ppm.”

        Are there good reasons to believe it doesn’t?

      • Matthew R Marler

        Michael: Are there good reasons to believe it doesn’t?

        Yes.

        Consider the calculations presented in this paper, which I discuss a little below: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6211/851

      • Jim D,

        when you gonna admit that it is all a smokescreen?

        when someone says the seas ate rising and faster than ever, I look at the data. That will tell me whether they are wrong or right.

        If someone says we will see crop failures and starvation, I look at the data.

        When someone says we will see mass extinctions, I do what? I look at the data. For you that must be a novel concept.

        iT is hard to find a single claim on the dangers of climate change where the so called experts have been right.

      • PA, you are relying on a very old schematic that is based on someone’s hand-drawn ideas. More recent information from paleoclimatology is here. Warm iceless periods like the Eocene and most of the Mesozoic had high CO2 levels. Cold periods like the Ice Ages and Permian didn’t.
        http://descentintotheicehouse.org.uk/past-and-future-co2/

      • Matthew R Marler | November 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        “Consider the calculations presented in this paper, which I discuss a little below: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6211/851

        Below where?

      • > let’s ignore planetary geologic changes,

        Let’s ignore mechanism and simply correlate events and numbers together.

        That ought to show how much knowledge we have of the science compared to otters.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Michael: Below where?

        Search on “Romps” or “Marler”.

      • @nottawa rafter

        “””If one has been paying attention to claims by scientists over 50 years in various fields and remember how many “findings ” are reversed decades later and then that “finding” is reversed itself, and so on and on, one becomes a little skeptical about each new “finding”.”””

        When it comes to ACC (or “AGW”), this is again a lot of hype and misinformation, and massively incorrect. It is also the constant pattern of taking issues and corrections and adjustments to things we don’t know or are evolving our learning on, and then falsely applying them to, or conflating it with, what we do know if not the issue itself. (This is what a lot of ACC skepticism is based on)

        The fact is scientists who study this have been saying the same thing for several decades. Even before a massive avalanche of increasing corroborative (not probative, corroborative,the issue is the air chemistry and physics and trailing data with respect to physical alterations, not climate data, despite misunderstanding (including on the part of a few scientists) to the contrary) empirical evidence. Even back in the 70s, when there was some fear of eventual cooling bc the earth had been slowly cooling overall (as CO2 has slowly been reducing and going into the ground, until we suddenly reversed milllions and millions and millions of years in the process in an instant) and we are in an ice age and inter glacial period, papers predicting AGW outnumbered those worried about or predicting longer term cooling many times over. in the SEVENTIES.

        By the 90s scientists were pretty overwhelmingly solid on this.

        The idea that we keep hearing different things, is again a fiction, created by a false skepticism (aka, a real desire to merely refute, or not accept, which is what is often practiced on this blog) , and it is a conflation of the natural process of science itself – study, examination, analysis, adjustment, correction, etc for non knowledge or an underlying shift in basic knowledge. On this issue – which though complex is at root still a pretty basic one – anyway.

    • You seem to have completely missed the point Jim D, which is that this applies to Lewandowsky et al, who for example make and repeat the same statistical blunder (pointed out by numerous people, summarised at my blog).

    • Jim D, I disagree to a large extent (qualification follows). The only skill needed to approach ‘right answers’ is critical thinking. That, plus time/willingness to dig into primary research and data, now much easier thanks to the internet. Wrote a whole book on that topic, The Arts of Truth, using lots of examples from public health, public education, energy, and climate.
      The qualification has to do with advanced mathematics/statistics, which may be necessary for precise answers, the only way to produce accurate ‘rocket science’. But when for most purposes I run up against such difficulties, I am reminded of a profound anecdote taught by one of my economics professors (I degreed in econometrics). John Kenneth Galbraith taught himself how to eyeball a column of numbers and estimate the sum to within 10%. He also headed the OPA during WW2. When asked how he could be making so many momentous decisions without closer study, he said: ‘I have found that when a question requires more precision than an estimate to within 10%, it is the wrong question.’
      Much food for thought.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: “If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent. […] the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.”

      If you raise a point or post a question, and the response is an ad hominem, that is a clue that the respondant does not know the answer. In my experience, people will give an answer if they know it.

      If you raise a point, or post a question, and the response is a link or a reference to a source that answers a different question, or avoids the issue entirely, that is a clue that the respondent does not know the answer to the question.

      If this happens frequently, that is a clue that no one knows the answer to the question or point that is raised.

      If you raise a point or post a question, and the respondents supply diverse sources with diverse conflicting answers based on partially overlapping evidence and scientific theory, that is evidence that the answer to the question is not known. The most frequently occurring example of that is the question and diverse answers: What would climate change have been over the last 150 years without the addition of anthropogenic CO2?

      A lot of the time here at climate etc the problem is not that the so-called incompetents can not recognize a right answer, it is that the self-identified competents can’t produce answers that are logically consistent and consistent with data and published science.

    • Curious George

      “the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.” So when Einstein developed a theory of special relativity, no one recognized it was the right answer?

      This is a quote you selected .. are you really impressed by it? I consider it a sheer nonsense. To invent is much more difficult than to follow.

    • I dont know about the climate for sure, but when it comes to solutions 97 % of scientists don’t know what they are talking about.

  12. If someone diagnoses someone as ‘Dunning Kruger’ are they not at risk of suffering it themselves (and it then becomes truly recursive) particularly in the blogosphere..

    An example blogger, Michael Marriott diagnosed me (Anthony Watts, Jo Nova) as Dunning Kruger a number of times on his blog – Watching the deniers.. (he added in Bulls***, Deniers, Cransk, Disinformers as well)

    he started doing this, after commenting on Jo Nova’s blog, got laughed at in the comments, went back, read a wiki article about it, and promptly diagnosed every sceptic as Dunning-Kruger..

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/the-dunning-kruger-effect-deniers-may-take-down-what-they-dont-understand-but-at-heart-they-are-curious/

    “My own experiment: Jo Nova’s blog
    Jo Nova, the Perth based denier has quite active discussions on her blog site. They provide rich examples of conspiracy theories, vicious attacks on climate scientists and technical discussions on climate science.”

    After it was discovered that Marriott was a researcher and co-author of Lewandowsky’s Recursive Fury papaper (no retracted) Jo Nova – reflected on Mike here:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/02/lewandowsky-dismisses-bloggers-but-they-are-his-research-team-who-is-mike-hubble-marriott/

    So when Marriott (no academic background,no relevant qualifications) was chosen by Lewandowsky to be a researcher for the now retracted – Recursive Fury’ paper – ! (which named Jo Nova, and Anthony Watts as suffering psychological traits, and as the sources of conspiracy ideation (I only made the data set) think we should severly question Lewandowsky’s professional competence and judgement in using him.

    And now we see, Lewandowsky making using The Conversation to make sneering innuendoes about Anthony Watts, at the Conversation.. My response (deleted at the Conversation) is in the comments at Paul Matthews blog
    https://ipccreport.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/lewandowskys-loopy-logic/comment-page-1/#comment-1742

    the Conversation article is reproduced at the Cabot Institute (where prof Lewandowsky now works) , where I have a response allowed.
    http://cabot-institute.blogspot.com/2014/11/are-you-poor-logician-logically-you.html?showComment=1415789105989#c6729485571897269555

    • The best commentary I ever heard on the Dunning-Kruger effect was this comment by Markx at the now defunct Skepticblog:
      http://www.skepticblog.org/2013/06/26/the-dunning-kruger-effect/#comment-85562

      • Here’s an excerpt:

        The Dunning-Kruger effect; Interesting research, and cute.
        But does it have any ‘real world’ significances? What is the salient point to take away from all this? That we should only listen to experts or those in a position of authority? That the masses should always be ignored? A voice from the wilderness is worthless?
        In reality it has simply become another technical riposte to be used in contentious debates, and is in my opinion (take that with a grain of salt, I am no debating expert, nor cognitive psychologist, and yes you can label this DK effect if you like) has little more worth than that.

  13. We are all confident idiots?
    “Lewandsky a scholar”
    Said confidently.

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

    Dr, Curry
    Once again you return to the hiatus as the central question
    this question brought me here

    objective observers seem to accept the hiatus

    yet, when I look out my window I see a large mob that screams that “dangerous” unprecedented warming continues

    this is what frightens me

    what we are witnessing is outbreak of cultural hysteria
    akin to the pogroms against witches

    perhaps this is what happens when affluent societies lack sufficient existential fears like war or famine

    this post I think represents the right direction for this debate

    dueling data seems to go in circles

    • Planning Engineer

      John –

      I am amazed at how the mere mention of a hiatus has been demonized.
      I am seeing a lot of supposedly “science based” or “science supporting” individuals deriding Ted Cruz in various Facebook postings for this quote “The last 15 years there has been no recorded warming.” I’m not that well informed on Ted Cruz and there may be a lot not to like about him and many things he’s said. But it seems they are mutually attacking him and anyone who would ever bring up the hiatus. Unfortunately it seems that among large segments of the general “science supporting” population you can get yourself labeled as ignorant, a denier, anti-science, evil, or worse by just noting anything from recent IPCC documents that could be perceived to threaten any of the current “warmest” talking points.

      What is the avenue for combating collective willful misrepresentations?

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Planning Engineer
        this worst kind of agitprop
        the mindlessness of that add gives me chills
        again, I live in a highly progressive urban area
        dominated, literally, by a major private university
        more than a few “doctors” of both kinds, have said to my face “the pause is as lie, made up by Rush Limbaugh” (direct quote)
        Yet, none of them could identify IPCC or HADCRU or knew any other basics about the issue
        absolutely slays me, and I have no idea what to make of it

        this has become a cultural battle
        a secular religion
        carbon is the devil,
        “out with thee, denier!”
        not sure I’m willing to agree that we are all willful idiots either

        BTW, enjoyed your post
        it is the engineers and tech people like you, quietly working, who are going to render this argument moot
        clean safe energy solutions will come

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Planning Engineer
        my reply to you was modded, not sure why

      • To quote from Charles the Moderator:
        Noble Cause Corruption insidiously corrupts the leftists/progressives orders of magnitude more than it corrupts conservatives.

        The warmist viewpoint is infested with “Noble Causism”. The sufferers believe they are working for great good and their opponents therefore must be darkly evil.

        Noble Causism induces the afflicted to be capable of incredible evil since they are working toward what they believe to be a “good” end, and the end justifies the means.

      • A noble question.

  15. “At WUWT, Andy West has just published a lengthy three part series: Wrapped in Lew papers: the psychology of climate psychologization [Part I, Part II, Part III]. The main point is that Lew is so busy dissecting the ‘bias’ of climate change skeptics that he misses his own rather glaring biases.” – JC

    Judith, please tell me that you didn’t read these before linking to them.

    Otherwise, you surely would have noticed what a complete load of bollocks it all is; Lewandowsky has published papers on cognitive bias , therefore he must have these same biases – so there!!

    I wish it was less stup!d than that, but it isn’t.

    • Given your ‘therefore’ above is not at all what is argued, maybe you haven’t read them yourself? If you have, how about something substantive? For instance if you think some or all of the Lew and Crew cognitive bias list *doesn’t* apply to the Consensus? So say why. The excellent applicability of this list to the Consensus is the thread that the argument *does* travel through on the way to Lewandowsky himself.

      • Andy,

        Sdly, I did.

        Though to read stuff like this;
        “These papers warn of cognitive bias effects, all of which occur in the CAGW Consensus, confirming it is heavily biased”
        does make it challenge to convince yourself there’s any point going further.

      • Michael | November 13, 2014 at 9:43 am

        Well I’d be very suprised if you or other ardent Consensus advocates were not challenged by that sentence. So I’m impressed you continued on. Yet given you’ve read the pages of evidence that provide said confirmation, by mapping the Lew and Crew list of well-defined biases to the Consensus characteristsics, I’m most unimpressed that you chose to imply to the denizens that such evidence didn’t exist. And indeed more unimpressed still that you fell out of all reasoned argument to simply deploy the ‘stupid’ word. How is this going to help anyone’s progress here? While you may indeed have disagreed with some or all of this evidence, you haven’t offered any argument as to why.

      • ‘Evidence’ is a rather strong word for what you produced Andy. Maybe ‘opinion’, or ‘impression’ would be more accurate?

        And a clear operational definition of your “CAGW” might have been helpful, even for the “Consensus CAGW’, given how its use is largely restricted to use by inhabitants of blog commentaries which suggests it’s a sign of a very distinct ‘worldview’, likely with it’s very own set of biases.

        Some accounting for that my have made it sound less like a long-winded diatribe of begging the question.

      • Michael | November 13, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        Regarding CAGW Consensus, the culture of ‘the certainty of catastrophe’ is made clear throughout. The bias types and characteristics that map so well to the Consensus are not my opinions, but the output of the Lew and Crew papers. And regarding sampes, all sources / surveys / quotes that demonstrate the Consensus exhibiting those characterstics, are from solidly Consensus sources. This is evidence, which doesn’t mean it isn’t challengeable evidence, but you haven’t challenged any.

      • Andy,

        So it’s not “CAGW” , or even “Consensus CAGW” that you fail to define, what at issue is something even more vague – the ‘Culture of Consensus CAGW’.

        What a fascinating world view that must emanate from.

      • Michael | November 15, 2014 at 9:48 am

        I agree regarding the fascinating worldview. It emanates from the Consensus itself, per the given quotes. And a culture of belief in the certainty of catastrophe is hardly vague, but both specific and audacious.

    • Michael | November 13, 2014 at 8:45 am | Reply

      Otherwise, you surely would have noticed what a complete load of bollocks it all is; Lewandowsky has published papers on cognitive bias , therefore he must have these same biases – so there!!

      Hmmm. I don’t believe it is correct to say Lewandowsky suffers from cognitive bias. He doesn’t seem very cognitive.

    • Defending Lewandowski. Now there is cognitive defect. Nice job Michael.

  16. Thanks, Judith.

    Another major theme in my series of posts linked above is that Lewandowksy’s own papers on cognitive bias, demonstrate that the climate Consensus itself must be soaked in bias. A full list of bias effects / quotes / characteristics is provided, which mesh with other literature. This bias will have an enormous impact on what the Consensus actually says, indeed even upon how it defines itself and how it operates.

  17. “Majority decisions tend to be made without engaging the systematic thought and critical thinking skills of the individuals in the group. Given the force of the group’s normative power to shape the opinions of the followers who conform without thinking things through, they are often taken at face value. The persistent minority forces the others to process the relevant information more mindfully. Research shows that the decisions of a group as a whole are more thoughtful and creative when there is minority dissent than when it is absent.”
    Philip G. Zimbardo,

  18. A man’s got to know his limitations.
    – Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood in Magnum Force)

    • Somehow he knew how long to set the timer, how long the conversation would last. That’s impressive!

  19. In brief, the conclusion of Lewandowsky’s first paper was somewhat supported by the conspiracy thinking that went into attacking it. It was quite ironical, so he managed to get another paper out on those attacks, which was the recursive fury one. Then, if I remember, they had to retract that paper because the supplementary material named someone along with his blog quote, even when he had not been anonymous in the blog, but that person complained about being publicly quoted on what he said anyway. Odd and entertaining stuff. Nothing to do with climate science, but a hornet’s nest was stirred up there.

    • nobody claimed about being publicly quoted… You’ve been reading Lewandowsky’s misrepresentation of what happened and what the complaints were?

    • JimD, The first paper investigate conspiracy theories that Lew suspected were conspiracy theories. That would be bias. Had he investigated more general conspiracy theories/paranoia, he would have found that Big Oil, Corporations, Cronyism, Capitalism etc. would tend to level the conspiracy playing field.

      • How exactly is vested interests funding opposition to mainstream science and carbon reduction policies a conspiracy?

      • Joseph, by believing that vested interest funding is inherently evil. Everyone has some vested interest and there is no such thing as a perfect system. Attacking generalized concepts or entities is basically just paranoia.

      • Joseph, I think the conspiracy theory beliefs by your side are based on the generalization that ANY donation, to an organization which expressed doubts about ANY aspect of the global warming problem, was intended to support what you like to call “climate denial”. I realize that’s a long sentence, but I’m sure you can figure it out. Lewandowski, Oreskes, and the others are boring conspiracy theorists.

      • I don’t think it is necessarily “evil.” And even if were evil doesn’t make it a conspiracy.

        But I will ask whether you would trust the science or statements by politicians heavily funded by tobacco companies?

      • Again, Fernando, explain to me how it is a conspiracy?

      • Joseph, demonizing “corporations” leads to conspiratorial thinking. You can give a neat little name so people that march against whatever can feel good about themselves, but there isn’t any real difference. All a “conspiracy” is, is two or more people conspiring to harm others in some way, whether the “other” is a corporation, ethnicity, individual or group. Merchants of Doubt feeds the paranoia that breeds conspiracy thinking.

        If your cause is truly noble, a little conspiring can’t be a bad thing, can it? After all, it isn’t really paranoia if they are out to get you is it :)

      • Being skeptical of the efforts of vested interests to undermine the mainstream position of scientists is not engaging in conspiracy related thinking period.

      • And it isn’t paranoia either. It’s common sense..

      • Joseph, “Being skeptical of the efforts of vested interests to undermine the mainstream position of scientists is not engaging in conspiracy related thinking period.”

        There is nothing wrong with being skeptical, taking it to extremes like accusing anyone that disagrees with you as being in the pocket of big whatever, is implying that big whatever is out to get ya. How often to hear people blame the world not adopting their absolutely perfect ideas on big oil, big tobacco, big coal or whatever? Sometimes “perfect ideas” suck. Get over it.

        The great Satan Bush the younger was all aboard with regulations to limit black carbon and generally recognized air pollution, which is not contrary to typical Republican principles but Hansen went ballistic that it was not enough. Since then Hansen has chained himself to coal plant fences and admitted that black carbon was likely underestimated.

        You have to be rational to have a rational conversation and the pervasive paranoia that big whatever is out to get you is a self fulfilling prophecy.

      • No doubt the oil companies are driving the alarmist train to try and eliminate the coal competition. Wonder how much they pay.

      • How often to hear people blame the world not adopting their absolutely perfect ideas on big oil, big tobacco, big coal or whatever?

        I think the large amount of money that fossil fuel interest give to Republicans and to think tanks does undermine action on climate change. How is that irrational or engaging in conspiracy ideation?

      • Joseph, “I think the large amount of money that fossil fuel interest give to Republicans and to think tanks does undermine action on climate change.”

        How large of an amount is that Joseph? Could it be an urban myth? Most large corporations tend to hedge their bets and donate to a variety of “causes”. Now oil companies did increase political lobby funding following climategate, that would be when “Climate Science” showed it ugly political underbelly. That would be the self-fulfilling prophecy aspect. If you keep saying how much oil and gas are doing to subvert your cause, they just might show you what they can do. Prior to that, climate science was doing a fine job publicly sucking up to Big Oil while the minions bashed them. Shell and BP invested a lot into the green causes.

        Glieck even went into espionage mode and got documents from the Heartland Institute. Only the documents were not damning enough so he had to add some of his own. A lawyer suing Exxon-Mobile also decided to create is own “facts’. In general, the enviro-chihuahuas are doing a fine job of shooting themselves in their paranoid feet.

      • Now oil companies did increase political lobby funding following climategate, that would be when “Climate Science” showed it ugly political underbelly. That would be the self-fulfilling prophecy aspect.

        ROTFL! ClimateGate?? Come on.. You can’t be serious..

        How large of an amount is that Joseph? Could it be an urban myth?

        Nope. Look at the numbers for political spending.

        Oil & Gas
        http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?ind=E01++

        Coal
        http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?ind=E1210

      • Joseph, “ROTFL! ClimateGate?? Come on.. You can’t be serious..”

        Koch Bros. Industries was one of the largest oil industry political campaign donors. You don’t think that they aren’t aware of climategate and the general anti-Koch attitude of the more politically vocal climate scientists? What do you think they are going to do? Bend over and take it?

        Image is everything in politics. Climategate was not good for the image now was it?

      • You tell me, Joseph. I don’t believe big bad corporations are conspiring to make Al Gore look like a politician who can’t do proper math. I visit Eli and all I get is conspiracy theories, and from what I gather they are utterly convinced their proposed changes into renewables really work. This is why we get all these conspiracy theories by what appears to be liberal arts students and climatologists who don’t know much about electrical engineering.

        Regarding the hockey phenomena, I suspect some scientists tend to be skullcentric (the universe revolves around their heads). This seems to give them the license to tweak their plots to make us drive smaller vehicles.

        Or maybe it’s a career issue? Do you think I will be famous if I publish my paper about global warming causing an increase in the occurrence of giant snowflakes?

      • Joseph,

        Which of these is not a “vested interest”?

        government researchers dependent on federal funding

        universities relying on grant money

        environmental organizations such as Sierra Club , WWF and Greenpeace

        manufacturers of solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars

        IPCC and the UN

        Al Gore
        David Suzuki

        or is it only certain vested interests we should be concerned about?

      • Joseph,

        from 1989 to 2012, Koch Industries donated ~ $12 million to political causes. During that same period the top 23 unions donated over $600 million. They are what is called vested interests.

        And while we are on the topic of the Koch brothers, their contributions for climate change issues runs in the hundreds of thousands range. A far cry from the $26 million Chesapeake Energy gave Sierra Club.

      • Is there a link you can provide? I can’t find Koch’s info as their a private concern. I have a friend that I’d like to send this and the Sierra Club info.

        Thanks,

      • capt look a little past this thread for your response..

        I visit Eli and all I get is conspiracy theories

        Fernando, such as?

      • government researchers dependent on federal funding

        universities relying on grant money

        How is most science funded? Should we doubt all science?

      • IPCC and the UN

        Al Gore
        David Suzuki

        I don’t think Al and David really matter in terms of the science. And the UN is merely a reflection of it’s member states. The IPCC is an all volunteer effort. I hope we aren’t talking about a conspiracy.

    • It has everything to do with climate science, jimmy dee. Lewandowsky is a tool of the climate science establishment. As you are, jimmy.

    • The first paper was widely misinterpreted. It is not surprising that people who subscribe to conspiracy theories also largely subscribe to climate science being another one. Note the direction of attribution, but it was interpreted as those denying the science are all conspiracy theorists. Logic 101 teaches you about these types of statements.
      All grass is green.
      Dollar bills are green.
      Therefore dollar bills are grass.

      • If you had downloaded the climategate emails and read through them you would realize it isn’t a theory. Something that is factually proven isn’t a theory anymore.

      • So a person hiding a tree-ring trend is the extent of it?

      • …10 years ago, no less.

      • Jim D.. you obviously skipped the whole Manipulation of Journals thing etc
        by “the team” which is well documented in the climate gate emails.
        Fairly obviously you did not bother to read them or digest the content.
        Else you would not be so comfortable with some of the statements I have seen you (and other consensus supporters) make.

      • JimReedy, that also is not even close to the extent of the conspiracy thinking we see here, and maybe you just ignore it or don’t notice. Lewandowsky was onto something with that. I mean the idea that the possibility of CAGW doesn’t actually exist for any amount of added CO2, but all of the scientists are ganging together and just inventing sensitivities for some self-interested political or financial motive. This is conspiracy ideation. Finding scientists saying frank things about the occasional skeptic paper or a journal editor does not make a conspiracy theory. Scientists have views of each others work and state them in emails sometimes. It’s not tame, and Judith participates in this active type of discussion questioning peoples’ motives at least via Twitter and blogs too. Having frank opinions on other peoples’ work doesn’t make anyone a conspiracy theorist.

      • “ganging together and just inventing sensitivities for some self-interested political or financial motive”

        This is human nature.

        Andrew

      • Jim d, read False Hope at Scientific American. Check the graphs. Feel free to go read my critique (“False Hope by Michael Mann”). That article shouldn’t have been published. The editors are hired by Nature publishing editorial bosses.

        Nature has a tendency to publish low quality papers which peddle global warming hysteria. Therefore this whole thing may be just driven by a few guys who want to make more money. Or maybe they got Dedevelopment in their minds?

        The bottom line for me is that I dont trust anything I read in Nature. Nor can I trust any government controlled institutions (check my “are NASA employees color blind?”). I find a more reliable set of materials at Max Planck, and from Judy and a few others. That’s just the way it is as long as I can see distorted information popping up everywhere.

      • Jim D,

        the only thing Lewandowski was on to was his own ego trip.

    • Another defective in cognitive ability rides to defend Lewandowski. Both papers were crap. That Lewandowski was willing to put them out is about as solid a proof of his bias as one could get.

      that Jim D defends him illustrates his bias. Seriously Jim, learn to recognize crap. In this case it’s that stinky stuff you’ve tracked in here.

      • There is conspiracy ideation on blogs related to climate skepticism, and Lewandowsky pointed to it. It is a statement of the obvious that anyone who reads here can attest to.

      • Jim,

        I have yet to find a conspiracy theory of and sort I believe to be true. Yet I have no trouble recognizing crap papers (Lewandowski) or alarmism (climate science in general).

        That you are willing to accept that the Lew has offered anything of value indicates bias or defective thinking.

      • One of the funny things is the Flat Earth Society is solidly behind CAGW along with anti-preservatives, anti-GM crops, anti-nuclear power, anti-Dihydrogen Monoxide and anti-fracking crowds

        I wonder what percentage of the Pro-CAGW crowd thinks that 100 mpg cars aren’t available because of big oil and big auto?

      • You could probably list a few people here who firmly believe various conspiracy theories, couldn’t you? Lewandowsky was right about their presence on the skeptic side.

      • JimD, it is actually not too hard to believe that Global Warming is a hoax when one year you hear that kids will never know what snow is and the next you are buried in it.

        Then think all of the things “caused” by global warming. If you consider all of the them from shrinking male peni to cannabalism to the extinction of coffee trees, a casual observer would think it is the greatest prank of all time.

      • Yes, the science-by-press-cuttings learning technique has its risks. Better to look at the actual reports done by the scientists than sound-bites gleaned by reporters.

      • JimD,

        Yes, listen to what the Union of Concerned Scientists tell us:

        http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/global-warming/science-and -impacts/global-warming-impacts#.VGaOXWalZoM

      • http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/global-warming/science-and-impacts/global-warming-impacts#.VGa2rEi5_35
        Fixed link. Do you have something against advocacy? If you see something, say something, is a good motto. Don’t just keep quiet and then complain when nothing was done to prepare for or avoid a large climate change.

      • JimD,

        Pointing out the affirmative should hardly deserve being rebuked for an imaginary position against advocacy. Examine what those scientists say. You said we should listen to them not the pundit press.

        They stuck to a fairly realistic appraisal of what we should be worried about. I wouldn’t try to judge whether or not those are realistic concerns since I’m far less educated and informed than them. I would only say that those types of events all existed before human gas emmisions some with great frequency. Since they really don’t discuss cause and effect, I guess it is an appeal to authority. I’ve seen where skeptics claim extreme weather events were more frequent during the LIA. I suppose it could go both ways. I would also ask what is the motivation or bias of that hypothesis and how robust is the evidence. I don’t think such a think is necessarily falsifiable so where does that leave the science?

        I would suggest that these scientists want us to be concerned about this. They want us to understand that human activity is consequential for the enviorment. I don’t think that is any secret as far as advocacy of the group. Maybe it’s worthy maybe it’s not, believe what you want.

      • ordvic, in each case whether it is a scientist that says something or a journalist that quotes them, the rule is to check the published reports and original press releases from the scientists, which tell you what is supported by what evidence. When someone says our grandchildren won’t know what snow is, look for the paper that supports that. If someone says the LIA was worse than now, look for that paper for evidence. It’s better than collecting press clips and believing them unconditionally whatever side they are on.

    • capt, if you look at the links I provided, the amount given by the vested fossil fuel interests listed dwarfs the amount given by the Koch brothers. And like I told you before, most of it is going to Republicans. I don’t think there is any doubt about either of those two points.

      As to whether the Koch brothers are concerned about “climategate”, do we really know this to be a fact? Do you have evidence? I look at “climategate” in the light of the numerous inquiries that found no wrongdoing. And I wonder if you think any of the alleged misconduct also applies to the thousands of scientists also doing climate related research? Do the Koch brothers think about them and their work? Finally, I would like you to list what you think “climategate” implies about the individuals involved.

  20. Dunning-Kruger is a popular rationale for dismissing skeptics

    It is more about brain washing others to believe what you want them to believe, with no matter to what is right.

  21. Too much talk about climate and not enough data. How about shutting down discussion for a few years?

  22. jim – that is a total misrepresentation of facts.

    Watts, Mcintyre, Lucia, Chambers all named IN the paper.

    and for a reason retracted one reason was ethical issues and conflicts of interest were an issue –

    see Marriott’s (co-author) partian public attacks on people named in the paper, whilst he was researching them!

  23. What I would like to see is some studies related to the psychology and social psychology of scientific belief by scientists. If you know of relevant papers, I would appreciate a pointer.

    I would highly recommend Barber&Barber’s When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth. While it isn’t about “scientific belief by scientists”, what it does do (IMO) is put beliefs and narratives in evolutionary context: before writing myth, usually carried by metaphorical narrative, was the primary way in which societies framed their universe, and remembered things farther in the past than a few generations.

  24. Oh boy! A Lewandowsky fight!

    Because those are always so informative and useful! So much openness to exploring new ways of looking at things. New, and innovative arguments revealing unexplored pathways.

    Reminds me of discussions about the size of the “consensus,” whether Muller is a “skeptic,” estimation vs. measurement, etc.

    Thanks god for the “extended peer review” of the blogsphere.

    • here is some music to people to enjoy with your Whine

      • I ht the link and my wife asked who is getting married.

        I am guessing it’s Joshua. To his own sense of self importance.

    • Lewandowsky is Exhibit A for the comment regarding progressive education by Charles the Moderator which you dismissed.

      • Tom C –

        ==> “Lewandowsky is Exhibit A for the comment regarding progressive education by Charles the Moderator which you dismissed.”

        If a “skeptic” wants to make claim about an incredibly broad cultural/societal phenomenon, then it seems to me that they might start by:

        Defining and quantifying the phenomenon, systematically looking for evidence of the hypothesized results, and controlling or variables to help establish cause-and-effect.

        Please, do show evidence of ” progressive influence on the entire school system, K through PhD” for “two generations.”

        Show evidence of a “destroy[ed] ability to think logically and critically analyze.” How would you measure that across society? Would you document a loss of products from logical thinking and critical analysis? Less technological output, for example?

        Do you see that some segments of our educational environment that display larger “progressive influence” relative to others, and which show a more marked reduction in logical thinking or critical analysis? Perhaps comparative trends in school and college performance in Montana as opposed to Berkeley, for example, or better trends in school performance in Texas as compared to “socialist” countries in Scandinavia?

        How have you controlled for variables such as poverty or class size or %’s of special needs students or %’s of speakers of English as a 2nd language?

        How have you controlled for “progressive influence” relative to non-progressive? influence in a country whgere higher #’s identify as conservatives rather than liberals?

        Tell me, Tom – is your highlighting Lewendowsky’s work as “exhibit A” for a broad scale social and cultural phenomenon an example of logical thinking and critical analysis?

        Too freakin’ funny.

      • Forgot an important part –

        After you’ve quantified this trend of growth in “progressive influence on the entire school system, K through PhD” in the last “two generations,” please show differentially and proportionally, the relationship to “logical thinking” and “critical analysis” in prior generations.

        That shouldn’t be hard, eh? I’m sure you can whip that up in no time.

      • Joshua – You don’t get it. I don’t have to do all that work – all I need to do is say “How did this Lewandowsky moron get a job teaching at a university?” Much preferred shortcut.

      • Joshua – Are you impressed by Lewandowsky’s work?

      • I actually agree with Joshua more than he realizes. I DO NOT KNOW, as I asserted above if it really is progressives destroying the educational system as I asserted with qualifications.

        I live in a world where two people look at the same thing and one identifies is as black and the other white.

        I live in a world where Bush is evil personified.

        I live in a world where Obama is evil personified.

        I BELIEVE progressives have destroyed the educational system. I do not KNOW that I am correct.

        I BELIEVE that Internet filter bubbles and progressive indoctrination have created closed loops of reality that are not a reflection of objective facts. I also believe conservative indoctrination also creates closed loops that are not a reflection of objective facts.

        The major difference that I BELIEVE operates differently between the groups is that Noble Cause Corruption insidiously corrupts the leftists/progressives orders of magnitude more than it corrupts conservatives. Again, what will one not do in order to right injustices, save the world, and liberate all the victims?

        I think people researching this disconnect are trying to be honest, even little ol’ Lew, but most are so deeply embedded in these worldviews that they are unable to see two trees let alone a forest.

      • Charles makes an excellent point.

        You see, while some people BELIEVE that they’ve seen monkeys flying out of his butt, no one actually KNOWS whether that has happened.

      • Joshua is well within his rights to dismiss Charles beliefs. Just as Charles is well within his rights to believe what he chooses to believe.

        What happens when you naturalize epistemology? ( Joshua may not get this, but this is what his appeal to motivated reason does), what happens is this.

        You lose the position require to critique what others believe.
        When you naturalize epistemology, when you explain how people come to believe, you set aside the project of epistemology which is coming up for rules for true belief or knowledge in the traditional philosophical sense. Truth in the ideal sense gets replaced with “what works”. What works for the individual and more broadly what works for a majority of people.

        You can then observe that if you want to change other people’s beliefs that following certain rulz tends to be more successful than not. Science codifies these rulz. But you can clearly live a happy productive useful life without ever using the rules of science. Moreover, you don’t even have to be consistent in the application of rules.

        Charles has certain beliefs. He doesnt need to provide evidence to have those beliefs. They only need to work for him. When Charles tries to change Joshua’s beliefs ( for example if he wants to argue that he is right and that Joshua is wrong ) then as a matter of pragmatics he should appeal to Joshua with arguments that are known to work with people like Joshua, but only if he is interested in changing Joshua’s mind.These may or may not be logical arguments. On the other hand if someone wants to annoy Joshua rather than change his mind, then they can of course use other methods.

      • ==> “Just as Charles is well within his rights to believe what he chooses to believe.”

        Of course he is.

        ==> “He doesnt need to provide evidence to have those beliefs. ”

        Of course he doesn’t.

        Just as of course he’s “allowed’ to express his beliefs.

        It seems that you think that I’m arguing against some or all of that.

        I’m not. But you’ve never let that get in the way of your rich fantasy life before, so why should you do so now, eh?

  25. Ya gotta mutter ‘I dunno’ to yourself. Otherwise it ain’t got no schwang.
    ====================

  26. Daniel Stewart

    Judith

    Thanks for all your good work.

    Your link for the Quine quotation – http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-underdetermination/ – points to a discussion of the position in the philosophy of science that, in general, observations do not uniquely determine the theory derived from them. There will be other theories, perhaps equally plausible, compatible with the evidence.

    If that is true (and it is disputable), then the choice of theory will depend on factors beyond the evidence — bias, self-interest, politics (small and large), animosity, caprice . . . ; it’s a long list.

    The full article is worth a look since many of the issues covered arise again and again in climate science controversies.

    • I have a post on underdetermination coming soon, i got sidetracked with the overconfidence piece.

    • DS, the issue of underdetermined theory is a deep and fascinating one. But in the end any theory must be judged at any point in time (as new information becomes available) along a spectrum from untrue through uncertain to likely true (as Einstein pointed out, seldom absolute truth). That is where critical thinking comes into play. And where beliefs and agendas can not only morph uncertain into ‘true’ as the IPCC has done, they can even morph ‘untrue’ into seemingly ‘true’. Intelligent Design’s assertion about the irreducible complexity of the eye, and the NEA stance on classroom size and educational acheivement are two examples from my book on critical thinking, The Arts of Truth.
      And my opening chapter on the philosophy of ‘truth’ (science) quotes liberally from Stanford’s Plato project at the website you linked above.

    • I thought theories were confirmed when new data matched their predictions? But theories can’t be proved. Regarding under determination, I have run into company managers who wanted us to attribute a certain performance or behavior to a specific driver. However, everything we did and knew told us the full system was responding to multiple factors which we really couldn’t honestly separate. It was similar to the climate warming issue, but we could get around it by having obtuse managers promoted to Vice President.

      • Athletes that tested negative for the presence of performance enhancing drug were obviously not using performance enhancing drugs were they?

  27. An example of “humble confidence.”

    As a young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln once had to plead two cases before the same judge on the same day. Both involved the same principle of law, but in one he appealed for the defendant and in the other for the plaintiff. His eloquence won the case in the morning. In the afternoon, he argued the opposite side with equal conviction. The judge, half smiling, asked him what caused his change of attitude.

    ” Your Honor, ” said Lincoln, ” I may have been wrong this morning, but I know I’m right this afternoon. “

  28. Those who refuse to put a quality control process in place are obvious candidates for overconfidence stemming from ignorance. See e.g. academic research in general and climate science in particular.

  29. It was doing OK until it got to this bit: Luckily, a science is emerging, led by such scholars as Stephan Lewandowsky .

    At that point I gave up on it.

  30. We should all be confident in understanding that Michael Mann and the CRUgaters, the UN and the IPCCers, the climatists of government-subsidized Western science, the Eurocommies, have been all to eager to put politics before methodology when looking at the world around us.

  31. “We are all confident idiots”

    This headline is lame. And that being the case, I can’t read any further. It’s not true. This kind of generalization doesn’t help anyone, whether they be idiots or non.

    Andrew

  32. For more fun on this, recall that science recently discovered the social sciences are loaded with unreplicated (and unreplicable) papers. Social scientists responded that it is “bullying” to check their work:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/07/replication_controversy_in_psychology_bullying_file_drawer_effect_blog_posts.single.html

    For even more fun recall the dustup in anthropology. There the urge to purge anything that challenges political orthodoxy became so strong that anthropologists decided they needed to drop the word “science” from the description of what they do. You see, if anthropology is a “science,” there are some crazy people out there who actually check your work and expect your assertions to have some sort of verifiable validity.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fetishes-i-dont-get/201011/no-science-please-were-anthropologists

    When Chris Mooney talks about the GOP “War on Science,” we all know what definition of “science” he’s using.

    • Given the Accumulated Cyclone Energy lately, I’ve directly asked Chris Mooney when he is going to write ‘Calm World’. I can call spirits but he do not answer when I do call.
      =================

    • Nice article, JeffN – thanks for the link.

      Some questions for you, though:

      ==> “Social scientists responded that it is “bullying” to check their work:

      Weren’t the people who conducted the replication studies social scientists? Didn’t they publish in a social science journal?

      • Do you don big floppy shoes, red rubber nose and wild hair wig before posting to get in the mood, or does it come natural?

    • Interesting quote:

      ==> “there’s no reason to think that replicators are any more motivated to “fail” to replicate original findings than are original authors, as a group, to “succeed” in finding evidence of an effect in the first place. ”

      Valid point. Of course, corollary – a point that many of my much beloved “skeptics” seem to have trouble grasping – might be that the replicators, as a group, would not be any less motivated to fail to replicate the original findings than the original authors would have been to find the effect in the first place.

    • Also interesting:

      Psychology has long been a punching bag for critics of “soft science,” but the field is actually leading the way in tackling a problem that is endemic throughout science.

      and

      According to the Science article on the special replication issue, several authors of original studies described the replication process as “bullying.” But a different view was offered by another researcher, Eugene Caruso of the University of Chicago, who reported in 2013 that priming subjects by exposing them to the sight of money made them more accepting of societal norms. This result also “failed” to replicate. Caruso acknowledged that the outcome “was certainly disappointing at a personal level,” but added, “when I take a broader perspective, it’s apparent that we can always learn something from a carefully designed and executed study.”

      Could it be that JeffN – a “skeptic” was painting with a broad brush?

      Say it ain’t so!

    • Is little joshie the conscience of the skeptics, or just a trolling twit?

  33. There is (to me) an interesting analogue in learning a musical instrument. It is basically impossible to know how well you are playing (especially with regard to feel and timing) while playing. Which is why the pro educators insist one must record oneself, which is the only way to know how you are actually doing. It can be brutal. But, in time, one can develop a more tuthful ear.
    How do we record the climate scientists, and the question is “Will they listen”?

    • Nickels – Indeed. As a muscian, the old saying is that “the tape never lies.” A group performance can sound great from your seat on the stage, but when you listen to the tape, you will hear things you never heard during the performance. That is why a live performance is “walking a tight rope.” You must have absolute trust in the conductor to listen to all the performers and maximize the quality of the performance.

      So who do we “trust” on the “climate change podium” to maximize the quality of the science?

      • I guess the analogue to tape for science would be verifiability, and given the climate problem….and just line fitting climate models to the climate we have data for is kind of like going back and editing your track…

      • Conductor: interesting, does the conductor give signals back to the orchestra during the performance I guess? Learned something…

      • I don’t mind tightropes for the daring and erring Flying Climandas. Let ’em have safety nets, or bungee cords, or sumpin’.
        =====================

  34. Oh, and as far as the idiocy of the whole confidence game, just look no further than the wonderful world of dating….

    • Yeah, Dutch? Or not?
      ==========

    • This guys gets all the dates, even without any looks (he’s invisible)!
      “Power, I said! Power to walk into the gold vaults of the nations, into the secrets of kings, into the Holy of Holies; power to make multitudes run squealing in terror at the touch of my little invisible finger. Even the moon’s frightened of me, frightened to death! The whole world’s frightened to death! “

  35. The Dunning-Kruger effect is often misconstrued. If you ask the average person what they know about ancient Greece, they will say they know nothing, which is true. Often people rely on those they trust, such as climate experts or newspaper statements about inflation or unemployment. This externalization of knowledge is efficient because it saves us from all the work of learning everything about everything. The problem arises when the experts present a distorted picture of what they know to achieve some goal of their own. When pundits and Nobel Prize winners get an exaggerated sense of their own genius, Dunning-Kruger comes into full force. Thus older individuals become more cynical because they have discovered that the pundits lie or spin.

    • Craig wrote- “The problem arises when the experts present a distorted picture of what they know to achieve some goal of their own.”

      My question- How is the situation different if/when an “expert” sincerely presents a scientific case that ultimately turns out to be incorrect? Doesn’t the public’s trust in “scientists” overall also get reduced?

      • This reflects the fact that people love their own research and are not likely to see it as wrong. I have had discussions with 2 top scientists in Ecology who had very different views that could not both be right, and neither would budge an inch. For this reason scientific truth is external to any single scientist. If the scientist is basing his work on a very small sample size or a survey or some other squishy method, he is ethically bound to qualify his assertions, but training to this effect is not adequate.

      • Model projections,of AR5. Might ye call these an example of
        the over confidence of ‘experts?’
        http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/figure-1-4-models-vs-observations-annotated.png

      • beth–Imo, claiming that we can rely upon ANY model prior to it having demonstrated a history of performance in meeting observed conditions within reasonable margins of error in total folly. It doesn’t really matter if the error was a sincere scientific error or an intentional effort to mislead. It is still a silly scientific practice.

      • Rob –

        ==> “beth–Imo, claiming that we can rely upon ANY model prior to it having demonstrated a history of performance in meeting observed conditions within reasonable margins of error in total folly”

        So I take it that you reject the economic projections related to mitigation?

        As pure folly?

      • Joshua asks-“So I take it that you reject the economic projections related to mitigation?”

        My response- You would need to be more specific about which projections and on what they were based. Generally, I do not find evidence to support incurring higher costs to implement CO2 mitigation activities as I do not think there is generally sufficient evidence of a positive return on the cost of the investment.

      • Just reverse the cost/benefit ratio from Stern. He used it upside down.

        Easy peasy. Much too easy for the quiz in the AM.
        ==============

      • ==> “You would need to be more specific about which projections”

        The ones that are used to support “economic suicide” claims by “skeptics” who are concerned about ACO2 mitigation.

        ==> “Generally, I do not find evidence to support incurring higher costs to implement CO2 mitigation activities as I do not think there is generally sufficient evidence of a positive return on the cost of the investment.”

        So let me see if I get this right. I am told, all the time, that “skeptics” don’t doubt that ACO2 will warm the climate, they are only uncertain about the magnitude of the effect. Assuming that you’re one of those “skeptics,” and looking at the range estimations of likely impact based energy balance that are often promoted by “skeptics” (although certainly there are many “skeptics” who think that there is no possibility that ACO2 will warm the climate to any measurable extent) – then we can reasonably assume that you agree that there is a “fat tail” potential for high impact consequences from BAU.

        Yet, you say that there is not sufficient evidence of a positive return on the “cost” of investment. So you have no real basis for assuming “costs” would be greater than “benefits” for any given magnitude of impact, and you acknowledge that there is a fairly wide range of potential impact, yet you can say with certainty that there is insufficient evidence to warrant “investment.”

        IMO, your logic is inconsistent with how decisions have to be made in the face of uncertainty, because your approach towards uncertainty is inconsistent. You focus on uncertainty at one end and dismiss it on the other so as to reach a broad conclusion that, effectively, relies on certainty – which you say doesn’t exist. Your rhetoric does not match the logic of your argument, or your argument doesn’t match the logic of your rhetoric (I’m not sure which is the case but it has to be one of the other). Otherwise, you would agree that policies need to take into account all the uncertainties, and thus your bar of evidence to be “sufficient to warrant investment” is unrealistic – and can only be conceptualized through an inconsistent approach to uncertainty.

        Now I’m not suggesting that your illogic – of a sort that predominates among “skeptics” – is unique to “skeptics.” Indeed far from it – it predominates among humans and is not a function of where someone aligns w/r/t views on climate change or views on other polarized issues. What we see in the evidence collected about how humans reason while assessing risk in the face of uncertainty, in polarized contexts, is that the logic you’re presenting is endemic. It is explainable by the phenomenon of cultural cognition – where “motivated reasoning” leads to analyses that don’t reflect what people know or don’t know, or what evidence exists or doesn’t exist, but who they are, how they identify ideologically and/or culturally.

      • “I am told, all the time, that “skeptics” don’t doubt that ACO2 will warm the climate”

        Stop listening to whomever is telling you that.

        Even Warmer Generated Squiggly Line Drawings clearly show dips/declines/downward squiggles where ACO2 is not warming the climate. Put on your thinking cap and try to understand what that means.

        Andrew

      • Joshua,

        I don’t know what most skeptics believe but JC has dedicated some blogs to mitigation and adaptation and seems to believe in some action. Aside from that, I think many skeptics see action in terms of futility. Obama has signed an agreement with China that has the US persuing policies of mitigation and has China do nothing until 2030. Since that is already the course of both countries it hardly changes the landscape. One could certainly understand the skeptics grips under those cercumstances.

        The skeptics would see action as futile given the measures undertaken by the US would not amount to any benefit and add cost to energy. Meanwhile, China will make up for any CO2 emissions mitigated in the US and enjoy the cost benefits. I personally think action by the US is a good idea not just because of leading by example but because it could lead to new technology. I certainly can understand a skeptical view however as far as feckless politically expedient policy and cost factors favoring China (basically letting them off the hook) to the detriment of the US.

      • I meant politically expedient agreement not policy.

      • Joshua
        No, I do not believe you understand my position on the topic.

        No- I also don’t doubt that ACO2 will warm the climate if all other conditions remain unchanged (which is highly unlikely to happen in the actual system), but am uncertain about the magnitude/timing of the effect in the real climate system and whether any change will lead to conditions that are better or worse for the US or the planet overall.

        There are very limited financial resources and these should be used wisely. In the real world there are not unlimited funds. If we invest in CO2 mitigation then we do not have those funds to invest elsewhere.

        I have read nothing that seems remotely reliable that shows that we would have a better climate for the USA or the world overall as a result of implementing a CO2 mitigation activity. Does it make sense to incur costs to do something that you are not confident will have a benefit? If you can’t state with high confidence what the benefit will be and when it will occur, shouldn’t everyone be skeptical of a claimed benefit???

      • Joshua, the problem arises because your proposed solutions have a huge fat tail which leads to the deaths of billions of people. And to make matters even worse the Dunning Kruger problem in the warmist population leads to conspiracy theories spun up by your tribal leaders. This of course leads to the ongoing train wreck. Your inability to perceive all the fat tails leads you into a blind alley.

      • Rob
        I think the difference is that the real scientist takes on board the evidence presented against his theory and either adjusts the theory or abandons it.

        It appears to me that many who identify as climate scientists get this round the wrong way.. no matter what the evidence against, the theory is correct or the ” I am not going to give you my data as you will poke holes in it”… that sort of position indicates the “scientist” has gone missing.

        When one sees the money being put on the table because of the theory I suppose one can see why that occurs (human susceptibility and all that..) however that does not make it science. It makes it the opposite.

      • Joshua

        you didn’t reply lol

      • “I think the difference is that the real scientist takes on board the evidence presented against his theory and either adjusts the theory or abandons it.”
        _______
        Yep. But more than that, the best practice is to actually seek out the evidence that might disprove your theory, putting more effort into that then searching only that which might confirm your theory. This is the hallmark of rational skepticism and avoids confirmation bias.

      • Rob –

        Because I don’t think that you addressed my point, and essentially just repeated the same flawed approach to uncertainty.

      • Gates

        What reliable scientific evidence makes you think that a world with higher levels of CO2 is unfavorable for the US or the world overall? if the rate of warming is significantly slower than believed by the IPCC, and the rate of sea level rise virtually unchanged from the long term rate of change- what is your largest fear of the rise in CO2.

        Is it fair to summarize your real concern that the rate of warming may increase significantly and that more bad things may happen if that occurs?

      • Joshua

        I do not understand how I have not addressed your point.

        You (neither has anyone else actually) have not shown that a CO2 mitigation activity is likely to have any positive benefit and these activities use limited economic resources, therefore is does not make sense to support their implementation.

        What is the logical flaw? It would seem necessary for those supporting CO2 mitigation measures to show that they do make sense as the best use of limited resources.

        Seems a dodge by you…imo

      • John Carpenter

        “You (neither has anyone else actually) have not shown that a CO2 mitigation activity is likely to have any positive benefit and these activities use limited economic resources, therefore is does not make sense to support their implementation.”

        CO2 mitigation will have a positive benefit under the assumption that less atmospheric CO2 leads to less warming. It also assumes that the climate we have experienced in the last 150 years was/is the best climate there is. It is the notion that ‘no change’ in the climate is the best. The problem with getting masses of people on board with reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration is that the benefits, under the assumptions made and according to all the model predictions made to date, will not occur until several generations in front of us. So we will never experience a climate benefit, neither will our children or their children. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere now and the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere predicted dictates that the warming will continue for some time (centuries even) before there is any kind of reversal. The train has left the station, the warmth is already baked into the pipeline, its all gonna happen and nothing, nothing we do today can change that to a climate benefit today. It can only change it for generations ahead of us. So the real problem is how do you get the masses on board to change future generations we have no connection to, who will live in a presumably technologically different world we live in and under unknown future political/governmental regimes?

      • John
        In my opinion, the majority of the basis of the conclusions that a warmer world is worse for humanity overall over the long term is/was based on the principle that said warming would necessarily result in a rapid rise in sea level. There is no reliable data to support this conclusion.
        There were also many other claims for a worsening environment that would result from more CO2 (more severe storms, etc etc) but I do not think there is evidence to support the stated beliefs. Challenge the basis of the assumption that a warmer world is worse for any particular nation and see what data supports it.

      • John Carpenter

        Rob, to argue the point Joshua argues, you have to assume that the planet is going to continue to warm due to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration… the ‘realist’ point of view. Using that as the starting point of the argument, you can then argue that according to all the work that supports that premise, there will be no benefit to the climate through mitigation of CO2 for several generations to come. We wont see it, our children wont see it and their children wont see it either. If there is no benefit for that period of time, who is going to step to the plate to make significant human behavioral changes needed to achieve that end? In my opinion, if you take the ‘realist’ position for all the reasons we need urgent action now, you then have to accept that we and the next several generations are not going to be the ones to benefit by it. So in the end this will be, IMO, a hard sell. The idea of adaption then becomes more front burner because that is what we and our children and their children are going to have to face. Mitigation can take place slowly along the way, but we need to prepare ourselves for the inevitable future of what a warmer world holds.

      • Rob -‘

        ==> “I do not understand how I have not addressed your point.”

        Gotta run. I’ll try to get to it later.

      • John Carpenter-
        Thanks for the reply to explain your understanding of the position advocating CO2 mitigation actions.

        To clairify my position- I do agree that over time a goal should be to develop and implement technologies so that humans release less CO2. As long as these technologies are reasonably cost effective they will be adopted. Expensive short term acitons won’t change the long term curve for emissions. Will it matter if CO2 concentrations are 500 ppm in 2100 vs 525 ppm?

        Long term- what is the likely average CO2 emissions per year per human?

      • Rob and John –

        Interesting discussion. For the most part, John does a pretty good job of outlining why I find your position, Rob, logically incoherent – although he doesn’t frame it in that way.

        If you accept that ACO2 definitely warms the climate, but you’re not sure as to the extent, then you accept that the extent might be significant. Indeed, the sensitivity ranges promoted by those “skeptics” who claim to not doubt that ACO2 warms the climate, include fairly significant levels of warming within their range. See here:

        Thus, your uncertainties dictate that you don’t know how damaging the warming might be, and you cannot logically argue that mitigation is not justifiable. You can only argue that you don’t know that it is (or isn’t) justifiable.

        Add on to this the basic assumption of “cost” of mitigation that you rely on. You say that there are uncertainties related to range of sensitivity, but then ignore the range of uncertainty w/r/t cost of warming, but further than that, you rely on a certainty that there will be a “cost” that would tax limited resources as opposed to benefit that would reduce the strain on resources.

        IMO, this all goes back to the problem of decision-making about risk assessment in the fact of uncertainty. The decisions must be made with: (1) a recognition of ambiguity and, (2) an acknowledgement that unless policies are, essentially, to be dictated by either extreme climate change or a lack of climate change over an extended period of time (so as to make any concerns about significant climate change invalid) – affirmative policies must be made in a context where oppositional points of view are accommodated. We don’t have proof, IMO, in either direction – so the way forward is through the recognition of common interests. Arguing about positions is same ol’ same ol’. It’s identity politics. It’s cultural cognition and motivated reasoning. It’s Otterball. It’s identity-aggressive and identity-defensive behaviors masquerading as a discussion of science.

        Logically, I think that the approach I would take is easier to do in a context where more local communities are discussing potential policies of dealing with, say, adaptation to sea level rise. Expecting such an approach to be realized on a broader geographical scale w/r/t mitigation or large-scale energy policies is, clearly, a goal that is likely to exceed reach. In this way, I think that there’s quite a bit of overlap between my perspective and John’s. IMO, the science dictates that the “debate” about climate change probably won’t be “settled” for maybe 150 years, when error ranges will pretty much exclude ambiguity at a meaningful level.

      • BTW –

        Since my typical word salad is likely to confuse more than clarify – this thread pretty much gets at what I was talking about. In particular, note Anders’ comments to Nic Lewis at the end.

        http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/some-thoughts/

      • Joshua is funny

        ” IMO, the science dictates that the “debate” about climate change probably won’t be “settled” for maybe 150 years, when error ranges will pretty much exclude ambiguity at a meaningful level.”

        1. Re funding the satellite to measure aerosols would cut this dramatically
        2. Higher sensitivity staellities measure radiation at TOA could provide the data in around 20 years or so based on a cool presentation I listedn to at AGU.
        3. Investment in Paleo would also help

        The option that rarely gets discussed is reducing the uncertainty through better measurements and better observation systems which serve MULTIPLE purposes.. not just settling the debate

      • “what is your largest fear of the rise in CO2.”
        _______
        I don’t really have any fears related to CO2. If it does turn out to be a problem, it will likely be long after I’m dead. Weather may be turning a bit more nasty (or not) in my lifetime, but I tend to like extreme weather events, so that would be more of a plus for me, not a fear.

      • Steve Mosher

        What you suggest would seem to help establish a tighter range for probable TCR. Would you agree that a follow on step to make a determination of whether that rate of change is good or bad, and for whom will take much more work and time.

    • Joshua

      One can easily argue that most CO2 mitigation activities make no sense simply because the specific activities would not do enough to warrant incurring the cost of the activity. You seem to try to illogically argue that one must support all CO2 mitigation or they necessarily are ignoring the potential risk that additional CO2 might lead to a worsening of conditions.

      Your position is logically flawed.

      We seem to agree that higher levels of CO2 might, someday lead to a worsening of the earth’s climate somewhere. We also therefore must agree that it may lead to an improvement in conditions. We both seem to agree that there is no reliable evidence to claim that we know if this will actually occur, where this might occur or when it might occur as changes in other conditions seem to be able to dominate the system over timescales of importance to humans.

      Current CO2 mitigation activities will have virtually no impact on the shape of the long term CO2 growth curve yet the cost to implement them often can take away the funding needed to build and maintain critical infrastructure. Good infrastructure saves lives. In a world where governments must cut spending to manage their budgets, how does it make sense to not have spending on building and maintaining infrastructure the higher priority.

      Whether more CO2 leads to better weather or worse weather overall, the one thing we know is that there will be always be periods of adverse weather. If you accept this as truth, then advocate building and maintaining the right type of robust infrastructure at local levels to prepare for the inevitable true future.

      • One can easily argue that most CO2 mitigation activities make no sense simply because the specific activities would not do enough to warrant incurring the cost of the activity.

        Yes, it’s hard to argue the opposite because that would entail actually collecting data and analyzing it, as done for example by William Nordhaus in his book “A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies”.

      • Vaughan

        To accept Nordhaus’s philosophy one must agree that all should be forced to represent and pay for perceived “externalities,” i.e., social consequences not accounted for by the workings of the market in the market. His philosophy is that the market has failed in regards to CO2 because people do not pay for the current and future costs of their actions.

        I do not agree with his philosophy and I strongly disagree with his assumptions regarding future damages related to CO2.

      • Rob –

        ==> “One can easily argue that most CO2 mitigation activities make no sense simply because the specific activities would not do enough to warrant incurring the cost of the activity. You seem to try to illogically argue that one must support all CO2 mitigation or they necessarily are ignoring the potential risk that additional CO2 might lead to a worsening of conditions.”

        In the first sentence of paragraph you failed to address my point about your inconsistency in addressing uncertainty. In the second, you miscontrued my views as to whether one “must” support mitigation in order to not ignore potential risk of ACO2.

        I didn’t answer your earlier comment because I anticipated that type of response – based on the earlier exchange. To get anywhere here, we’d have to basically start from the beginning and go step-by-step to reach understanding, sequentially, as to what each other is saying. I think this just a practical forum for that kind of exchange.

      • Joshua

        You write I have– “inconsistency in addressing uncertainty”

        My response- isn’t that appropriate? It all comes down to the specific situation. Resources available and priorities for use.

      • To accept Nordhaus’s philosophy one must agree that all should be forced to represent and pay for perceived “externalities,”

        What people should or should not do has nothing to do with your claim that “the specific activities would not do enough to warrant incurring the cost of the activity”, which is simply a cost-benefit analysis of the kind Nordhaus conducts in book-length detail and which you contradict on the basis of hearsay. Nordhaus’s “philosophy” is that one should accurately understand the costs and benefits before deciding whether or not to take action.

  36. In light of CAGW advocacy, you-all might find this interesting. It deals with “methods”.

    FoxNews. “Yet Another Video Shows ObamaCare Architect Disparaging Voter Intelligence.” News. FoxNews.com, November 13, 2014.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/13/yet-another-video-shows-obamacare-architect-disparaging-voter-intelligence/

    Ross, Chuck. “In Third Video, Obamacare Architect Talks About ‘Basic Exploitation’ Of American Voters [VIDEO].” News. The Daily Caller, November 12, 2014.
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/12/in-third-video-obamacare-architect-talks-about-basic-exploitation-of-american-voters-video/

  37. When I am posting here or writing a scientific paper, I have confidence in my ability to do research and argue logically. I also have confidence in the fact that other people will not take my word for anything, since I lack one of those Nobel thingees, and that they may not be familiar with facts I take for granted. Therefore, keeping my audience in mind, I work hard to support all my arguments. This is how to avoid Dunning-Kruger effects: remember that it is a conversation.

  38. The Dunning / Lewandowsky relationship is circular reasoning one removed.

    Dunning’s studies claim the unskilled suffer from illusory superiority.

    Lewandowsky uses Dunning to justify his perceived “real” superiority when he uses badly constructed studies to denigrate people whose viewpoint is different than his.

  39. “It turns out, we tend to (over)use confidence as a useful proxy for competence — if you speak firmly, it sounds like you know what you’re talking about. People who showed more confidence, regardless of their actual ability, were judged to be more capable and accorded more regard by their peers.”

    I think the chattering classes are particularly vulnerable to this.

    Obama has never said much that was very smart, yet I keep hearing the pundits say how smart he is. His great gift is the ability to voice the most groundless of propositions with complete confidence–even when he completely contradicts something he said with equal confidence only a few months before. And gazing into the middle distance as if he can see something the rest of us can’t also helps.

  40. Like next week, for example, some are saying bombogenesis instead of polar vortex because… it sounds cooler? Or, is it more like the cuckoo, Michio Kaku, always trying to look relevant–e.g.,

    Superstorm Nuri packs more energy that hurricane Sandy. It’s headed our way and we are in the bulls-eye. This weekend it’s going to plow into Alaska creating 50 foot waves. Then by mid week all hell breaks loose. It’s going to collide with the jet stream, pushing Arctic air all the way down perhaps as low as Florida. Now remember the polar vortex of last year? This is different. There is a name for this. It’s called “bombogenesis.” That’s geek talk for when pressures suddenly drop. When you have hot air, cold air colliding like what we’re going to see over Canada and the American Midwest. Plunging temperature perhaps 30 degrees below normal.

    ….In a worst case scenario it could mean a deep freeze. It means airlines cancelling flights left and right. It means transportation being disrupted. Train schedules being disrupted. People’s schedules being thrown a kilter. So we’re talking about a massive disruption which will peak around November 13 to November 15. But ripple through the rest of November.

    …It peaks mid week next week so expect several days of pretty miserable weather but then ripples, ripples will probably be with us for the end of the month.

    • The cold wave you are experiencing in the USA reminds me of the 77 to 79 winters. I remember the spring of 78 we found a ton of dead animals as the snow melted.

  41. How many people here want their doctor to wait until they know exactly what a problem is before they embark on a course of treatment? I believe it was Moshe Dayan who said of (military) leadership that the key was the ability to make decisions and stick to them, rather than the ability to make the right decision. There may indeed be a theoretical decision that yields the best cost beneficent, but we never really know the consequences of making a particular decision, nor are we able to know, a prior, the actual cost-benefit.
    Without the K-D effect we would spend out time either wracked by indecision or with subordinates lacking confidence in our ability to direct.

    • “their doctor”

      Doc, are you resorting to the Doctor Analogy because Doc is in your name?

      If your doctor doesn’t know what she/he’s doing, should they go ahead and treat you anyway?

      The stupidity continues.

      Andrew

      • For the life of me, I cannot understand why some people continue to suggest that climate scientists and doctors are equivalent in some way.

        Lazy, lazy non-thinking.

        Andrew

      • If your child has the symptoms of bacterial meningitis do you want to wait 24 hours for the histology or have prophylactic Chloramphenicol ?

      • I knew a fella once who thought everyone sensitive to that drug was wiped out after introduction of it. I dunno.
        =================

      • Matthew R Marler

        Doc Martyn: If your child has the symptoms of bacterial meningitis do you want to wait 24 hours for the histology or have prophylactic Chloramphenicol ?

        Two of the many obvious questions:

        1. Do you want to ignore outright the risks entailed in treating with Chloramphenicol?

        2. Is there some intervention in climate science that has as much demonstrated effectiveness as the demonstrated (though not perfect) effectiveness of Chloramphenicol in treating certain bacterial infections?

      • The side effects of bacterial meningitis include catastrophic brain damage or death. The side-effects of Chloramphenicol are easily managed.
        HIV Prophylaxis is routinely offered to victims of sexual assault, along with an antibiotic prophylaxis potion and plan B; standard practice in health facilities throughout North America.

      • Matthew R Marler

        DocMartyn: The side-effects of Chloramphenicol are easily managed.

        I don’t know about Chloamphenicol in particular, but people have died from antibiotics: strong allergic reactions and untoward reactions when the bacteria happened to be resistant to the antibiotic chosen for treatment.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Doc Martyn: HIV Prophylaxis is routinely offered to victims of sexual assault, along with an antibiotic prophylaxis potion and plan B;

        That is really irrelevant to the cases of CO2 increase and climate change.

        Routine use of antibiotics, as you doubtless well know, has produced and is producing anti-biotic resistant gonorrhea and syphilis. But at least the antibiotics and antiretrovirals have been shown to work when first introduced into widespread use. Nothing has shown that treatments aimed at reducing warming will actually work.

    • “If your child has the symptoms of bacterial meningitis”

      What does this have to do with climate science?

      Andrew

    • How about if you have a little blip in your cardiogram and the doc wants to do a heart transplant? There are in fact many unnecessary surgeries done every year and people die from them. so yes, I want the doc to be sure and I want a second opinion. And the difference is that medicine, though suffering from many unknowns, at least has millions of case studies over hundreds of years so that some therapies are highly successful with known success rates and known adverse outcome rates (take carpel tunnel surgery for example).

    • Planning Engineer

      The doctor analogy scares me in many ways. Focusing on one, I would encourage everyone to be the central decision maker as regards their personal health care. Doctors generally are reluctant to provide risk probabilities, but at the end of the day patients frequently should make their own personal evaluations as to the risks they face versus the burdens and likely benefits of various treatments or none. Doctors often push horrible cumbersome therapies that do not make sense to their patients. With climate we are in this together, so we can not make individual decisions there. But I am suspicious of the perspective that we should go with great burdens because “experts” (who don’t know the cost of the treatment) think there is a possible but unquantifiable risk out there. Even more so if they are kind of foggy on the efficacy of the treatment.

      • I am trying to understand the paperwork, to begin a study plan, to get funding, to do animal studies, to get a chemotherapy ready to go into human trials.
        Medicine is very complicated and what has worked in the passed is a ‘good’ starting point to plan. The treat/no treat, treat how, treat when, based on limited symptoms is a very difficult determination to make.

      • So with the doctor analogy. If there is reasonable causation (IE, smoking) and the patient has no recognized symptoms the doc could suggest the patient stop smoking as it has a high probability of a negative outcome to continue the behavior of smoking.

        But, if there are symptoms (regionalized indicators of climate change) with an unknown cause (smoking/CO2), do we have them stop smoking at huge cost for the Chantix (CO2 abatement) or do we use that money to conduct further diagnostics?

        This, in a poorly worded nutshell, is what I perceive is the dilemma.

    • When possible, decisions should be broken down (Do A then B or C, etc). For instance, US Army Doctrine is structured for uncertainIty; combat operations often take unexpected turns and flexibility is key to success. Orders are issued with objectives and rationale, giving the flexibility to the lowest echelons. And there are always contingency plans. This is the modern doctrine; can’t explain Vietnam and Iraq but it looks like the top generals were not prepared for the unexpected turns.

    • Or you could reject Moshe Dayan and state “the best strategy is to choose a non fully optimized solution while knowing very well it’s not fully optimized and explaining to your officers they had to make it work even if it wasn’t fully optimized, as well as having an idea of how to react when plans went to hell”.

  42. “Duhem’s original case for holist underdetermination is, perhaps unsurprisingly, intimately bound up with his arguments for confirmational holism: the claim that theories or hypotheses can only be subjected to empirical testing in groups or collections, never in isolation. The idea here is that a single scientific hypothesis does not by itself carry any implications about what we should expect to observe in nature; rather, we can derive empirical consequences from an hypothesis only when it is conjoined with many other beliefs and hypotheses, including background assumptions about the world, beliefs about how measuring instruments operate, further hypotheses about the interactions between objects in the original hypothesis’ field of study and the surrounding environment, etc. For this reason, Duhem argues, when an empirical prediction turns out to be falsified, we do not know whether the fault lies with the hypothesis we originally sought to test or with one of the many other beliefs and hypotheses that were also needed and used to generate the failed prediction:”

    • If you believe that tripe, then you might as well just sit and wait for the inevitable end.

      Nature *always* has to make sense.

      The quote above is dead-end thinking assuming everyone is a cowardly confidant idiot. If a grand hypothesis is a Rube Goldberg contraption of sub-hypothesis and the grand hypothesis is falsified, then the nature of the falsification provides a direct clue to identify which sub-hypothesis failed.

      This is the essence of problem solving. You build an edifice, then try and destroy it. That process identifies the sub-system weak points.

      Some people need to get out of their own heads.

    • Looked at briefly when writing Arts of Truth. Maybe valid in some cases. But just an intellectual morass for most things related to the scientific method. Duhem in essence implies there is no solid footing and everything depends on beliefs and assumptions. There is some solid footing. I don’t have ‘beliefs and assumptions’ about gravity. I have Newton and Einstein and the fact that all mass ‘falls’. Falling is Aquinas’ ‘correspondence’, as articulated by alHazan in his Book of Optics, and then Roger Bacon. Congruence with other facts/theories is a short cut saving having to redo everything from scratch all the time. We just use the gravitational constant first determined by Cavendish in 1798 (and he was ‘true’ within 1% of the presently accepted constant). This philosphy Usually works so long as one does not stray far from congruence with ‘truer’ theories. Duhem says it doesn’t work, even given the ‘truer’ qualifier. Of course congruence does not rule out a ‘Potemkin Village’ of mutually consistent ‘truer’ theories that are all ‘untrue’. Phlogiston was perhaps an example, as was luminiferous aether. And CAGW…
      When using congruence rather than correspondence, one must be very careful to note the accrual of anomalous observations, of the sort that eventually overturn ‘normal science’ in one of Kuhn’s paradigm shifting scientific revolutions. That is why the pause is so interesting for CAGW.

      An underdetermined theory should be called a speculation (or hypothsis or some such) not a theory. Theories should be well tested, so never underdetermined. And when sufficiently tested, we even start to call theories natural laws. That still does not mean they are completely true. Newton’s gravity needs modification by Einstein’s relativity for GPS satelites to function. Example from The Arts of Truth.

      All just semantics along a spectrum from untrue through don’t know to truer. Critical thinking is IMO the process of deciding where on that spectrum an assertion lies. The many assertions of the IPCC do not fall on the truer side of the spectrum. The Climate chapter in The Arts of Truth is a critical thinking primer on why. Cliff Notes version.

      • Perhaps the point is simply that any particular belief can turn out to be false. But as Descartes pointed out, this is not evidence against any particular belief, hence not a reason to doubt any. It is a rather empty fact.

        Speaking of gravity, Einstein’s point was that it does not exist, we just got the geometry wrong. That was a real surprise.

    • Obviously, underdetermination can, will, and has happened. E.g., the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. If a physicist is working at the fringe of knowledge, things like this are bound to happen. Scientists have to puzzle their way out of dilemmas over time and usually with more work. The problem will dictate the means needed to put the phenomenon in the proper light.

      Philosophers are kind of like arm chair quarterbacks. They look at what is happening and try to characterize it. But the next scientific mystery may require an approach no one has ever thought of before.

      Scientists drive this process, not philosophers.

  43. David L. Hagen

    Re: “So scientific overconfidence seems to be a victimless crime, with the only ‘victim’ being science itself.”
    Models are only “scientific” when they have been verified, validated and shown to be skillfully predictive.
    “Overconfidence” is thus inherently unscientific.

  44. Judith, there’s another aspect that might be interesting here, and it’s David Brin’s hypothesis that righteous indignation (which I’d certainly argue is in effect on all sides of climate policy) is addictive.

    http://www.davidbrin.com/addiction.html

  45. Daniel Stewart

    Steven Mosher — Yes; and as Quine said, we are capable (not necessarily wisely, but capable) of adopting ANY belief as long as we are prepared to adjust our other beliefs to fit.

    • Hard to believe. It’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, It’s a HARD……
      ==========

      • Oops, I believe I banged the anvil one too many times there. Oh well, it’s all malleable.
        =============

      • Matthew R Marler

        kim: Oops, I believe I banged the anvil one too many times there. Oh well, it’s all malleable.

        I think you got it right. The next is “It’s a HARD RAIN’S … ” I got the CD around here someplace, and I’ll check. I’ll let you know if I’m wrong.

    • yup.

  46. Everything you know is wrong

    The Firesign Theater.
    1974

  47. Judith, I ran into this recently and it seemed to be along the lines of what you were interested in. It took me awhile to find it again so I hope it has some relevance or perhaps the references will lead to something:

    http://www.nature.com/news/scientific-method-statistical-errors-1.14700

  48. A modest proposal. For some time, I have thought the term “Climate Science” is a bit too broad and indistinct to use to describe the discipline. It is a bit too vague for me, somewhat like lumping all work in biology into biological science, or physics into physical science. I would like to see some precision introduced when thinking about climate science.

    In particular, I think something along the lines of how astronomy and cosmology are categorized. I think it would be useful to categorize “climate science” into three sub disciplines: Climonomy, Climometry, and Climology. Climonomy , modeled after astronomy, would be the science of understanding the climate as it is, either now, or over relatively short time frames, say the reliable instrumental record. This would try to incorporate what is and has been measured recently into a coherent theoretical picture. A possible long term application would be extensions of knowledge to subsystems where we have high confidence of theoretical understanding. I am thinking here in astronomy of notions such as the concept of main sequence star evolution, where we have fair confidence that we understand the physics and sufficient observations to enhance that confidence. Climometry, modeled after astrometry, would be the science of measurement of climate variables. Astrometry is usually limited to positional measurements of astronomical objects, but I could see climometry being more broadly defined to include all of the physically measureable variables such as temperatures, heat content, turbulence intensities, other flow characteristics, atmospheric and oceanic species composition, radiant intensities, etc. Climology, modeled after cosmology, would include study of projected future climate conditions, beyond what we can predict with simple differential integrations of the present state as determined by climonomy and climometry. The sense would be, as in cosmology, that the result would be possible future states of the climate (as in the universe) but with the understanding that the results are more tests of our understanding of the fundamental equations than a bankable prediction of a distant future state. I am not sure what the time scale for climology would be but I would think almost anything beyond a decade or so would qualify. Certainly past millennial considerations would be the analog of the origins aspects of cosmology. (Note that climology is modeled on cosmology and not astrology as would seem a natural extension of the astro- theme. That would be a bit of a slur which some might want to make, but the idea is to figure out how to get the discipline back into science mode and avoid the astrological mode.)

    I think not enough emphasis is placed on the experimental and observational efforts in climate science, and often, observations are too immediately linked to what I call climatological conclusions without sufficient attention to the underpinnings of such long term projections. My personal preference would also be to mirror somewhat the funding allocations along these lines. What I mean is that, for astronomy/cosmology, by far the most funds are allocated to astronomy and observational astronomy (the analog to my notion of -metry). These disciplines include requirements for instruments (observatories on land and in space) which need significant funding. In addition astronomy has significant practical applications. Cosmology on the other hand, recognizing the speculative nature of the results, the relatively small instrumental requirements since the discipline is largely theoretical and computational, and the relative lack of immediate application, receives far less funding. I would think this would be about the right approach to climate science: heavy funding (perhaps even where it is now at the level of the Global Change Research Program) for climonomy and climometry and relatively modest funding for climology.

  49. I’ve had the following Mark Twain quote pinned to the board over my desk for more than a decade: “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.”

  50. re: Quine

    An excellent way to approach his view of knowledge and “psychology” is to review his “Epistemology Naturalized” article and philosophical discussions which resulted. “Naturalized” epistemology is the broader program for understanding what Quine advocated:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology-naturalized/

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

    interesting
    since the physical sciences have failed to produce a resolution

    we now turn to the social “sciences”

    no matter
    it won’t end ’til it becomes clear that the space ship is not comming

  52. There’s a lot of good science out there that never makes it though the media filter. Maybe we are in an ugly phase of “celebrity science”. The more crazy and more certain you make an assertion, the more likely you are to be given a high profile and be rewarded for it. And it sure seems that being wrong doesn’t have a lot of downsides.

    How would that situation be reversed? Public shaming? Professional shaming?

    In Japan and Korea being wrong scientifically has led to massive public rebuke in a few high profile cases, even leading to suicide.

    You don’t want to prevent people from innovating, and throwing ideas out there, and trying things that are out of the box. Being wrong shouldn’t be a crime. Innovations should be highly rewarded and people should be pressed to take risks.

    I guess I would prefer the system as it is with the occasional cult science and clowns than one that would make taking risks more…ummmm….riskier.

    • Curious George

      You are probably referring to a scientific fraud, not to just being wrong scientifically.

    • Tom, as an inventor completely concur.
      But there is a difference between whoops wrong, and ‘deliberately wrong on purpose…’ In my own case, EEstor (see recognition chapter of Arts of Truth) has been a bugaboo since 2008. That guy has taken in over $14 million and is still going.
      As PT Barnum ( also cited in ebook Arts of Truth) said, there is a sucker borne every minute…And you can fool all the people some of the time (CAGW)–but not some of the people all the time. Welcome to the ‘some’ side.

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

    oops … delete extraneous m

  54. One (of many) things that have bothered me as a non scientist observer of the debate, discussion, discourse, and so on is why is there a need for a “Psychology of Climate Communication”. So I went on a search for a “Psychology of Physics Communication” and “Psychology of Chemistry Communication” and “Psychology of Oceanography” and “Psychology of Cloud Communication”, “Psychology of Geologic Communication”. Nothing found on those topics, so they I have to ask myself Why?

    • Danny

      The answer is because sceptics exist so therefore need education in order to think correctly about climate science

      We have much the same thing in Europe. When the EU doesn’t like the results of a referendum (i.e they get a sceptical rebuff) they run it again in order to get the answer they want.

      tonyb

    • Danny,

      It’s a about risks, costs and potential outcomes. Climate science is a scientific as well as a social and financial issue. Research into the theory and physics of the Higgs Boson for example, doesn’t have the same obvious potential impacts on society as what might happen to humanity if we don’t reduce our GH gas emissions. Additionally of course, if you gradually raise the temperature in the lobster pot, the lobster won’t realize it is being cooked. Humans are wired much the same. Long-term, multi-generational threats are hard to grasp, harder still to believe, and hardest of all– to communicate.

      • nottawa rafter

        Gates you are absurd beyond belief. Millions of skeptics would line up shoulder to shoulder with warmists for appropriate action if the science was clear. It is not at all clear and you and others can’t deal with it and are on a perpetual journey of self denial. As a starter, why don’t you tell us all how much more the OHC warming trend post 1950 is over the previous 150 years. Do you see how lacking the science is? When there is some real science people will line up in droves to do what is necessary.

      • R. Gates,

        I understand the pieces of the overall picture (sans much of the science) and it’s been offered to me before about the risk based scenario.

        The big word to me is “potential” outcomes, vs. the givens. I’ve seen numbers from between $20 and $2000 per ton. APS uses $600/ton: In 2011, for example, the American Physical Society said that the typical cost of an air capture system would be around $600 or more per metric ton of CO2, or six times the amount of Rau’s procedure.”http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059981902

        Then, what do we do with it? Put it in the ground is the predominant answer from what I can find.

        The best “sales” people with whom I’ve been acquainted were psychology majors so I suppose I use that life experience as a filter when I see “Psychology of Climate Communication”. I guess I’m looking for a decision: we must remove CO2 NOW due to “x”, vs what I’m being offered which I perceive as: “we must remove CO2 NOW due to the likelyhood, possibility, that maybe………..and those maybe’s come from APS, National Academy of Science, and so on.

        So my risk analysis is we don’t have to use dollar bills to put out a fire that may not be there. My standby fire extinguisher is “faith” that science will either step up with more substantial proof that we have a fire, or that we don’t; or, that we’ll come up with a better fire extinguisher if we find out we really have that fire. This is counter to the AGW side that has “faith” that that fire already exists. The other side then is what is the likelyhood/potential that global warming is only mother nature doing what she does and we could toss money at CO2 all we want and it will result in only wasted money? So where does the needle on that scale actually sit?

        But I have to admit I do put money down on a blackjack table every once in a while.

      • ” if you gradually raise the temperature in the lobster pot, the lobster won’t realize it is being cooked”

        Myth

      • Either way, it’s a good thing we’re not Lobsters. :)

      • “…When there is some real science people will line up in droves to do what is necessary.”
        _____
        Yep, they will, and they have:

        http://s.imwx.com/dru/2014/09/4f49180d-bfd2-4c07-9461-3c77a48b6b22_980x551.jpg

      • “” if you gradually raise the temperature in the lobster pot, the lobster won’t realize it is being cooked”

        Myth
        _____
        Actually, not a myth, as lobsters really lack the neo-cortex region of their brain necessary to access their position in the universe or “realize” anything. So whether you cook them fast, or slow, they won’t know they are being cooked. They will simply have an autonomic response that says, “damn, it’s getting hot!, I need to get me away from this hot water.” Sadly for them, they usually can’t get out of the pot, but good for those of us who like lobster. In the case of humans and global warming. There is no way for us to escape the “pot” either if it turns out that the highest GH gas levels in 3.2 million years is really bad for us. Most prudent thing is to we not let the pot get too uncontrollably hot.

      • R. Gates,

        But how? Do we
        1) turn off the fuel if it’s uncertain as to the source so don’t know which of the 10 knobs to turn?
        2) spend time to confirm where the knob is?
        3) turn off this knob here while letting that knob run over there? (China/US)
        4) turn off the knob we think is the right one only to find out it was that knob over there leaving us with limited resources to turn off the correct knob later.

        Someone in another post mentioned “we’d all line up shoulder to shoulder” if we knew which knob to turn. Presuming we all wish to not end life on our planet as we know it, it’s reasonable to believe this to be true (acknowledgement Rud).

      • Matthew R Marler

        R. Gates: Long-term, multi-generational threats are hard to grasp, harder still to believe, and hardest of all– to communicate.

        that may well be true, but the theory of CO2-induced warming, and the theory that such warming would be a threat in case it should occur, is full of holes. Another less popular theory, also full of holes, is that Earth faces catastrophic cooling due to the reduced activity of the sun over multigenerational time spans. At least two competing theories with strongly contrasting predictions, each full of liabilities.

        What is hardest for most people to grasp is the multifariousness of the problem and the conflicting evidence. Communicating the science behind each liability (consider the mass and energy flow calculations in the Romps et al Science paper presented above) is complex enough, and communicating how the whole panoply of liabilities undercuts any simple claim is harder still.

        The lobster analogy is worthless (sometimes it is a frog), because it presupposes ongoing warming and that the presupposed warming is akin to cooking; careful evaluation of all the evidence undercuts both claims, as well as the claim that any particular mechanism is dominant, or even has an effect.

      • ” it presupposes ongoing warming and that the presupposed warming is akin to cooking; careful evaluation of all the evidence undercuts both claims, as well as the claim that any particular mechanism is dominant, or even has an effect.”
        ______
        Believing that climate is not a random walk, but is actually part of a universe that follows basic physical laws, the supposition is that the climate is always the sum of all forcings and related feedbacks. As such, over any given period, some forcing may indeed dominate the climate and nudge it one way or another. We know what the basic forcing from increased CO2 is, and we know that the basic physics tells us that nothing else we know of is as strong, even without feedbacks. What we don’t know is the absolutely sensitivity of the climate to the increased CO2, which will be determined by the associated feedbacks. So the basic science tells us that all things being equal, CO2 doubling will dominate the climate direction. What we don’t know is how dominant that will be.

      • Further to our conversation. Is this not a plausible alternative? I, for one, don’t know. And as the presentation will not be until Dec. 3rd, I’m not sure others can know either. But it goes to the point of why can we not wait, and additionally why would we (the U.S.) agree to that pact with China where we reduce by they don’t? These leave me quite uncomfortable.

        * * Professor Henrik Svensmark, House of Commons, 3 December 2014 **
        Professor Henrik Svensmark is a physicist at the Danish National Space Institute and director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute.
        Since the early 1990s there has been strong evidence that changes in the Earth’s climate follow changes in the Sun’s electromagnetic activity. In principle this correlation might explain much of the warming in the 20th Century, but no mechanism was known by which the Sun could affect terrestrial climate so much.
        Svensmark’s research has established a possible link between galactic cosmic rays and terrestrial climate change mediated primarily by variations in the intensity of the solar wind. This celestial mechanism can significantly influence cloudiness and thereby temperatures on Earth.
        In his talk, Dr Svensmark will present an update on his Sun-Climate research.
        Date: 3 December 2014
        Time: 18:00
        Venue: House of Commons, London SW1, Committee Room 15

      • Matthew R Marler

        R. Gates: So the basic science tells us that all things being equal, CO2 doubling will dominate the climate direction. What we don’t know is how dominant that will be.

        The basic science also tells us that other things will not be equal: I have written about water vapor pressure, and now Romps et al (see excerpts above) have a [first?] calculation of the subsequent increase in evaporation rate. Their calculations dramatically undercut the claim that a 3.7 W/m^2 could warm the surface water by 1C. There isn’t enough extra power supplied by a doubling of CO2 concentration to do that, if the evaporation rate increases 11%.

      • Matthew R Marler

        R. Gates: So the basic science tells us that all things being equal, CO2 doubling will dominate the climate direction. What we don’t know is how dominant that will be.

        We also know that all things will not be equal. Surface warming will increase the water vapor pressure, and hence the evaporation rate; increased downwelling LWIR will also increase the water evaporation rate where ever and whenever the water evaporation rate is already greater than 0, possibly without raising temperature.

        You are among those who use the phrase “the basic science” as though science excludes the thermodynamics and rates of H2O evaporation.

      • Matthew R Marler

        oops, sorry. R. Gates, I replied twice to your comment about other things being equal.

      • Matthew Marler,

        As more water vapor enters the atmosphere, that in turn absorbs more SW radiation, and, as this recent MIT study has shown, we might actually see that we have a seemingly paradoxical effect of the bulk of the warming then being in the SW, even as net LW actually increases with increasing GH gas levels:

        http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/global-warming-increased-solar-radiation-1110

        There is so much more energy in the SW, that a little increase in SW absorption can add significantly to net energy in the system.

      • Gates, here’s an alternative scenario for why they got the results they did with their model run. At least some models produce centennial oscillations. For some reason many climate scientists appear unaware of this.

        http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~jsmerdon/papers/2012_jclim_karnauskasetal.pdf

        They forced the model with CO2 and happened to catch it when it was in the process of increasing poleward ocean heat transport. That increased water vapor and decreased albedo.

        http://water.columbia.edu/files/2011/11/Seager2005OceanHeat.pdf

        What is curious to me is why these oscillations don’t produce model runs that have CO2 causing cooling. Think they might throw those runs away since they know the answer has to be warming?

      • “What is curious to me is why these oscillations don’t produce model runs that have CO2 causing cooling. Think they might throw those runs away since they know the answer has to be warming?”
        _______
        I think it would be good to clarify what we mean by “cooling”. Cooling of what? Net loss of energy of the entire climate system? Just the troposphere? More CO2 increases net outbound LW (their finding) but also increases net uptake of SW at a certain point. This was the counter-intuitive finding. The uptake of SW is stronger (involves more net energy) than the outbound LW, and thus, the system increases in net energy.

        Thus, as Isaac Held pointed out, the basic physics is correct, increased GH gases cause an increase in net energy of the system, but this new paper further refines the dynamics, with (in my mind) some new exciting understanding of how the process actually unfolds. We’ve not heard the last on this, I’m sure.

      • Gates, cooling. Net loss of heat. Decrease in OHC. Decrease in surface temperatures. Decrease in tropospheric temperatures. That kind of cooling.

      • Matthew R Marler

        R. Gates: As more water vapor enters the atmosphere, that in turn absorbs more SW radiation,

        Water vapor does not merely “enter” the atmosphere: it rises, condenses to water, freezes to form clouds (thus warming the upper troposphere), then falls to the ground cooling the lower atmosphere and surface.

        Romps estimated a 11% increase in the rate of energy transfer from low to high, without addressing the cloud cover change that might accompany the change in lightning flash rate. Always these narrations that imply CO2-induced warming and increased net absorption by increased water vapor are incomplete, and what’s more they are obviously incomplete.

      • Matthew R Marler | November 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        R. Gates: As more water vapor enters the atmosphere, that in turn absorbs more SW radiation,

        Water vapor does not merely “enter” the atmosphere: it rises, condenses to water, freezes to form clouds (thus warming the upper troposphere), then falls to the ground cooling the lower atmosphere and surface.
        *****
        Well, that’s just idjitotic Marler. If that were the case we wouldn’t see a tropical hot spot … oh, wait a minute!!!

    • Danny, the psychology of climate communication is linked to the psychology of making you accept: 1. a higher electric bill, 2. paying more taxes, 3. the benefits of riding a battery powered vehicle, 4. That you should merrily sing the Anthem to Dedevelopment, 5. a smaller GDP, and 6. wearing sandals.

      • LOL! I like wearing sandals. And sometimes with socks!

        I’m not quite as jaded as some of what I read here as I personally know some who espouse the AGW line for altruistic reasons (if misdirected from my view). Some hearts are in the right place if even their heads may be just a bit off, but the same could certainly be said of me.

        Expecting at some point that “the truth” (there ya go Rud) will be found and time will lead to new discovery of appropriately applied and managed technology that we can all live with. Today’s politics is not what I recall in my earlier days when “compromise” wasn’t a dirty word. I get beaten about the head and shoulders when I state that on both sides. I’ve learned over time that if “neither team” is happy, the officiating was likely reasonably fair.

        You know that I always appreciate your perspective. It’s why I’m here!

  55. LOL–so many with so much confidence that they understand

  56. The key to successful scientific thought is to assume everyone, especially oneself, is a lazy moron. This is the attitude that drives double checking assumptions, redoing equipment calibration, collecting more samples, repeating tests, evaluate sources of systematic error and comparing results to back of the envelope calculations.

    Even then, it is good to be somewhat doubtful about any conclusions.

    However, this shall not constitute an excuse for analysis paralysis as DocMartyn pointed out. With the right kind of mindful experience, error checking can be accomplished efficiently. However, once a decision is made to implement a *cure* or plan of attack, one must assume that problems will arise and be ever vigilant to look for hints and clues that your theory is flawed and the cure or attack must be halted. In medicine it’s life or death, in business, it’s throwing good money after bad. This is why I trust the scientific and engineering judgement of pilots more than doctors.

    • This is why I trust the scientific and engineering judgement of pilots more than doctors.

      If the pilot make a mistake, the pilot dies with you, the doctor does not.

      • I was not making the point that the Earth has a temperature and we should intervene. The point is that many professionals have to make quite important calls based on poor, incomplete and contradictory information. The military and medics are faced with life or death choices, and in both cases they have developed a culture to deal with it.

  57. Odd how Doug overlooks the fact that the planet does have clouds and other reflecting surfaces.

    • D o u g  C o t t o n 

      In reply to Rob Ellison Nov13, 4:08pm

      Not an Earth without water vapour that I’m talking about.

      Lesson 1: Clouds come from water vapour Rob Ellison.

      Without water vapour or any GHG the surface would receive the full 341W/m^2 and have radiating temperature 278K. You cannot claim water vapour warms by just ignoring the clouds. Empirical evidence shows it cools and you have not pointed me to any contrary study. Amazing isn’t it that so much money is spent on mere thought experiments and nothing on real experiments that might confirm the fissics.

      •  

        …it is important that people understand that most of what we experience in terms of weather and climate change is largely out of our control. ~Dr. Roy Spencer

      • D o u g  C o t t o n 

         

        In reply to Wagathon Nov 13 5.48pm

        Yes, but Roy Spencer needs yet to learn that it is not “largely out of control” but “fully out of control.” There is compelling evidence that all of Earth’s climate is controlled by planetary orbits because it correlates compellingly with the 934-year cycle and the superimposed 60-year cycle in the inverted plot of the scalar sum of the angular momentum of the Sun and all the planets as can be seen at earth-climate dot com..
         

      • “””””…it is important that people understand that most of what we experience in terms of weather and climate change is largely out of our control. ~Dr. Roy Spencer””””

        It is important to understand that Spencer is not only a very rare climate scientist who holds the “views” that he does – which is fine, he also has a pattern of making repeated, and sometimes egregious mistakes, and remarkably, for a scientist (and in essence ultimately, unless this is some sort of bizarre fluke, the opposite of what science is) all his mistakes are all “coincidentally” in the same direction. He also has a goal that transcends science, has nothing to do with science, and depending on how applied, may be directly at odds with science, and a policy goal, to restrict government action, and “protect taxpayers,” as his reason for practicing science.

        You may like his policy goal. But one should have a policy goal (if one even has one, as a scientist) because of the science they learn. In Spencer’s case, it is reversed.

        So to put it nicely, Spencer doesn’t know what he is talking about, most of the time. But naturally he is a favorite source of the skeptic, who cling to anything, and anyone, that can possibly support their “argument,” or be used to dismiss, ignore or misconstrue the real issue, or relevant facts

        Over the short term, we can barely affect anything weather wise (unless we take to geo-engineering the skies) but over the long term, the statement is more fundamentalism dressed up as logic; the idea that “the world is too big for us to affect.” We can and we have – though a lot of people are resistant to the idea – and far more than we realize, since climate change is a compounding and heavily lagging phenomenon, for reasons (along with anything else that is relevant) that are never discussed on this blog.

      • For the hard core far right wing authoritarian skeptic, as the original offeree of the above quote, at a guess, might be, probably nothing will remove the self sealing pattern of seeing everything in a way that supports their view, almost no matter what.

        For libertarian conservatives, there is a chance to learn and grow about the issue, but only if they don’t use as their source blogs like this (and many others that are far worse) that continue to post clever philosophical musings to chip away at the basic idea of climate change, rather assess what those actual facts of the issue are, and more importantly, why they are relevant.

        Here’s a humble start, on how we may be starting to both change and accelerate change in the key drivers and stabilizers of future climate. It might be far more germane to this issue than unrelated philosophical musings that fit the same pattern, and be interpreted any way one wants to simply reinforce one’s point of view.

      • its.not.co2@gmail.com

        John Carter

        But methane (in your “humble start” link) like water vapour, lowers the temperature gradient (as we see in the Uranus troposphere) because of its radiating properties. Hence increasing methane lowers the surface temperature, but by a minuscule amount of course. All climate is compellingly correlated with the 934 year and superimposed 60 year natural cycles in the inverted plot of the scalar sum of the angular momentum of the Sun and all the planets.

      •  

        Here’s a link to the inverted plot of the scalar sum of the angular momentum of the Sun and all the planets. Clearly the 934-year and superimposed 60-year cycles correlate well with Earth’s climate that is thus regulated by planetary orbits.
         
        Carbon dioxide has nothing to do with it, and never will.
         

      • “””””But methane (in your “humble start” link) like water vapour, lowers the temperature gradient (as we see in the Uranus troposphere) because of its radiating properties. Hence increasing methane lowers the surface temperature, but by a minuscule amount of course. All climate is compellingly correlated with the 934 year and superimposed 60 year natural cycles in the inverted plot of the scalar sum of the angular momentum of the Sun and all the planets.”””””

        = gobbledygook that serves as a perfect example of the pattern laid out here.

        But you know, it that’s wrong, being as how it would essentially contradict basic climate science, you should get it published in a vetted science journal, instead of in a comment on here.

      • John Carter wrote:
        >For libertarian conservatives, there is a chance to learn and grow about the issue, but only if they don’t use as their source blogs like this (and many others that are far worse) that continue to post clever philosophical musings to chip away at the basic idea of climate change…

        Ummm….. John you have not actually been reading this blog, I take it?

        When has Judith denied that climate change is real or that anthropogenic CO2 does produce a greenhouse effect?

        Are you unaware that she, and many of the rest of us, have tried to point out the fallacies of, e.g., the “slaying the sky dragon” folks who try to deny those basic facts?

        The issue that serious people here are trying to raise is that the global models have not been properly tested so that we can know whether anthropogenic global warming is likely to be a minor issue or a true catastrophe.

        That is simply normal science: until a theory has been clearly and decisively tested, responsible scientists do not claim definitive results.

        For example, to take the field in which I received my Ph.D., I, like most physicists, favored the standard model for the Higgs particle. But, until the Higgs was discovered at CERN, we knew it was a plausible theory, not established fact. And, Indeed, until we get more detailed studies on the Higgs, we have to remain open to the possibility that the discovered particle does not really behave quite the way our models assume.

        Why do you think climate science should be any different?

        Dave

      • In the worst pause in global warming we’ve seen we could end up in the deep freeze. This disruptive lack of global warming means the Left’s private jets may be grounded left and right. A hiatus in long term global warming like this means transportation will be disrupted; train schedules will be disrupted; and, people will have more time to parody Mathew McCaughey. The people’s government in Washington will be all a kilter. So we’re talking about this cataclysmic pause in global warming leading to a massive disruption that may peak over today or tomorrow but it won’t end there: This hiatus in long term global warming could ripple effects lasting through to 2016. Some global warming scientists believe this could be perhaps the most miserable hiatus we ever experienced and the ripple effect may well be with us until 2035. But, that’s just more alarmism.

      • Dave & John Carter,

        I come to this site as a non scientist, in order to gain perspective.

        Dave, in your note to Dr. Curry discussing culture I’ve found that these blogs have cultures of their own. In the most extreme (fringe) sites, I’ve dived in after declaring that I’m not a scientist but I am a voter. Interestingly, on many sites I’ve expressed perspectives and been pummeled for doing so (both sides). I’ve learned that “fresh eyes” can sometimes help folks look at things differently and perspective is valuable so I speak up from time to time on things that seem out of context or inaccurate, to me. So many have reached the end of their journey and it’s hard to get them to look back to when they began.

        John, my perception (and forgive me for stepping in here) is that your generalization of this site is quite different from mine. There are multiple dynamics occurring. The politics, if removed via filter, has a definite bent that I think you observe. But the discussion of the climate issues I find to be reasoned. When I say climate issues (after removing politics) I’m thinking: policy, psychology, science, and others. When anyone, starting from whatever position they lean, tosses out a concept, most here take on the topic and not the person (unless there’s a history). Now you’ve likely been visiting here longer than I and are more scientifically oriented than I, but sans politics (which I try to filter) the meat of the discussion I find to be reasonable, fair, and well thought. The folks here won’t let one get away with much less. IMO. Do you truly see it differently?

      • Danny –

        What’s your technique for removing the politics from the discussions of policy, psychology, science, and others?

      • It’s unscientific I assure you. I use a mental filter. When the thread bends towards politics, I’ll toss out an opposingly political comment to see what the politics of the poster is. Sometimes this works and gives me a perspective from which I can see that the poster is coming. Sometimes it’s apparent, and there is no need for me to do so.

        When a commenter offers up…….Obama, the idiot……..I can reasonably assume an orientation. This functions as well the other direction.

        When I see “Greenies”, it’s apparent. When posters state leftists, democrats, republicans, whatever, it’s apparent.

        But the one common (from my perspective) is the policy and science are pretty reasonably challenged. I can’t analyse the science well, but policy and even some of the psychology I can do reasonably well.

        Devil’s advocacy is a useful tool. It works both ways.

        Does that offer a reasonable answer to your question?

      • 1. filter people who have not read the science.
        2. filter people who claim to not understand the science.
        3. filter people who talk about motivations as a FIRST response to a text.

        that approach doesnt work perfectly, but its a useable model.

      • Ouch. That stung. Guess I’m filtered. In my defense (presuming this is directed at me as it has all my hallmarks except maybe #3).

        1.) I read a lot of the science, but much is over my head. Not everyone can do physics.
        2.) See #1, but in no way does this invalidate my need for further understanding and eventually some of the science does sink in.
        3.) My motivations are to try to learn (please note this is the 3rd response, not the first).

        Sometimes those of us who fit your 3 laws provide value. If not, I have little doubt that some would not bring it to our attention in a direct fashion. And if that value does not exist we should be able to ask for specifics as to why not. If this is not directed at me, then may I suggest the laws be reconsidered or at least grouped differently? All of the discussions here are not scientific, just like they’re not on other sites.

      • The conclusion results from the methodology that is chosen. That’s the way climate science works. Are you challenging the methodology?

      • Indeed I am. As stated above, this is not all about science. My value in the science end is less than substantial, and I freely admit that. My value in the political discussion is on equal footing to others, and maybe more beneficial. Some have other dynamics involved in their political decision making that if a new or different perspective is presented (through which their decision was not filtered) a different outcome may be considered or alternatively, that decision may be reinforced. That applies to me as well, which in part, is why I’m here. And sometimes, I can provide entertainment value which is hard to quantify, can we not agree? :)

      • I think a post titled “We-are-all-confident-idiots” is signal that anybody should be welcome to jump in..

      • Confident about that are we?

        Is there an application that one should complete showing some sort of credentials in order to be able to post here? And what might those credentials be? Some folks try to be genuine in stating their self evaluation including strengths and weaknesses. They do all they can to look in the mirror first. They’re hear to learn what they can. They do all have degrees in physics, but they are decision makers (voters) and where would one suggest those folks go to gain perspective, information, knowledge, and be able to interact (honestly) with others about very serious topics. Main stream media?

        Veiled evaluation and generalized commentary is not helpful towards good communication.

      • He puts up facts and figures that either have nothing to do with the issue, misrepresent the issue, or misconstrue what the issue is.

        But he puts up enough facts and figures, under complex sounding language, that for those that want to believe AGW is not a big deal, it can be used to perpetuate that.

        I have no problem with Ellison being far smarter and more knowledgeable on this issue than the world’s ;leading scientists who professionally study it.

        What I have done is quote from NASA, the NAS, peer reviewed science.

        John Carter has nothing but some odd and very pejorative narrative to offer. Including some odd construct about models that purports to be an argument from me about models. Purely made.

        I have run hydrological and other models for 30 years. There are intrinsic uncertainties in climate models that are collectively known as irreducible imprecision.

        Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change. http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

        http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751/F2.large.jpg

        The paper from Julia Slingo – head of the British Met Office – and Tim Palmer – head of the European Centre for Mid-Range Weather Forecast – suggests that climate models using a range of feasible initial and boundary conditions may be used to generate a range of solutions with associated with probabilities.

        James McWilliams – a professor at the UCLA Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences – perhaps goes a little further in a footnote to a 2007 paper.

        Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation. http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        But below is the original comment – and I still have no clue about his actual gripe is. All we get is quite empty rhetoric with obscure motivations and pejorative intent. His characterization of Judy – for instance – dismisses a depth of scientific understanding with shallow complaints of some sort. He is not remotely knowledgeable – there is no substance of any note.

        I can never figure out what their problem is with Lomberg, Pielke Jr, the Breakthrough Institute, etc. At the most basic level the science is quite evident – and the rational responses obvious. But this is not what they want to hear. At the bottom their motivations seem to be about transforming societies and economies in some neo-socialist wet dream – and this is the problem for classic liberals.

        http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/13/we-are-all-confident-idiots/#comment-647522

      • @ellison

        “””What I have done is quote from NASA, the NAS, peer reviewed science.”””

        What you’ve done is cherry picked from NASA and NAS and peer reviewed science to arrive at conclusions that NASA NAS and almost all (if not all) peer reviewed science completely rejects,while often misrepresenting that science.

      • The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation. Wally Broecker

        What science is suggesting is that there are multi-decadal regimes that are related to changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation in the broader Earth system. Including thermohaline circulation.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/smeed-fig-7.png

        I have addressed these multi-decadal regimes – and the rational responses – elsewhere on a number of occasions.

        http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/24/lewis-and-curry-climate-sensitivity-uncertainty/#comment-633005

        That it isn’t John Carter’s understanding of ‘The Science’ is not my problem – it is his.

        But it is science. It is in fact the most modern – and powerful – idea in climate science and has profound implications for the evolution of climate this century and beyond. The old theory of climate suggests that warming is inevitable. The new theory suggests that global warming is not guaranteed and that climate surprises are inevitable. The title of the NAS report from many of the leading lights of climate science is in fact – ‘Abrupt climate change: inevitable surprises’.

        Yet it is cherry picking to quote this report – or indeed NASA on Pacific Ocean regimes.

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        Quite simple and obvious really – these regimes added to surface temps between 1976 and 1998 and are cooling the surface since. The regime seems likely to persist for 20 to 40 years from 2002.

        There is a review here – http://watertechbyrie.com/2014/06/23/the-unstable-math-of-michael-ghils-climate-sensitivity/

        The problem with these guys is that they can’t really picture themselves being wrong and so-called ‘skeptics’ right. Thus they are unable to follow where science is leading. Heads would implode.

      • “””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… “””

        It’s not my science, Rob, it’s climate scientists science. They don’t agree with you. In fact they think you are a little bit radical. As for Broecker’s statement above, he was somewhat wrong.

        But it also depends on semantics. What do we mean by prediction. Writing the script in advance, or a general estimate of ranges. Sure the idea of thresholds makes a lot of sense, or of things that cause something to shift that changes ocean currents that change where ice forms that changes albedo and or that changes wind currents that changes something else, etc etc etc so in the general sense, of course his idea still makes some sense,

        But it’s all just noise. It’s part of your pattern – and climate skepticism in general and it’s not science, it ideology driving science, because your scientific abilities are not that abysmal, – to find anything that captures the idea of uncertainty, and use that then try and refute the general idea that a radical shift of the atmosphere in a geologic instant WILL, or, is likely to, significantly shift climate as well.

        How much exactly? It’s more of an academic exercise at this point.(Though I know many scientists view it as necessary to convince a “dense” public and media of the magnitude of this issue – not true climate skeptics bc those might never be convinced – but your massive misinformation, and false conflations, and constructions of what the issue is, is helping to sow confusio and doubt. Which is exactly what skeptics want. Or at least the fossil fuel industry, short sighted, and prone as we all are to believe our own advoacy, as it is and has become.)

        But you’re not assessing the data or what do know or what is relevant anywhere in the same ball park – or even the same zip code – as even moderate objectivity warrants- so engaging in the discussion with you on what those chances are, what determines them, what we do know, is kind of pointless.

        You ignore the basic changes in the oceans and ice sheets that have occurred – and when you are not ignoring them, you are fighting tooth and nail with the very idea that they have changed. That’s zealotry Rob, flat out I’m just telling you. Don’t listen, I know you don’t want to. But it is. And while you are earnest, I think it sucks for our kids and their kids,and poorer areas of the world.

        The fact is the change in energy has been radical, and the presumption is for change to be thus. There is nothing logical or scientifically validated to rebut that presumption, but for a bunch of assertions, housed as “reasoned skepticism” as “overconfident idiots” (to use the piece’s title). NOTHING>

        On top of that the growing empirical evidence heavily supports the main presumption. In a pretty big way. But you keep selectively cherry picking data and select “quotes” to try and refute that to.

        The real questions raised by Broecker’s quote today is how radical is this going to be? There is a chance – a very good chance, that it still beyond most our your – and most of our , I should say, imaginations. Because it is meaningless to the earth> We’re just wired into what we expect.

        Then there’s this talk of “maybe a lot of change is already baked in.” well, yeah, a LOT. Even if we didn’t raise the atmosph level of total ambient GG in GPWe an iota more (and you know we can’t just shut off tomorrrow) a lot more change is likely irreversible, for simple reasons never explored on this blog. So that is then used as an excuse for inaction.

        The bottom line is that while it is shifting, non linear, and there may be sort of thresholds (some of which we may have crossed, some of the most significant perhaps not), the problem is also cumulative and amplifying for the basic reasons that huge sheets (and our ocean temps) stabilize our global climate, and the more change we put in, the higher the chances of those radically changing, or to a further degree, and a far more devastating re making of the global climate. So it makes no sense to continuue to add to the problem.

        You don’t like the proposed or anticipated solutions? Part of that is simple, normally conservative resistance to moving away from what we are used to and perceive (often myopically) that we need. But work on that end of it. That’s the conversation the world needs to have. All you’re doing is making it more likely that ultimate efforts to combat this, out of desperation and panic down the road, will be more radical and ill though out, while, by waiting, we get far less benefit (or harm mitigation)

        In short, the entire picture is being missed here, as delicately as I can put it. just consider that. I know of the ff fealty, the economic presumption, the worry about foolish gov rules. But let”s have those conversations.

        And we don’t need fossil fuels to thrive. IF you work for the ff industry, transition, like AT&T did when phones started o become obsolete (or minimal cost). But instead the industry puts off the problem by creasing massive confusion on this issue, that it then starts to believe. (Human nature, studies keep showing this. Advocate it and you come to believe it.) the plan I’ve come up with – as have others, is pretty market based is revenue neutral, and specifically puts most of the funds for industry and worker transition, since while our market properly motivated can solve this (or help immeasurably, while maximizing choice and incentive), it can’t instantaneously and markets don’t transition quickly without some loss of efficiency… etc… and while the “warning” has been there for a while, people and industry are pretty entrenched in their habits, so it’s also still reasonably fail to provide some transitional help, as well as probably macroeonomically reasonable.

        But I think you’d be shocked when the full power of the market – particularly American markets , is unleashed,. But right now is mind boggling inefficient, as there is an enormous, probably almost immeasurable, external cost here that is not remotely being integrated into the pricing structure.

      • John wrote to Rob:
        >You ignore the basic changes in the oceans and ice sheets that have occurred – and when you are not ignoring them, you are fighting tooth and nail with the very idea that they have changed. That’s zealotry Rob, flat out I’m just telling you. Don’t listen, I know you don’t want to. But it is. And while you are earnest, I think it sucks for our kids and their kids,and poorer areas of the world.

        Oh, John! Have you actually seen “Rob” “fighting tooth and nail with the very idea that they have changed”? Do you actually know exactly what Rob thinks about ice sheets? Have you actually bothered to ask him???????

        John, you keep posting bizarre statements indicating that anyone who disagrees with you is an “authoritarian conservative,” even though many of us who disagree with you are not in fact conservatives at all. You keep making bizarre statements about the incredible level of your scientific knowledge compared to, say, an actual scientist such as Judith Curry (or me)., without giving any evidence at all for your scientific brilliance.

        And, of course, you keep using the word “skeptic” as a term of defamation, ignoring the fact that all competent scientists must be skeptics, especially of their own theories, as my quote above from my own professor, the Nobelist Richard Feynman, reminds us. (Oh, I forgot: no doubt your own scientific brilliance greatly exceeds Richard Feynman’s!)

        Can you see how your repeated, specific, but definitely false statements about other human beings are causing sensible people to think there is something wrong here?

        No, I guess part of your syndrome is an inability to see that, isn’t it?

      • John Carter,

        I clicked on your name and it took me to a blog titled “NFL Football Strategy: Covering some of the Better Stories, and Digging Into the Key Game Strategy Decisions and Moves Not Covered Elsewhere.”

        So… I propose the following deal: You promise to stop posting things about science, a subject about which you seem to be stunningly ignorant. And, in exchange, I promise not to blog about NFL football, a subject in which I will cheerfully admit your expertise vastly exceeds my own.

        Deal, John?

      • Dave, a semi civil comment. Much appreciated.

        I disagree with your premise that I am stunningly ignorant on the subject of science, and in particular climate change, in the same way that I might disagree with the statement that an atom is “one of the more astounding large things we know.” (On the other hand, I do admit my analogies could use some work.)

        You want to believe that suggestion on your part to dismiss my points, and I can not stop you from believing it, nor make you consider my points.I can only ask that one day, you consider, taking away whatever pre conditioned notions you have (if it is possible to do) and consider said points, and engage civilly, in discussion, on the substantive points if you understand (and if you don’t, say “i don’t follow”), if at all.

        That would be my proposal, and I imagine to an objective observer, it’s pretty darn reasonable. Far more so than you telling me what subjects to post on, and what not to post on.

        I really don’t appreciate the hard core skeptic pattern of trying to advance their cause by beating down climate change advocates by any means they can come up – and whether you realize it or not PD, that’s what you have done.

        If you’re a d bag, well, maybe no biggee to you. If you’re not, maybe you might want to consider it.

      • The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation. Wally Broecker

        What science is suggesting is that there are multi-decadal regimes that are related to changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation in the broader Earth system. Including thermohaline circulation.

        I have addressed these multi-decadal regimes – and the rational responses – elsewhere on a number of occasions.

        http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/24/lewis-and-curry-climate-sensitivity-uncertainty/#comment-633005

        That it isn’t John Carter’s understanding of ‘The Science’ is not my problem – it is his.

        But it is science. It is in fact the most modern – and powerful – idea in climate science and has profound implications for the evolution of climate this century and beyond. The old theory of climate suggests that warming is inevitable. The new theory suggests that global warming is not guaranteed and that climate surprises are inevitable. The title of the NAS report from many of the leading lights of climate science is in fact – ‘Abrupt climate change: inevitable surprises’.

        Yet it is cherry picking to quote this report – or indeed NASA on Pacific Ocean regimes.

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        Quite simple and obvious really – these regimes added to surface temps between 1976 and 1998 and are cooling the surface since. The regime seems likely to persist for 20 to 40 years from 2002.

        There is a review here – http://watertechbyrie.com/2014/06/23/the-unstable-math-of-michael-ghils-climate-sensitivity/

        The problem with these guys is that they can’t really picture themselves being wrong and so-called ‘skeptics’ right. Thus they are unable to follow where science is leading. Heads would implode.

      • If as suggested here, a dynamically driven climate shift has occurred, the duration of similar shifts during the 20th century suggests the new global mean temperature trend may persist for several decades. Of course, it is purely speculative to presume that the global mean temperature will remain near current levels for such an extended period of time. Moreover, we caution that the shifts described here are presumably superimposed upon a long term warming trend due to anthropogenic forcing. However, the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained. The apparent lack of a proximate cause behind the halt in warming post 2001/02 challenges our understanding of the climate system, specifically the physical reasoning and causal links between longer time-scale modes of internal climate variability and the impact of such modes upon global temperature. Fortunately, climate science is rapidly developing the tools to meet this challenge, as in the near future it will be possible to attribute cause and effect in decadal-scale climate variability within the context of a seamless climate forecast system [Palmer et al., 2008]. Doing so is vital, as the future evolution of the global mean temperature may hold surprises on both the warm and cold ends of the spectrum due entirely to internal variability that lie well outside the envelope of a steadily increasing global mean temperature. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

        Of course they cannot entertain the concept for a millisecond. Heads would implode.

      • And of course instead of cherry picking BS – he has the opportunity to actually read some of the science in full.

      • John Carter wrote to me:
        >I disagree with your premise that I am stunningly ignorant on the subject of science.

        In all honesty, I am not sure you really do disagree with my premise. You, after all, know better than anyone what your lack of education and accomplishment is in science. I’m not sure what your motive is, but I think you do have some sense that your knowledge of science is not what you have claimed it to be.

        Look, John, you have repeatedly made comments such as the following that are simply and utterly bizarre:
        >And no offense but I’ll take my understanding of science over Judith Curry’s any day of the week.

        If you sincerely mean that, then you are deeply and profoundly delusional.

        And, if you don’t mean it, then you are dishonest.

        Either way, no sensible person is going to take you seriously.

        I really do have a Ph.D. in science from a very highly rated university (Stanford); I have published in prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals; I also hold patents on various applications of math and science to real-world engineering problems.

        But, I would never think of saying something as arrogant as you said about Judith Curry, despite the fact that I am “on Judith’s level” in the sense that we both have Ph.D.s, etc. Indeed, I hope I would not say such a thing even about people such as James Hansen and Michael Mann with whom I have some disagreement.

        You are not on Judith’s level, not at all. For you to make the statement I just quoted is for you to completely and totally destroy your credibility with any sensible person.

        Yes, I know that a non-scientist may, now and then, find an error made in science by a scientist. And, if you had said, for example, “Even though I [i.e., John Carter] am not on the scientific level of Judith Curry, I nonetheless think I have found an error in her reasoning” and then backed that claim up by showing an actual error, then I would take you seriously.

        But for you to say:
        >>And no offense but I’ll take my understanding of science over Judith Curry’s any day of the week.

        Well, that is just utterly bizarre. Sane people do not behave that way. That completely destroys your credibility, and, as a result, no sensible person who knows what you said will take you seriously.

        You keep making these incredibly bizarre and pompous claims off the cuff, as if normal people behave this way. They just don’t.

        Over the last forty years, I have run into numerous people like you, first out in the real world and then later on the Web. For a long time, several decades in fact, I tried to take them seriously and tried honestly to address their invincible ignorance of science.

        It proved a waste of time, every single time.

        If it were possible to communicate rationally with people like you, you would have already figured out for yourself, that, no, you do not know as much about science as people such as Judith or myself who have concrete, verifiable achievements in science.

        You also wrote to me:
        >I can only ask that one day, you consider, taking away whatever pre conditioned notions you have (if it is possible to do) and consider said points, and engage civilly, in discussion, on the substantive points if you understand…

        Life is short, John. I am a highly educated, rather busy person. You have proven yourself to be either seriously deluded or dishonest. I have learned not to try to seriously address real scientific issues to people such as you: it is an utter waste of time.

      • @physicistdave
        Dave, I’m going to add this:

        I am going to try not to insult you. (Do NOT take comments that illustrate why I think your views or comments have the issue wrong or don’t make sense, That is not insulting you, so stop taking it as that.) I would ask in return that you consider the idea that maybe I have some relevant understanding of this issue.

        You don’t have to, I just offer the possibility.. My offer of trying very hard to not direct insult or even judge your intelligence level is unconditional. (And honestly it matters not to me what a person’s intelligence is, their intellectual honesty, particularly with themselves, is what matters to me – or at least their attempts to be.)

      • John Carter wrote to me:
        > I would ask in return that you consider the idea that maybe I have some relevant understanding of this issue.

        Oh, c’mon, John! We have already proven that you are faking it.

        Case closed.

      • Once again,your assertions are illogical or baseless.

        You’ve proven zilch. You’ve simply repeated it over and over. That and name calling have been your responses.

        While you call it weird I say that J Curry miscontrues the issue. But not weird that you say that the world’s leading climate scientists, misconstrue the issue.

        And fail to see the illogic in that as well. Naturally,

        Anyway, I forgot from before, the answer to the question I asked, so once I remembered I already knew the answer: Trying to be reasonable with you is pointless.

        It’s either I’m faking it, or you need to consider your zealot radical fairly narrow minded and extremely ideological position on this issue (you know, the one that knows a lot more than the world’s leading climate scientists.) So naturally, which one do you choose?

        And you just repeat it, over and over and over. Your way of re affirming climate change “skepticism” to yourself.

        The “logical” way.

        Maybe one day you’ll see it. But I doubt. I think your brain is stuck. And authoritarian conservatives who think they have strong general science knowledge? On this issue, studies tend to suggest they stay stuck. I’d say you are a case study in that.

        Prove ’em wrong….

      • John wrote:
        >But not weird that you say that the world’s leading climate scientists, misconstrue the issue.

        Where did I say that, John?

        As I have said so many, many times over so many years, I think that the globe is indeed warmer than it otherwise would be as a result of anthropogenic CO2. I also think that the problem of ascertaining the path of future climate is an exceedingly difficult research problem, and that no one can yet do that reliably.

        Who among the “world’s leading climate scientists” disagrees with those points? Please give us a name and a citation, if you would not mind, John.

        John also wrote:
        >Maybe one day you’ll see it. But I doubt. I think your brain is stuck. And authoritarian conservatives who think they have strong general science knowledge…

        I’m an atheist and an anarchist, John, not what would usually be called a “conservative” (although, if you press me on it, I am not really dogmatic about either atheism or anarchism). You keep throwing out the term “authoritarian conservatives” as if you actually know other people’s political views. Have you considered stopping that and actually asking them what their views are?

        No, I didn’t think that had occurred to you.

        You might like to know that there are a few rumors floating around that our hostess here, Judith, is actually a liberal of sorts, but I do not suppose you would ever go to the trouble to consider that, eh?

        As I keep saying, I honestly do not know what the future of climate is: how is my not knowing and being open to future empirical observations equivalent to having my brain “stuck”?

        I would have thought it is people who are sure, one way or the other, who could be said to be “stuck.”

        Just asking.

      • email me your essay, and i’ll consider it for a post. I’ve gone to your website (listed as part of some of your posts) and frankly I don’t see much there.

      • In might be amusing, but I greatly doubt that any further knowledge will be exchanged beyond providing further evidence that John Carter has a strong system of beliefs.

      • @ Dr. Curry

        “I’ve gone to your website (listed as part of some of your posts) and frankly I don’t see much there.”

        I don’t think that drawing conclusions based on observation is John’s strength. In fact, from my perspective, it appears that he does it backwards: draws observations from conclusions.

        For example, in his posts he repeatedly treats ‘authoritarian’ and ‘conservative’ as if they were one word, when a cursory examination of the politics of the authors of the overwhelming majority of the rules, regulations, laws, ad infinitum that we are forced to obey and who control the bureaucracies established to ensure that we DO in fact obey them, and of the individuals and organizations who are pressing, forcibly, to impose even more authority over us in the name of ‘Fighting Climate Change’ would reveal that they are anything BUT politically conservative.

      • So according to John Carter – Wally Broecker was wrong? Says it all really.

        If he took the time to actually read something instead of indulging in long winded and quite empty rants – he would realise that there are rational responses consistent with risk.

        http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/24/lewis-and-curry-climate-sensitivity-uncertainty/#comment-633005

        The political problem of abrupt change at decadal scales is evident enough. A lack of warming for another decade or three – the simple and obvious conclusion from the NASA page I linked to and much else – will undermine the political impetus to address anthropogenic emissions and land use change. But there remains a risk that is quite explicitly described in the comments linked to.

        Building resilience to climate variability that will happen regardless remains a central objective of rational policy. Economic development is the core of building long term resilience. Fast mitigation is not merely possible with reductions in population pressures and emissions of black carbon, tropospheric ozone, methane, CFC’s and nitrous oxide – but are outcomes of health, education and economic development strategies. We may also reduce carbon emissions by building soil fertility on agricultural lands and conserving and restoring ecosystems. There are practical and pragmatic approaches that provide real no regrets policy options.

        The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in the future — benefits whose attributes, magnitude, timing, and distribution are not knowable with certainty. Since they risked slowing economic growth in many emerging economies, efforts to extend the Kyoto-style UNFCCC framework to developing nations predictably deadlocked as well.

        The new framework now emerging will succeed to the degree to which it prioritizes agreements that promise near-term economic, geopolitical, and environmental benefits to political economies around the world, while simultaneously reducing climate forcings, developing clean and affordable energy technologies, and improving societal resilience to climate impacts. This new approach recognizes that continually deadlocked international negotiations and failed domestic policy proposals bring no climate benefit at all. It accepts that only sustained effort to build momentum through politically feasible forms of action will lead to accelerated decarbonization. http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

        This is a framework for a comprehensive response – it addresses all of the other emissions which together are the majority of the issue as well as population pressures, the restoration of ecologies and agricultural soils and energy innovation. As opposed to a carbon tax apparently.

        I am far from skeptical – I am educated in science and informed on the issues. Far more so than John Carter it seems. He – like many others – seems obsessed by dark imaginings dire futures. This is far from rational – it seems based instead in the millennialist impulse that drives groups of people to psychological extremes occasionally in human history. But we just don’t get it do we?

      • JC,
        Obviously all I can do is ask, but I prefer an open debate, so that those beyond your blog can consider both “views,” rather than just you serving as arbiter of the relevancy of any considerations I throw out.

        Re my humble blog, I know you are busy,but aside from broad brush dismissals, when you have a moment to swing by and re consider, I’d be interested in which parts of this particular essay regarding the pattern of skepticism are mistaken or otherwise not relevant? Please try to skip the title, focus on the points/pattern http://bitly.com/1sWkFAY

        I will also take a look the links you provided as critique of AGW and let you know any ideas re response or (if I see any) mistakes, as per….
        Thanks

      • John Carter wrote to Judith:
        > I’d be interested in which parts of this particular essay regarding the pattern of skepticism are mistaken or otherwise not relevant?

        Since I assume Judith has more useful things to do than to respond in detail to John’s challenge, I thought I would at least point out the general thrust of what is wrong with John’s essay.

        For example, John wrote:
        >Although the climate of the globe is changing, and such change generally has been expected, there is a great amount of claim that the climate hasn’t changed, or that if it has, it is simply random…

        Well… the problem is that nearly everyone thinks the climate has changed over the last couple centuries: John is attacking a “straw man” here.

        Of course, we have seen how John Carter weasels out of this in his exchange with Rob Starkey above:
        >You “know what makes most sense” on climate change, but DONT know what is referred to by the phrase??
        >It specifically refers to the phenomenon of an affect [sic] on climate from our actions changing the gg composition of the atmosphere over time.

        Bait and switch. If we use words in their ordinary English meaning, John’s statement in his essay that “there is a great amount of claim that the climate hasn’t changed” is mendacious.

        So… John will just alter the meaning of “climate” and “change” so that his false claim is metamorphosed into a true (albeit uninteresting) claim.

        Even more than that, many of us whom John chooses to attack actually have acknowledged repeatedly that of course anthropogenic CO2 makes the globe warmer than it otherwise would be. But, we also acknowledge the great difficulty of figuring out what fraction of the warming during the last century is due to anthropogenic CO2 and what fraction is due to natural causes and whether the long-term effects of anthropogenic CO2 will be minor or disastrous.

        Both in his essay and in his responses above, he shows no ability to grasp that basic fact.

        Of course, since John knows we are “skeptics” and since John knows that “skeptics” must be people who deny “climate change,” well, we cannot possibly actually be saying what we repeatedly have said.

        So, he can denounce us for positions we do not hold without his being bothered at all.

        Finally, John’s essay cites a handful of studies as if they are absolutely definitive, ignoring the fact that almost all of the claims he cites are subjects of ongoing debate within the scientific community.

        I think that fact illustrates nicely how John’s lack of scientific training helps lead him astray: The primary scientific research literature is a collection of “work in progress.” My own field is physics, the most solid of the “hard” sciences; yet, even in physics, I could go on and on and on about all of the nonsense published in the research literature and taken seriously, for a time: this is true not only of work by ordinary journeymen scientists but even by brilliant geniuses such as Einstein and Heisenberg.

        Indeed, when I was a doctoral student at Stanford, my thesis advisor warned me, quite correctly, that even most of the papers published in the most prestigious journals should not be taken seriously: the research literature is simply full of stuff that is wrong.

        What, then, is a scientific amateur such as John Carter to do?

        Admit the truth: it is impossible even for serious, well-trained scientists to know for certain which current hypotheses will prove to be correct until those hypotheses have been subjected to the most brutal and rigorous criticism and testing by skeptical scientists.

        For John Carter to believe that he has the scientific knowledge to judge debates among James Hansen, Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen, et al. is as foolish as if John were to think that he could walk into an operating room and engage in brain surgery.

        John has learned to repeat (some) claims made by (some) scientists. But, he indicates no understanding whatsoever of the difficult, uncertain, and necessarily contentious process that we summarize as the “scientific method.” John thinks that those of us scientists who dissent from the “consensus” are somehow anti-science; John fails to realize that intelligent skepticism and questioning of the scientific “consensus” is in fact what makes science possible.

        John does not understand the scientific process at all, and, much worse, he does not know that he does not understand the scientific process at all.

        I am pretty sure neither Judith nor anyone else will ever go through John;’s essay line by line and point out all of his confusions, ambiguities, and misstatements. Life is short.

        But, for anyone who cares (not, I fear, John himself), I hope I have indicated clearly why no serious person can take John Carter’s essay seriously.

        David H. Miller, Ph.D. (Stanford, physics, 1983) in Sacramento

      • Thanks Dave. I encourage technically educated ‘amateur’ climatologists to engage, and to conduct analyses and put forward arguments. Steve McIntyre, Nic Lewis and many others have made significant contributions in this regard.

        With regards to John Carter’s site, I see a collection of assertions and flaws in reasoning, nothing that is worth a serious critique.

      • On twitter, someone asked for the main critiques of mainstream climate science, I referred them to my APS presentation
        http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/jc-aps.pdf

      • I believe that what she actually said was that she was willing to debate anyone who makes a reasonable argument. Trying to sift through your lengthy dissertations for such is very painful for me, and my interpretation of other’s comments as well. Try to list approximately 5 ways that you think skeptics are wrong. Then provide support for those five things in roughly 5 paragraphs, each consisting of about 5 sentences. Avoid all of the logical errors, and personal attacks, and stay on topic. It is my opinion you ramble a bit, which makes reading your comments less than ideal. If you stick to the above I believe you will get better responses. Take my advice, or don’t but if not I doubt that I for one will ever get the inclination to respond to you again.

        Note: I really wish the creators of webpages like this would create a mute button for particular people so that I would not have to read through stuff from people who demonstrate over and over that what they produce is not worth reading.

      • ==> “Note: I really wish the creators of webpages like this would create a mute button for particular people so that I would not have to read through stuff from people who demonstrate over and over that what they produce is not worth reading.”

        While you wait for the “creators of webpages like this” to create that mute button – I have a suggestion.

        1) If someone writes comments you don’t like reading, don’t read them. You can stop after you see their name at the head of their comment. You actually don’t “have to” read any comments you don’t want to read. Really.

        2) Consult with a conservative* about “personal responsibility.” He/she might be able to explain to you how not to blame other people for your actions.

        * But not Brandon S. He is a conservative who insists on blaming other people for his actions.

      • I can stop at “Joshua”? Seriously? You think that’s possible? They’re right, you really are full of yourself.

      • Yes. Really.

        It really isn’t necessary to whine about people who write comments that you don’t like. You really can just not read them. You really don’t “have” to read them. Really.

      • Amazing.

        Who created this option?

      • John Carter | November 20, 2014 at 7:48 am | Reply
        @physicistdave

        … a page or two of null content

        Well climate scientists claim they do, with enough degree of confidence – not the exact range, but a likely range, and it’s relevant enough to make some sort of assessment. Many are pulling their hair out, asking “why can’t/won’t the public get it.”
        … several pages of null content.

        TLDR. Longest most content free post I have seen at ClimateEtc.

        I did spot one statement as I paged past it, about the scientists certainty and frustration…

        Gee. The sea level during the MWP was about 6 inches higher than today (about 85 years at the current rate of sea level rise)..

        Steric sea level is the dominant factor in sea level this would imply the MWP was significantly warmer, since a significant part of the current sea level rise is “CO2 polar ice melting” that would not have happened in the MWP.

        Until we exceed the MWP sea level we are still in the natural range of climate variation. The hair pulling by the scientists is difficult to understand or justify.

      • “”””‘They’re here to learn what they can.”””””

        no they’re not @dthomas

        They”re here to learn what they can to perpetuate skepticism in the basic idea that our geologically radical alteration of the concentration of the long lived gg molecules to levels not seen on earth doesn’t pose an enormous risk if major climate shifting in ultimate response.

        Most comments clearly point to this, and someone taking issue with those comments is repeatedly, by the same commenters not calling skeptics ( often with far far less knowledge) such things labeled “superficial,” “liar,” “con artist,” “scientifically illiterate,” “not a white of science interest,” and worse.

        While most points by any such commenter, instead of being considered, are also otherwise labeled attacks on skeptics,rather than attacks on their line of reasoning.

        As to the question of where would one go? To the scientific papers themselves, barring that, defer to the leading climate scientists on the issue.

        Although I already presented to you before that one good site,among many, was skeptic science. but skeptics hate this site,because without exaggeration and overall pretty objectively illuminates myth after myth after myth that the climate change skepticism foundation is based upon, so skeptics take any little crack in sks’ posts and response to their own often hyperbolic comments (real or, often, imagined) and turns them into something they are not.

        But go there. Learn about the actual science. Or anyone of a 100s of leading university sites,that have good primers on the basic science. Or once again,as I answered before, NASA< NOAA< EPA, or the IPCC reports and assessments.

        You act as if these things don't exist.

        But come to skeptic sites like this,and all you are going to do is get self reinforcing skepticism under the guise of science. Whether a generalization of not, Ive given 100s of specific examples now in my comments. Examples that then – because skeptics really don't want the examples but want to keep believing what they are believing – get turned into something they are not – called "bitter attacks," or "lies" or "scientific illiteracy." Or generalizations. Even when the examples are very specific.

        As is the example of this original post itself, where Curry talks about the human tendency toward aggressively over stating what is known , and of all things, applies it not to skeptics, not to all the ideological think thanks fighting the idea of climate change and putting out all sort of "information" to the ends of doing so, but OF ALL THINGS, to the end result of ultimately a conservative scientific consensus – and ultimately the process of science itself, which understates what is known.

        Naturally. Because that's what this blog does. As is my point.

      • John,

        You may well be more formally educated than I, but you could not be more wrong. You are painting with too broad of a brush. I, for one, am here to learn. I have no predisposition as I do not have enough information. I find it useful to seek out perspectives of those on both sides of this discussion (and I find both here) as that leads me to ask questions of both sides as an offset to those perspective.

        I agree that there seems to be a “playbook” for the skeptical side (of which I count myself one if I must be put in a box), but I see the same on the AGW side.

        I mentioned in another post that another blog has a counter going for keeping track of the number of variations on the theme of CO2 equals warming (#53 so far). That gives me pause. Since the track record of the predictions is in question I’m therefore not comfortable with your suggestion of “relying on the experts”.

        You say I act as if those other sites and yet I’ve been to them all. Every one. that you listed. And if offer others, I’ll go there also.

        I have sufficient evidence to state that warming is occurring, but I cannot state the same for cause. This is what I perceive many here see. But because we don’t say A GW, we’re by your definition, skeptics. From my view, I perceive most to be here for climate enlightenment.

        You see this site as being only contrary to AGW (and therefore you). I see it as a foil that makes me think about climate change from differing perspectives. It is useful to me as an educational tool. Folks are tolerant of those not educated in the physical sciences, but not tolerant of extremism. I get that.

        The AGW side says CO2 mitigation at all costs. I don’t agree. Another thread is discussing improved Ag methods and I can buy in to that one for CO2 mitigation (as it satisfies you), and to benefit the world food wise, plus it makes farmers happy. Win win. Your way is win/lose and up against ideology in addition to science. That’s a tough sale. Especially using abrasive communication and overbroad generalization.

      • Danny Thomas wrote to John,
        >But because we don’t say A GW, we’re by your definition, skeptics.

        Danny, it is very important to add that all legitimate scientists are “skeptics.” “Skeptic” is a badge of honor to any real scientist.

        To quote my own former professor, the Nobel laureate in physics Richard Feynman (I knew him from my freshman year on and took classes from him my junior and senior years), “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

        One of the truest signs that our friend John Carter is just faking it is that he seems to think that the accusation of “skeptic” is an effective way to criticize scientists!

      • Dave,

        Thanks for that perception. I’m on this quest as I’m not comfortable with what’s being offered so in my own lacking method maybe I’m actually being scientific after all. I don’t like Denier as that comes across to me as having made up one’s mind. But skeptic seems to me to be more like a mind open to possibilities with reasonable evidence. Science isn’t static. Even when discoveries are made fine tuning never stops.

        It bothers me that if they (being deniers and AGW’ers) can’t convince me (yet?) how can they convince those with better backgrounds.

        I’ve been beaten on by both sides to “take a stand” but as I see it, that would be like stopping research in the middle and formulating a conclusion without sufficient evidence. Does that make sense? I actually wonder if there will ever be sufficient evidence as the data set is so large. From the sun to the soil and everything in between. Vicious loop? I’m intrigued and the journey fascinates me, but I question if I should just move on and try to learn guitar.

      • Stay furious, my friend.
        =========

      • Cheer up, Danny. You are not the only non-scientist who dares to have opinions around here, even if it earns us the contempt of Mosher and his ilk. :)

        My expertise is in policy and economics, and given that the debate has huge implications for those areas (about which I know a good deal more than … some …) I have no hesitation in applying those skills to the discussion, as does my countryman Faustino, who is better qualified that most in those topics, including me.

        Don’t be intimidated!

      • I appreciate the pep talk more than you can know.

        I can’t say I know Steven well enough to be intimidated. After all, I did challenge his rules! :) I’ve earned the contempt of many others so adding Mr. Mosher would be of no surprise. I’d rather earn his respect but surmise that both he and I will do just fine if it turns out otherwise.

        I’m really quite impressed with this site. In some others, I’ve been belittled and castigated thoroughly. Some based on assumption that I’m a CAGW troll (as I play Devil’s advocate often to learn about others), and others due to my ignorance is some areas, and some is due to the ignorance of others. But here, I’ve found more respect than most. And I still chose to stay involved with the others as I don’t get brushed off that easily. And the only way I know of that I can prove my intentions is staying power. Some sites it’s worth it like this one, and others not so much.

        I’m happy to meet with you and look forward to more learning.

        Thanks again!

      • Planning Engineer

        #3 is the killer. People who park there and pair it with some mantra that’s meant to distinguish them from others, but does not. IE. I care about the environment.

      • Planning Engineer

        I ment #3, talking about motivation, on Steven Mosher’s list, not the one by Danny Thomas.

      • Climate science is joined at the hip with politics. So, while I think reading the papers (if you can get to them at all to read in the first place) is a good thing, the lack thereof does not mean a citizen does not or cannot voice his or her preference when it comes to solutions.

      • Jim2,

        Help me get this. Why are they joined at the hips? Science is science. Is physics, geology, oceanography, chemistry, etc. joined at the hips with politics? Heck, climate science is made up of all these other areas of specialization.

        I have found myself to understand the differentiation between “x” science and “y” science.

        I get that policy is being set based on the science, and sooooo much money is in the conversation, but I don’t get why the science doesn’t stand alone.

      • P.E.

        Point taken. I care about the environment, as I presume do you, and pretty much everyone else. So that’s really no differentiation at all.

      • The only logical conclusion is easily apparent –e.g., see the above link to Paul Mathews “Lewandowsky’s loopy logic.”

        Climatists claims about future warming are based on speculative computer models that are increasingly failing to match reality and we’re not supposed to notice or be skeptical of the methodology being employed by academia to help the Left take over the American economy and subvert the country’s traditional principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility.

      • Wagathon,

        It seems some compartmentalization would be appropriate. I’m not sure it’s fair that everyone who leans left lacks personal responsibility. I, for one, lean left socially. But I’m at least taking personal responsibility for my vote by doing the best I can to learn as much as I am capable of learning about this important topic.

        The statement about the observable results not following the climatic models (IE the pause) is a fair evaluation. This is a classic, here’s the model and here’s the data comparison.

        This, “being employed by academia to help the Left take over the American economy and subvert the country’s traditional principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility.” seems a bit over the edge. Verifiable mistakes, sure, but conspiracy theory (is theory too strong a word), maybe not so much, huh?

      • “…sure, but conspiracy theory (is theory too strong a word), maybe not so much, huh?”

        Not too strong just blind to the obvious. Global warming has been a major plank in the Democrat party platform from the beginning. It’s because it is a Left vs. right issue that we know it has nothing to do with science. Global warming is nothing but a hoax and scare tactic. It’s a tool in pushing the Leftist ideology and provides useful propaganda, from evil oil companies, evil Walmart, evil capitalism, evil Judeo-Christian heritage, evil Tea Party racists, the right’s war on women too… why can’t we be more like the anti-America UN and Eurocommies and all work for the government like the good climate-fearing school teachers?

      • Wagathon,

        I perceive we have warming, but am uncomfortable with the cause. My view is based on things other than CO2. We have expanding growing seasons, see level increases, melting ice. You probably can name them better than I. However, I do not fear them. I can attribute them to nature as easily as anything else based on my admittedly limited science background. So I’m not quite comfortable with global warming being a hoax.

        Now based on some of the politics I can see your point. However, the war on against the right is not all misdirected, no more than the war on the left is. There are valid issues with reasonable, but differing, approaches that come from both sides. My point would be that with the current dynamics in our country’s politics today it seems compromise has become a dirty word and a thing to be avoided at all costs.

        There are reasonable as well as excessive regulations regarding much of what you detailed. If we remove the modifiers can we not agree that women’s issues, racism, environmental protection (clean air and water), appropriate corporate regulation (against monopolies, financial reform), freedom of religion (basic to our country, not just yours and my religions) are all things we can do better. The swinging pendulum going drastically either direction I don’t see as healthy for our country. I’m not supporting those on the left in the climate discussion, but I’m just as alarmed when “checks and balances” are removed.

        I just perceive this as a return volley which gets us only more of the same (continued polarization). We must all change our behavior or we must not expect different results. My .02.

        Thanks for discussing with me.

      • Let’s begin and end with the facts. Let’s talk about this cataclysmic pause in global warming perhaps leading to a massive disruption in the weeks ahead of the inexorable rise in the in average global temperatures that actually may have ominously peaked (some say 16 years ago, others say as much as 26 years ago): this hiatus in long term global warming could have ripple effects lasting through to 2016. So, Democrat politicians are cooling it. It’s all politics.

      • Thank you. I can read, let’s agree to disagree between those lines and I respect that.

        I’m having quite the conversation with my CAGW buddy and cannot get him past the CO2 conversation. Today, he threw at me my lack or morals and ethics for killing off the kids of the future. I tossed back why spend money for CO2 mitigation today based on unsettled science and let’s take those kids to dinner now.

        I share this only to say no harm was intended. I truly appreciate the discussion.

        Now if we could only understand why banking on models with unproven (or inaccurate) results is nonsensical we might make some progress.

      • If Americanism isn’t good for children why are they flooding our southern borders?

      • Curious George

        Danny – you talk about politics and science. But your CAGW friend sees it from a religious perspective. Once it becomes a religion, logic is useless.

      • Curious,

        I fear there is much to that.

        Not my words, but from another poster came:”Personally, I never trust anyone’s science if they can’t describe for me the potential weaknesses and limitations of their conclusions.”
        Might have been Willis or Joshua, wish I could attribute as it’s a wonderful thought so used here with apologies to the author.

        I’ve sent that to my CAGW friend in hopes of a response. Who knows.

      • Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

        Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        The use of a coupled ocean–atmosphere–sea ice model to hindcast (i.e., historical forecast) recent climate variability is described and illustrated for the cases of the 1976/77 and 1998/99 climate shift events in the Pacific. The initialization is achieved by running the coupled model in partially coupled mode whereby global observed wind stress anomalies are used to drive the ocean/sea ice component of the coupled model while maintaining the thermodynamic coupling between the ocean/sea ice and atmosphere components. Here it is shown that hindcast experiments can successfully capture many features associated with the 1976/77 and 1998/99 climate shifts. For instance, hindcast experiments started from the beginning of 1976 can capture sea surface temperature (SST) warming in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific and the positive phase of the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) throughout the 9 years following the 1976/77 climate shift, including the deepening of the Aleutian low pressure system. Hindcast experiments started from the beginning of 1998 can also capture part of the anomalous conditions during the 4 years after the 1998/99 climate. The authors argue that the dynamical adjustment of heat content anomalies that are present in the initial conditions in the tropics is important for the successful hindcast of the two climate shifts.http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00626.1

        Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies. http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

        A vigorous spectrum of interdecadal internal variability presents numerous challenges to our current understanding of the climate. First, it suggests that climate models in general still have difficulty reproducing the magnitude and spatiotemporal patterns of internal variability necessary to capture the observed character of the 20th century climate trajectory. Presumably, this is due primarily to deficiencies in ocean dynamics. Moving toward higher resolution, eddy resolving oceanic models should help reduce this deficiency. Second, theoretical arguments suggest that a more variable climate is a more sensitive climate to imposed forcings (13). Viewed in this light, the lack of modeled compared to observed interdecadal variability (Fig. 2B) may indicate that current models underestimate climate sensitivity. Finally, the presence of vigorous climate variability presents significant challenges to near-term climate prediction (25, 26), leaving open the possibility of steady or even declining global mean surface temperatures over the next several decades that could present a significant empirical obstacle to the implementation of policies directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (27). However, global warming could likewise suddenly and without any ostensive cause accelerate due to internal variability. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, the climate system appears wild, and may continue to hold many surprises if pressed. http://www.pnas.org/content/106/38/16120.full

        John Carter is clearly wrong about just about everything – but especially about the scientists who study these things. But I wonder which part of that this is potentially problematic and to be addressed in practical and pragmatic ways in his particular gripe?

      • John Carter was, if not mistaken, the name of the first man on Mars in a novel.
        Look what happened to Mars from following his advice!

      • John Carter, Climate Warrior II: ClimateBall­™ on Mars.

        I see a novella series that covers the solar system.

        …and his robot dog C-owetoo.

        Andrew

      • “”””John Carter is clearly wrong about just about everything – but especially about the scientists who study these things. But I wonder which part of that this is potentially problematic and to be addressed in practical and pragmatic ways in his particular gripe?””””

        Well naturally you have to say this Rob. If you don’t, your whole belief system is undermined.

        Funny thing. My belief system has nothing to do with whether climate change presents an enormous problem, or is a ruse perpetuated by the world’s leading scientists, one which the likes of James Inhofe are able to figure out

        So I could care either way. Actually that’s not true. I would desperately like ACC not to be an issue, I pursue it bc I think it’s an obligation to our progeny, and we are seriously mucking it up, but I would rather a) not be, and more importantly b) not have the issue muck things up for our progeny in the first place. http://climatesolutionsandanalysis.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/not-necessarily-just-change-over-time-but-increasingly-volatile-weather-most-problematic-for-agriculture/“>And probably increasingly devastate a huge portion of the world’s poor, unfairly to them, in the process.

        But the point is, my bias, if anything, lies as yours, in wishing it not to be so. Though I have no fealty to fossil fuels, and believe that the idea that we have a natural entitlement to them, if they are counter productive to use, is inane.

        And I also believe that the idea that we need them to grow an economy, is myopic, inane, and sells both the positives of capitalism (the negatives are it doesn’t take into account externalities as these) as well as ourselves, extremely short. Progress and growth don’t require us to slowly damage -, if not, in so far as we are concerned, purpose, destroy spme of our world, but grow from investment, however we define it, so long as we invest, and produce. Even if that production is a far more sensible way of using and producing energy and food.

        Whereas your belief system, on the other hand, is predicated on finding ACC to be non existent or trivial. And you think you can be objective?

        If blind self sealing zealotry = objectivity, then yes, you are. But no worries, in keeping with that self sealing belief, you project it outward. So you will be happily immune to this reality, and persist in being able to dismiss my points as “ignorance,” and continue in your delusion that we are not much affecting our climate. As anyone who really wants to, can until well after the fact, and probably could even continue to do so then as well, really: The brain has no limits on its ability for self deception so long as one wants is sufficiently driven.)

        When Future Generations Ask Why, this is why Future Generations. Right Here. A perfect example of it. When you say you don’t believe it,when you say we “couldn’t have been that incredibly stupid/selfish,” just like many ACC advocates preemptively can’t believe it and call people like Ellison liars (they are wrong, right Rob? I mean you don’t even know you have this issue ludicrously backward, right? They all argue with me that you and others like you HAVE to know you are lying, or are just driven by greed)…. Here, look no further future generations, than the tom foolery that passes for objective science and examination of the issue on this blog, and particularly in Ellison’s comments, and on the site that for her next article Curry posts from to “balance” out Kevin Trenberth, and to which JCurry actually linked to as it if was a credible source. This is why, future generations.

      • “”””I tossed back why spend money for CO2 mitigation today based on unsettled science “””””

        Just because skeptics ideologue non science think tanks, and fossil fuel backed interests, and a rare occasional scientist who professionally studies this issue, claim the science isn’t settled, doesn’t mean that it isn’t settled.

        The general idea that our ongoing alteration of the atmosphere is going to significantly affect the climate, and presents a strong likelihood of doing so in an increasingly counter productive way, is settled. And has been for a long time.

        You want to cling to fictions created by the skeptic industry to continue your supposed vacillation, that’s fine. But you’re kidding (or deceiving) yourself, or being deceived. Not by purposeful liars, but ideology, stubborness, zealotry and a fealty toward cling toward now archaic modes of energy.

      • Our interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Anastasios Tsonis

        Another day – another broken thread it seems. C’est la guerre. C’est magnifique mais ce n’est pas la gare?

        My personal journey began in the 1980′s with a passion for water. From the thundering power of flows shaping landscapes to the sublime beauty of coral seascapes. It began with an observation that east Australian rivers changed form – from high energy braided to low energy meandering – in the late 1970′s. Many years later and it is clear that this abrupt change in form is related to abrupt changes in the state of the Pacific Ocean at multi-decadal scales. It results not only in global hydrology changes but in shifts in the trajectory of global surface temperature.

        There are a couple of interesting implications. The first is that global warming was 0.4K between 1944 and 1998 at a rate of 0.07K/decade – a rate not likely to be exceeded in the 21st century – all other things being equal. The multi-decadal regimes seen in proxies over 1000 years suggest that warming is unlikely for 20 to 40 years from 2002. Climate will then shift abruptly and unpredictably and the only certain outcome is climate surprises. The conceptual model of climate here is of a system pushed by control variables past a threshold where the balance between powerful internal climate mechanisms shifts. The push may be undetectably small.

        It suggests that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases may be problematic – but then there are many other real and potential problems. The rational responses remain the same – based as they are on core values of the scientific enlightenment. The values are time-tested and non negotiable. They are based on liberty and a free conscience, democracy, the rule of law and free markets. The appropriate balance between government and markets is government at some 22% of GDP. The role of government in the economy is to manage interest rates to mitigate asset bubbles. Beyond this there are many roles for government permitted in the social contract that emerges from the cut and thrust of politics. This includes at least potentially carbon taxes – although these have failed to achieve anything much but increase energy costs and are therefore not broadly supported

        The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in the future — benefits whose attributes, magnitude, timing, and distribution are not knowable with certainty. Since they risked slowing economic growth in many emerging economies, efforts to extend the Kyoto-style UNFCCC framework to developing nations predictably deadlocked as well.

        The new framework now emerging will succeed to the degree to which it prioritizes agreements that promise near-term economic, geopolitical, and environmental benefits to political economies around the world, while simultaneously reducing climate forcings, developing clean and affordable energy technologies, and improving societal resilience to climate impacts. This new approach recognizes that continually deadlocked international negotiations and failed domestic policy proposals bring no climate benefit at all. It accepts that only sustained effort to build momentum through politically feasible forms of action will lead to accelerated decarbonization. http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

        The energy solutions are technological – both in improvement to the safety and sustainability of existing technologies and in the deployment of improved or new technologies. But the broader problems of society and the environment requires broader objectives of social and economic development, conservation and restoration of agricultural soils and ecosystems and management of diverse sources of – inter alia – the climatologically active compounds – cfc’s, tropospheric ozone, black carbon, nitrous oxide, sulphides and methane. It must include health, education and economic development as primary drivers to – in addition to purely humanitarian goals – provide the resources to build resilience to whatever surprise future climate throws at us. Natural or anthropogenic.

        I may be an id..t (avoiding automatic moderation I trust) but I am confident of the new conceptual framework for Australian hydrology – and by extension that of global climate. It must be so – it it the best theory of the facts of fluvial geomorphology. However – it is inherently a difficult, threshold concept – it is an idea that when followed through to a conclusion transforms the conceptual landscape.

        e.g. – http://www.gees.ac.uk/planet/p17/gc.pdf

        In the interim – ‘between the idea and the reality – between the motion and the act’ – lies the liminal space.

        This space is likened to that which adolescents inhabit: – not yet adults; not quite children. It is an unstable space in which the learner may oscillate between old and emergent understandings just as adolescents often move between adult-like and child-like responses to their transitional status. But once a learner enters this liminal space, she is engaged with the project of mastery unlike the learner who remains in a state of preliminality in which understandings are at best vague. The idea that learners enter into a liminal state in their attempts to grasp certain concepts in their subjects presents a powerful way of remembering that learning is both affective and cognitive and that it involves identity shifts which can entail troublesome, unsafe journeys. http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html

        I am confident also of the values of the scientific enlightenment as a fixed point enabling navigation through to a rich and peaceful global civilisation this century.

      • I too have found wonder and new hope in how we go on given the pervasive nihilism in our society that has given rise to the insanity of global warming alarmism.

      • @danny, Ive addressed the cause argument a few times, and specifically in response to your question. Did you not read it?

        Here is the comment. http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/13/we-are-all-confident-idiots/#comment-648991

        I think addressing the idea of whether our change to the atmosphere is “causing” a change in climate, is addressed starting about half way down, and should clarify this for you and remove your “concerns” that we are not the “cause.”

        That is if you are what you say you are and open minded and really just trying to be objective. If it doesn’t, then I think you have to really wonder if you are really being logical about this, or really a skeptic by desire – which is not objective at all, and instead biased towards reformulating everything possible to fit a skeptical point of view.

        Here is the salient gist of it, from that comment:

        Climate is variable, but the essence of the changes we are seeing now, given the studies done on our trailing geologic climate, and the increasing rates of change, would be remarkably coincidental were they to be just part of some natural variability or related cause. It’s possible, but it’s not very realistic

        It’s even far less realistic when you consider that for that to be the case it would also HAVE TO MEAN that our atmospheric change wasn’t really much affecting the climate – remember, if the change is just some random fluke on it’s own, that means that in the absence of such random fluke the climate wouldn’t much change – and that makes even less sense. And this is not a relatively new idea, as the core of climate and other related discipline scientists who have been studying this, misinformation and cherry picked misrepresentation aside,have essentially been saying the same thing, and for the same fundamental, unchanging reasons, for decades. (We just have a lot more corroboration, and some honed but still evolving knowledge..)

        I also covered this more extensively in the link I provided to you earlier, and in response to a similar question, and from which In my answer to you I blockquoted extensively, and I thought you had read.

        But perhaps you didn’t. If you did read it and are still asking this question, then I have to go back to wondering if are really being logical about this, or really a skeptic by desire, which is not objective at all, and instead biased towards reformulating everything possible to fit a skeptical point of view.

        I guess another possibility is you didn’t follow it. Sometimes with things that are conceptual or analytical in nature, it is hard to know what someone else will really “get,” (let alone if they are skeptical toward something or even heavily predisposed, or,as on climate change with many, even more so) If so, try again. https://climatesolutionsandanalysis.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/why-climate-change-refutation-is-illogical-and-driven-by-something-else-not-science/

      • “1. filter people who have not read the science.”

        That would be over 97% of politicians, greenies, and agency employees.

        Andrew

      • And probably over 97% of the scientists themselves.

        Andrew

      • Danny – my guess is that it was directed at me. Methinks you’re off the hook.

        I will wait for you comment to pass moderation.

        In the meantime, the model offered by Mosher wouldn’t work, basically at all. There are any number of people who are overtly linked to the politics and who have read the science, claim to understand the science, and who don’t talk about motivations as a FIRST response.

        I can only surmise that the underlying logic of that highly insufficient model is the product of logical thinking and critical analysis being “destroyed” by progressive influence on K through Ph D. education.

      • It should be out of mod now.

        I wasn’t sure if Steven’s post was directed at me and I have a feeling it will take a while to “get to know him” via this format, but I’m enjoying the journey as I am with all the others here.

        You and he can ‘have at it’. I’ll observe from the side lines.

        Thanks for your participation. For me, at least, it’s appreciated when those of differing perspectives will at least communicate with each other. The mutual respect shown on this site is refreshing (if not sometimes filled with a few jabs).

      • Our interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Anastasios Tsonis

        My personal journey began in the 1980’s with a passion for water. From the thundering power of flows shaping landscapes to the sublime beauty of coral seascapes. It began with an observation that east Australian rivers changed form – from high energy braided to low energy meandering – in the late 1970’s. Many years later and it is clear that this abrupt change in form is related to abrupt changes in the state of the Pacific Ocean at multi-decadal scales. It results not only in global hydrology changes but in shifts in the trajectory of global surface temperature.

        There are a couple of interesting implications. The first is that global warming was 0.4K between 1944 and 1998 at a rate of 0.07K/decade – a rate not likely to be exceeded in the 21st century – all other things being equal. The multi-decadal regimes seen in proxies over 1000 years suggest that warming is unlikely for 20 to 40 years from 2002. Climate will then shift abruptly and unpredictably and the only certain outcome is climate surprises. The conceptual model of climate here is of a system pushed by control variables past a threshold where the balance between powerful internal climate mechanisms shifts. The push may be undetectably small.

        It suggests that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases may be problematic – but then there are many other real and potential problems. The rational responses remain the same – based as they are on core values of the scientific enlightenment. The values are time-tested and non negotiable. They are based on liberty and a free conscience, democracy, the rule of law and free markets. The appropriate balance between government and markets is government at some 22% of GDP. The role of government in the economy is to manage interest rates to mitigate asset bubbles. Beyond this there are many roles for government permitted in the social contract that emerges from the cut and thrust of politics. This includes at least potentially carbon taxes – although these have failed to achieve anything much but increase energy costs and are therefore not broadly supported

        The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in the future — benefits whose attributes, magnitude, timing, and distribution are not knowable with certainty. Since they risked slowing economic growth in many emerging economies, efforts to extend the Kyoto-style UNFCCC framework to developing nations predictably deadlocked as well.

        The new framework now emerging will succeed to the degree to which it prioritizes agreements that promise near-term economic, geopolitical, and environmental benefits to political economies around the world, while simultaneously reducing climate forcings, developing clean and affordable energy technologies, and improving societal resilience to climate impacts. This new approach recognizes that continually deadlocked international negotiations and failed domestic policy proposals bring no climate benefit at all. It accepts that only sustained effort to build momentum through politically feasible forms of action will lead to accelerated decarbonization. http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

        The energy solutions are technological – both in improvement to the safety and sustainability of existing technologies and in the deployment of improved or new technologies. But the broader problems of society and the environment requires broader objectives of social and economic development, conservation and restoration of agricultural soils and ecosystems and management of diverse sources of – inter alia – the climatologically active compounds – cfc’s, tropospheric ozone, black carbon, nitrous oxide, sulphides and methane. It must include health, education and economic development as primary drivers to – in addition to purely humanitarian goals – provide the resources to build resilience to whatever surprise future climate throws at us. Natural or anthropogenic.

        I may be an id..t (avoiding automatic moderation I trust) but I am confident of the new conceptual framework for Australian hydrology – and by extension that of global climate. It must be so – it it the best theory of the facts of fluvial geomorphology. However – it is inherently a difficult, threshold concept – it is an idea that when followed through to a conclusion transforms the conceptual landscape.

        e.g. – http://www.gees.ac.uk/planet/p17/gc.pdf

        In the interim – ‘between the idea and the reality – between the motion and the act’ – lies the liminal space.

        This space is likened to that which adolescents inhabit: – not yet adults; not quite children. It is an unstable space in which the learner may oscillate between old and emergent understandings just as adolescents often move between adult-like and child-like responses to their transitional status. But once a learner enters this liminal space, she is engaged with the project of mastery unlike the learner who remains in a state of preliminality in which understandings are at best vague. The idea that learners enter into a liminal state in their attempts to grasp certain concepts in their subjects presents a powerful way of remembering that learning is both affective and cognitive and that it involves identity shifts which can entail troublesome, unsafe journeys. http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html

        I am confident also of the values of the scientific enlightenment as a fixed point enabling navigation through to a rich and peaceful global civilisation this century.

      • Rob,

        I’m looking for perspective and you sure provided one. Thank you for that. And eloquently put.

      • @ellison

        “””””Our interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. “””””

        With all due respect, it is 100% clear that your interest, for instance, is to disprove the legitimacy of the basic climate change theory, or mitigate it’s relevance, as much as as possible and by any argument, fact, belief, miscontruction believed to be otherwise, omissions, etc, as possible.

        Of course, if that were so clearly seen on this issue, here at least, then we wouldn’t be having the “false debate” over whether our multi million year worth increase in a near geologic increase to the long lived molecules responsible for keeping this earth from being a frozen ball of ice, is going to invariably change our climate our not. But because it covers a huge time span, is a change atop a complex, extremely variable, and itself long range issue, it’s easy to convince oneself of this false debate, if that is what one – for a whole host of reasons – wants to or has been led through massive misinformation, to believe.

        It’s too bad this is such a long time frame (probably, but maybe not), so by the time you say to me “Dang, sorry I gave you such a hard time in comments, you were right,” we’ll both be like 100 years old. But that’s sort of the nature of it, and why belief can so easily drive it. (For the less hard core skeptics, who are not mired in stone on the issue, it could be a few years to a few decades, who knows.)

        And belief, does drive it. Under the guise of a “better science” than almost all of the actual climate and atmospheric physicists who professionally study the issue. (Although belief has driven the idea that that’s not true either. Naturally. And then when a search of all vetted Journal articles turns up not a one that reasonably refutes climate change, there’s a reason offered for that too,”It’s a big conspiracy!” At which point all reason has left the building,which is kind of the case on this issue at times.)

      • John Carter | November 15, 2014 at 1:04 am | Reply
        @ellison “””””Our interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. “””””
        With all due respect, it is 100% clear that your interest, for instance, is to disprove the legitimacy of the basic climate change theory, or mitigate it’s relevance, as much as as possible and by any argument, fact, belief, misconstruction believed to be otherwise, omissions, etc, as possible.”
        No due respect shown here, just the full Lewindowsky treatment, The chief puts up facts and figures and is prepared to discuss them, no omissions and no misconstructions, other than yours.
        ” it covers a huge time span, is a change atop a complex, extremely variable, and itself long range issue, It’s too bad this is such a long time frame (probably, but maybe not),”
        Hoist with your own petard,
        You admit it is a long time frame, a huge time frame atop a complex, extremely variable and itself a long raise issue. Trust John Carter, faced with all these complexities and a massive time frame [thousands of years] he knows exactly what will happen in the next 50 years and can castigate those less intelligent than himself.

      • He puts up facts and figures that either have nothing to do with the issue, misrepresent the issue, or misconstrue what the issue is.

        But he puts up enough facts and figures, under complex sounding language, that for those that want to believe AGW is not a big deal, it can be used to perpetuate that.

        I have no problem with Ellison being far smarter and more knowledgeable on this issue than the world’s ;leading scientists who professionally study it.

        But I don’t see them constantly misconstruing the issue, turning it into something it is not, playing unrecognized rhetoric games that sound like scientific logic, or most commonly of all write about things that take a misrepresented thin sliver of a part of the issue and present it as if it refutes the issue itself or shows that somehow, changing the atmospheric concentrations of gg to levels not seen on earth in millions of years, despite the basic physics involved and their huge role in keeping this earth from being a ball of ice, won’t affect climate.

        Why – and I mean this as a legitimate ,not a rhetoric, question – do you subscribe to Ellison’s conclusions (never mind that they don’t apply to the issue) but not the world’s scientists who professionally study it (And stop with the nonsense that there’s no general consensus, there’s a small handful of cranks and bad scientist – such as this guy http://theworldofairaboveus.blogspot.com/2014/07/roy-spencer-exhibit-that-climate-change_26.html – for every several hundred who professionally study it, who understand our alteration of the atmosphere has affected future climate. Read the published papers relevant to the issue. In science journals, no vetting process but to have a point of view we subscribe to think tank and think tank backed publications.)

        I’ll give you an example of the profound tautology of Ellison’s “take.” (And it’s not his fault, he is arguing an impossible point.) He argues that climate change is not real because models fail to precisely project both the amount and timing of changing as if were were writing the script in advance. Then also argues that how difficult it is to even predict weather over a medium time frame, and how absurd it is to think we could accurately model future climate.

        So in essence because we can’t model out the exact movements within later climate shifts – climate being about 30 years – which we all agree we can’t do (except Ellison and “skeptics” when arguing against ACC, in which case we are supposed to be able to for ACC to exist) we therefore can’t or aren’t likely affecting the long term climate of the earth.

        This pig is gussied up with some of the most beautiful eloquent lipstick imaginable (see Ellison’s comments for example, and his fantastic looking website – I wish he would help me with mine – but the entire argument, veiled as this is, is completely illogical, to put it mildly.

      • @angech
        “”””You admit it is a long time frame, a huge time frame atop a complex, extremely variable and itself a long raise issue. Trust John Carter, faced with all these complexities and a massive time frame [thousands of years] he knows exactly what will happen in the next 50 years and can castigate those less intelligent than himself.””””

        No, we don’t know what will happen exactly in the next 50 years, which climate change skeptics are incorrectly using to refute what we do know, and more importantly, why we know it, and what it means.

        And aside from John Carter, notice you are also not trusting the enormous majority of the world’s leading scientists who professionally study this issue, but are instead trusting a seeming “Side” in some sort of false debate, backed by huge self interested fossil fuel interests.

        I don’t ask you to trust anything. I ask you to follow the analyses I lay out, objectively. And if you can’t, ask. Or maybe, just maybe, set your own opinion aside if following my arguments is too complicated, and defer to the scientists that professionally study the issue.

        But you don’t want to, is the problem. And then follow a chain of logic that reinforces whatever supports that notion.

      • John Carter,

        I’m no scientist. I’ve read much on the climate change topic. And I have a perspective that I hope you don’t mind me sharing with you.

        I don’t see a black and white discussion. I see a scale from AGW to Denier with skeptisism somewhere in between.

        I see sufficient evidence to support that our climate is changing, my quest is to discover why. I can’t do the physics myself. Matthew R. Marler is on a quest for discovery relating to a new paper in Science about the warming caused increase in lightening strikes. My understanding of his concern is that there is not sufficient evidence that the increased energy leading to the increase in lightening strikes cannot also manifest in increased warming. This is one example. The “hiatus” heat transferring to the oceans is a recent theory. Examples like these lead me to the conclusion that the science is not settled.

        I see that even the so called AGW “consensus” cannot state emphatically that it’s CO2. The terminology is “likely”. So within the black and white debate lies the policy discussion of spending huge amounts of money for CO2 abatement when it’s “only” likely that CO2 is the cause.

        I’ve read papers that show the “potential” costs if we delay. But those papers do not account for “likely” technological advancement.

        I see equally logical debate that natural variability is at least partially responsible for warming.

        My unsupported supposition is that it’s likely a bit of both.

        So, for me, I’d prefer that the science be settled more fully prior to spending those dollars as “potentially” those dollars could be misdirected. Do we not have time for further study, and would that approach not be “prudent”?

        Please let me know if you consider this to be wrong minded and why, if so.

      • Spot on, Danny. Hasten slowly, because we don’t know much yet, and we have been accurately measuring ocean temperatures for all of 6 or 7 years.
        And economic knowledge, theory and modelling is more of a mess than climate modelling.

        Do NOT heed the, “Do something! Do ANYTHING! But do it NOW!!!” clarion call.

      • Do NOT heed the, “Do something! Do ANYTHING! But do it NOW!!!” clarion call.

        Sounds like more chaos to me! :)

      • When you’re worried, when in doubt,
        Run in circles, scream and shout!

      • @markx

        “””spot on, Danny. Hasten slowly, because we don’t know much yet”””

        We don’t know much yet is more massive misinformation put out by the groups that are ideological, fossil fuel industry backing (and lobbying) and economic transformation rigid or change fearing (typically, but not always, conservative to staunch conservatives, and which such resistance to change, is, as study after study also illustrates, generally, but clearly not in all instances, lower in intelligence and higher in prejudices)

        Even back in the 70s, when some scientists suggested (reasonably, if we ignore the issue of atmospheric change) that we would ultimately see another glaciation period (major cooling) , papers predicting increased warming due to our atmospheric alteration outnumbered such cooling theories by ove 500%.

        That’s almost half a century ago.

        By the 80s understanding among those who studied the issue was pretty well established.

        The basic concept doesn’t have anything to do with models, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with ocean warming. Models just hone our understanding further, and help us make projections.

        Since the 70s, and 80s in particular, we just happen to have seen a masive, and continually increasing, amount of overall corroborative evidence. Including, most notably, and most importantly, an increase in ocean energy, and at a geologically rapid rate.

        between 1971 and 2010 was taken up by the ocean. From around 1980 to 2000, the ocean gained about 50 zettajoules [10 to the 21st power] of heat. Between 2000 and 2013, it added about three times that amount.” World Meteorological Organization, 2013 report:  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwdvoC9AeWjUeEV1cnZ6QURVaEE/edit

        Also see fall, 2014 paper: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n11/full/nclimate2389.html
        and more basic http://www.weather.com/news/science/environment/where-global-warming-going-ocean-20140205%20
        And re the geologically significant to radical speed (the thing that really matters) of the ocean gaining heat, not just the fact that it is http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6158/617.short

        Also, for far more detail, simpler explanations, and information and multiple links to net and accelerating polar ice sheet melt at both ends of the earth, and warming ocean columns warming sea bed floors and leading to methane eruptions spiking arctic atmosphere methane levels http://bit.ly/1ELH61m, which will also have a great deal more information, in stark contrast with the mistaken idea we know little.

        Yeah, sure, in terms of thorough understanding of almost anything on earth we have little knowledge. But the relevant knowledge here, the incredible atmospheric change – putting levels higher now than at any point in 3 million years for just co2 alone http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-10/hawaii-carbon-dioxide-measurement-for-may-9-passed-400-ppm.html which doesn’t take into account methane, nitrous oxides, or CFCs, and the methane along greatly increases the overall total Global Warming Potential Equivalent in terms of geologic historic significance and how far back we would need to go – and the basic knowledge of air chemistry, physics, radiative forcing, and the now overwhelming corroboration in temperature data that the air has been warming overall for many many decades now, but most energy is going into heating the earth itself – ocean, ice sheets, permafrost (and that right now stabilize and help moderate our climate, but that are changing), is overwhelming.

        That we don’t know enough to act to transform our practices has been a fiction for over 2 decades, and almost tragic comedy type of one today, dwarfed as it is by the massive misinformation and ideological zeal on the issue. Not to mention pretty horrendous overall media coverage.

        Climate scientists tend to feel the same way about the media coverage:
        http://t.co/8lqCp0BwRO

        And doing something now, well, 20 years ago, frankly, is different from “Do anything.” And what to sensibly do is the discussion the world shoud be having, instead due to massive ignorance on this issue (not lack of knowledge, but profound error and mistake taken to be and far more righteously, even zealously, fervently, passed off as knowledge) of the fake debate over the very existence of scientific reality, where suddenly scientists are liars and not the real arbiters of science bc they get “grant money” (i.e. like every other profession in the world they get paid, if not all that great) …etc.

        What I propose – others have, former Treasury Secretaries R Rubin (D) and Henry Paulson (R) propose similar – is the immediate end to fossil fuel subsidies, which is azz backward (fossil fuel lobbyists go ape over this of course, bc all the massive misinformation, which they come to believe, and which gives them traction, makes it seem like a good short term business plan), and put in a tax on all atmospheric affecting activities to, if not level, at least somewhat close the ludicrous gap between true cost and actual market paid cost for highly atmospheric harming (or altering I should say) processes, and use the revenue raised (so it’s revenue neutral) to help business and industries and workers in transition and hardest hit ,and the poor, and this way not only create but in fact encourage and market motivate actual choice in the process, and see what we can do.

        See what the motivator of economic motivation, choice, and opportunity, which will apply to everyone, consumers, business, etc, does. We have no idea – and by that I mean we likely massively underestimate, stuck as we are like blind bats on this idea that we need to do what we’ve been doing, despite it changing the nature of our world to our and our progeny’s future harm, to “progress,” what we could and would, will, accomplish.

        That approach alone – once we got past the myopic whining and griping by people who have very little broad based macroeconomic conceptual understanding but think they’re geniuses – (read, the same ideological forces trying to undermine climate science right now) would probably shred any results we’re going to achieve from such artificial targets as “decrease by 26%.” This is an issue where it’s remarkably clear, the more we reduce, the better, and the less we do, the worst, so let’s see what we can do. (And by the way, making an “agreement” with China that China was all but committed to on their own anyway to have them continue to increase emissions for another 15 years was ridiculous.)

        Curry could be helping with this, instead she’s helping further misinformation on the topic.

      • John Carter | November 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm:

        From around 1980 to 2000, the ocean gained about 50 zettajoules [10 to the 21st power] of heat. Between 2000 and 2013, it added about three times that amount.”

        And they know this for sure? ARGO was fully deployed about 2007. Prior to that there was partial and sporadic coverage, mainly of shipping lanes, switching between 3 or 4 different instruments/modes of measurement.

        Hence the argument “we don’t know much yet”.

        And the economics of it all? Do you really have that sorted and understood? Just as the very foundations of capitalist theory and free trade theory are being hauled out and re-examined. There has been many a slip twixt cup and lip regarding economic theory.

        Surely a classic case of “we don’t know much yet”.

      • As far as ocean heat is concerned – Argo shows large variability year to year – the splice to old and whooly inadequate data is dodgy – and differing data treatments result in vastly different results.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/steric-sea.png

        The Scripps ‘climatology’ for instance shows a steric (ocean warming) sea level rise of 0.2+/-0.8mm/yr.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/steric-sea.png

        It is a bit like the highest carbon dioxide in millions of years meme – they don’t seem to be capable of processing anomalous data.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/steinthorsdottir_co2_stomata_2013_zps0180f088.png

      • Stuffed it again – this was meant as the top graph in the comment above.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/vonschuckannandletroan_zps45e82e5b1.png

      • Rob Ellison:
        Where is was going with the salinity as information idea relates to this:
        “We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior.” Not a physical network we say. I say why not? For our climate network we need information storage (about the past that can effect the future). Ice sheets and sea ice seem good for that, as well as salinity values. “imagine that there is a different chaotic oscillator (like the Lorenz butterfly) at every point of space (so there is an infinity of them)” The network looks something like Milanovic said. Each kind of oscillator would have different information storage capabilities. Ice sheets would have significant amounts of that, and on long timescales has used that information with amazing results(Lake Agassiz). Sea ice would have some as well and it is perhaps a good information transmitter with its binary nature. Now that I think about it, vegetation is looking good for information storage. Carbon we can see, albedo and transpiration effects.

      • Not knowing exact numbers “for sure” is not a logical argument for thinking that the issue presents less of a threat than it does.

        Notice that?

        But that is precisely how you are using it.

        As for the general “we don’t know much yet,” that can always be said, the issue is what we do know, which is being distracted from by quibbling over certainties of things where it is the range that matters, etc.

        As for economics, we don’t know much yet, Yet we make enormous presumptions

        Know why Coke went back to Old Coke from new coke decades ago?

        Studies showed in blind tests users preferred new coke. When they were TOLD it was new coke, the preference gap became wider.

        Then Coca Cola made the switch to new coke, and eventually the outcry – including by massive protesters who acknowledged in blind tests THEY preferred it – caused coke to go back.

        People didn’t want to change. Initially they liked new coke bc it wasn’t “available.” it was thus “scarce: in econ terms, and old coke was everywhere. But they didn’t like the idea of change, and then when the switch was made, they couldn’t get old coke.

        We fear the same, but much worse, with fossil fuels.

        Far more irrationally than on old coke.

        And use arguments like “there’s so much we don’t know” to continue the same habits and patterns that we DO KNOW are radically altering the atmosphere in a way that WE DO KNOW is affecting climate and extremely likely to change it in a very significant way,for many fundamental reasons- massive misinformation and hype on this notwithstanding – that we DO KNOW.

        All while we confuse what we don”t,or what is uncertain, with what we do, and use it as an excuse not to change the pattern and habit and fight the arguments for it, under the self believed guise of logic and reason..

      • You seem very confident!

      • Oops! Either threading is broken or I made a mistake. Darn!

      • John Carter wrote:
        >Not knowing exact numbers “for sure” is not a logical argument for thinking that the issue presents less of a threat than it does.

        But, John, oh, John, what if the “threat that it does” really is a very small threat or no threat at all? Then it would be unjustified to suppose it is a serious threat, wouldn’t it?

        And scientists just do not know. Anthropogenic global warming may be a much less serious threat than, say, the threat of earth’s being hit by an asteroid.

        Or not. We just do not know.

        Please note once more that you were being blatantly and despicably dishonest when you accused Judith and some of the rest of us of being deniers. I have no doubt that anthropogenic CO2 has made the globe warmer than it otherwise would be. I believe that is Judith’s position also.

        But many legitimate scientists, such as Steve Koonin, who served as Obama’s Under Secretary for Science in the Department of Energy, have raised very serious questions about the unjustified levels of certainty pushed by a handful of climate scientists and a large number of media talking heads.

        If you had actually bothered to read Judith’s blog over an extended period, or the comments of people like me and many others on this blog, you would know that, rather than being “deniers,” we are trying to address the same questions raised by President Obama’s former Under Secretary for Science in the Department of Energy.

        Now, if you want to claim that Barack Obama and his appointees are part of some sinister cabal of climate deniers…

      • Turnabout is fair play? Nice. That’s a fun twist. Thanks for that lighthearted thought.

      • John Carter | November 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        You say:
        The basic concept doesn’t have anything to do with models, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with ocean warming.

        ….. then you spend the next 3 paragraphs talking about ocean warming.

        You can have theoretical zetajoules, John, and you can have those that are measured.

        And that measuring can only be done by measuring ocean temperatures.

      • “”””I see a scale from AGW to Denier with skepticism somewhere in between.””””

        @danny T

        That statement is just flat out incorrect. There is a range of concern on what is at this point an essentially known issue. Then there are “skeptics,” nicely called skeptics, and not nicely called deniers (I don’t like the term but for clarity sometimes use it ) a great example of one, the head of our Senate Comm on the Env, or soon to be, is here: http://bit.ly/1sWkFAX

        I have empathy for some skepticism (despite sounding annoyed here, which is different, bc reponses to my comments are often wildly misrepresentativeand there’s an incredible amount of stubborness posing as logic.) The reason is that a lot of people concerned about ACC are convinced that all skeptics are liars or greedy slobs or idiots who simply cant be helped. They don’t get that if someone has a different perspective or way of looking at things, or their own somewhat different biases, at how given that, just how influential massive misinformation can be, and they tend to often conclude, tell, presume, instead of show. While I think only further entrenching a lot of climate change skepticism, and seeming to validate it, by not being willing to consider their (the reasonable if misinformed skeptics) concerns. And not being clear that they are not dismissing alternative views, but disavowing misinformation on the topic, which they are also very presumptive about believing “everyone knows.”

        So in that range of those outside of what we actually know on the science, or the basic reality of major AGW (overall ave global temp change of at least a few degrees C over time, at a minimum, which will reflect a lot more than just temp) are then skeptics, potentially reasonable skeptics who will at least listen once in a while and if everything really ell presented will at least consider.

        I think Curry is in that category but the problem is with her pedigree, while using the excuse of “we don’t know all that much,” she is far too sure of what she thinks she knows, or how she perceives the issue, to be very open to real consideration (I could be wrong, she could yet prove me wrong on that).

        To then less reasonable skeptics, who probably can’t be reached (many of the commenters here, but not all). Then to the extremely ideological rigid, who are zealous and simply non stop in putting out anything that refutes trivializes or calls doubt to AGW and willing to entertain believe or say almost anything to perpetuate that, and the sureness (despite the wild irony) of their belief. (A few of the commenters here, many to most on WUWT, for instance,.)

        So I’m saying that maybe your idea of range isn’t necessarily completely misplaced.

        But how you define it is:

        AGW is not a scale of “maybe we are changing the climate, maybe we’re not.” And the whole notion, removing all the biases, that the level of change we’ve affected to the atmosphere, let alone the changes we are starting to see in the radical rate of ocean heat energy accumulation (see above links in comments) polar ice melting north and south poles, acceleration in both of late, and ongoing long term ambient air temp changes, wont significantly affect our climate, given the basic dynamics of the earth and the major stabilizing climate related systems on it (oceans and ice predominantly), is idiotic. (Most if not all skeptics simply also just don’t want to accept this, for one reason or another, though convincing themselves they are just being “skeptical.”)

        And I’m not saying Curry is an idiot, for example. I’m saying her notion on this issue is idiotic.

        There’s a difference.

        So skepticism is not “in between.” Skepticism is outside the basic reality, or conceptual understanding, or in many (most) cases, evenjust basic knowledge of, the real facts of the issue, and usually under a deluge of incorrect facts, instead.

        Then skepticism itself may have ranges – to at that point roll with your idea, and not simply put all skeptics into the earth really is flat and will not believe climate change is real even after FL is underwater, but will find yet another thing to blame even that or anything on (and there are a LOT of people like that, just wait and see) category.

      • John,

        One thing I think you miss is the vast majority of folks are not scientists or science oriented. When you use a term like “real facts” you have made “the decision” for everyone else. There are so many like me w/o a science background or career. But we can read, learn, remember what it was like when we had science in school.

        You’re at the end of your journey. You know what you know. You’ve decided, you chose, but you forget. You forget that others are not wired as you are. Make your case, provide evidence, and step away. You cannot change the logic of others. You attacked me in an earlier post and you don’t know me.
        I don’t take offense (unless repeated over and over) as you’re “some guy on the internet” and so am I.

        Make your case, this column adds up to more than that one. Heck. Make it in columns, I don’t know. AGW’ers give zero potential to natural variability (same play book, sorry) while demanding nothing less than 100% buy in to the AGW line. And there is enough evidence of error on the AGW side and enough rational reasonable counter on the other. My own “lying eyes” don’t tell me the same story you do. Who do I believe, you or my “lying eyes”.

        Man, I’m working at this. Hours, and days and weeks and months and years. It’s not scientific but it’s true effort. Give me and the vast majority of others like me out here the benefit of the doubt. Your scale is more black and white, but mine has shades in between. I see it differently than you. I’m not saying your wrong, but you saying I can’t be right is insulting. And frankly, I think you’re wrong.

        The science is settled for you and you cannot fathom that it’s not for others. It’s a common theme to AGW’ers. I don’t know how else to describe the perception that I see.

      • Danny,

        I am one of the people that John Carter is so bitterly attacking, and yet I myself actually do think that AGW is a reality, and I have publicly criticized those who say that this cannot be so: I just happen to have some serious, legitimate scientific questions as to whether the warming due to AGW has been or will be as large as the catastrophists claim.

        John is not motivated by an interest in the science. He is playing some game here, either just as a lark or to fulfill some pseudo-religious ideological obsession.

        What will the feedback effect of clouds be? How can we test the accuracy of the GCMs? Those are interesting scientific questions.

        John Carter… not scientifically interesting. Apparently not even scientifically literate.

        Dave

      • Whose sentences are the complexidiest of them all?
        ============

      • Shoot. This is a test isn’t it? Uh……….yours?

        “Whose sentences are the complexidiest of them all?” (Did I get it right? :)

      • Escritoire, Escritoire, on the Wall.
        ===============

      • Dave, I just wanted to add to our previous conversion about Chinese vs American culture that I worked for a Chinese woman with a PhD for a few years. I understand what you mean by the difference. I’ve worked with several Asians over the years.

        On the AWG note, what is your take that warming by whatever means will be catastrophic and to what degree would warming have to occur to present a significant problem?

      • jim2 wrote to me:
        >On the AWG note, what is your take that warming by whatever means will be catastrophic and to what degree would warming have to occur to present a significant problem?

        Well… basically I agree with Judith that these are much more complicated questions than either of the two extremes (the dogmatic catastrophists or the true denialists) will admit.

        I.e., if the most extreme projections for global warming turn out to be true, if we flood Bangladesh, etc., I certainly think that would be a very, very serious matter. And, I certainly cannot prove that will not happen.

        However, even if we knew for sure that it were going to happen, maybe the best approach would be to try to mitigate the damage (e.g., a giant seawall for Bangladesh or an international effort to relocate Bangladeshis).

        One point that I think Judith has made (and various catastrophists occasionally point this out, without following through on its implications) is that the climate change for the next few decades may already be “baked in”: almost no one thinks that the CO2 we have pumped into the air will magically disappear in the next decade or so, and it is pretty clear that humans will continue pumping out a lot of CO2 for at least the next two or three decades.

        So, it seems to me that mitigation is an issue that needs much more serious discussion than it is getting.

        But, again, I really do not know what will happen it coming decades to global climate. Of course, neither does anyone else.

        (By the way, I am not opposed in principle to “extremist” positions if they are backed by evidence. I myself am an “extremist” on evolution — i.e., I am quite, quite certain that humans are the product of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. But, I just do not see legitimate scientific evidence backing up either side of the “extremist” views on climate change.)

        Dave

      • Physicistdave @ 8.33, you suggest (top of the head?) a giant seawall for Bangladesh or an international effort to relocate Bangladeshis. The former does not seem appropriate given the delta environment, and with a population nearing 160 million, large-scale relocation is unlikely to be viable.

        Here’s a brief look at the issue in 1990 which gives you an idea of the delta and why a giant seawall et al would not help. I’ve seen a lot of recent material to the same effect, mainly via CE. The environment, lifestyle and livelihoods are all adapted to the pattern of flooding and deposit of sediment.

        The Ganges delta begins 200 miles (322 km) from the Bay of Bengal. It is largely a tangled swampland, covering much of Bangladesh and which I think is home to most of the population. The delta is massively polluted.

        http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02394131#page-1
        http://www.ucd.ie/dipcon/docs/theme08/theme08_12.PDF

      • Faustino wrote to me:
        >Physicistdave @ 8.33, you suggest (top of the head?) a giant seawall for Bangladesh or an international effort to relocate Bangladeshis.

        Yes, as you say, just “top of the head”: I was just giving examples of the sort of thing that might need to be considered.

        I suspect that with enough effort some sort of seawall could be made to work, but it would not surprise me if an effective seawall were utterly unrealistic economically.

        My main point was that we will see the effects of AGW, whatever they may be. For better or worse, the proposals that most catastrophists have for stopping the increase in CO2 are not going to be put into effect in the next couple decades.

        I hope we do not face catastrophe as a result of AGW, but I honestly do not know what will happen.

        Dave

      • John,

        This wiki is in part why I perceive a scale: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

        Those that question IPCC climate predictions.
        Those that say climate change is natural
        Those that say the cause of climate change is unknown.
        Those that say there will be few negative consequences.

        Note that predominately (if not all) say that climate is changing. That’s a common thread. It’s cause, and level that’s in question. Add in AGW(only)er’s and deniers, and viola………a scale.

      • @physicistdave

        “””The issue that serious people here are trying to raise is that the global models have not been properly tested so that we can know whether anthropogenic global warming is likely to be a minor issue or a true catastrophe.””””

        Thanks for your response Dave. Climate models do not establish that climate change is a problem, they are a tool by which to further hone our understanding, and make projections.

        I think that I speak to the general reluctance to consider that a multi million year increase in the concentration of long lived greenhouse gases would naturally tend to accumulate energy and slowly (but increasingly, and non linearly) change the basic stases systems that stabilize and drive our climate, while simultaneously of course continuing to absorb and re radiate more thermal radiation atmospherically at the same time, on an ongoing basis, and would naturally thus ultimately shift climate.

        This blog spends a lot of time on tangential musings that have nothing whatsoever to do with the above point, that are cast to introduce generic doubt on it, as well as basic climate scientists, without I believe adequately addressing (or often even getting right) the basic underlying reasons why this likely is a major issue for us and more and more our progeny as we continue to remain in half denial over it. (See the second comment, and my response, for instance, to the link I will share with you in a moment. It is a crystal clear and striking example of that phenomenon, albeit to the extreme.)

        And, also I speak to conflation of the imperfections, adjustments ,and ongoing processes of science itself, with therefore a lack of credibility or general relevancy or accuracy in the more basic understandings of climate change phenomena.

        Again, I very much invite and encourage you to read this piece, for instance, to look at the not just how poor the actual logic of most climate change refutation is (which is almost as telling w/ respect to the underlying ACC idea itself) but the persistent and almost robotic pattern of it, which is the exact opposite of dispassionate, reasonably objective, open minded examination and adjustment.

        And again more to your point, I also think this blog engages in a watered down, somewhat more intellectual version of the former. (I use the word “think” here, naturally, as a term of art. I’ve seen it on every single visit, and in almost every post by the proprietor of this blog. But then it is clear, not to many of the commenters here yet perhaps, but to myself as well as almost any leading climate scientist the world over, that the proprietor, despite being a very gifted writer and persuasive, certainly of admirable passion, and probably very smart, is badly misconstruing the issue.)

      • John Carter wrote to me:
        >This blog spends a lot of time on tangential musings that have nothing whatsoever to do with the above point

        John, I’ll try to put this politely: you are being more than disingenuous.

        Judith is a real scientist; she has repeatedly talked about her scientific work in this blog, including her research papers, her recent book, etc.

        What more do you expect of her? Do you expect her to write ten thousand words a day just for this blog to try (no doubt without success!) to educate you about climate science?

        Neither she nor anyone else has the time. But, she has, in this blog, given you references to her detailed scientific research which you can pursue if you actually want to learn any science.

        Of course, that requires you to give a damn.

        Dave

      • “””””””John Carter wrote to me:
        >This blog spends a lot of time on tangential musings that have nothing whatsoever to do with the above point

        John, I’ll try to put this politely: you are being more than disingenuous.

        Judith is a real scientist; she has repeatedly talked about her scientific work in this blog, including her research papers, her recent book, etc.””””

        You didn’t put it politely. And you’re being disingenuous, or missing the point. Which I believe that you want to miss.

        First, I didn’t write to you. I wrote a comment on her blog, trying to specifically respond to and answer your seemingly earnest – but now I see otherwise – question.

        Seems picky, but it’s not. Comments are also for readers.

        More importantly, your response that Judith is a “real scientist” [Wow!!!] and has spent time on this blog talking about her scientific work” has nothing to do with my point that: “This blog spends a lot of time on tangential musings that have nothing whatsoever to do with the above point.”

        It has NOTHING to do with it. Yet you called me disingenuous (in fact you went past impoliteness, and error,and called me “more than disingenuous”) for making the point which, aside from being absurd (and impolite, because I think this blog does spend a lot of time on tangential musings… and so unless you KNOW what I think you calling me a liar for writing that either makes you illogical, or disingenuous – take your pick), you then refuted by making a “point” in response that has nothing to do with mine.

        But that is the pattern of climate change deniers, who convince themselves (and each other in insular fashion enabled by self reinforcing Internet choice) of their own logic.

        And in this case you convince yourself of your own logic, against me, because you don’t want to accept or consider what I have to suggest because it conflicts with what you want to or think you know on this issue. Completely consistent with the overall pattern of climate change “Skepticism” in general.http://bitly.com/1tT7y2A

        I’m sure I’ll get little other than a disingenuous response back now, if anything, while making more accusations and misrepresentation at the same time.

        That’s what it takes to perpetuate your skepticism, and it also takes you not seeing it. Which is how you called me “disingenuous” – based on an opinion regarding my observations, that either requires you to suspend logic, or know what I’m thinking (and you don’t, and your guess is completely backward) in the first place.

        But you probably won’t get that either.”””””

      • John,

        I’ve worn your shoes of going to sites that do not see things as I do (both sides). Now, for me, I’d like to share that I declare myself skeptical due to seeing a track record of projections not meeting with actual. This leads me to state the I have sufficient evidence that warming is occurring, but I do not have enough to state that it is only man and only CO2. So I’m seeking that second level definition.

        I sense you’re B.P. is up a bit. I only wanted to suggest that you get a definition of “skeptic” from the skeptic. This may help with understanding.

        My two cents. I’ll step away and shut up now.

      • John Carter wrote to me:
        >But that is the pattern of climate change deniers…

        John, neither I nor Judith (nor almost anyone at all) doubts that the earth’s climate has changed in the past and will continue to change in the future. By trying to label us “climate change deniers,” you are going far, far, far beyond being disingenuous.

        You are not telling the truth.

        Judith and many other scientists have serious scientific questions about various details of the claims being made by some scientists (and by many who are ignorant of science in the mass media): as I said before, raising such questions is a normal and necessary part of the scientific method. It is taken for granted among legitimate scientists.

        Why does that so offend you that you must post untruths?

        Why did you come here and decide to start making these bizarrely and obviously false accusations?

      • John Carter wrote to me:
        >, I very much invite and encourage you to read this piece, for instance, to look at the not just how poor the actual logic of most climate change refutation is (which is almost as telling w/ respect to the underlying ACC idea itself) but the persistent and almost robotic pattern of it…

        I have looked at your piece, John; I am unimpressed, highly unimpressed.

        You and Joshua will disapprove of my addressing the actual substance of what you wrote, but your essay appears to be that of a not-very-bright high-school student who is basically repeating what he has read without understanding it: there are real scientific issues here, involving whether the predictions made by climate alarmists have in fact been confirmed or refuted empirically, whether you alarmists correctly understand the behavior of clouds, etc. (No, I am not claiming you are a high-school student, merely saying that your essay sounds like that.)

        Judith has addressed these issues, she clearly knows enormously more about the relevant science than you do, and yet you feel free publicly to trumpet your superiority to her!

        Your behavior is unconscionable. You should be ashamed.

        But people like you never are.

        Dave

      • John Vonderlin

        John,
        Congratulations on this sentence. “For the hard core far right wing authoritarian skeptic, as the original offeree of the above quote, at a guess, might be, probably nothing will remove the self sealing pattern of seeing everything in a way that supports their view, almost no matter what.” While this quote of yours is a truly marvelous mangling of the English language and its punctuation, your usage of the qualifiers: “at a guess, might be, probably, and almost” in one sentence earns you the “Overconfident, but Certainly Not Underqualified Award,” for today.

      • Matthew R Marler

        John: For libertarian conservatives, there is a chance to learn and grow about the issue, but only if they don’t use as their source blogs like this (and many others that are far worse) that continue to post clever philosophical musings to chip away at the basic idea of climate change, rather assess what those actual facts of the issue are, and more importantly, why they are relevant.

        I am a fairly libertarian conservative, or at least center-right: a fiscal conservative, social liberal who believes in human rights and limits on government power, even when the government is elected. As such, let me invite your comments on the paper by Romps et al above.

        What do you mean by the “basic idea of climate change”? Climate changes all of the time, and the mechanisms of climate change are not all well characterized. CO2 accumulation is only one of the mechanisms of climate change, and the multiplicity of mechanisms of climate change, and the only partially quantified effects of all of them, make the evaluation of any effects of CO2 quite difficult. Surely you are not one of the people who discounts all of the science except the absorption/emission spectra of CO2 and H2O?

      • @Marler

        “””What do you mean by the “basic idea of climate change”?”””

        I am specifically referring to a phrase that I think is a poor one to use what we use it for. Namely, the phenomenon of a changing climate over time (and the expectation of that change) in response to geologically radical long term alterations of the long lived molecular heat absorption and re radiation quotient of our atmosphere. Nothing more, nothing less.

        The points you otherwise raise in your comment, frankly, are irrelevant and scientific doublespeak. Yea, “lots of things affect climate, bla bla blla bla bla bla..” What skepticism tries to do is focus on all of this, in a sort of reverse occam’s razor, rather than the central change first.

        All these other things are out of our control, and not what the issue is about.

        What is in our control, and what the issue is about, is the radical atmospheric alteration that is still ongoing, and that has occurred in a near geologic instant, and how that alone, on top of an otherwise complex dynamic system responsible for long term climate on this earth, but which is ultimately driven ONLY by energy input (i..e, the sun and then thermal re radiation, although secondary factors can than affect how the latter changes based upon how changes in the latter change basic system structures) is likely to affect the earth.

        The points you raise are in fact why we can’t predict exactly what will change and exactly along what path – but what is then by skeptics falsely used to refute ACC – but then on the other hand they are flip flopped to go from arguing we can’t write the climate script in advance as if it was a movie therefore ACC is not real (or not a big deal) to the similarly sidestepping and overly generic “my God, there’s so many variables, how can we possibly know a thing.”

        Which in turn is then repeatedly defended and self reinforced, but is just another way to perpetuate skepticism that again, sidesteps the actual relevant issue; and when not so doing – as this blog repeatedly does in its posts – misconstrue that issue.

        You need to first be willing to REALLY consider the idea that our radical atmospheric alteration of the atmosphere (again, defined as a change on the order of several million years, and geologically speaking still shooting essentially straight up, by increasing the amount of thermal radiation absorbed and re radiated by long term gg molecules to amounts not seen on earth in millions of years), will slowly heat the earth, change ambient atmospheric temperatures overall while slowly changing regional climate patterns, and most importantly of all start to change the underlying conditions that drive and stabilize our climate as they continue to gain in heat energy – just as our oceans ice sheets, permafrost land areas, and ice sheets are doing now.

        I’m not trying to sound harsh to you, I appreciate your response and imagine that your comments for the most part on here are an attempt on your part to try and reflect what you believe, but what you believe, is wrong, for very fundamental reasons.

        It’s not a big deal to be wrong. Most of use are. It’s a bigger deal to cling to it, as I fear that on top of everything else, a lot of “Democrats (generally), by castigating and condemning climate change skeptics as “idiots” and “liars who are just driven by greed” in lieu of just simply better communications (this also, however, includes showing the remarkable pattern of misinformation and using anything to try and refute or lessen ACC by climate change skeptics), and less castigation and conclusion about what everybody should or does “already know,” are only furthering. That’s just my take, having observed what is going on, and the patterns that continue.

        If you’re unwilling to do that, genuinely, as most skeptics are, then you’re not going to learn anything relevant to the issue, but for things (often things that misconstrue or misrepresent the issue) that self reinforce your held belief, or perception – that in turn gets further reinforced by sites like this, and many even far more misinforming sites and multiple ideological “news” sites and even TV stations that botch the science and facts of this issue to an almost caricatured degree, yet pass it off as serious news and analysis.

      • Matthew R Marler

        John Carter: The points you otherwise raise in your comment, frankly, are irrelevant and scientific doublespeak.

        Quote specifics.

        It’s not a big deal to be wrong. Most of use are. It’s a bigger deal to cling to it, as I fear that on top of everything else, a lot of “Democrats (generally), by castigating and condemning climate change skeptics as “idiots” and “liars who are just driven by greed” in lieu of just simply better communications (this also, however, includes showing the remarkable pattern of misinformation and using anything to try and refute or lessen ACC by climate change skeptics), and less castigation and conclusion about what everybody should or does “already know,” are only furthering.

        That’s incoherent.

      • It’s not incoherent. It’s just complex. Think it through. Break it down.

        I warrant, even though these are just comments, for God’s sake, I shouldn’t write such complex sentences, since you lack the capacity to follow them.

        But yet you’re smart enough to know that the world’s leading climate scientists are wrong.

        Amazing.

        Just as amazing, and far more remarkably “coincidental”: “and you’re right, along with a minion of skeptics who just happen to be mainly fossil fuel industry led, and ideologically biased, economic transformation fearing, and gov regulation fearing. (I’m with you on that last one, but it, just as all the others, has NOTHING to do with the science of the issue, which skeptics cant seem to grasp.)

        Those last four lines probably a little too complex to follow also, right?
        Or did you get those. If you did, consider them.

        If you really did get them, you’ll see the oddity in just who “happens” to be a skeptic when it comes to ACC, by absolutely remarkable coincidence.

        The people who are not skeptics?

        SCIENTISTS who professionally study the issue, whose job it is to be as objective, imperfect or not, as they can be. As that – the pursuit of physical truth of the world around us – is what science is.

      • @marler

        This system on wordpress, or here, isn’t really great or discussion. I hit reply and it just went to the bottom. Also, any reply to something that is technically a reply just flops to the bottom of the replies. Anyway, this comment was specifically in response to your comment here: http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/13/we-are-all-confident-idiots/#comment-647978
        ______

        @marler:

        It’s not incoherent. It’s just complex. Think it through. Break it down.

        I warrant, even though these are just comments, for God’s sake, I shouldn’t write such complex sentences, since you lack the capacity to follow them.

        But yet you’re smart enough to know that the world’s leading climate scientists are wrong.

        Amazing.

        Just as amazing, and far more remarkably “coincidental”: “and you’re right, along with a minion of skeptics who just happen to be mainly fossil fuel industry led, and ideologically biased, economic transformation fearing, and gov regulation fearing. (I’m with you on that last one, but it, just as all the others, has NOTHING to do with the science of the issue, which skeptics cant seem to grasp.)

        Those last four lines probably a little too complex to follow also, right?
        Or did you get those. If you did, consider them.

        If you really did get them, you’ll see the oddity in just who “happens” to be a skeptic when it comes to ACC, by absolutely remarkable coincidence.

        The people who are not skeptics?

        SCIENTISTS who professionally study the issue, whose job it is to be as objective, imperfect or not, as they can be. As that – the pursuit of physical truth of the world around us – is what science is.

      • 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://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

        The threading gets disordered when long-winded, irrelevant, repetitive or otherwise unwelcome comments get deleted. I would suggest that John Carter is ripe for the picking.

        What he and other of his ilk clearly don’t get are these natural climate regime shifts. Shifts around the middle of the 20th century, 1976/1977 and 1998/2001 – with shifts in the trajectory of surface temperature. So if we isolate the ‘signal’ over a cool and warm regime – 1944 to 1998 – we get a resultant that may be sue to greenhouse gases during the period of most CO2 increase in the atmosphere. Some 0.4K at 0.07K/decade. There is however very little chance that all of this was greenhouse gases – or indeed much confidence that the next natural regime shift will be to yet warmer conditions. Is this potentially problematic over the 21st Century?

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

        The 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. A mechanical analogy might set the scene. The finger pushing the balance below can be likened to changes in greenhouse gases, solar intensity or orbital eccentricity. The climate response is internally generated – with changes in cloud, ice, dust and biology – and proceeds at a pace determined by the system itself. Thus the balance below is pushed past a point at which stage a new equilibrium spontaneously emerges. Unlike the simple system below – climate has many equilibria. The old theory of climate suggests that warming is inevitable. The new theory suggests that global warming is not guaranteed and that climate surprises are inevitable.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/unstable-mechanical-analogy-fig-1-jpg.jpg

        Many simple systems exhibit abrupt change. The balance above consists of a curved track on a fulcrum. The arms are curved so that there are two stable states where a ball may rest. ‘A ball is placed on the track and is free to roll until it reaches its point of rest. This system has three equilibria denoted (a), (b) and (c) in the top row of the figure. The middle equilibrium (b) is unstable: if the ball is displaced ever so slightly to one side or another, the displacement will accelerate until the system is in a state far from its original position. In contrast, if the ball in state (a) or (c) is displaced, the balance will merely rock a bit back and forth, and the ball will roll slightly within its cup until friction restores it to its original equilibrium.’(NAS, 2002)

        In (a1) the arms are displaced but not sufficiently to cause the ball to cross the balance to the other side. In (a2) the balance is displaced with sufficient force to cause the ball to move to a new equilibrium state on the other arm. There is a third possibility in that the balance is hit with enough force to cause the ball to leave the track, roll off the table and under the sofa.

        The last suggests there may be a risk from greenhouse gases – but then there are many other controls on the system. The rational responses – http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation – ‘centers on efforts to accelerate energy innovation, build resilience to extreme weather, and pursue no regrets pollution reduction measures — three efforts that each have their own diverse justifications independent of their benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation.’

        I’m fairly confident that John Carter is not merely fairly clueless on climate science – as opposed to “The Science” – but has not a scintilla of practical policy options to offer.

      • Well, since the climate system regularly gets sinusoid input changes on a number of time scales we can surmise a couple of things about the system.

        1. There is integral feedback on a number of time scales (it tends to ramp in response to input changes).
        2. The system is heavily damped (significant negative feedback).

        There aren’t any wild oscillations (it doesn’t hit boiling at the end of the summer). The summer temperatures are highest when surface temperature + solar input is highest (about 1 month after peak sun). The system follows available energy pretty closely and most of weather and climate is the insulating atmosphere redistributing energy through convection.

      • ‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.’ Wally Broecker.

        Surmise all you lie.

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289614000373

      • Rob Ellison:
        I’ve been reading about the THC lately. It occurs again that the sea water’s salinity is a tag indicating how much freshwater has been taken from it, mostly by solar evaporation. It’s telling a packet of sea water when to descend, for instance become Atlantic deep water. A form of information it picked up in its past. I think that sea water’s salinity value is a kind of coherency. Instead of random molecules of water descending, they all do the same thing. On this map: http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/505786main_mean_salinity_2005-full.jpg I think in the Barents Sea, there is a big salinity change from 35 to 28 over a short distance. I suppose the 35 side is the Atlantic’s reach into to Arctic at the time the map was made. Do you think it could be said the salinity value is the a parameter determining when the sea water descends and joins the Atlantic deep water? I realize there are other factors and there may be more to it than temperature and density. And there’s the interaction with sea ice complicating things. It was mentioned recently that the volume flow of the THC is minimal compared to the Gulf stream. If salt has a large effect, that might explain why the THC is still important.

      • Well, the real question is how low does the net insolation have to get to trigger a return to the ice age? I’ve seen a number of 2 W/m2 (better scholarship is welcome).

        If so we are dancing on a fine edge here and more CO2 even with its seemingly small forcing may be helpful. We should investigate ways to trigger more methane/CO2 release in case it starts cooling too much.

      • I don’t think net isolation triggers shifts into and out of ice ages all that often. If it did there wouldn’t be irregularities in the glaciation and solar cycles. Ice/snow is the main factor and it has a lot more influences other than just the sun, like ash, earthquakes, extreme tides, types of vegetation migratory herds, impact events etc. It seems the over emphasis on CO2 forcing has caused people to lose sight of the real deal with Ice ages, Ice.

      • Matthew R Marler

        John Carter: But yet you’re smart enough to know that the world’s leading climate scientists are wrong.

        I have identified some questions that they have not provided answers to. when they answer them, please let me know. You have informative comments about the Romps et al paper, perhaps?

      • We don’t need to know every detail to have an understanding of the concept of risk, what presents it and why, and generally what it presents.

        But, no offense,I’m just pointing it out because I think that’s what you’re doing here, that’s what deniers/skeptics do’ they conflate the ongoing process of science itself, with refutation of or skepticism over the basic underlying concept

      • John Carter,

        Do have any quantifiable facts to bring to the discussion, or just the usual Warmist collection of patronising, condescending, nonsensical assertions?

        Climatology was surely created to give credence and stature to the astrological sciences. The Moon trine Venus composite makes more sense than warming a lump of rock by surrounding it with CO2, wouldn’t you agree?

        Away with ye, laddie! Leave global warming to the fools or frauds silly enough to believe in it – they at least are occasionally coherent, if misguided.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Instead of a bombogenesis to replace a polar vortex the Left now has Kool-Aidogenesis to explain why global cooling is caused by America’s CO2.

    • Not odd at all. Quite consistent.

  58. “In pondering how we rationalize the ‘hiatus’ in context of theories and predictions of anthropogenic global warming”

    We should start by questioning the very idea of the haitus, or pause.

    Compare the average of global temperature in the mid 1990s with the average in the mid 2000s.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1900/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1996/trend

    It’s clearly a 0.3C jump. So I find it interesting we are talking about a pause but not about the sharp jump in temperature that took place beforehand.

    Because surely the implication is obvious, a 10 year 0.3C jump followed by a 10 year plateau is an average of 0.15C/decade, which matches trend (since 1970). So all we have is the longterm warming rate happening in a non-linear fashion.

    A very different scenario than if global temperature had warmed 0.15C continuously every decade since 1970, but then went flat after 2000. Yet this is how the pause is framed, as a cessation of the prior warming trend, rather than a plateau following a sharp jump upwards.

    Even researchers seem to be overlooking the prior jump to a new high level and focusing on the “pause” exclusively, or perhaps that impression I have is just because the media only reports research where popular attention on a pause is.

    As far as I see it vested ideological interests have invented and pushed the pause meme into the public sphere through the media from day one, and through that popularity alone it has become a subject for researcher focus and media reporting. I have yet to see any reporting of the pause that acknonwledges the longterm warming trend has not been affected by it.

    • tomas, The Hiatus is relative to the model projections which project a continuously increasing temperature not jumps and plateaus. The warmists and IPCC went to great length to “sell” “Global Warming”/Climate Change/Climate Disruption as directly caused by CO2 related Green House Gas effect. That would mean warming would be “predictable” with the models, there would be a tropical troposphere hot spot, hurricanes would increase in frequency and intensity, polar bears would be drowning in droves, cats and dogs would be sleeping together etc. etc.

      When all that is “projected”, you are not allowed to cherry pick your “proof”.

      • I don’t believe models project a continuous increasing temperature on decadal (<10 years) timescale. jumps and starts are compatible. Especially as model projections should be seen as predictions of the central tenancy. It is the multi-decadal trend that is important. The ins and outs of 10 year trends is always going to be harder when events like pinatubo and super el ninos have greatest impact.

        It's one thing to argue that the projected multi-decadal trend is too steep in the models, but to argue that it has stopped going up (ie a pause or haitus) just seems incorrect. A 0.3C jump in 10 years followed by 0C in 10 years still averages 0.15C matching the longterm (eg 1970-1990) trend.

        0.15C in 10 years followed by 0C in 10 years would be a very different matter.

      • In addition, the expectation of a 0.15C/decade trend since 2000 is a demand that after jumping 0.3C in 10 years global temperature should immediately jump another 0.15C in the next. A total of 0.45C in 20 years in other words.

        While that may be possible it seems unreasonable given the multi-decadal trend in hadcrut has always been about 0.15C/decade (eg 1970-2000 for example).

        A continued-warming of 0.15C/decade we should expect that after a jump of 0.3C in 10 years, ie 20 years worth of warming, there might be a decade of no warming to compensate.

        The question is really is it right to just look at a flat trend in one decade without factoring in the large jump in the 10 years before?

      • tomas, I believe you can actually look at the projections so you don’t have to “believe”. The “pause” noted by David Rose was directly related to fail predictions by the UK MET office. A lot of “Alarmists” have made very bold statements that have failed to materialize. Since then, the climate science “community” have 50 or so reasons for the “pause”/Hiatus/Slowdown etc. Santer even chnaged the rules a bit by requiring 17 years for a “pause” instead of the typical 15 years.

        There are a lot of things that have changed and will change in climate science as more data becomes available and more eyes double check bold statements.

      • “It’s one thing to argue that the projected multi-decadal trend is too steep in the models, but to argue that it has stopped going up (ie a pause or hiatus) just seems incorrect. A 0.3C jump in 10 years followed by 0C in 10 years still averages 0.15C matching the long-term (eg 1970-1990) trend.”
        _____
        Exactly. Decadal average temperatures are the absolutely shortest period in which you might be able to detect a long-term tropospheric signal from anthropogenic GH forcing. The troposphere has far too low of thermal inertia and is far too subject to ENSO and other influences to give us any meaningful signal at less than decadal averages.

      • R. Gates,

        To me, this:”might be able to detect a long-term tropospheric signal from anthropogenic GH forcing” presumes this observable warming is only from GH gases at the exclusion of any other. The problem that I see (w/o the capability to do the physics) is that while there may be a “concensus” that GW is occurring there is no “concensus” that it’s CO2, or indeed mother nature doing something of which we’re as yet unaware.

        Is that wrong minded of me?

      • R. Gates, “Exactly. Decadal average temperatures are the absolutely shortest period in which you might be able to detect a long-term tropospheric signal from anthropogenic GH forcing. The troposphere has far too low of thermal inertia and is far too subject to ENSO and other influences to give us any meaningful signal at less than decadal averages.”

        Which is a reason OHC is a better metric to use, but the alarming climate change was sold based on the model projections of average global mean surface temperature anomaly.

        Had the salesmen mentioned before hand the real margin of uncertainty there wouldn’t be a pause/hiatus/slowdown/standstill. Santer would not have redefined the period required for a “significant” deviation from the models. When model “projections” are used as a sales tool, they are predictions, doesn’t matter how much after the fact rationalization is involved.

      • “The problem that I see (w/o the capability to do the physics) is that while there may be a “concensus” that GW is occurring there is no “concensus” that it’s CO2, or indeed mother nature doing something of which we’re as yet unaware.

        Is that wrong minded of me?”
        _____
        Not wrong minded, just ignorant of the actual facts related to what the vast majority of climate scientists believe to be true. The vast majority hold that not only is the Earth retaining more energy in the climate system on a long-term basis, but that it is very likely caused by human activities. There simply is not another known physical explanation for the energy being retained.

      • R. Gates,

        Ah, that vast majority thing. Still sounds like 4 outta 5 dentists to me and “the vast majority” of the public who like me are not scientists. I have a CAGW buddy who’s used that terminology but his overly biased excessively leftist leanings just reinforce my reasoning for skepticism. I’ll admit my ignorance on the science, no problem. But he, and I’ll guess you, cannot eliminate nature as the source of our warming. Is it wrong minded then for me to say that although I don’t expect 100% confirmation of CO2 being “THE CAUSE” of global warming, that I should be able to expect the elimination of other potential causes which would then lead me to a more logical conclusion that it’s GH gases?

        My buddy put some numbers together that we could remove enough CO2 for the cost of health care in the U.S. from between 2000-2004. Well if I’m not comfortable that CO2 is the cause, and I know folks need health care why would I not want that money spent for more health care?

        I, for one, have sufficient evidence to state that global warming is occurring. I am not comfortable that sufficient evidence exists that it’s GH gases vs. mother nature or some combination. That’s the difficulty from my perspective. And since what I’d consider authorities (not bloggers, including me) such as National Academy of Science, American Physical Society, and others uses the term “likely” regarding CO2, when I read that it also says “maybe not”. So why not spend a bit more time to find out more? Is that not a reasonable decision based on the evidence at hand?

        You may have reached a conclusion about the cause, but so many others have not. I admire that you’re willing to discuss it here, but can you also see my perspective?

        I’m open to correction of my thinking based on evidence, but not based on 4 outta 5 dentists. For me, that’s selling and not science, and I’m not sure why you and my buddy cannot grasp that.